To make a sports analogy, this Oscars Reset project has become a lot like a Cleveland Indians rebuilding project. It was great when we were winning (putting out the 2000 Oscars), but we just couldn't keep it up. Now, all of our best players are gone and we've got nothing. Of course, management (Casey and I) promised it wouldn't take long before the rebuilding project was done (2001 Oscars), but you all know better. Now, here we are, years (days) later, all the fans long gone, trying to make amends. "Come back to the ballpark! We'll sell you $3 hot dogs!" We finally have a product to put out in the field (2001 Oscars) and we're just praying people will come back to the ballpark to see us play. Of course, like the Indians, is a foregone conclusion this thing will fall short...
Recap: Casey and I are imagining ourselves as minor deities. We have gone back in time and have the authority to pick the Oscars, with hindsight in mind, the way they should have been picked. We started with 2000 and we are working our way towards last year. If you missed 2000, then you can click on the link below and catch up!
Casey: Well Jon, I hope you’re pleased with yourself and your ‘victory’ in the 2000 Oscars. Fortunately for me, we’re now entering into a year with more options, more variety, and plenty of controversy. Hopefully you ventured outside your usual chick-flick comfort zone and saw some of the good ones from this year.
Jon: Look, I have watched nearly six hours’ worth of mindless children’s TV shows today while my wife was away; just about all of these movies seem Oscar worthy! Wait, hold on a second, I’m not gonna let you get away with false chick-flick accusations when you’re the one crying at movies like you’re a member of the Miami Heat! I’d think you’d be a bit more humble after getting caught with your pants around your ankles in our last debate (clear Mike Singletary shot there…).
Casey: Children’s TV is an odd form of escapism while your wife is gone, but hey, whatever works for you man. I’d better not see Rainbow Bright pop up as a nominee below! You can chide me for crying during movies all you want…I’ll just be sure to bring a video camera to our March Madness festivities this year. I’m sure the BDT fans would love to see footage of you pulling a Miguel Cabrera in front of the television as John Calipari etches his name into the infamous wall of Kentucky coaches who waste great talent!
Jon: WE’VE GOT SEVEN CHAMPIONSHIPS! You’re probably just bitter your precious California Golden Bears are constantly irrelevant…either way; you’ve gone too far this time! I will have no mercy on you! Be prepared to get played like Captain Corelli’s Mandolin!
Nominations: Corky Romano
Jon: Monsters Inc.
Casey: Monsters In.
Casey: I really, really have a hard time with this year’s category – all five of these movies have their merits (though personally, I despise Shrek)! But at the end of the day, we’ve got one of Pixar’s greatest films (my personal favorite), with its completely creative world of monsters and plenty of laughter throughout the film. But kudos to the humor of Steve Zahn and Jack Black, and to Chris Kattan’s only funny role ever.
Jon: You hypocrite! You’re always saying how much you love Saving Silverman! Don’t drop your convictions like that! Seriously, I agree that it’s a hard decision, but for a different reason. I like Corky, Monsters, and Silverman, but, while they do have their merits, they also aren’t really great comedies. It’s like if you had to choose between Matt Cassel, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Kyle Orton to be your QB. Except without the nasty neck beard. Anyways, I hate picking an animated film for Best Comedy, but it was pretty funny. I guess.
Casey: I gave Black and Zahn the shout-out they deserved, but can I really pick Saving Silverman as the ‘Best Comedy’ of the year, when there’s a great contender that’s actually original and family-friendly? I could divulge into the discussion of what ‘best’ means here, but I won’t. Let’s just say Saving Silverman was the funniest comedy of the year (with Corky a close second – “I SHOULD BUY A BOAT!”), but Monsters Inc was ‘best.’
