Archive for February, 2004

11 Oscars to rule them all

Sunday, February 29th, 2004

Red Book of Westmarch, meet the Gold Book of Oscar History! The Academy has spoken, and its verdict is clear: The Return of the King rules!

Peter Jackson smiles…


…and the nerds go nuts!

And hey, it isn’t every day that you see CNN‘s homepage taken over by two furry-footed hobbits and a computer-generated magic-ring junkie:

Then again, it isn’t every day that a fantasy epic ties the all-time Oscar record with eleven Academy Awards!!!

(Complete coverage on TheOneRing.net.)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: GO, FRODO, GO!!!!!!

UPDATE: CNN reports: “The record for a film winning all its nominations was nine, set by ‘Gigi’ (1958) and ‘The Last Emperor’ (1988).” [That’s “Gigi,” not “Gigli.” –ed.]

Here’s Drudge‘s take:

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"It's a clean sweep!" Return of the King wins in all eleven categories and ties the all-time Oscar record! HOORAY FOR THE HOBBITS!!!


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Sean Penn wins; I beat Becky in our Oscar-picking contest!!! Woohoo!


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YAY!!!!! Peter Jackson wins!! If "Return of the King" wins Best Picture, it will tie the Titanic and Ben Hur record!


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Becky and I are tied, and our only remaining difference is Best Actor. If Bill Murray wins, she wins; if Sean Penn wins, I win; if somebody else (Johnny Depp?) wins, we finish tied.


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IT'S GOING TO BE A SWEEP!!! Lord of the Rings is 9 for 9… if it wins Best Director and Best Picture, it will tie the record!


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I just took the lead, 12-11! And LOTR is probably one screenplay award away from a sweep (since it will presumably win picture and director). Of course, if it gets that screenplay award, Becky will tie me for the lead… but whatever, go Frodo go!!!


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So far, it's a sweep! Lord of the Rings 7 for 7! Four more to tie the record! Meanwhile, it's Becky 11, Brendan 10 (out of 15).


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Note to self: Never, ever change your picks! My initial guess was "The Fog of War" but I changed to "Capturing the Friedmans" because Becky said it had "buzz." Dammit! If I'd stuck with my gut, I'd be tied with her, 9-9. D'oh!


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"Harvey Krumpet" (which was a total shot in the dark; I had never heard of it before) wins, and I pull within 5-4 of Becky! Yay! In other news, was that Oliphaunt-stepping-on-Michael-Moore thing hilarious or what?


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Becky is 5 for 5. I am 3 for 5… so much for upsets! Lord of the Rings is 2 for 2 so far.


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Oscar night: Go Frodo go!

Sunday, February 29th, 2004

Watching Return of the King last night on the eve of the Oscars, I focused on its merits simply as a movie — instead of specifically as a Lord of the Rings adaptation — and I can finally understand why people say it’s definitely, absolutely, without question the best of the three. Even some of the aspects of the adaptation that I don’t like — such as Frodo’s betrayal of Sam or Denethor’s exaggerated evilness — actually make for excellent moviemaking, even if they aren’t terribly “faithful” to Tolkien.

As a Lord of the Rings adaptation, it is still a close call, for me, between Return of the King and Fellowship of the Ring. FOTR has fewer aspects that I consider flaws in the adaptation, but also fewer truly soaring moments; ROTK has more of both. But overall, ROTK is definitely the most deserving of awards like Best Picture and Best Director.

I am predicting it will win both, along with 8 of the 9 other awards it is nominated for. (It would need to win all 11 awards in order to tie Titanic and Ben Hur‘s record.) I’m betting Seabiscuit will beat it out for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Here are all my picks. Keep in mind that, with a number of the categories, I have no freakin’ clue what I’m talking about. :)

Best Picture: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Best Director: Peter Jackson, ROTK
Best Actor: Sean Penn, Mystic River
Best Actress: Charlize Theron, Monster
Best Supporting Actor: Djimon Hounsou, In America
Best Support Actress: Shohreh Aghdashloo, House of Sand and Fog
Best Original Screenplay: Lost in Translation
Best Adapted Screenplay: Seabiscuit
Best Original Score: ROTK
Best Original Song: “Into the West,” ROTK
Best Animated Film: Finding Nemo
Art Direction: ROTK
Cinematography: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Costume Design: ROTK
Documentary Feature: Capturing the Friedmans
Documentary Short Subject: Chernobyl Heart
Film Editing: ROTK
Foreign Language Film: The Barbarian Invasions
Makeup: ROTK
Short Film (Animated): Harvie Krumpet
Short Film (Live Action): Squash
Sound Editing: Pirates of the Caribbean
Sound Mixing: ROTK
Visual Effects: ROTK

