đHwww.oocities.org/es/cifra2es/past_updates.htmwww.oocities.org/es/cifra2es/past_updates.htm.delayedxĂeŐJ˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ČŔř†×OKtext/html€čxTá×˙˙˙˙b‰.HFri, 20 May 2005 09:16:42 GMTsMozilla/4.5 (compatible; HTTrack 3.0x; Windows 98)en, *ŔeŐJ× Past Updates

Past Updates:


February 27th.

Marty's OSCAR. Finally? Final predictions.

Best Picture: The Aviator (alt. Million Dollar Baby)

Best Director: Martin Scorsese, The Aviator (alt. Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby)

Best Actor (no guts, no glory): Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby (alt. Jamie Foxx, The Aviator)

Best Actress (no guts, no glory): Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (alternate: Anette Benning, Being Julia)

Best Supporting Actor: Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby (alt. Clive Owen, Closer)

Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett, The Aviator (alt. Virginia Madsen, Sideways)

Best Original Screenplay: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (alt. The Aviator)

Best Adapted Screenplay: Sideways (alt. Before Sunset)

Best Animated Feature: The Incredibles (no alternate)

Best Foreign Film: The Sea Inside (alt. Yesterday)

Best Documentary Feature: Born into Brothels (alt. Super Size Me)

Best Documentary Short: The Children of Leningradsky (alt. Mighty Times: The Children's March)

Best Short Film (Live Action): 7:35 in the morning (alt. Little Terrorist)

Best Animated Short: Gopher Broke (alt. Birthday Boy)

Best Original Score: Finding Neverland (alt. The Passion of the Christ)

Best Song: Learn to be Lonely, The Phantom of the Opera (alt. Look to your path, The Chorus)

Best Cinematography: The Aviator (alt. House of the Flying Daggers)

Best Art Direction and Set Decoration: The Aviator (alt. Lemony Snicket's)

Best Costume Design: The Aviator (alt. Lemony Snicket's)

Best Film Editing: The Aviator (alt. Million Dollar Baby)

Best Sound: The Aviator (alt. Ray)

Best Sound Editing: The Incredibles (alt. Spider-man 2)

Best Visual Effects: I, Robot (alt. Spider-man 2)

Best Make Up: Lemony Snicket's (alt. The Passion of the Christ)



The Aviator.......8

Million Dollar Baby.......2

The Incredibles......2

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind....2


Finding Neverland......1

Lemony Snicket's.....1

The Phantom of the Opera.....1

I, Robot......1


Basically, because I think a first Marty victory deserves a sweep and probably Hollywood agrees with that, given similar patterns of overdue directors winning Best Picture (Steven Spielberg, most notably). Also, I'm thinking M$B is going the same way of Mystic River, 2 acting awards, and Eastwood winning as Actor, the Oscar he still hasn't got. Also the Academy thinking Ray's nod are enough reward for the film's merits and Sideways and Jamie have had enough awards all year long (so Jamie is comfortably sitting for winning his Oscar for his next nod, he's young). Score going to the only BP nominee, and Spain winning 2 Oscars (live short and Foreign Film).

Of course I may be wrong, but heck, here's my bet.




February whatever.

OSCAR time.

OK, here we are. And while many, many are suggesting it's Million Dollar Baby's Oscar to lose, with Marty losing AGAIN to an actor-turned-director, and despite being the most nominated movie of the year (and the most Oscarish), I still go with Oscar history and say that The Aviator will probably even sweep.

Yes, it looks like Eastwood's film has its momentum, thanks above all to the sense that last year's "Mystic River" was blocked from due recognition by the "Return of the King" sweep everywhere. But once more, this is the Oscar.

... and Oscar knows. Oscar knows Clint already has won twice (Picture, Director for "Unforgiven") and Marty none (and that Marty's career is even more impressive and influential than Clint's). That Clint's only "dueness" may be in his acting abilities, and however, his acting resume actually pales with Leo's achievements (what can we count as Oscar-calibre performances by Eastwood in his whole career? The Bridges of Madison County and Unforgiven? A perfect world maybe?). No, the Clint has enough already and the Million Dollar Baby love will traduce probably in a lonely win for Morgan Freeman as Supporting Actor, and leaving this to a Leo vs. Jamie competition.

That means Swank ain't winning either, I know. Her win in front of - specially - Benning and Winslet will be itching the Academy for years. Remember back in 2001's edition when everybody talked about the safety of Spaceck and Tomei's bet because of their performances in "In the Bedroom"? Apply this to Swank: nod is enough, Hillary. Right now I'd say that Benning and Winslet are the two women with bigger chances... Annette because she's Hollywood royalty, and Kate because being SO young she has achieved an amazing count of FOUR nominations and ZERO wins (and is nominated for the movie that many, many, many feel has been snubbed from a Best Picture nod).

Back to Male Supporting, it's Freeman. Owen has a slight chance and even Alda if the Academy goes Aviator-crazy... however, Million Dollar Baby HAS to be rewarded somewhere, and the standing ovation for Freeman will probably be an indirect homage to the whole movie (something similar to what happened in 1994 with Pulp Fiction's only win at Original Screenplay).

On the female supporting cathegory... well, given that the Best Picture winner USUALLY has an Oscar winning performance, and Leo faces Jamie and Clint, I'd say that Cate is winning. Nathalie maybe too young (and the Globe maybe enough reward) and Madsen maybe just thankful of having her career resurrected with the nod. Okonedo is probably the shocker this cathegory usually has (Paquin, Tomei, Binoche) and Linney's nod is the "tribute" of the Academy to Kinsey... That means, that while I expect - as most - a Cate victory, neither of the five names would surprise me at Oscar night. This is usually the toughest cathegory along with Foreign Language Film.

On that cathegory, everybody, and I mean everybody expects Amenábar to win. But there's something sooooooo weird with the fact of the Academy awarding a movie about euthanasia, given the republican government, that - despite not having such good reviews - I'm guessing it's - again - the movie with children the one chosen for Oscar gold... that is "Les Choristes", France. However, the HUGE shocking win of the nigh would be Germany's "Downfall", that has been criticized for portraying Adolf Hitler as an human being (?).

Animated is soooooooo locked that Pixar and Brad Bird can be already writing the speech - if they haven't done it yet. However, Bird won't be expecting to "steal" Charlie Kauffman's first Oscar for Original Screenplay for "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"... if one does it, it will be "The Aviator". On Adapted, is obviously, "Sideways"... however, there's a certain itch about "Before Sunset", a movie co-written by the director (Richard Linklater) and two actors (Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke) in a poll that is voted mostly by actors (amont the Screenplay winners we have names like Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon)... so I'd say there's little room for surprises in this cathegory.

So, basically... the most probable scenarios are... (YELLOW, MY PICKS)


Picture: The Aviator

Director: Martin Scorsese, The Aviator

Actor: Jamie Foxx, Ray OR Leonardo di Caprio, The Aviator

Actress: Kate Winslet, Eternal... or Annette Benning, Being Julia

Sup. Actor: Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby

Supp. Actress: Cate Blanchett, The Aviator.

Or. Screenplay: The Aviator or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Ad. Screenplay: Sideways



Picture: Million Dollar Baby

Director Martin Scorsese, The Aviator OR Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby

Actor: Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby

Actress: Hillary Swank, Million Dollar Baby

Supp. Actor: Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby

Supp. Actress: Cate Blanchet, The Aviator.

Or. Screenplay: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Adapted Screenplay: Million Dollar Baby OR Sideways


3) SIDEWAYS upsets!

Picture: Sideways

Director: Martin Scorsese, The Aviator

Actor: Jamie Foxx, Ray

Actress: Annette Bening, Being Julia or Kate Winslet, Eternal...

Sup. Actor: Thomas Haden Church, Sideways

Supp. Actress: Virginia Madsen, Sideways

Or. Screenplay: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Ad. Screenplay: Sideways

(+ Original Score for Sideways).


Big question to answer this year's riddle is... how big is the impact, one year later, of Eastwood's Mystic River in the Academy? Wasn't it enoughly rewarded for the film's biggest merit, that is, the performances? Is it there the feeling that Clint is better than Marty? I say no. And Hollywood LOVES standing ovations.

Further hint: Most nominated movies in each edition of the last years (winner with *)

2003: Return of the King *

2002: Chicago *

2001: Fellowship of the Ring (winner* A Beautiful Mind)

2000: Gladiator *

1999: American Beauty *

1998: Shakespeare in Love *

1997: Titanic *

1996: The English Patient *

1995: Braveheart *

1994: Forrest Gump *

1993: Schindler's List *

1992: Unforgiven *

1991: Bugsy (*winner Silence of the Lambs)

1990: Dances with Wolves *


That means, that unless a very significant circumstance (Silence of the Lambs being an almost sociologycal phenomenum, and Fellowship of the Ring being just the first part of a triptic yet to be finished), ALWAYS the most nominated movie wins. There's a logical explanation to that... to win, a movie has to earn votes in most of the branches, so the most branches a movie is nominated in, the most probably this branch will vote it for Best Picture, if nominated to that Award... deepening in the reasoning, a movie that potentiates the budget on visual effects, for example, will most probably score more votes from that branch for best picture. This year, Million Dollar Baby has only love from four branches (actors, directors, screenwriters and film editors), Sideways from four too (actors, directors, screenwriters and composers), but The Aviator has 11 nominations from 8 branches and in acting cathegories is - along with Million Dollar Baby - the most nominated film. Analyzing everything together, and bearing in mind the "Silence of the Lambs" exception to the rule, question is... is Million Dollar Baby a so significant movie for Hollywood or society? Or will the Academy be tempted of agreeing with Critics and give top honors to "Sideways"? To that last question, the answer is pretty obvious... if they didn't give it to Pulp Fiction, they won't to Sideways, whose impact is in no ways as huge.


January, 19th

After the Globes...

Best Picture: The Aviator vs. Sideways. The Aviator wins by default... Sideways didn't manage to get any acting award, and The Aviator only failed in Director, right in front of Million Dollar Baby (who's third in line, of course).

Best Director: Martin Scorsese. His defeat by Eastwood won't translate to the Oscars, as Eastwood already has two Academy Awards. Any other winner would be shocking, to say the least.

Best Actor: A confirmation that this is Leo vs. Foxx. I still smell a Leo victory thanks to two factors: He's finally playing a MAN, not a boyish character, and well, Cheadle might be getting in and syphooning some Foxx votes... enough? We'll see.

Best Actress: Uma has Zero chance - needed to upset at the Globes, and Staunton didn't win Hillary, so it's Benning's Oscar.

Supporting: Both Sideways folks lost to both Closer folks... that makes more clear that Freeman and Blanchett - thanks to their dueness - have more to say than many are saying.

Screenplay: Sideways gets Adapted. Original is more open, but Eternal Sunshine still has the lead.

Score: The Aviator ENTERS the race!

Foreing Film: The Sea Inside takes the lead again above House... however anything can happen yet. However, this win will make TSI gain A LOT of attention and probably will boost its b.o. (it already had the good reviews factor).


January, 15th

Almost there now... Who's getting nominated and who's winning (and why!)

... and The Aviator is taking the Golden Guy home. Million Dollar Baby has a HUGE problem... and that problem is actually the impossibility of taking home Director, Lead Actor, Lead Actress and Screenplay. Eastwood is NOT winning either Director (over Scorsese) or Actor (over di Caprio and Foxx)... Swank is not winning her second Leading Oscar in only SIX years, specially not in the year of Benning, Stauton, Thurman or Winslet (who may score a double nod). Million Dollar Baby, if winning Best Picture will have only a few other wins (Freeman as Supporting, Film Editing and maybe cinematography or Sound... but nothing else is on the way as a real possibility).

Sideways, you'll say. Huh? The tiny film that is - in general opinion - OVERrewarded already? In my opinion, Sideways is taking home Adapted Screenplay and maybe - if lucky - a Supporting Actress Oscar for Virginia Madsen and / or Score. Church isn't winning over Freeman, who's among the most overdue actors alive, and Payne is definetly not winning over Scorsese.

What's happening then? A "The Aviator" sweep. I think it's taking home - for sure - Picture, Director, Art Direction, Costume Design in the worst of the cases... but Film Editing, Sound, Make Up, Supporting Actress (Cate Blanchett), Score, Actor (Leonardo di Caprio), Cinematography... I'm increasingly sure "The Aviator" will be a 7-9 Oscar Best Picture winner.

