‘And the winner is … ‘ | TheUnion.com

‘And the winner is … ‘

Chuck Jaffee of Cascade Shores is predicting that “Million Dollar Baby” is going to sweep the Academy Awards Sunday.

What are his chances of being right? Well, he is a veteran Hollywood watcher who has written an Academy Awards newsletter for 26 years but his average of correct predictions, he says, is about 60 percent.

It isn’t just the predictions that made his newsletter, “The CampChuck Review” (a family joke), a must read for movie fans. Jaffee goes into some detailed analysis about actors and directors, their histories, why they’re succeeding or not – all the trivia that makes for fascinating cocktail talk.

Jaffee, now 55, married to Marvina Lepianka, father to three and grandfather to four, says he started his newsletter because “I enjoy writing (he telecommutes as a technical writer) and I enjoy movies. In college I went to every class and to every movie shown on campus. Now I see about 70 movies in theaters a year; hundreds if you count TV and rentals.”

While he’ll travel a distance to see a movie (like to San Francisco recently to see “Vera Drake”), Jaffee is full of exuberant praise for “the 11 movie screens and two independents in our two towns.” High compliment indeed from a man, who, previously living in Santa Clara, “has never been this far from a major movie market before.”

While Jaffee jokes about being the king of trivia, he’s deeper than he makes out to be. Subscription price to his newsletter is “whatever you’d like to contribute to my charities,” which now are the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Nevada County Food Bank. He matches these “subscriptions” dollar for dollar and calculates that so far, a total of $40,000 has been contributed to charity. Typically, he hands out between 300-500 copies of his annual newsletter and as of this interview was working feverishly to complete this year’s before the Academy Awards. The newsletter is also on his Web site, http://www.startlets.com, which contains information as well about his yet-to-be-written book for college students in creative writing.

But now to the predictions Jaffee makes for this year’s winners: best actor, Jamie Foxx (“Ray”); best actress, Hilary Swank (“Million Dollar Baby,” which also gets Jaffee’s nod for best director, Clint Eastwood, and best picture). While Jaffee tries to keep his preferences separate from his predictions, this year the two coincide in veteran actor Morgan Freeman as best supporting actor, in- you guessed it – “Million Dollar Baby.”

What will Jaffee be doing Sunday night? You can bet he’ll join the millions who will be glued to the TV set watching the results, hoping that this will be the third time ever when he got them all right.

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