to say, movies will be one of the lesser things that 2001 is remembered
for. But in stand-up fashion,
Hollywood drove on, providing an oasis in the darkness for a nation
recovering. That said, this
years Oscar race, which at initial glance may seem to be an open and shut
case, has inexplicably, and
unnecessarily, tightened. The
politics of race, public relations, and voracity of facts, have clouded a
race that as far as I can remember, was simply supposed to be about the
quality of presentation and performance.
So, unfortunately, I must again use my Will Win and Should Win
categories when picking most of these.
In some cases, I will add commentary along recommendation of
notable Oscar omissions, in others, I will simply pick the winner and move
on. Now, without further
adieu, my picks for whom will strike gold, who will be robbed, and whose
invitation got lost in the maelstrom favoritism. I will start with
the documentaries, short films and such, then through the technical categories and work up
to the biggest ones.
Best documentary feature
My Pick: Promises
Best documentary short subject
Artists and Orphans: A True Drama
Will Win: Thoth
Best live action short filmThe Accountant
Gregor's Greatest Invention
A Man Thing (Meska Sprawa)
Speed For Thespians
Will Win: Gregor's Greatest Invention
Best animated feature film of the year
My Pick: Monster's Inc
first year for this category, it is really no contest. Shrek was not
only the best animated film of the year, it was one of the best films of
the year period.
Best animated short film
Fifty Percent Grey
Will Win: For The Birds
May be Disney's only time to walk away with gold this night, For The Birds, shown on the front of Monster's Inc, comes from the same production company that gave us the wonderul Geri's Game (the man playing chess with himself), so this one seems like a lock even though I haven't seen any of the others.
Achievement in sound
This will be one of the many categories, where Rings will prevail if there is a sweep. I foresee a Star Wars scenario though, where it will win most of the technical and other categories but be shut out otherwise. Frankly, this should be between Black Hawk Down, and (as much as it pains me to say) Pearl Harbor, for their realistic battle recreations. Black Hawk should win in that instance, because part of its appeal came from the sights and sounds which took us right into the middle of the battle whether we liked it or not.
Achievement in sound editing
Will Win: Pearl Harbor
Technical awards like this offer the only chance for movies that would not normally even get a sniff of gold. This applies here as well, as Pearl Harbor walks away with this one.
Achievement in visual effects
Visually, only other movie matched Rings stunning effects, but since
the academy shied away from Potter, it will easily win this one.
Achievement in art directionor Moulin Rouge
Another casuality in the Rings sweep, but still a deserved win. Don't take my words as a backlash against the film, Rings was a stunning visual and cinematic accomplishment, and it will get its just due. I just feel that the amazing effects, sets, and costumes of Harry Potter are being lost in the hobbit rampage. Nevertheless, Rings gets another one here.
Achievement in cinematography
Will Win: The
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring
Achievement in costume design
The Affair of The Necklace
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring
Achievement in film editing
Will Win: The
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring
Achievement in makeup
Achievement in music in connection with motion pictures (Original score)
Will Win: Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone
Achievement in music in connection with motion pictures (Original song)
"If I Didn't Have You" - Monsters,
Inc. - Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
Best foreign language film of the year
Will Win: - Amélie
In my opinion, Amelie should run away with this category, but the war
satire No Man's Land could sneak in
Screenplay based on material previously produced or publishedA Beautiful Mind - Written by Akiva Goldsman
Ghost World - Written by Daniel Clowes & Terry Zwigoff
In The Bedroom - Screenplay by Rob Festinger and Todd Field
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring - Screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson
Shrek - Written by Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio and Joe Stillman and Roger S.H. Schulman
Will Win: Ghost
Screenplay written directly for the screenAmélie - Screenplay by Guillaume Laurant and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Dialogue by Guillaume Laurant
Gosford Park - Written by Julian Fellowes
Memento - Screenplay by Christopher Nolan, Story by Jonathan Nolan
Monster's Ball - Written by Milo Addica & Will Rokos
Royal Tennenbaums, The - Written by Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Flip a coin in this category, its a 3-way
race in my opinion. Hawke should get other opportunities and is
overshadowed (but still keeps up) with Denzel, and Voight wasn't even the
best supporting performance in Ali (that honor goes to Jamie Foxx).
