The Moviehunter

Pulp Culture
Academy Award
nominees never
make any sense


February 14, 2002
By Franklin Harris

This year's Oscar nominees are as confusing and frustrating a group as ever.

David Lynch picked up a nomination for Best Director, but his film, "Mulholland Drive," isn't among the Best Picture nominees. "Moulin Rouge" is up for Best Picture, but its director, Baz Luhrman, is absent from the Best Director list. Go figure.

Judging from the screenplay nominees, writing doesn't count for much. "Memento," "Ghost World" and "The Royal Tenenbaums" received nominations while getting shut out everywhere else.

All three deserve Best Picture honors, along with "Mulholland Drive" and either "Moulin Rouge" or "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring."

"Moulin Rouge" is probably the better film, but "The Fellowship of the Ring" is a monumental undertaking.

"Fellowship" has reclaimed front-runner status for Best Picture, garnering 13 nominations, five more than its closest competitors, "Moulin Rouge" and "A Beautiful Mind." Usually, the film that receives the most nominations walks away with the big prize. (Still, "A Beautiful Mind" seems the safe bet.)

Anyway, while reading the list of Academy Award nominees, I realized that a few new categories are needed:

  • I WAS ROBBED. This is for those that should have been nominated but weren't.

    It's unforgivable that Naomi Watts didn't get a Best Actress nomination for her role in "Mulholland Drive."

    Similarly slighted was Gene Hackman, who deserves a Best Actor nomination for "The Royal Tenenbaums."

    And Gene should be slugging it out with fellow non-nominee Steve Buscemi ("Ghost World").

    Lastly, because of a quirk in the rules, "Come What May," the love theme from "Moulin Rouge," is ineligible for Best Original Song.

  • WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? As you might guess, this category is for those who were nominated but shouldn't be.

    First up is perennial nominee Denzel Washington, who, once again, is nominated for the same role he plays in all of his films: Angry Guy. (Just wait. Next year he'll get a nomination for his latest Angry Guy movie, "John Q.")

    And don't forget Denzel's "Training Day" costar, Ethan Hawke, who somehow snagged a Best Supporting Actor nomination.

    If Ethan wins, it'll be just as suspect as when Marisa Tomei won Best Supporting Actress for "My Cousin Vinny."

    Speaking of Marisa, she got another supporting actress nomination, this time for "In the Bedroom." But what are the chances of an Oscar presenter accidentally reading her name a second time?

  • WORST HOWARD COSELL IMPERSONATION. This is the only nomination Best Supporting Actor nominee Jon Voight ("Ali") should have received.

  • BEST PERFORMANCE IN A BAD MOVIE. This could go either to Will Smith, who is nominated for Best Actor for "Ali," or Hugh Jackman, who isn't nominated for anything for "Kate and Leopold."

    As for the new category the Academy really has adopted, it has a few bugs that need working out.

    This is the first year that feature-length animated films have their own category. The nominees are "Shrek," "Monsters Inc." and "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius." All are OK movies, considering their target audiences, but none is particularly daring.

    But with films like "Metropolis" and "Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door," due out this year, maybe the Academy can get it right in 2003.

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