Not to brag or anything, but several years ago I was banned from the office Oscar pool after winning three times in a row. Then a colleague had me complete his ballot and he triumphed, though I received not so much as a drink out of the deal.

I won the NFL football pool, too, which impresses people no end until I confess that this was done with the assistance of my late Uncle Al and my late Uncle Al's bookie. Better still, I didn't have to pay vig to the latter.

For the Oscars, though, I'm an independent contractor. I understand them more than perhaps is healthy. Not to get all Zen or anything, but I am one with the event.

It's the Super Bowl with hair extensions, borrowed gems and spray tans for everyone who can distinguish between the handiwork of Phillip Bloch and L'Wren Scott, celebrity stylists both. This is one of those occasions, like Miss America, the other Super Bowl, and many weddings, where the anticipation is far greater than the actual event. It almost never fails to disappoint.

The interminable evening takes on such magnitude that it's virtually unhostable. Billy Crystal delivered winning best-picture nominee montages. Last year, Jon Stewart created a funny opening short about trying to get out of hosting duties. But, let's face it: After the first 10 minutes, the thing runs entirely downhill. The emcee can't conquer the beast. It's too big. So good luck to this year's victim, Ellen DeGeneres. We suspect she will wear pants but not, we hope, white sneakers. Other predictions:

Presenter Cameron Diaz will look as if she just rose from bed, though someone spent hours, if not days, making her appear that way. She will flub her lines or act goofy and somehow think this makes her attractive. It does not.

Reese Witherspoon will be all chin and appear skinnier than she was at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards, proving that a postdivorce diet can go too far. You will be reminded how wonderful she is, while asking why it is that, every time someone wins an Oscar, the actor disappears from the screen for a year?

George Clooney will be as handsome and charming as he's always been. You will be reminded how wonderful he is while asking why it is that, every time someone wins an Oscar, the actor disappears from the screen for most of the year - except for The Good German, which is awful despite his presence?

Nicole Kidman will float across the Kodak Theatre stage looking so otherworldly as to induce shock and awe. You will be reminded how wonderful she is while asking how come she appears to make a movie only every five years, while Tim Allen works entirely too much?

If Jack Nicholson appears, he will sit in the front row like some debauched potentate. He will wear dark glasses. His hair will resemble a demilitarized zone. Somehow, he will still manage to look cool.

If director Martin Scorsese finally wins, after five previous nominations, it will prove the existence of a major deity and that there is justice in this world. This will almost make up for Forrest Gump and Driving Miss Daisy winning Best Picture, though not quite.

Eddie Murphy will appear. You will wonder how someone can resuscitate his once-brilliant career with a searing performance in Dreamgirls, only to come back seven weeks later in a fat suit in such a piece of lucrative garbage as Norbit.

Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker will win Oscars for flawless performances as real sovereigns. More than that, I will not divulge unless you are willing to buy the drinks.

Addendum: This marks Intuition's final appearance in Image. Beginning this week, the column moves to Wednesday's Magazine, and can be found, on the Web at http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/living/columnists/karen_heller/.

Contact staff writer Karen Heller at 215-854-2586 or kheller@phillynews.com.