decade revisited: 2003, part 2

The Nominees: First of all, how fun is this group?! Yes, it’s a little Lord of the Rings happy (or even long title happy), but it’s definitely a great little top 5. I was (and still am) a firm believer that the cast of the Tolkein trilogy was devastatingly under-awarded, particularly for this third outing, so it should come as no surprise that these four gents wound up getting nominated. And Astin and Serkis were perhaps the most heinous of the cast snubbings. And finally, thanks to Johnny Depp and the budding careers of Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom, Rush got completely unjustly overshadowed in a great comic and non-traditional (for him) turn as Captain Barbossa.

Revisions: Thanks to my continued fondness for the criminally snubbed of 2003, Rush, Serkis, and Astin would probably remain intact. But continuing the streak of folks from In America getting a nod (see Part 1), Djimon Honsou would creep up into the nominee list along with Peter Sarsgaard in Shattered Glass, who likely be Astin’s biggest competition for the win. As for the ultimate winner, too hard to call.

The Nominees: Say what you will about Renee Zellweger’s performance in Cold Mountain (Overacted? Maybe. Sometimes moving and oftentimes enjoyable? Yes.), but just remember sweet memories of Jerry Maguire and Chicago, and you’ll be reminded of why she became a critical darling in the first place. As for the rest of the crew, Stevenson has a hilarious, if small, role in the underrated Bend it Like Beckham (she’s gotta be one of the best character actresses in the biz), Otto’s battle scene line-reading alone (“I am no man!”) is enough for her to get some attention, and the fact that DeGeneres’ performance is heard but not seen is no reason to deny her the kudos she deserves for her take on Dory. Finally, Knightley has obviously honed her craft more with time (see Atonement and Pride and Prejudice), but her Elizabeth Swann was at least entertaining.

Revisions: Stevenson and DeGeneres are both comic gold for very different reasons (the former for her awesome British wit and fast-talking and the latter for her endearing and adorable voice work), so they both still belong here. The other three spots would likely be snatched up by the hilarious and heart-breaking Patricia Clarkson in Pieces of April, the surprisingly low-key yet beautiful folk singer Catherine O’Hara in A Mighty Wind (gosh, she’s good in everything), and the also criminally unawarded Emma Thompson in Love Actually (one of the best crying scenes EVER). And since the winner’s spot seems to have been taken, I think I might be inclined to give it to either Clarkson or O’Hara.

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