I’m a Lord of the Rings fanatic with a thing for Cate Blanchett. What were you expecting to see here?

My Top 20:

  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  2. Moulin Rouge
  3. The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain
  4. Mulholland Dr.
  5. Memento
  6. Gosford Park
  7. In the Bedroom
  8. The Royal Tenenbaums
  9. The Others
  10. The Man Who Wasn’t There
  11. Ghost World
  12. Amores perros
  13. Monster’s Ball
  14. The Princess and the Warrior
  15. A.I.  Artificial Intelligence
  16. Vanilla Sky
  17. Black Hawk Down
  18. The Devil’s Backbone
  19. Monsters Inc.
  20. Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone

note:  This is a great year for film.  All 20 films reach the **** level.  And look at the genres they cover.  Just in the first five films we have an epic fantasy, a post-modern musical, a foreign romantic comedy, a surrealistic nightmare and a thriller.  Then we have a drawing room mystery (or is it a drawing room comedy), a straight drama, an intellectual comedy, a psychological horror and a B-style noir mystery.  The second 10 include three more foreign films, a sci-fi (or maybe two), an animated film, a remake, two different films that could be classified as kids as well as several that barely qualify for being watched by those under 18, not to mention a brutal war film from a war no one remembers.  One hell of a year for film.

Consensus Awards:

  • Best Picture:  Mulholland Dr.
  • Best Director:  Ron Howard  (A Beautiful Mind)  /  Robert Altman  (Gosford Park)
  • Best Actor:  Russell Crowe  (A Beautiful Mind)
  • Best Actress:  Sissy Spacek  (In the Bedroom)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Jim Broadbent  (Moulin Rouge!  /  Iris)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Helen Mirren  (Gosford Park)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  A Beautiful Mind
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Gosford Park
  • Best Cinematography:  The Man Who Wasn’t There
  • Best Animated Film:  Shrek
  • Best Foreign Film:  Y tu mamá también

note:  Mulholland Dr. becomes the first Consensus Best Picture winner to not earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture since Day for Night in 1974.

Say what you want about whether she deserved it. But no one looked better accepting an Oscar than Halle Berry. Little did she know what Adrien Brody had in store for her the next year.

Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture:  A Beautiful Mind
  • Best Director:  Ron Howard  (A Beautiful Mind)
  • Best Actor:  Russell Crowe  (Training Day)
  • Best Actress:  Halle Berry  (Monster’s Ball)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Jim Broadbent  (Iris)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Jennifer Connelly  (A Beautiful Mind)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  A Beautiful Mind
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Gosford Park
  • Best Cinematography:  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Best Animated Film:  Shrek
  • Best Foreign Film:  No Man’s Land

Critics just can’t stop gushing over In the Mood for Love.

Top 10 Films  (Top 1000):

  1. In the Mood for Love  –  #197  (#1)
  2. Mulholland Dr.  –  #276  (#2)
  3. Donnie Darko  –  #661  (#29)
  4. The Royal Tenenbaums  –  #686  (#20)
  5. A.I.  Artificial Intelligence  –  #732  (#30)
  6. Memento  –  #733  (#17)
  7. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring  –  #783  (#33)
  8. Moulin Rouge!  –  (#47)
  9. Ghost World  –  (#49)
  10. Amores perros  –  (#78)

note:  Because so much of the focus for the Top 1000 is on classic films, because they have had a longer time to sink into the critical consciousness, they have a separate list called the Top 250 of the 2000′s.  The first number is for those films that actually make their Top 1000, the second number in parenthesis is for their rank in the Top 250 for the 21st Century.  I don’t know their precise methodology, so I can’t explain why some films rank higher on one list than on the other.  But, since the Top 1000 is the more definitive list, a higher rank there is the trump.

Top 10 Films  (2001 Best Picture Awards):

  1. Mulholland Dr.
  2. Moulin Rouge!
  3. A Beautiful Mind
  4. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  5. In the Bedroom
  6. Shrek
  7. Gosford Park
  8. The Man Who Wasn’t There
  9. The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain
  10. Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone

Top 10 Films  (Awards Points):

  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring  –  1700
  2. A Beautiful Mind  –  1692
  3. Moulin Rouge!  –  1674
  4. Gosford Park  –  1443
  5. Mulholland Dr.  –  1077
  6. In the Bedroom  –  1059
  7. Iris  –  731
  8. The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain  –  671
  9. Shrek  –  665
  10. The Man Who Wasn’t There  –  497

note:  This is the closest race since the tie on top in 1928-29.  Moulin Rouge finishes closer, in third place, than any second place finisher since 1984.  Fellowship is also the lowest #1 film since 1989 and the last film to date to win the year with less than 2000 points.  Mulholland Drive gets 69.81% of its points from the critics awards – a record that will be broken the next year.  On the flip side, A Beautiful Mind easily sets a new record for most awards points without any critics awards (which also be broken the next year).

