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Where do you can find more of Jess Alonso in the web?

This will be updating as far as Cifra2's name keeps poping in other sites.

Movies:

Ain't it cool news

New! Fall Oscar Preview

Down, at the Catalnet quote, the Summer Oscar Preview

Christopher Lee official Web Page

Reference to the Robert Bernocchi poll on five experts in Oscarwatching... you can get the whole article by clicking in the following link...

 

Catalnet

This is AICN's Europe editor homepage. I was honored by him by his request of my opinion for his Return of the King's Oscar chances poll... I never thought he was only asking five people and that among them was CNN's and Goldderby's Tom O'Neill. Here goes the whole article he wrote and our answers...

WHO'S GONNA WIN?


An Oscar 2004 survey


di Robert Bernocchi


When I talked on my site about the last Oscar Ceremony on march, I wrote that LOTR will be honored in 2004, thanks to the last part of the trilogy The Return of The King. Was I too optimistic (as some readers told me) or really the Peter Jackson team will win next year? Then, I thought that the best way to know was to contact experts and ask them their opinion. I confess that I agree with their opinions (not only because they told me that The Return of the King is the frontrunner :-) and I want to add a small advice to their wonderful insights. Im often hearing that a few actors of the trilogy are complaining about the poor consideration of the Academy towards Peter Jacksons work, adding that it would be a scandal if ROTK wont be rewarded. Frankly, I can agree with them, but I think its better to stop it. Please, remember how similar was the Martin Scorsese (a director who is an icon) campaign for Gangs of New York, which give the impression to the members of the Academy to be forced to vote for him to repair the mistakes done in the past times. We well know how it ended

The people who were so kind to answer my questions (and whom I want thank for their helpfulness, suggesting to the readers to take a look at their great sites):

Tom ONeil - Goldderby
Jesus Alonso a.k.a. Cifra2 - Cifra2's Mania
Neil Young Film Lounge
Walt Mas Oscar Empire
Sid Oscar Race

Lets start with Tom ONeil, who is running the popular website Goldderby and was the author of the fundamental guide Movie Awards The Ultimate, Unofficial Guide to the Oscars, Golden Globes, Critics, Guild & Indie Honors:

"Return of the King has an excellent chance to transcend the Oscar curse against fantasy films and win Best Picture. Early scuttlebutt says the movie is more psychologically and emotionally complex -- that will help it to be taken more seriously as Art. Another point: Part Three of a trilogy is an ending, which could suggest Happy Ending at the Oscars for the most successful film trilogy in cinema history. Lastly, the new, hurry-up Oscar calendar will help the film tremendously, too. It will be angling for the top Oscar gold while still aglow from its December/January box-office gold strike".
Tom ONeil

Below, you can read the other columnists opinions. If you want to know more about the movies mentioned, my advice is to take a look at the site Upcoming Movies.

- Which movie do you consider the frontrunner for the Oscars 2004? Why?

Jesus Alonso: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, obviously. Why? I think it is quite simple... Hollywood will have the need to reward one of the most daring - if not the most, which it is, in my opinion - film project ever shot! Add to this that from the box-office success of the whole trilogy, huge amounts of dollars will be spent by New Line in order to guarantee a "Best Picture" certificate in the multiple DVD compillation that eventually will be available with the whole trilogy. Hollywood can't leave Peter Jackson unrewarded, and bearing in mind the quality of the first two chapters of the trilogy (Fellowship and Two Towers), it would be a huge shock if the last film doesn't deliver as another masterpiece.
Even more... think about this: what other project this year can be compared to the magnitude of the Lord of the Rings series? Only The Matrix movies... and the critical reception for Reloaded has been, well, disappointing. Return of the King is guaranteed a huge - bigger than The Two Towers - box-office success, and word in the media will be - I'm sure - comparisons not with the original Star Wars trilogy, but maybe with The Godfather, in order of importance and quality. And I'm not a Lord of the Rings fan at all, I assure you... I still haven't read any Tolkien book, and I am only judging on its film merits.

