Best Picture and Director 2002

1998 through 2007

What are your choices for Best Picture and Director of 2002?

Chicago
8
13%
Gangs of New York
1
2%
The Hours
3
5%
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
7
11%
The Pianist
13
20%
Pedro Almodovar - Talk to Her
18
28%
Stephen Daldry - The Hours
3
5%
Rob Marshall - Chicago
2
3%
Roman Polanski - The Pianist
8
13%
Martin Scorsese - Gangs of New York York
1
2%
 
Total votes: 64

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2002

Postby Sabin » Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:55 pm

Thought I responded to this some time ago. My favorite film of the year was and still is Y Tu Mama Tambien with Talk to Her, Late Marriage, and Secretary not far behind. Lovely, wonderful kinky films. Whether or not The Pianist is a better directed film than Talk to Her is debatable, but Talk to Her is certainly a better film and with Almodovar writing and directing seems to just go hand-in-hand. It's an excellent film and he gets my choice for Best Director.

My Best Picture award goes to The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, not because the trilogy necessary deserves something, but because The Two Towers is an exceptional piece of entertainment, one fantastic scene after the other, and for my money the only movie of the series that warranted notice for Peter Jackson's direction (and writing, so typical it came up bupkiss for both). The Pianist would have been a fine winner as well. I remember feeling similar muted reaction as Tee did. I think that's due to the distance Polanski places between us and Brody's character so we can observe him as a physical being rather than emotional/intellectual/artistic. His genius is just a piece of clothing to be shed. Besides, it's a remarkable story engagingly told, if not a masterpiece, which is likely what pushed it ahead of Gangs of New York and The Hours. There are few filmmakers I fear more than Stephen Daldry. At this point, I don't understand how Billy Elliot even happened. The Hours is an awful, pretentious work that I'm actually a bit shocked went over as well as it did. "Who enjoyed this?" I say to an Board full of people that mostly loved it. Like Marc Forster's direction of Finding Neverland, the material screams out for a visionary, not an at-best functionary. The true visionary of Gangs of New York isn't Marty or Danny, but Dante. Dante Ferretti. Although I think the moniker of "Oscar Loser" would be more apropos bestowed upon The Hours, how Gangs of New York lost Best Production Design is a travesty. Everything else, sure. But that world! I was privileged at Columbia College Chicago to read an original draft of Gangs where it's not Leonardo DiCaprio's Amsterdam who leaves and returns but rather Henry Thomas' character who then sees Amsterdam under the tutelage of Bill the Butcher and who must then remind him of what he once was. It was a remarkably stronger read and would have made a much stronger film. But stronger wills demanded the bastard child of Titanic and Leone that nobody wanted. I have more affection for Gangs of New York than most but it's not an engaging story.

Rob Marshall's Chicago was largely ruined for me by a stage production I saw beforehand that was a charming balance of tones and humor. It's a good time and I enjoyed Renee Zellweger immensely in the role. I'm not sure how it became such a reviled Best Picture winner. Were people truly caught so off-guard by its "amorality" going in?
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Re: Best Picture and Director 2002

Postby Precious Doll » Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:52 am

A mixed bag of nominees that would have looked better without The Hours & Scorsese's bloated Gangs of New York.

My selections:

1. The Magdalene Sisters (Peter Mullan)
2. Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself (Lone Scherfig)
3. Spider (David Cronenberg)
4. Talk to Her (Pedro Almovodar)
5. The Pianist (Roman Polanski)
6. Russian Ark (Alekander Sukurov)
7. Lilya 4-Ever (Lukas Moodysson)
8. Marie Jo and Her Two Loves (Robert Guediguian)
9. Kissing Jessica Stein (Charles Herman-Wurmfeld)
10.Bus 174 (Jose Padilha)
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Re: Best Picture and Director 2002

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:23 pm

Another very strong year, though like Mister Tee, most of my tippy-top favorites were ignored in Best Picture. (Unsurprisingly, those favorites are the same.)

I'd probably say my favorite movie of the year is Y Tu Mamá También, which I find to be a very humorous and beautifully photographed coming of age drama, with an enchanting magical realist sensibility, and a killer ending.

Under director, I'd likely give the prize to Todd Haynes (who I had predicted for the lone director spot) for Far From Heaven, the year's most meticulous exercise in style, but far from an empty one. (Add Edward Lachman to the list of the cruelly denied.) Right up there with the best of the best would be Talk to Her and Adaptation (a deliriously inventive Mobius strip of a movie). I would have rooted enthusiastically for any of these efforts over all of the Best Picture nominees.

I would also cite About Schmidt and Spirited Away as movies I thoroughly enjoyed this year.

