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Matt's Oscar '03 Roundup

February 11th, 2003

It's that time of year again when Hollywood hands out the Oscars for their take on the best achievement in film of the year. 2002 was a rather slow starter for good quality movies, though by December, a handful of great films sought their way into multiplexes. Among the titles tossed around for the 75th Annual Academy Awards (airing March 23) are Chicago, with 13 nominations, The Hours, Adaptation, The Pianist, and Gangs of New York. But if it's any consolation, what with a slack in awarding the films and people who actually deserve the award, Oscar has been pretty routine the last several years and this year looks to be no exception. Heck, I'm shocked My Big Fat Greek Wedding didn't sweep the nominations!

Since 1998, I've been observing the Oscar race closely and have noticed that TV ratings seem to matter more than quality. In other words, the Oscars have become nothing more than a way of honoring who is young, pretty, and popular. That's not to say someone as pretty as Nicole Kidman doesn't deserve the award. It's just that Halle Berry's win over both Sissy Spacek and Judy Dench last year had me scratchin' my noggin'. There's an answer to everything: Halle Berry is more popular then Judy Dench and her win will bring in ratings. The same can be said for Gwyneth Paltrow's win over both Cate Blanchett and Fernanda Montenegro and the whole Titanic thing. If Titanic hadn't made a trillion dollars, do you think it would been nominated?

For 2002, the nom's are pretty decent and I see Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was thrown in for some recognition to the average American. Yet, Oscar is still snubbing here and overrating there. So without further ado, here's my take on the '03 Oscars.

Best Picture

Chicago, Gangs of New York, The Hours, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Pianist. Predictions: Chicago will win easily. It's the most popular film out there at the moment and the musical hasn't been honored since 1968's Oliver!. My pick: The Hours. Snubbed: Far From Heaven.

Best Actress

Selma Hayek, Frida; Nicole Kidman, The Hours; Diane Lane, Unfaithful; Julianne Moore, Far From Heaven; and Renee Zellweger, Chicago. Predictions: I'm split between Zellweger and Kidman, though I'm putting money on Kidman. It may be her time. My pick: Julianne Moore. Snubbed: Meryl Streep, The Hours.

Best Actor

Adrien Brody, The Pianist; Nicholas Cage, Adaptation; Michael Caine, The Quiet American; Danial Day-Lewis, Gangs of New York; and Jack Nicholson, About Schmidt. Predictions: It's between Brody or Day-Lewis, and I'm predicting the latter. My pick: Tie between Jack Nicholson and Adrien Brody. Snubbed: Dennis Quaid.

Best Supporting Actress

Kathy Bates, About Schmidt; Queen Latifah, Chicago; Julianne Moore, The Hours; Meryl Streep, Adaptation; and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago. Predictions: Bates and Streep are the front-runners, but with modern Oscar looming about, look for Latifah or Jones to snatch it up...Maybe. My pick: Meryl Streep. Snubbed: Patricia Clarkson, Far From Heaven.

Best Supporting Actor

Chris Cooper, Adaptation; Ed Harris, The Hours; Paul Newman, Road to Perdition; John C. Reilly, Chicago; and Christopher Walken, Catch Me If You Can. Predictions: Hollywood loves to honor their older and wiser mega-stars (Newman), though Cooper has a resume any actor would kill for. My pick: Ed Harris.

Best Director

Pedro Almavodor, Talk to Her; Stephen Daldry, The Hours; Rob Marshal, Chicago; Roman Polanski, The Pianist; and Martin Scorsese, Gangs of New York. Predictions: Marshal will win. The year Almavodor is awarded by the Oscars is the year I turn straight. My pick: Martin Scorsese. Snubbed: Todd Haynes, Far From Heaven.

So all in all, look for Chicago to dominate the ceremony. It's a tiresome and vastly overrated fluff-fest, though an enjoyable one, nonetheless. It will bring in the viewers for sure.

Matthew Dalton

Filed under: Chicago, About Schmidt, The Hours, The Pianist, Far From Heaven, Adaptation