Neil Young: Return of the King. At the moment I rank contenders in order of nomination probability only, and given the fact that FELLOWSHIP and TOWERS were both nominated, RETURN is the only film I'd consider to be anything like a certainty for nomination at this stage.
It therefore tops my rankings and must be considered the most likely winner, although of course the win will be much more difficult than the nomination. The fact that all three films were made at the same time, then edited into three separate units, means that we can safely assume that RETURN will be at least as good as the two previous chapters.

Walt Mas: I think at this point it's between The Last Samurai and Return of the King. I'd give the edge to the ROTK, because we know it will probably turn out great, while TLS, we only think will turn out great. I DON'T think Cold Mountain will be a contender much in the end.

Sid: Hard to tell at such an early stage, but from where things stand now, Return of the King and Cold Mountain are really the two biggies. King has an edge certainly, not only is it supposed to be the best film of the trilogy, but also because its spot is pre-ordained (although I hate saying that). The Godfather III and Gangs of New York clearly got nominated because of that factor, despite general disappointment from critics and movie-goers.
But Cold Mountain is as much in this race as LOTR is. It has a big director, a big big cast (possibly the best of the year), and the all-important Miramax factor. Hard to say, but right now I'll place my bets on LOTR.

- What are your five favourite movies to be nominated in the Best Picture category by now?

Jesus Alonso: I think that, apart from Return of the King, another costume epic will be nominated, either Master and Commander or The Last Samurai. I'm going with M&C just because Peter Weir is a much better director than Edward Zwick, even thought that maybe it's going to be Tom Cruise's year for finally winning Best Actor. Also, the third costume movie will be Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain rather than Robert Benton's The Human Stain (both with Nicole Kidman, that will surely split her votes between these two performances and hers in Lars von Trier's Dogville).
On the indie side, I know I'm almost alone in this one, but I think that the fourth nominee will probably be Quentin Tarantino's homage to Hong Kong movies (and Truffautt's The Bride wore Black, I guess) Kill Bill, which should easily collect all the "hip", "indie" and "rebel" votes that made previously appear in important cathegories movies like "Moulin Rouge!", "Adaptation", "Being John Malkovich", "Pulp Fiction", "Fargo"...
And there's the fifth spot, that almost every year goes to a comedy... my guess is Ridley Scott's "Matchstick Men" because both Scott and Cage will claim to have been snubbed in the last years (something I don't agree with) and will have probably a good box-office to support the movie.
Not to be forgotten are, though, many movies like Alejandro Gonzalez Iarritu's "21 Grams", Tim Burton's "Big Fish", Michael Gondry's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", and many others... And of course the surprise sleepers of the year.

Neil Young: At this stage (Friday 23rd May 2003) my predicted nomination slate for Best Picture is as follows (alphabetical order):

The Alamo
Cold Mountain
The Human Stain
The Last Samurai
The Lord of the Rings : The Return of the King

Walt Mas: Well right now, I have

1.ROTK
2.The Last Samurai
3.House of Sand and Fog
4.Cold Mountain
5.Seabiscuit

But like I said, I'm feeling bad for Cold Mountain, so I don't know.

Sid: Certainly LOTR and Cold Mountain. Third in line is House of Sand and Fog, because its a DreamWorks movie. They are itching to get back in the race because they made the wrong choices with release dates last year... Road to Perdition would have been a major player if it was released in November/December. In addition to that, the movie has well-respected actors, a new director (the Academy loves that), and good source material. The movie also has the advantage that its not an epic, mostly all the other big players are.
For the other two spots, I'll go with Seabiscuit (despite a summer release, Universal are major Oscar players) and Master and Commander (this is totally a wild guess, this film might eventually not live up to the hype).
I should add that I have a strong feeling that 21 Grams will gain enough momentum to be a strong player by the end of the game. The Last Samurai could be a strong contender, if Edward Zwick lives up to the expectations (his films haven't so far). But WB aren't all that great at campaigning.

- Do you think that The Return of the King eventually will get the Best Picture Award or The Lord of the Rings trilogy will be snubbed again?

