A.J.'s Oscar Wrap-Up!
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Hello, and welcome to A.J.'s post-show wrap-up for the 75th Academy Awards!  Some real shockers this year!  Steve Martin hosted for a second time, and, in response to world events, the overall tone of the program was very subdued. (In Hollywood, that means that everyone wore less jewelry)
  
Some reviewers try to pick the year's winners, and some give wishes for their own favorite choices.  For the top seven I've given you 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.  (I've done this for three years, and, for the first time, it seems that other Oscar predictors are now blatantly copying my methods.  Don't think you can get way with it, Leonard Maltin... one day, revenge shall be mine!)

Winners are highlighted in bright yellow.

And now... On to the awards!

BEST MOTION PICTURE

Chicago

Gangs of New York

The Hours

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Pianist

 
Should Win: Gangs of New York
Why: I have to go with my favorite movie of the year.  This one has so much going for it; great drama, action, history, and performances.
   
Will Win:  Chicago
Why:  Honestly, this is a tough call!  All five films are worthy of the award.  Chicago, Gangs of New York, and The Hours have the most insider buzz.  The Two Towers won't win, since it's the second of three films, and cannot stand alone as a feature.  The Hours and The Pianist are both incredibly intense films, but the Academy tends to favor 'crowd pleasers', so no wins there.  Gangs of New York has a shot at it, but Chicago is the best adaptation of a Broadway musical ever made.  I think the Academy will honor it for that.
    
   
  
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Adrien Brody in
The Pianist

Nicolas Cage in
Adaptation.

Michael Caine in
The Quiet American

Daniel Day-Lewis in
Gangs of New York

Jack Nicholson in
About Schmidt


Should Win:  Daniel Day-Lewis
Why:  The most memorable performance I saw last year, and that's good enough for me!  Though, never underestimate the power of Jack!
    
Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis
Why:  Another tight race, but I think Daniel Day-Lewis has this one locked up.  Jack Nicholson would be my second choice.  Adrien Brody and Michael Caine, you're both great, but not great enough.  As for Nicolas Cage, which one got nominated?  Confusion will deny them both the award!


ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Salma Hayek in
Frida

Nicole Kidman in
The Hours

Diane Lane in
Unfaithful

Julianne Moore in
Far From Heaven

Renee Zellweger in
Chicago


Should Win:  Renee Zellweger
Why:  Renee is my favorite actress, so I have a vested interest in seeing her successful career continue for as long as possible!  It's sort of like that deal France and Germany have with Iraq.  (Politics at the Oscars!  Oh my!)
 
  
Will Win:  Nicole Kidman
Why:  Well, heck.  She's due for one!  I think the Academy will finally realize what a versatile actress she is.  While Julianne Moore is a definite possibility, I think she'll lose for also making Hannibal and Evolution.  Julianne Moore's fans shouldn't worry much, since the Academy has ways to even these things out!  As for Salma Hayek and Diane Lane, I'm borrowing a page from Bill Murray by admitting that I didn't see either performance, so count them both out of the running.
 


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Ice Age

Lilo & Stitch

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
      
Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi)

Treasure Planet


Should Win: Lilo & Stitch
It's the best of the bunch.  Three of these are worthy; guess which ones!
  
Will Win:  Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi)
As long as those in the Academy don't get  Spirit and Spirited Away confused, this one's gonna win.  Spirited Away = a young girl's adventures in a world of spirits.  Spirit = an adventure for young girls about a horse with unbreakable spirit.  If they mess this up, Lilo & Stitch could still win!
ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING

Rob Marshall for Chicago

Martin Scorsese for Gangs of New York

Stephen Daldry for The Hours

Roman Polanski for The Pianist

Pedro Almodóvar for Talk to Her
  
 
Should Win: Martin Scorsese
Why: I believe the movie that wins Best Picture should always be because it was also the best directed.  Have you ever seen a Best Picture winner that was directed poorly?  Apparently, the Academy sees things differently.
    
Will Win:  Martin Scorsese
Why:  This is one category I see as a sure win for Gangs of New YorkChicago was also well directed, but I think its quick editing and tight pacing will work against it.
      


ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Chris Cooper in
Adaptation.

Ed Harris in
The Hours

Paul Newman in
Road to Perdition

John C. Reilly in
Chicago

Christopher Walken in
Catch Me if You Can


Should Win: Chris Cooper
Why: Again, an easy choice for me.  His was the most memorable supporting performance of the year.
   
Will Win: Chris Cooper
Why: Ed Harris has an outside chance, but I think the Academy will see things my way, this time.  Christopher Walken is always great, but then he's always Christopher Walken.  John C. Reilly will continue to be in every movie released, and will win when he reaches 100 films (around 2005).  And Paul Newman???  I like his brand of grape juice, but that won't win it for him.
 
