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The 2002 Oscars: Blame It on the Elves

I guess it’s something of a tradition now — our annual Oscar handicapping. We did so badly last year (averaging only about 50% on our picks) we can’t really do much worse. But with an exceptionally weak year like 2001 to work with, I’d say anything goes.

As always, we’ll update this page in real time during the show: Our picks are in bold under our respective names, the actual winners are noted in bold in the category listings.

Post Mortem: Well, this just goes to show that I should wait to start drinking until Oscar night, not while making my picks. Null ends up 11 for 24, Kipp a more impressive 14 for 24. Kipp, you magnificent bastard, I salute you!

Best Cinematography
Black Hawk Down
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Man Who Wasn’t There
Moulin Rouge

Jeremiah Kipp: Roger Deakins is an Oscar favorite, and his stunning black-and-white compositions in The Man Who Wasn’t There were intoxicating. But scope wins out in the end with the wonderfully vivid Fellowship of the Ring.
Christopher Null: I’ll kill the suspense and let you in on the news that Jer thinks Lord of the Rings will win every award out there. I am skeptical, and frankly, the cinematography on Lord wasn’t so hot. I’m wagering on an Oscar soft spot for Amélie.

Best Art Direction
Gosford Park
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Moulin Rouge

JK: Can I hear amen for The Lord?
CN: No you may not. I’m putting my pennies — er, pence — on a token award for Gosford Park.

Best Costume Design
The Affair of the Necklace
Gosford Park
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Moulin Rouge

JK: You can bet your Mithral shirt that it’s another win for The Fellowship.
CN: What, because they have on tunics and robes? I am actually betting on Moulin Rouge here. P.S. Jer Mithral is fictional.
[Justice is served!]

Best Animated Film
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
Monsters, Inc.

CN: I liked Monsters, Inc. better, but Shrek has momentum to spare.
JK: Is there any doubt that Shrek is the name on everyone’s lips?

Best Documentary Feature
Children Under GroundLaLee’s Kin: The Legacy of Cotton
Murder on a Sunday Morning
War Photographer

CN: Children? Under Ground!? Sounds like a great double feature with Murder on a Sunday Morning. In a year with some interesting documentaries, none of them got nominated. This is a crock, and thus, I’m picking LaLee’s Kin: The Legacy of Cotton because I bet it’s about slavery (very bad!!!).
JK: Hmm… War Photographer sounds pretty timely.
[Err, okay.]

Best Documentary Short
Artists and Orphans: A True Drama

JK: Artists and Orphans: A True Drama reeks of ponderousness, just the way they like ‘em.
CN: How do you pronounce Thoth? I pick Artists and Orphans as well. The Academy will fill guilty over snubbing those underground children in the documentary feature category.
[Your movie should be pronouncable in order to win!]

Best Editing
A Beautiful Mind
Black Hawk Down
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Moulin Rouge

JK: Memento was told backwards in time, navigating its way around potential logical plot holes in astonishing ways. It’s a movie with a loyal following, and the academy will probably stand behind it as well.
CN: Agreed on Memento. I don’t think any of those other movies were edited, anyway.
[Leave no awards behind!!!]

Best Foreign Language Film
No Man’s Land
Son of the Bride

JK: The political self-importance of No Man’s Land beats the Miramax push of Amélie, which is a victory worthy of the foreign legion. Take that, Harvey!
CN: Are you kidding? No Man’s Land was okay but Amélie is a fricking sensation!
[You are not kidding, are you?]

Best Makeup
A Beautiful MindThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Moulin Rouge

JK: The Lord of the Rings had a gallery of monsters whose handcrafted elegance was supervised by that detail oriented magician, Peter Jackson. This spectacular gallery of fantasy creations has earned its acclaim, and now it’ll earn its Oscar. Maybe it’s got a lock on 2002 and 2003, since I don’t see any filmmaker able to compete with Jackson’s company and their persistence of vision.
CN: What, no Hannibal (remember Gary Oldman)? Yeah, whatever. Give it to Lord of the Rings.

Best Musical Score
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
A Beautiful Mind
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Monsters, Inc.

JK: James Horner’s mock-
inspirational score for A Beautiful Mind had people swooning, even if they couldn’t remember it afterwards.
CN: Have to agree on A Beautiful Mind. Four notes = one Oscar.

Best Original Song
Randy Newman, ‘If I Didn’t Have You’ from Monsters, Inc.
Enya, Nicky Ryan and Roma Ryan, ‘May It Be’ from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Diane Warren, ‘There You’ll Be’ from Pearl Harbor
Sting, ‘Until’ from Kate & Leopold
Paul McCartney, ‘Vanilla Sky’ from Vanilla Sky

JK: In Thirteen Days, Bobby Kennedy shouts down his political colleagues, trying to pigeonhole him during the Cuban Missile Crisis. No, no, no! Now there is more than one option here, and if one of them hasn’t occurred to us yet it’s because we aren’t thinking hard enough! I wish he’d been kicking the collective asses of the academy when they culled this lame selection of song titles. I guess it’ll go to Sting’s little ditty from Kate & Leopold, but I couldn’t care less.
CN: I don’t remember any of these songs! Weren’t there some songs in Moulin Rouge? I heard that had some singing in it. I’m gonna pick McCartney’s song from Vanilla Sky because Academy voters are bound to feel sorry for the guy after his wife and his buddy George died.
[Unbelieveable! I picked him to win last year and then said never again. Loved your acceptance speech, Randy.]

Best Animated Short
Fifty Percent Grey
For the Birds
Give Up Yer Aul Sins
Strange Invaders
Stubble Trouble

CN: For the Birds is the only short that everyone saw, because it played before Monsters, Inc. It’ll win easy. Strange Invaders sounds like porn.
JK: For the Birds makes me want to fly, fly away.

