Tuesday, January 27, 2004


I always cringe a little to see the list of Oscar noms in a presidential election year. Inevitably, the Academy anoints several movies that are second-rate but "important". This year, the "important" films are happily missing from the list.

I think that Michael Moore's embarrassing tirade last year and his subsequent booing by the assembled Oscar crowd started a small anti-trend in the Academy as regards politicizing the movies. Only the most obtuse and strident actors, (ref. Meryl Streep and Martin Sheen) seem not to have gotten the message.

Anyway, overall, I am really happy about the Oscar noms. Everybody is surprised and thrilled by the Best Actress nom for Keisha Castle-Hughes, the amazing little girl in Whale Rider. and also for Shohreh Aghdashloo, who plays Ben Kingsely's wife in House of Sand and Fog. I love when the Academy passes by easy noms for the stars in favor of unknowns who are more worthy. In other words, I love it when the Academy is fair.

It's also great that Samanatha Morton is being recognized for her work in In America. I hope this will get a wider release for the picture and keep it in theaters a little longer.

I'm REALLY happy that Cold Mountain didn't get a Best Picture nom, despite Miramax's relentless campaigning. It's a plodding, tedious film despite its stars and sprawl.

I am most MOST EXCITED by the honorary Oscar recipient this year. Blake Edwards has been a great populist director and producer, and notably wrote and directed my family's all-time favorite comedy, The Great Race. We Nicolosi's LOVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVE it and probably can recite the whole script. Blake has writing credits on 52 feature films and directing credits on 47 features. He was the guy behind the Pink Panther films with Peter Sellers, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Days of Wine and Roses, and Experiment in Terror, to name a few. "There's another one the Great Leslie can try."

So, there is a lot of great work this year, and that will make Oscar night a good rush. Phew!

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