SPLICEDwire's 2002 Oscar Scorecard

WHAT: 74th Annual Academy Awards
WHEN: Nominations on 2.12.2002, Awards on 3.24.2002

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Oscar nominations will be out on Feb. 12, but we've seen the future and placed our bets

By Rob Blackwelder

When the nominations are announced for the 74th annual Academy Awards on February 12, a biography and fantasy are likely to be the front runners for Oscar gold. Ron Howard's "A Beautiful Mind" is riding a high on its four Golden Globe wins (for Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actress and Screenplay), and Peter Jackson's amazing adaptation of "Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring" is quite simply the race's 800-lb. gorilla -- a viable contender in nearly every catagory except the acting fields, where Ian McKellan is the picture's only probable presence.

Poised for the role of spoiler will be "Moulin Rouge," which is likely to see nods in artistic and technical categories, if not in the major slots (Picture, Director, Acting, Screenplay). And "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" will certainly be nominated for something, but in what catagory is anybody's guess. It's just too big to ignore -- which is exactly what I've done in the following predictions. That's why I've mentioned it here -- so I don't look a complete fool.

Here's what we see in our crystal ball...

Sure Things:
"A Beautiful Mind"
"Black Hawk Down"
"In the Bedroom"
"Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring"

The Competition:
"Gosford Park"
"Moulin Rouge"
"The Shipping News"

Dark Horses:
"Monster's Ball"
"Mulholland Drive"

"A Beautiful Mind" is the early favorite for the win in March, but the success-conscious Academy may not be able to ignore the "Rings" juggernaut. The real race will be between those two films no matter what else is nominated. "The Shipping News" is a contender, but only because Miramax is once again giving the full court press for a mediocre and forgettable Lasse Hallstrom film, as they did the last two years with "Chocolat" and "Cider House Rules."

Sure Things:
Ron Howard, "A Beautiful Mind"
Peter Jackson, "Lord of the Rings..."
Ridley Scott, "Black Hawk Down"

Good Bets:
Robert Altman, "Gosford Park"
Baz Luhrmann, "Moulin Rouge"

The Competition:
Todd Field, "In the Bedroom"
Lasse Hallstrom, "The Shipping News"

Dark Horse:
David Lynch, "Mulholland Drive"

There's a good chance we'll see more than one director nominated for films that weren't, but in this category the real race is also between "Mind" and "Rings."

Sure Things:
Russell Crowe, "A Beautiful Mind"
Denzel Washington, "Training Day"
Tom Wilkinson, "In the Bedroom"

Good Bets:
Gene Hackman, "The Royal Tenenbaums"
Billy Bob Thornton, "The Man Who Wasn't There"

The Competition:
Benjamin Bratt, "Pinero"
Sean Penn, "I Am Sam"
Will Smith, "Ali"
Kevin Spacey, "The Shipping News"

Dark Horse:
Guy Pearce, "Memento"

Thornton could cancel himself out with his equally brilliant performance in "Monster's Ball." But with or without him the field will be wide open for the win because Oscar voters are unlikely to give the award to Hollywood-dissing Russell Crowe two years running. Although...He is 1) playing a real person, 2) with a mental handicap, and 3) did try to show he can play ball in his Golden Globes speech.

Sure Things:
Halle Berry, "Monster's Ball"
Judi Dench, "Iris"
Nicole Kidman, "The Others"
Sissy Spacek, "In the Bedroom"
Naomi Watts, "Mulholland Drive"

Dark Horses:
Audrey Tautou, "Amélie"
Renee Zellweger, "Bridget Jones's Diary"

The Academy prefers to honor dramatic roles, but after winning the Golden Globe for "Moulin Rouge" there's a chance Kidman could get nominated for that film instead -- or even that she could get two nods or cancel herself out. If she's nominated for "The Others," she's a real contender for the win against Dench, Spacek and Berry. If she's nominated for "Moulin Rouge" instead, she won't be a factor.

Sure Things:
Jim Broadbent, "Iris"
Ben Kingsley, "Sexy Beast"
Jon Voight, "Ali"

Good Bet:
Ian McKellan, "Lord of the Rings..."

Even Money:
Steve Buscemi, "Ghost World"

Dark Horses:
Hayden Christensen, "Life As a House"
Martin Landau, "The Majestic"
Jude Law, "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence"
Tony Shalhoub, "The Man Who Wasn't There"

Kingsley's spectacularly menacing performance in "Sexy Beast" was all the way back in June, and Academy voters have shorter memories than Guy Pearce in "Memento," so odds are on Broadbent after his Golden Globe win.