... so, about the nods... in Best Picture, it looks like...

The Aviator (winner)

Finding Neverland

Million Dollar Baby



alternate: Hotel Rwanda (6th)

shock on Nomination Morning: Fahrenheit 9/11 or The Incredibles


... on Best Director...

The Aviator, directed by Martin Scorsese

Closer, directed by Mike Nichols

House of the Flying Daggers, directed by Zhang Yimou

Million Dollar Baby, directed by Clint Eastwood

Sideways, directed by Alexander Payne

alternate: Finding Neverland, directed by Marc Forster

shock on Nomination Morning: Pedro Almodóvar, Mel Gibson, Michael Moore, Walter Salles or Alejandro Amenábar


... Lead Actress...

Annette Benning, Being Julia

Imelda Stauton, Vera Drake

Hillary Swank, Million Dollar Baby

Uma Thurman, Kill Bill vol. 2

Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

alternate: Julia Roberts, Closer

shock on Nomination Morning: Laura Dern, Audrey Tatou


... and Lead Actor

Leonardo di Caprio, The Aviator

Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda

Johnny Depp, Finding Neverland

Jamie Foxx, Ray

Paul Giamatti, Sideways

alternate(s): Javier Bardem, The Sea Inside; Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby; Liam Neeson, Kinsey

shock on Nomination Morning: Jeff Bridges, Gael García Bernal (either movie)


... and daring to predict the actual winners...


Picture: The Aviator

why? Because it is everything Oscar loves. Million Dollar Baby probably won't have a huge branches support and basically it's a matter of rewarding an Oscar movie or not. The Aviator is clearly the Oscar movie of the year, a safe enough pick


Director: Martin Scorsese, The Aviator

why? Need to ask? Really???


Actress: Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

why? Not only she's due, but the Academy will probably want to reward Eternal Sunshine in any ways... Annette Bening is the frontrunner, though... but Kate's career is screaming for recognition and she still has the "babe" factor on her side... Bening and Stauton may be too "old" for the Academy. To add fuel, Kate will maybe score a double nod this year.


Actor: Leonardo di Caprio, The Aviator (yup, Cheadle syphoons enough Foxx votes and Leo wins)

why? Because I can see this actually happening... The Aviator sweeping and making Leo defeat both Jamie and Don. And actually Jamie's career PALES in comparison with Leo's.


Supp. Actress: Cate Blanchett, The Aviator

why? Not that I think she's due, but she's got the edge over Madsen because many, many think she should already have an Oscar for "Elizabeth" and has been snubbed many times from a nod (basically a similar feeling to the one that surrounds Leo's persona). I've got Winslet as my predicted winner in Leading, so that leaves empty road for a Madsen vs. Blanchett battle... and frankly, Cate has all the "due" factor and Virginia can't seriously complain about winning Awards.


Supp. Actor: Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby

why? Seriously, it's high time. This is Oscar and it looks like the year of the "due", the year were "new" Oscar flesh will have to be thankful for being nominated and stand up for the standing ovation. Yes, Morgan is getting a standing ovation this night.


Original Screenplay: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

why? Mmmm... this may shift to another contender, but it's Charlie Kauffman Oscar time for one of the most praised screenplays in recent years.


Adapted Screenplay: Sideways

why? Come on! Where have you been recently? This is Payne's Oscar.


Foreign Film: House of the Flying Daggers

why? Because its main competitor, The Sea Inside has bombed at b.o. and Zhang Yimou already scored a huge b.o. and critical hit with the superb Hero, that lost this one 2 years ago and is unfairly NOT ellegible in any cathegory. And also, Zhang Yimou's career deserves to have one Oscar AT LEAST.


Animated Feature: The Incredibles

why? Once more, out of question... we're talking about an Animated movie with talk of how deserving it would be to see it nominated for Best Picture or Best Director. This is the most locked win of the night.



December, 22nd.

Finally updating!!!

Sorry for the delay, many things happened to me that distracted me from the site, folks!

In the meanwhile we had some campaign derrailings (Spanglish, in my opinion, being the most notable), surprise appearances (Million Dollar Baby), and above all, a sweep: SIDEWAYS.

What's left, then?

Million Dollar Baby, Sideways and The Aviator seem pretty much locked nominees for Picture, Director and Screenplay... some actors are more than likely nominees (Church, Madsen, Swank, Freeman, di Caprio, Blanchett) and some are more iffy but with a chance still (Alda, Eastwood and Giamatti). These are the three films that will compete for the top prizes.

Despite all odds, we had also a couple of movies resurrecting for "not so minor" nods (Collateral, Kill Bill vol. 2). The NBR, the Globes and the Satellites have put Mann, Foxx, Uma and Carradine beyond many Oscarwatcher's expectations... however, they also killed some campaigns as Bridges who is still pending on a Screen Actors Guild nod to have a little hope of making the Lead Actor (what a crowded race!) nod.

So, at this moment, here are my Xmas predictions...


The Aviator *

Finding Neverland

Million Dollar Baby





The Aviator, Martin Scorsese *

Closer, Mike Nichols

House of the Flying Daggers, Zhang Yimou

Million Dollar Baby, Clint Eastwood

Sideways, Alexander Payne


Lead Actress

Annette Benning, Being Julia *

Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake

Hillary Swank, Million Dollar Baby

Uma Thurman, Kill Bill vol. 2

Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


Lead Actor

Javier Bardem, The Sea Inside

Leonardo di Caprio, The Aviator

Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda

Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby

Jamie Foxx, Ray *


Supporting Actress

Cate Blanchett, The Aviator

Laura Linney, Kinsey

Virginia Madsen, Sideways

Nathalie Portman, Closer

Kate Winslet, Finding Neverland *


Supporting Actor

Alan Alda, The Aviator

Thomas Haden Church, Sideways

Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby *

Clive Owen, Closer

Peter Sarsgaard, Kinsey

* Predicted winner.





October 19th.

Big updates. One month without working on this site... Short notes - finally - on Van Helsing, The Day After Tomorrow and Secret Window. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (short) review.

The Race update. Only Top 10 from here, for the four big ones.

This year's complicated as ever Lead Actor Race:

Christian Bale, believe it or not, in The Machinist.

What is going on? Seriously, what? It looks like this year every Actor wants to win the Oscar, all at the same time. Some of them, like if they could win TWO Leading Oscars the same year... let's recall some of the names that are actually being thrown to the mix.

1) Real contenders for the win:

Actually, only three, in my opinion (alphabetically): Javier Bardem in The Sea Inside, Jamie Foxx in Ray and Leonardo di Caprio in The Aviator. Bardem and Foxx have star turning roles that the Academy will bite without a doubt. Di Caprio, in exchange, has its only chance on how big will The Aviator be and winning as payback for so many snubs.

2) The old snubbed bandwagon:

Jeff Bridges (The Door on the Floor) leading all of them. Bill Murray (The Life Aquatic...) being next and overstimated on his real chances, given the competition. Liam Neesom (Kinsey) and Johnny Depp (Finding Neverland) as the two real contenders for getting in. Jim Carrey as a force to be reckoned (I'm guessing he'll be in thanks to some critical awards love to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as well as a Golden Globe nod and win at Comedy / Musical). Tom Cruise in Collateral and Kevin Bacon in The Woodsman are two performances I think won't be remembered this year given the competition. And I would include here Don Cheadle for his Schindler's-like Hotel Rwanda.

3) All the young - and pretty - horses:

Christian Bale (The Machinist), Colin Farrell (Alexander), Gael García Bernal (Bad Education AND Motorcycle Diaries), Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ), Jude Law (Closer)... at least one of them will get in.

4) The oh, you already got one, nod would be enough:

Basically only two names and I don't expect them to get in, unless disaster: Kevin Spacey (2 wins) in Out to Sea and Kevin Kline in De-Lovely. Little buzz for any of them. Thank God, actually, this year an Actor will receive his FIRST Oscar. Share the wealth, folks, share the wealth.


September 11th.

Not only I do see good movies. Short notes on Garfield and Catwoman, exactly what you SHOULDN'T do when adapting comic to big screen.

Also, Fahrenheit 9/11 won't be ellegible, in a coherent move by Michael Moore. Well, at least he already has one for his best movie.


September, 6th.

Mar Adentro REVIEW. Oscar time for Mr. Bardem.

Safest Bets.

Each year there are movies, performances and people you simply KNOW are going to be nominated unless unpredictable disaster. This year is not an exception, of course.

The Aviator, by Martin Scorsese is a pretty safe bet on most cathegories - Picture, Director (Martin Scorsese), Lead Actor (Leonardo di Caprio), Supporting Actress (Cate Blanchett), Cinematography, Costume Design, Art Direction and Set Decoration and Film Editing will probably be in the pack of nods that will make the movie the frontrunner for 2004's Oscar gold. Why? Between you and me, because that's the reason why the movie was made. It is a movie made for Oscar, and Oscar knows it. No other movie this year - even Alexander or The Phantom of the Opera - has a so clear target - or obsession.

Apart from this one, there's a small line up of people that HAVE to be present in the nomination list. Most notably, they are...

Javier Bardem, Lead Actor, in Mar Adentro. The movie has HUGE buzz, and even detractors insist in his amazing performance. As he was the moral winner in 2000 - when Russell Crowe took away HIS Oscar for one of the most memorable performances in the last 20 years (Before Night Falls) - Hollywood knows they already owe him one, and what a better way to give him it back than reward him with a nod for a role that is everything Oscar loves.

Jamie Foxx, Lead Actor, in Ray. The double push by "Ray" and "Collateral" should be enough, but beware of split voting if "Ray" is not the hit everyone expects. However, given the track record of similar african american biopics - "Malcom X", "Ali", "What love got to do with it" - I expect to be a fair loser at Oscar night. Nod is already a huge reward, just ask Will Smith.

Cloris Leachman, Supporting Actress, in Spanglish. An exceptional chance of rewarding one of America's top supporting actresses.

The Incredibles, Best Animated Feature. It's Pixar, say no more.

Fahrenheit 9/11, Best Documentary Feature. Obviously. The highest grossing documentary ever - and probably one of the most importants ever made, being objective, given its impact, simply has to be nominated. A win, however...

Mar Adentro, Best Make Up. Ouch, just watching the images of Bardem's characterization, it's a lock. They only have to promote the movie. Seriously.

Vanity Fair, Best Costume Design. Mmmm... have you seen the photos? Right.


Other supposed "locks" aren't so obvious, though... for example, Jim Caveziel's performance and his make up in "The Passion of the Christ", while obvious picks - and pretty safe ones, actually - have the risk of Academy members simply avoiding being polemic by rewarding Gibson's messianic movie. Mike Nichols' comeback with "Closer" can still go either way, it's a movie that can do really well at Oscar, but at the same time, Oscar won't miss if forgotten... same goes for some of the best reviewed films of the year... "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", "Spiderman 2" and "Shrek 2"... they opened too soon and won't be as "fresh" as Fall and December releases.

Next update, the Dark Horses that everybody are smelling...



Best Actor in a Leading Role

Jeremy Irons, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Al Pacino, Tom Hanks (x2), Nicholas Cage, Geoffrey Rush, Jack Nicholson, Roberto Benigni, Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Denzel Washington, Adrien Brody and Sean Penn are the winners since 1990 in this cathegory. 3 villains, and plenty of tortured characters (specially mentally challenged in one way or another) and only two comedic roles (and one of them clearly tortured in the Holocaust!) give a good idea of who we should watch out as the winner in this cathegory this year. The main contenders are:


Javier Bardem, in Mar Adentro.

Gael García Bernal, in The Motorcycle Diaries or Bad Education.

Jeff Bridges, in The Door on the Floor.

Leonardo di Caprio, The Aviator.

Jim Carrey, in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Jim Caveziel, in The Passion of the Christ.

Tom Cruise, in Collateral.

Johnny Depp, in Finding Neverland.

Colin Farrell, in Alexander or A Home at the End of the World.

Jamie Foxx, in Ray or Collateral.

Jude Law, in Closer.

Bill Murray, in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zisou.

Liam Neesom, in Kinsey.

Adam Sandler, in Spanglish.

