Javier Bardem in Before Night Falls
PRO: I'm too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my books, too sexy for my island . . .
CON: If he wins, we'll have to hear even more shit from Castro.
Russell Crowe in Gladiator
PRO: Proof that weight-training can change anybody's career.
CON: What's his acceptance speech? "Yonda is da castle of my fadda?."
Tom Hanks in Castaway
PRO: Another in a long streak of great performances; impressively lost weight for the role; has already thanked most of his high school teachers.
CON: Is this a volleyball I see before me, the handle toward my hand?
Ed Harris in Pollack
PRO: We think Ed Harris yells in the movie, which is about par for Ed Harris, so it's probably good .
CON: Movie has nothing to do with satire-writer-bastard-out-of-philadelphia Neal Pollack, whose Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature is the greatest book ever written. Also, isn't modernism dead or something? We forget.
Geoffrey Rush in Quills
PRO: Scathing performance involves daring full-frontal; his chances may be helped by movie being stiffed for Best Picture.
CON:Kinda like a 2 1/2 hour audition for Oz.
Joan Allen in The Contender
PRO: We love her; she's like a grown-up riot grrl.
CON: Is the fact that politicians have sex seen as shocking anymore? In the life-imitates-art department, this movie is like Wag the Cat.
Juliet Binoche in Chocolat
PRO: Sexy French babe will probably wear a really great dress to the awards.
CON: Movie plays like a goofy episode of The Mary Tyler Moore show; we kept looking for the French Rhoda.
Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream
PRO: A drug-addict who's scared of her refrigerator: easy for Academy voters to relate to.
CON: Small-movie from second-time director; she's a little old for this field.
Laura Linney in You Can Count on Me
PRO: Real acting; goes beyond the "furrowed brow" style currently trendy in Hollywood.
CON: It's all about the boobies. See below.
Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich
PRO: Touted as a shoo-in; supporters cite her Golden Globes, er, Globe.
CON:Voters may hold her previous career against her, as we do.
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