Best Live Action Short
The Accountant
Copy Shop
Gregor’s Greatest Invention
A Man Thing
Speed For Thespians

JK: I’m curious to find out more about Gregor’s Greatest Invention. What is he building in there?
CN: A buck says Gregor’s Greatest Invention is love.
[I hate you and your blasted invention, Gregor!]

Best Sound
Black Hawk Down
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Moulin Rouge
Pearl Harbor

JK: The Lord of the Rings, a full fantasia of sound design, as part of its technical sweep.
CN: Grunting orcs don’t do it for me. Moulin Rouge made singing actors sound good.

Best Sound Editing
Monsters, Inc.
Pearl Harbor

JK: The bombs are falling in Pearl Harbor, and the technical team ensured we heard every last rumble.
CN: The one good thing about Pearl Harbor, yep.
[50/50 makes it easy! Do this with all the categories next year!]

Best Visual Effects
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Pearl Harbor

JK: A.I. had transcendent visuals, but The Lord of the Rings will be honored for creating a brave new world.
CN: The Lord of the Rings in a gimme year. Good luck in 2003 when you’re up against another Star Wars and more.

Best Actor
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

JK: Nice to see the recognition for Smith and Wilkinson, who both contributed fine work this year, but virtually every Oscar category has left someone out. The most erroneous mistake was bumping legendary screen giant Gene Hackman (who surely gives one of his finest performances in The Royal Tenenbaums) for a sell-out Sean Penn. Russell Crowe has a terrific shot at two in a row for his ridiculous, showboating Jerry Lewis performance in A Beautiful Mind, but expect Denzel Washington to be recognized as a heavyweight screen villain. He didn’t win the academy over with his incendiary Malcolm X, so he bamboozled them with Training Day.
CN: In my mind (and it’s a beautiful mind, let me tell ya), this is one of the hardest categories going. On merit, Wilkinson would walk away with this, but he hasn’t paid his dues (Black Knight and Rush Hour just don’t cut it, Tom). Will Smith is legitimately #2 here, but he too has ‘serious actor’ credibility problems. I’m still torn, but I’ll pick Denzel Washington as well, provided his current John Q doesn’t blow chunks.

Best Supporting Actor
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

JK: Ethan Hawke? What’s the world coming to? I’ll be pleased to see Jim Broadbent win, though, if only because I can pretend it’s for his stunning performance in Topsy-Turvy. A remarkable career actor finally gets his due, as usual, for one of his least notable performances.
CN: Yeah, I think I could have done just as good a job in Hawke’s role. Otherwise, this is another toughie — but I have to lean toward Ben Kingsley and his anti-Gandhi, even though the movie was crap.
[Well-played, Mr. Kipp! Well-played!]

Best Actress
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

JK: Halle Berry’s opportunities to seize the gold were squashed by Sissy Spacek‘s well-earned win at the Golden Globes. Look for another Spacek triumph at Oscar night, where she rightfully defeats the four other pretenders.
CN: Still don’t get all the fuss over Sissy Spacek, but she does have momentum and is America’s sweetheart (albeit, a 52-year-old s

Best Supporting Actress
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

CN: This category is a joke. Gosford Park was fluff. And no one saw Iris. That leaves Tomei and Connelly, and most Oscar voters will be fine with Tomei’s prior and inexplicable win for My Cousin Vinny. She honestly deserves the statue here, but Jennifer Connelly is bound to get it for A Beautiful Mind. (Note to Oscar voters: Please try not to confuse the real person, heroics or no, with the actress who played her!)
JK: Jennifer Connelly may have given the worst performance of her dodgy career in A Beautiful Mind, but this much-revered pap will surely garner a lot of attention, and Connelly will ride that wave. It’s especially sad, considering how remarkable she was last year in the double-whammy of Waking the Dead and Requiem for a Dream (she wasn’t the problem on that film). Look how far she’s fallen, look how far she’s come.

Best Adapted Screenplay
A Beautiful Mind
Ghost World
In the Bedroom
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

JK: Mark your calendars and take a good look around you, because cinema history will never be the same after Batman & Robin scribe Akiva Goldsman wins for A Beautiful Mind. It’s a gesture that will make us look back in shame.
CN: This is Hollywood, Jer. There’s no shame in Hollywood. A Beautiful Mind wins. Ghost World is robbed.
[‘His other credits include Lost in Space…’]

Best Original Screenplay
Gosford Park
Monster’s Ball
The Royal Tenenbaums

CN: Memento gets a token award, though a well-deserved one (and oddly enough, the screenplay is adapted from Nolan’s brother’s short story).
JK: Several good choices here, but Julian Fellowes gets the gentlemanly treatment for his charming Gosford Park.
[I give up. Apparently, Academy voters just didn’t understand Memento. Gotta rememember that next year…]

Best Director
Ron Howard, A Beautiful Mind
Ridley Scott, Black Hawk Down
Robert Altman, Gosford Park
Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
David Lynch, Mulholland Drive

JK: Ron Howard‘s A Beautiful Mind will defeat the talented directorial triumvirate of Altman, Jackson, and Lynch. At least I can go to my grave satisfied that Black Hawk Down got the shaft.
CN: At this point, it’s hard not to bet on Ron Howard. Anyone else think that Russell Crowe’s ‘really old Nash’ looks kinda like The Grinch?

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

CN: Listen close and you can hear the sound of one hundred million geeks screaming that Lord of the Rings was robbed. A Beautiful Mind, the fourth-best movie on this list, will actually win, and I will cap off my perfect, 24-for-24 year! [Or not…]
JK: Hand me my passport, because I’m leaving for New Zealand. A Beautiful Mind will take home the glory.
CN: See ya, Jer!

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