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banner Tuesday, 12 February, 2002, 06:26 GMT
Film world awaits Oscar nominations
There will be crossed fingers all around Hollywood on Tuesday as the nominations for the 74th Academy Awards are announced.

Actors Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman are among the favourites to gain nods for their roles in A Beautiful Mind and Moulin Rouge respectively, while the makers of The Lord of the Rings and In the Bedroom will be hoping also that the academy smiles on them.

Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent
Can Iris fly the flag for Britain?
This year's Oscars are considered by many film critics as among the hardest to predict with no film emerging from the pack of contenders as an outright favourite.

The nominations will be announced by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Frank Pierson and Marcia Gay Harden, winner of the best supporting actress Oscar in 2001, at 1330GMT.

Best picture

While The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone have dominated the box office there is no guarantee that they will do the same at the Oscars.

Smaller films In the Bedroom, directed by Todd Field, and A Beautiful Mind, directed by Ron Howard, are also expected to be in the running for best picture award.

In the build-up to the Academy Awards, the traditional pre-Oscar guides have been divided.

Russell Crowe won the Golden Globe for A Beautiful Mind
Crowe is hoping for an Oscars double?
While A Beautiful Mind scooped the Golden Globe for best film, Mulholland Drive won the New York Film Critics' Circle award.

And the first Lord of the Rings film won movie of the year as judged by the American Film Institute (AFI), while In the Bedroom won the Los Angeles Film Critics' Association award.

It all adds up to a sense of excitement and uncertainty with other contenders such as Gosford Park, Monster's Ball and Moulin Rouge also tipped.

Black Hawk Down, Rdiley Scott's war film, appears to be ranked as an outsider.

Acting prizes

The awards for actors and actresses are no clearer, however.

Kidman and Crowe may have walked away with the Globes but other film awards have spread the acting prizes around evenly.

Sissy Spacek i
Sissy Spacek impressed critics with her role in In the Bedroom
The nominations for the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) give a strong indication of who is in favour in the acting stakes.

Crowe, Kevin Kline (Life as a House), Sean Penn (I Am Sam), Denzel Washington (Training Day) and Tom Wilkinson (In the Bedroom) all have nods in the best actor category for the SAGs and will hope for similar interest from the Oscar voters.

In the best actress category at the SAGs Halle Berry (Monster's Ball), Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind), Judi Dench (Iris), Sissy Spacek (In the Bedroom) and Renée Zellweger (Bridget Jones's Diary) are nominated although it remains to be seen if the academy is thinking along similar lines, however.

There is also uncertainty over the British element to this year's awards.

Iris, the film about the life of novelist Irish Murdoch directed by Richard Eyre, has been generally well-received.

But it has not made much of an impact on the consciousness of American cinema-goers, although Jim Broadbent, who was also in Moulin Rouge, has already won a Golden Globe for his performance.

He and Dame Judi Dench are considered in the running for acting awards.

Elsewhere, the ensemble cast of Gosford Park may be impressive but the cameo-nature of the roles may go against them.

For the first time, the academy will be handing out an Oscar to the best animated film with Shrek and Monsters, Inc. favourites to win nominations.

And in the foreign film category, French film Amelie looks to be the runaway winner.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Tom Brook
"In many categories, the race remains wide open"
See also:

23 Jan 02 | Film
Directors harbour Oscar hopes
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