The sign of a true Oscar fanatic – though perhaps also a sign of benevolent insanity – is that the announcements of the technical categories carries as much excitement as the more glamorous acting, writing, directing, and picture prizes. I wish the morning news programs could be swayed to cover the announcement of all the Oscar nominees, especially since it seems unfair to cheat the geniuses of editing, non-fiction filmmaking, and the other untelevised divisions of the public admiration they deserve. But that's my soapbox issue!

I hope no one will fault me too much for keeping mum on the Documentary and Short Film categories. I simply have no level of familiarity with the contenders that provides me with a basis to judge (though I am curious to see whether the provocative, possibly overrated Startup.com makes the list—won't Kalil just be pleased as punch?) Finally, please note that my predictions for the Animated Film, Visual Effects, Sound Effects, and Makeup categories reflect the published rosters of finalists in each of those categories. And now, as they say, on with the show! (Not, however, before I give a tiny shout-out to Alan Pendleton, whose joyful correspondence, plus his own set of great predictions, have been a fun and welcome influence on some of my puzzling—thanks, Alan!)

** Successful Predictions To Be Denoted By Red Asterisks **


A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Rick Carter
**Gosford Park, Stephen Altman**
**Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Stuart Craig**
**Lord of the Rings: Fellowship..., Grant Major**
**Moulin Rouge, Catherine Martin**

Black Hawk Down, Arthur Max
The Royal Tenenbaums, David Wasco

Dark Horses
**Amélie, Aline Bonetto**
The Others, Benjamín Fernández
Ocean's Eleven, Philip Messina
The Man Who Wasn't There, Dennis Gassner
The Shipping News, David Gropman
Planet of the Apes, Rick Heinrichs

**A Beautiful Mind, Dan Hanley & Mike Hill**
**Black Hawk Down, Pietro Scalia**
**Lord of the Rings: Fellowship..., John Gilbert**
**Memento, Dody Dorn**
**Moulin Rouge, Jill Bilcock**

Gosford Park, Tim Squyres
Amélie, Hervé Schneid

Dark Horses
In the Bedroom, Frank Reynolds
Harry Potter and the..., Richard Francis-Bruce
Ocean's Eleven, Stephen Mirrione
The Royal Tenenbaums, D.Padgett & D.Tichenor
Mulholland Drive, Mary Sweeney
These, at least, are two races where I feel fairly confident in what I'm choosing. Among the art directors, Rick Carter and Stuart Craig are old favorites, while Dan Hanley & Mike Hill and Pietro Scalia already have Editing trophies. The Lord of the Rings and Moulin Rouge landslides seem unstoppable in these categories. In both cases, the fifth nominees, if so honored, would seem a bit like cheats: Hogwarts school came pre-described virtually down to the Snitch, and Memento's "flashy" editing mostly amounts to cutting it like Nolan wrote it. Deciding toward which of 23 leads to direct our attention in Gosford Park's ocean of reaction shots seems infinitely tougher, but that kind of workaday editing is not what the Oscars are often about.


**Gosford Park, Jenny Beavan**
Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Arianne Phillips
**Lord of the Rings: Fellowship..., N.Dickson & R.Taylor**
**Moulin Rouge, C.Martin & A.Strathie**
Planet of the Apes, Colleen Atwood

From Hell, Kym Barrett
The Royal Tenenbaums, Karen Patch

Dark Horses
**Harry Potter and the..., Judianna Makovsky**
The Golden Bowl, John Bright
Blow, Mark Bridges
Charlotte Gray, Janty Yates

**Black Hawk Down**
The Fast and the Furious
**Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring**
**Moulin Rouge**
**Pearl Harbor**

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Dark Horses
A Beautiful Mind
Mulholland Drive
Sticks and stones may break my bones but these six words would kill me: "The Oscar-nominated film From Hell..." I would rather eat my eyes than have this happen. Thank goodness the film has largely passed from memory (nightmares do not count). Hedwig's flokati pantsuit slayed me, and Priscilla proved that the Academy does drag. Honestly, I think the most deserving contender is Karen Patch, who dug up all those Izod dresses and awful, pitch-perfect suits for The Royal Tenenbaums, but Academy voters in races like this have a terror of contemporaneity. Meanwhile, over in the Sound Category, Loudest, as always, is Best. Keep to that tenet, and these are the five you get.


