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Arts & Culture/Real Dealz
Date Posted:2/27/04

The Dealies
by:Edwardo Jackson

That's right, y'all, it's Oscar time. And as your humble, civic servant, forever standing vanguard against cultural pollutants and wastes of your time, THE REEL DEAL predicts the Oscars. Trust me on these, folks – and win your office pool.
Nominated: Johnny Depp, Ben Kingsley, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Sean Penn
Should Win: Bill Murray. Although Johnny Depp totally made what could have been a pointless, boring popcorn flick into a pointless, ENTERTAINING popcorn flick, Bill's got more range and fat to chew on in "Lost in Translation." Plus, I hated Kingsley's "House of Sand and Fog" and "Mystic River" is vastly overrated.
Will Win: Sean Penn. Although a close race with Murray, Penn has, amazingly never won an Oscar. Academy voters, like bad NBA referees, have an annoying tendency of doing "make up calls" on previous oversights (Whoopi Goldberg's Oscar for "Ghost" instead of "The Color Purple," anyone?).
Nominated: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Diane Keaton, Samantha Morton, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts
Should Win: Charlize Theron. In the closest of all races for THE REEL DEAL, she makes a complete physical and career transformation. I loved Diane Keaton in "Something's Gotta Give," was blown away by Watts in "21 Grams," and respect the job Morton did in "In America," but I didn't see "Whale Rider." Never saw Charlize coming.
Will Win: Theron. Despite the age-skewing demographics of the Academy, who has been rallying a bit around Keaton, Theron's performance has been more talked about. Castle-Hughes is too young and has plenty of opportunities in the future.
Nominated: Alec Baldwin, Benicio del Toro, Djimon Hounsou, Tim Robbins, Ken Watanabe
Should Win: This is close for me, but I give the slight edge to Baldwin. Both fierce and sad with killer lines, Baldwin's foul-mouthed casino security dinosaur is amazing to watch. If it weren't for him, I'd give it to Ken Watanabe in a heartbeat, stealing the movie from under Tom Cruise with a stately, distinguished performance.
Will Win: Tim Robbins. "Mystic River" fever continues. And I still don't know why.
Nominated: Shohreh Aghdashloo, Patricia Clarkson, Marcia Gay Harden, Holly Hunter, Renee Zellweger
Should Win: Shohreh Aghdashloo. Although I hated "House of Sand and Fog," her performance does stand out because of how much humanity she imbued a role which basically has nothing to do.
Will Win: Renee Zellweger. Her role is pure Oscar bait candy, a hurricane of fresh air in her movie right when it needed it. Although not Aghdashloo's fault, a smear campaign against Zellweger in the Industry's trades won't help her cause.
Nominated: The Barbarian Invasions, Dirty Pretty Things, Finding Nemo, In America, Lost in Translation
Should Win: Wow. That's a tough one. As witty and inclusive as "Finding Nemo" is, I gotta give some love to another wholly underappreciated movie this year, the wildly complex, dynamic, and effective "Dirty Pretty Things." Although great dialogue, "Lost in Translation" isn't nearly as complicated or urgent as "Things."
Will Win: "Lost in Translation." Consider it Coppola's consolation prize when she doesn't win another award the rest of the night.
Nominated: American Splendor, City of God, Mystic River, The Return of the King, Seabiscuit
Should Win: "City of God." "City of God, City of God, City of God." If we all repeat it enough, the universe might make it true…
Will Win: "Mystic River." This will be River's consolation prize as a production when it probably loses out on every other major award to Hobbitville. Don't sleep on Seabiscuit, though, as a high profile adaptation of a runaway bestseller - no easy feat with such an amalgamation of expectations and egos.
Nominated: Lost in Translation, Master and Commander, Mystic River, The Return of the King, Seabiscuit
Should Win: My favorite movies "City of God," "Finding Nemo," and "21 Grams" aren't nominated. So I guess I'll go with "Lost in Translation," a movie I enjoyed but am a little astonished at all the critical foaming at the mouth.
Will Win: "The Return of the King." Of course. The Academy's rewarding Jackson for his three films instead of for just this one; never mind that it's a half hour too long. "Master and Commander" is solid but curiously overhyped this awards season. "Seabiscuit" came out too long ago and is a little too slight to win. "Mystic River" mania may come within a hair of winning, but those not voting for the hobbits may also put their votes into audience and critical darling "Lost in Translation."
Nominated: Sofia Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Peter Jackson, Fernando Meirelles, Peter Weir.
Should Win: Fernando Meirelles. I am so sorry I slept on you this long! Easily the most innovative directing and editing showcase of the year.
Will Win: All together now: "Peter Jackson." Or, renamed for this year only, the Hobbit Lifetime Achievement Award.
Like what you read? Agree/disagree with The Reel Deal? Think he's talkin' out his...HUSH YO' MOUF! (I'm only talkin' about The Reel Deal!) Email him at ReelReviewz@aol.com!
Edwardo Jackson is the author of the novels EVER AFTER and NEVA HAFTA, (Villard/Random House), a writer for UrbanFilmPremiere.com, and an LA-based screenwriter. Visit his website at www.edwardojackson.com

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