A.J.'s Oscar Night Wrap-Up!
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Hello, and welcome to A.J.'s post-show wrap-up for the 76th Academy Awards! 
  
The tag line was "Expect the Unexpected".  Not bloody likely with a five second broadcasting delay!  Oscar's attempt to woo a younger audience this year failed rather un-spectacularly.  Billy Crystal hosted for the Nth time, and gave us what we've come to expect.  No surprises whatsoever.  And did anyone not think The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King was going to rule the night? 
   
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.  The weird thing is, this time around, my 'should wins' and 'will wins' mostly agree!  Here's a tiny hint... One film shall rule them all.  (By the way, I've done this for four years, and now it seems that everyone is blatantly copying my methods.  For the record, I and I alone am responsible  for how convoluted all of these award predicting thingys have become.  Hahahahahahaha!!!  My evil plan is now complete!)


But anyway... On to the awards!  Winners are highlighted in RED.

BEST MOTION PICTURE

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Lost in Translation

Master and Commander: Far Side of the World

Mystic River

Seabiscuit

 
Should Win: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Why:  Hey, it's about freakin' time!  The third part of a series that never let us down.
   
Will Win:  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Why: There are a great bunch of films nominated this year.  Same as above!
   
    
    
     
  
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Johnny Depp in
The Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the lack Pearl

Ben Kingsley in
House of Sand and Fog

Jude Law in
Cold Mountain

Bill Murray in
Lost in Translation

Sean Penn in
Mystic River


Should Win:  Bill Murray
Why: His performance floored me.  It's just that simple.
    
Will Win: Johnny Depp
Why:  This is a tough one!  I think the Academy will choose whimsy over depth on this one, in yet another attempt to gain a more hip audience!  Don't get me wrong, though, Depp was awesome as Capt. Jack Sparrow.
   
     
   
   
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Keisha Castle-Hughes in
Whale Rider

Diane Keaton in
Something's Gotta Give

Samantha Morton in
In America

Charlize Theron in
Monster

Naomi Watts in
21 Grams


Should Win:  Charlize Theron
Why:  An unforgettable transformation.  She deserves to win.
    
Will Win:  Diane Keaton
Why: Another tough call.  I think the Academy will feel that Charlize hasn't yet paid her dramatic dues.  Diane, however, bared all for a laugh.  You can't ignore that!
 
   

   
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Brother Bear

Finding Nemo

The Triplets of Belleville


Should Win: Finding Nemo
Why:  Um, 'cause they found Nemo?  No, because it's one of the best animated features ever made, silly!
  
Will Win: Finding Nemo
Why: If not for this category, it would have been nominated for Best Picture. 
ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING

Kátia Lund and Fernando Meirelles for City of God

Peter Jackson for The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King

Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation

Peter Weir for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Clint Eastwood for Mystic River
  
 
Should Win: Peter Jackson
Why:  Third time's the charm!
    
Will Win:  Peter Jackson
Why: All are deserving of the award, but Jackson deserves it three times over!
        
      
     
    
  
   
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Alec Baldwin in
The Cooler

Benicio Del Toro in
21 Grams

Djimon Hounsou in
In America

Tim Robbins in
Mystic River

Ken Watanabe in
The Last Samurai


Should Win: Tim Robbins
Why:  An easy choice for me.  His was the most memorable supporting performance of the year. 
   
Will Win: Tim Robbins
Why:  Well, Mystic River deserves to win SOMETHING!  Now the rental box can say "The Academy Award Winning" Mystic River!  And it will also prove to Robbins that Hollywood can forgive and forget.  Art above politics???
    
     
    
    
   
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Shohreh Aghdashloo in
House of Sand and Fog

Patricia Clarkson in
Pieces of April

Marcia Gay Harden in
Mystic River

Holly Hunter in
Thirteen

Renée Zellweger in
Cold Mountain


Should Win: Renée Zellweger
Why:  She's my favorite actress!  Didn't you know that?
     
