NY Mirror

As for the buts: Lois Smith and Samantha Morton rocked the noisily fabulous Minority Report, but they might lose out to the special effects. Toni Collette was strong in About a Boy and amazing in the Patricia Clarkson role in The Hours, but she might cancel herself out—the danger of being too popular. Similarly, Susan Sarandon triple mom-ed herself out of the picture. But marvy Meryl Streep (Adaptation) and jewel-like Julianne Moore (The Hours) could be dual duelists—and let's not forget Edie Falco (Sunshine State), Michelle Pfeiffer (White Oleander), and everyone else I've forgotten.

The nominees: Bates, Latifah, Moore, Streep, Zeta-Jones

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Adaptation's Chris Cooper has been everyone's secret favorite for a long time (and his Golden Globe just made him major). Ditto Far From Heaven's Dennis Quaid and The Hours' Ed Harris (both of whom are straight playing gay—a plus in Hollywood's twisted eyes). Paul Newman brought dignity and Paul Newman-ness to Perdition, so you can count ol' blue eyes in. Christopher Walken brought daft charm and Christopher Walken-ness to Catch Me If You Can. And Alfred Molina is the best thing in Frida, and maybe should have played the title role.

For your consideration: Zellweger in Chicago.
photo: Miramax
For your consideration: Zellweger in Chicago.

But though John C. Reilly had a good bit in Chicago, the whole point of his character is that he's invisible. Meanwhile, Ray Liotta's being touted for Narc, but I can't imagine they'd nominate something I haven't even seen. As for Robin Williams, he effectively changed his Patch Adams career trajectory with Insomnia, but most people feel he wouldn't have had to change the trajectory if he hadn't done Patch Adams.

The nominees: Cooper, Harris, Newman, Quaid, Walken


Of course none of the above twats—I mean nominees—should gloat all that actively. The Oscar curse is so pungent that Roberto Benigni recently followed up his triumphant Life Is Beautiful with Pinocchio, the kind of mishandled misfire for which you can truly thank the Academy!


musto@villagevoice.com

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