... and more that I'm shamelessly forgetting. However, the quintet isn't as hard to guess as it looks. At this moment, looking at the actors and roles, Bardem, di Caprio and Foxx (Ray) look really safe bets. Caveziel is NOT going to be ignored after his "suffering" in The Passion of the Christ, one of the most widely seen and talked about movies of the year, and with added merit of giving a whole performance in a "dead" language... he's probably in, too. For the fifth element, I pick the movie that is going to be most promoted along with The Aviator. It's a biopic, it's "historycal" and it's huge. Farrell will surely get final recognition - he was snubbed last year for his excellent tour de force in Phone Booth, remember? - for "Alexander". Winner? Close race between a very due di Caprio, a previously robbed Bardem - for me, the best actor of his generation - , a very HOT Farrell and the rising star of Jamie Foxx. Caveziel? Nod is enough, thanks, and let's avoid a messianic speech at Oscar night, OK?

And who's the Sixth Man, you will ask. I think all of the rest are a bit under these leads, however Cruise might have the best shot for being also SO due, hot for being shooting the most expensive film ever - Spielberg's The War of the Worlds, wow! - and for playing against type. Bill Murray and Johnny Depp are still hot from losing in the very last minute on 2003. Jeff Bridges, well, it's a shame he still hasn't got a single Oscar, but The Door on the Floor has opened too soon and hasn't been so big to justify that he will be remembered. Neesom has a problematic role to be rewarded, Kinsey, the father of modern sexuality. García Bernal has TWO foreign language roles that may make him split voting, favoring Bardem's chances. However, I admit that it is still too soon to tell. Finally, Law, Carrey and Sandler look as longshots that still depend on many factors... Law was nominated last year without a single chance of winning and Closer may go either way... Carrey and Sandler have both been already robbed from nods (Carrey twice, for The Truman Show and Man on the Moon; Sandler for Punch Drunk Love, a memorable performance) and Jim needs of a "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" revival by the end of the year, and Sandler just needs not to be drowned by the three actresses that are earning the buzz of "Spanglish": Tea Leoni, Paz Vega and Cloris Leachman (the most likely to be nominated).


Lead Actor Race (for the nomination, yellow good chance of winning if nominated):

1. Leonardo di Caprio, The Aviator. Because he's the star of the movie that is expected to sweep.

2. Jamie Foxx, Ray. Because he's hot right now, and the role is Oscar candy.

3. Javier Bardem, Mar Adentro. Because he's probably the best actor of his generation, his role extremely Oscarish, and the movie is one of the most anticipated of the year for critics.

4. Jim Caveziel, The Passion of the Christ. Because he will have probably enough support - and actually his performance is really challenging.

5. Colin Farrell, Alexander. He's hot but he may split votes with his other big performance of the year.

6. Tom Cruise, Collateral. If Denzel won for "Training Day" his second Oscar, why shouldn't they nominate Tom Cruise who still hasn't one for a similar role?

7. Johnny Depp, Finding Neverland. Maybe the nod for "Pirates of the Caribbean" can be a handicap and not an added push to get the nod.

8. Liam Neesom, Kinsey. However, Neesom has only been nominated once, and for another biopic. A sense of repetition will play against his chances.

9. Jeff Bridges, The Door on the Floor. It opened too soon. He will need a revival, and the competition in Fall is too strong.

10. Bill Murray, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Whatever. I want him to win one soon, but the role isn't exactly Oscarish, and people might remember his reaction at Oscar night in 2003's edition when the winner's name was read and wasn't him. It's not good to be a bad loser (that is, not to fake).



August 20th.

The Race update, some important changes. Fahrenheit loses steam, The Passion strikes back.


A too edgy year?

OK, 2004 is being too special in Oscar terms. You look around and there's plenty of contenders that Hollywood wouldn't like to have as nominees for Best Picture... is something changing or it's simply an allucination?

The Passion of the Christ and Fahrenheit 9/11 are well known headaches for the Academy. Religious integrism and political attacks are not what the AMPAS want to see in the red carpet, which may fill with demonstrator favoring or against the nominations... but there are more - and if you didn't notice, you obviously have been naive.

Alexander, one of the big competitors has plenty of bad buzz about how they have dealt with Alexanders the Great's sexuality. Gay activists protesting warning! Amenábar's Mar Adentro is about the right to die... not an easy issue to handle, so there you have demonstrators against euthanasia too...

Kinsey, well is the biopic of the "father" of modern sexuality... there you have another "hot" issue that may get some people out of their houses ready to protest for nominating a movie about a "pervert" - ridiculous I know, but I wouldn't be surprised.  And what about a movie about a young Che Guevara? That's The Motorcycle Diaries, isn't it? A portrait of one of the best known "reds" nominated in America???

Or simply imagine that the Academy celebrates Tarantino's double masterpiece and the "blood fest" that is Kill Bill vol. 2 scores a Best Picture nod. Violence at the Oscars? No way.

So after these thoughts - I've been a bit ironical, as you can see - the question remains the same... has Hollywood changed? Has Hollywood grown up? The answer, in a few months.


August 11th, 2004

Short notes on The Stepford Wives. Fahrenheit 9/11 review. Top 10 - provisional - updated.

August 5th, 2004

The Race update!


First "Chasermania" - my first music video, for Vanity Bear - screenshots. "Road to Freedom", aborted. Preparing also "Bear Fatale" another video for Vanity Bear.

The relative importance of being "due", vol. 2. Uma, David, Daryl, Quentin...

Come on... we all know we want this to happen. Uma is being deserving to win since "Pulp Fiction". David is a legend from a legendary family. Daryl is one of the most underrated actresses around and Hollywood owes her some recognition. The three of them kick serious ass in Tarantino's Kill Bill vol. 2, and will Hollywood notice?

In a year with controversies about a gore christian movie and a left wing documentary being nominated for Best Picture, everything is eclipsing Tarantino's masterpiece which seems already out of the race unless critics decide to push it back where it belongs - along with the year's best.

Is Tarantino due? Ugh, he already has won one, I could say... yes, but it was Original Screenplay for a movie that was ROBBED from the top awards (Picture, Director, Actor (John Travolta) and Supporting Actress (Uma Thurman) to say the least), and right after ignoring his masterful film debut (Reservoir Dogs, which was robbed of nods at least for Harvey Keytel and Steve Buscemi and for Screenplay and Film Editing) and before snubbing also the much underrated "Jackie Brown" - Pam Grier, another Tarantino performer robbed - and even Kill Bill vol. 1 that featured excellent performances by Thurman and Liu.

But after the triumph of the Lord of the Rings series, here comes the chance of Hollywood rewarding both chapters with the final one.

OK, it's a dream. It won't happen. No way. Not Best Picture material... however the performances are a different matter. Hannah and Carradine are a comeback and Hollywood LOVES comebacks... Hannah is being considered an extreme longshot - mmm... let's see later in the year, I guess that she might be in the award season pack, as she's hot right now and difficult to forget - while Carradine is considered an almost lock... I agree on that.

However Uma... Uma... mmm... she looks either winning or being completely forgotten. No middle point here. She's "due" of course, but... Hollywood is a b*tch, you know.




May 2004

May 19th, 2004

The Relative Importance of being Due

Marty, Leo et allii...

... have the accurate and deserved label of being "due" for Oscar. However is that true? Truth is that the accumulation of "due" names is what in the end makes "The Aviator" this year's clear frontrunner even for an Oscar sweep. Marty never won an Oscar. Neither has Leo. And many, many insist on Cate Blanchett as "ready" for Oscar (something I don't really agree... she's one of the best actress around but there are plenty of unrewarded and more deserving names waiting even for a nod).

Looking back, Marty's best shot is curiously that his latest movie, "Gangs of New York" was shut out of ANY win back in 2002, even having Director going to Roman Polanski - most predictions insisted that he would win anyways, that the surest win was Director, with a possible split with picture going to the frontrunner "Chicago" - and making Marty even more "ready" for recognition. And then, "The Aviator", a glamorous, luxury production with plenty of major studio support, with big stars all around, and with two of the key elements that assure Oscar attention - being a biopic and having movie related elements - inside, arrives and it's difficult to resist naming it the year's frontrunner.

However, so it was - basically - "Gangs of New York" and it flopped at Oscar night. Why? Because the Academy is SO strange...

The general comment that "GoNY" wasn't among Marty's best killed its chances. In my opinion, "GoNY" is a great movie and definetly among his bests, in what I feel is a quite overrated career (I can't stand "New York, New York" for starters, and "Goodfellas", while awesome, doesn't look to me as "Oscar-robbed"... my favorite Scorsese movie is "The Last Temptation of Christ"). It's true that the consensus was that 2002 was Marty's year and word of mouth changed the tide into a well distributed Oscar night - big ones went to Chicago, The Pianist and Talk to Her - that left Miramax with a bittersweet taste in their mouth... they got Best Picture, but not with the big budget feature they wanted to win (in order to increase its b.o.). Will this repeat this year? I doubt it... competition is different and "The Aviator"'s material is really anticipated, not as "GoNY". I doubt Marty will fail this time.

Add to this Leo. He was ROBBED of an Oscar nod for "Catch me if you can", mainly because the biggest support was for "Gangs of New York" and he probably split votes and was left out. Looking back and noticing that his only nod is "What's eating Gilbert Grape?" and that he was snubbed for Oscar goliath "Titanic" and most embarrassangly for "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet" is enough to understand why he will be nominated for his Howard Hughes impersonation.

Of course, I can be wrong. More to come about Oscar and being "due". Stay tuned.


May 18th, 2004

A Bad Oscar perspective for Almodóvar.

Truth is that Almodóvar's latest, "Bad Education", has it all to become one of the critical darlings of the year, but...

... after having seen it twice at the theaters, and despite the news of critical love arriving from Cannes Film Festival - 4 "Masterpiece" ratings - reality can't be avoided. This is "Law of Desire" territory... explicit homosexuality is NOT Academy Award calibre, no matter how well shot it may be. The mixing of genres, a certain maestry in directing and writing, an amazing plot twist... they will gain a lot of attention for this movie, that will probably - surely - make the cut into a lot of top ten lists by the end of 2004.

However, the Academy Awards are other thing. They have rewarded Almodóvar back in 1999 (Foreign Film, "All about my mother") and 2002 (Original Screenplay and a nod for Director, "Talk to Her") and there won't be the feel that he has to be recognised again so soon, unless they feel that he tops again himself - something I don't think, there are several really important flaws in "Bad Education" that prevent me from putting it in the same level that "Talk to Her", "What have I done to deserve this?" or "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown", Almodóvar's best films. "Bad Education" is great, amazing at some points - with breathtaking moments - but ultimately it feels a bit as a revisitation of "Law of Desire"'s universe - something Almodóvar himself has admitted - and lacks a bit of pacing in the first 30 minutes and a better performer than Fele Martínez as the co-star. Also, it must be said that something is going really wrong when you end a movie and one of the two things that impress you more is a less than five minutes long cameo by Javier Cámara, who is Award worthy (but well, Almodóvar says that he's cut a lot of him, that will be available on DVD...) in an scene-stealing turn that confirms himself as one of the best actors around, capable of completely disappearing in any role (he reminds me of the best Dustin Hoffmann).

On Oscar perspectives, Picture is a real longshot. Once more, Almodóvar's attention might focus on Foreign Film - if submitted, which I doubt given that the lack of this chance rocketed "Talk to Her" into Oscar love -, Director (it might get it "a la" David Lynch for Mulholland Drive -, Original Screenplay (nod, but no win, thanks) and this time Best Actor for a hot Gael García Bernal that will play the "body of work" card with this one and Walter Salles' "The Motorcycle Diaries", a double impact that can't be ignored. Maybe this time Score, Costume Design will make the cut also... but they're longshots. But bear this in mind... this looks like Scorsese's year, and Almodóvar won Best Original Screenplay on 2002, the cathegory of Marty's Gangs of New York that went emptyhanded. This time it may be the "nod is enough" time for Pedro. Better luck next time.


April 2004



April 29th, 2004

Dawn of the Dead and The Passion of the Christ reviews. Some changes on The Race.

Two different movies about buds that die and then get up (sorry, couldn't resist!).



April 24th, 2004

After The Passion of the Christ...

Truth is, that The Passion of the Christ is THE movie of the year. Like it or not.