I'll dispense with Best Director first and say that Pedro Almodóvar is my easy choice. As usual, his material is beyond original, and the turns the story takes are consistently surprising, amusing, and powerful. And the movie is just as much a visual triumph as it is a scripted one -- from the haunting dance number that opens the film to the gorgeous (and grisly) bullfighting sequences to the wildly enjoyable silent movie, Almodóvar crafts images that are exciting and inventive from beginning to end. (Even many of the shots of the nurses caring for the comatose women have an odd beauty to them.) All About My Mother was a pretty big step forward for the director in terms of moving into his "mature" period, but I felt Talk to Her was an even greater achievement. Here is a director with an affinity for wild melodrama, camp, and over-the-top plot twists (and I'm not denigrating those elements, I'm a fan of his earlier work as well), and yet here he incorporates those interests into a deeply human drama that resonates as one of the most thoughtful films of the year. I'm very happy to cast my vote for him.

As for Best Picture, I think The Hours is probably my least favorite nominee, but I would definitely rank it above a Chocolat/Seabiscuit place-filler. The movie definitely has ambition, a literate foundation, and three of the best current actresses at its center. But I WAS a fan of Michael Cunningham's novel (and, you know, Virginia Woolf's is pretty good too), and what made the book so appealing to me were the subtle connections between the narrative threads, the way they connected to each other and commented upon one another in interesting and lyrical ways. The movie, though, made all of this thuddingly literal, with all those obviously reductive match cuts and that pounding score, seeming to replace the book's complexity with DRAMATIC INTENSITY, as if that signaled that what we were watching was PROFOUND. Although I think this is the best of Stephen Daldry's Oscar vehicles, Daldry is still Daldry, and he's a boring director, who clearly wants to be making serious movies, but whose sensibilities are just too bland to be of interest to me.

I co-sign what Mister Tee said about The Pianist. I remember seeing the movie that December with a friend of mine, and as we exited the theater, we both acknowledged, that was a solid movie, but I expected something that felt less familiar. The early portions, especially, skirted very close to Generic Holocaust Movie. I liked the latter half more, and I think there's an appealing black sense of humor that, as in Saving Private Ryan, underscores the near-ludicrous level of random luck that separates those who survive wartime horrors and those who don't. But even there, I was a little surprised to see a director with such a strong feel for the macabre turn in such restrained work, (I'd argue even because of, not in spite of, the subject matter). Overall, it's still hard not to be moved by the material -- and as someone who feared My Big Fat Greek Wedding might take its spot on the Best Picture list, I actually let out a cheer when its nomination was announced -- but I find it to be less revelatory a film than many do.

If The Pianist was the result of a more restrained Roman Polanski, Gangs of New York was probably the opposite: a film that let Martin Scorsese's excesses run wild. This, too, was a movie that I still admired overall -- it was a big, ambitious effort, with glorious production design, a ferocious performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, and some sequences (like the coffins at the dock) that clearly showed off Scorsese's grandly theatrical skill with the medium. But it had obvious weak links too -- the DiCaprio/Diaz romance is pretty leaden, and as the narrative goes on, it starts to feel more and more overstuffed with...well, stuff. I was still rooting for Scorsese to prevail on Oscar night, though mainly for the overdue factor (Polanski's win made for a memorable moment on those terms as well, though, frankly, I hadn't even remotely considered him a win possibility). But it's hard for me to argue that Scorsese was really robbed for this movie -- although a major effort from a major filmmaker, it was a flawed one, and ultimately the lack of control that makes the movie feel so messy can't just be blamed on the overstuffed script.

Although I'd have preferred to vote for one of the more artful efforts left off the ballot, I think the two commercial entertainments nominated for Best Picture were actually the most fully successful of the nominees. And here I run into a tough choice, because I think both movies are more or less equal -- perhaps not the height of profundity, but pretty ambitious mainstream movies that were terrifically mounted examples of their genres. (And both from directors who have disappointed me a lot since then.) So, with acknowledgment that basically, it would be a tie for me...

