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Oscar at the halfway point (1 Viewer)

Nathan V

Supporting Actor
Jul 16, 2002
It's that time of year. Just thought I'd start a thread where we can talk about films with oscar potential, whether or not they have already been released.

The lineup from January until now (which was very poor, I might add; this list only includes movies that are "good" and have a remote chance of Oscar consideration. For the purposes of streamlining, epic masterpieces like 'Just Married' and Kangaroo Jack' were left out.

1. City of God (submitted for foreign film last year; elegible for standard awards this year, kind of like Talk to Her was last year). This is a Miramax film. Expect Harvey to push it as hard as he can; the hollywood reporter reported that he'll even rerelease the film at some point this year. Actually, it's been in theatres in New York since January (!!!). As for the film itself, it's extremely good in my book and got critical raves everywhere. I can see nominations for screenplay and editing. Harvey will also rerelease 'Confessions of a dangerous mind,' but I don't think that's elegible (is it?).

2. Blind Spot: Hitler's secretary. A 90 minute interview with an 88 year old woman that got raves last year at the Berlin FF. Best Doc?

3. Lost in la Mancha. IFC films. Documentary about Terry Gilliam's failed attempt to make a Don Quixote movie with Johnny Depp. I think this has a Docu nom in the bag. Currently out on 2 -disc dvd.

4. Daredevil. Ben Affleck in red leather for 90 minutes. The only reason I'm including it here is because it has the smallest, tinest, most minute chance at getting an FX or sound or sound editing nom. BTW, the award for best sound has been renamed "best sound mixing," in an attempt to clear up confusion between the 2 sound awards.

5. Gerry. Extremely bizarre, achingly boring (but very good) film about Darwinian theory, jumping off tall rocks, and the relationship between surroundings and self. Forget about oscars, but I think this'll get some minor awards at the "small" awards shows this season. Gus Van Sant directed.

6. He loves me, he loves me not. French Audrey Tautou movie. Best Foreign film nom. This isn't Miramax, so don't expect any other noms.

7. Dark Blue- Kurt Russell cop movie, supposed to be very good but probably won't do well awards-wise.

8. Gods and Generals- worst drama film of the year by a country mile, IMHO. Extensive historical accuracy MIGHT warrant a set direction nom, but this is highly, highly unlikely.

9. Irreversible- graphic french film that generated a lot of buzz at Cannes 2002 and Sundance 2003 for it's unique narrative structure. Distributed by Lions Gate. Get the region free dvd.

10. Bend it like Beckham- indie feel-good movie of the year, got great reviews, and did decent BO. Mybe a screenplay nom, a la Greek Wedding.

11. Assassination Tango- another Robert Duvall vanity project, though apparently not as good as the other Robert Duvall vanity projects (Apostle, etc), which are apparently quite good.

12.Fellini: I'm a born Liar- great docu. THis has a docu nom in the bag.

13. The Good Thief- directed by Neil Jordan (the crying game) and starring the always-cool Nick Nolte. I haven't seen it, but it did well critically. And the trailer looked fantastic. But I don't think there's enough awareness to generate noms.

14. X2. Expect FX, sound, costumes, and maybe even set direction noms.

15. Man on the Train- absolutely kick-ass french movie by Patrice Laconte. One of the best of the year, IMO. Hopefully it'll get a foreign film nom, although I doubt France will submit it as their selection.

16. The Matrix Reloaded- either this or Matrix 3 OWNS an FX nom, but probably not both. Negative reviews across the board will probably prevent it from getting anything else. And Matrix 3 will be much more fresh in voter's minds, and will probably be a better cinematic experience, as it will have resolution.

17. Finding Nemo. This has already won the oscar for best animated film. Nothing else comes close. There is no way it won't win. It might also get a nom for best song.

18. Whale Rider. Great but formulaic foreign film that's shot in the english language. I don't know enough about academy rules to know how this will be handled. It is one of those 'triumph over adversity' stories that the academy loves, though.

