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Oscar Playoffs: The Contenders

Oscar nominations! Updated 1/27/04
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People who just got a very nice wakeup call: Johnny Depp, Naomi Watts, Keisha Castle-Hughes (Best Actress, Whale Rider), Samantha Morton (Best Actress, In America), Shohreh Aghdashloo (Supporting Actress, The House of Sand and Fog), Holly Hunter (Thirteen), Fernando Mereia (Director, City of God), and the folks who wrote the screenplays for The Barbarian Invasions and Dirty Pretty Things.

People who are not going to be very happy at all: Nicole Kidman, Anthony Minghella, Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Gary Ross, Harvey Weinstein.

How'd my predictions go? Well, there were so many total surprises that most of us sitting here trying to fit six or seven names into five slots were just blown out of the water. I did nail the entire Best Actor list, though. I got Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts, and Diane Keaton in Actress, and at the time I thought Watts was a stretch. I nailed Alec Baldwin, Tim Robbins, and Ken Watanabe in Supporting Actor, and Holly Hunter, Renee Zellweger, and Patricia Clarkson in Supporting Actr--oh my God, I just realized that Scarlett Johansson was shut out. Wow. I'm still shocked that Fernand Mereia slipped into the directing category. Well, there's always one Highly Deserving But Completely Obscure nominee that slips into this category. But still... Cold Mountain's goose is cooked, sliced, and served on a platter. Mostly in the sense that
it wasn't nominated for Best Picture at all. This huge gasp went up when they started the Best Picture nominations off with "Lord of the Rings," and I couldn't figure out why--um, yeah, it got nominated. You thought it wouldn't?--until the E! talking heads pointed out that, alphabetically, that meant that people immediately realized that Cold Mountain was shut out. There was another huge gasp when they finished off with Seabiscuit--I guess that was the point when the rest of the gathering realized.

Oh, and Johnny Depp's nomination got the biggest applause of the morning. Of course, he's up against not one but
two Golden Globe winners from Sunday night, so I doubt he has a chance, but it's a nice inclusion. The real race at this point is between Sean Penn and Bill Murray--Jude Law's pretty much a non-contender at this point, Ben Kingsley already has an Oscar; the other actors have the Lifetime Achievement principle in their favor. So this is the race you really want to watch. Anything can happen in a month, but if I had to guess right now, I'd say you'll see Tim Robbins, Renee Zellweger, Charlize Theron, Peter Jackson, and Return of the King take home the other big awards.

Oscar Watch
How Digest prognosticators fared:

Brassy: 9/13
8/13 (corrected)

Actual Golden Globe Winners

Best Film (Drama)
Return of the King
Best Film (Comedy)
Lost in Translation
Best Director
Peter Jackson, ROTK
Best Actor (D)
Sean Penn, Mystic River
Best Actress (D)
Charlize Theron, Monster
Best Actor (C)
Bill Murray, Lost in Translation
Best Actress (C)
Diane Keaton, Something's Gotta Give
Best S. Actor
Tim Robbins, Mystic River
Best S. Actress
Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain
Best Screenplay
Lost in Translation
Best Score
Howard Shore, ROTK
Best Song
"Into the West," ROTK
Best Foreign Language Film