The first Harry Potter film does what only one other one (the last) will do – leads the year in U.S. box office.

Top 10 Films  (Domestic Box Office Gross):

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone  –  $317.57 mil
  2. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring  –  $313.56 mil
  3. Shrek  –  $267.66 mil
  4. Monsters Inc.  –  $255.87 mil
  5. Rush Hour 2  –  $226.16 mil
  6. The Mummy Returns  –  $202.01 mil
  7. Pearl Harbor  –  $198.54 mil
  8. Ocean’s Eleven  –  $183.41 mil
  9. Jurassic Park III  –  $181.17 mil
  10. Planet of the Apes  –  $180.01 mil

note:  This is the closest 1-2 finish since 1986.  Fellowship becomes the second film to gross over $300 million and not win the year and the highest grossing #2 film ever (which will be beaten the next year by Two Towers).  I saw these films a combined 13 times in the theater – 7 for Fellowship, twice for Monsters Inc, once each for Harry Potter, Shrek, Ocean’s and Planet.

Top 10 Films  (Worldwide Box Office Gross):

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone  –  $974.8 mil
  2. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring  –  $869.3 mil
  3. Monsters Inc.  –  $525.4 mil
  4. Shrek  –  $484.4 mil
  5. Ocean’s Eleven  –  $450.7 mil
  6. Pearl Harbor  –  $449.2 mil
  7. The Mummy Returns  –  $433.0 mil
  8. Jurassic Park III  –  $368.8 mil
  9. Planet of the Apes  –  $362.2 mil
  10. Hannibal  –  $351.7 mil

note:  Harry Potter earns just over 2/3 of its gross internationally, setting the stage for all the future films.  The only film in the Top 20 with a higher percentage is Bridget Jones (just under 3/4).  The worldwide list replaces a bad film (Rush Hour 2) with a bad film (Hannibal), so it breaks even there.  Shrek has the lowest international percentage in the Top 10 (44.7%), which actually won’t start a trend – each successive Shrek film gets a higher percentage overseas.  But Rush Hour 2 doesn’t make the list because it only earns 34.9% internationally.

Ebert Great Films:

AFI Top 100:

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring  –  #50  (2007)

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Best Supporting Actor of 2001

Drama:

  • Best Picture:  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Best Director:  Peter Jackson  (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)
  • Best Actor:  Tom Wilkinson  (In the Bedroom)
  • Best Actress:  Sissy Spacek  (In the Bedroom)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Ian McKellen  (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Marisa Tomei  (In the Bedroom)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Memento

Comedy:

  • Best Picture:  Moulin Rogue!
  • Best Director:  Baz Luhrmann  (Moulin Rogue!)
  • Best Actor:  Gene Hackman  (The Royal Tenenbaums)
  • Best Actress:  Audrey Tautou  (The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Steve Buscemi  (Ghost World)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Helen Mirren  (Gosford Park)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  Ghost World
  • Best Original Screenplay:  The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain

Best Art Direction, Costume Design and Makeup, here on display.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture:  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Best Director:  Peter Jackson  (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)
  • Best Actor:  Tom Wilkinson  (In the Bedroom)
  • Best Actress:  Sissy Spacek  (In the Bedroom)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Ian McKellen  (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Helen Mirren  (Gosford Park)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Memento
  • Best Editing:  Memento
  • Best Cinematography:  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Best Original Score:  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Best Sound:  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Best Art Direction:  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Best Visual Effects:  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Best Sound Editing:  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Best Costume Design:  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Best Makeup:  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Best Original Song:  “The Ground Beneath Her Feet”  (Million Dollar Hotel) *
  • Best Animated Film:  Monsters Inc.
  • Best Foreign Film:  Y tu mamá también

* – It’s questionable as to whether or not this would be eligible.  The words already existed, coming from the Salman Rushdie novel.  But, the music was written for the song for the film.  If not, this would be another award for Fellowship for “May It Be”.

I’m not making the title up. It’s right there on the poster. The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain.

