Madonna will play the Oscars, her spokeswoman told USA Today. There was a lot of speculation yesterday that she would snub the Academy's show after the Academy snubbed her for a Best Actress nomination--which she brashly predicted she would get for her role in Evita. Now, it looks like she's ready to sing You Must Love Me from the movie, nominated as Best Original Song.

Another un-nominated star who'll be asked to sing a song from her movie: Barbra Streisand. She'd perform "I Finally Found Someone" from The Mirror Has Two Faces. Lucky for the Academy, Courtney Love didn't sing in The People vs. Larry Flynt

Well, Madonna already got what she most wanted from Evita: a new lease on her career, which she seems to need to renew regularly. (She also got a Golden Globe, of course). But the real career boost is being felt today by independent producers, whose films dominated the glamor categories. Only Jerry Maguire was produced by a major studio, TriStar.

"To make a film without a hint of compromise about real people and real feelings and to be rewarded in this way by Hollywood is fantastic," said Mike Leigh, director of Secrets and Lies.

It's not like this year's Oscar faves flew entirely under the radar of the studio system. Disney owns Miramax which financed The English Patient this year's most-decorated movie. Fox, Sony and Warner Bros. have their art-house divisions, too.

But Oscar recognition definitely strengthens the hands of those dedicated individuals peddling small serious scripts like Shine, which knocked around for years before going into production. It certainly translates into immediate ticket sales for the nominated films. Shine moves from 300 screens in the U.S. to 850 this weekend and the other small-film nominees will go to wider venues, too.

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