decade revisited: 2001, part 1
The Nominees: Obviously swept up in the flair of the Oscar nominees that year, I bit for A Beautiful Mind, which I now don’t completely understand, but for the relatively commendable performance from Jennifer Connelly. The others make complete sense to me, particularly the middle three, which have managed to maintain a lasting effect on my memory of 2001. Though The Others may seem like an oddball choice on its face, upon seeing it recently, I don’t feel entirely foolish for choosing it. It was an enjoyable thriller that manages a surprise ending without feeling like mediocrity.
Revisions: As stated above, the three middle features still feel like good choices to me eight years later. Fellowship and Harry Potter still feel sweeping and thoroughly magical to this day, and Monsters, Inc. is easily the most underappreciated Pixar effort (thanks a lot, Shrek!). For the other two slots, I’d likely go with a fairly standard choice of that year (upon since seeing it), Moulin Rouge!. And the last slot would probably be a sentimental favorite that I just happen to adore, I am Sam. But the win would most assuredly still belong to Fellowship, with Monsters, Inc. in a close second.
The Nominees: Sometimes I make some unexplainably random choices in nominees (and in this case, winners), but I will dutifully stand by them to the bitter end. I maintain that Heath Ledger’s performance in A Knight’s Tale was great fun, and, considering the fortitude his career took on later in the decade, I don’t feel so badly about it. Now, I’ve since found that Crowe’s performance is on the pandering side, and Radcliffe’s performance (and the subsequent ones in the rest of the Potter films) are pretty stiff generally. As far as the other two go, I think Smith’s serious turn in Ali was a worthy candidate, and Elijah Wood started off the Lord of the Rings series with a strong lead performance.
Revisions: If given the chance to switch it up, I’d probably do a massive overhaul of this category, leaving only Smith in the final five. Replacing the others would likely be Haley Joel Osment in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (a criminally unsung performance), Sean Penn in I am Sam, Guy Pearce in Memento, and Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge!. The win gets a little more difficult. I think it would be a race between Penn and Osment with a slight edge to Penn (I’m partial to his work almost every time).
The Nominees: Considering the silliness of the movies of the nominees, I’m strangely proud of this lineup for the following reasons: I gave my vote of approval to now-awards-darlings Anne Hathaway and Reese Witherspoon for her first major star-making turns; I may’ve picked the wrong Kidman movie that year, but I picked one nonetheless; and dammit if Sigourney Weaver isn’t always enjoyable to watch, even in a ridiculous “romantic comedy” co-starring Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Revisions: I’m going to make a bold choice here and say that the ones I’d keep in the top five would be Witherspoon and Weaver – the former was undeniably fantastic in the otherwise endlessly silly Legally Blonde and the latter still rises above the somewhat unfortunate script of Heartbreakers to deliver a great comic performance. For the other spots, I’d substitute Audrey Tatou for Amelie, Michelle Pfeiffer for I am Sam, and Nicole Kidman for Moulin Rouge!, with the award likely going to Pfeiffer, with Kidman close behind.