Adrien Brody in The Pianist
PRO: Plays Chopin, dodges Nazis, and loses thirty pounds--all while wearing Nicole Kidman's prosthetic nose.
CON: Geoffrey Rush has already won Troubled Jewish Pianist Oscar.
Nicolas Cage in Adaptation
PRO: Charlie vs. Donald scenes even better than Gollum vs. Gollum; deserves something for Lisa Marie ordeal.
CON: Charlie's only seen the sights/a boy can see from Brooklyn Heights.
Michael Caine in The Quiet American
PRO: Academy Anglophilia; guarantee of a classy acceptance speech; at least there's only one of him.
CON: Despite recent win (Cider House Rules) has shown indiscriminate will-act-for-food tendencies (Blame It on Rio, Jaws the Revenge, Sweet Liberty).
Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York
PRO: Funny hat and waistcoat = already dressed for Oscar ceremonies.
CON: Misread prosthesis memo and got fake EYE; Frank McCourt-meets-Joey Buttafuoco accent may alienate some Academy members.
Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt
PRO: Hilarious in Midwestern Babbitt-y comedy; acceptance speech sure to start "Dear Ndugu".
CON: Must pay some price for Lara Flynn Boyle tutu incident.
Salma Hayek in Frida
PRO: Cripple factor; one of few roles not housewife-yearning-to-be-something-more.
CON: Three-hour-long vanity project with vaguely socialist themes= Reds with a unibrow.
Nicole Kidman in The Hours
PRO: Out-acts fellow megathespians Streep and Moore; has come a long way since Batman Forever.
CON: Prosthetic nose did not garner Oscar for Steve Martin in Roxanne.
Diane Lane in Unfaithful
PRO: Naturalistic, sharply nuanced work holds up opposite the terrific Richard Gere.
CON: Like having an affair with a 28-year-old French guy is acting.
Julianne Moore in Far From Heaven
PRO: Deserves to win for fabulous acting, double threat with The Hours, and looking so damn good in bright yellow.
CON: Melodramatic role, in which husband turns out to be gay, originally promised to Liza Minnelli.
Renee Zellweger in Chicago
PRO: Smashing; recent near miss for Bridget Jones' Diary; near-certainty that Steve Martin will come out with marcelled golden bob.
CON: Dyeing hair, losing weight and shooting someone pretty par for the course in Hollywood.
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