Sure Things:
Jennifer Connelly, "A Beautiful Mind"
Kate Winslet, "Iris"

Good Bets:
Cate Blanchett, "The Shipping News"
Judi Dench, "The Shipping News"
Marisa Tomei, "In the Bedroom"
Helen Mirren, "Gosford Park"
Maggie Smith, "Gosford Park"

Dark Horse:
Frances McDormand, "The Man Who Wasn't There"

This is tightest race of the year with the largest field of possible nominees (and too many from the same movies!). Voters will likely take the opportunity to make up for overlooking Connelly's gut-wrenching performance in last year's "Requiem for a Dream," which was too icky for the sensitive constitution of the Academy. But Winslet, Blanchett, Tomei, Miren and Smith are all very strong contenders.

Sure Things:
"Gosford Park," Julian Fellowes
"The Man Who Wasn't There," Joel & Ethan Coen
"Memento," Christopher Nolan
"The Royal Tenenbaums," Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson

Good Bets:
"Amélie," Guillaume Laurant & Jean-Pierre Jeunet
"The Others," Alejandro Amenabar

The Competition:
"Monster's Ball," Milo Addica & Will Rokos
"Moulin Rouge," Baz Luhrmann & Craig Pearce
"Mulholland Drive," David Lynch

The March release of "Memento" (techincally an "original" screenplay even though it was adapted from an unpublished story) will likely doom it to this single nomination -- although it is the front runner for the gold.

Sure Things:
"A Beautiful Mind," Akiva Goldsman
"In the Bedroom," Rob Festinger & Todd Field
"Lord of the Rings...," Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh & Philippa Boynes

Good Bets:
"Black Hawk Down," Mark Bowden
"Iris," Richard Eyre & Charles Wood

The Competition:
"Shrek," Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio, Joe Stillman & Roger S.H. Schulman
"The Shipping News," Robert Nelson Jacobs

Dark Horses:
"Bridget Jones's Diary," Helen Fielding, Andrew Davies & Richard Curtis
"Ghost World," Terry Zwigoff & Daniel Clowes
"Vanilla Sky," Cameron Crowe

Whatever the nominees, the winner will likely be one of the Sure Things above.

SPECIALTY Best Film categories

Animated Feature:
"Atlantis," "Monsters, Inc.," & "Shrek" are a lock. "Waking Life" -- by far the best animated film of the year -- deserves to be nominated, so it probably won't be. "Shrek" will win even though "Monsters" has a far better story and superior animation.
Critical favorites like "" and "The Gleaners & I" will probably be snubbed, as per usual. But what will be nominated, I couldn't venture a guess.

Foreign Language:
This will be a race between "Amélie" (France) and Golden Globe winner "No Man's Land" (Bosnia), regarless of what else gets picked.

TECHNICAL ("hard") categories

Likely noms include "The Man Who Wasn't There," "Lord of the Rings" & "Ali."

Count on "A Beautiful Mind," "Black Hawk Down" (the early favorite), "Lord of the Rings," "Moulin Rouge" & perhaps "Ali" or "Iris"

Sound Design & Sound Effects Editing:
Go where the noise is: "Black Hawk Down," "Lord of the Rings," "Moulin Rouge" & perhaps a couple more.

Visual effects:
The obvious suspects: "Lord of the Rings," "Pearl Harbor" & "Jurassic Park III"

ARTISTIC ("soft") categories

Art Direction:
Definitely "Moulin Rouge," "Lord of the Rings" and "Amélie." Other good bets: "The Royal Tenenbaums," "Mulholland Drive" or "The Others."

Givens: "Moulin Rouge," "Lord of the Rings," & "The Man Who Wasn't There."

"Planet of the Apes" & "Lord of the Rings" among others.

MUSIC categories

Original Score:
"A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" & "A Beautiful Mind," are pretty sure things because of their composers' repeat winner status. "Lord of the Rings" is a sure thing. "Amélie" has a pretty good shot, too. And I wouldn't count out "The Man Who Wasn't There" or "The Others."

Original Song:
I've never understood why this is even a catagory, but I can tell you for sure you'll be seeing Sting's "Until..." from "Kate & Leopold" (it won the Golden Globe), a tune from "Moulin Rouge," that Enya thing from "Lord of the Rings," and the Paul McCartney theme song from "Vanilla Sky."


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