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Movieman May Not Agree, But He's Got the Academy Down Cold
by Erik The Movieman

If you were able to survive E!’s asinine coverage with Todd Newton (replacing “AWESOME” with “ELECTRIFYING”) and whoever the hell that broad was pushing The Hours for everything including Visual Effects, you may have found a rather dull and predictable group of nominations. The few usual headsmacking snubs, but not much else. Let’s try to make it a little more interesting.

THE TOP 5 SNUBS 1. Dennis Quaid fails to secure what everyone conceived was a well-deserved LOCK for Far from Heaven. WHAT THE HELL does this guy have to do to get some respect? 2. Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor do not receive an adapted screenplay nod for About Schmidt. 3. Peter Jackson is jacked in both the director and adapted screenplay categories for LOTR: The Two Towers. 4. Paul Thomas Anderson receives nothing for Punch-Drunk Love. 5. Minority Report, one of the most technically dazzling movie experiences in years, receives only a single nomination for Sound Effects Editing. Nothing for Visual Effects, Cinematography, Sound, Film Editing or Art Direction.

A MOTHMAN PROPHECY? Why are people so shocked that Richard Gere didn’t get nominated for Chicago? Because EVERY other actor did? He won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical. Ask Jim Carrey and George Clooney about that curse.

ACADEMY ALZHEIMER’S OR G.P.S. (GUY PIERCE SYNDROME) Every Best Picture nominee opened in December. Other good possibilities like About Schmidt & Adaptation also opened in the final month. 18 of the 20 acting nominees are from films opening in the final two months of 2002. (Only Diane Lane and Paul Newman did not open in Nov/Dec.)

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE STARS OF HEARTBURN!!! Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson receive their 13th & 12th nod on the way to a potential 3rd & 4th win, respectively.

FUGITIVE FILMMAKER NOMINATED FOR OSCAR That’s not me. That’s an actual headline on the entertainment wire regarding Roman Polanski’s best director nomination. Wouldn’t it be great to see Polanski show up at the Oscars ordering an orange whip while the entire Illinois Law Enforcement community waits for him outside?

SEQUEL SURPRISE? The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is the fourth sequel to be nominated for Best Picture (The Godfather II & III, The Silence of the Lambs) and it did so without a nomination for director or screenplay. New Line’s other sequels in 2002 – Austin Powers in Goldmember, Blade 2, Friday After Next and Jason X didn’t pull in any nominations.

CHICAGO – THE REBIRTH OF THE MUSICAL? Shall I remind hype-journalists of the following titles since 1989: Aladdin, Anastasia, Beauty and the Beast, Everyone Says I Love You, Hedwig & the Angry Inch, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The King & I (animated), The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Moulin Rouge, Mulan, Pocahontas, Tarzan

SCORSESE WILL NOT BE BEAT BY AN ACTOR FOR DIRECTOR THIS YEAR Scorsese has nothing to worry about. No Robert Redford to beat Raging Bull. No Kevin Costner to beat GoodFellas. In fact, the three new actor-turned-directors this year: George Clooney (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind), Bill Paxton (Frailty) and Denzel Washington (Antwone Fisher) did not carry a single nomination

DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE BUT NOT THEIRS Five directors had two movies released in 2002. Steven Spielberg’s films (Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can) secured a total of three nominations. Philip Noyce (The Quiet American, Rabbit-Proof Fence) grabbed one. 2000 double nominee Steven Soderbergh (Full Frontal, Solaris) received zero as did Kathryn Bigelow (K-19: The Widowmaker, The Weight of Water) and, well, Barry Sonnenfeld (Big Trouble, Men In Black II).

HOW FAR THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN! Former Oscar winners made some very un-Oscarworthy choices in 2002: Roberto Benigni (Pinocchio), Halle Berry (Die Another Day), Robert DeNiro (Showtime, City By the Sea, Analyze That), Cuba Gooding Jr. (Snow Dogs), Anthony Hopkins (Bad Company), Tommy Lee Jones (Men In Black II)

THE JOHN C. REILLY AWARD New award given to an actor who excels in the role of a husband who gets cheated on. This year’s recipient: John C. Reilly (Supporting Actor, Chicago). Other nominees included: Bruce Greenwood (Swept Away), Richard Gere (Unfaithful), John C. Reilly (The Good Girl), John C. Reilly (The Hours) and Christopher Walken (Catch Me If You Can)

