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The Self-Made Critic's Guide to the 2001 Oscars

Who's going to win? Who should win? Who's a total loser? Read on.

Best Supporting Actor

Seems you can't open a magazine or turn on a TV without hearing about the latest Latin Explosion, Benicio Del Toro. The guy's hotter than a jalapeno, and plans to ride his patented 'dusky look' all the way to the podium come Oscar night.

But believe it or not, there are four other nominees. Many people think Albert Finney is the main reason why Julia Roberts was go good in Erin Brokovich, which strikes me as silly since he wasn't the once sporting cleavage. Jeff Bridges? Please, we already gave a President a major award this year (Martin Sheen, not whoever else you may have been thinking of) so we're not gonna do that twice. Joaquin Phoenix? Gag me. Am I the only one who thinks he was the worst part about that movie? Anyone else notice his incredibly forced and fake-sounding accent? Willem DeFoe? Sadly, nobody saw his movie, which means he won't win. And that's a shame, because he was brilliant as a freaky, blood-sucking vampire. That's acting, folks!

Who Should Win: Willem DeFoe
Who Will Win: Benicio Del Toro

Best Supporting Actress

This is the most wide open race out there. Five candidates. One mud-wrestling pit. Winner take all.

That actually might be a better way to decide, because truth told, all five of these women deserve the award. But only one gets it. It won't be Judi Dench, because she's not allowed to win for any movie wherein she appears in over ten minutes of screen time. It won't be Marcia Gay Harden simply because nobody wants to give Steve Martin an excuse to make a "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" joke. It won't be Julie Walters because Billy Elliot is a story about a boy and his dad, and I really don't think she plays either of those two roles. That leaves the two women from Almost Famous. Let's see, overbearing mother figure or hot, sexy groupie? Hmmm. Overbearing mother or hot, sexy groupie?

Who Should Win: Frances McDormand
Who Will Win: Kate Hudson

Best Actress

Right now, Julia Roberts is so overwhelmingly favored for this award that bookies in Vegas will pay you money to bet on anyone else. But before we simply take this result as given, let's look at the other four nominees.

Angela Basset - Supernova. A good job, but a little overshadowed by the glowing pink thing to really shine in the role. Carmen Electra - Scary Movie. A career-enhancing role, especially the running through the sprinklers, but she simply wasn't on screen long enough to seriously be considered a strong candidate. Carrie-Anne Moss - Red Planet. As good as she was, as deserving as she may have been, she simply can't get out from under the crushing burden of Trinity. Martin Lawrence - Big Momma's House. Pound for pound, Martin has everyone beat, but the academy may take offence to the fact that he's actually a man, and therefore not really eligible for this award.

And that leaves Julia Roberts.

Who Should Win: Does it Matter? OK, Joan Allen
Who Will Win: Julia Roberts

Best Actor

You can ignore three of these guys right away, simply because their names aren't Tom Hanks or Russell Crowe. For example, Javier Bardem is neither Tom Hanks or Rusell Crowe, and so is disqualified. Likewise, Geoffrey Rush can't claim to be Tom Hanks or Russell Crowe, and so he'll be going home sad. Ed Harris isn't even close to being named Tom Hanks or Russell Crowe, so he's out as well.

That leaves two guys. Tom Hanks and Russell Crowe. There are those who say Tom Hanks was just being Tom Hanks again, and Russell Crowe wasn't so much a good actor as he was 'yummy and scrumptious' (a direct quote). Still when push comes to shove, these are the guys to beat. They each did a great job and they are each totally deserving. But did you see Cast Away? Do you remember how there's this huge chunk of the film where Hanks is the only one on screen? And we're captivated! He doesn't even speak for, like, an hour! And we're captivated! Much of his dialogue is delivered to a volleyball! AND WE'RE CAPTIVATED!

However, Russell has The Almighty Mo (momentum) of Gladiator on his side and odds are, he'll be the one walking away with the prize. I mean really, who would you rather give the award to, a Gilligan reject or a guy who can, literally, cut your head off?

Who Should Win: Tom Hanks
Who Will Win: Russell Crowe

Best Director

It is a rule that if your picture isn't up for Best Picture, you can't win Best Director. So that rules out Stephen Daldry. (Who?) It also helps if your movie is a sweeping epic, because that means that as a director, you had a lot more things to deal with than someone who only directed something like My Dinner With Andre. ("OK, two guys at a table are talking. Action! Call me when they're done.") That would seem to eliminate Steven Soderbergh's Erin Brockovich nomination. The remaining three are worthy nominations, but since only one of them can win, you got to give it to the guy who was so good, he got nominated twice. And for once, I think the academy will agree.

Who Should Win: Steven Soderbergh - Traffic
Who Will Win: Steven Soderbergh - Traffic

Best Picture

Long ago, in a Hollywood far, far away. There was a simple rule. Whoever wins Best Director, obviously directed the Best Picture. This would mean that Traffic will win the coveted award, and it certainly deserves it. However, the world was jolted out of its alignment a while back when Best Director Steven Speilberg watched in horror as Saving Private Ryan got shafted by upstart Miramax's Shakespeare In Love. So all bets are off.

Chocolat? Don't insult me. This movie truly doesn't deserve to be in this category, and the Mighty Miramax Publicity Machine should be severely punished for pushing this movie into a nomination, robbing some truly deserving films of a slot, such as Almost Famous and Billy Elliot. If it wins, Paramount, Sony, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros and Dreamworks have agreed to gang up on Miramax and burn their office to the ground.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? Well, if you've read my review, you know that I don't think this is the best film of 2000. Besides, it's going to win Best Foreign Film, so it's already got its Oscar.

Erin Brockovich? Well, it was a good movie, a very good movie. With very good cleavage. But this is really a two-horse race, and Brockovich gets left at the gate.

That leaves Traffic and Gladiator. Traffic will have won the Directing award, and by all rights should win this baby too. But it won't. Get ready to hear the Gladiator score over and over again because it's going to go home with all kinds of awards, and will top the evening off with a Best Picture triumph.

Who Should Win: Traffic
Who Will Win: Gladiator

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