Jon: HAHAHAHA!!! I had forgotten about the “I SHOULD BUY A BOAT” scene! Oh man, it seriously almost swings my vote! Let me just say this really quick; I seriously hate Shrek. There, I said it. Hate me if you want. Shrek sucked and all the future Shreks sucked even more. I would rather watch a video of Baron Davis at the buffet (Have people place bets on how much he eats and how much weight he gains by the end and that would be a great show! Imagine the dramatic weigh in at the end!). Phew! Glad I got that out of my system! Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let me also say I wasn’t aware that being “family friendly” was a plus when picking Best Comedy. In fact, that was one of the reasons I didn’t want to pick Monsters Inc.! To recap, first, you don’t pick the comedy you’ve been pimping non-stop ever since I met you and, second, you pick comedies that are family friendly. You’ll make a great politician someday.
Score: Jon 1 Casey 0
Best Actor in a Comedy
Nominations: Chris Kattan (Corky Romano)
Jason Biggs (Saving Silverman)
Kevin Heffernan (Super Troopers)
Sean William Scott (Evolution)
Ben Stiller (Zoolander)
Jon: Chris Kattan (Corky Romano)
Casey: Chris Kattan (Corky Romano)
Jon: “I SHOULD BUY A BOAT!” ‘Nuff said! OK, maybe I should say something else. Now that I think about it, is Corky Romano actually funny or am I that easily entertained? I’m afraid to know the answer. Also, whatever happened to Chris Kattan? Is he still alive? Did Jimmy Fallon put out a hit on him to steal his spot on SNL?
Casey: I tried really hard to pick someone else – can we really AGREE on the first two categories?!?! This year there were primarily people I hate, such as Jason Biggs and Ben Stiller, who were prevalent in the comedies. So congratulations Chris Kattan – you pulled Jon’s eyes off Thomas the Tank Engine long enough to get a laugh out of him.
Jon: That joke isn’t even funny. I’m having Vietnam type flashbacks about all the kid’s shows I’ve had to watch. So since you’ve decided to just eschew original thought and make the same selections as I, thus killing all debate, why don’t we wonder aloud how it’s possible Ben Stiller got nominated two years in a row. I honestly can’t think of two people who hate Ben Stiller as much as you and I. This is like the city of Cleveland giving Lebron a humanitarian award! How could we let this happen? Better yet, how could anyone, and I mean ANYONE, think Zoolander is funny?
Casey: Let’s just say this will be his last appearance. With Along Came Poly and Starsky & Hutch coming up next, I’d say Ching King the Panda in Anchorman has a better chance of being nominated. To answer your previous question, you were on the right track – Kattan actually died of blood loss after tearing his eyes out during a matinee showing of Fever Pitch.
Score: Jon 2 Casey 0 (Not giving Casey his point out of spite for the Thomas the Tank Engine comment)
Best Supporting Actor
Nominations: Ian McKellen (LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring)
Ethan Hawke (Training Day)
Paul Bettany (A Beautiful Mind)
Joe Pantoliano (Memento)
Brad Pitt (Ocean's Eleven)
Actual Winner: Jim Broadbent (Iris)
Jon: Joe Pantoliano (Memento)
Casey: Ethan Hawke (Training Day)
Casey: Isn’t it weird that Jim Broadbent won for a movie no one saw, in the same year when he was great in Moulin Rouge!? Anyway, I’m giving it to Ethan Hawke simply because he was almost as good at looking utterly confused and horrified as was Dave Chappelle in his remake of this movie with Wayne Brady (the better version!).
Jon: I just think it’s weird that Jim Broadbent won!
Now, since I wasn’t able to vote for Wilson the Volleyball last year, I’m assuming I won’t be allowed to vote for Chappelle in lieu of Hawke this year. That in mind, I’m throwing a curveball here! Joe Pantoliano wasn’t even on the nomination radar in 2001, but I think his performance is one of the most underrated performances of the past decade in one of the most underrated movies of the past decade. Also, Ethan Hawke is a horrible actor…
Casey: No, Hawke isn’t usually a good actor, but his ‘reaction’ acting made Denzel’s quality performance even better – just the thing I look for in the supporting actor category. No doubt, Joe Pantoliano’s performance was great and underrated. I don’t know if it was the fact that the Academy didn’t nominate him, or that his name makes me think of Joe Paterno (far the better actor, playing a real living person!), but for some reason I just couldn’t pick him.
