Official Nominations for the 74th Annual Academy Awards
(and all my opinions on them)
Written by:  Alex Sandell

I've stayed up all night to watch the nominees being announced live, and have spent another hour calling friends and trying to digest the entire thing.  Due to sheer exhaustion, I'm going to make this update really short.  Here it is (and don't forget to read today's OTHER update by clicking here):

Best Actor Nominees

Russell Crowe for A Beautiful Mind.
Sean Penn for I Am Sam
Will Smith for Ali
Denzel Washington for Training Day
Tom Wilkinson for In the Bedroom

My thoughts:  Russell Crowe's performance was overrated, but I wouldn't be too pissed if he won, even if he couldn't pick an accent and stick with it.  I haven't seen I Am Sam, so I have no idea how Sean Penn did.  I only watched a few minutes of Ali, so am also going to hold back on giving an opinion on Will Smith's performance.  Everyone knew Denzel Washington would be nominated for Training Day, so there's nothing surprising here.  Tom Wilkinson played a convincing guy who has lost the will to live in In the Bedroom, but the performance was less than stellar.  If I had to pick any of them (and I wouldn't), I'd select Russell Crowe for his work in A Beautiful Mind.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role Nominees

Jim Broadbent for Iris
Ethan Hawke for Training Day
Ben Kingsley for Sexy Beast
Ian McKellen for The Lord of the Rings:  The Fellowship of the Ring
Jon Voight for Ali

My thoughts:  I've only seen two of the films in the Best Supporting Actor category (Training Day and The Lord of the Rings), and I don't think Ian McKellen or Ethan Hawke, two actors I love, are deserving of a trophy for their performances in the films they were nominated for.  I'm rooting for Jim Broadbent, just because I liked his performance in Moulin Rouge, and have a really good feeling about Iris and WISH IT WOULD COME TO THE STATE OF MINNESOTA ALREADY!

Best Actress Nominees

Halle Berry for Monster's Ball
Judi Dench for Iris
Nicole Kidman for Moulin Rouge
Sissy Spacek for In the Bedroom
Renee Zellweger for Bridget Jones's Diary

My thoughts:  I Meant to go to Monster's Ball yesterday, but had to cancel the 6 hour trip due to bad weather.  Too bad.  I really want to see that film.  As mentioned in the last section, I'm also desperate to see Iris, but the closest it's playing to me is literally half a country away.  Nicole Kidman did an Oscar worthy job in Moulin Rouge, and I'd be happy to see her take Oscar home with her (much better date than that screwy Tom guy she was with for so many years).  Sissy Spacek's performance was tiresome, and I find it depressing that she even got nominated.  Renee Zellweger did a fine job in Bridget Jones's Diary, but I think she's a little out of her league here, and I probably wouldn't award her an Oscar Statue, if I had any say, which I don't.     

Best Actress in a Supporting Role Nominees

Jennifer Connelly for A Beautiful Mind
Helen Mirren for Gosford Park
Maggie Smith for Gosford Park
Marisa Tomei for In the Bedroom
Kate Winslet for Iris

My thoughts:  DAMN the fucking distributors for not getting Iris to the Midwest!  I love Kate Winslet, and would most surely be rooting for her, if only I saw the damn film that she's starring in.  Helen Mirren had a nice little understated role in Gosford Park, but I doubt that it's really worthy of an Oscar.  Maggie Smith, on the other hand, was a pure delight in the film, and I would love to see her take home the trophy.  Marisa Tomei was actually the only thing I liked about In the Bedroom, and it would be nice to see her get an Oscar for a serious role, since so many people think the My Cousin Vinny thing was a flub.  There were a LOT of really good supporting actresses out there in 2001, and this will be one of the most interesting categories to keep an eye on.   

Best Animated Feature Film Nominees

Jimmy Neutron:  Boy Genius
Monsters, Inc.

My Thoughts:  Anything but Jimmy Neutron, and I'll be happy.

Best Cinematography

Black Hawk Down
The Lord of the Rings:  The Fellowship of the Ring
The Man Who Wasn't There
Moulin Rouge

My thoughts:  Every one of these films are deserving of a Cinematography Oscar.  There is no clear winner, here.  I'm sort of leaning toward Black Hawk Down, The Man Who Wasn't There or Moulin Rouge.  Still, LOTR and Amelie are definitely worthy contenders.  It's a toss up. 

Best Director

Ron Howard for A Beautiful Mind
Ridley Scott for Black Hawk Down
Robert Altman for Gosford Park
Peter Jackson for The Lord of the Rings:  The Fellowship of the Ring
David Lynch for Mulholland Drive

My thoughts:  Ron Howard isn't a very innovative director, and doesn't deserve to win this thing.  Robert Altman did an impressive job juggling all the actors in Gosford Park, and I definitely wouldn't be disappointed if he took home the trophy.  I can't stand the way David Lynch directs, so I, personally, will not be in his corner come Oscar night.  That leaves Ridley Scott and Peter Jackson; one clear winner, and one clear loser.  Although Ridley doesn't have a chance in hell of winning this, being that his film wasn't nominated for best picture, I think that he did BY FAR the best directing job of the five above, and should go home with the prize.  I would have said the same thing about Peter Jackson in regards to his Heavenly Creatures directing job, but his Lord of the Rings was poorly directed pap that you could find on a Saturday morning cartoon or any standard episode of Xena

Best Makeup

A Beautiful Mind
Moulin Rouge

My thoughts:  The fact that Hannibal wasn't nominated for Best Makeup shows that the Academy consists of a bunch of loony lemmings that are simply playing politics.  Of the three above, Lord of the Rings should win. 

Best Visual Effects

A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Pearl Harbor

My thoughts:  The Academy should throw out the crack pipe and come down to earth with the rest of us.  The fact that Black Hawk Down and Hannibal were both ignored in the Visual Effects category sickens me.  Hannibal, in particular, had some amazing effects.  Sure, they were subtle, and the Academy doesn't notice anything that isn't thrown in their face, such as the fakey ass CGI bombs in Pearl Harbor, but they were the best effects of 2001.  It's a shame the Academy didn't even bother to notice.  Of the films nominated, I'd say it's a tie between A.I. and LOTR.  

Best Writing (Adapted)

A Beautiful Mind
Ghost World
In the Bedroom

My thoughts:  Throw Shrek a friggin' bone here.  Thanks.

Best Writing (Original)

Gosford Park
Monster's Ball
The Royal Tenenbaums

My thoughts:  If Memento doesn't take home the award for this one, the shit's really gonna hit the fan in my annual Academy Awards' update.

Best Picture

A Beautiful Mind
Gosford Park
In the Bedroom
Moulin Rouge

My thoughts:  The Academy are dickheads for nominating two films for best picture that didn't get a best director nod.  This all but takes Moulin Rouge and In the Bedroom out of the running.  Sure, there are a few incidents where a film not nominated for best director takes home best picture, but it's extremely rare.  So, we have a three-way race between A Beautiful Mind, Lord of the Rings and Gosford Park.  Between those three, I'd have to pick Gosford Park as my personal favorite.  Between the five, I'd select Moulin Rouge.  I feel like the Academy really screwed the public this year with their picks.  At least the geeks will be happy.

Email Alex (he stayed up until 10:03 AM to write this update for you)

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