I know you wanted it – okay, maybe you could care less – but here are my picks for the Oscars.
This is one of the first years that I have see all five of the nominees for Best Picture – usually, there is at least one I didn’t catch. Lost in Translation was entertaining, but certainly not the best. Master & Commander was a really good movie, but just pales a bit in comparison. Seabiscuit was a fun movie and very enjoyable, but rarely has the Rocky-formula won (well, since Rocky). I thought Mystic River was the best film of the lot, but think it will go to The Return of the King because of the grandness, special effects etc.
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Best Picture
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Lost in Translation
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Mystic River
Seabiscuit

I did miss a few of these performances. I did not see Cold Mountain or House of Sand and Fog and trust that both actors gave great performances. Bill Murray was certainly good in Lost in Translation, but his competition is too good. Johnny Depp put in the most enjoyable performance and continues to shine as one of the greatest contemporary actors. I think that Sean Penn deserves the award though for a great job in Mystic River.
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Best Actor
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Ben Kingsley, House of Sand and Fog
Jude Law, Cold Mountain
Bill Murray, Lost in Translation
Sean Penn, Mystic River

I am a terrible judge in this category as I only saw one of these films… despite some rather retarded political statements, Tim Robbins IS a good actor and he did a fine job in Mystic River. Maybe before Sunday, I can catch another couple of these films and update my choice.
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Best Supporting Actor
Alec Baldwin, The Cooler
Benicio Del Toro, 21 Grams
Djimon Hounsou, In America
Tim Robbins, Mystic River
Ken Watanabe, The Last Samurai

Another tough pick as I only saw two of them. Lost in Translation was a really good script, but Finding Nemo was my surprise secret pleasure. I loved this little cuddly film and think it deserves the nod.
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Best Screenplay (original)
The Barbarian Invasions
Dirty Pretty Things
Finding Nemo
In America
Lost in Translation

Well, after seeing only two, I can only pick from Master & Commander and Seabiscuit. Both were brilliantly shot, but M&C had the benefit of getting great majestic ocean shots.
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Cinematography
City of God
Cold Mountain
Girl with a Pearl Earring
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Seabiscuit

I have seen all three and all three had great visuals. The ghosts in Pirates were amazing, the amazing miniature work in Master was brilliant, but nobody stands a chance in a year in which Return of the King competes.
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Visual Effects
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Geez, talk about a tough category. Return has great costumes, but they are of the normal hack-n-slash nature. Seabiscuit’s period outfits were fun and time-true. Where was Pirates in this category? I guess they had to have room to throw in Pearl Earring. In the end though – Master and Commander should win.
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Costume Design
Girl with a Pearl Earring
The Last Samurai
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Seabiscuit

No contest – Nemo is an instant classic.
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Best Animated Feature Film
Brother Bear
Finding Nemo
The Triplets of Belleville

Can you believe this? I love documentaries but haven’t seen any of these. It could be that I catch my documentaries a year later on satellite. Where do you go to see a doc in a theater?
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Best Documentary Feature
Balseros
Capturing the Friedmans
The Fog of War
My Architect
The Weather Underground

I think that Eastwood should win for Mystic River, but Peter Jackson will take it for pulling off the monumental (and money-saving) task of shooting three top-notch films at the same time. Look for more trilogies shot this way.
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Best Director
Fernando Meirelles, City of God
Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation
Peter Weir, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Clint Eastwood, Mystic River

I haven’t see Monster and believe that Charlize will most likely win because of the pub it has gotten, but if anyone other than Keisha Castle-Hughes wins this it will be the BIGGEST MISTAKE IN OSCAR HISTORY!!
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Best Actress
Keisha Castle-Hughes, Whale Rider
Diane Keaton, Something’s Gotta Give
Samantha Morton, In America
Charlize Theron, Monster
Naomi Watts, 21 Grams

I have only seen Mystic River from this list although I have heard some great things about Thirteen, Cold Mountain and House.
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Best Supporting Actress
Shohreh Aghdashloo, House of Sand and Fog
Patricia Clarkson, Pieces of April
Marcia Gay Harden, Mystic River
Holly Hunter, Thirteen
Renée Zellweger, Cold Mountain