75th Annual Oscar(tm) Round-Up

The Masked Reviewer

Well, Oscar(tm) time has come and gone (or is it "went")?  Either way, it's all over now.  Film reviewers all over the country boldly  predict how the Academy will vote each year, using their expert critiquing skills to divine the winners.  However, once the awards show is over (or is it "are over"?), we don't hear much more about how critics' picks.  Could it be because your guess is as good as theirs?  Or perhaps they are too polite and humble to mention that they guessed every category correctly? 

Or maybe -- just maybe -- they don't want to remind the public that their "expert guesses" are no better than chance?

Here are the Masked Reviewer's picks for the 2003 Academy Awards, and how he did, and why.  Overall he did pretty well, though a couple of the biggies evaded him.  Keep in mind that these predictions were based entirely on who the Masked Reviewer thought would win, not at all who the Masked Reviewer thought should win.  He did much better than the Osca-Matic! Try the Oscamatic 2004 here.

Category The Masked Reviewer's Pick Winner
Best Picture Chicago

Musicals are "in".  This was popular as well as critically acclaimed. Everybody else picked it too. 

Best Director Martin Scorsese

Conventional wisdom would pick Rob Marshall for Chicago, because he won the DGA award and more often than not, that winner goes on to win the Oscar(tm).  But Scorsese was due, so the Masked Reviewer went out on a limb, and it's always bad to bet against Italians (unless it's World War II).  But somehow they gave it to Polanski.  It's nice to see the Academy forgiving and forgetting...OJ and Robert Blake, don't ever give up on your Oscar(tm) dreams!

Roman Polanski
Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis

Watching Adrien Brody's performance in The Pianist was very much like watching him sit through the Academy Awards.  He looked nervous most of the time, he looked bored the rest of the time, and he didn't play the piano.  Had Nazis attacked during the awards ceremony, Adrien Brody would have been found in the basement with a big can of watermelon.  The Masked Reviewer didn't think it was likely that Brody would win, it seemed much more likely that Academy perennial favorite Jack Nicholson or Daniel Day-Lewis (who has talked about retiring from acting) would have won. 

Adrien Brody
Best Actress Nicole Kidman

She wore a fake nose and made herself uglier.  That kind of heroic deed must be rewarded.  Steve Martin is still bitter that he didn't win for Roxanne

Nicole Kidman
Best Supporting Actor Chris Cooper

Chris Cooper did an amazing job in Adaptation as well as his work as the mean old neighbor dad in American Beauty.  It was a tough call between him and Christopher Walken, but the Masked Reviewer chose wisely. 

Chris Cooper
Best Supporting Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones

It seemed likely that Julianne More would have her votes split with her nomination for Best Actress.  Meryl Streep and Kathy Bates have both already won.  And Queen Latifah already has a lock for an Academy Award next year (Bringing Down the House with Steve Martin), so it had to be Zeta-Jones.  She looks like she's put on quite a few pounds, allegedly because she's pregnant.  Way to milk the sympathy "baby on the way" vote. 

Catherine Zeta-Jones
Best Animated Film Spirited Away

This was a long shot.  The Masked Reviewer figured that the Academy might go for something different, and Hayao Miyazaki's excellent anime style is just that.  Lilo and Stitch is too cutesy, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is too horsey, and Ice Age left people cold.  Besides, Spirited Away was also distributed by Disney, so Academy voters didn't have to feel bad for not voting for the heavy favorite.  Oh yeah, Treasure Planet...too piratey.  Should've been rated "Aaaarrrrrr!"

Spirited Away
Best Foreign Language Film Nowhere in Africa

Africa hasn't gotten enough attention lately, and in it's a cool title.

Nowhere in Africa
Best Adapted Screenplay Adaptation

The Masked Reviewer has never wanted any Oscar(tm) pick to win more than this one.  Adaptation was a great script, but the acceptance speech would've been worth the price of admission.  For those of you who don't know, Charlie and Donald Kaufman received co-writing credits on the film and both received a nomination.  Except...there's only one. 

The Pianist
Best Original Screenplay Far From Heaven

The Masked Reviewer went with his gut on this one, it just seemed like that name was calling out, and he picked it.  It wasn't right, but movie reviewing is sometimes about raw instinct, and sometimes it just doesn't pay off.

