The Oscar Quest: Best Picture & Best Director – 2003
Was there really any surprise here?
Best Picture – 2003
And the nominees were…
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (New Line Cinema)
Lost in Translation (Focus Features)
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Fox, Miramax, Universal)
Mystic River (Warner Bros.)
Seabiscuit (Universal, DreamWorks)
Return of the King — Clearly worth it. The entire trilogy gets one big Oscar. That’s absolutely fine, because it is a brilliant piece(s) of filmmaking. Sure, the CG is dated, but it’s still a great feat that deserved some recognition. No one can really disagree with this one.
Lost in Translation — A great, great film, but not one anyone can vote for knowing Rings is also involved. It deserved the Screenplay win and all the good will people have toward it. It is a great movie, but never a Best Picture winner. This is exactly how it should have ended up.
Master and Commander — Here’s a film I thought would be long and boring as shit. In actuality, it’s pretty damned good. Definitely worth the nomination, but not the win. I have a thing for movies on old timey ships, so this and Pirates were a great combo this year. Like this movie a lot, but probably gonna be #4 on my rankings, just because I liked 4 of the 5 films.
Mystic River — Mystic River is by far one of the worst scripts I’ve seen. Which hurts, because I love Brian Helgeland. But the terrible cop talk, mixed with everyone essentially saying the most obvious things all the time – either he took direct dialogue from the novel, or he just phoned in the job entirely. Everything about this movie is just, obvious.
Why did people think this was any good? And to think people said this would win Best Picture if Return of the King wasn’t nominated. Are they serious? Has anyone gone back and watched this recently? It’s terrible.
It’s like if you took a B picture and put all A actors in it, even in tiny roles, and thinks that elevates the material. Not worth the win, nor the nomination in my mind. Gone Baby Gone was a better film than this, and that was way more obvious than this was. This should have been like The Town — good notices, one, maybe two nominations and that’s it. Seriously, Academy? Do you like Clint that much?
Seabiscuit — I loved this movie. I love all the horse movies. They’re a great subgenre to the sports film. I’m so glad this got nominated. It was never gonna win, but might have been my second favorite film on this list. I’m not sure because I haven’t watched it recently enough to accurately gauge it against Lost in Translation, but I must have seen this a dozen times between 2003 and 2006. At least. Definitely worth the nomination.
My thoughts: No contest. Rings.
5. Mystic River
4. Master and Commander
2. Lost in Translation
1. Return of the King
Best Director – 2003
And the nominees were…
Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation
Clint Eastwood, Mystic River
Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Fernando Meirelles, City of God
Peter Weir, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Sofia Coppola — She did a fine job directing the film, but she should never have won. Based on direction alone, she is probably 4th on the list of deservingness of the award. She did do a great job, though, so that’s worth mentioning.
Clint Eastwood — Come on. I mean, come on. This? Letters from Iwo Jima — yes. Absolutely. Next year when you give it to him for Million Dollar Baby is gonna just be shameful. Clearly the weakest on this list, which I hate to say, because I love Clint. Just not this movie.
Peter Jackson — Deserves the award. Not just for this film, but for the trilogy. The trilogy has to be factored into everything because it’s all him. And because they ignored the first two. It’s all piled on this.
Fernando Meirelles — Interesting film. A lot of people called this one of the best films of the decade. Personally, I don’t see it. I liked it and all, but didn’t love it. It’s well directed, that is one thing it has going for it. In fact, I might even rank him second overall. It’s between him and Peter Weir. Peter Weir’s done a lot of good shit, so I’ll probably rank Weir ahead. But this is a well directed film about how organized crime in Rio came to be.
Peter Weir — Great direction. Film looked beautiful. But it’s not great enough for me to want to vote for him. Though, it’s a fantastic job. So, good job, Mr. Weir, hopefully one day they’ll give you one of these. You made a great film here, and you certainly deserved this nomination. But you went up against an entire trilogy. Few people could beat those odds.