That being said, its Oscar chances are as enigmatic as Akiva Goldman's Oscar appeal (my God, this guy got an Oscar!) and my doubts on the film's fate came Oscar time increase... I'm still guessing it will be overlooked in the main chategories but will anyways land some technical nods and probably the Make Up win (the goriest Oscar since The Fly, I guess), with even an obviously deserving of some recognition Jim Caviezel being snubbed in order to avoid the possibility of an "illuminated" acceptance speech by the latest "Jesus" that could flame some sectors of the industry and the clergy. As I point out in my review, the movie has obvious interest and quality, and ends up being a very good one, and probably the best approach ever made to one of the most important events in the History of human kind (the birth of christianism obviously is)... and being fair, the movie is not antisemitic at all... for any objective viewer we just find jews wanting romans to execute a jew criminal that happens to be inocent. I find quite ironic that all the complaints about the movie actually helped it to be one of the biggest successes ever (specially considering that it's subtitled in ALL territories)... What is more, while Gibson can be regarded now as somewhat inocent of the accusations he has heard, some groups are giving a paranoid image... That obviously complicates the Award season issue, because if the movie is sensed as innocent of those claims, it can be championed as a serious movie - and it is obviously Best Picture material.

The factors are:

1) B.O. Success: Backs it.

2) Critics: Mixed, at best. This is the point that almost kills it chances, given that the movie won't be appearing at the critics circle's awards. However, I'm sure it will appear in many top 10 lists. The ones that liked it, liked it a lot.

3) Political Correctness: The movie isn't P.C. at all, but... it actually is what it claims to be, an adaptation of some parts of the Bible. Those who sense it as the definitive anti-torture film or are devote christians will probably mark it as one of the year's five bests.

4) Gore and Subtitles: Well, mainstream audiences have embraced the movie anyways. The Academy won't mind either.

5) 2003 Screenings: There's the sense that the movie will be declared inellegible due to some screenings Gibson offered on 2003.

My 2 cents? The movie won't be ellegible for Oscar consideration. The majors would be glad to get rid of "The Passion" in the Oscar race, and the Academy, who hates controversy will probably agree. Basically, we can move on to the year's real contenders for Oscar, specially The Aviator and Alexander.


April 4th, 2004




- 21 grams

- Lord of the rings: The return of the king

- Kill Bill Volume 1

- Lost in translation

- Mystic River



- Sofia Coppola - Lost in translation

- Clint Eastwood - Mystic river

- Peter Jackson - Lord of the rings: The return of the king

- Spike Lee - The 25th hour

- Quentin Tarantino - Kill Bill Volume 1



- Johnny Depp - The pirates of the carribean

- Bill Murray - Lost in translation

- Edward Norton - The 25th hour

- Sean Penn - 21 grams

- Sean Penn - Mystic River



- Scarlett Johansson - Lost in translation

- Diane Keaton - Something's gotta give

- Nicole Kidman - Dogville

- Uma Thurman - Kill Bill Volume 1

- Naomi Watts - 21 grams



- Kevin Bacon - Mystic river

- Benicio Del Toro - 21 grams

- Philip Seymour Hoffman - The 25th hour

- Tim Robbins - Mystic river

- Ken Watanabe - The last samurai



- Shohreh Aghdashloo - The house of sand and fog

- Margherita Buy - Caterina va in cittŕ

- Rosario Dawson - The 25th hour

- Marcia Gay Harden - Mystic river

- Renee Zellweger - Cold mountain



- Buongiorno notte

- Cantando dietro i paraventi

- Caterina va in cittŕ

- Don't move

- La meglio gioventů



- 21 grams

- The 25th hour

- La meglio gioventů

- Mystic River

- Lord of the rings: The return of the king



- 21 grams

- Dogville

- The barbarian invasions

- Kill Bill Volume 1

- Goodbye Lenin

- Lost in translation



- The 25th hour

- Big Fish

- Mystic River

- Don't move

- Lord of the rings: The return of the king



- The triplets of Belleville

- Finding Nemo

- Sen to chihiro



- The triplets of Belleville

- Finding Nemo

- Big Fish

- Cold Mountain

- Lord of the rings: The return of the king



- Belleville rendezvous - The triplets of Belleville

- Man of the hour - Big Fish

- Un senso - Don't move

- You will be my ain true love - Cold Mountain

- Into the west - Lord of the rings: The return of the king



- 21 grams

- City of god

- Kill Bill volume 1

- Lost in translation

- Lord of the rings: The return of the king



- Big Fish

- Master and commander

- Cold mountain

- The last samurai

- Lord of the rings: The return of the king



- 21 grams

- Elephant

- Kill Bill Vol.1

- Lost in translation

- Lord of the rings: The return of the king



- Big Fish

- Cold mountain

- Seabiscuit

- The last samurai

- Lord of the rings: The return of the king



- Big fish

- Kill Bill Volume 1

- The pirates of the carribean

- The last samurai

- Lord of the rings: The return of the king



- Big fish

- The pirates of the carribean

- Matrix Reloaded

- Matrix Revolutions

- Lord of the rings: The return of the king



- Kill Bill Volume 1

- The pirates of the carribean

- Master and commander

- Matrix revolutions

- Lord of the rings: The return of the king




March 2004


March 24th, 2004

BAD EDUCATION Review. Almodovar did it again!


March 12th, 2004


Completely Off-Topic, I know, but let me recall the victims of the Madrid bombings yesterday.

March 9th, 2004

THE RACE starts. Comments? Also, year in advance predictions at the Big 6 and Animated.


March 5th, 2004

First 2004 Reviews coming in: Cachorro, Zatoichi and Karate a Muerte en Torremolinos. Three different films you'll probably miss!


March 3rd, 2004

Post-Oscar thoughts. First buzz on 2004's race coming in. The Passion of the Christ's jawdropping start!

The one Film that ruled them all!

Not many people - save legendary Oscarwatcher Bob Burns among them - could see the sweep coming. I, for one, thought that it wouldn't win Score or Film Editing again... that Adapted Screenplay was iffy (though I was still predicting it)... but as I've been saying the whole year, Hollywood knew what to do, their duty... to reward one of the most ambitious, daring and successful in all levels projects ever made, if not the most. The Lord of the Rings triptic (rather than Trilogy) has not only achieved that its final chapter has tied for the most wins (11) with Ben Hur and Titanic, but also it has achieved that making a - in words of Steven Spielberg - clean sweep and winning something the other two movies didn't, Screenplay.

But add to this that this movie wasn't nominated in Film Editing and Cinematography, two awards the previous chapters have already won... that makes it the film - if we consider it as a whole movie, which we should - or the trilogy that has won in most cathegories (13), setting a brilliant record... specially if you think that it has been nominated in "only" 14 (it has only failed to get an acting award). Amazing.

On the other awards... Sean Penn basically won over Murray or Depp - two more deserving performances in my opinion - just because three factors: he's loved (as the standing ovation proved), he cried and suffered a lot in TWO movies (Mystic River and 21 Grams) and well, it was the most "Oscar" role of the quintet. I would have given it to any of the two guys who probably never thought of being nominated for their roles.

Theron's victory proved once more, that the Academy isn't that sentimental. They could have had Keaton back, Castle-Hughes heartwarming victory, but no, they went for the usual physical transformation and beauty turned ugly (and beast) that they seem to love so much lately. Take note on this for next year, folks (I never saw Keaton winning in front of Watts or Theron).

Tim Robbins' is a long deserved Oscar... but I have real problems with his performance, since I think that 1) is leading and 2) Tom Guiry's was the real amazing supporting performance in the movie. Out of the five nominees, he was my pick, though... specially OVER Watannabe... but well, I would have liked to see also Hounsou walking away with the golden guy.

And then, there's Zellweger. She obviously has worked SO hard for Oscar. Can't complain at all for her victory... it's more a matter of "OK, third nomination and you're one of the hottest stars right now, so it's your turn". There were not real competition despite the mirage that Ashgahdaloo could be much better and had a nightmirish background "a la" Hain S. Ngor (by the way, same case than Hounsou and Hounsou's campaign fairly didn't play that game).

Coppola's victory was clear and a sure thing. No way the Academy would have picked In America over Lost in Translation. No way. I'm happy I correctly predicted this award... On Adapted, well, we all knew that the adaptation of the Lord of the Rings books was still unrewarded and that it would be difficult to reward it as Best Picture without this one. People predicting "safely" Seabiscuit, Mystic River or even American Splendor were simply in denial.

On Animated, well, I had it not 100% sure that Nemo would take it. This year's The Triplettes of Belleville had not only one but TWO nominations (Song) that would have probably earned the movie attention, but obviously not enough to attract enough votes. However the risk was out there of a "punishment" to Disney for killing their traditional animated studios in Florida - leaving hundreds unemployed - and what better than to reward the traditionally made little french movie in front of the Pixar's critical darling and box-office blockbuster? OK, I was 95% sure of Nemo, and I rooted for it, but couldn't help wondering that.

Foreign needs revision. OK, The Barbarian Invasions was the frontrunner and it won, but how in the world movies like Osama or Goodbye Lenin! didn't make the cut? Or why that STUPID "official submission" rule? Isn't it high time that the foreign language film just simply freely COMPETE? How unfair would it be this year when TWO spanish movies - The Bad Education and Mar Adentro - will have to fight for one spot as a SUBMISSION, when it is clear that they could BOTH be nominated? Rant ended.


Oscarwatcher "du&sku" offered a good overview on the look of the race 2004:

 Alright, I've decided to put a little thought into deciphering this race.

Adding Vanity Fair to the list, here’s my suggested placement of the 15:

1. The Aviator Pros: Miramax, Big Epic status, Scorcese’s first film after a high profile snub. This will inevitably be a better picture than GoNY. Cons: None really. It’s in better shape than any other film.

2. Alexander Pros: An “always in the media” production, Warner Bros. first priority, a recognizable cast. Cons: A cast and crew that span from typically dependable (Hopkins, Farrell) to downright notorious (Stone, Kilmer, Jolie). It could be anywhere from a 4 star masterpiece to a 1 star disaster, a bigger range than the other films.

3. J.M. Barrie’s Neverland Pros: Winslet, Penn, and Forster are all on the good side of the Oscars. Timely subject matter. Miramax. Cons: A more modest scaled production, a perplexing PG rating, a director that has yet to have a Best Picture or Best Director nomination

4. Cinderella Man Pros: A prestigious production, with the director, lead actor, and actress all with Oscars on their mantels, Miramax Cons: Could fall in the “too much prestige” category, since no one involved will seem deserving of another Oscar. It’s too soon for Ron Howard to get another Best Picture nominated film.

5. Vanity Fair Pros: Focus’s first priority, Period Piece, an iconic actress without an Oscar nomination, an up-and-coming Director and Cast. Cons: Woman Director, no one involved has an Oscar nomination

6. The Terminal Pros: Hanks, Spielberg, the biggest Oscar buzz of any Summer film Cons: No one’s really sure what this film will be like. We’ve seen three Spielberg films in a row without Oscar nominations.

7. The Bad Education Pros: Almodovar, Focus, Almodovar, Almodovar, Focus. Both are hot right now with the Academy. Cons: That whole language barrier thing, Gael Garcia Bernal is a bit overestimated, I believe.

8. Freedomland Pros: Two “due” actors (Julianne Moore and Morgan Freeman), a highly respected director, topical subject matter Cons: Small scale, films like this have failed before (The Human Stain)

9. Kinsey Pros: Oscar winning Screenwriter’s first film, good cast (Laura Linney, Liam Neeson), ultimately timely “important” subject matter Cons: Small scale, a Science movie

10. Troy Pros: A high-profile Gladiator scaled epic with a recognized cast and director. Cons: Everything about the film seems Gladiator-lite, test reviews haven’t been too kind, seems too soon for a copy-cat of a Best Picture winner to get accepted.

11. Spanglish Pros: As Good As It Gets follow-up picture Cons: Sandler and Leoni don’t seem very Oscarable.

12. Collateral Pros: Michael Mann, certainly has the industry to back it (DreamWorks, Cruise) Cons: Superstar Cruise films seem to have Oscar-repelling qualities to them, it certainly doesn’t seem like an Oscar film from the description, more like Narc.

13. Mar Adentro Pros: A huge role, important subject matter, an Oscar-nominated lead Actor, will surely be Spain’s Foreign Film submission Cons: Amenabar has no Oscar nominations to his credit

14. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Pros: Focus, Kaufman, Winslet Cons: March release date, likely to be divisively experimental

15. The Passion of the Christ Pros: Towering Box Office, Iconic Acceptance within the Religious Right, a few devout Industry supporters. Cons: Very, very divisive, worse reviews than any Best Picture nominee since probably Cleopatra. March release date. Mel Gibson’s publicity insanity.

