I was very sad to find out that Ungawa, the Capuchin monkey I had hired from trainer-turned-bunk junking director Soso Whaley for a CD cover photo shoot, had died. Ungawa had picked the Oscars for me a couple of years ago, and while he went 0 for 6 (being far more interested in the popcorn I baited the photos with), it was a whole lot of fun to host him, and the kids that showed up were delighted by his delightful simian antics, none of which involved flinging poo.

This year, I was disappointed to find that my second choice to pick this year’s Oscars - Antony, the world-renowned anteater that Whaley also trained - had recently died of old age. He had appeared in a number of television shows and films, including Baby It’s Cold Outside.

A striped-knee tarantula named Klaus stepped up this year. While he was not as entertaining as a monkey (and what is?) or as goofy-looking as an anteater, he was a consummate professional, and his predictions were not entirely without rhyme or reason (if you can ignore the fact that he was not so much choosing as he was running away from us):

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
: Amy Adams, Junebug
I agree with my arachnid prognosticator on this one. Adams was glorious in a complex role as a simple girl in this otherwise ignored treat. He said that she can have him in her web any day.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
Having eight legs allows Klaus to get behind the populist favorite that much quicker, though he said it would be cool to see Paul Giamatti win for Cinderella Man if he could accept his trophy as Pig Vomit from Private Parts.

BEST ACTRESS
: Reese Witherspoon, Walk The Line
Eight legs also means that Klaus can clap four times louder when his prediction comes true. Of course, he didn’t see Transamerica, and I suggest that if studio Weinstein had more of a budget for a wider theatrical release, then more voters would have been able to sing Felicity Huffman’s praises and give this one the recognition it deserves.

BEST ACTOR
: Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
Klaus just can’t quit the Aussie star’s impressive turn in Ang Lee’s solid but overly-lauded ‘boy-on-‘boy drama, but it may have had something to do with the dead fly I had placed on the actor’s photo.

BEST DIRECTOR
: Bennett Miller, Capote
Klaus is boycotting Ang Lee because he directed Hulk, and he is a Spider-Man fan, for obvious reasons. And, he adds, Hulk sucked. Miller was simply next on the list.

BEST PICTURE
: Munich
Maybe Klaus knows something we don’t, but since he’s not defanged, I wasn’t about to argue with him.

[A special thanks to Soso and Third Man Media for indulging us in our silliness.]