My 2004 Oscar predictions!!

Continuing my long-running tradition that started last year, it’s time to post my Oscar predictions for 2004. First, however, let me confess that I’m just not into the Oscars this year as much as last year, for two reasons. First, inexplicably, Salma Hayek was not nominated for her breathtaking performances in either Spy-Kids: 3D, or ...

By , a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
590557_1910810020_salma12.jpg
590557_1910810020_salma12.jpg

Continuing my long-running tradition that started last year, it's time to post my Oscar predictions for 2004. First, however, let me confess that I'm just not into the Oscars this year as much as last year, for two reasons. First, inexplicably, Salma Hayek was not nominated for her breathtaking performances in either Spy-Kids: 3D, or Once Upon a Time In Mexico. There is no justifiable explanation for this oversight. [Did you even see either of those films?--ed. Look, this is just a point of principle.] As a gesture of support, I feel obligated to post this picture of Ms. Hayek in protest:

Fight the power!! Second, the truncated Oscar campaign season has taken a toll. When the Oscars were in late March, it permitted a less frenetic awards season. This year, BAM!! The Golden Globes, BAM!, the SAG awards, BAM!!, critics awards, BAM!!, the Oscars. The logic behind this was to reduce the campaigning that goes on during awards season. Why, exactly, is this a bad thing? I say Hollywood needs more campaigning. It helps to build up excitement -- you know, like the off-season between the Red Sox and the Yankees. So, without further ado, my predictions: Best Picture: Will win: Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King Should win: Finding Nemo I agree with what David Edelstein and Lynda Obst say in Slate – LOTR has that mix of commercial epic and artistic achievement that’s tough for the Academy to ignore. The most serious competition, Lost in Translation, is the exact opposite, a purposefully small film. The Academy surprised me last year with some genuinely unconventional choices, but I’m playing it safe here. Risking the wrath of LOTR devotees everywhere, let me say that while I liked the last one a great deal, the third film was the only one that seemed to drag. I thought it was going to end at least five times during the last half hour. Nemo, on the other hand, is equally beautiful to watch, but a more tightly constructed film. Best Actor: Will win: Sean Penn, Mystic River Should win: Sean Penn, Mystic River It’s supposed to be between Penn and Bill Murray. The Academy still has a bias against comedians unless they go completely dramatic, and Murray was too funny in the role for voters to believe it to be that big of a stretch. Penn has been nominated several times before, and he’s due. Plus, Penn’s understated performance in 21 Grams will unconsciously bias Academy voters in favor of Penn. I liked Murray’s performance in Lost in Translation, but not as much as I liked Penn’s in Mystic River, which ran the gamut in terms of emotion. Best Actress: Will win: Charlize Theron, Monster Should win: Naomi Watts, 21 Grams. Theron has dominated the pre-Oscar awards, plus she suffered for her craft by putting on weight, shaving her eyebrows and wearing tons of unflattering makeup. To be fair, I haven’t seen Monster, so the award might well be deserved. However, Watts’ performance as the grieving mother/junkie in 21 Grams blew me away. In a role that could have caused some actresses to overemote, Watts hit just the right note of dulled pain that the bereaved usually feel. Best Supporting Actor: Will win: Tim Robbins, Mystic River Should win: Peter Sarsgaard, Shattered Glass I’ve noticed that Robbins’ performance tends to split critics between those who like to see GREAT ACTING! and those who believe that truly great acting should be so subtle that the viewer becomes absorbed into the story to the point where s/he doesn’t think, “Wow, Tim Robbins is great!” Academy voters tend to fall under the GREAT ACTING! school. I thought Robbins was great in both senses -- as the movie went on, I thought less about Tim Robbins and more about his character, Davy. That said, there was one other performance this year that was better. Sarsgaard played Chuck Lane, the personally awkward editor who slowly ferrets out the deception of New Republic writer Stephen Glass. What’s great about the performance is that you can see Lane’s slow change from defending his reporter to suspecting the worst to believing the worst. Best Supporting Actress: Will win: Shohreh Aghdashloo, House of Sand and Fog Should win: Ellen DeGeneres, Finding Nemo Renee Zellweger will be this decade’s Joan Allen – always giving Oscar-caliber performances but never winning the Oscar. Plus, her not winning is the best way for the Academy to stick it to Harvey Weinstein. Dorie was written for DeGeneres, but the character allowed her to display a range that wasn’t present in her previous work. Best Director: Will win: Peter Jackson, Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King Should win: Billy Ray, Shattered Glass Jackson will win for the same reason that LOTR will win Best Picture. On the basis of the whole trilogy, I’m inclined to want Jackson to win it as well. But Ray should be acknowledged for doing the near-impossible – telling a true story about a non-visual subject – magazine writing – and making it interesting while not distorting the facts. UPDATE: Here's an amusing Oscar drinking game; link courtesy of Wonkette. POST-OSCAR UPDATE: Well, that was boring (except for the song by Will Ferrell and Jack Black). Laura at Apt. 11D has a pithy assessment of the show.

