Was just looking through my old files for the Fan Fiction I wrote in middle school and stumbled across this Oscar article I wrote for my school newspaper when I was 15. It was in regards to the 73rd Annual Academy Awards, for the films released in 2000 - telecast airing in March of 2001. Below I have reprinted the article.
It's equal parts cringe-worthy (you can tell I read A LOT of Oscar articles and think I know what I'm talking about) and insightful for a 15 year old (shhhh, it is, sort of). My personal top five seems to consist of Wonder Boys, Almost Famous, Quills, Requiem for a Dream & Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. ... How did Crouching Tiger make my top 5? Interesting. And I REALLY loved Kate Hudson in Almost Famous. In retrospect however, that may be her only great performance, so I'm glad she lost the Oscar.
Read on if you dare!
Well, everyone, it’s that time of year again! On February 13th at 5:00 AM the Oscar race officially began, showcasing some of the most original and entertaining movies we’ve seen in a long time. This years nominations run the gamut in variety, from serious, involving movies about matters of life and death to action-filled, sometimes mystical movies that took us back to another time and place. It’s been forever since an Oscar race was this diverse, and even more odd is the fact that in no categories, excluding Best Actress, is there a shoe-in. With almost every critic disagreeing with each other, this year will prove to be incredibly unpredictable, at times surprising, and just maybe, historic.
Some of the nominations alone have made history. The sweet fable, “Chocolat” surprised everyone by managing to nab a nomination for best picture thanks to Miramax’s aggressive early campaign, yet “Cast Away” and “Almost Famous”, both backed by the very powerful Dreamworks, were snubbed in that category. Another interesting fact, making history this year, is director, Steven Soderbergh not only being nominated twice in the best director category but having both of his films be nominated for best picture. But, the biggest news of all this year is the fact that a foreign film garnered 10 nominations, 2 away from having the most. “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, a Taiwanese film entirely in subtitles is nominated in such prestigious categories as Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture. If it wins best film of the year, it will be the first time ever a foreign film has received such an honor. But, will it win? Many people across the country are now debating over what film will take top honors and what actors will walk away with shiny new Oscars. Here are my predictions and thoughts on the Oscar race this year: What will win, what should win, and what shouldn’t even be nominated.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Stephan Gaghan – “Traffic”
Wang Hui Ling, James Schamus and Tsai Kuo Junh – “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”
Ethan Coen and Joel Coen – “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Steve Kloves – “Wonder Boys”
Robert Nelson Jacobs – “Chocolat”
Can I just say, if you haven’t seen “Wonder Boys”, please, please, go see it. Such a good movie with such a good script, it’s just too bad it won’t be winning this category. “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”, another movie with an exceptional script will be robbed as well, I’m afraid. I’m pretty sure that this award will go to Stephan Gaghan for adapting “Traffic”, a 6 hour mini-series, into a 2 and a half hour movie. He won the Golden Globe and seems to be the favorite in this category. With all the other wonderful scripts nominated though, here’s hoping it’ll end up going to one of them.
Who Should Win: Steve Kloves, “Wonder Boys”
Who Will Win: Stephan Gaghan, “Traffic”
Best Original Screenplay
Cameron Crowe – “Almost Famous”
David Franzoni, John Logan and Willian Nicholson – “Gladiator”
Susannah Grant – “Erin Brockovich”
Kenneth Lonergan – “You Can Count On Me”
Lee Hall – “Billy Elliot”
In this category, I am torn between “Erin Brockovich” and “Almost Famous” the most. Both were very well written, perfect blends of drama and comedy. Ultimately, I’m pulling for “Almost Famous”, but I’m not sure if the Academy feels the same way. I actually have this sick feeling in my stomach, worrying that they might give it to “Gladiator”, a movie not made at all by the screenplay, but rather the directing, budget, and scope. I enjoyed the movie, I did, but the screenplay was not it’s strong point. It does not deserve to win. It didn’t even deserve to get the nomination. “You Can Count On Me” has a good script, but it’s not my favorite. Same goes for “Billy Elliot”, but with a bit more affection.
Who Should Win: Cameron Crowe, “Almost Famous”
Who Win Will: Cameron Crowe, “Almost Famous”
Best Supporting Actress
Kate Hudson – “Almost Famous”
Judi Dench – “Chocolat”
Frances McDormand – “Almost Famous”
Julie Walters – “Billy Elliot”
Marcia Gay Harden – “Pollock”
Although great performances all around, my personal favorite this year is Kate Hudson and I’m fairly certain that the academy feels the same way, but unlike the Best Actress category, this win isn’t completely in the bag. Judi Dench is a great actress and loved by the Academy, as is Frances McDormand. Still, here’s hoping that Hudson gets it.
