Saturday, February 28, 2004

Oscar Picks (2 of 3)

Best Director:  I expect Peter Jackson.  So does HSX, although, oddly, they think ROTK has a better lock on Best Picture than Jackson has on Best Director.
Possible Things Against It:  As far as I'm concerned, it wasn't the best directed of the trilogy, frankly.  The damn thing went on FOREVER at the end, and (despite all the promises for Pelennor Fields), I still believe Helm's Deep was the best battle sequence ever put on film.  I'm not trying to rag on the film here, I'm just saying that I don't think -- as a matter of direction -- that it was the best of the three.  I think the Academy has boxed itself in on this one by not awarding either of the first two, though -- and they will be forced to give it to Jackson on the strength of the set.  (Besides which, my concern about Peter Weir being a factor has failed to materialize.)

Best Actor:  I'm flipping here.  I said Bill Murray before, but now I think Sean Penn.  HSX has been in a tizzy over this one ever since Johnny Depp won the SAG award, and it has all three in a virtual dead heat, with Penn currently ahead of Depp ahead of Murray.  But I'm going with Penn mostly because I hadn't realized he didn't have one yet.  Here's how I think Hollywood views each of these actors:  Penn:  has calmed down from his wild youth to become one of the best actors of his generation.  Murray:  has done a lot of good work, but wasn't he that guy in Stripes?  Depp:  an extremely good young actor with lots of potential.  In other words -- it doesn't matter that Murray has been making serious pictures for 20 years, he's still also making comedies, and you can ask Robin Williams how difficult it is for a comic actor to be taken seriously enough to take home an Oscar.  And this is Depp's very first Oscar nomination.  In contrast, this is Penn's fourth nomination, all for leading actor (dating back to 1995's Dead Man Walking).  They owe him, and I understand his work in Mystic River is certainly good enough.  This, by the way, is also why I think Mystic River might be the one to snag Best Picture away from ROTK.  It will have two big acting awards (compared to ROTK's Best Director), which might give it better momentum.

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