Will Win: Renée Zellweger
Why:  She should have won a bunch of previous times, so now she will!  Well, that and the fact that the Academy just loves hillbillies.  Yeehaa!   
  
And now... the other nominees!
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BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

The Barbarian Invasions

Evil

The Twilight Samurai

Twin Sisters

Zelary


A.J.'S PICK

The Barbarian Invasions




BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

The Barbarian Invasions

Dirty Pretty Things

Finding Nemo

In America

Lost in Translation


A.J.'S PICK

Lost in Translation



ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING

Finding Nemo

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
  
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
 
A.J.'S PICK

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl




BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

American Splendor

City of God

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Mystic River

Seabiscuit


A.J.'S PICK

Mystic River






CINEMATOGRAPHY

City of God

Cold Mountain

Girl With the Pearl Earring

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Seabiscuit


A.J.'S PICK

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World






ACHIEVEMENT IN ART DIRECTION

Girl With the Pearl Earring

The Last Samurai

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Seabiscuit


A.J.'S PICK

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King






ORIGINAL SCORE

Big Fish

Cold Mountain

Finding Nemo

House of Sand and Fog

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King


A.J.'S PICK

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
   
   

  
  
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

Asylum

Chernobyl Heart

Ferry Tales


A.J.'S PICK

Chernobyl Heart








BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT

Die Rote Jacke
(The Red Jacket)

Moste
(The Bridge)

Squash

Torzija Torsion

Two Soldiers


A.J.'S PICK

Two Soldiers
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Balseros

Capturing the Friedmans

The Fog of War

My Architect

The Weather Underground


A.J.'S PICK

Capturing the Friedmans




BEST ORIGINAL SONG

'Belleville Rendez-vous'
from The Triplets of Belleville

'Into the West'
from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

'A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow'
from A Mighty Wind

'Scarlet Tide'
from Cold Mountain

'You Will Be My Ain True Love'
from Cold Mountain


A.J.'S PICK

'Into the West' - music and lyrics by Fran Walsh, Howard Shore, and Annie Lennox - Sung by Annie Lennox from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  
  
 
  
    
   
    
COSTUME DESIGN

Girl With the Pearl Earring

The Last Samurai

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Seabiscuit


A.J.'S PICK

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King




ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING

The Last Samurai

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Seabiscuit


A.J.'S PICK

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King




ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS
(AKA The Battle of the Long Titles)
 
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl


A.J.'S PICK

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King







ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING

City of God

Cold Mountain

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Seabiscuit


A.J.'S PICK

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King




BEST ANIMATED SHORT

Boundin'

Destino

Gone Nutty

Harvie Krumpet

Nibbles


A.J.'S PICK

Harvie Krumpet




ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP
(AKA Battle of the Long Titles II: The Return of the Curse at the Far Side of the Nominee List)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl


A.J.'S PICK

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
So, that was my take on this year's awards.   I had predicted The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King to win ten of its eleven nominations.  It ended up taking them all, for a clean sweep of eleven Oscars.  Seabiscuit with seven nominations and Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl with five nominations both went home empty handed. 

As far as other predictions, I think I fell victim to "share the wealth" syndrome.  There was such strong competition this year in most categories that I felt every film should win at least once... now I see that's what the nominations are for!  Next year I won't be so charitable. (evil laugh)  I was five for seven this year in the top categories, missing both Lead Actor and Lead Actress.  I was shocked to realize that I was guilty of doing exactly what the Academy had done for so long - ignoring a brilliant performance by Sean Penn.  Sorry Sean!  However, though I didn't pick Charlize Theron to actually win, she was my personal choice.  Hurrah!  Overall, I picked nineteen out of twenty-four wins correctly.  That works out to a 79% success rate, my best showing ever, but I must admit that this year was less challenging than previous ones.  Peter Jackson made sure of that!

To see how I did last year, click here!

For more on Oscar, click below!