Saturday, February 28, 2004
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My 2004 Oscar predictions!!
Continuing my long-running tradition that started last year, it's time to post my Oscar predictions for 2004. First, however, let me confess that I'm just not into the Oscars this year as much as last year, for two reasons.
First, inexplicably, Salma Hayek was not nominated for her breathtaking performances in either Spy-Kids: 3D, or Once Upon a Time In Mexico. There is no justifiable explanation for this oversight. [Did you even see either of those films?--ed. Look, this is just a point of principle.] As a gesture of support, I feel obligated to post this picture of Ms. Hayek in protest:
Fight the power!!
Second, the truncated Oscar campaign season has taken a toll. When the Oscars were in late March, it permitted a less frenetic awards season. This year, BAM!! The Golden Globes, BAM!, the SAG awards, BAM!!, critics awards, BAM!!, the Oscars.
The logic behind this was to reduce the campaigning that goes on during awards season. Why, exactly, is this a bad thing? I say Hollywood needs more campaigning. It helps to build up excitement -- you know, like the off-season between the Red Sox and the Yankees.
So, without further ado, my predictions:
I agree with what David Edelstein and Lynda Obst say in Slate – LOTR has that mix of commercial epic and artistic achievement that’s tough for the Academy to ignore. The most serious competition, Lost in Translation, is the exact opposite, a purposefully small film. The Academy surprised me last year with some genuinely unconventional choices, but I’m playing it safe here.
Risking the wrath of LOTR devotees everywhere, let me say that while I liked the last one a great deal, the third film was the only one that seemed to drag. I thought it was going to end at least five times during the last half hour. Nemo, on the other hand, is equally beautiful to watch, but a more tightly constructed film.
It’s supposed to be between Penn and Bill Murray. The Academy still has a bias against comedians unless they go completely dramatic, and Murray was too funny in the role for voters to believe it to be that big of a stretch. Penn has been nominated several times before, and he’s due. Plus, Penn’s understated performance in 21 Grams will unconsciously bias Academy voters in favor of Penn.
I liked Murray’s performance in Lost in Translation, but not as much as I liked Penn’s in Mystic River, which ran the gamut in terms of emotion.
Theron has dominated the pre-Oscar awards, plus she suffered for her craft by putting on weight, shaving her eyebrows and wearing tons of unflattering makeup.
To be fair, I haven’t seen Monster, so the award might well be deserved. However, Watts’ performance as the grieving mother/junkie in 21 Grams blew me away. In a role that could have caused some actresses to overemote, Watts hit just the right note of dulled pain that the bereaved usually feel.
Best Supporting Actor:
I’ve noticed that Robbins’ performance tends to split critics between those who like to see GREAT ACTING! and those who believe that truly great acting should be so subtle that the viewer becomes absorbed into the story to the point where s/he doesn’t think, “Wow, Tim Robbins is great!” Academy voters tend to fall under the GREAT ACTING! school.
I thought Robbins was great in both senses -- as the movie went on, I thought less about Tim Robbins and more about his character, Davy. That said, there was one other performance this year that was better. Sarsgaard played Chuck Lane, the personally awkward editor who slowly ferrets out the deception of New Republic writer Stephen Glass. What’s great about the performance is that you can see Lane’s slow change from defending his reporter to suspecting the worst to believing the worst.
Best Supporting Actress:
Renee Zellweger will be this decade’s Joan Allen – always giving Oscar-caliber performances but never winning the Oscar. Plus, her not winning is the best way for the Academy to stick it to Harvey Weinstein.
Dorie was written for DeGeneres, but the character allowed her to display a range that wasn’t present in her previous work.
Jackson will win for the same reason that LOTR will win Best Picture.
On the basis of the whole trilogy, I’m inclined to want Jackson to win it as well. But Ray should be acknowledged for doing the near-impossible – telling a true story about a non-visual subject – magazine writing – and making it interesting while not distorting the facts.
POST-OSCAR UPDATE: Well, that was boring (except for the song by Will Ferrell and Jack Black). Laura at Apt. 11D has a pithy assessment of the show.posted by Dan on 02.28.04 at 10:51 PM
Dan, you knew the LOTR fans would pounce on you.
