The easy way to win your office’s Oscar pool? Put down Geoffrey Rush, Benicio Del Toro, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, Ridley Scott, and Gladiator. Figuring out who “the Oscar goes to” isn’t much harder than that. After all, the folks making the decisions are just human, all incredibly susceptible to the heavy influence of the studios’ marketing ploys. The allocation of this country’s most prestigious cinema awards is really just that easily predictable. And, in the end, the difference between who will win—the aforementioned Miss Roberts, for example—and who should win (have you seen Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream?) is about as fine a line as the San Andreas Fault. If you need more information about who needs to make room on the mantel, ask New York University Professor Richard Brown, who will discuss the 73rd Annual Academy Awards at his “Preview of the Academy Awards 2001.” The trivialities begin at 7 p.m. at Corcoran Gallery of Art’s Hammer Auditorium, 500 17th St. NW. $20. (202) 639-1770. (Tina Plottel)