Top 10 Foreign Films:

  1. The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain
  2. Spirited Away
  3. Y tu mamá también
  4. The Devil’s Backbone
  5. Millenium Actress
  6. Happy Times
  7. No Man’s Land
  8. Baran
  9. Elling
  10. Shaolin Soccer

So these are the films that were eligible to be nominated by the Academy.  But only four of them were actually submitted, and in typical Academy form, they gave the Oscar to #7 on the list rather than #1.  Elling was also nominated (it was actually a pretty good year for the nominees – they also nominated Lagaan, which is the best three hour Bollywood musical about cricket you’ll ever see, though reading that description, the odds that you will see it just went dramatically down).  But Japan turned its back on two great animated films to submit a little seen film.  And the Mexican judges were probably kicking themselves the next year when Y tu mamá started winning all those awards.  But this might be the hardest decision I have ever had to make in this category – whether to go with Amélie or Spirited Away.  We get a top five that includes three Top 100 Directors, one who might be headed there and one who might have if not for his untimely death.

Many prefer Laura Harring. But I think Naomi Watts in Mulholland Dr. is the sexiest performance in film history.

Nighthawk Notables:

  • Best Film to Watch Over and Over:  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring *
  • Best Line (comedic):  “We need to get Rusty a girl.”  “There’s a women’s prison down the road.”  (Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt in Ocean’s Eleven)
  • Best Line (dramatic):  “I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Arnor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udun. Go back to the Shadow! You shall not pass!”  (Ian McKellen in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)
  • Best Opening:  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Best Ending:  The Royal Tenenbaums
  • Best Scene:  the stand-off against the Balrog in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Best Use of a Song (comedic):  “Kick Some Ass” in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
  • Best Use of a Song (dramatic):  “Everyone” in The Royal Tenenbaums
  • Best Soundtrack:  Moulin Rouge!
  • Best Original Song from a Bad Film:  “The Ground Beneath Her Feet” from Million Dollar Hotel
  • Best Ensemble:  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • Funniest Film:  The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain
  • Most Over-Rated Film:  In the Mood for Love **
  • Worst Film:  Josie and the Pussycats
  • Worst Film I Saw in the Theater:  America’s Sweethearts
  • Worst Sequel:  Rush Hour 2
  • Best Guilty Pleasure:  Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
  • Performance to Fall in Love With:  Audrey Tatou in Amélie
  • Sexiest Performance:  Naomi Watts in Mulholland Dr.  ***
  • MILF:  Carla Gugino in Spy Kids
  • Jailbait:  Scarlett Johanssen in The Man Who Wasn’t There / Ghost World
  • Highest Attractiveness / Acting Ability Ratio:  Kate Beckinsale in Pearl Harbor  /  Serendipity ****
  • Star of the Year:  Cate Blanchett  (Fellowship of the Ring / The Man Who Cried / Bandits / The Shipping News  /  Charlotte Gray)
  • Coolest Performance:  George Clooney in Ocean’s Eleven
  • Best Trailer:  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Best Tag-line:  “You won’t believe your eye.”  (Monsters Inc.)
  • Best Cameo:  Peter Jackson in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Sexiest Cameo:  Tilda Swinton in Vanilla Sky
  • Best Animated Character Performance:  Eddie Murphy in Shrek
  • Film That Made My Wife Cry Like Nancy Kerrigan:  A.I.
  • Film That Freaked the Shit Out of Me:  The Others
  • Best Reaction to a Film:  John Ramirez coming out of Mulholland Dr.:  “No.  It has to make sense.”

*  –  There was never a chance that this would be anything else.  But it kills me that Moulin Rouge, Amélie and Royal Tenenbaums have to be excluded.

Decide for yourself who’s hotter.

**  –  It’s a good film, but given that it’s ranked #1 of the Century so far and that I don’t rate it higher than a high ***, I have to go with it being the most over-rated.

*** – The sexiest performance in film history as I wrote about here.

**** – Rachel Weisz is hotter in The Mummy Returns but isn’t nearly as bad as Beckinsale in those two roles

Film History:  The 9/11 attacks force some films to be delayed (Collateral Damage) and others to be digitally altered (Zoolander) while a Spider-Man trailer featuring the towers is dropped from circulation.  Two execs are fired from Sony after a story breaks that they created a fictional film critics named David Manning of the Connecticut Ridgefield Press to provide phony review blurbs for Hollow Man, The Patriot, A Knight’s Tale, The Animal and Vertical Limit.  Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman divorce.  Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, planned for a Christmas release, is pushed off for an entire year.  Stanley Kramer dies in February, Anthony Quinn and Jack Lemmon die in June and Pauline Kael dies in September.  Apocalypse Now Redux debuts at Cannes where The Son’s Room wins the Palme d’Or.  The Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings franchises debut on film.  Memento wins Best Picture, Director and Screenplay at the Independent Spirits.  The Believer wins the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.  At the initial (and, aside from the award for Movie of the Year, the only) AFI Awards, Fellowship wins 3 awards including Movie of the Year.  Freddy Got Fingered wins 5 Razzies, including Worst Picture and inspires a great line from Roger Ebert: “This movie doesn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.”

