2 March 2004 | rbverhoef
It is funny how one of the most predictable Oscar shows in years was also one of the most fun to watch in years. Billy Crystal was back as the host and what a tremendous job he did. All of his jokes worked, not all of them planned, and together with other comedians like Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Jack Black, Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson he made sure we had a lot of fun.
The winners themselves were very predictable. I didn't expect the clean sweep for 'The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King' but I thought there was a possibility it would happen. I like the 'Rings'-trilogy, although I am not a huge fan, and I think the trilogy deserved the recognition. Still, I was hoping for a little more diversity.
My personal favorite of 2003, 'Lost in Translation', won for Best Original Screenplay and that as well was pretty predictable. As were Charlize Theron for 'Monster', Renée Zellweger for 'Cold Mountain' and Tim Robbins for 'Mystic River'. Sean Penn deserved to win an Oscar although I hoped for Bill Murray this year and they both had a chance. Adrien Brody announced Best Actress and made a little fun of himself after his kiss last year with Halle Barry. Best Cinematography and Best Sound Editing went to 'Master and Commander' (it deserved some technical recognition) probably only because 'The Lord of the Rings' wasn't even nominated in those categories. If it was it would have won.
The Best Foreign Language Film went to Canadian 'Les Invasions Barbares' and the woman who accepted the Oscar had a nice joke being thankful to 'The Lord of the Rings' that it could not be nominated in that category. Of course, being from The Netherlands, I was hoping for 'De Tweeling'. I think both films were good enough to win. Again being from The Netherlands I was also hoping for 'Girl with a Pearl Earring', about Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, in the categories Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction since Ducth persons were nominated. Both went, of course, to 'The Lord of the Rings' although I think Best Art Direction could have gone to 'Girl with a Pearl Earring'. That movie looks so beautiful.
Best Animated Feature was for the great 'Finding Nemo', again very predictable, and Best Documentary was for 'The Fog of War'. The only real competition for that movie was 'Capturing the Friedmans'. Of course the filmmaker gave us some political words but he kept everything pretty decent. Although the category is not very important, I liked the Best Animated Short for 'Harvie Krumpet'. 'Boundin'' from Pixar or 'Gone Nutty' with the little creature from 'Ice Age' were my guesses.
In the end the main thing I liked was the show itself. I had only a couple of my favorites really winning (Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress, both Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress and Best Animated Feature) but had a great time as well. I think that is the most important thing. Especially after last year's show where things were a little different because of the war in Iraq I thought it was some kind of a relieve. If next year will be as much fun as this, a little less predictable may be, I will be very satisfied.