Berlin Wins Oscar
The 74th Academy Award Nominations Come 
To The Berlin International Film Festival
74th Academy Awards (2002)
feature by Eddie Cockrell

(Berlin, February 12) The Oscars invaded Berlin today, giving newly-minted festival director Dieter Kosslick a boost with rank-and-file German moviegoers and accredited guests as well in the midst of his first, pivotal year at the helm.

Gosford Park, Monster’s Ball, The Royal Tenenbaums and Iris are having their European premieres here in the high-profile competition section of the festival, with A Beautiful Mind being presented in the section but out of competition.

That’s some twenty Oscars nominations total here in Berlin, and that’s not all: Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly have been here for a few days doing rounds of press interviews and public appearances on behalf of A Beautiful Mind. They’re following Robert Altman and Maggie Smith, who did the same thing a few days ago for Gosford Park -- perhaps the hottest ticket in town this year thus far.

Halle Berry showed up to publicize Monster’s Ball (much to her embarrassment, her sex scene in the film is apparently longer in the European cut than in the American version), and director Terry Gilliam presented what must be the first production documentary about a movie that hasn’t been made, Lost In La Mancha, about his aborted version of Man Of La Mancha starring Johnny Depp and Jean Rochefort. Wes Anderson will present The Royal Tenenbaums to what may the film’s toughest crowd yet, and on top of everything, Amelie producer Claudie Ossard is on the international jury. At press time, nobody’s sure if Kate Winslet is actually coming to present Iris or not.

Those attending who weren’t nominated for anything include Kevin Spacey (here on behalf of The Shipping News and a charming documentary he’s produced called Uncle Frank), Cate Blanchett (The Shipping News and Tom Tykwer’s opening night film Heaven) Donald Sutherland (he’s the star of a Chinese comedy called Big Shot’s Funeral), Faye Dunaway (who has directed a short film called The Yellow Bird) and Catherine Deneuve (part of the large press conference for Francois Ozon’s 8 Femmes, already a box office smash in France and subject of among the few actual bidding wars on the market side of the festival).

Meanwhile, both here and stateside, the Oscar nominations are receiving more than the usual amount of grousing. Peter Jackson’s big-budget adaptation The Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Rings (LOR 1) leads the pack with thirteen nominations -- most of them technical -- followed by A Beautiful Mind and Moulin Rouge (another surprise) with eight each.

At this point the award seems A Beautiful Mind’s to lose, particularly since Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down didn’t make the best picture cut. As usually happens with Oscar balloting, there were maddening inconsistencies here: Scott picked up a Best Director nod for a film not nominated, while Baz Luhrmann, whose Moulin Rouge is up for Best Picture, didn’t get a directing nod. So, too, Todd Field’s In The Bedroom is among the final five, while his Best Director slot went to David Lynch, whose Mulholland Drive also didn’t make the Best Picture cut.

There were few surprises, pleasant or unpleasant, in the acting categories. Tom Wilkinson grabbed a much-deserved nod for leading actor in In The Bedroom, while Sean Penn’s presence for I Am Sam did raise a few eyebrows -- along with Will Smith’s nomination for Ali, which performed poorly. This is also the first year two African-American actors have been nominated for Best Actor: Smith and Denzel Washington for Training Day. Russell Crowe’s nod for A Beautiful Mind was expected, and chances are he’ll pick up his second Oscar in a row at the ceremony.

The Best Actress category went according to most prognostications, although the expected nod to Tilda Swinton for the intense but little-seen The Deep End went instead to Renee Zellweger for the bubbly and ubiquitous Bridget Jones’s Diary. At the moment the race seems to even to call, with Halle Berry (Monster’s Ball), Judi Dench (Iris), Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge), and Sissy Spacek (In The Bedroom, and the most overhyped nominee to date this race)

Nobody can figure out how Ethan Hawke got a Best Supporting Actor nod for Training Day. Some had hoped that slot would go to Joe Pantoliano for Memento, Steve Buscemi for Ghost World or a raft of other possible choices. Pretty much everybody expected the category to include Jim Broadbent (Iris), Ben Kingsley (Sexy Beast), Ian McKellen (LOR 1) and Jon Voight (unrecognizable as Howard Cosell in Ali). Kingsley should get it.