WHO SAYS MULTIPLE ROLES ARE A LOCK FOR NOMINATIONS? George Clooney (Solaris, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind), Willem Dafoe (Auto Focus, Spider-Man), Leonardo DiCaprio (Catch Me If You Can, Gangs of New York), Richard Gere (Chicago, Unfaithful, The Mothman Prophecies), Mel Gibson (We Were Soldiers, Signs), Jake Gyllenhaal (The Good Girl, Moonlight Mile, Lovely & Amazing), Tom Hanks (Road to Perdition, Catch Me If You Can), Philip Seymour Hoffman (25th Hour, Punch-Drunk Love, Love Liza, Red Dragon), Edward Norton (25th Hour, Red Dragon, Frida), Al Pacino (Insomnia, Simone), Dennis Quaid (Far from Heaven, The Rookie), Susan Sarandon (Igby Goes Down, Moonlight Mile, The Banger Sisters), Denzel Washington (Antwone Fisher, John Q), Emily Watson (Punch-Drunk Love, Red Dragon) and Robin Williams (One Hour Photo, Insomnia, Death to Smoochy)

DISNEY’S REVENGE? In its second year of existence, the Academy nominated FIVE movies in the Best Animated Feature category – Ice Age, Lilo & Stitch, Spirit: Stallion of the Stallion, Spirited Away and Treasure Planet. 3 Disney nominees a year after Dreamworks’ Shrek beat out Monsters Inc. for the first ever award. 12 other films were eligible including Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights, Hey Arnold!: The Movie, Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, The Powerpuff Girls Movie, Return to Neverland, Stuart Little 2 and The Wild Thornberrys Movie. Ever hear of Alibaba & The Forty Thieves, Eden, El Bosque Animado (The Living Forest), Mutant Aliens or The Princess and the Pea?

“FUCK JESSE JACKSON!” As if Cedric the Entertainer’s publicity-inducing rant in Barbershop had some impact, after last year’s double-win for Denzel Washington and Halle Berry, only Queen Latifah secured an acting nomination this year. But is it the Academy or the movies? Legit candidates could have included Samuel L. Jackson (Changing Lanes), Dennis Haysbert (Far from Heaven), Viola Davis (Antwone Fisher, Far from Heaven, Solaris), Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher) and maybe the cast of Barbershop. After that you’re looking at Forest Whitaker (Panic Room), Morgan Freeman (The Sum of All Fears or High Crimes), Wesley Snipes or Ving Rhames (Undisputed) and Thandie Newton (The Truth About Charlie). Then what?

The casts of All About the Benjamins, Brown Sugar, Drumline, Friday After Next, Juwanna Mann, Paid in Full and Undercover Brother?

How about Eddie Murphy (The Adventures of Pluto Nash, I Spy, Showtime), Will Smith (Men In Black II) or Chris Rock (Bad Company)?

NO? Then dip into the following pile: Terrence Dashon Howard (Hart’s War), Djimon Hounsou (The Four Feathers), Isaiah Washington (Ghost Ship), Cuba Gooding Jr. (Snow Dogs) and Jay Chandrasekhar (Super Troopers). Or even your singers: Beyonce Knowles (Austin Powers in Goldmember), LL Cool J (Rollerball), Ja Rule (Half Past Dead), Lil’ Bow Wow (Like Mike), Busta Rhymes (Halloween: Resurrection) and Aaliyah (Queen of the Damned)

NOMINATION COUNT Chicago (13), Gangs of New York (10), The Hours (9), The Pianist (7), Frida (6), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (6), Road to Perdition (6), Adaptation (4), Far from Heaven (4), About Schmidt (2), Catch Me If You Can (2), Spider-Man (2), Talk to Her (2), 8 Mile (1), About a Boy (1), Bowling for Columbine (1) Ice Age (1), Lilo & Stitch (1), Minority Report (1), My Big Fat Greek Wedding (1), The Quiet American (1), Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (1), Spirited Away (1), Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (1), The Time Machine (1), Treasure Planet (1), Unfaithful (1), The Wild Thornberrys Movie (1), Y Tu Mama Tambien (1)

STUDIO COUNT Miramax (30), Focus (11), Dreamworks (10), Paramount (10), New Line (8), Sony (8), Fox (4), Walt Disney (3), IFC Films (2), Universal (2), MGM/UA (1). (Warner Bros., Lions Gate & Artisan received ZERO nominations. Miramax also co-distributed The Hours, which received 9 nominations and credited under Paramount, so potentially 39 nominations for Miramax.)

FOR BETTER OR WORSE – COMPLETELY SHUT OUT 25th Hour, Antwone Fisher, Changing Lanes, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, The Fast Runner, Frailty, The Good Girl, The Grey Zone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Insomnia, Moonlight Mile, Narc, One Hour Photo, Panic Room, Punch-Drunk Love, Roger Dodger, The Rookie, Signs, Solaris, We Were Soldiers

Movieman’s Predictions: 66/88 (75%), If you don’t count the two extra animated feature nominations: 66/86 (76.7%). LAST YEAR: 67/88 (76%)


link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=692
originally posted: 02/13/03 08:30:54
last updated: 12/31/03 08:07:12
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