Academy Awards:  Fellowship of the Ring ties the record set by Mary Poppins and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf for most nominations without winning Best Picture (13).  Gosford Park becomes the third (and final in the 5 Best Picture nomination era) film to get nominated for Best Picture without a BFCA nomination first.  A Beautiful Mind becomes the first Oscar winner to fail to win a single critics award since 1995.  Amélie ties the record set by Cyrano de Bergerac for 5 nominations for a Foreign Film that doesn’t win the Best Foreign Film award (broken in 2006).  For the only time from 1997 to 2004, no film is nominated for Director and Screenplay but not Picture.  Mulholland Dr. gets nominated for Director but earns no other nominations – the first film to do so since 1993 and making David Lynch the only director to ever do it twice.  Russell Crowe becomes the first person to have the lead role in back-to-back Best Picture winners since Clark Gable in 1934-35 (Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep and John Geilgud all did it in supporting roles).  Dreamworks wins Best Picture for the third straight year – the first studio to so since United Artists in 75-77.  Moulin Rouge becomes the first straight up Musical to get a Best Picture nomination since 1979.  Randy Newman finally wins an Oscar with his 16th nomination.  No Man’s Land becomes the only Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film to come from the Balkans.  With only 32 feature films receiving nominations (in spite of the new Animated Film category) and 12 different films winning Oscars (because no film wins more than 4 Oscars for the first time since 1992), 37.5% of the films nominated win Oscars  – the highest percentage since 1948.  Because Gladiator only won technical awards aside from Picture and Actor and because A Beautiful Mind doesn’t win any technical awards or Actor, something happens that hasn’t happened since 1950 – the Best Picture winner doesn’t win any of the same awards as the previous year’s winner except for Picture.  A Beautiful Mind is also the first Best Picture winner since Silence of the Lambs to not get nominated for Cinematography.

Like in 1994, the Academy goes overmuch for the mental problems facing the star performer and gives a good (but not great) film Best Picture over a phenomenal group of nominees.  We get some amazing races (how do you pick Best Art Direction and Costume Design between Fellowship and Moulin Rouge and the instantly iconic score of Fellowship goes against the instantly iconic score of Harry Potter), some great slates of nominees (Best Original Screenplay might have the best group of five ever: Gosford Park, Amélie, Tenenbaums, Memento and Monster’s Ball).  But there are a lot of very questionable nominations (Ethan Hawke over Steve Buscemi, Sean Penn over Gene Hackman or Billy Bob Thornton, the Visual Effects of Pearl Harbor over Harry Potter) and wins (Denzel Washington, No Man’s Land).  But one thing they managed to do was really beef up the Honor Roll (when a great film manages to call itself an Oscar-nominated film because of its one measly nomination); I can’t remember so many great films with just one nomination each: Sexy Beast, Mulholland Dr., Ghost World, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Man Who Wasn’t There, Vanilla Sky.  But I will say this, at least.  There has never been a pair of lead acting winners who looked as good as those two.

  • Worst Oscar:  Best Actor for Denzel Washington in Training Day
  • Worst Oscar Nomination:  Best Actor for Denzel Washington in Training Day
  • Worst Oscar Omission:  Best Director for Baz Luhrmann for Moulin Rouge!
  • Worst Oscar-Nominated Film:  Pearl Harbor
  • Best Eligible Film with No Oscar Nominations:  The Others
  • Best Foreign Film Submitted but Not Nominated:  Baran
  • Worst Oscar Category:  Best Actor
  • Best Oscar Category:  Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
  • Oscar / Nighthawk Award Agreements:  Best Cinematography, Original Score, Visual Effects, Makeup

Golden Globes:  Gosford Park wins Best Director but nothing else – the first film to do that since 1995 and the only Comedy to ever do it.  A Beautiful Mind, Gosford Park and Mulholland Drive are nominated for Picture, Director and Screenplay, with Mind winning Picture and Screenplay (and Actor and Supporting Actress), Park winning Director and Mulholland Drive going 0 for 4.  Also nominated for Picture and Director are Fellowship (which goes 0 for 4) and Moulin Rouge (which wins Picture – Comedy or Musical, Actress – Comedy or Musical and, oddly, Score; it also nominated for Best Song for “Come What May” which would not be eligible for the Oscars since it was not written for the film).  For the first time since 1985, neither eventual lead Oscar winner (Denzel Washington and Halle Berry) win the Globe.