19. Sinbad. This'll be the other animated nom, and I'll give $50 to each HTF member if it wins.

20. Hulk- BO disappointment COULD get FX noms, but I wouldn't count on it. Plus there's that German contractual crap that I don't know about that'll probably hurt it's chances for both more BO and award possibilities.

21. Terminator 3. This has an FX nom in the bag. Probably nothing else except maybe sound and makeup.

22. Swimming Pool- french thriller with lots of sex. Foreign film shoo-in.

23. Pirates of the Caribbean- one of summer's only non-sequel movies is doing fantastic both BO and review-wise. This isn't the kind of movie that gets major noms, but if popcorn films were revered Johnny Depp would win best actor. Expect FX, set, makeup, editing, and sound noms.

24. Northfork- third film in a series that I know nothing about, so I won't comment on it. Maybe someone else can chime in and enlighten us.

That's the list up to now, early July. As far as movies to go see, the list is fair, but in terms of Oscars, this is a shitty lineup. I see NOTHING on there that warrants any acting, directing, or picture noms whatsoever. Which brings us to SEABISCUIT, to be released on the 25th. The film already has a strong fanbase and will probably be critic proof because of that. The film has a strong cast, a fair director (pleasantville), and a good tachnical team (editor of most Michael Mann movies; DP of most Michael Bay movies). Randy Newman's doing the score. The academy's going to love it. It fits their standard 'inspirational, against all odds' concept, and has very likeable actors. I predict noms for Picture, Actor, s. actor, music, sets, costumes, cinematography, and maybe even Director. And its Dreamworks, so expect a strong marketing push.

The rest of the year:

26. Matchstick men: opens September. Warner. DIRECTED BY RIDLEY SCOTT. 'nuff said. It'll probably get a medium number of noms, like Adaptation did last year (which incidentally has the same star).

27. The Human Stain: opens late September. Miramax. Prejudice /Schoolteacher drama in New England. Based on the book of the same name. Starring Anthony Hopkins, Nic Kidman, Ed Harris, and Gary Sinise. Expect some acting awards, and maybe more.

28. Wonderland: Val Kilmer Porn flick, distributed by Lions Gate. About the true story of the well-endowed John C Holmes, and his exploits in crime, sex, and drugs. Early October.

29. Hidalgo: Viggo Mortenson horse movie by Disney. I recently saw the trailer and it seems to be more kid-oriented, much to my displeasure. This probably means no noms. But who knows.

30. Intolerable: return of the Coens, this time in romantic comedy form. Opens wide in October, courtesy of Universal. Starring George Clooney, Catherine Z-J, Geoffrey Rush, and Billy Bob. I don't know about this one. Screenplay and cinematography at the least, but with Clooney and a wide release, this could get some majors, a la Fargo. Formerly titled 'Intolerable cruelty."

31. Kill Bill- 200 minutes of Quentin Tarantino in Bruce Lee mode, at least 100 of which we'll see on October 10th. Although it doesn't look oscar-worthy, Harvey will advertise it as much as he humanly can. Awareness factor on this one is very high. If the movie scores with critics and audiences, it could get some majors, but right now I doubt it.

32. Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat- Expect Grinch-BO and Grinch-oscars (e.g. no oscars, but hatfuls of cash). Rick Baker's doing makeup. December.

33. Hero- Zhang Yimou's supercool action flick damn better get released this year; Harvey's been sitting on it all year long. It got the foreign film nom last year and will hopefully get FX, costume, set, and cinematogrphy noms this year.

34. Bad Santa- Billy Bob Thornton stars as a robber who dresses up as Santa and robs malls nationwide. This originally had the Coen bro's attached, but now that they've dropped out, so have oscar chances for this flick.

35. The Cooler- all I know about this one is that it's William H Macy and it's currently NC-17. I don't know, it could be something. Distributed by Lions Gate. Rating and release date pending.

36. The Last Samurai- From the director of Legends of the Fall, starring Tom Cruise, this period action drama looks extremely good and may rake in a lot of awards. The Teaser looks great. Looks like something Kurosawa would be proud of. Opens December 5th, from Warner.

