SPLICEDwire's 2003 Oscar Scorecard

WHAT: 75th Annual Academy Awards
WHEN: Nominations on 2.11.2003, Awards on 3.23.2003

BEST films of 2002
WORST films of 2002

Ideal World Oscars

Awards Coverage
SF Film Critics Circle
Golden Globe winners
Nomination predictions (you are here!)
2002 Oscar nominations
WINNER predictions
2002 Oscar winners

Previous years (1995-2001)

Dennis Quaid (from 2002), likely Best Supporting Actor nominee for "Far From Heaven"
Bill Condon (from 1998), likely Best Adapted Screenplay nominee for "Chicago"
Stephen Daldry (from 2000), likely Best Director nominee for "The Hours"
Spike Jonze & Charlie Kaufman (from 2002), possible Best Director & Best Adapted Screenplay nominees for "Adaptation"
David Hare (from 2002), possible Best Adapted Screenplay nominee for "The Hours"
Alexander Payne (from 1999), likely Best Director & Adapted Screenplay nominee for "About Schmidt"
Adrien Brody (from 2002), possible Best Actor nominee for "The Pianist"
Salma Hayek (from 2002), possible Best Actress nominee for "Frida"
Michael Moore (from 2002), possible Best Docuemtary nominee for "Bowling for Columbine"
Even a film called 'Adaptation' should score nods, but 'Chicago,' 'The Hours' are early front-runners

By Rob Blackwelder

After taking the Golden Globe Awards by storm, "Chicago" and "The Hours" are poised as front-runners in this year's Oscar race, looking at 15 nominations virtually guaranteed and another 7 possible between them.

These two films are a combined juggernaut going into the February 11 announcements of Academy Award contenders. But the competition could get interesting with Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Jack Nicholson and Paul Thomas Anderson in the mix.

Here's what we see in our crystal ball...

Sure Things:
"Gangs of New York"
"The Hours"

Good Bets:
"About Schmidt"
"Far From Heaven"
"Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"

The Competition:
"Antwone Fisher"
"The Pianist"

Dark Horses:
"Catch Me If You Can"
"My Big Fat Greek Wedding"
"Road to Perdition"

Regardless of what the other three nominees might be, this race has been between "Chicago" and "The Hours" from even before they won their Golden Globe Awards (for Best Musical or Comedy and Best Drama, respectively).

Sure Things:
Rob Marshall, "Chicago"
Todd Haynes, "Far From Heaven"
Stephen Daldry, "The Hours"

Good Bets:
Spike Jonze, "Adaptation"
Alexander Payne, "About Schmidt"
Martin Scorsese, "Gangs of New York"

The Competition:
Peter Jackson, "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"
Roman Polanski, "The Pianist"
Steven Spielberg, "Catch Me If You Can"

Dark Horse:
Denzel Washington, "Antwone Fisher"

Daldry was nominated in 2000 for his very first film, "Billy Elliot," and he's the front-runner this year because "The Hours" is the buzz drama of the season. But career also-ran Scorsese may be due for his little gold man. Polanski could spoil for the fifth spot, but his legal problems of decades ago still hang over his head, so he can't attend and that hurts his chances.

Sure Things:
Daniel Day-Lewis, "Gangs of New York"
Jack Nicholson, "About Schmidt"
Nicholas Cage, "Adaptation"

Good Bets:
Michael Caine, "The Quiet American"
Adrien Brody, "The Pianist"

The Competition:
Richard Gere, "Chicago"
Tom Hanks, "Road to Perdition"

(Very) Dark Horses:
Leonardo DiCaprio, "Catch Me If You Can"
Derek Luke, "Antwone Fisher"
Dennis Quaid, "The Rookie"
Campbell Scott, "Roger Dodger"
Robin Williams, "One Hour Photo"

The five listed on top here are almost locks, but Gere gained momentum with his Golden Globe win, and his performance in "Chicago" just gets better and better with each viewing -- and it's the most likely "gotta see it again" contender of the year.

Sure Things:
Julianne Moore, "Far From Heaven"
Renee Zellweger, "Chicago"
Nicole Kidman, "The Hours"

Good Bet:
Diane Lane, "Unfaithful"

And one of these:
Salma Hayek, "Frida"
Meryl Streep, "The Hours"

Dark Horse:
Nia Vardalos, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"

The only real question mark here is if Streep might get shut out here in favor of her inevitable supporting nod for "Adaptation."

Sure Things:
Chris Cooper, "Adaptation"
Ed Harris, "The Hours"
Dennis Quaid, "Far From Heaven"

Good Bets:
Paul Newman, "Road to Perdition"
John C. Reilly, "Chicago"
Christopher Walken, "Catch Me If You Can"

The Competition:
Tom Hanks, "Catch Me If You Can"
Dennis Haysbert, "Far From Heaven"

Dark Horse:
Ray Liotta, "Narc"
Alfred Molina, "Frida"

Cooper is a lock to win, and again there's only one slot up in the air -- will voters be moved more by Walken's vulnerability as Leonardo DiCaprio's father in "Catch Me," or by Reilly's show-stopping, melodiously melancholy "Mr. Cellophane" number in "Chicago," a nod that would also recognize his amazing body of work this year ("Gangs of New York," "The Good Girl," & "The Hours")?