Becky made her predictions, too; she also thinks ROTK will win 10 of 11, but her guess for the award it won’t win is Best Original Song. Here are her picks, with an asterisk if they’re different than mine.

Best Picture: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Best Director: Peter Jackson, ROTK
Best Actor: Bill Murray, Lost in Translation*
Best Actress: Charlize Theron, Monster
Best Supporting Actor: Tim Robbins, Lost in Translation*
Best Support Actress: Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain*
Best Original Screenplay: Lost in Translation
Best Adapted Screenplay: ROTK*
Best Original Score: ROTK
Best Original Song: “You Will Be My Ain True Love,” Cold Mountain*
Best Animated Film: Finding Nemo
Art Direction: ROTK
Cinematography: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Costume Design: ROTK
Documentary Feature: Capturing the Friedmans
Documentary Short Subject: Chernobyl Heart
Film Editing: ROTK
Foreign Language Film: The Twilight Samurai*
Makeup: ROTK
Short Film (Animated): Nibbles*
Short Film (Live Action): Squash
Sound Editing: Pirates of the Caribbean
Sound Mixing: ROTK
Visual Effects: ROTK

We’ll be watching the awards from Becky’s parents’ house, where there is no wireless Internet, so don’t expect constant blogging throughout the awards. I will probably post once or twice, though (possibly by cell phone). In the mean time, check TheOneRing.net for LOTR-related Oscar coverage!

GO, LORD OF THE RINGS GO!!!

USC debate: More photos & sounds

Sunday, February 29th, 2004

I’ve assembled a collection of highlights from my photo gallery of the festivities surrounding Thursday’s presidential debate at USC. First, though, some previously unreleased sound clips…

Fox News political analyst Carl Cameron talks about Edwards’s chances. (42 sec., 456 KB)

Best chant of the night, from the Deaniac camp: “Annoy the media! Vote for Dean!” (8 sec., 88 KB)

Kerry promotes “six of one,” Edwards stumps for “half a dozen of the other,” and Kucinich can’t get a word in edgewise in the “corporate media” puppeteer show. (58 sec., 636 KB)

Now for those photo highlights…


A pro-Sharpton, pro-reparations pick-up truck on Jefferson Ave.


Lucky bastards waiting in line to get inside Bovard for the debate.


One of the many satellite trucks on campus, with the VKC tower in the background.


Kerry’s supporters get the pre-debate chants going. “Whose house? Our house! What house? The White House! John… Kerry! President… Kerry!”


At first, the Edwards cheering section was undermanned compared to Kerry’s, and it took them a while to get the enthusiasm going…


…but before long, there were plenty of Edwardsians, screaming at the top of their lungs for their candidate.


Kucinich, of course, had the funkiest supporters.


Howard Dean and the youth vote. Crazy kids!


Presidential vegetables: Chris P. Carrot and Colonel Corn!


A woman dressed as a “John Kerry Flip-Flop.” Heh.


Guy dressed as Dubya: “Stop Me!” Again, heh.


Break-dancing for Kucinich.


A puppeteer on stilts, identified as the “corporate media,” controls his puppets, Kerry and Edwards, whose answers to every question were either “six of one” or “half a dozen of the other.”


John Edwards gives his supporters the thumbs-up after the debate.


Edwards speaks to the crowd while his wife looks on.


Kristy for Edwards!


Me and Kristy in front of the Edwards bus.

View all my debate-related photos here!

CNN Breaking News

Sunday, February 29th, 2004
— President Bush says he ordered U.S. Marines to Haiti as the first contingent of an international force.
Watch CNN or log on to http://CNN.com for the latest news.

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CNN Breaking News

Sunday, February 29th, 2004
— Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has left the country, a senior U.S. administration official tells CNN.
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