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  The 2nd Annual Shaking Through Grover Awards

Other Grover Awards: 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002

Read our post-Oscar reaction to the evening's banalities.


Posted: March 4, 2003

By Laurence Station

 Last year's Oscar race provided a few surprises (Halle Berry for Best Actress, for instance), but still for the most part played it regrettably safe (the incredibly lame A Beautiful Mind winning everything in sight). This year's ceremony should be even more predictable. The bad news is that we'll likely suffer through a by-the-numbers schmooze-fest of insiders and ass-kissing gladhanders. On the plus side, however, our predictions for this year look to greatly improve on last year's 60% mark.

This year's Grover Awards, Shaking Through's more sensible take on the grouchy Oscars, is more spread out than last year (Two Towers was good, but not an instant classic on the order of Grover favorite Fellowship). Those stuffy Oscars may remain stridently mired in a most-hype-wins funk, but we here at Shaking Through choose to make some more daring choices. And like last year, we'll be on hand to sort the dead from the living after the smoke clears on Oscar night.

Listed below are the Oscar nominees, with our favored pick (who should win) in bold text alongside the accompanying image. The actual Oscar prediction (who will win) follows. Official winners highlighted in red.

Best Picture     Best Director
Gangs Of New York
The Hours
The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
The Pianist
Martin Scorsese, Gangs Of New York
▪ Rob Marshall, Chicago
▪ Stephen Daldry, The Hours
Roman Polanski, The Pianist
▪ Pedro Almodóvar, Talk To Her
Who Will Win: Chicago     Who Will Win: Rob Marshall, Chicago
Why: Oscar's saving Rings' award for next year's final installment. Gangs is too critically divisive, while The Hours is too literary (insane, but that's shallow Oscar logic). And The Pianist is far too depressing -- though if there's an upset, Pianist will be it. Chicago is bright and well-staged; plus, last year's far superior Moulin Rouge set the table for a musical to finally nab the Big One after several decades' worth of snubs.     Why: Best Picture and Best Director almost always go hand-in-hand. Scorsese will have to console himself with a Lifetime Achievement Award a few years hence.
Best Actor     Best Actress
Jack Nicholson, About Schmidt
Adrien Brody, The Pianist
▪ Nicolas Cage, Adaptation
▪ Michael Caine, The Quiet American
▪  Daniel Day-Lewis, Gangs of New York
Nicole Kidman, The Hours
▪ Salma Hayek, Frida
▪ Diane Lane Unfaithful
▪ Julianne Moore, Far From Heaven
▪ Renee Zellweger, Chicago
Who Will Win: Jack Nicholson, About Schmidt     Who Will Win: Nicole Kidman, The Hours
Why: He's got the best seat in the house, making for a short walk to the podium. Jack owns this category. Day-Lewis in an upset? Don't count on it.     Why: Kidman was the best part of a very average movie. She's earned it. Julianne Moore could pull an upset, however. But if they give it to the utterly undeserving Diane Lane, we'll be flabbergasted.
Best Supporting Actor     Best Supporting Actress
Chris Cooper, Adaptation
▪ Ed Harris, The Hours
▪ Paul Newman, Road to Perdition
▪ John C. Reilly, Chicago
▪ Christopher Walken, Catch Me if You Can
Meryl Streep, Adaptation
▪ Kathy Bates, About Schmidt
▪ Julianne Moore, The Hours
▪ Queen Latifah, Chicago
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago
Who Will Win: Chris Cooper, Adaptation     Who Will Win: Meryl Streep, Adaptation
Why: John C. Reilly would be an acceptable upset, but Cooper's so good it would be surprising to see anyone else take this one.     Why: Her best performance in years deserves to be honored. And the competition is a bit weak.
Best Screenplay (Original)     Best Screenplay (Adaptation)
Todd Haynes, Far From Heaven
▪ Jay Cocks, Steve Zaillian, Ken Lonergan, Gangs of New York
▪ Nia Vardalos, My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Pedro Almodóvar, Talk to Her
▪ Alfonso & Carlos Cuaron, Y Tu Mama Tambien
Charlie Kaufman, Donald Kaufman, Adaptation
▪ Peter Hedges and Chris Weitz, About a Boy
▪ Bill Condon, Chicago
▪ David Hare, The Hours
Ronald Harwood, The Pianist
Who Will Win: Nia Vardalos, My Big Fat Greek Wedding     Who Will Win: Charlie Kaufman, Donald Kaufman, Adaptation
Why: Oscar loves an underdog. Enjoy it, Nia, before the TV series is cancelled and William Shatner's mentioning your name on a VH1 Where Are They Now Sleeper Movie Hits retrospective.     Why: Fellow screenwriters should relish the chance to give the award to a film the focuses on the craft of screenwriting -- albeit in a very eccentric manner. Playwright David Hare might push Kaufman, but the gold should be his for the taking.
Cinematography     Film Editing
Michael Ballhaus, Gangs Of New York
▪ Dion Beebe, Chicago
▪ Edward Lachman, Far From Heaven
▪ Pawel Edelman, The Pianist
Conrad L. Hall, Road To Perdition
Thelma Schoonmaker, Gangs Of New York
Martin Walsh, Chicago
▪ Peter Boyle, The Hours
▪ Michael Horton, The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
▪ Hervé de Luze, The Pianist
Who Will Win: Michael Ballhaus, Gangs Of New York     Who Will Win: Michael Horton, The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
Why: The epic-yet-intimate scope, incredible fight sequences and inventive shot selections make this one an obvious choice.     Why: Oscar voters may confuse cutting back and forth between multiple storylines with great editing, thus making Rings the clear frontrunner. Hopefully, Thelma will nab it, but...
Visual Effects     Art Direction
The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones
Gangs Of New York
The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
Road To Perdition
Who Will Win: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers     Who Will Win: Chicago
Why: The other two have faded from voters' minds. Knee-jerk reaction: Big fantasy epic gets technical awards.     Why: This one's an even safer bet than the near-lock best picture nod -- it looks even better than it sounds.
Costume Design     Makeup
Gangs Of New York
The Hours
The Pianist
The Time Machine
Who Will Win: Chicago     Who Will Win: Frida
Why: The period dress looks great. Gangs may surprise here, but Chicago's overall momentum should see it through.     Why: A crapshoot. With choices like these, this category's finding it harder and harder to justify its existence.
Sound     Sound Editing
The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
Gangs Of New York
Road To Perdition
Minority Report
The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
Road To Perdition
Who Will Win: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers     Who Will Win: Minority Report
Why: Cool battle noises win out over spinning car tires, web-slinging zings and fancy footwork.     Why: This overlooked film has to win something.
Original Song     Original Score
"I Move On," Music by John Kander; Lyric by Fred Ebb (Chicago)
"Lose Yourself," Eminem (8 Mile)
▪ "Burn it Blue," Music by Elliot Goldenthal; Lyric by Julie Taymor (Frida)
▪ "Hands that Built America," U2 (Gangs Of New York)
▪ "Father and Daughter," Paul Simon (The Wild Thornberrys Movie)
Far From Heaven, Elmer Bernstein
Catch Me If You Can, John Williams
Frida, Elliot Goldenthal
The Hours, Philip Glass
Road To Perdition, Thomas Newman
Who Will Win: "I Move On," Music by John Kander; Lyric by Fred Ebb (Chicago)     Who Will Win: Far From Heaven, Elmer Bernstein
Why: Who else gets it? Eminem? U2, maybe, but being a rock band hurts the band's chances. "I Move On" is theatrical, brassy and snappy.     Why: Bernstein is a beloved figure in Tinseltown and his score was an integral part of the film's emotional punch. Incredibly, this may be the only award Far From Heaven wins all night.
Best Animated Feature Film     Best Foreign Language Film
Spirited Away
▪ Ice Age
▪ Lilo & Stitch
▪ Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron
▪ Treasure Planet
Hero (China)
▪ El Crimen Del Padre Amaro (Mexico)
▪ The Man Without A Past (Finland)
Nowhere In Africa (Germany)
▪ Zus & Zo (The Netherlands)
Who Will Win: Spirited Away     Who Will Win: Nowhere In Africa (Germany)
Why: It's impossible to fathom any other film beating this masterpiece. If wrong, we'll gladly take the hit on prediction percentages; we stand by this one.     Why: The best film in the group (despite our personal preference for Zhang Yimou's work), plus Talk to Her, inexplicably, wasn't even submitted as the official film from Spain. Go figure.

