Briefly, if I were voting:
Best Supporting Actor: Tim Robbins, Mystic River
His transformation in Mystic River was just so complete, and sold me completely on who Dave Boyle was...which to me was nice because I had a completely different picture of the man in my head when I'd read Dennis Lehane's book.
Ken Watanabe was excellent in Last Samurai. Easily the strongest part of that movie. He's a very close second in my mind.
I haven't seen any of the other three nominees in their movies. Nashville's got a couple of arthouse type theatres. One's a pain in the butt for me to get to, and the other...well, the other's a pain in the butt for me to get to, too.
And of course, Murfreesboro has a total of 22 screens, as many as twelve of them usually dedicated to the same couple of big pictures.
Best Supporting Actress: Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain
Again, the best, most human, part of that movie. Holly Hunter would be my second choice for Thirteen.
I really didn't like Marcia Gay Harden's performance in Mystic River.
Best Actor: Bill Murray, Lost in Translation
I keep waffling between Bill and Sean Penn, in Mystic. I finally decided that were I a voting member of the Academy, I'd vote for Bill because the Academy has this real hardon for not taking comic performers seriously. Like it's not hard or any less of a talent to get up on stage or screen to make people laugh. Bill kind of touched on it in his Golden Globes speech.
Case in point? Someone much wiser than me once asked: "Ever watched De Niro trying to be funny? It's painful." He spoke true.
I wouldn't mind if Johnny Depp won for Pirates. His performance there, and in Once Upon a Time in Mexico (Are you a Mexican, or a Mexican't?) were easily two of the most enjoyable of the year.
Best Actress: I dunno. Charlize Theron, I guess, in Monster
I've yet to see any of the movies in this category, except Whale Rider, which I thought was good, but not great. Keisha Castle-Hughes was pretty good in that. But I've heard so much about both Charlize Theron and Naomi Watts' performances.
Maybe I'd just be a pig and vote for Naomi, because she's purdy. And because The Ring kicked ass, and Mulholland Drive was just weird.
Best Animated Feature: Finding Nemo
Brother Bear was okay. I didn't see the Triplets of Belleville, though I've heard a lot of nice things.
But Finding Nemo, which I saw at the Midway Drive-In (midway between Athens and Etowah, Tennessee), was as engaging as any movie that came out this year. I mean, the entire Drive-In shut up to watch this movie. It was great.
Best Director: Peter Jackson, Return of the King
How could you not give it to the guy? He's made probably the best trilogy of movies ever. And I say this being a huge fan of the first Star Wars trilogy.
I haven't seen City of God. Arthouse theater thing again. Sofia Coppola got so much out of both Scarlett Johannson and Bill Murray. Peter Weir did neat things with Master and Commander, and Clint Eastwood is always solid in his movie making.
But this is Peter Jackson's world, this year. The rest of them are just along for the ride.
Best Picture: Return of the King
I didn't see Seabiscuit. Too many underdogs packed into one picture for my taste.
Again. Lost in Translation...pretty good.
Master and Commander....very good, very well crafted.
Return of the King? He's done great things. Period.
Lastly: Does anybody else make a macabre point to watch the segment where they flash up pictures and video clips of those people in the industry who've passed away in the past year? I'm there, every time.