Jon: I shouldn’t be so hard on Hawke. Weird that you would pick Hawke when I’m the one who likes Training Day! See, I agree with you that Hawke was good and I agree that he did what you would want from a supporting actor, but this wasn’t even a question for me. Pantoliano’s role is much more challenging than Hawke’s. I mean, he was the supporting actor to a character with no short term memory! The real thing for me is I never really bought into Ethan Hawke’s character/performance. Been there, done that many times before. Pantoliano’s performance felt much more genuine and believable. Above all, he was able to make me happy I spent two hours with Joe Pantoliano. I WAS HAPPY TO WATCH JOE PANTOLIANO!
Score: Jon 3 Casey 0 (No, seriously, I was happy to watch Joe Pantoliano!)
Nominations: Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind)
Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge!)
Halle Barry (Monster's Ball)
Sissy Spacek (In the Bedroom)
Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive)
Actual Winner: Halle Barry (Monster's Ball)
Jon: Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge!)
Casey: Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge!)
Jon: First, I would just like to comment on how much I resent the fact that you were shocked I like Moulin Rouge! IT’S AN AMAZING MOVIE! Give me more credit than that! Anyways, I think this was a HUGE miss by the Academy. Yes, I know it was “The Year of Halle Barry’s Boobs,” but should you really get an Oscar for doing a sex scene with Billy Bob Thornton? And shouldn’t it immediately be confiscated when you follow it up with Catwoman? These are questions I need answers to…
Casey: Do you have some business venture going with Joe such that every time you say “Joe Pantoliano” you get 10 cents or something? Just curious… moving right along, yeah, Nicole Kidman: good; most actresses: bad. I would love to make an argument for Jennifer Connelly for frequently crying and looking worried, but Nicole was just too amazing. What’s hard for me here is I don’t want to be a hypocrite, because I HATE Jennifer Hudson and I always bash the Academy for giving her an Oscar for singing!!! But I feel I am still justified here, because Nicole didn’t JUST sing – she was really good! Anyway, you know I don’t have answers for you about these women following up Oscar performances with atrocious movies. Please, do me a favor and ask Natalie Portman how “No Strings Attached” worked out.
Jon: In Joe Pantoliano’s case, I cannot confirm nor deny whether Joe Pantoliano and I have any kind of alleged business deal relating to me saying Joe Pantoliano’s name frequently. I just really thought Joe Pantoliano’s performance was excellent. I mean that thing was good (thank you Ron Burgundy). Oh and by the way, don’t worry about being a hypocrite; you already knocked that out in Best Comedy!
For real though, Nicole Kidman did more than just sing. She is a legit actress who, unfortunately, eventually decided to use so much Botox that her face is wound tighter than a baseball from the 1998 season. Sadly, I’m kinda the hypocrite on this one. According to my actress rating system, Connelly should have won with Halle Barry and Naomi Watts close by. You know, because they’re hotter…
FYI: Casey is solely responsible for nominating Sissy Spacek…I had no part!
Casey: Yes, I’m still surprised at both the facts that you didn’t pick based on appearance, AND that you like Moulin Rouge! at all! I know you’re going to defend yourself as though things have always been so, a common tactic of yours, but let’s face it – there was a day not long ago that your sense of masculinity was so frail that a Jason Statham movie would have been “too sentimental.” I’m convinced that at the culmination of this transformation of yours, you’ll be crying like Dick Vermeil after winning a meaningless regular-season game!!
