The Critics: All the men who would be king are just going to have to ask Homer first

CRIES & WHISPERS

OSCAR acceptance speeches are supposed to be about passing on the credit to other people, so for James Cameron to yell "I'm the king of the world! Woo-hoo!" when he won Best Director last week might be deemed a touch obnoxious. It's all right, though; it was a joke. He was quoting a line which Leonardo DiCaprio delivered in Titanic, as he stood - historical accuracy be damned - on the prow of the ship. End of story. Or so I thought.

Then, on Monday, I saw something that could shake Hollywood to its very foundations. Unsurprisingly, it was an episode of The Simpsons. One sequence was a flashback to an earlier episode, first aired in 1990, in which Homer sailed over Springfield Gorge on a skateboard. Before he smacks into the other side of the canyon, he is so exhilarated by this uncharacteristic physical activity that he raises his arms and shouts: "I'm the king of the world! Woo-hoo!" And, yes, he does so in exactly the same way as DiCaprio and Cameron.

Now, The Simpsons is well known for its movie pastiches, but they don't normally appear seven years before the movie being pastiched. So what was Cameron up to? Was he paying tribute to the far superior scripting skills of the Simpsons team? Was it a subconscious echo? Or was it a piece of base thievery which, now that it has been fearlessly exposed, will force Cameron to hand back his Oscars in shame? There's only one other explanation. Have James Cameron and Homer Simpson ever been seen in the same room?

NOTE TO ALL sub-editors: it is no longer acceptable to attach the headline "The Butler Did It" to articles about Bernard Butler's new album.

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