Talk to Her
Best Art Direction Chicago

This was a risky call, or so the Masked Reviewer thought.  His uncanny instincts must have kicked in to guide him to this one.  The other contender was Gangs of New York, but the Masked Reviewer figured that the Academy would like to give as many statues to Chicago as it could, and this one is a good candidate.

Best Cinematography Road to Perdition

The cinematographer, Conrad Hall, died a few months before the ceremony.  Well, that makes for a touching moment, so who could blame the Academy for voting for him posthumously?  Not to mention the fact that he'd done a lot of great work including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man, and American Beauty.

Road to Perdition
Best Sound Chicago

It's a musical.  It's got to sound good. This is the category typically won by the "real movie".

Best Sound Editing The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

This category is typically won by a special effects blockbuster.  Since this film received more critical acclaim, it was a lock for sound editing. 

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Best Original Score Catch Me if You Can

The Masked Reviewer toiled over this choice.  Unfortunately, he couldn't decide between Catch Me if You Can by John Williams, or The Hours by Phillip Glass.  Frida wasn't even in the Masked Reviewer's radar.  The Masked Reviewer believes that the accounting firm that tabulates the votes for the awards may have slipped up. 

Best Original Song "Lose Yourself" - 8 Mile

Even the Masked Reviewer had a hard time believing this could win.  He thought it would be great if he did win, but it seemed awfully unlikely...especially with Chicago and all of it's sing-song goodness.  This guess was made solely on the premise that the Academy members would want to see Eminem's acceptance speech as much as everyone else.  Too bad he didn't show up.

"Lose Yourself" - 8 Mile
Best Costume Design Chicago

Apparently, some people have had their wardrobe influenced by Chicago, so it should win.  Even the Masked Reviewer has picked up a sequined pinstriped mask.

Best Documentary Feature Bowling For Columbine

If you've heard of any documentary feature in a given year, that's your winner.  Michael Moore was gracious enough to bring up all the losers on stage with him, so he could blame them for the boos he during some political remarks during his speech.  When the booing started, he should have said "Hey hey...don't boo them.  Their stuff wasn't that bad."

Bowling For Columbine
Best Documentary Short Mighty Times: The Legacy of Rosa Parks

The Masked Reviewer blew this one big time.  He didn't trust his gut, but was swayed by the fact that Rosa Parks was attending the awards.  "Why would she be going unless she was going to win?" he thought to himself.  Twin Towers was his first choice, although he thought it was a short about the making of Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers.  Whatever.  Rosa Parks probably just showed up to heckle Cedric the Entertainer for razzing her in Barbershop.

Twin Towers
Best Film Editing Chicago

A bunch of actors who can't dance in a musical with dancing.  That takes some seriously good editing.

Best Make-Up Frida

Easiest pick of the year.  Why?  Only two choices. First, Frida, a serious, artsy film, the kind of stuff that's the darling of the Academy.  Second, The Time Machine, which wasn't...it didn't quite have...well, it sucked, more or less.  The other thing is, the make-up wasn't that good. 

Best Animated Short Film The Chubbchubbs!

It's a good title.  Somewhat cute, yet slightly dirty.

The Chubbchubbs!
Best Live Action Short Film This Charming Man (Der er en Yndig Mand)

Does anyone, other than the filmmakers who create films for this category, really care about short films?  Where do you go to see short films?  Maybe if there were some outlets to see these things, people would care.  The Masked Reviewer cares, of course, but not many other people do.  It's too bad.  This was probably a great film.  Who knows?

This Charming Man (Der er en Yndig Mand)
Best Visual Effects The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Again, critically acclaimed film with great effects will beat out a film with great effects that wasn't critically acclaimed.  There's that, and the fact that Spider-Man sometimes looked like a videogame. 

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Masked Reviewer's Percentage:

18 right out of 24 (75%)

Do you think you can predict the Oscars(tm) better than chance?  Click here to try the Masked Reviewer's Auto-Oscar(tm) Picker.  Now that the awards have been given, you can see how good you did right away!  Many of you will get more correct guesses by letting the computer pick than certain reviewers did.


This site was last updated 09/22/04

Copyright 2003, Michael D. Lynn