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23-02-2004
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Oscars 2004 - And The Winner Should Be...
Quote:
And the Winner Should Be...
An up-close look at who we think should be rewarded come Oscar night

By Dave McCoy
MSN Entertainment

Besides it being a musty, icky place to be, trying to get inside of the mind of the Academy in order to predict this year's Oscar winners is an irrational trip. No matter how much of a sure bet a nominee seems, the Academy usually manages to toss us curve balls to keep things interesting. C'mon, show of hands: Who thought Roman Polanski would win Best Director last year, or Adrien Brody Best Actor? Liars!

That said, this year we think we've got a handle on it. "Return of the King" is steamrolling, while certain performances, whether deserving or not, are perfectly tailored to win Oscars. So, write it down: These picks are a lock! And if we're wrong? Well, we covered our butts by naming who we think should win.

The envelopes please...

Best Supporting Actor: Alec Baldwin, "The Cooler"; Benicio del Toro, "21 Grams"; Djimon Hounsou, "In America"; Tim Robbins, "Mystic River"; Ken Watanabe, "The Last Samurai"

Who Will Win: Tim Robbins
This is the toughest competition of all the major categories. All five men are deserving -- though del Toro's performance belongs in Best Actor, as he logged as much screen time as both Sean Penn and Naomi Watts in "21 Grams." However, Robbins' mopey turn as a damaged former child abuse victim, Dave, in "Mystic River" is the stuff Oscars are made for. Never mind that Kevin Bacon's more understated performance in the same film was a tougher gig; the Academy loves tortured sad sacks, and Robbins should be able to add the Oscar to the trophy shelf next to the Golden Globe he won for this same role (this is Robbins' second Academy Award nomination. He lost the Best Director race in 1995 for "Dead Man Walking").

Who Should Win: Alec Baldwin
It was a toss-up between Djimon Hounsou's unsentimental yet crushing turn as a dying AIDS victim in "In America" and Baldwin's no-nonsense Vegas mogul in "The Cooler," but we're going with latter. Baldwin simply steals each scene he graces in "The Cooler," and adds depth to a character who could have been a black-and-white victim. As a downtown Vegas hotel owner, Baldwin is an island of a man, trying to hold desperately to the past, while the town around him turns into Disneyland. He's scary and sadistic, but there's a wounded heart beneath the tough-guy artifice. Baldwin has always been miscast in leading roles. He proved his worth as a character actor in "Glengarry Glen Ross," but this supporting role may be the best achievement of his rocky career.

Best Supporting Actress: Shohreh Aghdashloo, "The House of Sand and Fog"; Patricia Clarkson, "Pieces of April"; Marcia Gay Harden, "Mystic River"; Holly Hunter, "Thirteen"; Renee Zellweger, "Cold Mountain"

Who Will Win: Renee Zellweger
In perhaps the category with the weakest competition, it seems like a no-brainer that Zellweger will pick up her first Oscar for her spunky, over-the-top performance as Nicole Kidman's farm hand, backbone and best friend in "Cold Mountain." This is the third consecutive year Zellweger has been nominated, and this comic-relief type of performance is the kind the Academy loves to reward in this category.

Who Should Win: Patricia Clarkson
In all honesty, Clarkson was nominated for the wrong film. Her performance in "The Station Agent" possessed more layers than the one in "Pieces of April," where she plays a bitter mother and wife dying of cancer. Still, no cancer victim has shown the grit, humor and all around bitchiness of Clarkson, and she takes a stereotypical character and breathes new life into her. As for the other nominees, Hunter hasn't got a shot, as she's won before and few saw "Thirteen." Harden (who won this award in 2000 for "Pollock") and Iranian actress Aghdashloo both play one-note suffering wives in overrated films. In other years, they may have a shot, but Renee's got this one hands down.

Best Actor: Johnny Depp, "Pirates of the Caribbean"; Ben Kingsley, "The House of Sand and Fog"; Jude Law, "Cold Mountain"; Bill Murray, "Lost in Translation"; Sean Penn, "Mystic River"

Who Will Win: Sean Penn
Sorry, Johnny, we know you made "Pirates" great all by yourself with that campy Keith Richards-turned-pirate performance that somehow also managed to be human. And sorry, Ben, nice job with the Iranian accent and cold, steely glare in "House of Sand and Fog." And, Jude, well, you gave the best performance in "Cold Mountain," and even had the most authentic Southern accent, even though Renee is from Texas. Yeah, sorry boys, but this is a two-man race. And, sadly, the wrong man will win. Penn screamed and cried and emoted his way through "Mystic River." He was really, really acting, so much in fact that he was the film's biggest distraction. When he came on screen, you knew you were watching a performance and it yanked you right out of the film. This, however, is what defines great acting by Academy standards, plus Penn hasn't won before and, heck, even Jude Law said he should win, so he will.