Awards:  Mulholland Dr. is the clear critical consensus.  It is the first film to win four Best Picture awards in four years.  But the critics can’t quite agree on what to give it; it wins Picture (New York), Picture and Director (Boston), Picture and Actress (National Society of Film Critics), Picture, Director and Actress (Chicago), Director (LA) and nothing (National Board of Review).  The NBR prefers Moulin Rouge (Picture, Supporting Actor) and In the Bedroom (Director, Screenplay) while the latter also takes Best Picture (and Actress) in LA and wins both lead acting awards in New York.  A Beautiful Mind, on the other hand, becomes the first Oscar winner to fail to win a single critics award since 1995.  The only other real critical consensus is on Best Supporting Actor for Steve Buscemi in Ghost World (NYFC, NSFC, CFC) and Best Screenplay for Memento (LAFC, BSFC, CFC).  Gosford Park wins Director, Screenplay and Supporting Actress from the NSFC and the NYFC but fails to win any awards from the other four groups.

Moulin Rouge would be the biggest nominee (12) and winner (6) at the guilds, but with the exception of the Producers Guild, all the wins would be in technical categories.  But A Beautiful Mind would win the DGA, WGA and Best Actor at SAG (as well as earning PGA and SAG Ensemble noms).  Aside from those two, the only other film to earn PGA, SAG Ensemble, DGA and WGA noms would be Fellowship of the Ring (11 noms, 3 wins).  Gosford Park would win the SAG Ensemble and the WGA but wouldn’t get a DGA nom.  Black Hawk Down would get DGA and WGA noms and win the American Cinema Editors, but was helped by the fact that In the Bedroom, which would get three SAG noms (Ensemble, Actor, Actress) would be ineligible for a WGA nom.  Likewise, Memento, which would get the final DGA nom, would also be ineligible for the WGA.  Meanwhile, the DGA lineup would only match the Oscars 3/5 on Picture and Director (but not the same 3 – with Moulin Rouge getting Picture and Black Hawk Down getting Director) – the lowest total since 1990.  On the other hand, the two winning WGA scripts would go on to win the Oscar for the first time since 1996.  Jennifer Connelly would get a SAG nomination, but for Actress, meaning of the five Supporting Actress nominees at SAG, only one – Helen Mirren – would end up with an Oscar nomination (no year since has had less than 4).

Fellowship of the Ring wins Picture and Director at the BAFTAs, but not Screenplay (the first film to do so since 1994).  It also wins Visual Effects and Makeup out of 12 total nominations, including Ian McKellen for Actor.  A Beautiful Mind would get nominated for Picture, Director and Screenplay and would win Actor and Supporting Actress, but it would be the first Oscar winner not to win the BAFTA in four years and would have the fewest nominations for an Oscar winner at the BAFTAs since Driving Miss Daisy.  Also nominated for Picture, Director and Screenplay would be Moulin Rouge (12 total noms, 3 wins, including Supporting Actor) and Amélie (9 noms, 2 wins, including Screenplay).  Shrek would be the final Best Picture nominee (6 nominations, wins Adapted Screenplay) while Gosford Park would win Best British Film and get Director and Screenplay noms (with 8 total noms).  Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone would get 7 nominations, including British Film, but would win no awards, sadly setting a trend that would not finally be broken until 2011.

The Broadcast Film Critics Awards finally expand and start adding nominees in categories other than Picture.  They continue with 10 Best Picture nominees, but for the third and final time (in the five Best Picture nominee era), a film that would eventually earn a Best Picture nominee at the Oscars is not nominated by the BFCA: Gosford ParkA Beautiful Mind ends up just short of all the records set the year before by Gladiator with 360 points (to Gladiator‘s 370), 5 nominations (to Gladiator‘s 6) and 4 wins (to Gladiator‘s 6), taking Picture, Director, Actor and Supporting Actress and earning a Screenplay nomination.  Moulin Rouge ties it for Best Director and earns Picture and Actress nominations.  The other Director nomination goes to Fellowship, which also has a Picture nomination and wins Score and Song.  The other Picture nominees to win an award are In the Bedroom (wins Actress and nominated for Supporting Actress), Memento (wins Screenplay) and Shrek (wins Animated Film).  Because of the expanded nominees we have the first films to get multiple nominations without any wins: Ali (Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor), The Man Who Wasn’t There (Picture, Screenplay) and The Shipping News (Picture, Score).  Mulholland Drive is the only film to get a Picture nomination and nothing else while Sexy Beast is the only winner of a major award (Supporting Actor) to not get a Picture nomination.

