Oscar 2002
It's that time again -the 2002 Oscars are nearly here. Welcome to the 2nd Annual Oscar Pick List by HARO Online reviewers Haro and Mongoose. They do this because there is little chance for them to ever be in the Academy and vote for real. For the full list of nominees, please visit the official Oscar website. For last year's picks, please click here.
Haro and Mongoose picked their choices of who they would like to win given the nominees. Please keep in mind that this is very different than who they think will win, and who they think should be nominated. All winners are in bold.
Best Picture
A Beautiful Mind
Gosford Park
In the Bedroom
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Moulin Rouge
2001 was not a great year for movies (well, major movies). Of the nominees, Moulin Rouge is probably the oddest choice. It was a great looking movie, but not a great movie. The most glaring omission is the excellent Mememto. Other possible choices include Ghost World, The Royal Tenenbaums, Mulholland Drive, or maybe even Black Hawk Down or The Deep End.
Haro and Mongoose: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Best Actor
Russell Crowe - A Beautiful Mind
Sean Penn - I Am Sam
Will Smith - Ali
Denzel Washington - Training Day
Tom Wilkinson - In the Bedroom
Washington is a great actor, and did show variety and depth with his role in Training Day, but it just isn't Academy material. All of the other actors are equally deserving, so it's hard to pick one. Some other possibilities that deserved mention are Steve Buscemi in Ghost World, Billy Bob Thornton for The Man Who Wasn't There (over Monster's Ball), Jim Broadbent for Iris, Brian Cox in L.I.E., and possibly Kevin Kline for Life as a House and John Cameron Mitchell from Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Haro: Russell Crowe
Mongoose: Will Smith
Best Actress
Halle Berry - Monster's Ball
Judi Dench - Iris
Nicole Kidman - Moulin Rouge
Sissy Spacek - In the Bedroom
Renee Zellweger - Bridget Jones's Diary
Zellweger is clearly outperformed by the others, and Kidman should have received a nomination for The Others rather than Moulin Rouge. The real winners are the actresses with the most experience. Other possibilities should have included Tilda Swinton for The Deep End, Julia Blake for Innocence, both Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Herring for Mulholland Drive, Maggie Cheung for In the Mood for Love (if it qualifies), or possibly Scarlett Johansson for An American Rhapsody, or Susan Lynch for Nora.
Haro: Judi Dench
Mongoose: Sissy Spacek
Best Supporting Actor
Jim Broadbent - Iris
Ethan Hawke - Training Day
Ben Kingsley - Sexy Beast
Ian McKellan - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Jon Voight - Ali
Voight is a great actor, but not for this role. Hawke is not that great of an actor, but good, and should not be here. Other good choices are Bob Hoskins for Last Orders, Viggo Mortensen for Fellowship of the Ring, and maybe Eric Bana for Black Hawk Down.
Haro: Ben Kingsley
Mongoose: Ian McKellan
Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Connelly - A Beautiful Mind
Helen Mirren - Gosford Park
Maggie Smith - Gosford Park
Marisa Tomei - In the Bedroom
Kate Winslet - Iris
This is the most competitive category this year. Every single actress here is worthy of the award. In fact, Mirren's other role in Last Orders is also worthy of a nomination. The Academy nailed this category, and it's hard to pick a clear winner.
Haro: Jennifer Connelly
Mongoose: Helen Mirren
Best Director
Ron Howard - A Beautiful Mind
Ridley Scott - Black Hawk Down
Robert Altman - Gosford Park
Peter Jackson - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
David Lynch - Mulholland Drive
Lynch, Altman, and Scott are all great directors, but they have done much better in the past. For Altman, he has done great work for years. Getting the award would be good, but he deserves it more for his other work. No one deserves it more than Jackson, who can be described as obsessed in his desire to bring Tolkien's work to the screen. The result was a great movie of epic proportions. Other good nominees could have been Christopher Nolan for Memento, Terry Zwigoff for Ghost World, Alejandro Amenabar for The Others, and possibly Richard Kelly for Donnie Darko, Chris Columbus for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, David Siegel and Scott McGehee for The Deep End, or Todd Field for In the Bedroom.
Haro and Mongoose: Peter Jackson
Best Animated Feature Film
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
Monsters, Inc.
What a bad year for animated films. Especially traditionally animated ones. Each nominee here is highly computer animated. But hello? Jimmy Neutron? Please. Atlantis: The Lost Empire was a better choice. Waking Life is also a deserving film.
Haro: Shrek
Mongoose: Monsters, Inc.
Best Original Screenplay
Gosford Park
Monster's Ball
The Royal Tenenbaums
Memento is by far the best choice in this group, although it made it to this category (it's based on a short story) because of a technicality. It's also nice seeing The Royal Tenenbaums recognized, especially since comedies are seldom given their recognition. Other good missed choices are Mulholland Drive, Donnie Darko, and possibly The Others.
Haro and Mongoose: Memento
Best Adapted Screenplay
A Beautiful Mind
Ghost World
In the Bedroom
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
A Beautiful Mind is a good movie, but diverges so far from its source material that it should not be nominated. If not for The Fellowship of the Ring, this category would go to Ghost World. Other potential choices are Haiku Tunnel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and Iris.
Haro and Mongoose: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Best Original Score
A.I. Artificial Intelligence - John Williams
A Beautiful Mind - James Horner
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - John Williams
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - Howard Shore
Monsters, Inc.- Randy Newman
Go John Williams! Nominated twice for two very different, very good scores. Horner is great, but the music in A Beautiful Mind didn't really register. Same with Monster's Inc. Hans Zimmer for Black Hawk Down or Pearl Harbor, would be a better choice, or The Man Who Wasn't There by Carter Burwell, Amelie, by Yann Tiersen, Angelo Badalmenti for Mulholland Drive, or Paul Grabowsky for Last Orders.
Haro: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Mongoose: The Fellowship of the Ring
Best Original Song
Kate and Leopold - Sting - Until
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - Enya - May It Be
Monsters, Inc. - Randy Newman - If I Didn't Have You
Pearl Harbor - There You'll Be - Faith Hill
Vanilla Sky - Paul McCartney - Vanilla Sky
There is not much quality to choose from this year. Sting, Newman, and McCartney all gave mediocre, unremarkable performances, and no others songs from other movies stick out. Faith Hill had the most exposure, but Enya is the most deserving.
Haro and Mongoose - The Fellowship of the Ring
Best Foreign Language Film
Amelie - France
Elling - Norway
Lagaan - India
No Man's Land - Bosnia & Herzegovina
Son of the Bride - Argentina
The problem with this category is that often, the films recieve distribution after the Academy Awards. This time, the general public has yet to even hear of three of the five films. Another issue is that foreign films that people think are eligible may not be. With that in mind, films deserved nomination (if eligible) included The Road Home, The Day I Became a Woman, The Dish, Kandahar, In the Mood for Love, and possibly The Devil's Backbone.
Best Documentary
Children Underground
Lalee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton
Murder on a Sunday Morning
War Photographer
If ever there was a category less accessible than Best Foreign Film, this is it. Documentaries are hard enough to come by in general, and nominated ones usually make the rounds well after the Oscars, sometimes on cable instead of the big screen. Moreover, popular documentaries that seem like potential nominess are usually shunned. Go Tigers! was a good documentary, but who's to say how it compares to the nominees.

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