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  The 3rd Annual Shaking Through Grover Awards

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

Read our post-Oscar reaction to the night's festivities.


Posted: February 1, 2004

By Laurence Station

After imploding with our picks last year (an abysmal 45% correctly pegged), we've decided to stop leaning toward hopeful wishes and think more along the lines of a Hollywood insider. Thus, we examine the "It's about time" factor, or the "Nice work, but perhaps next time" mentality that drives this highly entertaining popularity contest. We're confident we've improved our completely unscientific methodology to the point that -- dare we predict our final prediction rate? -- yes, we shall hit the fabled 70% mark this time out. Besides, this definitely looks like the year of Lord of the Rings. A good thing, too, as it's been a bridesmaid in the Best Picture sweepstakes two years running now. Again, the "It's about time" factor would seem to apply here.

As for our humble, un-televised Grover awards, well, let's just say Lord has been a runaway winner for all three years of its existence. Enjoy our picks, and we'll see you back here the morning after the big event with our Post-Oscar reaction.

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 are highlighted in red.

Best Picture     Best Director
Who Will Win: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King     Who Will Win: Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Why: This One Ring finally rules them all. After three straight nominations, Peter Jackson's classic film epic finally gets its due. If there is an upset, look for Seabiscuit to overtake Lord's War Admiral and win by a nose at the finish line.     Why: Not even nominated last year for Two Towers, Jackson finally gets rewarded for his masterful work on the entire trilogy.
Best Actor     Best Actress
  Bill Murray, Lost in Translation 
  Charlize Theron, Monster
Who Will Win: Sean Penn, Mystic River     Who Will Win: Charlize Theron, Monster
Why: Great list to choose from, but the often-nominated, never chosen Penn made the most of his way over-the-top character, and should be rewarded with Oscar gold for his melodramatic pain. Depp in an upset would be fun, though.     Why: Watts is a close second, but Theron's performance is truly remarkable and will be duly rewarded.
Best Supporting Actor     Best Supporting Actress
  Tim Robbins, Mystic River
  Shohreh Aghdashloo, House of Sand and Fog
Who Will Win: Tim Robbins, Mystic River     Who Will Win: Renée Zellweger, Cold Mountain
Why: No other real competition. Baldwin, despite playing a one-note character, might pull an upset, but don't count on it.     Why: Third time's the charm for Zellweger. Despite playing a lame caricature, she might be the one true lock amongst this year's nominees.
Best Screenplay (Original)     Best Screenplay (Adaptation)
  Lost in Translation Written by Sofia Coppola


  American Splendor Screenplay by Robert Pulcini & Shari Springer Berman
Who Will Win: Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation     Who Will Win: Brian Helgeland, Mystic River
Why: The Academy won't let Coppola's little indie film that could go home empty-handed. Unless, of course, the far-less impressive In America pulls an upset.     Why: Helgeland knows how to craft Oscar-worthy scripts. He won for 1997's L.A. Confidential, and did a commendable job with Dennis Lehane's fundamentally flawed crime opus.
Cinematography     Film Editing
  City of God Daniel Rezende
Who Will Win: Russell Boyd, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World     Who Will Win: Lee Smith, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Why: Seabiscuit has the impressive race sequences, but Master's the more impressively photographed work.     Why: Smith's expert cuts kept the tension at a high level throughout. Rezende's edgy, quick-cut work on City of God could surprise.
Visual Effects     Art Direction
  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Jim Rygiel, Joe Letteri, Randall William Cook and Alex Funke
  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Art Direction: Grant Major / Set Decoration: Dan
Hennah and Alan Lee
Who Will Win: Jim Rygiel, Joe Letteri, Randall William Cook and Alex Funke, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King     Who Will Win: Ben Van Os and Cecile Heideman, Girl with a Pearl Earring
Why: Pirates' visuals were impressive but too cartoony (though very appropriate to the source material). Master was stuck with a high-seas backdrop throughout. Rings' amazing visuals own this one.     Why: Girl is an art house film about an artist, and the look of the picture is simply gorgeous. Rings is too muscular for its own good to pull this one off, but don't entirely count it out.
Costume Design     Makeup
  Girl with a Pearl Earring Dien van Straalen
  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Richard Taylor and Peter King
Who Will Win: Dien van Straalen, Girl with a Pearl Earring     Who Will Win: Richard Taylor and Peter King, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Why: Girl has far less distracting action than its four competitors. Thus, it's easier to appreciate the handsomely threaded period dress on display.     Why: Pirates might nab this category, but it's Lord's night. Toss this one in with the rest of the haul. Besides, all that highly detailed orc makeup has to count for something.
Sound     Sound Editing
  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Christopher Boyes, Michael Semanick, Michael Hedges and Hammond Peek
Who Will Win: Christopher Boyes, Michael Semanick, Michael Hedges and Hammond Peek, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King     Who Will Win: Richard King, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Why: All five are deserving. This is a tough one to call, but Lord has the overall momentum so it gets the nod.     Why: Nemo might sneak off with this one, but without Lord to worry about, Master snags another technical achievement.
Original Song     Original Score
  "The Triplets of Belleville" from The Triplets of Belleville Music by Benoit Charest Lyric by Sylvain Chomet
Who Will Win: "Into the West" from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King     Who Will Win: Howard Shore, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Why: Don't count out Sting, but this emotional tune from Lord has Oscar gold written all over it.     Why: Criminally overlooked last year, Shore takes his second statuette in three years with his concluding Lord score. Like the film, Shore's score is the most emotionally resonant and appropriately epic of the three.
Best Animated Feature Film     Best Foreign Language Film
  • Evil Sweden
  • The Twilight Samurai Japan
  • Twin Sisters The Netherlands
  • Zelary Czech Republic
Who Will Win: Finding Nemo     Who Will Win: The Barbarian Invasions, Canada
Why: Love to see Triplets pull an upset, but Nemo's box office clout is simply too strong.     Why: The best known and most widely acclaimed of the lot.

Post-Oscar Reaction:
A new high watermark for Shaking Through predictions! 16 out of 20 pegged correctly (80%!). The bar has been raised impossibly high and we should get out of the game altogether. Ironically, the 4 misses came in categories in which we didn't predict our critic's personal fave (Lord of the Rings) to win.

Random Observations:

  • Certainly no one could have predicted a clean sweep for Peter Jackson's fantasy epic. As the evening wore on, it became apparent that the Academy was rewarding the entire trilogy and not just its concluding chapter. Kudos to all involved in making this landmark and highly entertaining trilogy.
  • The Academy's tribute to the late Katharine Hepburn was a welcome detour from the usual self-congratulatory awards.
  • Errol Morris' acceptance speech for his documentary The Fog of War included a cleverly worded dig at the current political climate in Washington (likening the morass of the Vietnam conflict from forty years ago to going down the rabbit hole of Alice in Wonderland fame and then lamenting we might be doing the exact same thing all over again). Hopefully last year's winner, Michael Moore, was taking notes on how to make your point without being obnoxious.
  • Jack Black and Will Ferrell's lyrics to the "Get off the damn stage" orchestra music for recipients who drone on too long was the highlight of the evening.
  • Billy Crystal is no Bob Hope, but his energetic mugging and class-clown antics kept the proceedings from feeling staid and stuffy. The ceremony ran over three hours, but fortunately it didn't feel like it.
  • Next year: 90%? We can always dream.

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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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