2004 Academy Awards (continued)

Got the rest of the nominations here now, plus some interesting “insight” from around the Web. This will go down as the Oscar year where more digi-ink is spent on what WASN’T nominated than on what was. But first…


John Logan (Aviator), Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry and Pierre Busmith (Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind), Keir Pearson and Terry George (Hotel Rwanda), Brad Bird (The Incredibles), Mike Leigh (Vera Drake)

Boy, thats a sweet lineup. None of these would be a bad or undeserving, but my heart has to go with The Incredibles. That’s a shocker, and the best kind. Far from the “spoof” that many were expecting, Bird’s film was a work of raw fanboy love, an homage to the comic book superheroics of yesteryear. For the Academy to nominate an animated feature here is astounding enough, but to have it be such an unappologetic work of the fantastical is a true treat. Bravo.


Before Sunset, Million Dollar Baby, Finding Neverland, The Motorcycle Diaries, Sideways

My gut tells me this is going to “Sideways,” making up for it’s likely loss in the Picture and Director categories.


As it is In Heaven, The Chorus, Downfall, The Sea Inside, Yesterday.

Sea Inside has the most buzz, being a message movie with a semi-name star. Downfall is a German-made Hitler biopic that has yet to hit the U.S., but supposedly it plays big. The year’s biggest Foreign-made releases, “House of Flying Daggers” and “A Very Long Engagement,” are somehow absent, which is just a damn shame. (“Hero” was nominated last year when it was in limited release, and is inelligible.)


The Incredibles, Shrek 2, Shark Tale

Boy, big surprise here, eh? Incredibles should walk with it and that’s that, but it might get passed in favor of the higher-grossing Shrek 2. Surprised, but not upset, to see Polar Express not turn up here.


Aviator, Finding Neverland, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Phantom of The Opera, A Very Long Engagement

This is very possibly the single worst category this year. Put aside for a moment the once-again snubbing of “Kill Bill,” where the art direction not only flawlessly recreated the atmosphere of multiple distinct film styles but combined them all into an entirely new concoction, and this just a succession of poor choices. Not that the nominees weren’t all decent, they were (save for Phantom, where the overly-stagey set design missed a chance to catch us up in scope to match the sweep.) But, honestly… Aviator and Neverland don’t break any great new ground in the visualization of period peices, and Snicket’s look was ambitious but uneven.

Nothing for “Sky Captain & The World of Tommorow,” the most visually beautiful and original-looking film made this year? Nothing for “Spider-Man 2” or “Hellboy” for so perfectly capturing the hyperreality of their comic book source material? “House of Flying Daggers,” even? This is REALLY the best you can do?


The Aviator, House of Flying Daggers, The Passion of The Christ, Phantom of The Opera, A Very Long Engagement

Mixed bag. “Passion’s” camerawork is nothing special, Caleb DeSchanel or not, Phantom is sort of “eh” much like it’s art design. Nothing for “Spidey’s” diving, swooping cameras, though?


Born Into Brothels, Story of The Weeping Camel, Super Size Me, Tupac: Ressurection, Twist of Faith

Michael Moore took “Fahrenheit 9-11” out of the running for this category, partially in deference to criticisms that his films have become more “opinion peices” than “documentary,” but also to make a go for the Best Picture prize. So the Academy gets to sigh in relief at dodging the bullet at letting the controversy lightning-rod of Moore’s politics take the stage. Morgan Spurlock’s fast food expose, “Super Size Me,” is the heavy favorite here.


Aviator, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Baby, Collateral, Ray

“Neverland” is a fine film, but nothing about it’s editing struck me as noteworthy when I saw it. Curious, but on well. To me, the biggest omissions here are “Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind,” “Spider-Man 2” and “Sky Captain,” especially the last one because of the massive difficulty involved in composing it entirely with digital media. It also wouldn’t have killed them to nominate “Kill Bill” for the cutting between not only scenes, but whole styles.


Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Passion of The Christ, The Sea Inside

What the HELL is with the technical awards this year? Passion is basic-level movie gore, nothing that hasn’t been done a hundred times better in any dozen made-for-tape horror films on the shelf at any given time. The years biggest and best achievement in makeup was “Hellboy,” which features two of it’s leads as full-body makeup FX suits, and it’s been completely ignored, which in my estimation renders this category not even worth looking at this year.


Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azakaban, Finding Neverland, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Passion of The Christ, The Village

Awwww, look. They gave “The Village” a pity nod, ain’t that considerate? Otherwise, “Potter” was the best music of the series yet and “Snicket” had an eclectic musical cool, but Neverland and Passion were standard genre work.

Clint Eastwood’s self-composed minimalist work for “Million Dollar Baby” deserved a nod, as did “Hellboy’s” dramatic dirges and Kill Bill’s gorgeous genre-mixing delights.


Incredibles, Polar Express, Spider-Man 2

“Kill Bill Vol. 2,” “Sky Captain,” and “Hellboy” should all be in here, also the great atmospheric work in “Million Dollar Baby,” but what interests me here is that 2 of 3 nominated films are animated, which is highly appropriate for the category but surprising none the less.


Aviator, Incredibles, Polar Express, Ray, Spider-Man 2

Well done. “Ray” would actually be a good pick here, for the film’s use of subtle sound shifts to suggest Charles’ change of attention within a scene, plus the spectacular integration of music tracks. Don’t count out Spidey, though, or Incredibles (which The Academy definately seems to have caught a fondness for.)


Harry Potter, I Robot, Spider-Man 2




This is just ridiculous. The most groundbreaking visual-effects film of the entire year was “Sky Captain & The World of Tomorrow,” and it’s just that simple. To not award it is one thing, but to not even nominate a film comprised of 90% visual effects in the visual effects category is just about the single worst snub of the year. Skipping “Sky Captain” for this award is the equivalent of skipping Jamie Foxx for the acting nods. Academy, this is pathetic.

So anyway…

There y’have it for now. Let’s hear some feedback in the Comments, and I’ll be back in a few with some fun links to OTHER people getting all hot and bothered over this. Enjoy!

One thought on “2004 Academy Awards (continued)

  1. Cammo says:

    Bob, I disagree about Sky Captain for FX and Hellboy for Makeup. While both were probably the most intricate FX and Makeup jobs, they certainly weren’t the best.Sky Captain constantly looked fake, never letting you forget you were watching Special FX. It was the equivalent of watching a whole movie of Anakin riding that wierd dinosaur looking thing in Episode 2. Brutal FX at time. I’ll take both Harry Potter and Day After Tomorrow’s FX over Sky Captain.

    Hellboy is a bit more odd of a snud but I thought Hellboy looked like was made out of silly putty. At least in The Passion it looked real. Hellboy could have been nominated for sheer scope of the makeup, but I doubt there will be much outcry that it wasn’t.



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