More films to watch (and should not yet be crossed out)
Closer – Quite the cast and crew: Mike Nichols, Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman. It also has a December release date.
The Interpreter – The film Sydney Pollack is actually directing, with Sean Penn in the lead spot
Proof – John Madden will likely take extra care with this film, since the play is so well-reknown and that this could be Gwyneth’s show
The Life Aquatic – Could Bill Murray’s Oscar nomination be this film’s secret weapon?
A Very Long Engagement – Jeunet has become the most iconic Foreign director in America, as Delicatessan and The City of Lost Children have recently been inching closer to Amelie’s status. He’s kind of like the French Tarantino here.
I, Robot – The biggest thing this film has going for it is 20th Century Fox’s support, which can equal Oscar gold if the film is good enough (Moulin Rouge)
The Brothers Grimm – Terry Gilliam has yet to receive an Oscar nomination, and the epic size of this film and Johnny Depp could put it on the radar (if it’s good enough)
The Manchurian Candidate – Remakes are a pretty pathetic breed, but very few star Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Alfonso Cuaron will probably lend some prestige to this franchise, but how much?
I Heart Huckabee’s – Yes, Naomi Watts said the script for this was the most bizarre thing she’s ever read. But I’m not yet crossing out what sounds like it will be the most original sounding films that will be released this year.


And Filmjerk's Oscar overview too for 2004!

The Passion of the Christ's jawdropping start.

With more than 120 million in just five days, The Passion of the Christ appears as one of the early bets to end in 2004's box-office top 10. Still yet to see if it will continue this way or will it be a fast steam-loser and will drown in the next weeks, but a safe bet says 200-250 american b.o. and chance is out there of becoming if word of mouth appears a 350-400 million bohemiath.

And why didn't so many people see this coming? Come on, the movie was really anticipated and has been the object of controversy since the project was announced. Calculated marketing achievement or work of art and faith? The answer is up to you, but I'm considering it as a perfect combination of both. Can't wait to see it, actually.

Oscar chances? It has the serious risk of being completely shut out, but well, Caveziel's role and technicals simply can't be ignored with this kind of b.o. going on. It's on the race, like it or not.


February 2004

February 24th, 2004

10 thoughts about Oscar 2003, and predictions.

1) Disney completely missed the point. They pushed the wrong sea movie (Nemo) for Best Picture... had they focused on Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, they would have found a Best Picture nod, as Johnny Depp's nomination proves. Lesson 1: It's not in the reviews, but in love for a movie, when you have a real chance, and Nemo had its own Best Picture Oscar ready.

2) A child actor winning is the EXCEPTION to the rule, not the rule. Mrs. Hughes, I hope you're not too hopeful about getting a Paquin-style win, because you should remember for starters that Paquin was in an 8 nominations including Best Picture feature, while you're in a small indie movie. Theron will win... the Academy LOVES physical transformation, career bests and challenges. There's hope for an upset, but it would be actually kind of shocking.

3) The race for Lead Actor is thougher than expected. Blackslash will soon start if Depp wins for a performance that is not a career's best - and arguably not the best but second-third best of the year - in front of Bill Murray and Sean Penn. Begnini name's will pop up as reference of a Depp victory. My thought? Well, I would be happy with either Depp or Murray winning. Penn is another issue... both roles (Mystic River and 21 Grams) have Oscar all over it, and I don't like rewarding performances in clearly Oscar-bait roles, because when somebody is nominated for a non-Oscarish role, the performance is usually 100 better and more difficult, as Depp and Murray proved this year.

4) The Academy is changing, for the better. 4 nods for City of God. Depp up for Best Actor for a Pirate pop-corn summer flick. A 13 years old nominated for LEAD Actress. The obvious Miramax Oscar bait movie OUT of Best Picture and Director. I like it.

5) Seabiscuit is 2 steps from becoming a cult movie. No, don't read me wrong... Seabiscuit will at best win Cinematography, and I won't be surprised if a feeling is made up in a couple of years with people saying that it deserved much more than that and that was overlooked both at Acting and Director (which I already think). It may go emptyhanded just because of prejudices.

6) City of God made it. Hero CAN make it next year. And Goodbye Lenin! Watch out anyways for the real clash of Foreign Films of 2004, spanish movies The Bad Education (Pedro Almodovar) and Mar Adentro (Alejandro Amenabar). Next year is much more interesting than this one, in the end.

7) Lost in Translation, WOW! The nod for this movie reminds me SO much of Midnight Cowboy's. I think that there's a lot both films share, specially in spirit. It will be a big surprise if upsets Return of the King, but hardly a shock for me... I think that is the only nominee that can really upset it.

8) The Academy did a great work this year. Any of the five nominees would be a great pick to join the list of the Best Picture winners (which rarely have the Best of the year anyways) but only two movies would make the cut to be remembered as an hystorical win... Return of the King and Lost in Translation. None of the other movies (Mystic River, Seabiscuit and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World) have the potential of becoming that kind of winner.

9) Which was the sixth movie? I know the easy answer is Cold Mountain. But I don't think so anymore... I guess Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was SO close - as the good amount of nominations prove - for Best Picture (near Seabiscuit, probably), a The Fugitive or Ghost kind of nod. The key is that neither Kidman or Minghella were nominated. People is tired of Miramax, or so it looks.

10) The release of The Passion of the Christ next wednesday adds fuel to the fire. Will it affect - its controversy - to Oscar night (speeches, jokes)? I doubt it, but it is certainly one of the events of 2004, and it will be depend basically on luck if it scores some nods next year. Jim Caveziel, cinematography and art direction are obvious contenders unless the Academy avoids the movie at all.

So, what's left? Final predictions. (NGNG: No guts no glory upsets, if in red, I would hardly be surprised)

Best Picture: Return of the King. (ngng: Lost in Translation)

Best Director: Peter Jackson (ngng: Sofia Coppola)

Best Lead Actress: Charlize Theron (ngng: Keisha Castle Hughes)

Best Lead Actor: Bill Murray (ngng: Johnny Depp)

Best Supporting Actress: Reneé Zellweger (ngng: Shohreh Aghdashloo)

Best Supporting Actor: Tim Robbins (ngng: Djimon Hounsou)

Best Original Screenplay: Lost in Translation (ngng: In America)

Best Adapted Screenplay: Return of the King (ngng: Seabiscuit)

Best Animated Feature: Finding Nemo (ngng: The Triplets of Belleville)



February 10th, 2004

After weeks with my internet connection down...

Seabiscuit, Zatoichi, Stuck on you, 21 Grams and Master and Commander will be reviewed on following days. Reaction to the Oscar nods...

Best Picture.

Just when I thought of disaster (with In America, Seabiscuit and Cold Mountain ALL nominated) the Academy did the right thing and picked the two alternates I was rooting for... Master and Commander and Lost in Translation. What is better, first reviews in Spain of Seabiscuit have been positive, making me begin to think that this quintet maybe be the best in years... Nothing really serious to complain here.

Cifra2's early bet: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Dark Horse: none, but if I had to pick one, Lost in Translation.

Best Director.

Fernando Meirelles!!! WOW! (However, this should be a nomination shared with Katja Lund, co-director of City of God). The rest, was kind of predictable with Jackson, Eastwood, Coppola and Weir all locked long ago. Glad to see I was right about Minghella's chances.

Cifra2's early bet: Peter Jackson. Dark Horse: Peter Weir, but a serious longshot.

Best Actor.

Depp, Penn, Murray and Kingsley were locked some weeks ago... Law is a little surprise. Still, really predictable. However, the win is not such a sure thing for Penn... Murray or Depp can easily upset.

Cifra2's early bet: Sean Penn. Dark Horse: Johnny Depp.

Best Actress.

No Thurman! No Johansson! Watts, Theron, Keaton were locked. Morton was a clear contender... but it's so great to see little big actress Hughes making the cut... she instantly becomes the dark horse and the most probable upset of Oscar night.

Cifra2's early bet: Charlize Theron. Dark Horse: Kiesha Castle-Hughes.

Best Supporting Actor.

No huge surprises here. Baldwin, Watanabe, del Toro and Hounsou were all buzzed names, but it's Robbins turn to pick Oscar.

Cifra2's early bet: Tim Robbins. Dark Horse: Djimon Hounsou.

Best Supporting Actress.

The Bolger sisters were a nice dream but a dream after all... no way one would be nominated over the other one. Nikki Reed is the most flagrant snub from what I've seen in this cathegory. Her co-star Hunter got a richly deserved nod anyways. Aghdashloo, Clarkson and Harden will be glad to have a nod the year Renee Zelwegger is finally going to win the Oscar (three nominations in a row!).

Cifra2's early bet: Reneé Zelwegger. Dark Horse: Patricia Clarkson.


January 2004

January 24th, 2004

Cifra2's predictions

Best Picture:

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Mystic River


Cold Mountain

In America (no guts, no glory)

Alternates: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Lost in Translation


Best Director:

Peter Jackson, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Clint Eastwood, Mystic River

Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation

Jim Sheridan, In America

Peter Weir, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Alternates: Anthony Minghella, Cold Mountain; Gary Ross, Seabiscuit and Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill vol. 1


Best Actress:

Charlize Theron, Monster

Diane Keaton, Somethings gotta give

Uma Thurman, Kill Bill vol. 1 (no guts, no glory)

Patricia Clarkson, The Station Agent

Naomi Watts, 21 Grams

Alternates: Evan Rachel Wood, Thirteen; Jennifer Connelly, House of Sand and Fog; Nicole Kidman, Cold Mountain; Samantha Morton, In America; Scarlett Johansson Lost in Translation / Girl with the Pearl Earring


Best Actor:

Sean Penn, Mystic River

Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean

Ben Kingsley, House of Sand and Fog

Russell Crowe, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Alternates: Paddy Condisine, In America; Jude Law, Cold Mountain; Peter Dinklage, The Station Agent; Tom Cruise, The Last Samurai; Elijah Wood, Return of the King (no guts no glory)


Best Supporting Actress:

Reneé Zellwegger, Cold Mountain

Scarlett Johansson, Lost in Translation

Maria Bello, The Cooler

Holly Hunter, Thirteen

Marcia Gay Harden, Mystic River

Alternates: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Whale Rider; Patricia Clarkson, Pieces of April; Shohreh Aghdashloo, House of Sand and Fog; Hope Davis, American Splendor


Best Supporting Actor:

Tim Robbins, Mystic River

Ken Watanabe, The Last Samurai

Paul Bettany, Master and Commander

Peter Sarsgaard, Shattered Glass

Alec Baldwin, The Cooler

Alternates: Sean Astin, Return of the King; Benicio del Toro, 21 Grams; Albert Finney, Big Fish; Djimon Hounsou, In America


Cifra2's (provisional) picks of the Best of 2003.

Best Picture: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, by Peter Jackson

Top Ten:

1. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

2. Mystic River

3. Elephant

4. Kill Bill vol. 1

5. My Life Without Me

6. City of God

7. Finding Nemo

8. Down with Love

9. X2: X-Men United

10. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Honorable Mentions: Phone Booth, Mondays in the Sun, The Dancer Upstairs, Darkness, 800 Bullets, In America, Goodbye Lenin, Thirteen, Intolerable Cruelty, 28 Days Later, 11' 09'' 01, The City with No Limits, Shaolin Soccer, Dark Water, Identity, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and The Animatrix (in yellow, the films that barely missed my Top 10 list).

Best Director: Peter Jackson, for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Best Actress: (ex-aequo) Uma Thurman, in Kill Bill vol. I and Sarah Polley, in My Life Without Me

Best Actor: Colin Farrell, in Phone Booth

Best Supporting Actress: Nikki Reed, in Thirteen

Best Supporting Actor: Sean Astin in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Breakthrough of the year: Billy Boyd, for Master and Commander: The Other Side of the World and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Best Original Screenplay: Kill Bill vol. I

Best Adapted Screenplay: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Best European Film: My Life Without Me, by Isabel Coixet

Best Foreign Language Film: Mondays in the Sun, by Fernando León de Aranoa

Best Animated Feature: Finding Nemo

Best Cinematography: Kill Bill vol. 1

Best Film Editing: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Best Score: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Best Song: "Down with Love", from Down with Love

Underrated film of the year: My Life Without Me and Down with Love


January 18th, 2004

THE RACE, updated. The quintet looks quite solid, with only two really possible alternates.

