Scott Hardie | January 27, 2004
The 2003 Oscar nominations are out (here). I'll have the contest going around 7pm.

The biggest surprise (since the "Matrix" sequels being snubbed for visual effects was already known) was the absence of "Cold Mountain" for best picture, not to mention director or actress. This is a mixed blessing to me: On one hand, I liked the film quite a lot, and I was honestly rooting for it to win the trophy, plus I was ready to predict it as the winner with confidence. But on the other hand, it's a Miramax film, and I hate seeing Harvey win anything. The absence of "Cold Mountain" means there's no Miramax film in the field! Woo hoo!

Good news for Johnny Depp, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Patricia Clarkson, "Seabiscuit," and "City of God" - all were thought to come out too early in the year to get nominated for anything. Castle-Hughes in particular is deserving; her performance was one of astounding courage. She can't compete with the even more courageous Charlize Theron, but it's good she's been recognized.

Bad news for Scarlett Johanssen, who was not nominated for either "Lost in Translation" or "Girl with a Pearl Earring." Maybe the two films split her votes, but I don't put much stock in that phenomenon.

As Matt pointed out to me, this year is going to be a lot easier to predict than most. With "Cold Mountain" out of the way, LOTR can steamroll the other candidates for picture and director. The documentary feature and foreign feature categories are also much easier this year, though I think I will downgrade them in my contest anyway.

I am still amused by the people who saw only LOTR at the end of the year and are surprised when Viggo Mortensen and Miranda Otto are somehow not nominated for their seven minutes of screen time. There were other movies made last year, people! (No dis to your blogmate, Steve Dunn.)

Anna Gregoline | January 27, 2004
Yeah, Oscar game! I think my favorite game you run, Scott.

Steve Dunn | January 27, 2004
I thought Greg was off base on that comment, too, Scott. Thanks for keeping us straight in your mind, and for the non-dis assurance!

I look forward to the Oscars game - it takes something like a game to make me care.

Jackie Mason | January 27, 2004
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Scott Hardie | January 28, 2004
The contest is officially open, so knock yourself out. I'm still tweaking the layout a little, but the form to enter the contest is fully functional. You'll be able to edit your predictions in a few minutes here, so there's no pressure to be completely accurate when you first enter. Good luck.

Glad you like the poster, Jackie. You and Matt both won it last year, so if either of you happens to win it again this year, I'll let you substitute the third prize for it instead.

More comments on the nominations:

How did "City of God" wind up with four high-profile nominations, including best director, and not get nominated for best foreign language feature? Let me guess, that stupid technicality that there can only be one submission per country.

How did Howard Shore's original score for LOTR get nominated? I could swear I read that his scores for "Two Towers" and "Return of the King" were disqualified because they reused so much music from "Fellowship of the Ring." Oh well, the nominations are full of surprises today.

And I liked "Master and Commander" as much as anybody else, but how in the hell did it get nominated for best makeup in the same year as "X2" and "T3"?

Matthew Preston | January 28, 2004
While reading an MSNBC article here, I came across a quote from Miramax's own Harvey Weinstein. He made mention that Cold Mountain didn't get a nomination because it came out too late in 2003... whatever.

“If I had to do it all over again, I’d have opened it in November. It wasn’t ready then, but that’s what you would do.”

I am glad to see that he cares about the quality of a film and not just the chances of winning an Oscar.

To me, the score for Return of the King was very different from the first two. Perhaps this was noted and allowed in. I am sad to see such a small list for best visual effects, man that really needs to be bumped up to 5 nominees...

Jackie Mason | January 28, 2004
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Scott Hardie | February 9, 2004
You know what I'm getting tired of reading? How Johnny Depp's nomination for a comedic role is so "rare," in the same year that nominated Diane Keaton, Bill Murray, Renee Zellweger and Patricia Clarkson for comedic roles.

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