Since the slick talking Shalhoub was omitted, the most deserving
performance by far was Kingsley's incidiary turn as Don Logan in the
otherwise forgettable Sexy Beast.
Most will think that McKellen should get it in a Rings sweep (and he did
bring life and perspective to Gandalf), but I hearken back to the Star
Wars clause, when Guiness was nominated but did not win.
Performance by an actress in a supporting roleJennifer Connelly - A Beautiful Mind
Helen Mirren - Gosford Park
Maggie Smith - Gosford Park
Marisa Tomei - In The Bedroom
Kate Winslet - Iris
Jennifer Connelly - A
Performance by an actress in a leading role
the controversies and debates begin here. Spacek deserves it, by
far, Berry is gaining momentum, and if she won, I would not be shocked or
upset (like Paltrow over Blanchett in 1999) and then there's Kidman, an
Academy favorite who could get sneak in and get it for just being likeable
and sort of deserving. Zellweger was good, but not deserving of a
nomination, and Dench will get nominated Personally, Watts gave the best
female performance, but apparently that doesn't matter to the Academy.
Performance by an actor in a leading roleRussell Crowe - A Beautiful Mind
Sean Penn - I Am Sam
Will Smith - Ali
Denzel Washington - Training Day
Tom Wilkinson - In The Bedroom
is where the controversy is at its fieriest. The accusations of
racism in the Academy may propel Denzel to a win (again, deserving, yes,
but not quite the best) even though Russell is more deserving (but
apparently not a very sociable and happy camper in the eyes of most in the
business. Smith is one of the shining moments in a droning film, and
Wilkinson countered Spacek's intensity to near perfection. Penn's is
the kind of performance that Oscar usually loves, but he is overmatched
this year. It comes down between Denzel and Russell, with Mr Crowe
prevailing by a beautiful nose.
Achievement in directingA Beautiful Mind - Ron Howard
Black Hawk Down - Ridley Scott
Gosford Park - Robert Altman
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring - Peter Jackson
Mulholland Drive - David Lynch
The most beautiful story, and film of the year, owes a lot of its success to its director. The film could have easily been overdone, or careened out of control into sentimental mush. But Howard balances the tale of love and emotion, with the emotional struggle of a man battling internal and external demons. Lynch's masterful telling of Mulholland was my favorite film of the year, but it may be too puzzling, controversial and edgy for the voters to understand and hence, if it takes an effort, and is remotely controversial, then heaven forbid it be rewarded. The buzz is that Altman could sneak in, since he's been overlooked, or that Jackson could get it in a Rings parade (and his work to keep the 3-hour epic together is admirable) but I believe its Opie's time to be recognized
Best motion picture of the year
The battles and debates over this winner will rage on regardless of whom is rewarded. In my opinion, Park doesnt even deserve mention here, so it then comes down to four. A truly emotional drama about the bond of family, and the power of emotion, In The Bedroom may be overshadowed by the others. Moulin Rouge was a combination of music, love and sensory overload on such a grand and delightful scale, and would be second if we could rank them. Rings is an epic in the truest sense of the word and Oscar voters love an epic, but it is hard to deny the overall combination of writing, directing, acting, effects, cinematography and score, that Howard and company brought to A Beautiful Mind.
This year will be interesting to watch, no doubt. Will the Star Wars effect come back 25 years later, and give Rings lots of gold, but no big awards? Will Denzel's nice guy image (in a bad guy role) overcome Crowe's superior performance (but inferior demeanor) Will Halle benefit, along with Denzel, in the racism accusations? Will the doubts, omissions and controversy bog down A Beautiful Mind? I guess we'll see on Sunday night. As usual, these picks are purely my opinion, and for entertainment purposes, so please, no wagering.
For a combined list of just my picks, click here