Sunday, March 24, 2002

"He has no genitalia, and he's holding a sword." - Dustin Hoffman, describing his Oscar to the audiences

It's time for the URI! Domain's Horribly Uneducated Picks for the Oscars?! Since I've actually seen very few of the movies nominated this year (the ones with dots next to them), I'll do what any good statistician would do -- make things up, rely on natural prejudices, and go on gut instincts. Feel free to e-mail me if you blatantly disagree with a pick, or I've overlooked one of your all-time favourite movies.

Best performance by an actor in a leading role

    The Nominees:
  • Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind
    Sean Penn in I Am Sam
    Will Smith in Ali
    Denzel Washington in Training Day
    Tom Wilkinson in In the Bedroom

    What will happen?
    Russell "Let me recite my poetry" Crowe's recent spat with another awards group is probably fresh in everyone's mind (and he got one last year), and Will "Soon Tom Hanks will be taking the parts I turn down" Smith has yet to learn any humility. In the Bedroom isn't quite mainstream enough, so the award will go to either Denzel or Sean Penn. In this post-terrorist "feel good movie" environment, they'll choose a protagonist character over an antagonist, putting Sean Penn in the spotlight.

Best performance by an actor in a supporting role

    The Nominees:
    Jim Broadbent in Iris
    Ethan Hawke in Training Day
    Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast
    Ian McKellen in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
    Jon Voight in Ali

    What will happen?
    I haven't seen any of these movies, but every review I've read about Sexy Beast raves about Gandhi's burning intensity in his role as a gangster. Ben Kingsley will take this one home.

Best performance by an actress in a leading role

    The Nominees:
    Halle Berry in Monster's Ball
    Judi Dench in Iris
  • Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge
    Sissy Spacek in In the Bedroom
    Renée Zellweger in Bridget Jones's Diary

    What will happen?
    It was tough enough getting a comedy on the ballot, so Zellweger won't get any more favours today. In such a visible category they'll choose a young attractive actress with more drawing power, so Halle Berry will get her first Oscar. Moulin Rouge will do well in other categories but it's not quite mainstream enough to be "allowed" to get many awards.

Best performance by an actress in a supporting role

    The Nominees:
  • Jennifer Connelly in A Beautiful Mind
  • Helen Mirren in Gosford Park
  • Maggie Smith in Gosford Park
    Marisa Tomei in In the Bedroom
    Kate Winslet in Iris

    What will happen?
    Gosford Park had far too many characters for any one actress to stand out, since all British characters look the same to American viewers. Kate Winslet was in Titanic so she needs to spend a few more years in movie purgatory before she can get an Oscar. Since Marisa Tomei got an Oscar for My Cousin Vinny which was a comedy, no less, Jennifer Connelly will walk away with the Oscar.

Best animated feature film of the year

    The Nominees:
    Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
    Monsters, Inc.
  • Shrek


  • What will happen?
    Shrek wins hands down. Jimmy Neutron was the movie that no one went to, and everyone thought Monsters, Inc. was just another Toy Story.

Achievement in art direction

    The Nominees:
    Amélie
  • Gosford Park
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
    The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings
  • Moulin Rouge


  • What will happen?
    Gosford Park could have been set at any other generic British setting with its cookie cutter Hallmark Hall-of-Fame made for TV castle. Though it will be close, Harry Potter will edge out Moulin Rouge for the award.

Achievement in cinematography

    The Nominees:
    Amélie
    Black Hawk Down
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
    The Man Who Wasn't There
  • Moulin Rouge


  • What will happen?
    Moulin Rouge, the two-hour music video, will easily take home the statuette.

Achievement in costume design

    The Nominees:
    The Affair of the Necklace
  • Gosford Park
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
  • Moulin Rouge


  • What will happen?
    Costumes in period pieces are boring. Affair of the Necklace could have reused the costumes from any Shakespeare remake, and Gosford Park could have borrowed the costumes from Clue and still been successful. While we're on the subject of borrowing, Gosford Park should have borrowed Clue's plot too. Moulin Rouge will just barely edge out Harry Potter.

Achievement in directing

    The Nominees:
  • A Beautiful Mind
    Black Hawk Down
  • Gosford Park
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
    Mulholland Drive


    What will happen?
    Lord of the Rings won't win -- having appeared in fifty categories this year, it will start to blend in on the ballot and voters will think it's just a watermark. Besides, that director has two more chances to get an Oscar in the coming years. Hopefully Robert "Point the camera at a wall and hope someone walks by" Altman of Gosford Park will go home disappointed too. Mulholland Drive was too long ago to remember, so A Beautiful Mind will get the nod, despite the accusations that the real-life man written about in a book that was fictionalized for a movie may have been gay.

Best documentary feature

    The Nominees:
    Children Underground
    Lalee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton
    Murder on a Sunday Morning
    Promises
    War Photographer


    What will happen?
    This will be the award where everyone fills the popcorn bowl and empties their respective bladders. Even the newspaper journalists won't remember who wins it when they write their articles tomorrow. To determine the winner of this category, I approached a panhandler on the street who chose Murder on a Sunday Morning, because of its salacious title. I'm sure the Academy will do the same.

