"Oh, and by the way, oh knowledgeable (cough, cough) Academy; let's keep in mind that out of a mind-boggling 189 critics surveyed, 184 gave a thumbs-up to the "undirected" nominee, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. That's 97% for those of you without calculators, and the highest percentage of favored reviews in the Best Picture list. Just FYI. "
--from the article
More Lord of the Rings ranting. Okay, so I'm not that upset that Lord of the Rings is so unlikely to win this year. No, really, I'm not. No. Really. However, it is amusing to note that five years ago, Titanic took in a slew of Oscars, and at the same time, the WORTHY winner L.A. Confidential was left high and dry. If the feeling when snubbing Lord of the Rings is "it's a fantasy, it's got too much FX, it made a slew of money, it doesn't need to win," where were such blowhards 5 years ago, when nearly a dozen awards were given to Titanic, while L.A. Confidential was almost completely snubbed?
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Oscar Nominees, 2003:
"And the (deserved) winners should be..."
A Techtite Feature Commentary
Another year, another early rise from bed, to see the nominations for The Academy Awards. The good news this year: very little chance of some over-rated farce (you know what I mean) winning a slew of Oscars that are best suited for someone else. However, with this being the first time a RAP SONG will be sung on Oscar night, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
Unlike Oscar night, let's cover the big award first; Best Picture. While I'm overjoyed that Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers was at least nominated, I have to have the humility to admit it cannot possibly win this year. The Academy seems to have "cinched" this fact, by making this film the annual "Best Picture That Directed ITSELF." More to the point: Peter Jackson was not nominated for best director. This leaves the battlefield open to the quartet of director/picture pairings, which include Roman Polanski/The Pianist, Martin Scorsese/Gangs of New York, Stephen Daldry/The Hours, and Rob Marshall/Chicago. If anyone's interested, they gave away Peter Jackson's Directorial nomination to Pedro Almodóvar, who's probably best known for his endless "Best Foreign Film" acceptance speech at the Golden Globes.
So, who do I want to win? My vote would be Gangs of New York. However, I don't want to jinx anything, so I'll leave it at that. Suffice to say that the critical favorite is The Pianist, which out of 133 critics surveyed at rottentomatoes.com, is the largest accepted winner, with 126 thumbs-up (94%; not bad!). Sadly, Gangs did not fare as well, with a mere 77% (130 out of 169 critics surveyed). Fortunately, the politically correct, over-rated The Hours did not fare much better, with 80% (102/128) favorable nods. So, who will win? My bet is on the highest rated yet most widely seen film: Chicago, at 86% (136/158).
Oh, and by the way, oh knowledgeable (cough, cough) Academy; let's keep in mind that out of a mind-boggling 189 critics surveyed, 184 gave a thumbs-up to the "undirected" nominee, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. That's 97% for those of you without calculators, and the highest percentage of favored reviews in the Best Picture list. Just FYI.
One last Best Picture Opinion: who is so ticked off at Steven Spielberg, as to not nominate either of his TWO 2002 films, both far more worthy of an Oscar nod than The Hours? Don't argue, ladies: Catch Me If You Can and Minority Report were two of the best films of the year, both snubbed by Oscar. It's the survey numbers that really get you reeling about these two snubs: Minority Report, 92% (188/204); Catch Me If You Can, 96% (188/204). This is higher than three out of five nominees. Just more FYI.
Enough Best Picture talk; on to the actors! Instead of listing all the nominees (which Internet Movie Database does with so much more panache), let's just jump to it, with Best Actor noms: personal favorite, Daniel Day-Lewis for Gangs of New York; most-likely-winner, Jack Nicholson for About Schmidt. The tougher race will be the Best Supporting Actors, where worthy winners are neck in neck. No need to merely list all five supporting actor nominees here; they're all good.
As for Best Actress: personal favorite, Salma Hayek for Frida; most-likely-win is a tie, between politically correct favorite Nicole Kidman for The Hours, and critically acclaimed favorite Renée Zellweger for Chicago. I would have no complaints with them choosing Zellweger...IF, of course, they decide to not go with Salma Hayek's not-as-widely-seen Frida performance. As for supporting actresses, once again, it's a close race, though I would get up and dance if Queen Latifah won for Chicago.
Other nominations worth yapping about are few and far between, though as for Best Animated film, I sense Lilo & Stitch will get the honor, if just because it's the biggest circulated cartoon with the best publicity campaign. My personal favorite would have to be Ice Age, though, which deserves to win a Best Animated Film award if just for its totally unique characters, and far more complex CGI animation work. Just seeing a single frame of that saber-toothed prehistoric squirrel is enough to make me laugh.Oh, and please may the Best Animated Short go to Eric Armstrong, for The Chubbchubbs. That was the best part of going to see Men in Black 2, which showed this cartoon short as a prelude in larger theaters. It's also the best reason to rent the DVD. Check it out.
Not much more to say, except that it's going to be a hoot when hearing the "Best Original Songs" on Oscar night this year. Disney has reduced the number of songs in their movies (a mistake, if you ask me), and what's worse, movie soundtracks seem to be where the most corners are trimmed these days. So, it's no surprise that one of the few songs in cinema that can be nominated is Eminem, who sang his own rap songs in 8 Mile. No comment. On second thought, this is a commentary, so let me comment: Did the Academy consider this means a rap song will have to be sung on Oscar night, live, and in person? Steve Martin, please, write a good one-liner to cap off this "memorable" moment in Oscar history. Thanks.
Which reminds me: Steve Martin hosts this year! Yeah! Now we're talking. Maybe there's reason to tune in after all. Though, unless the Academy gives the awards to who deserves to win --and not who has the biggest publicity campaign-- it'll be a bumpy ride. See you in March.
What was your opinion of Oscar nominees, 2003...?
Send your opinions to Techtite's Letters page!