Who Should Win: Kate Hudson
Who Will Win: Kate Hudson
Best Supporting Actor
Benicio Del Toro – “Traffic”
Jeff Bridges – “The Contender”
Willem Dafoe – “Shadow of the Vampire”
Albert Finney – “Erin Brockovich”
Joaquin Phoenix – Gladiator
For me, personally, this is absolutely the toughest category. Willem Dafoe, Albert Finney and Joaquin Pheonix all put on great performances. The two that stand out the most for me are Dafoe, who so completely looked and acted like Nosferatu, it was scary, and Phoenix, whose portrayal of an insane roman emperor was mesmerizing. Finney, who has been acting for years and years and never won, put on a great performance in “Erin Brockovich”, and if he won, I know I would be happy, because even though it wasn’t the best performance of the year, it’s been a long time…he deserves one. In this category though, I think it will go to Benicio Del Toro. There is tremendous buzz surrounding him right now, especially after winning the Golden Globe. Though his performance was very good, it wasn’t the best, so if he does win it will be quite disappointing considering he has the rest of his life to put on even greater performances whereas someone like Albert Finney has already been waiting his whole life.
Who Should Win: Albert Finney
Who Will Win: Benicio Del Toro
Who I Want to Win: Joaquin Pheonix
Julia Roberts – “Erin Brockovich”
Joan Allen – “The Contender”
Juliette Binoche – “Chocolate”
Ellen Burstyn – “Requiem for a Dream”
Laura Linney – “You Can Count on Me”
I think this year most everyone would agree that Julia Roberts put on an amazing performance. True, it was fantastic…but it wasn’t the best. I might be a minority here, saying this, but I think the best actress this year was Oscar winner, Ellen Burstyn, in “Requiem for a Dream”. Her performance was breathtaking. I don’t think I’ve ever been so moved or so astounded by someone’s ability to act. Because of all the buzz though, Julia should still win or it would be the biggest upset in the history of the Oscars.
Who Should Win: Julia Roberts
Who Will Win: Julia Roberts
Who I Want to Win: Ellen Burstyn
Tom Hanks – “Cast Away”
Javier Bardem – “Before Night Falls”
Russell Crowe – “Gladiator”
Ed Harris – “Pollock”
Geoffrey Rush – “Quills”
Even though Geoffrey Rush, Ed Harris, and Javier Bardem gave us wonderful performances, for some reason the race has been cut down to Russell Crowe and Tom Hanks. I wouldn’t mind if Crowe won, he gave the role his all, but I definitely don’t want Hanks to win. “Cast Away” was not that great of a movie and though Hank’s performance was good, he’s already got two Oscars. But I’m thinking that maybe where that issue is concerned the academy agrees. Since my favorite performance, Michael Douglas in “Wonder Boys” wasn’t nominated, I will throw my support to Russell Crowe.
Who Should Win: Michael Douglas, but then he would have to be nominated…
Who Will Win: Russell Crowe
Ang Lee – “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”
Ridley Scott – “Gladiator”
Steven Soderbergh – “Erin Brockovich”
Steven Soderbergh – “Traffic”
Stephan Dalory – “Billy Elliot”
Sadly, some speculate that Stephan Soderbergh will cancel himself out, ruining his chances to win for the movie that should win for best direction, “Traffic”. Under these circumstances, keeping in mind that Ridley Scott, albeit respected, is not a well-liked man, Ang Lee just might get the Oscar. Not that that’s completely a bad thing though.
Who Should Win: Steven Soderbergh, “Traffic”
Who Will Win: Ang Lee, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”
“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”
This year, unlike most years, the Best Picture race is the most unpredictable. I’ll just try to guess based on decisions the Academy has made in previous years. I think this one will go to “Gladiator”. As for my pick, well, I’d say either “Traffic” because of the political impact and strong message or “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, because it’s the only one nominated that is on my own personal top 5 list. The other 4 on my list, “Wonder Boys”, “Almost Famous”, “Quills”, and “Requiem for a Dream”, were all snubbed in this category. Any of those deserved the nomination over “Chocolat”, which although sweet, isn’t even close to being the best picture of 2001.
What Should Win: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Traffic
What Will Win: Gladiator
What I Want to Win: Requiem for A Dream, but that’s not exactly possible
The Oscars air, Sunday, March 25.