But seriously, even if the third movie was "too faithful" to Tolkien's book - with its seemingly perpetual epilogue - my favorite part never appeared: Pippins and Merry liberating the Shire from a decrepit Saruman. The trilogy still was a masterpiece, despite the stolen scene from Star Wars (Legolas climbing the Oliphant, Luke climbing the AT-AT with his magnetic grapple in the Empire Strikes Back). The Last Samurai should have gotten more than one nomination: brilliant movie.posted by: ch2 on 02.28.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Best composer pick?posted by: Kombiz on 02.28.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
As a voter for (yikes!) twenty years now in this contest, I will say you made generally good predictions. I think, however, Bill Murray will win Best Actor (and not just because I voted for him). I also voted Lost in Translation for Best Picture, although I will agree with you that history will regard Finding Nemo as the Best Picture of this year. As a writer, I will add two other predictions: Screenplay awards will go to Sophia Copploa (original) and Lord of the Rings. I voted for the former but voted for Brian Helgeland for the latter for Mystic River. Thought he did an excellent job. I found Shattered Glass uninteresting, but, hey, it's only taste.posted by: Roger L. Simon on 02.28.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Zellweger gave an "Oscar-caliber" performance in Cold Mountain. HUH?? I saw ten minutes of that pathetic piece of schlop and there was enough over-acting to put together 3 or 4 films of equally offensive, "Oscar-caliber" cheese. Not to mention the whole thing was completely miscast (including Renee).posted by: Senior Administration Official on 02.28.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
I'd like to interject "City of God" into as many "should" categories as possible, especially the amazing direction of Fernando Meirelles.posted by: norbizness on 02.28.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Wait till you lose your looks. It looks really different from the other side.posted by: Sissy Willis on 02.28.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Daniel Drezner + Salma Hayek = restraining order
Perhaps a little more attention on Friedrich Hayek instead might prevent the above?
Just a suggestion.
posted by: SteveMG on 02.28.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
I think Renee Z. won her Oscar based on the quality of her body of work, not her current performances. My theory is that is often the case with the winners. I predict Bill Murray will win in the same way [he should have been nominated for his work in Rushmore}.
Beeposted by: Bee on 02.28.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Just for the record: Dan didn't find the Oscars so boring until it was clear my wife was going to whip him in the predictions pool.posted by: Jacob T. Levy on 02.28.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
I've boycotted the Oscars since Titanic won all of those awards. What a travesty.posted by: Scipio on 02.28.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
I spent the time I could have wasted on the Oscars watching Greta Garbo and John Gilbert in Fleash and the Devil. Kinda puts all of this in perspective.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 02.28.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
I was flipping between "Patton" and "Braveheart" during the Oscars. I did tune in to see LoTR rightfully win Best Picture although I wish they had gotten another award so they did not tie the awful "Titanic" movie.
Just out of curiosity, I saw in today's paper that Tim Robbins won for Best Supporting Actor. I assume of course that he took the opportunity to denounce the “child wind” in Hollywood of high-powered executives announcing their intention to blacklist Mel Gibson for his latest blockbuster, right?
“Should win: Billy Ray, Shattered Glass”
Aesthetically, the white wash of The New Republic was fairly good. But best director? I’m still angry that insufficient attention was given to Stephen Glass’ smearing of conservatives. This was the only reason why he got away with his nonsense for so long. Glass’ career would have ended much earlier if had focussed upon liberal groups. As for the “saintly” Chuck Lane---he may have only been engaged in damage control. The crap was already hitting the fan and TNR needed to cover its rear end. Lastly, please note that these scandals usually involve liberal journalists. Can anyone point to even one incident where a conservative writer betrayed their profession? It is obvious that liberals are more likely to lie because they essentially believe that truth is relative. The end always justifies the means.
A number of songs in the soundtrack of “Veronica Gueren” deserved an Academy nomination. They are Sinead O’Connor’s “One More Day” and “The Funeral.” and the beautiful “Bad News” sung by an eight year old boy, Brian O’Donnell. The movie did poorly at the box office and that probably explains why it was ignored.posted by: David Thomson on 02.28.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
BTW, couldn't beat the double-header of "The Grand Illusion" and "Divorce, Italian Style" on Turner Classic Movies as a way of avoiding (what I heard was) a dreadfully boring, protracted awards show.posted by: Norbizness on 02.28.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
I'm on record as having predicted LOTR would get nominated for best pic and lose. Not that they didn't deserve it, but I figured a blowout for the lesser awards for LOTR... and often, when that happens, Best pic goes to someone else. Fairness and all of that. Can't say I've ever been happier for being wrong, before.
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