Continuing my long-running tradition that started last year, it’s time to post my Oscar predictions for 2004. First, however, let me confess that I’m just not into the Oscars this year as much as last year, for two reasons. First, inexplicably, Salma Hayek was not nominated for her breathtaking performances in either Spy-Kids: 3D, or Once Upon a Time In Mexico. There is no justifiable explanation for this oversight. [Did you even see either of those films?–ed. Look, this is just a point of principle.] As a gesture of support, I feel obligated to post this picture of Ms. Hayek in protest:

salma1.jpg

salma1.jpg

Fight the power!! Second, the truncated Oscar campaign season has taken a toll. When the Oscars were in late March, it permitted a less frenetic awards season. This year, BAM!! The Golden Globes, BAM!, the SAG awards, BAM!!, critics awards, BAM!!, the Oscars. The logic behind this was to reduce the campaigning that goes on during awards season. Why, exactly, is this a bad thing? I say Hollywood needs more campaigning. It helps to build up excitement — you know, like the off-season between the Red Sox and the Yankees. So, without further ado, my predictions: Best Picture: Will win: Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King Should win: Finding Nemo I agree with what David Edelstein and Lynda Obst say in Slate – LOTR has that mix of commercial epic and artistic achievement that’s tough for the Academy to ignore. The most serious competition, Lost in Translation, is the exact opposite, a purposefully small film. The Academy surprised me last year with some genuinely unconventional choices, but I’m playing it safe here. Risking the wrath of LOTR devotees everywhere, let me say that while I liked the last one a great deal, the third film was the only one that seemed to drag. I thought it was going to end at least five times during the last half hour. Nemo, on the other hand, is equally beautiful to watch, but a more tightly constructed film. Best Actor: Will win: Sean Penn, Mystic River Should win: Sean Penn, Mystic River It’s supposed to be between Penn and Bill Murray. The Academy still has a bias against comedians unless they go completely dramatic, and Murray was too funny in the role for voters to believe it to be that big of a stretch. Penn has been nominated several times before, and he’s due. Plus, Penn’s understated performance in 21 Grams will unconsciously bias Academy voters in favor of Penn. I liked Murray’s performance in Lost in Translation, but not as much as I liked Penn’s in Mystic River, which ran the gamut in terms of emotion. Best Actress: Will win: Charlize Theron, Monster Should win: Naomi Watts, 21 Grams. Theron has dominated the pre-Oscar awards, plus she suffered for her craft by putting on weight, shaving her eyebrows and wearing tons of unflattering makeup. To be fair, I haven’t seen Monster, so the award might well be deserved. However, Watts’ performance as the grieving mother/junkie in 21 Grams blew me away. In a role that could have caused some actresses to overemote, Watts hit just the right note of dulled pain that the bereaved usually feel. Best Supporting Actor: Will win: Tim Robbins, Mystic River Should win: Peter Sarsgaard, Shattered Glass I’ve noticed that Robbins’ performance tends to split critics between those who like to see GREAT ACTING! and those who believe that truly great acting should be so subtle that the viewer becomes absorbed into the story to the point where s/he doesn’t think, “Wow, Tim Robbins is great!” Academy voters tend to fall under the GREAT ACTING! school. I thought Robbins was great in both senses — as the movie went on, I thought less about Tim Robbins and more about his character, Davy. That said, there was one other performance this year that was better. Sarsgaard played Chuck Lane, the personally awkward editor who slowly ferrets out the deception of New Republic writer Stephen Glass. What’s great about the performance is that you can see Lane’s slow change from defending his reporter to suspecting the worst to believing the worst. Best Supporting Actress: Will win: Shohreh Aghdashloo, House of Sand and Fog Should win: Ellen DeGeneres, Finding Nemo Renee Zellweger will be this decade’s Joan Allen – always giving Oscar-caliber performances but never winning the Oscar. Plus, her not winning is the best way for the Academy to stick it to Harvey Weinstein. Dorie was written for DeGeneres, but the character allowed her to display a range that wasn’t present in her previous work. Best Director: Will win: Peter Jackson, Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King Should win: Billy Ray, Shattered Glass Jackson will win for the same reason that LOTR will win Best Picture. On the basis of the whole trilogy, I’m inclined to want Jackson to win it as well. But Ray should be acknowledged for doing the near-impossible – telling a true story about a non-visual subject – magazine writing – and making it interesting while not distorting the facts. UPDATE: Here’s an amusing Oscar drinking game; link courtesy of Wonkette. POST-OSCAR UPDATE: Well, that was boring (except for the song by Will Ferrell and Jack Black). Laura at Apt. 11D has a pithy assessment of the show.

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he is the co-director of the Russia and Eurasia Program. Twitter: @dandrezner

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