Oscar 2001
The 2001 Oscars are nearly here. HARO Online would love to be part of the Academy, but that's not likely to happen at any time in the near future. So here is a list of the nominees for various categories, along with some commentary by HARO Online movie reviewers, Haro and Mongoose. For the full list of nominees, please visit the official Oscar website.
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.
Best Picture
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Haro's pick to win.
Erin Brockovich
Traffic - Mongoose's pick to win.
This category is odd. Chocolat was nice, but not good enough to be best picture material. Erin Brockovich and Gladiator were better, but there were movies that were better. Unfortunately, these have a good chance of winning. The most deserving film not nominated was Almost Famous. Requiem for a Dream, You Can Count on Me, and Wonder Boys would also have been good choices.
Best Actor
Javier Bardem - Before Night Falls - Haro's pick to win.
Russell Crowe - Gladiator
Tom Hanks - Cast Away
Ed Harris - Pollack - Mongoose's pick to win.
Geoffrey Rush - Quills
Bardem and Harris were unexpected but welcome and deserving nominees. Both gave good performances in little seen films. Crowe and Hanks are great actors, but it just seems like the Academy is playing it safe by nominating them. Michael Douglas in Wonder Boys would have been a more deserving 'safe' choice. Donal Logue's performance in The Tao of Steve was wonderful and deserved a nomination, but that was even unliklier than Bardem and Harris. Billy Crudup is one of the best actors working today. His performance in Jesus' Son deserved a nomination. Hanks and Crowe gave good performances, but probably should not have been nominated.
Best Actress
Joan Allen - The Contender
Juliette Binoche - Chocolat
Ellen Burstyn - Requiem for a Dream - Haro's pick to win.
Laura Linney - You Can Count on Me - Mongoose's pick to win.
Julia Roberts - Erin Brockovich
Again, the Academy seems to be playing it safe. Roberts and Binoche are good actors (Binoche is better). They did well in their roles, but others did better. Burstyn, Linney, and Allen all gave powerful performances, and it is hard to decide between the three of them. Linney gave a good understated performance, Burstyn was nearly over the top, and Allen was quietly powerful. A nice dark horse candidate would have been Michelle Yeoh for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. She learned Mandarin just for the part, and came off pretty nicely. Girlfight's Michelle Rodriguez would also have been a nice surprise. The most deserving person not nominated was Bjork, for Dancer in the Dark.
Best Director
Stephen Daldry - Billy Elliot
Ang Lee - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Haro's pick to win
Stephen Soderbergh - Erin Brockovich
Stephen Soderbergh - Traffic - Mongoose's pick to win
Ridley Scott - Gladiator
Stephen Soderbergh did well in Erin Brockovich, but his multi-faceted, engrossing storytelling was much better in Traffic. Gladiator was nice, but not really best director material. Again, Cameron Crowe for Almost Famous should have been nominated, along with Lars von Trier for Dancer in the Dark and Darren Aronofsky for Requiem for a Dream.
Best Supporting Actor
Jeff Bridges - The Contender
Willem Dafoe - Shadow of the Vampire - Haro and Mongoose's pick to win
Benicio Del Toro - Traffic
Albert Finney - Erin Brockovich
Joaquin Phoenix - Gladiator
Willem Dafoe is by far the best choice in this category. His performance was amazing; dark and comic at the same time. Finding Forrester's Rob Brown would have been a good choice here (or in best actor), as woud Billy Crudup from Almost Famous. Some longshots would have been Jaime Tirelli from Girlfight or Nien-Jen Wu from Yi Yi. Del Toro is the second best choice among the five. Bridges was good, but didn't seem to do much at all in the film.
Best Supporting Actress
Judi Dench - Chocolat
Marcia Gay Hayden - Pollack
Kate Hudson - Almost Famous - Haro and Mongoose's pick to win
Frances McDormand - Almost Famous
Julie Walters - Billy Elliot
Finally! Almost Famous gets some recognition! This is a very well chosen field, with all the nominess doing excellent jobs. Dench was great when she won last time but shouldn't really have been nominated (she was on screen for something like ten minutes). Now, she has a substantial part and a great role as a cranky old woman. It's nice to see Walters nominated also. Hayden was good, and an unexpected nominee. She is probably the weakest in this group. Some other nice additions would have been Elaine May from Small Time Crooks or Lupe Ontiveros from Chuck & Buck.
Best Documentary
Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport
Long Night's Journey Into Day
Scottsboro: An American Tragedy
Sound and Fury
First off, the documentary features are probably hardest to get a hold of. They frequently screen in out of the way places for short amounts of time. Haro and Mongoose have only seen Into the Arms of Strangers, but it is hard imagining any other documentaries with such emotion.
Best Foreign Language Film
Amores Perros - Mexico
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Taiwan
Divided We Fall - Czech Republic
Everybody Famous! - Belgium
The Taste of Others - France
Best foreign language film is also a hard category. Sometimes, these films do not even have domestic distributors yet, and they use the nomination to get one. Again, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Taste of Others are the only films Haro and Mongoose saw. Not only was the former the best foreign movie they saw, but one of the best of all the movies in 2000. Yi Yi is a film which would also have been a worthy contender.
Best Original Score
Chocolat - Rachel Portman
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Tan Dun - Mongoose's pick to win
Gladiator - Hans Zimmer - Haro's pick to win.
Malena - Ennio Morricone
The Patriot - John Williams
Sometimes it's a mystery why Oscar voters choose who they do, especially for the music categories. It's probably just a matter of picking safe choices over truly good or innovative ones. Portman, Morricone, and Williams are all excellent composers, but they have all done much better. For Morricone and Williams, two extremely prolific writers, last year brought The Legend of 1900 and Angela's Ashes, respectively, which were much better than their current offerings. Chocolat is the continuing odd choice, since the music was not really memorable. Instead, Portman's The Legend of Bagger Vance score should have been nominated. Zimmer's work, also not his best, is still the best of the group. He has the ability to craft loud, impressive music that adds to every movie he scores for. Other ignored but worthy scores were (if they qualified) Guinevere by Christophe Beck, Requiem for a Dream by Clint Mansell, Two Family House by Stephen Endelman, The Virgin Suicides by French group Air, and Wonderland by Michael Nyman.
Best Original Song
A Love Before Time - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Coco Lee
I've Seen it All - Dancer in the Dark - Bjork - Mongoose's pick to win
My Funny Friend and Me - The Emperor's New Groove - Sting
A Fool in Love - Meet the Parents - Randy Newman
Things Have Changed - Wonder Boys - Bob Dylan - Haro's pick to win
Original song is another category where Oscar voters seem ignorant. Disney animated films are experiencing diminishing returns, as are their accompanying songs. The Sting song is completely forgettable. The Newman song is funny, but also forgettable. A Love Before Time sounds too much like Asian pop music, which is every bit as bad as the prefabricated pop inundating radio airwaves today. On the flip side, Lee has been trying to break out in America for a while, and this should help her out. Yours Forever by John Mellencamp from The Perfect Storm is a better choice, as are Journey of Man by Roxanne Potvin from the Cirque du Soleil IMAX movie of the same name, and The Tao of Steve (Isn't Time?) and (I Just Wanna Be) You're Steve McQueen by Eytan Mirsky from The Tao of Steve.

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