Best documentary short subject

    The Nominees:
    Artists and Orphans: A True Drama
    Sing!
    Thoth


    What will happen?
    No other movie but Sing! could win this award. The reason? It ends with an exclamation point! That makes it better! It's carrying on the tradition of Hello Dolly!, Swing!, George M!, and Adolf Hitler: The Comedy!. Hot dog!

Achievement in film editing

    The Nominees:
  • A Beautiful Mind
    Black Hawk Down
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
  • Memento
  • Moulin Rouge

    What will happen?
    Really, how can you judge this category without seeing what was deleted in the super-duper special-edition five-dollars-more DVD? I would choose Memento just because, but the award will go to Moulin Rouge since rumour has it that Ewan "Belty" MacGregor sang for fifteen more minutes in the uncut edition.

Best foreign language film of the year

    The Nominees:
    Amélie
    Elling
    Lagaan
    No Man's Land
    Son of the Bridge


    What will happen?
    There will be a tie between Amélie and Lagaan, because one has an accent égu and one has two consecutive As. Amélie will take the trophy, because voters will recognize its name from the other categories it's nominated in.

Achievement in makeup

    The Nominees:
  • A Beautiful Mind
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
  • Moulin Rouge

    What will happen?
    They must have used a lot of makeup in A Beautiful Mind, because as you know, schizophrenics look different from normal people. Moulin Rouge carries this category too.

Achievement in music in connection with motion pictures

    The Nominees:
    AI
  • A Beautiful Mind
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
    Monsters, Inc.


  • What will happen?
    I've heard great things about the Harry Potter soundtrack -- that it manages to be John Williams-y without being Raiders of the Lost Ark-y, and that it's a very mature and appropriate body of music. So why not choose it?

Best original song

    The Nominees:
    "If I Didn't Have You" from Monsters, Inc.
    "May It Be" from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
    "There You'll Be" from Pearl Harbor
    "Until" from Kate & Leopold
    "Vanilla Sky" from Vanilla Sky

    What will happen?
    Voters seem to like the cutesy "friends 'til the end of time" songs from animated flicks, and judging from the title, Monsters, Inc.'s song fits that bill perfectly. This has got to be the most boring assortment of titles. Ever.

Best motion picture of the year

    The Nominees:
  • A Beautiful Mind
  • Gosford Park
    In the Bedroom
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
  • Moulin Rouge

    What will happen?
    In bizzaro world, where I controlled the votes, A Beautiful Mind would get the nod, or Memento would be added to the list. I would also be taller. Since this is the real world, Gosford Park will win, because it's "deep" and "innovative" and no one wants to be ashamed in front of their peers for "not getting it". Moulin Rouge was great, but not best picture material, and Lord of the Rings is a fantasy flick, putting a few strikes against it.

Best animated short film

    The Nominees:
    Fifty Percent Grey
    For the Birds
    Give up Yer Aul Sins
    Strange Invaders
    Stubble Trouble


    What will happen?
    I'm going on titles with this one, so Stubble Trouble will win this award. How can you go wrong with that title? It sounds like a light-hearted romp with zany cowboy hijinks, but with a foreboding undercurrent of dissension and black politics (hence, the "trouble").

Best live action short film

    The Nominees:
    The Accountant
    Copy Shop
    Gregor's Greatest Invention
    A Man Thing
    Speed for Thespians


    What will happen?
    Gregor's Greatest Invention will take this award. Nobody (I hope) wants to see a movie short about a man thing, and straight-laced voters will think Speed for Thespians is a documentary on drug use in the alternate sexuality counterculture.

Achievement in sound

    The Nominees:
    Amélie
    Black Hawk Down
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
  • Moulin Rouge
    Pearl Harbor


  • What will happen?
    Either Black Hawk Down or Pearl Harbor will win, because things blew up pretty nicely. I'd choose Black Hawk Down because it didn't have Cuba Gooding Jr. trying to act.

Achievement in sound editing

    The Nominees:
    Monsters, Inc.
    Pearl Harbor


    What will happen?
    Who cares? I'll play the Cuba card again and choose Monsters, Inc..

Achievement in visual effects

    The Nominees:
    AI
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
    Pearl Harbor


    What will happen?
    Voters will choose Lord of the Rings over AI because it's been passed over for so many other awards and deserves a booby prize.

Screenplay based on material previously produced or published

    The Nominees:
  • A Beautiful Mind
    Ghost World
    In the Bedroom
    Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
    Shrek

    What will happen?
    The source material for Lord of the Rings was only good because it was the first high fantasy tale of any kind. Shrek was funny but not "best" material, unless The Cookie was in the original. For this one, I'll choose In the Bedroom because it too has been passed over for bigger awards.

Screenplay written directly for the screen

    The Nominees:
    Amélie
  • Gosford Park
  • Memento
    Monster's Ball
    The Royal Tenenbaums


  • What will happen?
    Even though other screenplays may be more deserving, I choose Memento as my number one draft pick, simply because it's one of my favourites. Since the Academy has a six-month memory, Monster's Ball will win, because its the only one not set in a pretensious period setting.

In other news, Freddie Got Fingered was voted as the worst movie of the year, earning five Razzie Awards at the ceremony .

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