I was a huge fan of Chicago on stage -- I saw the tour with my high school theater class when it came to town, and later saw the revival on Broadway. I nearly flipped when a local movie theater announced a preview screening (with a Marshall & Condon Q&A afterwards) weeks before its actual release. So I saw the movie in this context, with huge expectations, and found that the movie mostly delivered. I thought the conceit of making the musical numbers fantasies in Roxie's mind worked terrifically, and the back-and-forth cutting between reality and fantasy was thrilling and often very clever, with moments like Zellweger stomping on the piano keys or the Hunyak hanging at the end of rope feeling completely fresh. And Rob Marshall's concepts for individual numbers -- like having the prisoners tango with their victims in "Cell Block Tango" or dressing up the reporters as dummies in "We Both Reached for the Gun" -- were just dazzlingly executed both in the choreography and the filmmaking. And Condon's script even improves one plot turn -- the diary bit is a lot more satisfying narratively than the reveal of Mary Sunshine's identity in the stage version. I do think the movie version does soften the material somewhat, sometimes in clear ways (like the elimination of "Class"), in other cases with tiny touches (replacing "I gotta pee!" with a sad closeup of Roxie's face after she commits the murder, removing a bit of the butch from Mama Morton, making the Hunyak clearly not guilty), so the film feels a bit more crowd-pleasing than the bleaker source material. But I was certainly part of the crowd that was pleased.

The Two Towers is probably the least impressive of the three Lord of the Rings films: it lacks the wonder of that first journey to Middle Earth, as well as the emotional resolution of the conclusion. But, in some ways, it's also the darkest of the Rings films, with a fairly overwhelming sense of despair that hangs over the entire film. And, of course, it marked the emergence of one of the most memorable characters in the Tolkien universe, Gollum, amazingly visualized by the effects team and frighteningly embodied by Andy Serkis. And though the battle at Helm's Deep would be surpassed by the sweeping battle at the Pelennor Fields in the third film, at the time it felt like a splendidly mounted, evocatively shot, and thrilling piece of filmmaking. I was generally surprised at the nominations drop-off for Two Towers -- I thought quality-wise, the movie was nearly as good as Fellowship, and it missed in a lot of categories in which I'd predicted it would be appear. I think Peter Jackson deserves a lot of credit for turning out a sequel that managed to wow almost as much as his first entry.

As I said, no strong preference. Chicago probably fits more with my sensibilities, but I feel like the Rings trilogy is such a major triumph overall, and I want to give it one Best Picture vote, rather than let it come close-but-no-cigar three years running. So, Two Towers it is.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2002

Postby nightwingnova » Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:56 am

I don't have anything to say about The Two Towers. Am about to watch again the extended version.

While The Pianist is excellent drama, Chicago is much more creative - giving us a fresh, wildly energetic, fun musical romp with some of the best of Broadway songs. Chicago ranks higher for me.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2002

Postby FilmFan720 » Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:11 pm

We are in the middle of my formative college years, here, a time in my life where I easily saw more movies a year than any other portion of my life. These years sometimes feel extra light to me, if only because there was so much that I saw and liked (and these lists can feel so pedestrian), even for a time when box office and Best Picture were so far apart.

There is one masterpiece this year, and that is Spirited Away. Follow that with some great foreign fare (Talk to Here, Y Tu Mama Tambien) and small indie fare (Punch-Drunk Love, Lovely & Amazing) and you have a great year. This was also a year, though, that had some really interesting, complex Hollywood fare: Catch Me If You Can, 8 Mile, Chicago, Insomnia. Solaris...only one of which, surprisingly, came into the Academy's sights.

The Hours is a vile film, containing what may be the most offensive shot I have ever seen in a movie (Ed Harris' death). The film is trite, dull, blandly made and in some moments even hateful. It is probably my least favorite Best Picture nominee of the decade.

I remember sitting through most of The Two Towers not exactly disliking the film, but just not caring. Peter Jackson's biggest sin in these films, for me at least, is never giving us a reason to care at all what is going on or what happens to these characters. I believe some sort of dragon emerges at the end of the film, and by that point I had lost track of who was where or what this beast even did or meant for them. It is well-made, and contains some pieces I really liked (the Ents are a great piece of filmmaking), but I won't' consider it here.

Bill Condon and Rob Marshall took on a great undertaking moving Chicago to the screen, and the success of the film relies on their ability to take such a theatrical piece and make it so cinematic. There is enough lost in the translation that the film doesn't quite match the brilliance of the stage show (and the film does have that one, horrible casting problem in Catherine Zeta-Jones), but it is well-worthy of citing here.

I haven't revisited Gangs of New York in several years, and probably should, as my estimation of it was always higher than most everyone else around me. On the big screen, I was sucked right into the world that Scorsese created and forgave some horrible plot contrivances in order to spend some time in it. Is it Scorsese's masterpiece? No. Is it the wreck that everyone thinks it is, though? No. I'll take it over The Aviator any day.

My Best Picture vote here, though, goes with the Cannes choice: The Pianist. I went into the film not expecting much: it was between nominations and Oscar night, and I figured that here was a well-made but unspectacular Holocaust film by a film legend that had coasted into some nominations on reputation alone. What I found instead was a devastating piece of filmmaking, which told pieces of a story that I hadn't seen before and that seemed so personal. I find it a bold, brave and exceptionally made piece of filmmaking, and gladly endorse it here.

