Nominations for the 2002 MTV Movie Awards won't be unveiled until next April, but Kirsten Dunst and Jay Hernandez have already emerged as the frontrunners to take home Best Kiss kudos for their steamy smooch in crazy/beautiful (opening Friday). "[My manager] told me, 'I bet you guys are going to be up for that next year,'" Hernandez tells TV Guide Online. "Who knows?"

However, the California native — who became a teen pinup as a regular on NBC's Saturday morning comedy Hang Time — admits that all the TLC put him on edge. "I was pretty nervous when we did it," he recalls. "[Kirsten had] never really done too many intimate scenes; this kind of was her first. But it was more my first of everything, so I was a lot more nervous than her."

Considering the success/failure ratio of the Peacock's Saturday morning alums, Hernandez is no doubt grateful to find himself in such a compromising position. But he insists he never feared getting typecast when he took the role of basketball stud Antonio Lopez on Hang Time. "I wasn't worried at all, I just sort of did it," the 23-year-old says. "It was like a stepping stone. You've [just] got to take the next step once you're done with that."

Well, Hernandez's next step after crazy/beautiful is co-starring with Dennis Quaid in The Rookie, due in theaters next year. "It's a good, solid baseball movie," he proclaims proudly. And even though the pic marks his third sports-obsessed character (his crazy/beautiful alter ego is a football jock), the up-and-comer nonetheless considers the role a stretch. "Well, I never played baseball, so it was sort of my opportunity to get that out of my system," he offers. "Maybe I'll play hockey next or something."