January 13th, 2004

Return of the King review (finally).


Ok, everybody is popping up their Top 10 lists now (you know, mine is a dynamic one that constantly updates) but they forget that the term "movie of the year" is not a subjective matter, but an objective issue, regardless of quality, box-office and impact (but a mixture of the three aspects). I'm going to dare to point out the 10 movies I think 2003 will be remembered for.


10. Dogville

Ok, it's a 2004 release in the USA, but it's been released almost elsewhere, so let's include it in the list. Its box-office hasn't been specially awesome, but the critical splash has certainly been. Nicole Kidman is said - again - to give her best performance (soon my review). And it could be considered one of the "auteur" movies of the year. Enough to include it in this Top 10.

9. Cold Mountain

The absolute Oscar-bait movie of the year, a combination of the forces of Harvey Weinstein, Anthony Minghella, Nicole Kidman, Jude Law and Reneé Zellwegger, the movie hasn't scored a huge box-office yet, but it's undoubtfully one of the most talked about films of 2003. Its dominance on the Globes nominations helps it to enter this Top 10.

8. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

The proof that you can make a really good and fun summer blockbuster without making a bad, dumb movie. Johnny Depp is pure genius here, as the absolutely state of the art visual effects. Short notes on the movie at my Latest Reviews page.

7. X2: X-Men United

Beyond Pirates of the Caribbean's achievement, X2 proved that a pop-corn movie can actually make you think and can have complex characters interacting. It is also, hands down, the best super-hero movie ever made. Review here.

6. Kill Bill, vol. 1

Tarantino has made a movie. That fact is enough to put this one in the Top 10. The controversy about its violence, and its instant "cult" status locks it here. Review coming soon.

5. Elephant

Van Sant came back to the good road, and won Palme d'Or at Cannes over von Trier and Eastwood. Its amazing piece of filmmaking also made a big splash, if not at box-office, at critical discussion. Review.

4. Lost in Translation

Sofia Coppola confirmed herself as a major voice in the independent american filmmaking, and a true talent (making forget her past acting disaster in daddy's The Godfather, Part III). It also has achieved the almost impossible... making Bill Murray a frontrunner for a Best Lead Actor Oscar (with Sean Penn's permission, of course).

3. Mystic River

Despite many people is saying this is NOT Eastwood's best, but obviously it is among them. The brilliance of most of the cast (I still don't buy the much buzzed Marcia Gay Harden's performance) makes forget the LOT of coincidences that keep the plot running...  it's the cast and Eastwood's merit that the movie don't degenerate in your usual Hollywood thriller with twist ending. Review.

2. Finding Nemo

If you objectively judge box-office and critical love, this is out of question. Finding Nemo is the obvious number 2 of the year. It will win the Best Animated Feature Oscar, but it will have a hard time being nominated for Best Picture (deserves it) because of politics. Review.

1. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

If you don't think this is the movie of 2003, you need to get your head examined, seriously. The ending of the Lord of the Rings triptic's impact, reviews, buzz, box-office and awards colection is SO strong combined that is out of question. Review.


January 9th, 2004

The Race updated after DGA and PGA nods... only 7 movies for 5 spots, folks!



Cold Mountain

The Last Samurai

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Master and Commander

Mystic River




Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation

Clint Eastwood, Mystic River

Peter Jackson, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Gary Ross, Seabiscuit

Peter Weir, Master and Commander


With those results in mind, and adding the Globe love, I'd say that Seabiscuit's results are mostly a mirage, that The Last Samurai is almost out of the Race, In America is dead, and Lost in Translation is really stronger than many people is thinking. And that we should watch out for Big Fish, despite the lack of love from the PGA and DGA.

December 2003

December 31st, 2003

New Year's coming, 2005 Race STARTS!!! Also quick notes on German sensation and EFA winner Goodbye Lenin.


2005's early line up.

Isn't it great and exciting when you feel there's a whole new year of movies when last one is finishing? Isn't it awesome to know that after the Lord of the Rings tsunami, life will go on? 2004 is the year of - essentially - two movies: Martin Scorsese's The Aviator and Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ.

After the Gangs of New York debacle at Oscar Night (10 nods, 0 wins, not even for the wonderful U2 song "The Hands that Built America") the 2005 race got almost locked in its Best Picture and Director slots. Martin Scorsese - unless the movie results to be crap - is the clear favorite to finally win in both cathegories, and with a reason. Martin Scorsese is - in all minds - due for Oscar time, and only Gangs of New York's divisive reception prevented him for winning Best Director in front of Roman Polanski (an accused child molestor). His snub will only make him more due for the victory, and the luxury of the production of The Aviator indicates that this time he's unstoppable. He has an Oscar due Leonardo di Caprio starring in one of the most interesting biopics - a genre Academy LOVES (A Beautiful Mind, Braveheart, The Last Emperor, Amadeus...) - in years. An amazing supporting cast will probably seal this one for Best Picture consideration as a lock.

It's main competitor for media attention is obviously Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ (a bad move to change the title from the original "The Passion") which is already making a media splash in a very big way. It's one of the most talked about movies of the decade and its trailer really looks awesome and Oscar candy. However, it is an extremely divisive project that already has sworn enemies, and really important ones. Mel Gibson's and Jim Caviezel's (Oscar frontrunner for Best Actor, in my opinion) fame of religious fanatism will hurt the movie's chances enough to make everybody doubt the Academy will even consider it for ANY nod...

What's around then? Michael Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Lars von Trier's Dogville seem longshots for Best Picture consideration for anyone with common sense... too "artistic" projects for the mainstream Academy. We'll have to look for something more like Zhang Yimou's Hero that unless huge surprise will be heavily pushed by Miramax in most cathegories and it's an amazing movie in all aspects... its handicaps are clear, though... Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon's shadow (but it wasn't as good as Hero), being a Foreign Language Film and the possible misunderstanding of its message, too ambiguous coming from the country it comes... But Miramax's decission to release it on 2004 in the States, to make it ellegible for Oscar consideration, shows that Harvey knows about the bussiness and trust in Hero's chances.

The Epic spots will have two heavy contenders, Wolfgang Petersen's Troy and Oliver Stone's Alexander (which may or may not be in time for 2004). They'll be up for huge box-office competition with no more and no less than the anticipated Sam Raimi's Spiderman 2 or Alfonso Cuarón's Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkhaban. Interesting also will be the box-office run of Joel Coen's The Ladykillers remake, which may sneak in as a contender for Oscar and even Steven Spielberg's Terminal, both starring Oscar candy Tom Hanks. And Tom Cruise's star vehicle in Michael Mann's Collateral will probably be a contender both at b.o. and critical lists.

Knowing that it is already too soon, I wouldn't be heavily surprised to find a Best Picture quintet with Hero, The Aviator, Terminal and Alexander with a "indie" or small movie completing it. Or with The Passion of Christ surviving its predicted - and probably based upon prejudices - divisability and scoring that fifth spot. And everything that isn't a The Aviator combo at Best Picture and Best Director combo really looks like a surprise right now.

But we have a complete and a really exciting year in front of us, haven't we?


December 27th, 2003

Reviews (or short notes) checking in: Return of the King, Elephant, Hero, The Matrix: Revolutions, Freaky Friday and In America.

Also, finally, Big 6 predictions.

December 11th, 2003


Elephant, a masterpiece. Review to come.


December 9th, 2003

Due to technical problems I couldn't update this page in nearly one moth, my apologies.


Mystic River grabs #1 of my TOP TEN of the year (constantly updating, beware). Love, Actually was just OK. The Race really shocked by NBR's impact. Also, my thoughts on this year's Oscar Race are up at Aint it Cool News.com

November 2003

November 13th, 2003

Short - and nasty - notes on Bad Boys 2. The Race update. My Life Without Me's vindication part II: who laughs last...

OK, America. Europe has spoken and guess what? My Life Without Me is a Best Picture and Best Director nominee at the European Film Awards (the European Oscars). Maybe it's just a matter of sensibility (different ones) but it is pretty significative and a good backing on my review of the movie, which was unbiased. For those interested, Sarah Polley wasn't ellegible for Best European Actress since she's Canadian. Anyways, the Felix (the Euro Award) seems destined to Goodbye Lenin, which is hotly buzzed all around Europe

October 2003

October 28th, 2003

Intolerable Cruelty Review. Clooney rocks and will be snubbed again! The Race will be updated after watching Mystic River this Wednesday (stay tuned, folks!).


October 21st, 2003

The Race update...  Short note on Freddy vs. Jason on Latest Reviews

October 6th, 2003



Too soon, some might say... but no... this is a weird year. I think that the race is narrower than many people is thinking. With the screeners ban, cancelling most of the Indies' chances, we're left with a list of 9 big movies and 1 indie critical darling that can make the cut thanks to critical support. Almost any other pick is a longshot. Yes, 21 Grams included.


September 2003

September 28th, 2003

The Race, Updated. My Life Without Me: a vindication.

I'm in shock, really. When I first saw Isabel Coixet's My Life Without Me in late May, I concured with the general feeling in Spain both among critics and viewers: it was an extraordinary movie, full of honesty, and a daring way to make a crowdpleaser, avoiding every Hollywood cliché about dying people in a movie.

A superb cast with great credible performances and Sarah Polley carrying the whole movie perfectly balanced between pain and hope (not for a recovery, but for a good future for her loved ones). For me, it's the best movie on that issue since Kurosawa's Ikiru.

It isn't flawless, though, but its flaws are so small that you can quickly forget about them... I had it noted down for months as a more than possible contender for Best Picture if the reaction was the same outside Spain... and then, the surprise... Checking Rotten Tomatoes first pans - really painful pans - appeared, and left me with a feeling of unease... why is this movie SO hated in the USA? Reading some of them it looked like it was directed by Ben Laden!

"A movie about terminal illness that even the Lifetime Television Network might reject."

"It's hard to take this movie seriously. It's the cinematic equivalent of dotting your i's with a big heart, a very youngish view of life and death in which everything is too neatly wrapped up with a bow."

"Sarah Polley shoots another movie in the foot with her ice-queen demeanour"

"insulting and irritating"

There's real hate there for the movie. However it is still at 59%, on the edge of the fresh rating. I simply don't understand why a - good - honest small film deserves such hate... My advice, go see it (or rent it, or catch it on TV) and then make your own mind. I'm serious saying that this only makes the movie come from a possible success to a cult film. You read it here first.


September 22th, 2003

The Race: Waiting for something special to update it...

Down with Love Review and short notes on Identity.

An open letter to the Director Branch of the Academy.

OK, here we go again another year and predictably, everybody is noting down 4 spots at the Best Director cathegory for Best Picture contenders and another one for the auteur/indie/critic darling... therefore it looks like only one of the following names will be nominated: Gus van Sant (Palme d'Or for Elephant), Michael Winterbottom (Golden Bear for In this World), Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation), Isabel Coixet (My Life Without Me), maybe even Alejandro González Ińarritu (21 Grams) if the movie doesn't score a significant box-office and it's labeled as a critical darling or an indie (which is not)...

Isn't this cathegory actually Best Director? I mean, does anywhere state something like "please focus on our expensive Oscar aimed features and let's avoid actually judging just on merit"? It is not actually a matter of how much it is spent on Oscar campaigning... If Lars von Trier got nominated for "Breaking the Waves" or such a "weirdo" for Hollywood as Atom Egoyan also got nominated for "The Sweet Hereafter" then it really looks like it is not a matter of money but aprecciation. So, I remember the Director Branch of the Academy that they can be daring in their picks, as their votes are secret... I'm not pleading for five foreign obscure directors to be nominated, I'm actually suggesting a "pick whoever you think is the best, but dare to check out something more than the material Oscar campaigning gives you". If you find somebody that is not buzzed but LOVE his/her work, vote for him/her, regardless the fact he/she doesn't stand a chance... you can be actually surprised WHO gets nominated if the whole branch do like that. Maybe we could find this quintet, for example (not a suggestion, though): Michael Winterbottom, Peter Jackson, Abbas Kiarostami, Sofia Coppola and Isabel Coixet (two women, an iranian master, an english indie and the director of the most ambitious project ever). Because...