Who Should Win: Bill Murray
On the flip side of Penn's style, there's Murray. Watch "Lost in Translation" and he makes it look effortless. You can't imagine it without him; the film simply wouldn't exist. His mixture of sadness, self-deprecating wit and exhaustion gives the movie not only its soul, but also its tone. Murray has been working toward this kind of mature performance in films like "Rushmore," "The Royal Tenenbaums" and, to a lesser extent, "Groundhog Day"; here, he's given room to explore emotions we haven't seen from him on screen. His final scene with Scarlett Johansson, one that is completely silent, is all done with facial expressions and body motions. Who knew Bill had it in him?

Best Actress: Keisha Castle-Hughes, "Whale Rider"; Diane Keaton, "Something's Gotta Give"; Samantha Morton, "In America"; Charlize Theron, "Monster"; Naomi Watts, "21 Grams"

Who Will Win: Charlize Theron
Expect Theron to con her way to her first Oscar. She dumped her supermodel looks to play serial killer Aileen Wuornos by addiing prosthetic teeth and 30 pounds to her frame. She also studied Wuornos' tics and mannerisms and parrots them perfectly in "Monster." Metamorphosis is not acting, however. She may look like Wuornos, but what Theron doesn't do is give a performance. Every gesture, every posture, every delivery is entirely on the surface, and like Sean Penn in "Mystic River," it adds up to little more than a forced, over-the-top distraction. You can't really blame Theron. She gives it her all. But her writer/director Patty Jenkins gives the character no depth and it amounts to little more than a freak show. In other words, Theron is an Oscar shoo-in.

Who Should Win: Anyone else
OK, anyone else but Theron and the girl from "Whale Rider." Let's be honest. The real accolades for Caste-Hughes' naturalistic performance belong to the director, not a then 11-year-old kid taking instructions. Nice gesture, but completely wrong. So that leaves Keaton's comeback, which is charming, alive and overwhelms the flimsy premise of "Something's Gotta Give"; "In America"'s Morton, who does more with her expressive face and eyes, and with silence, than any actress working today; and Watts, who should have been nominated and won for "Mulholland Drive," and out-performs both Penn and del Toro in the grimy yet overly melodramatic "21 Grams." Any of these three performances are deserving; none have a chance.

Best Director: Fernando Meirelles, "City of God"; Peter Jackson, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"; Sofia Coppola, "Lost in Translation"; Peter Weir, "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World"; Clint Eastwood, "Mystic River"

Who Will Win: Peter Jackson
For the first time in Oscar history, a filmmaker will win the Best Director award, not for one film, but three. Jackson probably deserved to win this award the past two years, and now that his historic magnum opus is complete, expect the gold to rain down upon him.

Who Should Win: Peter Jackson
See above. We may never see anything else on the scale of "LOTR" in our lifetimes and Jackson deserves every hyperbole thrown his way. In other years, Weir or Eastwood's seamless professionalism would have made them strong contenders, and we may even talk about upsets for upstarts Coppola and Meirelles (we're still in shock -- pleasurable shock -- that he was even nominated). But Jackson's waited three years for this and he won't be denied. Plus, he won the Director's Guild Award, and only six times since 1949 has the winner of that award not gone on to win the best director Oscar.

Best Picture: "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"; "Lost in Translation"; "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World"; "Mystic River"; "Seabiscuit"

What Will Win: "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King"
Jackson won't be denied and neither will his film. You almost felt when "The Fellowship of the Ring" and "The Two Towers" lost the past two years that the Academy was waiting to honor the entire "Lord of the Ring" saga. So, while in the history books, it will say "The Return of the King" won Best Picture in 2003, really, this trophy belongs to the whole series. Will it be stopped? Doubtful. It's already picked up several critics' awards, the Golden Globe for best drama and, recently, the British Academy Award for best film. That said, should it win? Well...

What Should Win: "Lost in Translation"
We're putting on our chainmail and raising our shields to deflect the rocks that you're about to throw our way. Is "Lord of the Rings" the best series of all-time? No doubt. Is "Return of the King," as a stand-alone film, the strongest movie in this category? Sorry, but no. In fact, while still great, "King," wiith its emphasis on battles over personal relationships and, what, nine different endings is the most flawed film in the series. So, our pick for Best Picture goes to Coppola's perfect, heart-wrenching jewel "Lost in Translation." Coppola's small dream film sustains a melancholy mood and atmosphere that lingers for weeks after seeing it. It's a staggering work of subtlety... and it only has one ending! But that ending -- ambiguous and poignant -- is the most lovely in recent memory.
This is just one of the many predictions I've read and a lot have been saying Lost In Translation should win Best Picture. Hmmm... I think so. Your opinions?

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23-02-2004
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I certainly hope not! I want LTR to win...

