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Now in our fifth calendar year!
PCR # 201  (Vol. 5, No. 5)  This edition is for the week of January 26--February 1, 2004.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
OSCARS 2004

Overview by:
Michael A. Smith

Movie reviews will return next week

theater seats


LA FLORIDIANA
T.R.E.E. Inc.ís Florida Arbor Day Weekend 2004
 by Will Moriaty
THIS WEEK'S MOVIE REVIEW
OSCAR PICKS, 2004
 by Mike Smith
ODDSERVATIONS
VH1's "Bands Re-United"
 by Andy Lalino
THE OGRE
Burlesque and The Suicide Girls....plus, guest editorial by Black Dog
 by Clayton Smith
CREATURE'S CORNER
You can go back...
 by John Lewis
MIKE'S RANT
Good Morning, Captain....Good-Night, Jack....The Golden Globes....Oscar Time....How About The Bad Ones?....Pirates, As In "AARRGH"?....Game Show Memories....Meet The Beatles, Part 3
 by Mike Smith
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Ahoy, matey! Who says the Motion Picture Academy isn't hip? In recognizing Johnny Depp for his work in "Pirates of the Caribbean," they have finally come into the 21st century! Depp's was among the more surprising nominations for the 76th Annual Academy Awards, which will be presented on Sunday, February 29. My thoughts on the major nominees:

Best Actor: Not a bad nominee in the bunch, but so nice to see Bill Murray's name in this group for his work in "Lost in Translation." After being overlooked for "Rushmore" a few years back, the Academy finally realized that there is some definite talent under that sarcastic exterior. I can almost hear Murray now, in his Carl Spangler/"Caddyshack" voice, "Here he is, coming out of nowhere, Cinderella story. A former greenskeeper about to win.....an academy award." Other nominees: Johnny Depp - "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," Ben Kingsley - "House of Sand and Fog," Jude Law - "Cold Mountain" and Sean Penn - "Mystic River. Nomination I would have liked to have seen: Jack Black for "School of Rock."

Best Actress: More surprising for who didn't get nominated (Nicole Kidman, Scarlett Johansson) then for who did. Sentimental favorite Diane Keaton ("Something's Gotta Give") gave a great performance and has many fans in the Academy. But the early bet is on Charlize Theron, who, like Kidman and Halle Berry before her, covered up her beauty and got to the heart of the character in "Monster." Other nominees: Keisha Castle-Hughes - "Whale Rider," Samantha Norton - "In America" and Naomi Watts - "21 Grams." Nomination I would have liked to have seen: Johansson, who held her own with Bill Murray in "Lost in Translation."

Supporting Actor: Woo hoo! Finally the Academy has recognized the talent that is Alec Baldwin. As the old time casino owner in "The Cooler," Baldwin grabs your attention and holds on. And very happy to see Tim Robbins finally earn an acting nod. Of course, I would have been happy to see anyone from "Mystic River" get a nomination. I am totally shocked that Albert Finney was not nominated for his work in "Big Fish." Other nominees: Benecio Del Toro - "21 Grams," Djimon Hounsou - "In America" and Ken Watanabe - "The Last Samurai." Nomination I would have liked to have seen: Besides Finney, the very under-rated Sean Astin, who was the very heart of "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King."

Supporting Actress: As Tim Robbins wife in "Mystic River," Marcia Gay Harden walked the fine line between support and suspicion. I had Patricia Clarkson on my short list of nominees, but for her work in "The Station Agent," not for the nominated "Pieces of April." Other nominees: Shohreh Aghdashloo - "House of Sand and Fog," Holly Hunter - "Thirteen" and Renee Zellweger - "Cold Mountain." Nomination I would have liked to have seen: Emma Thompson in "Love Actually."

Best Director: After being passed over last year for "The Two Towers," Peter Jackson returns to this category for "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King." Sophia Coppola becomes only the third woman to be nominated in this category for her film, "Lost in Translation." Other nominees: Fernando Meirelles - "City of God," Clint Eastwood - "Mystic River" and Peter Weir - "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World." Nomination I would have liked to have seen: Anthony Minghella for "Cold Mountain." After all of the bad press regarding Miramax Films and their campaigning over the past couple years, it looks like a backlash cost Minghella a much deserved nomination.

Best Picture: Joining "The Godfather," "The Godfather Part II" and "The Godfather Part III," "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Kings" becomes only the second time that three films in the same series have been nominated for Best Picture. If the Academy puts away their bias for fantasy films I see "Return of the King" as the movie to beat. Other nominees: "Mystic River," "Seabiscuit," "Lost in Translation" and "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World." Nomination I would have liked to have seen: Again, "Cold Mountain." A three-hour-plus film that combines both the Civil War and romance, and does them both well, deserves a place of honor.


Hello, gang. It's Monday evening as I prepare my 4th annual Academy Award predictions for Nolan's Pop Culture Review. Happy to say that I've been right 95% of the time, so hope my streak stands. If I was picking the Oscars, my nominations would be:

BEST PICTUREBEST DIRECTOR
LORD OF THE RINGS: Return of the King
MYSTIC RIVER
SEABISCUIT
COLD MOUNTAIN
LOST IN TRANSLATION
SLEEPER: MASTER AND COMMANDER
PETER JACKSON - LOTR
CLINT EASTWOOD - MYSTIC RIVER
GARY ROSS - SEABISCUIT
ANTHONY MENGHELLA - COLD MOUNTAIN
PETER WEIR - MASTER/CMDR
SLEEPER: SOHIA COPPOLA - LOST IN TRANSLATION
BEST ACTORBEST ACTRESS
BILL MURRAY - LOST IN TRANSLATION
SEAN PENN - MYSTIC RIVER
BEN KINGSLEY - HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG
JUDE LAW - COLD MOUNTAIN
PAUL GIAMATTI - AMERICAN SPLENDOR
SLEEPER: JACK BLACK - SCHOOL OF ROCK
BILLY BOB THORNTON - BAD SANTA
(GREAT comedy performances are so often overlooked)
CHARLIZE THERON - MONSTER
DIANE KEATON - SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE
SCARLETT JOHANSSON - LOST IN TRANSLATION
NAOMI WATTS - 21 GRAMS
EVAN RACHEL WOOD - THIRTEEN
SLEEPER - JENNIFER CONNELLY - HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG
SUPPORTING ACTORSUPPORTING ACTRESS
TIM ROBBINS - MYSTIC RIVER
ALEC BALDWIN - THE COOLER
KEN WATANABE - THE LAST SAMURAI
ALBERT FINNEY - BIG FISH
PETER SAARSGARD - SHATTERED GLASS
SLEEPER: BILL NIGHY - LOVE ACTUALLY
RENEE ZELWEGGER - COLD MOUNTAIN
HOPE DAVIS - AMERICAN SPLENDOR
PATRICIA CLARKSON - STATION AGNT
HOLLY HUNTER - THIRTEEN
EMMA THOMPSON - LOVE ACTUALLY
SLEEPER - MARIA BELLO - THE COOLER

I'll rate my choices with a complete list in this week's Rant!


This week's overview of the 2004 Academy Award Nominations is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2004, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.