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Oscar morning - THE COMMENTARY

By Joseph Planta

VANCOUVER - Last year I missed the damned thing waking up at 6:00. We’ll this year I woke up at precisely 5:29 and managed to get to the TV to watch CNN’s live coverage of the 72nd Annual Academy Award’s annoucement of this year’s Oscar nominations.

If you’ve never seen an announcement ceremony, here’s the low-down: Academy President Bob Reheme walks out at exactly 5:38AM to a throng of press people and photographers. He is then joined by a movie star, this year it was Dustin Hoffman, at which point they rattled off the nominees in 9 categories and then left the rest to the journalists keeping fort on KTLA, CNN and this year CTV NewsNet.

Well, the first award that they announced the nominees to was Supporting Actor. Tom Cruise (Magnolia) had won the Golden Globe and Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense) had won the hearts of people around the world; both got Oscar nominations. Joining them were Michael Clarke Duncan of The Green Mile, Jude Law for The Talented Mr. Ripley and veteran Michael Caine for The Cider House Rules. Omissions: Sadly, Christopher Plummer was shut-out of a nod for The Insider, as were the two nominees from American Beauty, Philip Seymour Hoffman from either The Talented Mr. Ripley or Magnolia.

In Supporting Actress it was a little more predictable, although Toni Collette was nominated for her turn in The Sixth Sense. Others nodded were Angelina Jolie (Golden Glober) for Girl, Interrupted, Catherine Keener for Being John Malkovich, Samantha Morton for Sweet and Lowdown and Chlöe Sevigny for Boys Don’t Cry. Omitted were Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett for The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Best Director nods were very interesting, because what were thought of shoo-ins in Anthony Minghella for The Talented Mr. Ripley, Mike Leigh for Topsy-Turvy and Norman Jewison for The Hurricane were not nominated. The usual suspects in Sam Mendes for American Beauty, Michael Mann for The Insider were nominated followed by Spike Jonze for Being John Malkovich, Lasse Hallstrom for The Cider House Rules and M. Night Shaymalan for The SIxth Sense. Big surprise in Jonze’s nod, as well as the Hallstrom nod. he was nominated years ago for My Life As A Dog. The Jewison snub, is particularly surprising.

Jim Carrey was shut out again for an Oscar nod. His performance in Man on the Moon was more a nominateable piece than The Truman Show, but alas always a bridesmaid. Matt Damon was considered a shoo-in, but I guess not for his role in The Talented Mr. Ripley. Sentimental favourite Kirk Douglas was considered, but I guess his lack of presence amongst the other award shows, hampered his chances. Those nominated were: Russell Crowe for The Insider, Richard Farnsworth for The Straight Story, Kevin Spacey for American Beauty and Denzel Washington for The Hurricane. The fourth spot went to the big surprise, Sean Penn for Sweet and Lowdown.

Annette Benning (American Beauty), Janet McTeer (Tumbleweeds) and Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry) were touted as must-nods, and it appeared they were. Julianne Moore was nominated two years ago for Supporting Actress for Boogie Nights, this time she’s in the lead category and nominated for The End of the Affair. The other surprise was Meryl Streep (Music of the Heart), I guess the rule is right, Meryl puts her name on something (say, a blank video) and she’s nominated. That’s two years in a row now for the two-time winner.

For Best Picture: The Cider House Rules was a big surprise, I thought it’s hype died, because it wasn’t nominated very much for other shows like the Golden Globes. The Green Mile was considered a long-shot, but I guess anything is possible. The Green Mile took a nomination, as did American Beauty, The Insider and... The Sixth Sense. I guess good movies get nominated, but I’m particularly surprised at The Sixth Sense and The Green Mile getting nominated, but not performances like Kirk Douglas’ and Jim Carrey’s.

The big winner in nods was American Beauty with 8 nomiantions, followed by The Green Mile and The Insider with 7 a piece. More Oscar coverage between now and Oscar night Sunday, March 26, 2000.

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