Danís 2002 Oscar Picks
Since I am not working or covering this Oscar Season for anyone I must admit that I have enjoyed it more than any other in recent memory! In a normal year once the nominations are announced I have to read every article, watch every interview, study every nuance and statement to make an educated guess as to who will win the Oscar, because by now none of us are naÔve enough to believe that these things are awarded on one cinematic merit alone.
So, with that said, I did follow the races as closely as I could as someone who was just enjoying it as a ìregular person.î But in the end, a zebra cannot hide his stripes, and as a cinematic Oscar prognosticating Zebra, I offer my predictions, and reasons, in the six major categories.
For a look at some reliable predictions in the other categories visit Zap2it.
BEST ACTOR- A TWO HORSE RACE
WHO- Denzel Washington
WHY- In 1992 Denzel (ìMalcolm Xî), and Clint Eastwood (ìUnforgivenî) for that matter, lost to Al Pacino for ìScent Of A Woman.î Pacino won that year because he didnít win for ìSerpico,î ìDog Day Afternoonî either of ìThe Godfatherî films or any of the other superb films he had done. Even though Denzelís performance in ìTraining Dayî was uneven and uninteresting at times, he is a good guy in real life who played against type and was a bad guy in the movie, thus the Academy nominated him and since it owes him for a great career, he wins. Plus, Russell Crowe is a prick! Crowe would have won except he won last year for ìGladiatorî, and award given to him as he didnít win the year before for ìThe Insider.î Since he did win last year he wonít win this year because if he did he would be on par with Spencer Tracy and Tom Hanks, the only two men to ever win the Best Actor Oscar two years in a row, and Crowe is not as beloved or admired as Tracy or Hanks.
BUT- Croweís performance in ìA Beautiful Mindî was the stuff that Oscar dreams are made of and he could win if the movie sweeps all of itís other categories. Also, the Academy loves actor who go the mentally handicapped route.
SO THEN- What about Sean Penn? He was even more handicapped in ìI Am Samî than Crowe was in ìA Beautiful Mind.î True, but since this is Denzelís year for recognition, Penn wonít win.
BEST ACTRESS- THE HARDEST CATEGORY TO PROGNOSTICATE THIS YEAR
WHO- Sissy Spacek
WHY- Hollywood loves a comeback, plus Julia Roberts has been telling everyone that Sissy should win. With Julia still the reigning ìQueen Of Hollywoodî that endorsement will ensure that everyone watches the film at least once.
BUT- What about Halle Berry?!??! The glamorous beauty played unglamorous and was very, very naked and effective in a very emotional movie. Plus she won the Screen Actorís Guild Award in this category, usually a quite accurate barometer of who will win the Oscar?!?! And, Oscar usually likes to surprise in this category by giving the award to an actress who comes out of nowhere and gives an awesome performance, see Hilary Swank in ìBoys Donít Cry.î AND!!! And what about Nicole Kidman?!?!? She sang her own songs and was amazing in ìMoulin Rougeî and ìThe Othersî was a great film, due to Nicoleís understated performance, and it made money! Plus, she came out of her failed marriage with Tom Cruise with dignity and class and is thought of as a survivor. What about Nicole!?!? What about Halle?!?
SO THEN- As I wrote, this is the hardest category to pick this year. Of the 5 nominated, any of the above 3 could take home the trophy. I choose Spacek just because of what my gut is saying and because 1) If Halle was so great, why didnít Billy Bob Thornton get nominated too? Denzel was so appealing to the Academy that the wake of his great performance brought Ethan Hawke in with it. And 2) Yes, Nicole had a great year, but she is way too young- and successful- to get the sympathy vote just yet.
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE- WHO ELSE IS NOMINATED?!?
WHO- Ian McKellen
WHY- In ìThe Lord Of The Rings- The Fellowship Of The Ringsî he was the grounding point in a world made up of Hobbits, Goblins and make believe. He gave a movie that could have been just a film for geeks and nerds resonance and an emotional core. Plus, in 1998 he lost Best Actor to Roberto Begnini in ìLife Is Wonderfulî when his performance in ìGods And Monstersî was better.
BUT- Dan, Alec Guiness, who was much loved, respected and adored by Hollywood, didnít win for ìStar Warsî and he has the same responsibilities that McKellen did! Yeah, well, so what! McKellen wins! Period!
SO THEN- I SAID PERIOD!!!
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE- CONNELLY IS THIS YEARíS JULIA
WHO- Jennifer Connelly
WHY (DANíS HORMONAL EXPLANATION)- She is hot! I have enjoyed her work through ìJim Hensonís Labyrinthî ìSome Girlsî, ìCareer Opportunitiesî, ìThe Hot Spotî, ìThe Rocketeerî and ìThe Hot Spot.î Her smile just melts me! She is easily one of the most beautiful woman in the world today!
WHY- (THE RATIONAL REASONS)- She was the best part of a movie that played like Oscar bait. ìA Beautiful Mindî was an Oscar- Craving production in every aspect, but Connelly was so engaging, so strong, so interesting and so believable in it that she is my pick. Plus, much like Julia Roberts last year, Jennifer is the one person who is universally being touted by everyone. And did I mention that I am a huge fan of hers? I hope that hasnít clouded my vision.