Why only two women director have been nominated (Jane Campion and Lina Wertmuller). Why it is SO difficult for foreign directors to get nominated for Foreign Language films? It sometimes looks like the Director Branch doesn't really have an opinion of its own, but simply "go with the flow". Why NEVER a director of an Animated Feature got nominated? John Lasseter, Rob Minkoff and Hayao Miyazaki are three examples of clear snubs by the branch. Why NEVER - if I recall correctly - a director of a Documentary feature got nominated? Shouldn't have been great to have had Jacques Cousteau and Louis Malle, for example, in the quintet for "Silent World"?

So, my plea is obvious for this (and following) years: be daring, be independent, be curious and find out who's really deserving. Enjoy the promotional parties but don't let a hand-shake confuse you: a hand-shaking and personal meeting doesn't realy mean that director did the best job of the year... Try to vote for who you think was the best, you may not be alone in that thinking.


September 10th, 2003

The Race chart update...

Is The Race up to 8 contenders?

This is what is seems to be happening. When I look back to the contenders, I can only see 8 of them as Best Picture nominees on 2003. These ones are:

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (New Line) The obvious pick everybody has locked down (most of us have it also as predicted winner).

Big Fish (Columbia) Why? Because Burton's name is very powerful and has never been nominated, because the story and feel is said to be like "Forrest Gump"'s, because it has an amazing cast and because it has an enormous budget that needs justification.

Cold Mountain (Miramax) We all know this is going to happen. Too expensive, too Oscar-aimed and unless massive pans arise, it'll be nominated.

Master & Commander (Fox / Miramax / Universal) Peter Weir and Russell Crowe plus a three studio backing. Not a sure thing, though.

Love, Actually (Universal / U.A.) A dream cast for a really promising comedy... let's not forget Richard Curtis' track record with Oscar.

Mystic River (Warner Brothers) One of the most buzzed movies around and has enough Oscar pedigree to make it a more than serious contender.

The Last Samurai (Warner Brothers) So many millions invested and so many Oscar hopes - specially at technicals and Cruise and Watanabe at acting - make this one of the films to watch out for in the race.

House of Sand and Fog (Dreamworks) Mainly because Dreamworks HAVE to be nominated. But it looks difficult this year.


Apart from these 8, there are a bunch of films in the longshot status, with at least three of them ready to jump in if some of the "sure bets" flop. I'm thinking that the three main contenders from that bunch are Finding Nemo, Sylvia and Seabiscuit. Oscar season - believe me - has already started.


September 5th, 2003



Some thoughts about Finding Nemo, Pixar and the Best Picture Race:

Well, Finding Nemo certainly lives up to expectations, and is, hands down, one of the movies of 2003... what is no surprise since it is a Pixar movie.

Pixar has a long story with Oscar. A lot of its shorts won in Animated Short, building the reputation of this company as a sureshot bet. But, somehow, this company's long features remain unawarded (and no, Best Song for "Monsters, Inc" is not a Pixar reward) at Oscar time. Truth is that the Animated Feature Oscar is only two years long, and that last year went to Japan for the absolutely deserving "Spirited Away"... but the snub of "Monsters, Inc.", a true film, much more deserving than the winner, the overhyped and just funny "Shrek" still hurts. So, basically, all point out that Pixar's win is assured unless a complete disaster... however, there's the sensation that Animated Feature can result in a ghetto that will prevent animation of entering Best Picture even if deserving.

I'm not saying that "Nemo" should be nominated for Best Picture... it is too soon to tell, but that would be a really deserving nominee... being fair, Pixar DESERVES to be up there soon. Their track record certainly stands any comparison in quality and success and Hollywood may be noticing that it's high time to give it the nod. "Nemo" is buzzed in enough cathegories to back that... an Original Screenplay nod is more than a possibility, the Score (and Song) are also buzzed, and nods at Film Editing, Sound and Sound Editing may be also in its way... with the locked Animated Feature nod (and win) that makes a perspective of up to 7 possible nods which would have FN as one of the hot spots at Oscar Night... Will all this buzz (and Guild supports, probably) be enough to push it for Best Picture? Maybe the PGA probable nod and the GG comedy / musical locked nomination will give it enough support to achieve it.

Or maybe it is just wishful thinking.



August 2003


August 31st, 2003


Another THE RACE update, with more movement that you've ever thought!


August 26th, 2003

Finally, The Race update, now with only 15 candidates!


August 18th, 2003

Early Predictions! The Big 6


Best Picture

Big Fish, by Tim Burton

Cold Mountain, by Anthony Minghella

House of Sand and Fog, by Vadim Perelman

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, by Peter Jackson

Master and Commander, by Peter Weir



My Life Without Me, by Isabel Coixet

The Human Stain, by Robert Benton

Love, Actually, by Richard Curtis

Mystic River, by Clint Eastwood

Intolerable Cruelty, by Joel Coen


Best Director

Tim Burton, Big Fish

Peter Jackson, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Anthony Minghella, Cold Mountain

Gus van Sant, Elephant

Peter Weir, Master and Commander



Isabel Coixet, My Life Without Me

Vadim Perelman, House of Sand and Fog

Clint Eastwood, Mystic River

Jane Campion, In the Cut

Richard Curtis, Love, Actually


Best Actress

Jennifer Connelly, House of Sand and Fog

Nicole Kidman, Cold Mountain

Sarah Polley, My Life Without Me

Julia Roberts, Mona Lisa Smile

Meg Ryan, In the Cut



Gwyneth Palthrow, Sylvia

Catherine Zeta Jones, Intolerable Cruelty

Christina Ricci, Anything Else

Naomi Watts, 21 Grams

Cate Blanchett, The Missing


Best Actor

Russell Crowe, Master & Commander

Sir Anthony Hopkins, The Human Stain

Ben Kingsley, House of Sand and Fog

Jude Law, Cold Mountain

Sean Penn, 21 Grams



Elijah Wood, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Ewan MacGregor, Big Fish

Tom Cruise, The Last Samurai

George Clooney, Intolerable Cruelty

Bill Murray, Lost in Translation


Best Supporting Actress

Stockard Channing, Anything Else

Kirsten Dunst, Mona Lisa Smile

Daryl Hannah, Kill Bill volume I (a real "no guts, no glory"!)

Nicole Kidman, The Human Stain

Reneé Zellwegger, Cold Mountain



Leonor Watling, My Life Without Me

Marcia Gay Harden, Mystic River

Jessica Lange, Big Fish

Nathalie Portman, Cold Mountain

Evan Rachel Wood, Thirteen


Best Supporting Actor

Paul Bettany, Master & Commander

Albert Finney, Big Fish

Ed Harris, The Human Stain

Viggo Mortensen, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Tim Robbins, Mystic River



Jeff Bridges, Seabiscuit

Djimon Honsou, In America

Mark Ruffalo, My Life Without Me

Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean

Sean Astin, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King



August 16th, 2003

New THE RACE chart, with more changes in the top 5. Also, short notes on Phone Booth, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Pirates of the Caribbean on the Latest Reviews page.


August 11th, 2003

FINALLY THE RACE UPDATE with huge changes in the top five! Who's in and who's out after two weeks!



July 2003


July 28th, 2003

THE RACE chart update. I'm going for a 9 days vacation, so there won't be update till Saturday August 9th!


July 19th, 2003

Another THE RACE chart update.

12th July 2003

New THE RACE chart.

11th, July 2003

Ken Park and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle Reviews.

9th July, 2003

Bruce Almighty Review.

A too crowded summer season?

I've just read David Poland's "Attack of Negativity" article about the general unease feeling that is growing in Hollywood given the poorer than expected box-office of most of the summer big releases, and I'm feeling like throwing also my two cents.

If we take into consideration the run of three phenomenoms like X2: X-Men United, The Matrix: Reloaded and Finding Nemo, and add to this the great box-office of Bruce Almighty - maybe on its way to be the surprise sleeper of the year, as I don't think nobody was expecting this movie to do over 200 million - I agree with Mr. Poland in that the market may be exhausted... Charlie's Angels 2, Terminator 3, The Hulk are going to have smaller box-office than expected... but can hardly be described as flops or bombs... they have assured over 100 + million, the landmark of success in Hollywood. 28 Days Later is being a surprise minor hit, so we can't blame on it, neither. 2 Fast 2 Furious hasn't scored the huge hit many predicted, and Sinbad is already just trying to survive the Nemo's comparison.

But then we arrive to the bomb festival... Hollywood Homicide proved that Harrison Ford is far, really far from his best days (K-19 already hinted that), Legally Blonde 2 also proved that Reese should better move on to different movies, From Justin to Kelly was born-to-be-slashed since the very beginning... well, that should be enough... the interesting thing is to see what's left in front of us.

... and the main courses are obviously Pirates of the Caribbean, Seabiscuit and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Pirates of the Caribbean is scoring very good reviews all around - something surprising specially for a movie based upon such an intellectual material as a theme park ride - and seems to have a born-to-be-legendary Johnny Depp's performance... it sounds like the right kind of movie for the summer... and I smell that it is being released just in time to see a box-office recovery from some disappointing weeks - but hey, did anybody really expect T3 to break records without James Cameron?. B.O. predix: 250+

Seabiscuit, however is the huge riddle of the season. It is obviously counter-programming by Universal / Dreamworks, and a very, very risky bet, offering a crowdpleaser drama - with REALLY CHEESY trailers, by the way - that doesn't look like the movie teenagers would be dying to see... maybe they're thinking in turning it into a new "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". B.O. predix: 65-100

... and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen looks terribly fun. Based upon a great comic-book miniseries, and with an absolutely perfect premise for a franchise, starred by Sean Connery and directed by Stephen - Blade - Norrington, this can go either way... a new "The Rock" or a new "The Avengers". B.O. predix: 120+

Other offerings are more iffy (blue: predicted bombs, orange: serious risk of bombing)... Open Rage (Costner IS box-office poison), Second Hand Lions (Caine, Duvall and Osment in a possibly sappy story), Bad Boys II (I smell big BOMB here, despite the appeal to African-Americans), Spy Kids 3-D (not that anyone expects this to be huge), Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (the first one stinked so much that the sequel can be considered almost a suicide), American Wedding (being one of the few comedies around it may score big, but the second part was already going too far) and Johnny English (huge European success, let's see if Americans buy Atkinson's take on Bond)...

It will be interesting to see how it develops... but bearing in mind that I'm only interested in advance for Finding Nemo, T3, CA2, LXG and Pirates... well, the rest of the movies - since the premise or / and trailers - have all failed to gain my attention.

5th July, 2003

Reviews up for "The Hulk" and "Mondays in the Sun". Also, new THE RACE chart.


June 2003


June 28th, 2003

The Sony Pictures Classics factor.

They did it in 2000 with a martial arts chinese spoken fantasy film, scoring 4 Oscars out of 10 nominations and being heavily buzzed to be the first Foreign Language Best Picture Oscar winner ever. Just when we thought that it was a one-time success, they almost made it last year with an Spanish spoken weird drama about two comatose women and the men who love them, scoring 2 of the most important nods and winning the Original Screenplay Award. If a "minor" studio has earned the right to be the one to look out for a Best Picture nominee, it is undoubtfully Sony Pictures Classics. What are this year's SPC bets?

First of all, a Best Picture underdog if there was any: Isabel Coixet's "My Life Without Me", that has already won an Award in Berlin and scored rave reviews - I'll shamelessly include mine - and a word of mouth success in Spain, the only market where it has already opened. This spanish production by Pedro Almodóvar's company "El Deseo" can perfectly compared to some movies that scored big at Oscar nods: "Shine", "Billy Elliott" and specially, "Secrets and Lies"... I wouldn't be surprised if apart from the should-be-locked-by-now Best Actress nod for Sarah Polley, we see some supporting nods for Leonor - Talk to Her - Watling or Mark - You can count on me - Ruffalo... My guess is that this is oone of the films of the year... specially thinking  in this point: Almodóvar - one of the best promoters - is shooting his latest movie now and will be free to promote "My Life Without Me" at Oscar season...

Sundance's "All the Real Girls", by David Gordon Green, doesn't seem to have "My Life Without Me"'s appeal, but the Award for Patricia Clarkson indicates that it is also a film to look out for... IMDB's user rating, however, is not a good indicator.

