decade revisited: 2002, part 1
The Nominees: As the years press on, the regret factor seems to be ebbing. This year’s crop of Best Picture nominees are still ones that find themselves in my viewing rotation. Though the best of the Harry Potter movies came post-Chamber of Secrets, it’s still a fun, if flawed, movie. And of course, there’s no harm, no foul on the Lord of the Rings choice. As for the rest, Catch Me If You Can‘s presence has a lot to do with my having recently seen it at the time (though I still think it’s a pretty great flick). Chicago is still one of the best musicals I’ve seen (though I know it’s suffered some backlash since its dominance at the Oscars that year). And The Rookie is one that I’ll stand by no matter how sentimental it is (a great performance from Dennis Quaid).
Revisions: Despite my lasting like, we’ll say, of all five of these choices, I’d keep only Chicago and Two Towers. In the others’ places, I’d insert Adaptation, Minority Report, and Spirited Away. And as for the winner, it’d be a hard-fought battle between Lord of the Rings and Spirited Away that I think the latter Hayao Miyazaki masterpiece would win.
The Nominees: As mentioned earlier, first thing’s first, though a dead-ringer for Mr. Potter, Daniel Radcliffe delivers some pretty uneven performances in the film series, a fact I didn’t truly recognize until after the fact. Now that that’s taken care of, on to the other nominees: pre-crazy Tom Cruise gives what is probably his last good performance in a great movie, Viggo Mortensen takes the helm of the Lord of the Rings franchise successfully, Dennis Quaid delivers a personal favorite performance (and yes, I’ve seen Far From Heaven), and Leonardo DiCaprio gives a funny, enjoyable performance as fibber Frank Abagnale, Jr. in Catch Me If You Can.
Revisions: For the most part, this group is still a pretty upstanding one. Looking back, I’d probably be keen on keeping DiCaprio, Mortensen, and Quaid in the group, with some adjustments to include Hugh Grant for About a Boy and Adrien Brody for The Pianist. And the win is kind of up in the air. I’m still inclined to give it to DiCaprio, but I think both Brody and Quaid have enough merit to steal it away.
The Nominees: This one was a tricky one. As a general rule, the Lead Actress category in 2002 was fairly scant (something that repeated itself twofold three years later). But it seems I opted for a mixture of awards-bait (Zellweger, Kidman, and Streep) and box office queens (Vardalos and Witherspoon), although it’s interesting to see the falls from grace that have happened since for almost every one of these ladies other than Streep. Kidman’s prestige cred has been called into question for the remainder of the decade, major Zellweger backlash has ensued since Cold Mountain, Vardalos disappeared into obscurity, and Witherspoon (with the exception of her 2005 Oscar win) can’t seem to pay people to see her movies. Ho-hum.
Revisions: The Hours ladies and Miss Zellweger would probably be able to stay on board, as all three performances are notable highlights of their respective filmographies. As far as the other two spots, Witherspoon and Vardalos were harmless fun, but they’d probably be bumped for Frank Potente in The Bourne Identity and Alison Lohmann in White Oleander. Winner? Zellweger would face some competition from Kidman, though I’m one of the few who thoroughly enjoyed her portrayal of Roxie Hart, and still do.