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Oprah hearts 'Australia'

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As if you didn’t know this already, Oprah Winfrey devoted the entire episode of her talk show yesterday to Australia, hosting Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman in her studio, much to the squealing delight of her live audience. And Miss O didn’t hold back, gushing about the movie’s scenery, its young Aboriginal costar Brandon Walters, and even Jackman’s physique. “It’s the best movie I’ve seen in a long, long, long, long time,” she enthused. I half expected her to jump up and down on a sofa this time. But there was one word she never brought up when talking about the movie: Oscar. (Well, actually, the word was spoken, but that’s only because Jackman’s son is named Oscar.)

Given all of her praise for the film, I have to say I found that a little peculiar. I do remember Winfrey repeatedly telling Reese Witherspoon (correctly, it turned out) that she would win an Academy Award when she was on the show for Walk the Line a few years ago. Does this mean the movie won’t have a shot at next year’s awards? Of course not. But even as I watched the sweeping, colorful clips of the film yesterday, I still couldn’t tell if Australia is another English Patient or another Pearl Harbor. And it does make me nervous that Baz Luhrmann is apparently still finishing the darn thing. (The poor guy had to be Skyped in from Fox studios in Australia for the show.) Given Luhrmann’s impressive body of work, though, I’m still holding out hope. Is anyone else?