Oscar 2001: Picks and Predictions

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Article by Mark Dujsik

Despite the fact that many people consider this yearís Oscar race to be a weak one, it may turn out to be one of the most surprising. There arenít too many guarantees this year, unlike last year when American Beauty won big as expected. Here are my picks of who should and who will win.





The Nominees: Chocolat, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Erin Brockovich, Gladiator, Traffic


My Choice: This is the easiest choice for me to make. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon deserves the Oscar here, and if it wins, it will be the first time a foreign film ever took the award. If it goes to an American film, Iíll have to choose Traffic as my preference. Iím one of the few who isnít disappointed with Gladiatorís showing in nominations, but it would be my third choice. Chocolat and Erin Brockovich are unexciting choices, and I wish the Academy had chosen Almost Famous and Wonder Boys to take their spots.


My Prediction: This is a tough call. It seems that Gladiator is the favorite considering its Golden Globe and BAFTA awards, but donít be surprised if the critical and box-office foreign hit Crouching Tiger takes home the prize.


The Winner: Gladiator





The Nominees: Javier Bardem, Before Night Falls; Russell Crowe, Gladiator; Tom Hanks, Cast Away; Ed Harris, Pollock; Geoffrey Rush, Quills


My Choice: I felt Russell Crowe should have won last year for his chameleon-like turn in The Insider, and Iím going to go with him again this year as my pick. I appreciated Hanksí turn, and he carried the mediocre Cast Away, but it was nothing too special for him. The biggest surprise here is Ed Harrisí nod. He seems to have pulled an Edward Norton (American History X) surprise for unexpected but deserved nomination. But whereís Michael Douglas for Wonder Boys? If he were on the list, my pick would go to him, but apparently the Academy suffers from some affliction that causes them to ignore a big starís best performance.


My Prediction: Two words: Tom Hanks. Thereís really no competition, and this is one of the few guarantees this year.


The Winner: Russell Crowe, Gladiator





The Nominees: Joan Allen, The Contender; Juliette Binoche, Chocolat; Ellen Burstyn, Requiem for a Dream; Laura Linney, You Can Count on Me; Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich


My Choice: Well, Iím going to go way out in left-field this time to make my personal preference. I choose Joan Allen for her excellent turn in the underrated and misunderstood political drama The Contender. She always gives great performances, and this is one of her best. Iím glad to see Laura Linney, who was overlooked for The Truman Show, on the list, but Juliette Binoche stole BjŲrkís (Dancer in the Dark) spot.


My Prediction: The other guarantee this year is Julia Roberts taking this one. I think itís one of her better performances, but I always saw Julia and not Erin. I think her performance in Notting Hill used her star status quite effectively, but the Academy overlooked her for that one. The only real competition here is Ellen Burstyn whoís been winning a few awards here and there, but donít think it will change the outcome.


The Winner: Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich





The Nominees: Jeff Bridges, The Contender; Willem Dafoe, Shadow of the Vampire; Benicio Del Toro, Traffic; Albert Finney, Erin Brockovich; Joaquin Phoenix, Gladiator

My Choice: Before I make a pick, I must state my extreme disappointment that the Academy overlooked the best supporting performance this year: Bruce Greenwood in Thirteen Days. His JFK was phenomenal, and I cannot believe he is not on this list. I also cannot believe they nominated Jeff Bridges for The Contender but forgot Gary Oldman whose transformation into character was as startling as Willem Dafoeís. Now for my pick, I will have to say Benicio Del Toro. Iíve always seen him as a comedic actor, but his dramatic turn in Traffic is truly a revelation. Albert Finney takes the "experienced actor in a phoned-in performance" slot this year.


My Prediction: Almost definitely Del Toro, but Dafoeís transformation may command enough attention not to be overlooked.


The Winner: Benicio Del Toro, Traffic





The Nominees: Judi Dench, Chocolat; Marcia Gay Harden, Pollock; Kate Hudson, Almost Famous; Frances McDormand, Almost Famous; Julie Walters, Billy Elliot

My Choice: Now I have to pick between two shining performances in the same movie. Should I choose Frances McDormand or Kate Hudson? Iím going to give the edge to Hudson whose performance showed a lot of talent and depth for an actress as young as she is. I think Judi Dench has finally forgiven the Academy for giving her Oscar for Mrs. Brown to Helen Hunt (although I havenít), and her nomination for Chocolat may be the last apology.


My Prediction: I give an almost definite win to Hudson. The only ones who could take it from her are McDormand or Julie Walters.


The Winner: Marcia Gay Harden, Pollock





The Nominees: Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot; Ang Lee, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Steven Soderbergh, Erin Brockovich; Ridley Scott, Gladiator; Steven Soderbergh, Traffic

My Choice: No question here the Oscar deserves to go to Ang Lee. His martial arts as ballet presentation is magnificent, and he was able to maintain an epic feel in a very personal story. I have no clue how Stephen Daldry ended up on this list, but I donít have a problem with it.


My Prediction: Many have commented that Steven Soderberghís two nominations may split the vote, but can anyone honestly tell me they would choose his work in Erin Brockovich over his work in Traffic? Ridley Scott also has a decent chance here, but the winner will be Lee.