Polanski was not a bad choice, but this is my chance to honor Pedro Almodovar. Almodovar is one of our great living filmmakers, and the odd legendary foreign filmmaker to get a Director nomination not for a more mainstream film but for a film that contains so much of his own unique vision. After all, this is a film with a giant vagina in one dream sequence. It isn't seemingly Oscar friendly, yet this was a night where the Academy went away from the norm a little bit, and this nomination is a sign of that.
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Re: Best Picture and Director 2002

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:54 pm

2002 was a year where I enjoyed the early season enormously – my wife was on the SAG nominating committee, and we were jumping from screening to screening throughout November and December, for once being the ones spreading early word. And then the season came crashing down, as first SAG and then AMPAS failed to nominate the films I cherished most, leaving me (there and here) with a choice among lessers.

My easy favorite on the year is Far from Heaven, a movie that is visually gorgeous, beautifully acted, and simultaneously an academic deconstruction of the Sirk movies and a passionate present-tense story. I wasn’t a great Todd Haynes fan prior to this, but I think his work is spectacular. He, Elmer Bernstein and Julianne Moore were cruelly denied deserved prizes.

The Payne-haters will as usual cringe, but I put About Schmidt in second place (especially for, apparently, the last great Jack Nicholson performance). After that, of those absent from the film or director lists, I’d cite Y Tu Mama Tambien, Spirited Away, and Adaptation.

It’s not that I flat hated any of the actual nominees, but I place several of them at a more or less equal mediocre level. Probably least among them was The Hours. I’d been lukewarm on the novel – finding it more a literary conceit than anything especially inventive – and the film, though populated with a top fleet of actors, failed to add much dramatic propulsion.

Gangs of New York is not without its moments, but those moments get to feel few and far between when a film runs close to three hours, without much governing plot. Once DiCaprio’s true identity is revealed, the film really meanders, and the ending riot, while certainly big and showy, has about as much connection to what preceded as the train wreck does to The Greatest Show on Earth. There are a lot of strong actors in the supporting cast, but for me Day-Lewis is too much in the lead, and DiCaprio and Diaz are among the weakest primary characters in any Scorsese film. Of all the many times Scorsese has competed in the top categories, this is the one instance where I give the least consideration to choosing him.

I will just never understand what people see in The Pianist. I saw the film fairly early (mid-November screening) and would never have imagined that months later I’d watch it take multiple top Oscars. I thought it was a well-enough-made piece, but so much of it was a movie I’d seen many times before. The one part of the film I thought wasn’t derivative of other Holocaust films – the latter portion, after Szpilman has ducked out from the ghetto – struck me as weakened by an unwillingness to bring us inside Szpilman’s head: I never had any idea how he felt about the things that were happening around him. It’s always been my opinion that this opaqueness in the final reel helped the film’s Oscar run – Polanski, based on other work, probably viewed it as Szpilman just doing whatever it took to stay alive, but the Academy crowd that liked its Holocaust characters to be noble resisters could fill in the blanks their preferred way. I certainly don’t mind that a director with so distinguished a career got an Oscar…but this is not a film for which I’d have singled him out.

Even though, as I indicated in 2001, I’m not the best audience for Tolkien, The Two Towers ends up, by default, my second favorite among this year’s best picture contenders. This installment of course lacked the shock of the new that Fellowship of the Ring offered; the climactic battle went on way too long (a sign of Jackson to come); and its middle-portion status gave it a less than satisfying ending. But it wasn’t a big quality-drop from Part One, and again one had to admire the director’s ability to go big, and mostly succeed, with a project so many had contemplated but dropped over the decades.

Talk to Her is not my first choice among that year’s breakout foreign hits – Y Tu Mama Tambien seemed to me a richer overall work. But Pedro’s film is plenty good on its own – an as-usual wildly inventive and audacious film that defines itself, in the end, as a love story, but takes a circuitous and exhilarating journey getting there. In the absence of Todd Haynes, the great Almodovar gets my best director vote.

