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March 26th, 2002

Oscar® Mania, "Blade" Is Top Cut


So what did you all think of the Academy Awards®? I did enjoy them and felt it came out rather nice. Sure, it was the longest one yet, but for some reason I never complain about how long the show goes on for. I'm sure they could have trimmed out some segments, but in all it was quite a classy show.

The segments themselves though were pretty neat and fitting, if not a bit overdone. Yes, you needed the New York one (with a great Woody Allen introduction) after 9/11, but the special effects thing with Cirque De Soleil, while spiffy, could have been left off. The music stuff, like usual, was great. The rememberance of those who passed on was like usual, very classy and even more so with the 9/11.

As far as winners, not many surprises. I think Crowe should have won over Washington, but that's me. Washington did a superb peformance and a nice acceptance speech. Halle Berry, I have to say, her speech was great. It really did strike a chord for me for some reason. And tomorrow the media will be making a huge deal how two African-American actors were awarded an Oscar (third if you count Sidney) in one night. Jeez. I never thought of the Oscars about race. I always thought it was about performance. Honestly. Maybe some African-American actors/actresses performances weren't as good in some years when compared to different ethinic counterparts?

Anyway, I knew Jim Broadbent would win. Not many expected that. Jennifer Connolly (HOWEVER YOU SPELL IT) was a shoe-in for "A Beautiful Mind." Same goes for Akiva "mediocre script that touched many and was better because of the actors" Goldsman for that film, and first time writer Jullian Fellowes for "Gosford Park." Typically, the Academy tries to award each film something. Even if I think "The Royal Tenenbaums" should have won, but then again, that was my favorite film of 2001 so I'm a little biased there :-)

Glad "No Man's Land" won for Best Foreign flick. Too bad "Shrek" won. I don't care what anyone says, I think over time people will realize that "Shrek" was overrated and "Monsters, INC." was a superior film. "Monsters" should have won (gotta love the Nathan Lane intro too and his bit about that film - BRUCE VILLANCH YOU GENIUS). Oh yeah, musical genius RANDY NEWMAN finally won after 16 nods. Wow. While I think he's done better than work that song, I think it was the best song out of all that was nominated.

"Moulin Rouge" and "Lord Of The Rings" won more creative and artistic merits, as one would expect and as they deserved. But "A Beautiful Mind" won Best Director for Ron Howard and Picture. That was easy. Ron Howard is a great director and surely did a great job on the movie, but in terms of things, it wasn't as complex or complicated to make as far as depth and scope like "The Lord Of The Rings" or "Black Hawk Down" (Ridley Scott needs to win one year... I thought he should have taken it home this time around).

Out of all the nods, I felt "A Beautiful Mind" was the Best Picture and it won that, despite the controversial liberties it took and even if it's a bit schmaltzy. However, what I find quite laughable is that while "A Beautiful Mind" is a great story, it's all held together by Crowe. He made the movie. The film won other major awards, but he was so key in making it work. Ah well. The Academy loves drama, not flashy stuff ("Moulin Rouge"), smaller flicks without much mainstream appeal ("In The Bedroom" and "Gosford Park") or fantasy epics ("The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring"). And finally, a movie to prove that just because you have the most nods, doesn't mean you'll win the top prize.

The Kodak theater was nice, Whoopi was a decent host, the jokes were pretty good and overall, it was a nicely done show. A hard show to predict in some people's eyes, but I didn't think so. It's all about knowing members and their patterns. So despite some fluff they didn't need, it was well done. Redford and Potier made fine speeches (and they made a mistake - before Redford was presented the award, they had the screen up for "Best Actress") too. Now we can breathe until next year.

The weekend box office was incredibly strong. Blade II opened in first with a whopping 32.5 million. Ice Age dropped a spot but held with a lot of cash with 30 million. Next up was the re-release of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial with only 14.2 million. I went opening night to the re-release, and it just goes to show how great films will always be timeless. Personally, considering the tie-ins and constant television marketing, I thought "E.T." would make more, not to mention the phenomenon it was. This is surely disappointing to Universal. I guess "E.T." doesn't mean the same to audiences as it did... considering other successful re-releases of good movies, and really successful re-releases ("Star Wars"), I just thought it'd make more... sure "Star Wars" is a giant thing, but keep in mind, back in 1982, "E.T." was a critical and giant success, and at one point held the spot for the highest grossing film of all time.

Showtime was fourth with 8.1 million and Resident Evil dropped to fifth with a mere 6.7. We Were Soldiers was next with 5.7, The Time Machine made another 5.3 and newcomer comedy Sorority Boys flopped with 4.1. A Beautiful Mind rose a bit with 4 million (Oscar time can help) while 40 Days and 40 Nights made 2.7 million for tenth place.

In other news, Stolen Summer, the "Project Greenlight" film, began its limited two week run in 13 theaters. Grossing about 62,000 dollars, it's safe to say it's sadly a dud. The film was mixed by critics, but I did check it out myself and enjoyed it. However, keep in mind there's only a select market for it... basically fans of the show.


-Zach B.