Hans Peter Moland's "Beautiful Country" has yet to be screened, but judging from IMDB's file, it looks like a possible Nick Nolte tour de force... after "The Hulk" and "The Good Thief", it can be enough to push him to a Best Actor nod... you know, Vietnam usually do well at Oscar.

Robert Altman's "The Company" should be SPC's frontrunner - Altman scored 7 nods in 2001 with Gosford Park - if were not for some early screenings mixed/negative reviews... With Altman you can never know, though.

Hector Babenco's "Carandiru" has two huge problems to be even considered... First, it is a foreign language film... and second and most important of it all... it surely will be cancelled by Miramax's "City of God".

Larry Charles' "Masked and Anonymous", despite a great ensemble, suffered of mixed / negative reactions in Sundance, so we can count it out.

Norman Jewison's "The Statement" may have Michael Caine and Tilda Swinton, but lacks Oscar bait in its plot... what is more, Jewison needs to do a real comeback... his status is not the one he used to have...

Judging from all of this... my thoughts are that "My Life Without Me" seems the Oscar bait movie all the way, and SPC will keep an eye on critical reception on "Beautiful Country",  "The Company" and "The Statement" to see what can be done with them...


June 23th, 2003

An Universal race?

Master and Commander, The Hulk, Seabiscuit, Love Actually, 21 Grams, Sylvia and Intolerable Cruelty are SEVEN, I repeat SEVEN Oscarbait movies in only ONE year. Is Universal going nuts? Let's check out the situation of this "forest" by checking every tree on its own.

Master and Commander, by Peter Weir is backed by three studios, so it's probably Universal's frontrunner for the win. Russell Crowe starring and the kind of movie that Oscar loves, made by one of the never rewarded masters in this art that is movie-making, and also likely to be a box-office smash hit. Also, the release is perfectly timed (November) when awards will start to be voted.

The Hulk, by Ang Lee has already derailed in the Oscar race, but Universal was obviously conscious that Lee already directed a Best Picture nominee fantasy movie, so had reviews been great, Universal would have pushed it.

Seabiscuit, by Gary Ross is a similar case to The Hulk... it has Oscarbait written all over the face, BUT... the summer release guarantees that its chances are killed before starting to run... if the movie is not considered a masterpiece AND doesn't score a HUGE box-office, why on earth should Universal push this one instead of ANY of the other possibilties?

Love Actually, by Richard Curtis is just one of Universal's two bullets for the Comedy Spot. Curtis previous efforts as screenwriter have been well considered at Oscar time to the point that he may be in the Academy's mind OVERDUE for some recognition. With a superb ensemble, it's actually one of the strongest chances for Universal. However, early screening reviews suggest there's still a lot to be fixed.

21 Grams, by Alejandro González Ińarritu is the great mistery of this year, in my opinion. The man is a master (check my September 11 / 11' 09'' 01 review and see my impressions on his short) and add to this Sean Penn - that will be extremely buzzed also for Clint Eastwood's Mystic River - on his way for a new Oscar nod. Given that Amores Perros proved Ińarritu as one of the biggest talents worldwide, Universal should take absolute care of this one.

Sylvia, by Christine Jeffs might benefit of the support of Focus Pictures - that led The Pianist to a three Oscars win - and can be an underdog fueled by Gwyneth Palthrow's performance and stardom. I think it is the movie that Universal is keeping hidden until it's needed.

... and Intolerable Cruelty is probably the movie almost every film lover would like to see nominated: the Coens, Clooney and Zeta Jones. The movie looks like a riot and I guess the chemistry between Clooney and Zeta Jones can reach legendary levels... Pure Hollywood, in my opinion. Look out for this one.

What does this mean? Basically, that Universal's picks are Master and Commander, Love Actually and 21 Grams, with Intolerable Cruelty and Sylvia waiting for the failure / flop of any of the three frontrunners and Seabiscuit and The Hulk helping Universal to win "prestige" and money this year...


June 22th, 2003

September 11 / 11' 09'' 01 review.

June 18th, 2003

28 Days Later review

11th June, 2003

The Alamo, Master and Commander, The Last Samurai... the battle for just one spot... that maybe even doesn't exist.

Oscar bait has this... you know, the big epic spot is - looks - reserved for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, as I've previously stated in another column... but, fact is, there are at least three Oscar bait epics lurking around, thinking that there might be room for a second big budget epic story in the quintet... doesn't it look just like a suicide? Maybe.

Or maybe not. Let's check out the three most obvious projects: The Alamo, Master and Commander and The Last Samurai.

The Alamo (Disney) started with HUGE buzz, given that Ron Howard's name was attached at directing, hot enough after winning - embarrasangly underservingly in my opinion - Best Director and Best Picture for the much flawed "A Beautiful Mind"... with a cast that includes Jason Patric, Dennis Quaid, Billy Bob Thornton and the spanish star - Blow - Jordi Mollá (a superb actor, I should add), the project has gone through ups and downs that put Touchstone in the edge of giving up... but the movie was finished by John Lee Hancock, whose writting credits include the wonderful "A Perfect World" (one of Clint Eastwood's finest hours), the somewhat failed "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" and the upcoming "Bad Boys II" (oh, my!!!)... His directing credits - according to IMDB - are only the unknown "Hard Time Romance" (1993) and Dennis Quaid's vehicle "The Rookie" (2002) which was a small success, specially given Quaid's raved performance... does this credit him as an Oscar contender? Well, he could actually turn to be a new Anthony Minghella, but I wouldn't bet my money... In my opinion, unless shocking surprise, The Alamo's chances are dead by now... the trailer might prove me wrong, however (but last year's Four Feathers trailer was awesome, and the movie turned out to be a disaster both at reviews and box-office, losing ANY Oscar hopes). Veredict: NOT, UNLESS BUZZ INCREASES, TRAILER SHOCKS AND RAVES BEGIN TO SHOW.

The Last Samurai (Warner Bros.), Tom Cruise's vehicle for his 2003 Oscar nod for Best Actor has a big problem: Edward Zwick, a man whose only real Oscar credit is "Glory", 14 years ago... he got Denzell Washington his first Oscar, the movie was said to have been snubbed of Best Picture consideration (something I don't agree with) and Zwick reached a status in Hollywood he never took real profit of. Movie after movie, all Zwick has given to us is decemption after decemption... In "Legends of the Fall" he couldn't take an Oscar bait story to good end, even with the help of Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins... In "Courage Under Fire", a shameless attempt of doing a new "A few good men", the stelar cast, commanded by Denzell Washington and Meg Ryan sank in a mayhem of exagerated patriotism, and the Zwick-Washington combo went on to put one of the most horrifying xenophobes movies ever made, "The Siege". Truly scary this man has been given more than 100 million dollars and Tom Cruise to tell the story of how a white sumarai kicks japanese asses. After seeing the trailer, plenty of the same storytelling that Zwick used in "Legends of the Fall", my veredict can be only one: NO. HOWEVER, MARKETING CAN DO MIRACLES (SEE "A BEAUTIFUL MIND"). WHAT IS MORE, WARNER HAS ANOTHER 3 SHOTS WITH THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS, MYSTIC RIVER AND MATCHSTICK MEN. NEEDS HUGE BOX-OFFICE AND RAVE REVIEWS EVERYWHERE.

Master and Commander (Universal / Fox / Miramax). You've read right. Three studio combo! That's M&C biggest advantage... add to this the star power of Russell Crowe, the general thinking that Peter Weir is an unrewarded genius, and you have plenty of reasons to think M&C will be the second epic movie at the Best Picture quintet of 2003. But, are they really going to nominate two big epics? Let's see what happened in the recent years...

2002: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Gangs of New York (2)

2001: Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (1)

2000: Gladiator, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2)

1999: a strange year... only The Green Mile could be considered as an epic. (0)

1998: The Thin Red Line, Saving Private Ryan (2)

1997: Titanic (1)

1996: The English Patient (1)

1995: Braveheart (1)... maybe you can pick Apollo 13...

1994: Forrest Gump? The Shawshank Redemption? both barely can be compared with the topic of Hollywood epic.

It still goes on... the years without a big costume epic or with two are the exceptions... usually only one makes the cut, and there's the danger of one syphooning the other's votes... so be careful, New Line. If another costume epic makes the cut, the unthinkable - a Return of the King defeat at Oscar night - could happen.... what leads to an interesting question... is going some studio to push its epic only to destroy Return of the King's chances? Well, they can always try, but they have a titanic task in front of them.


5th June, 2003

Up: reviews for Dark Water, No News from God and The City with No Limits.

Also, info about my short films, and a link to download one of them.


May 2003

31st May, 2003

The Finding Nemo Issue...

Uh, like there's an Oscar already given? No, seriously...

Let's look at this with clear mind: Pixar and Disney still haven't won the Animated Feature Oscar, Finding Nemo is obviously a box-office success (will do a 70 million opening weekend) and is scoring rave reviews everywhere (99% fresh at Rottentomatoes.com and 94 at Metacritic). So, like, there's no question right now, unless this is an extremely good year in Animated.

But this opens the Pandora's box... if this movie is SO good, then will it have a chance at Best Pictrure? Best Director? Screenplay perhaps? What reasons will have an Academy member in love with Finding Nemo to choose voting another Picture, Director or Screenplay if - as it can happen - Finding Nemo ends being the best?

OK, Picture: won't happen... Animated Feature is Finding Nemo's Best Picture Oscar. Director? It would be shocking, as even Beauty and the Beast failed. Screenplay? A real chance here... but only nod.

Yes, I'm pesimist. Can't wait to see it, though!


28th May, 2003:

"My life without me" Review... the new #1 movie of 2003. Should be an Oscar contender.


25th May, 2003:

Now, what???

The 2002 Academy Awards are gone, leaving a bittersweet taste in almost everyone's mouths. Chicago (a movie the kind aren't made anymore) deservingly took home the Big One and a bunch of "lesser" statuettes (sorry, Mrs. Douglas), leaving open road to a good distribution of the wealth... most notably 3 big Awards for The Pianist, Best Actress for The Hours, 2 technical for The Two Towers and  Original Screenplay for Talk to Her. Almodovar, Eminem, Polanski and Michael Moore took home deserved Oscars making almost everybody feel that the Academy recognises talent when shown...

But then, how to explain the Gangs of New York disaster? Oh, well, Marty can always ask his friend Spielberg for advice (The Color Purple, anyone?).

So here we are again, and this time it's for the big deal. Return of the King simply CAN'T lose. It is not open for question, fellows... The Academy is facing a turning point, and if it doesn't want to divorce audiences and critics, the Academy will have to enter the trap they themselves created by nominating both previous Lord of the Rings movies for the Big One.

So, we can deceive ourselves thinking that the Weinsteins will do it again (what? didn't you know that the Weinsteins are also - in part - backing Lord of the Rings?), or that the Academy never bought Fantasy (oh, but it is one of the biggest classics in the History of Literature!), or that they can get really tired of Hobbits, Elfs and Wizards (so, are they going to ignore one of the biggest projects ever? Did they ignore "Titanic"?)...

And you can here the chants... "The Last Samurai" will win, because it's Tom Cruise and they owe him (reality check: they give Tom Best Actor and then they owe him nothing)... "Master and Commander" has Crowe in it (reality check: the Academy may have grown really sick and tired of Crowe and being an epic, the comparison will be between M&C and the WHOLE Lord of the Rings project)... A costume drama will appear (which? Cold Mountain and The Human Stain have both Nicole Kidman, a woman that has already won an Oscar this year and will have a hard time in getting the technical awards that surely will support a probable Lord of the Rings sweep)...

Seabiscuit? Come on, over a whole trilogy?. Big Fish? Tim Burton hasn't the same status Jackson has right now. Kill Bill? If neither Moulin Rouge!, Pulp Fiction or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon won, Tarantino won't. House of Sand and Fog? Dreamworks is betting for a newcomer, so let's see. Young Adam? Seems small. Neverland? Let's see if it opens in time. I could go on and on... and right now the only possible shadow in Return of the King's future is The Matrix Revolution, Master and Commander and The Last Samurai all syphooning votes from it. Add to this that many people surely didn't vote for any of the two previous LotR movies waiting to reward the whole trilogy with the third chapter and you got it right. Don't worry Lord of  the Rings fans... a Return of the King victory is maybe with 75% chances right now... it has happened twice in the last 10 years (Schindler's List and Titanic), so why shouldn't next?