The Winner: Steven Soderbergh, Traffic





The Nominees: Amores Perros, Mexico; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Taiwan; Divided We Fall, Czech Republic; Everybody Famous, Belgium; The Taste of Others, France


My Choice: Even though I havenít seen any of the other nominees, Iím going to give a biased pick to Crouching Tiger.


My Prediction: The only reason Crouching Tiger wouldnít win is if it ends up winning Best Picture. In that case, Iíll say Amores Perros.


The Winner: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon





The Nominees: Robert Nelson Jacobs, Chocolat; Wang Hui Ling and James Schamus and Tsai Kuo Jung, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, O Brother, Where Art Thou?; Stephen Gaghan, Traffic; Steve Cloves, Wonder Boys

My Choice: This is a great category, save Chocolat. The screenplay for High Fidelity should have taken that spot. In fact, this is the toughest category for me to choose my preference. Iíll give it to the Coen Brothersí inventive screenplay for O Brother, Where Art Thou?

My Prediction: Steven Gaghan, Traffic

The Winner: Steven Gaghan, Traffic





The Nominees: Cameron Crowe, Almost Famous; Lee Hall, Billy Elliot; Susannah Grant, Erin Brockovich; David Franzoni and John Logan and William Nicholson, Gladiator; Kenneth Lonergan, You Can Count on Me

My Choice: Of all Gladiatorís nominations, this is the only one that upsets me. I wish they had considered Rod Lurieís script for The Contender instead. My pick goes to Cameron Croweís autobiographical script for Almost Famous.


My Prediction: Cameron Crowe, Almost Famous

The Winner: Cameron Crowe, Almost Famous





The Nominees: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Dr. Seussí How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Gladiator, Quills, Vatel

My Choice: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

My Prediction: Dr. Seussí How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Winner: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon





The Nominees: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Gladiator, Malena, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Patriot

My Choice: O Brother, Where Art Thou?

My Prediction: Gladiator

The Winner: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon





The Nominees: Cast Away, Gladiator, The Patriot, The Perfect Storm, U-571

My Choice: Cast Away

My Prediction: Gladiator

The Winner: Gladiator





The Nominees: Space Cowboys, U-571

My Choice: U-571

My Prediction: U-571

The Winner: U-571





The Nominees: Chocolat, Rachel Portman; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Tan Dun; Gladiator, Hans Zimmer; Malena, Ennio Morricone; The Patriot, John Williams


My Choice: Gladiator

My Prediction: Gladiator

The Winner: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon





The Nominees: "A Fool in Love" from Meet the Parents, Randy Newman; "Iíve Seen It All" from Dancer in the Dark, BjŲrk, Lars von Trier and Sjon Sigurdsson; "A Love Before Time" from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Jorge Calandrelli, Tan Dun and James Schamus; "My Funny Friend and Me" from The Emperorís New Groove, Sting and David Hartley; "Things Have Changed" from Wonder Boys, Bob Dylan


My Choice: "Things Have Changed" from Wonder Boys

My Prediction: "Things Have Changed" from Wonder Boys

The Winner: "Things Have Changed" from Wonder Boys





The Nominees: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Dr. Seussí How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Gladiator, 102 Dalmatians, Quills

My Choice: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

My Prediction: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

The Winner: Gladiator





The Nominees: Almost Famous, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Gladiator, Traffic, Wonder Boys

My Choice: Traffic


My Prediction: Gladiator

The Winner: Traffic





The Nominees: The Cell, Dr. Seussí How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Shadow of the Vampire

My Choice: The Cell

My Prediction: Dr. Seussí How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Winner: Dr. Seussí How the Grinch Stole Christmas





The Nominees: Gladiator, Hollow Man, The Perfect Storm

My Choice: The Perfect Storm

My Prediction: The Perfect Storm

The Winner: Gladiator





The Nominees: Into The Arms Of Strangers: Stories Of The Kindertransport, Legacy, Long Nightís Journey Into Day, Scottsboro: An American Tragedy, Sound And Fury

My Choice: No idea


My Prediction: Into The Arms Of Strangers: Stories Of The Kindertransport

The Winner: Into The Arms Of Strangers: Stories Of The Kindertransport





The Nominees: "Big Mama," "Curtain Call," "Dolphins," "The Man On Lincolnís Nose," "On Tiptoe: Gentle Steps To Freedom"


My Choice: No idea


My Prediction: "The Man On Lincolnís Nose" (I am completely guessing here.)


The Winner: "Big Mama"




The Nominees: "Father And Daughter," "The Periwig-Maker," "Rejected"


My Choice: No idea


My Prediction: "Father and Daughter"


The Winner: "Father And Daughter"





The Nominees: "By Courie," "One Day Crossing," "Quiero Ser (I Want To Be...)," "Seraglio," "A Soccer Story (Una Historia De Futebol)"


My Choice: No idea


My Prediction: "Quiero Ser (I Want To Be...)" (I am completely guessing here again.)


The Winner: "Quiero Ser (I Want To Be...)"



Predicted film with the most awards: Gladiator

Predicted number of awards: 5


Copyright © 2001 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.