Best Director:  The Consensus race is very tight.  Ron Howard and Robert Altman actually tie at the top, with David Lynch right behind.  For A Beautiful Mind, Howard wins the Oscar, DGA and BFCA and earns BAFTA and Globe noms.  Altman wins the NYFC, NSFC and Globe and earns Oscar and BAFTA noms for Gosford Park.  Lynch wins awards in LA, Boston and Chicago and earns Oscar and Globe noms for Mulholland Drive.  Then comes Peter Jackson, who wins the BAFTA but only gets nominations from DGA, Oscar, BAFTA and Globes.  In fifth is Baz Luhrmann, who misses out on an Oscar nomination, but shares the BFCA award with Howard, wins the Satellite and earns Globe, BAFTA and DGA noms.  My own list goes Jackson, Luhrmann, Lynch, Jean-Pierre Jeunet for Amélie (BAFTA nom) and Christopher Nolan for Memento (DGA and Satellite nom).  My 6 through 10 are Ridley Scott for Black Hawk Down (DGA and Oscar noms), Steven Spielberg for A.I. (Globe nom), the Coen Brothers for The Man Who Wasn’t There, Alejandro Amenabar for The Others and Altman.  Which is actually one hell of a Top 10, much better than most years.

Best Adapted Screenplay:  The focus was all on the Original Screenplays.  None of the critics awards for Screenplay went to an adapted script and only one Golden Globe nominee (the winner – A Beautiful Mind) went to an adapted one.  A Beautiful Mind easily won the Consensus, taking the Globe, Oscar and WGA (and BAFTA and BFCA nominations).  Fellowship of the Ring earned WGA, Oscar and BAFTA nominations while Shrek missed out on the WGA, but did earn an Oscar nomination and, surprisingly, won the BAFTA.  The last two Consensus nominees were Ghost World (Oscar and WGA noms) and Bridget Jones’ Diary (WGA and BAFTA noms).  Fellowship is easily my winner in what is overall a pretty weak year (strange how years tend to fluctuate between adapted and originals – in a year like this one, where the originals are so great, the adapted are a weaker bunch).  My nominees are In the Bedroom (Oscar nominee, but ineligible for the WGA), Ghost World, Vanilla Sky and Last Orders.  My 6 through 10 are Ocean’s Eleven, Shrek, A.I., Harry Potter and Black Hawk Down.

Best Original Screenplay:  This is a phenomenal year for Originals Screenplays and it shows.  Gosford Park wins the Consensus, but partially on a technicality, as Memento wasn’t eligible for the WGA.  Gosford Park wins the Oscar, WGA, NYFC and NSFC along with Globe and BAFTA noms.  Memento wins the BFCA, LAFC, BSFC and CFC, with Oscar and Globe noms.  The other three Consensus nominees are The Royal Tenenbaums (Oscar, WGA, BAFTA noms), Amélie (Oscar nom, BAFTA win) and The Man Who Wasn’t There (WGA, Globe, BAFTA noms).  I am torn, not just by my winning choice (Amélie over Memento, but one of the closest races ever), but my other three nominees.  I currently go with Monster’s Ball (Oscar and WGA nominee), Gosford Park and The Royal Tenenbaums.  But my 6 through 10 are all great as well: Amores perros, The Others (BAFTA nom), The Man Who Wasn’t There, The Princess and the Warrior and Moulin Rouge! (WGA, BAFTA noms).  And that doesn’t include films like Mulholland Drive (Globe nom), The Devil’s Backbone, Faithless, The Anniversary Party, The Last Resort, Sexy Beast or Monsters Inc.  There are films that don’t make the top 15 that would be nominees in other years and I would stack this year against any other year in film history in this category.

