by Stevie Taggart, Movie Correspondent
Hollywood legend Jack Nicholson needs to clear some space on his already impressively bedecked trophy shelf. In his 13th nomination (9 for Best Actor, 4 for Best Supporting Actor), he has come away with his fourth Academy Award (third as Best Actor), this time for his role as the title character in Chopping Block part IV: Butch Unmasked. Until the release of this latest installment in the horror series, "Butch R. Mann", the killer, was played as a one-dimensional killing machine by less-than-B-list actor Steve Guttenberg. Though Guttenberg did finally earn accolades for his portrayal, it took Nicholson to really get to the heart of the character and show audiences that serial killers are, indeed, people too.

The film was not made without some controversy. Guttenberg had made it well known that he felt it was time to expand the character beyond the faceless mute that audiences had come to know and love. He claimed to have proposed the idea of "Butch Unmasked" for the fourth film, but producers of the series felt that not only was such a concept beyond Guttenberg's range, but that audiences would stay away from such a film in droves because, as one industry insider put it, "Steve possesses a unique brand of what I can only describe as anti-charisma." Producers told Guttenberg that the fourth installment of the franchise would simply be more of the same, but Guttenberg stormed off the set, insisting that if the fourth film weren't done his way, then he was through playing Butch. He was certain that no one else could pull off the part.

Their star's sudden departure did send the film's creators into a bit of a panic. But that's when Nicholson stepped forth and expressed interest in being the next Butch. "That's when it all came together," said one of the film's writers. "We knew that with Jack behind the mask, that it was indeed time to take the mask off." The happy result was Nicholson's Oscar. Not to mention the biggest box office returns of any film in the CB franchise to date. There is as yet no word as to whether Nicholson plans to return for another go as the cartoon-born killer.

Steve Guttenberg, at the time of this writing, was unavailable for comment. In fact, all attempts to locate him at all were unsuccessful, as no one seems to know where he has gone.