**A Beautiful Mind, James Horner**
**Harry Potter and the..., John Williams**
**Lord of the Rings: Fellowship..., Howard Shore**
Pearl Harbor, Hans Zimmer
The Shipping News, Christopher Young

Gosford Park, Patrick Doyle
**A.I. Artificial Intelligence, John Williams**

Dark Horses
Ali, Lisa Gerrard & Pieter Bourke
Mulholland Drive, Angelo Badalamenti

"All Love Can Be," A Beautiful Mind
**"If I Didn't Have You," Monsters, Inc.**
**"There You'll Be," Pearl Harbor**
**"Until...," Kate & Leopold**
**"Vanilla Sky," Vanilla Sky**

**"May It Be," Lord of the Rings: Fellowship...**
"I Fall Apart," Vanilla Sky

Dark Horses
"Where the Dream Takes You," Atlantis
"Never Too Far," Glitter
The music awards are, I must admit, a pretty big yawn 90% of the time, especially since stand-alone melody and brand name shopping (John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Sting, Paul McCartney) always take the day over genuine contribution to the particular film. That Moulin Rouge has been discounted seems inglorious, even if "Come What May" kind of hurts my ears. That Randy Newman has never won after, like, 1000 tries is the reason I'm giving his Monsters, Inc. tune an edge—plus, it did fit the picture's themes, because it really was a monstrosity. If the women of Heart actually pulled a nod for that fake song Cameron Diaz sings on a tape-player in Vanilla Sky, I would be elated, because the women who gave us all "Magic Man" deserve everything...and listen, no one will ever convince me that Mariah Carey's music is any worse than a million past nominees sung by meerkats or crooned at St. Bernards, not to mention bombastic crescendos orchestrated by Monsieur Williams. Let's give the girl a break. Do we really want to clean up the aftermath if she's disappointed again??


**Monsters, Inc.**
Waking Life

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
**Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius**

Dark Horses
Marco Polo: Return to Xanadu
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust

**Lord of the Rings: Fellowship...**
**Moulin Rouge**
Planet of the Apes

A.I. Artificial Intelligence
**A Beautiful Mind**

Dark Horses
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Of course it's "Famous Last Words" to say this, but is there really any question about these two races? Is anyone in their right mind going to think that Waking Life, however overbearing, is less of an advance in animation than adapting what was already a video game into screen-sized proportions? I loved when Haley Joel Osment's eye dropped off his face in A.I., but Jennifer Connelly's old-age prosthetics and Harry Potter's lame little scar were strictly Cosmetics-R-Us. I stand by these picks, and if they turn out differently, I blame the chads.


Black Hawk Down
The Fast and the Furious
**Pearl Harbor**

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship...
A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Dark Horses
**Monsters, Inc.**

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
**Lord of the Rings: Fellowship...**
**Pearl Harbor**

Jurassic Park 3
**A.I. Artificial Intelligence**

Dark Horses
Black Hawk Down
Cats & Dogs
The Fast and the Furious
Another likely boo-boo: why am I calling against The Lord of the Rings in the Sound Effects derby? Mostly because I can't remember any of its isolated effects quite as distinctly as the screeching rubber, machine-gun retorts, and shipboard explosions of the previews for three films I still hadn't seen. (I've since caught up with Black Hawk.) In terms of Visual Effects, last year's Gladiator win proved that box office and visibility count more than quality, which is why Harry Potter's chintzy devices will probably outshine the more insinuating inventions of A.I.


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