The Oscar nominations are out and I guess I can't complain too much since The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers did get a Best Picture nod. But I'm still going to complain anyway.
Here are the Best Picture nominees:
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Gangs of New York
All the nominees are here 75th Annual Academy Awards
First, I'm upset about the snub to Peter Jackson in the Best Director category. They always make a point of not nominating one of the Best Pic directors each year and this time they skipped over Jackson after nominating him last year for Fellowship of the Ring. In his place, we have Pedro Almodar, the Spanish director of "Talk To Her," the highly praised Spanish-language film which did not get nominated in the Foreign Language category because the Academy only allows each country to submit one film each year and Spain chose a different picture. So apparently the Academy intelligentsia decided to "show" Spain how wrong they were by giving Almodar the director slot. And I guess they figure to make it up to Jackson next year by giving him the gold statue for "Return of the King."
I still want to go see Chicago and Gangs of New York. The other two, The Hours and The Pianist, will probably be rentals sometime down the road. I'll be interested to see if I think Gangs really deserves the Best Pic nod in place of say, Catch Me If You Can or Minority Report., the two Spielberg offerings this year.
I can't say too much about the acting categories since I haven't seen most of the films. I never really thought that Andy Serkis would get nominated for his groundbreaking performance as Gollum. Maybe next year. I notice that Golden Globe winner Richard Gere was shut out by the Academy for his performance in Chicago. Instead, it seems every other major character in that movie got a nomination, even Queen Latifah. I was also sad to see that Houston-native Dennis Quaid did not get the acting nomination that was expected for Far From Heaven. I liked Christopher Walken in Catch Me If You Can and I'm also a big fan of Paul Newman (Road To Perdition).
On the music side, Lord of the Rings was passed over for Musical Score, but at least Catch Me If You Can score by John Williams was nominated. I really loved the music in that movie with its jazzy, 1950s-60s era feel. On the Best Song category, we can also rejoice that Madonna did not get a nomination for her James Bond theme song. Instead, we have Eminem (the only one of the group that I've actually heard, and like) and U2 for music in Gangs of New York. But where did this "Wild Thornberries" song nomination come from? OK, I guess because it is a Paul Simon tune, but it should have gone to Lord of the Rings for "Gollum's Song."
The Academy wised up this year and nominated Michael Moore's Bowling For Columbine in the Documentary category. In the past, they have passed over films like Moore's "Roger and Me" and the anti-death penalty film "A Thin Blue Line" in favor of obscure pictures made by Academy friends and family members - a mini-scandal that now seems to have been corrected.
The only one of the animated nominees I have seen is "Ice Age" which I did not like. "Spirited Away" is supposedly the critical favorite while the inclusion of the critically panned "Treasure Planet" can only be a testament to Disney's marketing prowess.
One final happy note is the inclusion of "About A Boy" in the Best Screenplay category.