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):