Score: Jon 3.5 Casey 0.5 (I'll admit the Dick Vermeil thing was funny)
Nominations: Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind)
Guy Pearce (Memento)
Denzel Washington (Training Day)
Sean Penn (I Am Sam)
Will Smith (Ali)
Actual Winner: Denzel Washington (Training Day)
Jon: Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind)
Casey: Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind)
Casey: Finally, we’re here! ACADEMY – YOU ARE DUMB!!!!!!! Just because Russell didn’t deserve it the previous year, DON’T TAKE IT AWAY FROM HIM THE NEXT YEAR! Look, I know that Denzel was good in training day. He was even really good. But here’s the problem: more or less, he was being Denzel! RUSSELL CROWE WENT FROM KILLING PEOPLE IN GLADIATOR TO THINKING THE RUSSIANS ARE CONSPIRING TO KILL HIM – and I was convinced they were, too!!! He did several things the Oscars typically love: 1) portrayed a real life person; 2) acted in a role drastically different from other recent famous roles of his; and 3) HE PLAYED A FREAKING PSYCHOPATH!!!!!!! So I’ll just come out and say what really happened this year – it was African-American achievement year at the Academy. Look, I’m totally not a racist, so please spare me the Mel Gibson comparisons – I’m just being honest about Academy politics. Did you think it was a coincidence that the same year that Sidney Poitier won the Honorary Award was also the year in which Best Actor and Actress went to African-Americans? In fact, it was the first ever Best Actress for a black woman. Any chance Ron Howard is secretly black, too? (He hides it really well…)
Jon: I seriously might be too terrified to respond…….yep, too scared.
Casey: Jon doesn’t even respond, and yet I just can’t wait to see how he somehow gives himself the point in this category, too! Go ahead, Jon, I DARE YOU to anger me anymore!!!! If you’re afraid of me when I’m angry about SOMEONE ELSE’S snub, just imagine what happens when I GET SNUBBED!!!
Jon: Wow, you’re so angry! So angry that you couldn’t even properly capitalize ‘Training Day’ in your first comment! Yes, I saw it the first time. Yes, I intentionally decided not to edit it.
Let me at least say a few words about this historically bad Oscar snub. Denzel Washington is a fine actor. Training Day is an excellent movie. However, YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! Seriously, did the Academy decide to not watch A Beautiful Mind or something? Did Al Davis gain control of the Academy this year? No, wait, I take that back, picking Denzel over Crowe is worse than drafting JaMarcus Russell over…umm, well, really anyone. And yes, Casey, I’m definitely afraid of you right now. And yes, I’m still going to give myself the point…
Score: Jon 4.5 Casey 0.5 (...and there it is!)
Nominations: Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind)
Christopher Nolan (Memento)
Peter Jackson (LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring)
Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!)
Steven Soderbergh (Ocean's Eleven)
Actual Winner: Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind)
Jon: Christopher Nolan (Memento)
Casey: Peter Jackson (LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring)
Jon: Let me be totally transparent with everyone here. I have a huge man-crush on Christopher Nolan. I love everything he does and I will pick his work at any available opportunity. I think he is the most creative filmmaker in Hollywood right now and, being an extremely creative person myself, I greatly respect that quality. It’s really hard to ‘snub’ Howard because, like we’ve said, A Beautiful Mind is an incredible movie. Here’s how I came to my conclusion.
First, I took into consideration Russell Crowe’s performance. Not taking anything away from Ron Howard, but I consider the movie an ‘actors movie’ meaning the movie was designed to derive its quality and greatness from the actors and their performances. That’s not a bad thing at all so don’t think I’m knocking it. Many great movies were ‘actors movies.’
Second, I took into consideration what Nolan had to work with in relation to how great the movie was. Memento was created, basically from scratch, by him and his brother. The budget was relatively small and the actors were mostly non-mainstream. There was no CGI and no ‘stars’ to prop this thing up; it was simply Nolan and his vision. I truly believe that with any other director, this movie would have failed. Simply put, nobody is better at telling a story than Christopher Nolan. In Memento, he uses sequencing, flashbacks, subtle cues, black and white scenes, and amazing camera work to tell his story. The most impressive thing, to me, is the confusion he intentionally creates with the opening shot of each ‘sequence.’ Sorry Casey, I know this was long. I will now go have an artificial womb surgically installed in my body so I can have Christopher Nolan’s babies.
