Tuesday, January 27, 2004

As you undoubtedly know -- being the smart person you are, what with reading TRL and all -- the Academy of Motion Picture Popularity Arts and Sciences announced the Oscar nominations this morning. With virtually no time to think about it, here are my predictions:

Best Picture Nominees:
"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."

I saw "Mystic River" and thought it was over-rated. I didn't see any of the other movies. However, I confidently predict that it's the Year of Asia in American Cinema, which means that "Lost in Translation" will win, because it's set in Japan.

Best Actor Nominees:
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."

Sean Penn: "Mystic River": see above. Since that was the only movie in this category that I saw, based on my prediction that it's the Year of Asia in American Cinema, Bill Murray should have a tangential edge for being nominated for a movie set in Japan. But remember that Ben Kingsley was once "Gandhi," and plays an Iranian in "House of Sand and Fog." Therefore, this category is too close to call.

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

Charlize Theron was awesome. I didn't see anyone else. Winner: Theron.

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

Tim Robbins: "Mystic River": see above. I didn't see anyone else. Winner: Ken Watanabe.

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

Marcia Gay Harden: "Mystic River": see above. Is this Aghdashloo chick Asian? Never mind: in this category, Renee pulls an upset, because everyone still loves her performance as Roxie Hart in "Chicago."

Best Director Nominees:
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."

Clint Eastwood: "Mys---".. ah, that's getting boring. Sofia Coppola takes the Oscar here, not only because it's the Year of Asia in American Cinema, but because the Academy also wants to encourage her to stay behind the camera.

Best Foreign Film Nominees:
"The Barbarian Invasions," Canada; "Zelary," Czech Republic; "The Twilight Samurai," Japan; "Twin Sisters," The Netherlands; "Evil," Sweden.

Ironically, if it's the Year of Asia in American Cinema, the Asian film will have a disadvantage in the Best Foreign Film category. Plus, everyone is going to confuse it with that godawful Tom Cruise movie, which I didn't see. That's why I predict that "Evil" will win. Because who doesn't like a cryptic, slow-moving Swedish film?

Best Adapted Screenplay Nominees:
Robert Pulcini & Shari Springer Berman, "American Splendor"; Braulio Mantovani, "City of God"; Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"; Brian Helgeland, "Mystic River"; Gary Ross, "Seabiscuit."

Prediction: "Mystic River" loses, and it's a four-way tie for the Award.

Best Original Screenplay Nominees:
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."

Having already been rewarded with a treat to stay behind the camera, Sofia Coppola will not win this category, 'cause the Academy is already growing concerned that she's starting to think she's all that. Even though it's the Year of Asia in American Cinema. Instead, the winner will be Steven Knight for "Dirty Pretty Things," a touching movie that manages to mix the plight of illegal immigrants with a tawdry organ-harvesting subplot. Oh yes -- and one of the characters is Turkish, and Turkey is in Asia. Yay. Plus, I actually saw "Dirty Pretty Things."

Best Animated feature Film Nominees:
"Brother Bear"; "Finding Nemo"; "The Triplets of Belleville."

"Brother Bear"? What the hell was that? No one wins in this category.

Best Original Score Nominees:
"Big Fish," Danny Elfman; "Cold Mountain," Gabriel Yared; "Finding Nemo," Thomas Newman; "House of Sand and Fog," James Horner; "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," Howard Shore.

I saw "Big Fish," and this was, like, its only nomination (Albert Finney was robbed!), so it will win.

Best Original Song Nominees:
"Into the West" from "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," Fran Walsh, Howard Shore and Annie Lennox; "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" from "A Mighty Wind," Michael McKean and Annette O'Toole; "Scarlet Tide" from "Cold Mountain," T Bone Burnett and Elvis Costello; "The Triplets of Belleville" from "The Triplets of Belleville," Benoit Charest and Sylvain Chomet; "You Will Be My Ain True Love" from "Cold Mountain," Sting.

I don't know these songs. (Of course, I also don't know "Hey Ya!", so take that for what it's worth.) But I'm intrigued by a T Bone Burnett/Elvis Costello collaberation, so I think they'll take the Oscar.

Best Documentary Feature Nominees:
"Balseros," "Capturing the Friedmans," "The Fog of War," "My Architect," "The Weather Underground."

Let's see. "The Fog of War" was about Robert McNamara, who engineered a war in -- where? that's right -- Asia. But it would be unseemly to honor a documentary about him in the Year of Asia in American Cinema, so I'm betting that the statuette will go to a documentary set in that other exotic locale, Long Island. Winner: "Capturing the Friedmans."

Best Documentary (Short Subject) Nominees:
"Asylum," "Chernobyl Heart," "Ferry Tales."

Honestly. Why do they even bother?

Honorary Academy Award:
Blake Edwards.

I predict that Blake Edwards will win.

Tune in next month to see how accurate my predictions were.