A.J.'s Oscar Wrap-up!
Hello, and welcome to A.J.'s wrap-up for the 74th Academy Awards!  We had a good crop of nominees this year, with some tight competition.  Also, animated feature films were finally given a place in Oscar history with their very own award category. 
  
Some reviewers try to pick this year's winners, and some give wishes for their own favorite choices.  For the top seven 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 MOTION PICTURE

A Beautiful Mind

Gosford Park

In the Bedroom

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

Moulin Rouge

 
Should Win: Lord of the Rings
Why:  Once again, just like last time, my favorite film of the year wasn't nominated, so I have to root for my second favorite, which is Lord of the Rings. (My favorite this year was Memento)
   
Will Win:  Lord of the Rings
Why:  I could very easily see A Beautiful Mind taking this one, but I think that when it comes right down to it for Best Picture, the Academy just can't resist an epic! (or a third of one!)
    
   
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Russell Crowe in
A Beautiful Mind

Sean Penn in
I Am Sam

Will Smith in
Ali

Denzel Washington in
Training Day

Tom Wilkinson in
In the Bedroom


Should Win:  Will Smith
Why:  A tough race here, but anyone who has seen the movie will agree that Will Smith was Muhammed Ali.  To accurately portray such a well known real person is incredibly difficult to accomplish, especially for an actor so recognizable as Smith.  A truly fantastic performance which should be awarded!  My second choice would be Sean Penn.
    
Will Win: Sean Penn
Why:  Russell won last year, and those who realize now that Gladiator didn't really require a great deal of actual 'acting' may try to even things out this year by denying him a second award.  I think the Academy may also have a bias against Will Smith for other less serious roles he has played and continues to play, and won't think he's quite ready to receive the Oscar.  Denzel Washington, while a favorite of the Hollywood elite, will once again go home empty handed, as his performance in Training Day was the least impressive of those nominated.  Sean Penn's excellent performance in I Am Sam will win, not because the Academy has a track record for honoring roles that are of a physically or mentally challenged nature, but because, well, okay, maybe that is why he'll win...  Anyway, I think the Academy will finally decide the time is right to award his fine work. 



ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Halle Berry in
Monster's Ball

Judi Dench in
Iris

Nicole Kidman in
Moulin Rouge

Sissy Spacek in
In the Bedroom

Renee Zellweger in
Bridget Jones's Diary


Should Win:  Nicole Kidman
Why:  Talk about versatility!  Nicole Kidman shows incredible range with the character of Satine in Moulin Rouge.  Also, Kidman is beginning to become nearly as prolific as Julia Roberts, with three vastly different films out last year.  (Moulin Rouge, The Others, Birthday Girl)  That's pretty difficult to ignore. 
 

Will Win:  Halle Berry
Why:  Another prolific actress, Berry has worked her way up from silly comedies and action flicks to finally arrive as a first class dramatic talent.   Nicole Kidman may be snubbed by the Academy as Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann has been.  (Apparently the Academy thinks Moulin Rouge directed itself... perhaps they'll decide it acted, sang, and danced itself, too!) Judi Dench seems to be nominated because, well, she always seems to be nominated, so no win there.  And Renee Zellweger, my favorite Hollywood actress, only got the nomination this year to make up for her non-nomination last year for Nurse Betty.  Her work in Bridget Jones was great, but not quite to the level of other nominees.  Sorry Renee, the truth sometimes hurts.  So, the main competition is Sissy Spacek, but I'm predicting Halle Berry in an upset win.  (Barring my predicted upset, it's gonna be Sissy Spacek.)



BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius

Monsters, Inc.

Shrek


Should Win: Shrek
No question, no doubt, no competition!
Will Win:  Shrek
This is a new category, and Shrek is really the only worthy nominee.  The Academy already knows this.  Monsters, Inc. was fun, but lacked the comedic depth which made Shrek as fun for adults as it was for children.  Jimmy Neutron was only nominated so there would be three nominees.  You may ask why Disney's Atlantis wasn't nominated... the answer:  It's a Disney movie which isn't a musical, and besides, the nomination for Monsters, Inc. sort of counts as a nomination for Disney anyway.  Yes, even animation will not escape the politics of Oscar!
ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING

Ron Howard for A Beautiful Mind

Ridley Scott for Black Hawk Down

Robert Altman for Gosford Park

Peter Jackson for Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

David Lynch for Mulholland Drive
  
 
Should Win: Peter Jackson
Why: An incredibly difficult decision this year, but I'd imagine an even more difficult task would be to direct a film of such scope as Lord of the Rings.  Peter Jackson accomplishes this feat with incredible ease.  He's my choice.
    
Will Win:  Ron Howard
Why:  While this year is a genuine race, I think the Academy will use the opportunity to honor Howard's wonderful body of work.  Just try to find a bad movie in his filmography!  Howard's directing style in A Beautiful Mind is more subtle than that of the other nominees, and even more subtle than in most of Howard's other work.  This shows just how much he has grown as a director.  The Academy will also use this opportunity to show that sometimes, spectacular or knowingly clever directing isn't enough to woo them.
(Just ask Baz Luhrmann!)
      


ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Jim Broadbent in
Iris

Ethan Hawke in
Training Day

Ben Kingsley in
Sexy Beast

Ian McKellen in
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

Jon Voight in
Ali


Should Win:  Ben Kingsley
Why: No more Mr. Passive Resistance!!!  What would Ghandi think?!
   
Will Win:  Ben Kingsley
Why: Same as above!  However, Jon Voight has a chance to upset with his understated, realistic portrayal of sportscaster Howard Cossell in Ali.  By the way, does anyone out there know who is responsible for these Training Day nominations?  Nothing against Ethan Hawke but really... Training Day???
 
  

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Jennifer Connelly in
A Beautiful Mind

Helen Mirren in
Gosford Park

Maggie Smith in
Gosford Park

Marisa Tomei in
In the Bedroom

Kate Winslet in
Iris


Should Win:  Jennifer Connelly
Why:  An easy pick.  I knew a nomination was certain the moment I watched her performance in A Beautiful Mind.  Always go with first impressions!
     
Will Win: Jennifer Connelly
Why:  Hers was the best performance.  And if you want to get technical, Maggie Smith and Helen Mirren, up for work in Gosford Park, will cancel each other out, Marisa Tomei's behavior hasn't really been 'Oscar worthy' since her nomination (seen the interviews?), and Kate Winslet is close, but no cigar.  (However, this is the only major category I was wrong about last year, so what do I know?)

And now... the rest of the best!
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Amelie  (France)

Elling  (Norway)

Lagaan  (India)

No Man's Land
(Bosnia & Herzegovina)

Son of the Bride  (Argentina)


A.J.'S PICK

Amelie




BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Amelie

Gosford Park

Memento

Monster's Ball

The Royal Tenenbaums


A.J.'S PICK

Memento













BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

A Beautiful Mind

Ghost World

In the Bedroom

The Lord of the Rings:
Fellowship of the Rings

Shrek


A.J.'S PICK

The Lord of the Rings:
Fellowship of the Ring




CINEMATOGRAPHY

Amelie

Black Hawk Down

The Lord of the Rings:
Fellowship of the Ring

The Man Who Wasn't There

Moulin Rouge


A.J.'S PICK

The Lord of the Rings:
Fellowship of the Ring






ACHIEVEMENT IN ART DIRECTION

Amelie

Gosford Park

Harry Potter and
the Sorcerer's Stone

The Lord of the Rings:
Fellowship of the Ring

Moulin Rouge


A.J.'S PICK

Moulin Rouge
















ORIGINAL SCORE

A.I. Artificial Intellegence

A Beautiful Mind

Harry Potter and
the Sorcerer's Stone

The Lord of the Rings:
Fellowship of the Ring

Monsters, Inc.


A.J.'S PICK

A.I.  Artificial Intellegence





BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

Artists and Orphans:
A True Drama

Sing!

Thoth


A.J.'S PICK

Sing!





BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT

The Accountant

Copy Shop

Gregor's Greatest Invention

A Man Thing

Speed for Thespians


A.J.'S PICK

The Accountant
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Children Underground

Lalee's Kin:  The Legacy
of Cotton

Murder on a Sunday Morning

Promises

War Photographer


A.J.'S PICK

Murder on a Sunday Morning



BEST ORIGINAL SONG

'If I Didn't Have You'
from Monsters, Inc.

'May It Be'
from Lord of the Rings:
Fellowship of the Ring

'There You'll Be'
from Pearl Harbor

'Until'
from Kate & Leopold

'Vanilla Sky'
from Vanilla Sky


A.J.'S PICK

'May It Be'
from Lord of the Rings:
Fellowship of the Ring




COSTUME DESIGN

The Affair of the Necklace

Gosford Park

Harry Potter and
the Sorcerer's Stone

The Lord of the Rings:
Fellowship of the Rings

Moulin Rouge


A.J.'S PICK

Moulin Rouge




ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND

Amelie

Black Hawk Down

The Lord of the Rings:
Fellowship of the Ring

Moulin Rouge

Pearl Harbor


A.J.'S PICK

Black Hawk Down







ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING

Monsters, Inc.

Pearl Harbor


A.J.'S PICK

Monsters, Inc.




ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS

A.I. Artificial Intellegence

The Lord of the Rings:
Fellowship of the Ring

Pearl Harbor


A.J.'S PICK

The Lord of the Rings:
Fellowship of the Ring





ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING

A Beautiful Mind

Black Hawk Down

The Lord of the Rings:
Fellowship of the Ring

Memento

Moulin Rouge


A.J.'S PICK

Memento






ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP

A Beautiful Mind

The Lord of the Rings:
Fellowship of the Ring

Moulin Rouge


A.J.'S PICK

Moulin Rouge





BEST ANIMATED SHORT

Fifty Percent Grey

For the Birds

Give Up Yer Aul Sins

Strange Invaders

Stubble Trouble


A.J.'S PICK

For the Birds
'Oscar' is still a registered trademark of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
So, that's where I stood (or sat munching popcorn and Junior Mints as the case may be) on this year's nominees.  I predicted The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring would be the night's big winner with five wins, and it ended up winning four.  And I still say Denzel's performance in Training Day wasn't that good, but that's the last time I'll mention it.  I picked four out of seven this year in the major categories, and had a 50% overall score. 
Twelve correct predictions! To see how I did last year, click here!

For more on Oscar, click below!
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