A.J.'s Oscar Night Aftermath!
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Hello, and welcome to A.J.'s post-show wrapup for the 73rd Academy Awards!

Some reviewers try to pick this year's winners, and some give wishes for their own favorite choices.  For the top six, I'm giving my own choices for who and what should win, followed by my predictions for who and what will win, along with my admittedly twisted reasoning for each.  For the rest of the nominations, I've given my favorite choices.

And now... On to the Awards!

* * *  THIS YEAR'S WINNERS ARE HIGHLIGHTED IN BRIGHT YELLOW * * *
BEST PICTURE

Chocolat

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Erin Brockovich

Gladiator

Traffic

Should Win: Gladiator
Why:  My favorite movie of the year, Cast Away, wasn't even nominated, and Crouching Tiger is a great foreign action movie, but Best Picture?  I'm one of the reviewers who didn't think much of Traffic, so that one's out.   Chocolat and Erin Brockovich were both good movies, but not the best.  I have to go with Gladiator.
   
Will Win:  Gladiator
Why:  Process of elimination!  Chocolat is the required British nominee (did you know that at least one British film is required?  It's an unwritten rule).  Crouching Tiger is also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, which it will win. Erin Brockovich and Traffic were both directed by Stephen Soderbergh, and, as we all know, two Best Picture nominations for one director is a great honor in itself!  However, the result is that neither will win.   Also, don't underestimate the Titanic Effect, which may kick in for Gladiator.
    
   
  
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Javier Bardem in
Before Night Falls

Russell Crowe in
Gladiator

Tom Hanks in
Cast Away

Ed Harris in
Pollock

Geoffrey Rush in
Quills

Should Win:  Tom Hanks
Why:  I simply think it was the best performance of the year, and that no other actor could have performed the role as well.
    
Will Win:  Russell Crowe
Why:  The Academy has to make up for not giving Russell the award for L.A. Confidential... now is their chance.  Tom Hanks, the only Cast Away nominee other than Best Sound, won't win, since he's already won so many times.  The Academy included his nomination because, besides being worthy of the award, they like him, they really like him!


ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Joan Allen in
The Contender

Juliette Binoche in
Chocolat

Ellen Burstyn in
Requiem For a Dream

Laura Linney in
You Can Count on Me

Julia Roberts in
Erin Brockovich

Should Win:  Julia Roberts
Why:  Her performance in Erin Brockovich floored me.  Is that reason enough?

Will Win:  Julia Roberts
Why:  Appearing in over 30 films by the age of 33, Julia has shown Hollywood's elite that she's the genuine article.  The Academy will finally recognize her body of work with this award.
BEST DIRECTOR

Stephen Daidy for Billy Elliot

Ang Lee for Crouching Tiger

Steven Soderbergh for Erin Brockovich

Ridley Scott for Gladiator

Steven Soderbergh for Traffic

Should Win: Ridley Scott
Why:  From a directing standpoint, I was more impressed with Gladiator's overall look than with the lighting gimmicks of Soderbergh's Traffic.  I saw nothing in the direction of Erin Brockovich that would put it above, or even equal to,  films that were not even nominated.  Crouching Tiger and Billy Elliot both use some wonderful directing techniques, but can't hold a candle to Gladiator.
    
Will Win:  Steven Soderbergh
Why:  When comparing Erin Brockovich to Traffic, there's a great difference in directing style, so the double nomination that'll keep Soderbergh from nabbing Best Picture doesn't apply here.  His only competition is Ridley Scott.  Scott won't win because we're about due for a year where the Academy will inexplicably award this and Best Picture to two different films.  (Go figure!)
      
      
     
          
     
     
     
   
  
  
      
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Jeff Bridges in
The Contender

Willem Dafoe in
Shadow of the Vampire

Benicio Del Toro in
Traffic

Albert Finney in
Erin Brockovich

Joaquin Phoenix in
Gladiator

Should Win:  Willem Dafoe
Why:  This is a tough choice for me, since, in my opinion, each of this year's nominees deserve the award. Dafoe's chilling performance as Max Schreck is the one that stayed with me the longest, so I'm rooting for him.
   
Will Win:  Benicio Del Toro
Why:  Benicio is just a wild guess.  I think the Academy will feel the time is right to award him for a supporting role.  They may go for Dafoe, but, as stated above, this one's just too close to call. 
(I hope a re-count will not be necessary!)
 
  
  
  
  
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Judi Dench in
Chocolat

Marcia Gay Harden in
Pollock

Kate Hudson in
Almost Famous

Frances McDormand in
Almost Famous

Julie Walters in
Billy Elliot

Should Win:  Frances McDormand
Why: Had Crouching Tiger not been nominated for Best Picture, I think Almost Famous would have made the cut.  The film deserves a win, and Frances McDormand gives a fantastic performance, which deserves to be awarded.  I was not as impressed with Kate Hudson's performance in the same film.
     
Will Win:  Julie Walters
Why:  The Academy will realize that none of the British nominees have won in other categories, so Julie will take home the Oscar.  Say what you want, but, based on the Academy's past voting history, that's an accurate assumption!  Therefore, her only competition is Judi Dench.  Julie Walter's role in Billy Elliot was much larger than Judi Dench's in Chocolat, so Julie will win.  While Julie Walters was very good as the tough but understanding ballet teacher in Billy Elliot, I still think Frances McDormand gave a better performance.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Amores Perros

Crouching Tiger,
Hidden Dragon

Divided We Fall

Everybody Famous!

The Taste of Others


A.J.'S PICK

Crouching Tiger,
Hidden Dragon



BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Almost Famous

Billy Elliot

Erin Brockovich

Gladiator

You Can Count on Me


A.J.'S PICK

Erin Brockovich









BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Chocolat

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Traffic

Wonder Boys


A.J.'S PICK

O Brother, Where Art Thou?




CINEMATOGRAPHY

Crouching Tiger,
Hidden Dragon

Gladiator

Malena

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

The Patriot


A.J.'S PICK

Gladiator



ART DIRECTION

Crouching Tiger,
Hidden Dragon

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch
Stole Christmas

Gladiator

Quills

Vatel


A.J.'S PICK

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport

Legacy

Long Night's Journey Into Day

Scottsboro: An American Tragedy

Sound and Fury


A.J.'S PICK

Sound and Fury



BEST ORIGINAL SONG

'A Love Before Time' from
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

'I've Seen it All' from
Dancer in the Dark

'My Funny Friend and Me' from
The Emperor's New Groove

'A Fool in Love' from
Meet the Parents

'Things Have Changed' from
Wonder Boys


A.J.'S PICK

'Thing's Have Changed'
from Wonder Boys



COSTUME DESIGN

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch
Stole Christmas

Gladiator

102 Dalmations

Quills


A.J.'S PICK

Gladiator



BEST SOUND

Cast Away

Gladiator

The Patriot

The Perfect Storm

U-571


A.J.'S PICK

U-571



BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Gladiator

Hollow Man

The Perfect Storm


A.J.'S PICK

The Perfect Storm

'Oscar' is still a registered trademark of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
So, that's where I stood (tongue planted firmly in cheek) on this year's nominees.
  
Prediction-wise, I picked five of the top six winners this year!  Where the heck did Marcia Gay Harden's Supporting Actress win come from???  If I was going to be wrong about that one, I was sure it would have been because Kate Hudson had won for Almost Famous.  That was the only complete upset of the night.

The top Oscar winner was Ridley Scott's GLADIATOR, with 5 awards.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Traffic each picked up 4 Oscars.

For more on the Academy Awards, click the following link!
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