Sunday, February 22, 2004

A Look into My Crystal Ball...(Oscars 2004)

BEST PICTURE

***Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Lost in Translation

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Mystic River

Seabiscuit

LOTR: ROTK will take home the "Best Picture" award, making it the first, third part of a trilogy to take home the Oscar. Lost in Translation is the only film that stands a chance up against Jackson’s gem—the other three can already be x-ed off of the list. I loved Lost in Translation, but unfortunately for Miss Coppola, there will be no upset here; it is hard to deny the outstanding cinematic achievement of the final chapter of one of the greatest trilogies of all time.



BEST DIRECTOR

Fernando Meirelles, City of God

***Peter Jackson, 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


Again, Jackson and his superb feature reign over all. If the LOTR final installment hadn’t been released this year, Lost in Translation would have picked up two more of the more important statues (director and picture). Both Coppola and Eastwood deserve to be on this list, but in all actuality, there is no contest.



BEST ACTOR

Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Ben Kingsley, House of Sand and Fog

Jude Law, Cold Mountain

***Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

Sean Penn, Mystic River

I think Sean Penn’s emotional tough-guy portrayal is undoubtedly deserving of merit. However, despite Penn’s work, I am going with my gut and say Bill Murray will triumph and give yet another acceptance speech (his first was after winning the Golden Globe). I think Sean Penn should win, but I think Bill Murray will win, and honestly either way I will agree the Academy’s selection. Murray plays his career-defining role, and will most likely never reach this caliber of acting majesty again. Penn is one of the greatest current actors available in all of cinema, alongside Johnny Depp, who also surprisingly but deservingly happens to be on this list. Penn will have many more chances over the next few years to win; I don’t believe that he has reached the pinnacle of his career just yet, and the same can go for the versatile Depp. Just for fun, I’m predicting Depp to win in the future for his role in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (remember you heard it hear first), but for this year, I think the gray-bearded Bill will take home his first.



BEST ACTRESS

Keisha Castle-Hughes, Whale Rider

Diane Keaton, Something's Gotta Give

Samantha Morton, In America

Charlize Theron, Monster

***Naomi Watts, 21 Grams

Naomi Watts is absolutely incredible in 21 Grams. Her character is as emotional as one can imagine, and she plays the part with unrelenting talent. I have heard all of the hubbub surrounding Miss “Thair-own”, as Nicholson pronounces it, and her role in Monster, but I have yet to see it. Watts is beyond deserving, but if Theron wins, as she is favored to do so, I won’t understand the selection until I am able to compare it to Naomi’s must see performance. I’m pulling for the upset. By the way where is Scarlett?



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

This category is a toss-up. I think Tim Robbins will win, but I would like to honestly see any of the other four take home the award. I would rather see Watanabe’s picture-making performance, Baldwin’s career-defining tough-guy role, or Del Toro’s Jesus-loving perfect portrayal, win over Robbins. Nonetheless my prediction stands with Tim winning and Susan crying like a baby for her husband.




BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

***Shohreh Aghdashloo, House of Sand and Fog

Patricia Clarkson, Pieces of April

Marcia Gay Harden, Mystic River

Holly Hunter, thirteen

Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain

Step right up; pick an actress any actress. Anyone can take home this one. I would have personally chose Scarlett Johannson for supporting Murray, or the extremely charming Alison Lohman for skillfully playing a 14-year-old girl at age 24, in support of Nicholas Cage, but neither one are even nominated. I really could care less who wins this one. I really don’t think Renee will win, due to Cold Mountain being a little less liked by the Academy than presumed, and I really don’t understand why Marcia Gay Harden is even on this list. She did have a few good scenes in Mystic River, but nothing close to even nominee-worthy in my opinion. So in light of my nominees being absent, I will go with the foreign favorite in Shohreh Aghdashloo.



BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Denys Arcand, The Barbarian Invasions

Steven Knight, Dirty Pretty Things

Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson and David Reynolds, Finding Nemo

Jim Sheridan & Naomi Sheridan & Kirsten Sheridan, In America

***Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation


Finally a chance for Sofia to win one, because Peter Jackson cannot be found in this category. No one deserves this more than Sofia Coppola; she is genius daughter of a genius father. While some say she made have gotten a little help from her family on making this film, I say kudos to Miss Coppola for creating a flawless screenplay with an intriguing original idea.



BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

***Robert Pulcini & Shari Springer Berman, American Splendor

Braulio Mantovani, City of God

Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Brian Helgeland, Mystic River

Gary Ross, Seabiscuit


American Splendor is a marvel of an adaptation. It spans the life and times of Harvey Pekar so skillfully and with such creativity. It is the most original adapted screenplay and the best adaptation. LOTR: ROTK is not entirely true to its text. Even though the trilogy is one of the most faithful book-to-screen adaptations, the ending of this feature changes and is not as true to the text as its predecessors. Mystic River was greatly adapted to screen as well, and you won’t see me pouting or up-in-arms if it wins. However, American Splendor will win the marbles in this category.



As for some others awards, here are my predictions with no commentary needed:

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: Finding Nemo

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: The Barbarian Invasions

MAKEUP: LOTR: ROTK

MUSIC SONG: Into the West: LOTR: ROTK

VISUAL EFFECTS: LOTR: ROTK


Otherwise, enjoy this year's awards, and check back for an analysis of all of the winners and losers.

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2004