And under best picture I have no better option than to pick Chicago, though it would be barely top five material overall. That said, I don’t want to denigrate Chicago: it was a terrifically funny and dazzling entertainment, staged with greater imagination than any musical in a long while, shot through with cynicism about celebrity and media that gave it bite without making it bitter. I don’t think I’ve ever liked most of the actors as much as I did here – Zellweger and Gere, especially -- and for me the musical numbers all worked splendidly. It’s certainly true that the film exists as entertainment, not any special work of film art. But if we’re going to argue that the 30s screwball comedies, or musicals like Singin’ in the Rain, were overlooked in their time for seeming frivolousness, we ought to be able to acknowledge an occasional such work of pure movie-going pleasure as the year’s best picture. Chicago it is.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2002

Postby Eric » Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:14 pm

01. Femme Fatale
02. Gerry
03. Irreversible
04. Decasia: The State of Decay
05. Russian Ark
06. Ten
07. Blissfully Yours
08. Talk to Her
09. To Be and To Have
10. Bus 174

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2002

Postby Reza » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:27 am

Voted for Chicago and Roman Polanski.

My picks for 2002:

Best Picture
1. Company
2. Chicago
3. The Pianist
4. Far From Heaven
5. The Lord of the Rings : The Two Towers

The 6th Spot: Hero

Best Director
1. Roman Polanski, The Pianist
2. Ram Gopal Varma, Company
3. Pedro Almodovar, Talk to Her
4. Rob Marshall, Chicago
5. Todd Haynes, Far From Heaven

The 6th Spot: Zhang Yimou, Hero


Zhang Yimou, Hero

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2002

Postby ksrymy » Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:12 pm

My picks
____________

Best Picture
1. Chicago
2. Far from Heaven
3. The Pianist
4. Infernal Affairs
5. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

6. City of God

Best Director
1. Todd Haynes, Far from Heaven
2. Pedro Almodóvar, Talk to Her
3. Fernando Meirelles, City of God
4. Roman Polanski, The Pianist
5. Rob Marshall, Chicago

6. Andrew Lau & Alan Mak, Infernal Affairs
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Re: Best Picture and Director 2002

Postby FilmFan720 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 5:58 pm

Mister Tee wrote:
dws1982 wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:Even at this pace we won't finish when this year's awards start coming at us. The NYFCC is set to vote December 3rd.

But does that really matter? We can have multiple discussion going at once. I don't know why we have to have a set schedule on these polls. I think it would be best to begin the next poll when discussion on the previous on the previous one seems played out.

Yeah, I don't see the point of rushing; it makes it feel like an assignment, rather than the pleasure it's always been.

I just can't keep up with this pace. And I note BJ (who, like me, usually provides extensive comment) is now two years behind, just like I am.

I've been thinking about a "Where we are in the current cycle" post, but that'll take time to compose, and where am I supposed to find it if I'm always facing a deadline on these posts?


I'm five years behind, and I feel like a lot of interesting conversations are being lost. Even if we lived through these years as a board, a lot has changed in our perception of the board, and these posts have the possibilities for more conversation as more of us have seen complete slates...can we please slow them down?
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Re: Best Picture and Director 2002

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Nov 02, 2013 4:50 pm

dws1982 wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:Even at this pace we won't finish when this year's awards start coming at us. The NYFCC is set to vote December 3rd.

But does that really matter? We can have multiple discussion going at once. I don't know why we have to have a set schedule on these polls. I think it would be best to begin the next poll when discussion on the previous on the previous one seems played out.

Yeah, I don't see the point of rushing; it makes it feel like an assignment, rather than the pleasure it's always been.

I just can't keep up with this pace. And I note BJ (who, like me, usually provides extensive comment) is now two years behind, just like I am.

I've been thinking about a "Where we are in the current cycle" post, but that'll take time to compose, and where am I supposed to find it if I'm always facing a deadline on these posts?

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2002

Postby dws1982 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 4:31 pm

Big Magilla wrote:Even at this pace we won't finish when this year's awards start coming at us. The NYFCC is set to vote December 3rd.

But does that really matter? We can have multiple discussion going at once. I don't know why we have to have a set schedule on these polls. I think it would be best to begin the next poll when discussion on the previous on the previous one seems played out.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2002

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Nov 02, 2013 4:09 pm

Mister Tee wrote:Three of these polls in six days? Give me a break.

As indicated in an earlier post, I am running polls for the years previously covered live on UAADB (1998-2012) at the rate of two per week - one in mid-week, generally Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and one on the weekend (Fri night-Sun) depending on how I can fit them into my schedule. Even at this pace we won't finish when this year's awards start coming at us. The NYFCC is set to vote December 3rd.
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Re: Best Picture and Director 2002

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:12 pm

Three of these polls in six days? Give me a break.

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Re: Best Picture and Director 2002

Postby Heksagon » Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:20 pm

Big Magilla wrote:
Heksagon wrote:Dennis Quaid and Dennis Haysbert never feel like they are a romantic couple.


Don't you mean Julianne Moore and Dennis Haysbert?


I guess my eyes aren't connected to my brains anymore.


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