Post-Oscar Reaction:
Okay, maybe it was a bit presumptuous of us to figure the Oscars would be predictable, as evidenced by our less than stellar 9-11 performance -- a woeful 45%. But snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, there were some bright spots in which we found a measure or two of solace.

Things that made us happy, even though they hurt our prediction average:

  • Adrien Brody's Best Actor win for The Pianist. Let's face it: He was the movie. And his genuinely heartfelt acceptance speech was a high point, as well.
  • Pedro Almodóvar's nod for the Talk to Her screenplay. Sorry, Nia Vardalos. On the bright side, perhaps William Shatner won't be mentioning your name in a VH-1 "Where Are They Now" special anytime soon.
  • Perhaps if Roman Polanski knew he was going to nab Best Director, he might have thrown caution to the wind and actually made an appearance. The feds might even have waited for him to finish his acceptance speech before slapping on the cuffs.

Other observations:

  • Peter O'Toole: A well-deserved reward for a great, great actor.
  • Eminem: Will winning the Best Song Oscar prove the final nail in his street-cred coffin?
  • Spirited Away: At least the voters saved face (and our pitiful prediction average) here.
  • Note to Steve Martin: Get better joke writers next time.
  • Note to Michael Moore: We would have been surprised if you hadn't turned your golden moment into an obnoxious right-wing baiter's soap box.
  • Note to Martin Scorsese: If the Academy offers you a "Lifetime Achievement" Oscar one day, turn them down.
  • Note to self: Find a better old gypsy woman to help you with these predictions. That, or just flip a coin. At least the odds would be even.

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 Ratings Key:
 5.0: A masterpiece
 4.0-4.9: Exceptional

 3.0-3.9: Solid fare

 2.0-2.9: The mediocrities...
 1.1-1.9: Poor
 0.0-1.0: Utter dreck
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