January 15, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 58  

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It all starts with the screenplay

Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) won’t win Best Director, but the Academy will definitely see fit to award her for her script. The only other nominees with a chance are Jim Sheridan and his daughters, who collaborated on the script for In America, and Richard Curtis (Love Actually), who’s had most of Hollywood star in his movies at one time or another. The relative lack of major films in this category could lead to some outside-the-box nominees, such as Canadian Denys Arcand (whose Barbarbian Invasions will contend for Best Foreign Film), the Bend It Like Beckham writers, Quentin Tarantino (Kill Bill: Vol. 1) or Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo).

predicted nominees:Arcand, Coppola, Curtis, the Sheridans, Stanton

This field looks suspiciously like the field for Best Picture, so voters might choose to award a film in this category instead of giving it a Best Picture vote. Brian Helgeland (Mystic River), who also won an Oscar for adapting L.A. Confidential, had the most complex novel to transform into a coherent film and is the favourite to grab his second award. A Lord of the Rings sweep could help Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Phillippa Boyens, but that movie’s script is not its strength. The field can be filled out with Anthony Minghella (Cold Mountain), Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) and Peter Weir and his co-writer Peter Collee (Master and Commander).

predicted nominees: Collee/Weir, Helgeland, Minghella, Ross and the LOTR bunch

It could end up being a terrific (and modern) group of performers at this year’s ceremony. Big names like Elton John (Mona Lisa Smile), Bono (In America) and even Pearl Jam (Big Fish) are in the running, and Cold Mountain has an eclectic soundtrack from diverse talents like Jack White and Sting. Phil Collins (Brother Bear) and Annie Lennox (Return of the King) also contend, as well as the Mighty Wind crew (Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Eugene Levy) and the School of Rock songwriting combo of Mike White and Liam Lynch. I’m personally hoping the Oscar goes to Bono after U2 got upset last year by Eminem.

predicted nominees: Bono, Elton John, Annie Lennox, A Mighty Wind, School of Rock



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