Despite years of effort, my pleas to be accepted to the Academy have not been heard, and my vote doesn’t matter. However, that does not mean I don’t have opinions. Unfounded opinions? Certainly ? because that’s what just about all of my opinions are. And now, on with my predictions, also known as wild guesses.

Best Actor: While I don’t think the movie itself is anything to write home about, Russell Crowe’s impressive portrayal of scientist John Nash is deserving of the Academy Award. His competition comes from Sean Penn, Will Smith, Tom Wilkinson, and most importantly, Denzel Washington, for his performance in “Training Day.” If anyone other than Crowe takes the award home, my money is on Denzel, but if he does win, it would be robbing Crowe of his much deserved, and well earned award.

Best Actress: Getting rid of Zellweger’s atrocious performance in the even more awful “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” the real contenders for this award are Sissy Spacek and Judi Dench. This is unfortunate, merely because Nicole Kidman’s ass-kicking performance in “Moulin Rouge” deserves an award. I thought she wasn’t worth her salt in “Eyes Wide Shut,” but “Moulin Rouge” changed my opinion of her talents. On the down side, she probably won’t win, because Spacek’s chances are looking a little too good at this point.

Best Directing: As much as I hope this isn’t true, Ron Howard has a solid chance for this award. His happy feel-good movies are frequently given more credit than they deserve. My personal choice is a toss-up between David Lynch for “Mulholland Drive” and Peter Jackson for “Fellowship of the Ring.” Both films restored my faith in modern film-making, and either director could be honored. Hopefully an award from me will warm their hearts when Ron Howard makes his triumphant way home with the little golden statue.

Best Musical Score: This category is one of the few in which who I think will win is who I think should win. Even the noble and frequently ghastly Academy of Motion Pictures will recognize that the wonderful score for “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” deserves the award. Best Original Screenplay: The Academy, in its desire to try and seem more intellectual than they really are, will likely vote “Amelie” for best original screenplay. Is it a good movie? Yes. Is it the best original screenplay? No. That honor belongs to Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson’s “The Royal Tenenbaums,” a fantastic follow up to their previous “Rushmore” and their even earlier film “Bottle Rocket.” Their unique sense of humor shines through clearly in this utterly original film.

Best Film: I make it no secret that I think “Fellowship of the Ring” is one of the best movies I have ever seen. I don’t want to hear complaints about it being three hours long, or “not having a real ending.” You know what? It doesn’t need one. It is a great masterpiece of film, and really, it should win most of the awards it is up for ? scratch that ? every award it is up for.

I refuse to entertain the possibility that it is not recognized as great, so I am going to refrain from suggesting that “A Beautiful Mind” will take the award home.

Disagree? Tune in to the Oscars and see how wrong I truly am.



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