BUT- Nine years ago Marisa Tomei pulled off an upset and won for ìMy Cousin Vinnyî over four Grand Dames of Hollywood (Joan Plowright, Vanessa Redgrave, Miranda Richardson and Judy Davis), couldnít she do it again? Well, not unless the award is being presented by Jack Palance! Seriously, she could win because her presence is felt in the almost Marisa free second half of ìIn The Bedroomî, but going against her is that at the end of the movie you arenít thinking or Marisa, you are focused on what just happened.
SO THEN- Connelly is the eveningís one sure bet.
BEST DIRECTOR- LITTLE OPIE CUNNINGHAM IS ALL GROWED UP
WHO- Ron Howard
WHY- Let me go through the list of nominees one by one: RIDLEY SCOTT- ìBlack Hawk Downî was stunning visually, but ultimately uninteresting and this is the filmís only major nomination. DAVID LYNCH- ìMulholland Driveî got one nomination. For that nomination to prove victorious would make no sense. And even though the movie made no sense, Lynch shouldnít bother to write an acceptance speech. PETER JACKSON- ìThe Lord Of The Rings- The Fellowship Of The Ringsî is the movie with the most nominations and is obviously the work of a man with an incredible vision. But did that vision primarily come from the words of J.R.R. Tolkienís books or Jacksonís mind? You ponder that while I tell you that Jackson also wonít win now because there are 2 more films due in this trilogy and he is more likely to win once all three have come out. ROBERT ALTMAN- At 77 the old man of Hollywood may court the sympathy vote and thus win his first Oscar, and a pat on the back for a great career. But then again, he isnít really the old man of Hollywood since he despises the city and makes all of his films with the smaller independent studios who wonít bother him and get in his way. Plus, the sound on the ìGosford Parkî Academy video screener tapes, both the one I received and others Iíve heard about, is muffled and unclear in parts. It is very hard to listen to and many members may not have had the patience that I did. And that leaves us with RON HOWARD- He made a film that has everything the Academy likes- great acting, engaging story and a person who succeeds over adversity. The fact that it fudges the truth a bit and really isnít that great a film, especially on repeated viewings, doesnít seem to matter. So. after 15 directorial efforts, a career that began as a child star on ìThe Andy
Griffith Showî and ìHappy Daysî, and his recent victory at the Directorís Guild Awards this is Ron Howardís year.
SO THEN- Howard should be happy that Baz Luhrman wasnít nominated for ìMoulin Rouge.î That film was the result of one manís singular vision, and it was superb in every way. The fact that Luhrman didnít even get nominated is more ludicrous than Greedo shooting first!
BEST PICTURE- THIS WILL MAKE FOUR YEARS IN A ROW THAT THE YEARíS ACTUAL BEST FILM DIDNíT WIN THE OSCAR FOR SAME
WHO, I GUESS THIS IS A WHICH- ìA Beautiful Mindî
WHY- ìGosford Parkî and ìIn The Bedroomî are two great small films that donít have the sweeping vision that a film needs to possess to take the Academyís top prize. ìThe Lord Of The Rings- The Fellowship Of The Ringî has the most nominations of any film this year, and the movie with the most nods usually always wins, but again, in 2004 there had better be a really, really great film released as the Academy will likely award all three of the LOTR films and director Peter Jackson at that time, plus fantasy films donít usually engage the mind of the older aged Academy. Of the five films nominated ìMoulin Rougeî is the best film, but people either love it or hate it and that proposition, and the lack of a nod for director Baz Luhrman will make the producers Moulin Green, with envy when ìA Beautiful Mindî wins Best Picture. By far this is not the best film of last year, but in the past few years the actual best film never wins this award. The most ëAcademy Safeî film always does. Baz Luhrmanís vision may be pure and his mind beautiful, but it isnít ìA Beautiful Mind.î
BUT- ìShakespeare In Loveî and ìOrdinary Peopleî were small films that won Best Picture! If the film with the most nominations normally wins, then ìThe Lord Of The Rings- The Fellowship Of The Ringî is a shoo in! And since Kidman wonít win as Best Actress and Luhrman didnít get nominated, wonít ìMoulin Rougeî get Best Picture as a consolation prize?
SO THEN- I think Iíve made my point!
A FINAL THOUGHT
The actual best film of 2001 was ìMementoî and if you have to choose between whichever film wins Best Picture, which film wins the most awards in total or ìMementoî, just see the latter. Hopefully it will win for Best Original Screenplay, and hopefully ìShrekî, the second best film of last year, will win in the new Best Animated Film category over the groundswell that has appeared for Disneyís ìMonsterís, Inc.î But if neither of those personal favourites emerge victorious, I look forward to enjoying my Dr. Pepper, pizza and chicken wings, seeing the beautiful Jennifer Connelly, and just watching the Oscars as a spectator. That will be great!
Now if only the atrocious Whoopi Goldberg wasnít hostingÖBut donít get me started on that!
Enjoy the Oscars and good luck in your pools!