  

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Kathy Bates in
About Schmidt

Julianne Moore in
The Hours

Queen Latifah in
Chicago

Meryl Streep in
Adaptation.

Catherine Zeta-Jones in
Chicago


Should Win:  Queen Latifah
Why:  She was perfect in Chicago.  No question.
     
Will Win: Julianne Moore
Why:  Okay, this'll make up for not giving her Best Actress.  See, I said the Academy would come through for her!  If Julianne Moore doesn't take this one, Queen Latifah will.  Catherine Zeta-Jones, also in Chicago, wasn't nearly as good.  We've come to expect fine performances from Meryl Streep, so no win there, and Kathy Bates was great, but that nude scene... oooh, boy.
  
  
And now... the other winners!
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

El Crimen Del Padre Amaro
The Crime of Father Amaro
(Mexico)

Ying xiong
Hero
(China)

Mies vailla menneisyyttä
The Man Without a Past
(Finland)

Nirgendwo in Afrika
Nowhere in Africa
(Germany)

Zuz & Zo 
Hotel Paraiso
(Netherlands)


A.J.'S PICK

Nowhere in Africa




BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Far From Heaven

Gangs of New York

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Talk to Her

Y Tu Mama Tambien


A.J.'S PICK

Far From Heaven





BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

About a Boy

Adaptation.

Chicago

The Hours

The Pianist


A.J.'S PICK

Adaptation.




CINEMATOGRAPHY

Chicago

Far From Heaven

Gangs of New York

The Pianist

Road to Perdition


A.J.'S PICK

Gangs of New York






ACHIEVEMENT IN ART DIRECTION

Chicago

Frida

Gangs of New York

The Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers

Road to Perdition


A.J.'S PICK

The Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers




ORIGINAL SCORE

Catch Me if You Can

Far From Heaven

Frida

The Hours

Road to Perdition


A.J.'S PICK

Catch Me if You Can





BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

The Collector of
Bedford Street

Mighty Times: The Legacy
of Rosa Parks

Twin Towers

Why Can't We Be a
Family Again?


A.J.'S PICK

The Collector of
Bedford Street




BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT

Fait D'hiver

I'll Wait For the Next One
(J'attendraile Suiyant)

Inja (Dog)

Johnny Flynton

This Charming Man
(Der er en Yndig Mand)


A.J.'S PICK

Johnny Flynton
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Bowling for Columbine

Daughter From Danang

Prisoner of Paradise

Spellbound

Winged Migration


A.J.'S PICK

Bowling for Columbine



BEST ORIGINAL SONG

'I Move On'
from Chicago

'Lose Yourself'
from 8 Mile

'Burn it Blue'
from Frida

'The Hands That Built
New York'
from Gangs of New York

'Father and Daughter'
from The Wild Thornberrys Movie


A.J.'S PICK

'The Hands That Built
New York' - by U2
from Gangs of New York







COSTUME DESIGN

Chicago

Frida

Gangs of New York

The Hours

The Pianist


A.J.'S PICK

Chicago




ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND

Chicago

Gangs of New York

The Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers

Road to Perdition

Spider-man


A.J.'S PICK

Chicago





ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING

The Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers

Minority Report

Road to Perdition


A.J.'S PICK

Minority Report











ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS

Spider-man

The Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers

Star Wars: Episode II -
Attack of the Clones


A.J.'S PICK

Star Wars: Episode II -
Attack of the Clones






ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING

Chicago

Gangs of New York

The Lord of the Rings:
The Two Towers

The Hours

The Pianist


A.J.'S PICK

Chicago





BEST ANIMATED SHORT

The Cathedral

The Chubbchubbs!

Das Rad

Mike's New Car

Mt. Head


A.J.'S PICK

The Chubbchubbs!





ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP

Frida

The Time Machine


A.J.'S PICK

Frida
'Oscar' is still a registered trademark of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
So, that was my two-cents-worth on this year's awards.  I had predicted Chicago and Gangs of New York to be the night's big winners, both with four wins.  Boy, was I wrong!  Chicago bagged a dazzling six Oscars, including Best Picture, The Pianist pulled off more than one upset to grab three gold guys, and Gangs of New York got skunked!!!  Not a single blessed win!  Somebody must really hate Martin Scorsese... 

I was eleven for twenty-four on my predictions, or 46% correct overall.  My worst showing in history!  Other surprises included Eminem winning 'Best Original Song' for 'Lose Yourself' from 8 Mile, and docu-expose' director Michael Moore winning 'Most Booed' for his embarrassing acceptance rant. 

To see how I did last year, click here!

For more on Oscar, click below!
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