Critic's Picks

Film: The Oscars

March 23, 2003|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF


Chicago (above) should win, because it's bold, brassy, sexy and you can dance to it. It's also a musical, an unjustly moribund genre for years that's finally making the comeback we've all been waiting for. And it does everything better than even the most optimistic dared hope.


Rob Marshall (Chicago) deserves an award for hitting a home run his first time in the box, and his Director's Guild citation will only help his cause. But Martin Scorsese (above) is both the greatest director of his era as well as the sentimental favorite (although sentiment doesn't carry as much weight with the academy as it used to). And, by the way, Gangs of New York ain't half bad (since when is "flawed masterpiece" synonymous with "awful"?). It's a toss-up, but I'll go with Scorsese.


This one's gonna be close, and Jack Nicholson (About Schmidt) may well leave the Kodak Theatre with his fourth Oscar. but I'll go with Daniel Day-Lewis (above) for Gangs of New York. His iconic performance -- look for the scene where he taps his glass eye with a knife to still be talked about even decades from now -- reminded everyone what a terrifically intimidating presence he can be. Giving him another Oscar will be Hollywood's way of urging him to make more than one movie every few years.


Here's betting Nicole Kidman (The Hours) and Julianne Moore (Far From Heaven) split the heavy- drama vote, opening the way for Renee Zellweger (above) to dance away with the award. Her performance in Chicago brimmed with energy, enthusiasm and unexpected confidence (the woman had rarely sung in public before). But if Diane Lane (Unfaithful)wins, no one outside her family will be happier than me.


Christopher Walken's nomination (Catch Me If You Can) is gaining momentum (especially since he won the Screen Actors Guild award last week), but Chris Cooper (above) may have given the best performance in any category as the indiscriminately passionate collector around whom the events of Adaptation pivot. He's been so good, so quietly, for too long.


Catherine Zeta-Jones gave Chicago her all, then amped-up her performance a few dozen notches. Few who see her Velma Kelly will ever forget her, which is the essence of movie greatness. And, man, can this woman vamp!

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