Showbiz Commentary: Heidi Oringer

It's all about love, baby. Not leftover Valentines kind of love, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' love for the nominees for the 73rd annual Academy Awards.

The list of hopefuls was announced Wednesday at the very crack of dawn Pacific Time, with Academy honchos and "Geez, where's SHEEEE been?" actress Kathy Bates doing the honors.

There were no big surprises, no glaring omissions, no startling revelations, nothing that Hollywood thrives on. The Best Picture nominees are Chocolat, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Erin Brockovich, Gladiator and Traffic.

Whoop-dee-do.

Not a Lot to Choose From …

From a personal standpoint, I don't think they had much to choose from to begin with. As I have said before, 2000 was not the best year for flicks. Many would disagree, of course. (Anything to pick a fight with me.) Obviously the academy agrees somewhat, because it bestowed 12 nominations on Gladiator and 10 on Tiger.

Gladiator was good. Epics are always good. There's the tremendous production package, which is always sure to please for its sheer grandiosity. After all, everyone lost their water over Titanic just a few years back, and it swept the Oscars. Again, it's an epic. But, I ask you, had it not been for RUSSELL CROWE being THE Gladiator, would the movie have been given such kudos, epic or not? Do you think Woody Allen would have commanded the same attention if he had been the one clad in armor and brandishing a sword?! Nuh-uh! "Oy, get this helmet off of me. I'm getting a migraine. Call my neurologist!"

Then, take away Hans Zimmer's sweeping score, the Coliseum set and what are you left with? Lots of dirty extras, lots of weapons, lots of clanking noises, a fair script at best. Take a closer look and now it's a violent Robin Hood sans the tights.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is another good movie, but I'm spoiled. I like my films in English. This movie certainly deserves awards bestowed upon it for direction, effects and the like, but is it really the BEST motion picture of the year? This is another case where Hollywood takes something exciting and turns it into the be-all and end-all. Give this movie too much steam and all you'll see is Crouching This and Hiding That films in the future. (Actually this sounds more like the sure-win formula for the porno industry ?) Remember, what the academy rewards today is what the moviegoer gets in quadruplicate tomorrow.

Too Much Tom!

On the acting front ? Tom Hanks picked up a Best Actor nomination for Cast Away. Yawn! Before you all start pulling out your soccer balls to bean me in the head, let me say I love Tom and think he's an amazing actor. But, enough already! The academy members would nominate this guy if he went to the bathroom on film. They'd probably give him a nomination for the re-release of Bachelor Party. Forget film, they'd nominate him for work on Viewmaster.

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