Best Actor:  Three years: Russell Crowe wins the Oscar in the middle but wins the other two Consensus awards.  And they instead gave the Oscar to Denzel Washington for the hammiest, worst performance of a brilliant career.  Well, Crowe wins SAG, BAFTA, the Globe and BFCA and gets an Oscar nom while Denzel win in LA, Boston and the Oscar and earns SAG and Globe noms.  The Oscars do something here that has never happened, before or since – we have an actor (this goes for both male and female, lead and supporting) who wins the BAFTA, Globe and SAG but loses the Oscar.  No one other than Crowe in this year has won those awards and failed to win the Oscar.  So, the lesson here is, don’t throw a phone and don’t blow up when your acceptance speech poem is edited for time or a bad performance will win the Oscar.  The last three Consensus spots are Tom Wilkinson for In the Bedroom (NYFC win, SAG, Oscar, BAFTA noms), Gene Hackman for The Royal Tenenbaums (NSFC, CFC, Globe – Comedy wins) and Billy Bob Thornton (NBR win for The Man Who Wasn’t There and Monster’s Ball, Globe – Drama nom for Man, Globe – Comedy nom for Bandits).  My top 5 are Wilkinson, Thornton twice (Man first, Monster’s Ball next), Guy Pearce for Memento and Hackman.  My 6 through 10 are Crowe (who earns a Nighthawk nom because of the two Thornton performances), Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky, Elijah Wood for Fellowship, Globe – Comedy nominee Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge and Michael Caine in Last Orders.  It’s really not a great year once you move past the top 6 and the Oscar picks make it look even worse.

Best Actress:  Sissy Spacek wins the Consensus and the Nighthawk for her amazing performance in In the Bedroom.  She also wins in New York and LA, the Globe and the BFCA, as well as earning SAG, Oscar and BAFTA noms.  She loses at the former two to Halle Berry for Monster’s Ball who also earns BAFTA and Globe noms and wins the NBR.  Berry’s performance is, for some reasons, widely denigrated, perhaps because little else in her career has been of anything approaching this performance in quality, and because Spacek so clearly deserved the Oscar.  But Berry’s choice, while down at my #5 slot, is still a very good performance and not a bad choice for the Oscar – certainly better than Washington’s Oscar.  The next Consensus nominee is Nicole Kidman who wins the Globe – Comedy for Moulin Rouge and is nominated at the Oscars, BAFTA and BFCA, while also earning a Globe – Drama nom for The Others.  The final two nominees are Judi Dench for Iris (BAFTA win, SAG, Oscar, Globe noms) and Renee Zelwegger for Bridget Jones (SAG, Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA noms – the first actress to ever lose all five of those nominations).  My own list is Spacek, Audrey Tautou for Amélie (BAFTA nom), Naomi Watts for Mulholland Dr. (NSFC, CFC wins), Kidman (for The Others) and Berry.  My 6 through 10 are Kidman (for Moulin), Tilda Swinton for The Deep End (BSFC win), Franka Potente for The Princess and the Warrior, Jennifer Jason Leigh for The Anniversary Party and Zelwegger, with Dench in the 11th slot.

Best Supporting Actor:  Jim Broadbent wins the Consensus, with some splitting between two roles.  He wins the LAFC and NBR for both Moulin Rouge and Iris.  He wins the Globe and Oscar and earns SAG, BFCA nominations for Iris; however he wins the BAFTA for Moulin Rouge because he is nominated for the lead for Iris.  Following him in the Consensus are Ben Kingsley for Sexy Beast (BFCA win, SAG, Oscar, Globe noms), Steve Buscemi for Ghost World (LAFC, NSFC, CFC wins, Globe nom), Ian McKellen for Fellowship (SAG win, Oscar nom, BAFTA nom for lead) and Jon Voight for Ali (Oscar, Globe, BFCA noms).  My own list is McKellen, followed by the amazing performances from Kingsley and Buscemi (how the Oscars ever went for Ethan Hawke over him I will never understand), the Globe nominated performance of Jude Law in A.I. (which I actually thought was better than his Oscar nominated performance from Ripley – in fact, I prefer Law’s two unnominated performances in A.I. and Road to Perdition better than the two Oscar nominated performances that bookend them – Ripley and Cold Mountain) and Ian Holm’s short, but brilliant performance in Fellowship (made even better in the extended edition – “Have you been at the Gaffer’s home brew?”  “No.  Well, yes.”).  My 6 through 10 are Broadbent (for Moulin Rouge), BAFTA nominee Hugh Bonneville in Iris, then Broadbent again (for Iris), then two more from the great Fellowship ensemble: Hugo Weaving and Christopher Lee.  This, of course, means that outside the Top 10 are Robbie Coltrane in Harry Potter (BAFTA nominee), Clive Owen in Gosford Park and Justin Theroux in Mulholland Dr.