37. The Missing- directed by Ron Howard and starring Tommy Lee Jones, Cate Blanchett, and Val Kilmer, this 19th century mexican action-drama will probably get a lot of attention. Revolution studios; opens limited in December, wide in ealry January. Not to be confused with the very similar 'Alamo,' which Howard backed out of.

38. Untitled Nancy Meyers Project- directd by Nancy Meyers and starring Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Frances McDormand, and Keanu Reeves. Expect the requisite Best Actor nom for Jack, despite the fact that this is a romantic comedy. December.

39. Spartan- political thriller written and directed by David Mamet. Val Kilmer rescues the president's daughter and discovers a sinister gov plot. Also starring Derek Luke, Bill Macy, and probably the mamet regulars (ricky jay, rebecca pidgeon, etc etc). Despite their quality, Mamet's films never do well at the Oscars, though. December.

40. The Alamo- from the director of the Rookie. Starring Dennis Quiad and Billy Bob Thornton, the film will unfortunately be PG-13 because of Disney. We'll have to see how this one plays out to judge it's oscar chances. Christmas day, from Touchstone.

41. Mona Lisa Smile- Dec. 19. Columbia. Julia Roberts is a free spirited teacher at a women's college in 1953. Expect the requisite best actress nom.

42. The Statement- from the director of the Hurricane and writer of the Pianist. Starring Michael Cain(e) and Tilda Swinton. WW2 thriller. January (wide), from Sony Pictures Classics.

43. Master and Commander: the far side of the world: This year's other pirate movie stars Russel Crowe and is backed by Dreamworks, Universal, AND Miramax! Expect a campaigning deluge. From Peter Weir, this looks to be very promising, kind of a 'Gladiator in ships' type of thing. And it already has a following, as its based on Patrick O'Brian's famous books. I think it'll really depend on the reviews (which I think will be good). November.

44. The Barbarian Invasions- french Miramax, drama. Will probably be forgotten about under the weight of the all the other movies.

45. Matrix Revolutions- this one has techie noms in the bag if reviews are positive.

46. The Company, by Robert Altman. About a bunch of ballet dancers, one of whom is about to become a professional ballet dancer. The cast seems very weak, especially for an Altman film. Sony Pictures Classics; opens limited on Christmas.

47. Paycheck- by John Woo. Starring Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman, also opening Christmas. based on Philip K Dick's short story of the same name. This has potential to be one of Woo's best in years, and a great comeback after the travesty called Windtalkers. Christmas. Normally I wouldn't expect noms from a Woo film, but the 'Dick factor' could change that.

48. Cold Mountain- Miramax's best chance at major Oscars. From the directod of the English Patient and starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, and Renee Zellweger, and based on the FANTASTIC book of the same name. This one's going to get raves. I see it as the equivalent of 2002's the Hours. Christmas day.

49.The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King. I don't have to give a synopsis for this one. For fans around the world, this is the second coming (or third, actually). It'll dominate the oscar race. New Line will be campaining like a mutha, and Jackson probably will too, if he can finish up the EE in time. And of course it'll OWN the box office, as there's nothing in its way except Peter Pan and a Robert MacNamara documentary.

50. Peter Pan- Jason Isaacs is the villain; this movie could be a hit, especially with kids and Peter Pan nuts, who have been waiting for a live-action adaptation longer than it would take Mike Tyson to read this post. If it’s popular enough, there will likely be some tech/music noms.

Well, that about does it. 50 films, many with the potential to be excellent. However, this looks to be weak year (it has been so far, in terms of quality)- there’s no Scorsese, Soderbergh, Spielberg, Lynch, Stone, Mann, Hanks, or Gibson. But this is the last Lord of the Rings year, and that’s something in and of itself. I have to say these past 2 years have been great, always knowing in the back of your head that there’d be a great movie come mid-December. We won’t have that feeling next year.

I’m also interested in how the new date (February 29th, up from March 23rd) is going to change things, particularly campaigning.

Let the discussion begin!

Bill J

Senior HTF Member
Oct 27, 2001

I can tell you right now neither of those have a chance at getting an award for anything.