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24-02-2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by purplelucrezia@Feb 23rd, 2004 - 5:14 pm
I certainly hope not! I want LTR to win...
I loved Lost in Translation but honestly LOTR should win best picture

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25-02-2004
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its funny... i saw all of these films, and the ones the author said "should" win, I don't think should, and the ones that will... i think should.

damn confusing language.

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25-02-2004
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I do want LOTR to win, and I will be disappointed if it doesn't. It really has set the bar in a lot of ways for future film making, and Peter Jackson certainly deserves best Director. His vision is amazing.

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25-02-2004
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The guy who wrote that is a thoroughbred idiot

Both Charlize (who I hope wins) and Keisha both give amazing performances. Diane Keaton was okay, but she doesn't deserve an oscar. I am SO sure she gets the nod for best actress, yet they totally ignore Jennifer Connelly's performance in House of Sand and Fog. I haven't seen In America or 21 Grams, so I can't speak on behalf of either actresses.


For best actor, BEN KINGSLEY should win, hands down. HE WAS AMAZING.

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25-02-2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nader@Feb 25th, 2004 - 6:57 am
The guy who wrote that is a thoroughbred idiot

Both Charlize (who I hope wins) and Keisha both give amazing performances. Diane Keaton was okay, but she doesn't deserve an oscar. I am SO sure she gets the nod for best actress, yet they totally ignore Jennifer Connelly's performance in House of Sand and Fog. I haven't seen In America or 21 Grams, so I can't speak on behalf of either actresses.


For best actor, BEN KINGSLEY should win, hands down. HE WAS AMAZING.
Absolutely NOT! Nader I hope you know that aside from the acting and playing the character well, the character you're playing should have substance, which is the complete opposite of Ben Kingsly and Jennifer Connely's performance in House of Sand and Fog. As I wrote in Last Movie You Saw, "The House of Sand and Fog. Insufferably pompous and thuddingly dull at the same time, this year-end Oscar contender has already fooled some of the people most of the time.

It had bold strokes but underneath all the wild gesticulating is nothing: no suspense, no characters, no emotional truth, nothing. Watching these characters try to think can cause a headache. As a result, we become disconnected with all of them, and we simply hope and pray for the house to burn down."

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25-02-2004
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Honestly,I think the two most deserving of "Best Actress" should either go to Charlize or Samantha. My reason would be that they gave two of the most intense performances out of all of them. Of course,as everyone knows,the Oscar commitee is more in tune with drama's so I'm not so sure about Diane Keaton.

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25-02-2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by ignitioned32@Feb 23rd, 2004 - 5:05 pm
Quote:
Meirelles (we're still in shock -- pleasurable shock -- that he was even nominated
And I'm in shock that all these journalists forget about "co-director" Katia Lund.

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25-02-2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by ignitioned32@Feb 23rd, 2004 - 5:05 pm

Who Will Win: Charlize Theron
Expect Theron to con her way to her first Oscar. She dumped her supermodel looks to play serial killer Aileen Wuornos by addiing prosthetic teeth and 30 pounds to her frame. She also studied Wuornos' tics and mannerisms and parrots them perfectly in "Monster." Metamorphosis is not acting, however. She may look like Wuornos, but what Theron doesn't do is give a performance. Every gesture, every posture, every delivery is entirely on the surface, and like Sean Penn in "Mystic River," it adds up to little more than a forced, over-the-top distraction. You can't really blame Theron. She gives it her all. But her writer/director Patty Jenkins gives the character no depth and it amounts to little more than a freak show. In other words, Theron is an Oscar shoo-in.

i didn't see all the performances and i don't really care who wins the oscar

i just thought it was interesting to see someone with the same opinion as me-when I left the theatre I was convinced that Christina Ricci can't act and I was annoyed by Charlize Theron's constant ticks and licking her false teeth. I found it distracting and annoying. She's supposed to be doing a charaterization, not an imitation. just because she glammed-down for the part, doesn't mean she should get an award for it...how shallow are we as a society that people get called heroic for being 20 lbs overweight and wearing no make-up? Hell, I do that every day...I must be a saint.

I wish I had gone to see the documentary about Eileen Wournos instead...
that's all...

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27-02-2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nader@Feb 25th, 2004 - 6:57 am
The guy who wrote that is a thoroughbred idiot
I second that.

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27-02-2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by Noodle+Feb 27th, 2004 - 9:54 pm--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Noodle @ Feb 27th, 2004 - 9:54 pm)</div><div class='quotemain'> <!--QuoteBegin-Nader@Feb 25th, 2004 - 6:57 am
The guy who wrote that is a thoroughbred idiot
I second that. [/b][/quote]
I third it.

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28-02-2004
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I wouldn't say "idiot" though he has mistakes. Like saying Theron's performance was forced and over-the-top but isn't that director Patty Jenkins fault? It's hard to recall anything else from this film except for Theron. She's the center of everything, and Jenkins rarely strays from her. We never see footage of Wuornos' parents fretting about her or the police putting clues together. It's her world and everyone else just lives in it.

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