Sure Things:
Kathy Bates, "About Schmidt"
Meryl Streep, "Adaptation"

Good Bets:
Julianne Moore, "The Hours"
Catherine Zeta-Jones, "Chicago"
Patricia Clarkson, "Far From Heaven"

The Competition:
Queen Latifah, "Chicago"
Susan Sarandon, "Igby Goes Down"

Dark Horses:
Tovah Feldshuh, "Kissing Jessica Stein"
Lupe Ontiveros, "Real Women Have Curves"
Miranda Richardson, "Spider"

This category always seems to hold some surprise nominee that never even crossed my mind -- and the fourth and fifth slots in this category are almost up for grabs. My three "good bets" all have weaknesses that could jeopardize their positions, especially Moore, who is already guaranteed a nomination for Best Actress for playing another '50s housewife in "Far From Heaven."

Sure Things:
"Antwone Fisher," Antwone Fisher
"Far From Heaven," Todd Haynes
"Gangs of New York," Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian & Kenneth Lonergan
"Punch-Drunk Love," Paul Thomas Anderson

Good Bet:
"My Big Fat Greek Wedding," Nia Vardalos

The Competition:
"Igby Goes Down," Burr Steers
"Roger Dodger," Dylan Kidd
"Talk to Her," Pedro Amoldóvar
"Y Tu Mamá También," Alfonso & Carlos Cuarón

With the great Hollywood story that goes with Sony backlot security guard-cum-screenwriter Fisher, how could the Academy pass that one up? "Greek" is the only weak nominee here. But it's also the perfect category in which to acknowledge the populist hit, which is unlikely to get any other nods. Any of the four "Competition" screenplays has a good chance to spoil.

Sure Things:
"About Schmidt," Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor
"Adaptation," Charlie Kaufman
"Chicago," Bill Condon
"The Hours," David Hare

Good Bet:
"Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh & Philippa Boynes

The Competition:
"Catch Me If You Can," Jeff Nathanson
"Nicholas Nickleby," Douglas McGrath
"The Quiet American," Christopher Hampton & Robert Schenkkan

Dark Horses:
"The Pianist," Ronald Harwood
"Road to Perdition," David Self

The five best-chance films here are all astonishingly ingenious adaptations, so while I'm 95% sure those will be the nominees, what will eventually win is anyone's guess.

SPECIALTY Best Film categories

Animated Feature:
"Spirited Away" is the only animated standout this year. Look for it to be joined by "Lilo & Stitch" and probable winner "Ice Age." Dark horse (literally!): "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron"
Tinsel-town-centric "The Kid Stays In the Picture" is far and away the front runner in this category. But "Bowling For Columbine" can't be ignored. "Standing In the Shadows of Motown" is another strong contender.

Foreign Language:
Likely nominees include "City of God," "Nowhere In Africa" & "Hero." Golden Globe winner "Talk to Her" was not Spain's official entry -- a bonehead mistake I'm sure they're kicking themselves for right now.

TECHNICAL ("hard") categories

The smart money is on "Chicago," "Far From Heaven," "Gangs of New York," "The Two Towers" & "Road to Perdition"

Likely noms include "Adaptation," "Chicago," "The Hours," "The Two Towers," & "Gangs of New York"

Sound Design & Sound Effects Editing:
Chances are good for "Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets" and "The Two Towers." Other competitors may include "Minority Report," "We Were Soldiers" and/or "Spider-Man".

Visual Effects:
Inevitable winner "The Two Towers" will probably be joined by "Star Wars II" & an undeserving nom from among "Minority Report" (images too soft) "Harry Potter 2" (bad interaction w/ live action) & "Spider-Man" (often disappointingly fake-looking).

ARTISTIC ("soft") categories

Art Direction:
Bet on "Chicago," "Frida," "Gangs of New York," & "The Two Towers." Likely to be joined by: "Catch Me If You Can."

Givens: "Chicago," "Far From Heaven," & "The Two Towers." Good bets: "Gangs of New York" & "Frida"

"Chicago," "The Hours" & "The Two Towers" among others. "Frida" is a strong possibility.
Note (1/29/2003): In a weird late development, the Academy has ruled that only two film qualify in this category: "Frida" and "The Time Machine."

MUSIC categories

Original Score:
Bet the farm on nods for "Catch Me If You Can" & "The Hours." Thanks to the Golden Globes, "Frida" is a pretty sure thing. "The Two Towers" is in the running, as are "Chicago," "Adaptation" & "Punch-Drunk Love"

Original Song:
The marketing-driven category will once again be dominated by songs slapped onto the closing credits of movies just for the sake of getting another Oscar nod, like U2's "The Hands That Built America" from "Gangs of New York." Eminem's "Lose Yourself" from "8 Mile" will be the only nominee that's actually relevant to the movie it came from. Another likely nom is Madonna's "Die Another Day" from "Die Another Day." Other than that I don't care enough to bother guessing.

Unlmited DVD rental
$20 a month


powered by FreeFind
SPLICEDwire home
Online Film Critics Society
All Rights Reserved
Return to top
Current Reviews
SPLICEDwire Home