I have only seen about 25 films so far this year and I don't think any of them have any strong award potential (technical awards aside).

I think The Last Samurai will be a major contender this year in several categories. It could possibly earn a cinematography nomination since John Toll is the director of photography.

I'm not too sure about Master and Commander. From the trailer it appears that it will purely be an action film, although no more than Gladiator was. Earlier this year I was anticipating The Great Raid, which was supposed to come out this winter, but it appears that Miramax has pushed it back until Spring 2004.

Matt Pelham

Mar 13, 2002
Visual FX will be an interesting category, with only 3 nominations and lots of potential films

The Hulk
Terminator 3
Pirates of the Caribbean
Matrix Reloaded
Matrix Revolutions
Return of the King

Brian W.

Jul 29, 1999
Real Name
"Seabiscuit" got a mixed review from Variety. Didn't read the whole thing, but saw the first paragraph in a bulk email they sent me. (I'm no longer a subscriber, but still get their emails.)

And Hidaglo has been pushed to 2004, it was just announced.

EDIT: Just got hold of a copy of the Variety review:

While there is much to enjoy and appreciate in the film, [director] Ross winds up looking at the Seabiscuit phenomenon through the wrong end of the telescope. Observing the tale from the long view of history, and saddling it with ennobling narration about the Depression from historian David McCullough and a far too inspirational/sentimental score by Randy Newman, gives the picture a somewhat embalmed quality that drains a gripping yarn of immediacy and excitement...

...the film is content to occupy the high ground rather than to generate tension and excitement, even during Seabiscuit's extraordinary final race.

Bill J

Senior HTF Member
Oct 27, 2001
What about Mystic River? It's set for release in October.
I forgot all about that one. Ebert said it was getting very favorable reviews at Cannes. It certainly has a great cast and could potentially be one of the best films of the year.

Seth Paxton

Senior HTF Member
Nov 5, 1998
37. The Missing- directed by Ron Howard and starring Tommy Lee Jones, Cate Blanchett, and Val Kilmer, this 19th century mexican action-drama will probably get a lot of attention. Revolution studios; opens limited in December, wide in ealry January. Not to be confused with the very similar 'Alamo,' which Howard backed out of.
Yes, this seems certain to overshadow Alamo due to the skill of the people involved. The fact that Howard left one western to do another seems to indicate which story/script HE found more compelling, and that should tell us something too.

Cold Mountain - Miramax's most serious effort for an Oscar this year. That says it all about its chances.

The Statement might have a shot due to the "Nazi gets his" or "war crimes against Jews" premise, always a Oscar voter fav subject.

However, at this point few of these film seem to be without flaws. Only Last Samurai and The Missing look to have enough crowd pleasing ability to be big enough to win the grand prize, and to me that makes it even more favorable for Return of the King than last year was for The Two Towers.

If ROTK delivers based on the first 2 films and the story its telling (sans the changes already known to be made), it should really grab audiences and have some good emotional themes to please Oscar voters.

Also, a weaker fall will leave Seabiscuit in the running even if it is just average like some early reviews state.


Senior HTF Member
Dec 15, 2001
Real Name
The fact that Howard left one western to do another seems to indicate which story/script HE found more compelling, and that should tell us something too.
He left The Alamo because Disney wouldn't accept his demands for a R rating and a $125 million dollar budget. There are no reports that I know of that say he left because of the script as well.

Rob Willey

Apr 10, 2000
Real Name
Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary was on the 2002 eligibility list.

While we may chronologically be at the halfway point, the vast majority of Oscar-worthy films are yet to be released. Happens that way every year.

City of God remains #1 on my list. It was the first 2003 eligible film I saw and, as I said at the time, another film will have a tough time knocking it off its perch.


Seth Paxton

Senior HTF Member
Nov 5, 1998
My mistake Thomas, though the budget and ratings restrictions could still play a big factor in a film about The Alamo. Obviously he felt the story couldn't be told the way he wanted to with those restrictions. Seems like listening to a guy who just won for Best Pix might be a good idea.

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