Jesus Alonso: It might get Best Picture, and I think it is pretty obvious why, as I explained. What is more, if "Titanic" easily walked away with a sweep, how in the world will Hollywood dare not to award LotR? Unless Master and Commander or The Last Samurai (or a surprise Matrix: Revolution Best Picture nod) drains LotR votes, I'm sure Return of the King wouldn't have any trouble in walking away with the victory, as Jackson is OVERDUE for winning Adapted Screenplay and Director... and they usually go in the same pack with Picture (yeah, Polanski didn't win Best Picture this year, but that's not the rule).
In the end, of course, there's the slight possibility of a snub... but I confide in New Line's marketing campaign and timing enough to not have many doubts about it... this is maybe the clearest Oscar Race since 1993's (when Schindler's List was the obvious pick since its release).

Neil Young: My hunch is that RETURN OF THE KING will win, in recognition of the cumulative achievement that the trilogy represents. The fact that the film is almost certain to be the second most lucrative film of all time (perhaps it may possibly even overtake TITANIC to snare the #1 spot) will help. And I suspect that most of the films which presently appear the most serious rivals may well drop away when Oscar season really gets into full swing, by which time RETURN may appear a foregone conclusion.

Walt Mas: At this point, I think it WILL win Best Picture, but it's not as lock as people think it is. It will have to be EXTRAORDINARY and it needs even bigger office than the first two (not together).

Sid: Right now, it looks like it will, and I'll have my fingers crossed. There's that Weinstein rumour -- that he thinks the movie is "unstoppable" as a Best Pic winner. But I sense strong competition from Cold Mountain. I can pretty much gurantee that Jackson is taking Director, but Best Picture? I feel that ROTK won't be snubbed.

- Do you think that the Academy decision to move the ceremony from march to february will change deeply the competition? If so, who do you think will take advantage of?

Jesus Alonso: No, it won't change too much. The only thing is that the campaigns will start sooner (other big awards as the BAFTAs and the Golden Globes are being said to be changing their dates also) and will be even more intense than the A Beautiful Mind's from a couple of years ago... Things can get really dirty this year, I'm afraid.

Neil Young: I have no strong opinion on this. I suspect that all studios will alter their campaigning strategies as a result - the effective ones will remain so, the inefficient ones will again fare badly. The end result will probably be the same.
Comments have been made that "small" movies like MONSTER'S BALL will suffer due to the telescoped timeframe - I think that voters will be very aware of this, and deliberately give more attention to the "smaller" candidates to compensate. Result: status quo maintained.

Walt Mas: I think those smaller indie movies that will only have a limited release at the end of December (like The Pianist last year) will be hurt, because they won't be able to gain any momentum. However those smaller films that were released earlier (like Far From Heaven last year) will have an adventage, because they won't be forgotten. I think this also helps the big budget pics as well.

Sid: To put it bluntly, who knows? But there will certainly be some degree of change in the way studios handle their Oscar projects.
1. November will be a more important month. December might be too late, although LOTR and Cold Mountain are still sticking to their December slots. I suspect that the press screenings will begin much sooner.
2. Smaller movies will find it tougher, because they need the time to be widely seen and appreciated before stepping into the game.
3. It will be a benificial system for big pre-ordained movies like LOTR and Cold Mountain. So the indies and small budgest flicks need to watch out, probably early releases (Oct/Nov) will help.
4. The campaigning will become less intense. Hopefully, quality will be the more important factor.

All this is just specualtion, so its impossible toaccurately predict what'll change.
 

 

The Film Experience's 2002 Top Tens List

Even thought it's not updated, Nathaniel Rogers picked an early version of my 2002 Top Ten list, with Talk To Her as number 1... I saw later Chicago and Bowling for Columbine and the list changed (you can see the actual in my Top Tens page)

 

Shadows on the Wall: Award Sweeps

This came by surprise... by chance I found this compilation of movie awards worldwide and I got shocked - and honored - to find that my suggestions of the best of 2002 were counted among them.

 

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Marveltopia

Nothing to do with movies... this is a spanish Marvel fan fiction where I collaborate writing three series. If you know spanish, you can take a read... my series are Neal Conan, Mutants and What If? Don't judge very hard... this is just for fun.