Best Picture, 2004
(Click on the linked film titles for reviews of those movies.)
Haikus, baby, 'cause I'm running short on time.


Nominee
The Aviator

7:2
Pluses

Sure looks impressive.
Scorsese made a hit film!
Look at all those nods!
Minuses

Not quite beloved,
And as Gangs already proved,
That can cause problems.
Finding Neverland

12:1
Johnny! And Kate, too!
Neverland jerks lots of tears
But remains bright-eyed.
With head in the clouds,
Neverland looks featherweight.
The world will forget.
Million Dollar Baby

2:1
Spare and muscular,
Merging strength with sentiment,
This film pleases all.
That ending divides
The fans from all the skeptics.
How big is the cost?
Ray

50:1
Jazzy and vibrant.
Luscious production values.
Solid biopic.
Solid ain't enough.
When Ray Charles Fever dies out,
How good will this look?
Sideways

5:1
The critical fave,
With plenty of support from
Actors and writers.
It is hard to win
Without more love from tech groups;
Do they even care?

WHO WILL WIN: Million Dollar Baby seems to be gathering more and more steam coming into the end of the month. The Aviator's got many more nods, but mostly out of respect to the kind of picture it is, with something to offer to lots of Academy branches. But Baby's support seems to run deeper.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Of the Eastwood films that Oscar has gotten excited about, I like Million Dollar Baby appreciably more than either Unforgiven or Mystic River; after two viewings apiece of the three front-runners, it's even more clear that it's the pick of this litter.

...AND WHO OUGHTA BEEN INVITED: Any list of the best films of 2004 that doesn't include Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is both a joke and a tragedy, just like the movie itself is. Maria Full of Grace was also a striking achievement in every department, and her story resonates much more than that of J.M. Barrie and his pint-sized playmates. Thank goodness history tends to sort out the really good stuff from the mere flashes in the pan.



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