The little gold men return

The oscar nominations have been anounced, but realises that there’s no prizes for guessing who will come out on top this year

So, we’ve all heard of the gargantuan 11 nominations given to Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. It seems that we are going to see a lot of a round, energetic bearded New Zealander and his production team on the evening of February 29th. However, there are areas of the Oscars which are still hotly contested, without even a Hobbit’s footprint in some important categories. Not a soul from middle earth has infiltrated either the best actress or best actor in lead role categories, and most surprisingly, there is not going to be a trace of New Zealand’s gorgeous landscapes in the clips for the cinematography section. Here in these corners of the awards ceremony, untouched by Jackson and his crew, is where the action is interesting, leading to some diverting speculation.

City of God looks to be one to watch, as it is violent, bloody, but utterly compelling filmmaking. As the cinematography section is devoid of Lord of the Rings, I for one will be disappointed if Cesar Charlone’s stunning work in following the chaos of Rio’s favelas is not rewarded.

Well, what of the acting nominations? Bill Murray should really get the prize for the best male lead, but there are other equally worthy performances that could take the golden statuette. Sean Penn, in Mystic River, could be one such dark horse. Ben Kingsley is also in there, with House of Sand and Fog, but there is only a slim prospect of him winning with two strong American contenders alongside him. The female lead is also an interesting category. The variety of roles is immense – just look at the selection of titles (right) and it will be a difficult task to predict who will come out on top. Keisha Castle-Hughes, from Whale Rider, however, will be one I am hoping to see win, just for the originality of the role and the commitment it required.

What upsets should there be? If you consider awards ceremonies pointless (especially if you remember Titanic receiving a glut of trophies), would there be anything you would like to see deflate the Lord of the Rings in a big category? I would certainly like to see the best editing award snatched away from Jackson and crew by City of God- I just can’t forgive the monotonously repetitive reunion scenes at the end of the Return of the King, and City of God just seems to be a lot sharper in the way it used its material.

In an ideal world, there would be an elected Oscars, that reflects the tastes of the international film community. If you think it is impossible, then take a look at the recent People’s Choice Awards. The best actor award was given to the man behind Gollum.

So, will you be shouting at the TV for seeing awards being arbitrarily given out? Do you not care? What would you like to see win if you do? Send your opinions attached to an email to ajn108, and they will be aired in print.

Look! No Hobbits!

Best Animated Feature:

Brother Bear; Finding Nemo; Belleville Rendezvous

Best Cinematography:
City of God; Cold Mountain; Girl With a Pearl Earring; Master and Commander; Seabiscuit

Best Original Screenplay:
The Barbarian Invasions; Dirty Pretty Things; Finding Nemo; Lost in Translation; In America

Best Leading Actor:
Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean); Ben Kingsley (House of Sand and Fog); Jude Law (Cold Mountain); Bill Murray (Lost in Translation); Sean Penn (Mystic River)

Best Leading Actress:
Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider); Diane Keaton (Something’s Gotta Give); Samantha Morton (In America); Charlize Theron (Monster); Naomi Watts (21 grams)

Best Supporting Actor:
Alec Baldwin (The Cooler); Benicio Del Toro (21 grams); Djimon Hounsou (In America); Tim Robbins (Mystic River); Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai)

Best Supporting Actress:
Shohreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand and Fog); Patricia Clarkson (Pieces of April); Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River); Holly Hunter (Thirteen); Renee Zellwegger (Cold Mountain)