"Hate Nicolas Cage… The only way I could possibly have hated that movie more is if he played three roles instead of two."
——Lenny Beer on Adaptation
You'll Laugh! You'll Cry! You May Well Barf! Beer and Trakin Attempt to Impersonate Movie Critics
It's that time of the year again when our self-proclaimed movie critics weigh in with their laughably "expert" predictions of who and what will pick up Oscar nominations next Tuesday. Our Lenny Beer and Roy Trakin are hardly Ebert & Roeper, and they're as far from Lane & Denby as homo sapiens is from a tree monkey, but between them they contain enough hot air (or is that gas?) to fill the Goodyear blimp, and this website needs a steasdy stream of content, no matter how half-assed. Besides, they work for peanuts...or, in this case, popcorn. OK, boys, you're on.

Trakin: Well, you have to say the locks for Best Picture are Chicago, The Hours, The Pianist and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. There would appear to be only open spot for the likes of Adaptation, Gangs of New York, Far From Heaven or About Schmidt. What do you think?

Beer: Don’t start with Adaptation… That movie is one big, ugly in-joke for the Writers Guild. Let’s talk about some real movies. Chicago and The Hours are the only ones I feel are locks. Roger Dodger should get one of those slots, but I don’t think it will. In my opinion, the Best Picture of the Year is clearly Rabbit-Proof Fence. And I’m also a fan of the other Philip Noyce-directed movie, The Quiet American. The three I think will get slots are Far From Heaven, Gangs of New York and Lord of the Rings.

Trakin: Let’s look at Best Actor now. You’d have to say Daniel-Day Lewis, Jack Nicholson

Beer: That is, for those who stayed awake for the entire About Schmidt

Trakin: Michael Caine would seem to be an Academy favorite, for Quiet American.

Beer: Loved him, loved the movie.

Trakin: How about Adrien Brody for The Pianist?

Beer: I think that movie is overrated and the performance is overrated. Campbell Scott’s performance in Roger Dodger was the best I saw all year. But I’m down with Daniel Day-Lewis, for sure.

Trakin: How about Richard Gere in Chicago?

Beer: I think he’s a lock to get nominated.

Trakin: Anybody else? You’re not a Nicolas Cage fan, right?

Beer: Hate Nicolas Cage… The only way I could possibly have hated that movie more is if he played three roles instead of two. I also think that Kieran Culkin for Igby Goes Down was a great performance that will probably get overlooked. The year’s surprise performance is Adam Sandler in Punch-Drunk Love. It wouldn’t surprise me if he got nominated, even though comedians never get the nod.

Trakin: I agree… He was great. Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robin Williams?

Beer: I liked Hanks more in Catch Me If You Can than I did in The Road to Perdition, and I also feel the same way about DiCaprio, whom I liked better in that movie than Gangs.

Trakin: There was some early talk that Eminem might get a nomination, but it doesn’t look that way now. What do you think happened?

Beer: Wherever that talk came from was misinformed.

Trakin: You don’t think he deserved one?

Beer: No, but I thought he was good.

Trakin: Do you think he was just playing himself?

Beer: We know he plays lots of characters, but he’s not in the upper echelon of acting performances this year. Great song, though.

Trakin: OK, now to actress. Julianne Moore, Renee Zellweger, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Diane Lane and Salma Hayek appear to be the favorites.

Beer: First of all, I definitely think you should throw in Maggie Gyllenhaal for Secretary as a contender. And while I’m a big Diane Lane fan, I just thought that movie was a bunch of crap. Although I did like her nude scene.

Trakin: Who wouldn’t? What about Nia Vardalos, Samantha Morton or Jennifer Aniston?

Beer: I love Samantha Morton, but I didn’t see that movie. Nia Vardalos, original screenplay, but not actress. I thought Jennifer Aniston was really good in The Good Girl, and I don’t usually like her. I thought Jake Gyllenhaal was great in that movie.

Trakin: Let’s look at the director category. Everyone is saying Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski, Rob Marshall, Todd Haynes, Peter Jackson, Philip Noyce, Stephen Daldry or Spike Jonze.

Beer: How come we’re not talking about Antwone Fisher?

Trakin: Do you think Denzel Washington will get a nod?

Beer: Ya know who I think deserves the attention for that movie is Derek Luke, who I thought was brilliant in the title role.

Trakin: Do you see any other sleepers in the Director’s category? Will Noyce’s two movies cancel each other out?

Beer: I think that Noyce’s two movies, though they got critical acclaim, just don’t have the distribution or political clout behind them to give them the attention they deserve, I can’t recommend both enough. They’re two of the best movies of the year.

Trakin: What about supporting actor? You’ve got Chris Cooper

Beer: I liked Paul Newman and Jude Law in Perdition. I like Hanks in Catch Me If You Can. I like Dennis Haysbert in Far From Heaven.

Trakin: What about Christopher Walken in Catch Me If You Can?

Beer: He’s OK, but we’ve seen his performance.

Trakin: Do you feel John C. Reilly will get a nod in this category?

Beer: Love John C. Reilly in The Hours, loved him in Chicago… love him in anything.

Trakin: What about Dennis Quaid and Ed Harris?

Beer: Ed Harris for The Hours, definitely. I thought he stole the movie. And what about Confessions of a Dangerous Mind? We haven’t talked about that at all. Sam Rockwell is a long shot for Best Actor and Julia Roberts, in one of her best performances ever, should get a supporting actress nomination.

Trakin: OK, that brings us to Best Supporting Actress. Nominees should include Kathy Bates.

Beer: Great in About Schmidt if you weren’t asleep by the time she comes in over an hour into the movie.

Trakin: How about either Cameron Diaz, Patricia Clarkson, Catherine Zeta-Jones or Queen Latifah?

Beer: I didn’t like Diaz in Gangs; Zeta-Jones is a lock; Queen Latifah is a long shot and Patricia Clarkson looks like a probable nominee. Also, Julianne Moore in The Hours, for a shot at a double-nomination. Plus, Meryl Streep is getting a lot of talk for Adaptation. And Julia Roberts. What about Emily Watson for Punch-Drunk Love?

Trakin: Do you feel there will be any surprise omissions?

Beer: Someone always gets screwed. Hey, I forgot to mention Mick Jagger in The Man From Elysian Fields.

Trakin: Yeah, he was great. Best performance since, well, Performance. This would appear to be Chicago’s year, though..

Beer: I think it wins Best Picture over The Hours, which is the only possible thing that could beat it.

Trakin: Do you think the Academy will spread the awards around like they have in the past, or do you smell a sweep?

Beer: If there’s a sweep of any major impact, I think it’s by Chicago. My one lock, outside of the major categories, is Elmer Bernstein for the score in Far From Heaven.

Sony Music is all in. (6/1a)
UMG is all in. (6/1a)
Live Nation is all in. (5/30a)
Warner Music is all in. (6/1a)
The stars are coming out. (6/1a)

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