Now to those left out: many expected Christopher Nolan’s Memento to be a dark horse choice for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Guy Pearce) nominations, yet it received only two, for Nolan’s brilliant script and Dody Dorn’s equally dazzling editing. Billy Bob Thornton should’ve been nominated for either The Man Who Wasn’t There or Monster’s Ball, and all that money DreamWorks spent to promote Shrek outside the newly-minted Best Animated Feature award went to waste, as Monsters, Inc. actually received more nominations; the third animated feature in the category is Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. And where are nods beyond its script for The Royal Tenenbaums, love it or hate it, one of the most original films of the year?

While most technical awards are expected at this point to go to The Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Rings, the Best Cinematography statue rightly belongs to Roger Deakins for his work on The Man Who Wasn’t There.

With fifty-one submissions, the largest field in memory, the Best Foreign Film Oscar is still expected to go to the French Miramax release Amelie, although there was much merriment at the Scandinavian market stand when Petter Ness’ Elling bested such anticipated nominees as Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher (Austria), Walter Salles Behind The Sun (Brazil), Barbet Schroeder’s Our Lady Of The Assassins (Colombia), Jan Sverak’s Dark Blue World (the Czech Republic), Lone Scherfig’s Italian For Beginners (Denmark) Majid Majidi’s Baran (Iran), Nanni Moretti’s The Son’s Room (Italy) and Jean-Luc Godard’s In Praise Of Love (Switzerland) for the fifth spot. The other four nominees are Lagaan (from India, and actually now available stateside as a Columbia-TriStar Home Entertainment DVD), No Man’s Land (Bosnia & Herzegovina) and another dark horse, Juan Jose Campanella’s charming Argentine comedy The Son Of The Bride.

The Academy Awards will be presented March 24 in Hollywood -- although at this point, might as well just move the whole thing to Berlin, as many of the nominees are here already…

Performance by an actor – a leading role

Performance by an actor – a supporting role

Performance by an actress – a leading role

Performance by an actress – a supporting role

Best animated feature film of the year

Achievement – art direction

Achievement – cinematography

Achievement – costume design

Achievement – directing

Best documentary feature

  • Children Underground – Edet Belzberg
  • Lalee's Kin: The Legacy Of Cotton Susan Froemke
  • Murder On A Sunday Morning – Jean-Xavier de Lestrade & Denis Poncet
  • Promises Justine Shapiro & B.Z. Goldberg
  • War Photographer Christian Frei

Best documentary short subject

  • Artists & Orphans: A True Drama Lianne Klapper McNally
  • Sing! Freida Lee Mock & Jessica Sanders
  • Thoth Sarah Kernochan & Lynn Appelle

Achievement – film editing

Best foreign language film of the year

  • AmélieFrance
  • Elling Norway
  • Lagaan India
  • No Man's Land Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Son Of The Bride – Argentina

Achievement – makeup

Achievement – music – connection with motion pictures (Original score)

Achievement – music – connection with motion pictures (Original song)

Best motion picture of the year

Best animated short film

  • Fifty Percent Grey
  • For The Birds
  • Give Up Yer Aul Sins
  • Strange Invaders
  • Stubble Trouble

Best live action short film

  • The Accountant
  • Copy Shop
  • Gregor's Greatest Invention
  • A Man Thing (Meska Sprawa)
  • Speed For Thespians

Achievement – sound

Achievement – sound editing

Achievement – visual effects

Screenplay based on material previously produced or published

Screenplay written directly for the screen

Be sure to read our reports from these other film festivals as well:

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