Best Supporting Actress:  This is another close Consensus race.  Helen Mirren triumphs for Gosford Park (NYFC, NSFC, SAG wins, Oscar, BAFTA, Globe noms).  But she beats out Jennifer Connelly, who won the Oscar, BAFTA and Globe over Mirren and didn’t compete directly at SAG because Connelly was nominated as a lead (she also won the BFCA).  Then comes Cameron Diaz for Vanilla Sky (BSFC, CFC wins, SAG, Globe, BFCA noms).  It’s the second time in three years that Diaz earns SAG and Consensus (and Nighthawk) noms but not an Oscar nom.  The last two spots go to Kate Winslet for Iris (LAFC win, Oscar, BAFTA, Globe noms) and Cate Blanchett.  Blanchett is trickey – she’s nominated at SAG for Bandits, at the Globes for Bandits (in the lead category), but she wins the NBR for Fellowship, The Shipping News and The Man Who Cried.  I nominate Blanchett myself, specifically for Fellowship, where her role is small, but vital, and amazing (especially in the Extended version, where she has more screen time).  It’s a tough year.  My winner is Mirren, followed by Marisa Tomei, finally redeeming herself for winning the Oscar for My Cousin Vinny with her fantastic, Oscar, Globe and BFCA nominated performance in In the Bedroom.  Then comes Diaz, Blanchett and Maggie Smith for Gosford Park (Oscar, BAFTA, Globe nominee).  This means that Winslet falls to sixth, followed by Gwyneth Paltrow for The Royal Tenenbaums, Connelly, Helen Mirren again (this time for Last Orders) and Frances O’Connor as the mother in A.I..

Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cummings make things interesting in The Anniversary Party (2001)

Under-appreciated Film of 2001:

The Anniversary Party  (dir. Alan Cummings / Jennifer Jason Leigh)

There are subtle little jokes.  They’re not really hints, because we shouldn’t assume that this is a picture of the life of anyone in the film.  But there are amusing little moments, for those who know enough to realize them.  Look at the moment when the actress who is slipping into middle age is talking with her friend of so many years.  Behind them is a picture of the two of them.  Unlike in other films, this picture isn’t faked.  This is a picture of those same two people; it is a shot of Jennifer Jason Leigh and Phoebe Cates from Fast Times at Ridgmont High, which they starred in together as best friends back in 1982.

But, without trying to read too much into the film, the little bits of their lives creep in and it allows for nice, full performances, for a true ensemble piece to rise to the surface.  So many people would like to assume that once you have a lot of money and a lot of fame that things come so easily.  “The rich are very different from us,” Scott said and Papa replied “Yes.  They have more money.”  This film shows that they’re not so different in the way they have their petty squabbles, their relationship quirks, their arguments with the neighbors.

This film takes several friends in the entertainment industry and throws together in a party for one night.  Though these are not their lives on-screen, because there is at least a little bit of each person in their character, they really do seem like old friends gathered together for the night.  We have the straying writer, smart, but confused in his sexuality and in his life, played so well by Alan Cumming.  We have his wife, who is aging her way out of lead roles, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh.  They seem so real because they are friends and because they co-wrote and directed the film.  We have Leigh’s best friend, played by Cates, who has left acting to raise her children, and she is little seen these days because of raising a family with her real-life husband Kevin Kline, who, here, plays her husband.

But the film also works because we have such a good group of actors.  Those are just the leads.  There are also Jane Addams, Parker Posey, John C. Reilly and Gwyneth Paltrow (playing a big star who gets the part that is a fictionalized version of Leigh’s character, which she expected to get, but how hard must it be to be told that you are too old to play yourself?).  But what might be the most impressive performance in the film comes from Mina Badie, Leigh’s half-sister, here playing the neighbor who complains about their dog barking all the time.

Part of what makes this film work is that it is one of the few films shot on video that seems to demand it.  It demanded it just to be made (there were less than three weeks available to all the cast to be together and make the film, and it relies so much on the interaction between all the characters), but because this is such an intimate gathering, it makes it seem like we have been invited in.  It no longer seems like a party of the rich and famous, it is a gathering we are brought into.

Cumming and Leigh are both gifted actors, who rarely get the attention that they so clearly deserve.  Because of her largely independent career, Leigh has yet to be nominated for an Oscar for a career that has included Last Exit to Brooklyn, The Hudsucker Proxy and Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle while directors still don’t seem to know quite what to do with Cumming (whose best success has been on stage in Cabaret).  That they managed to bring this cast together and then to craft this film, with these performances, makes me long for more from the two of them working together.

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