Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Peter Pau
Gladiator, John Mathieson
Malèna, Lajos Koltai
O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Roger Deakins
The Patriot, Caleb Deschanel
I still contend that, if Crouching Tiger's Peter Pau didn't already have this trophy tied up, he cinched it in the bamboo sequence. I think we can safely, and thankfully, count Malèna and The Patriot, probably the two worst films of 2000 to score any Academy Award nominations, out of the running here. Deakins has been owed for a long time (think Fargo, think Kundun), but the Coen Brothers' Classical concoction will be too weird to draw mass support.
BEST ART DIRECTION|
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Tim Yip
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Michael Corenblith
Gladiator, Arthur Max
Quills, Martin Childs
Vatel, Jean Rabasse
If The Patriot is the worst film of the year to score an Oscar nod, Vatel, a French-made historical costume drama, is probably the most obscure. As with Sleepy Hollow last year, the vertiginous imagination on display in The Grinch's sets will offer the Academy a chance to reward a blatantly commercial feature without compromising the myth that Oscars are for Art. Everyone goes to the bathroom during this category anyway, right?
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Tim Yip
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rita Ryack
Gladiator, Janty Yates
102 Dalmatians, Anthony Powell
Quills, Jacqueline West
Just curious: though I didn't see 102 Dalmatians—and I apparently wasn't the only one, much to Disney's dismay—did they really do much but trot out the costumes from the first picture? I wouldn't call the Gladiator or Quills outfits much to write home about, either, and I'm giving the advantage to Crouching Tiger because of the historically hard time fantasy and comedic films have had garnering recognition here.
BEST FILM EDITING|
Almost Famous, Joe Hutshing & Saar Klein
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Tim Squyres
Gladiator, Pietro Scalia
Traffic, Stephen Mirrione
Wonder Boys, Dede Allen
The editors have actually compiled a better Best Picture lineup than the membership at large did. Allen is one of the most highly-regarded editors still working, and ex-partners Hutshing and Scalia will always be remembered for their work on JFK. Still, I'm expecting a contest between Cornell alum (woo-hoo!) Tim Squyres for editing a film in a language he doesn't speak, and Stephen Mirrione, who threaded Traffic's three plotlines together so elegantly. I'm calling for Mirrione, since that three-part structure will lure voters who don't really know what editing is, but think that they recognize it.
BEST FOREIGN FILM
Amores Perros (Mexico)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Taiwan)
Divided We Fall (The Czech Republic)
Everybody Famous! (Belgium)
The Taste of Others (France)
Only one correctly predicted nominee, though it's hard to imagine Crouching Tiger not scoring the statuette. Stranger things have happened—remember when Journey of Hope upset Cyrano de Bergerac ten years ago?—but I'd still be shocked if Lee didn't get to make at least one speech on Oscar night. By the way, what happened to In the Mood for Love?
BEST ORIGINAL SONG|
"A Fool in Love," Meet the Parents
"I've Seen It All," Dancer in the Dark
"A Love Before Time," Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
"My Funny Friend and Me," The Emperor's New Groove
"Things Have Changed," Wonder Boys
The dual performances of Björk, who deserved more nominations, and Bob Dylan, who will absolutely win, will probably be my personal highlights of this year's telecast—a claim I have never made about the musical interludes! Actually, I'd be happiest if this Royal Couple of Celebrity Weirdness not only came as dates but performed each other's songs. Dylan as Selma: the ultimate in high-concept.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Chocolat, Rachel Portman
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Tan Dun
Gladiator, Lisa Gerrard & Hans Zimmer
Malèna, Ennio Morricone
The Patriot, John Williams
John Williams should be arrested for the crimes of audience manipulation he's perpetrated over the years, ruining countless sequences, although admittedly, many sequences in The Patriot deserved to be ruined. Here, he becomes the most-nominated living person (at 39 mentions), but he's bound to lose out here to either Tan Dun or the Gladiator team, who are running neck and neck. The name cachet of Yo Yo Ma, even though he isn't actually a composer or nominee, may push Tiger over the top. Though, speaking of name cachet, the legendary Ennio Morricone shouldn't be discounted, particularly since foreign films often do well in this race.
BEST DOC. FEATURE|
Into the Arms of Strangers
Long Night's Journey Into Day
Scottsboro: An American Tragedy
Sound and Fury
Does this sound like a depressing group of films or what? Anger or death are denoted or implied in every single title, and topics include Apartheid and the Holocaust—whatever happened to The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg? I'd have to see a single nominee, or even know much about any of them, to have anything more illuminating to add.
The Perfect Storm
God love a category where I predict all the nominees correctly—out of those contest with five nominees, I have only this group and Supporting Actress to show for myself this year. I certainly thought those depth charges in U-571 were the coolest thing I heard in the movies all year, not counting the musical talents of Björk, Dylan, and George Clooney.
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Shadow of the Vampire
Allegedly a done deal for Rick Baker, the wizard behind the Grinch, who is like the Edith Head or the Gary Rydstrom of the Makeup category. Too bad, since the cosmetics in The Cell actually helped tell the story, instead of just foisting a saleable gimmick on a nation of ticket-buyers.
BEST SND. EFFECTS|
The anointment of two nominees instead of the usual three means that the Sound Branch found the other five semi-finalists—Cast Away, Gladiator, Mission: Impossible 2, The Perfect Storm, and Unbreakable—a conspicuous cut below these two films. Nice to see such a gesture in the name of high standards, which in the case of the submarine thriller I can defend whole-heartedly. (Haven't seen the geezer adventure.)
BEST VIS. EFFECTS
The Perfect Storm
Strangely, I found the coup de grâce shots in the first and third contenders—the aerial view of the Coliseum and the poster-art tidal wave that sinks the Andrea Gail—notably unconvincing. By that reasoning, I'd have to go with Hollow Man by default, though hardly with any confidence that this race shouldn't have been cancelled.
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