Casey: Interesting, we’re both not picking Howard but for different reasons. You know I love Nolan as well, so please know how hard it was for me not to pick him here. Also, let me just say, as a HUGE fan of A Beautiful Mind, I still don’t quite get the Academy’s decision here. I agree with your logic – it just wasn’t really a ‘director’s movie,’ so to speak. I’m actually a bit surprised they didn’t give it to Baz Luhrmann considering their love of flashiness and French people. But the bottom line for me here is this: Peter Jackson CREATED A WORLD that so, so, SO many people learned to love through all-time famous books – and, for the most part, people loved it! Think about that – this is really hard to do, and the first LOTR film exceeded so many people’s expectations. My only struggle with this is, I simply can’t give a guy an Oscar three years in a row for the same series, even if they’re all equally good; it just isn’t right! So I’ll have to come up with some good excuses in the coming years…
Jon: More hypocrisy! How could you cheat on Christopher Nolan like that?! I honestly can’t believe you picked Peter Jackson over Christopher Nolan. Here’s the thing about Jackson; HE DIDN’T CREATE ANYTHING! IT’S A FREAKING BOOK! If you want to reward creativity then it absolutely has to be Nolan. He actually did create something! Memento didn’t exist in any form before he thought of it and created it. I’m not a fan of the LOTR movies, but I agree that Jackson did an amazing job. However, there’s a big difference between interpretation (what Jackson did) and true creation (what Nolan did). Keep in mind, Jackson also had infinitely more resources to work with on LOTR. He had more money and, more importantly, he had a readymade template for the movie. He did a great job of making the first movie (the other ones sucked) but I can’t reward somebody who did a good job of ‘not totally screwing up one of the greatest books of all time’ over somebody who created a cult classic with little more than his vision and talent.
Casey: Okay, I’m gonna go with your very own “there’s a big difference” theme and say YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT WRITING!!!! It has become increasingly apparent that you actually don’t know what directing is, so you basically project your opinions of a screenplay into the directing category. Just remember, I did ask if you wanted to include screenwriting in this whole endeavor, and you said no! I would be sitting here right now anointing Memento as one of the great screenplays of our generation if that were the case… but instead, I’m talking directing, and Peter Jackson did more of this. You have fallen into the common misconception that a ‘big budget’ somehow makes directing easier. When there’s more to direct, it generally takes a better director to keep all the pieces in place and come out with a good product – even just delegating and managing all the supporting movie staff working under you. Peter Jackson was the clear winner this year, and I’m pretty sure even the Academy knew that and they were just saving the payoff for the final film (history most certainly supports this theory!).
Score: Jon 5.5 Casey -0.5 (Minus one point for stabbing your friend in the back!)
Nominations: A Beautiful Mind
LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring
I Am Sam
Actual Winner: A Beautiful Mind
Casey: I literally can’t decide – I began to fill this out with A Beautiful Mind as Best Picture – then I deleted it all and started over, because I hadn’t convinced myself! Give Nolan the Oscar – he deserves it for being a ‘true film man,’ and he probably deserves several more since then, and Lord knows the Academy isn’t going to reward him for any of it!!! This film had everything – even a BANG ending that leaves you deeply impacted. That’s what a Best Picture should do!
Jon: Since, by your good fortune, you had last comment on the Best Director, I’m going to waste some of my precious space here to respond. How am I talking about writing when I specifically mentioned the directorial aspects of it that most compelled me? In fact, I’m the only one who even mentioned specifics in their argument! You mentioned ‘creating a world’ which, by your own definition, is writing. Also, which Jackson didn’t even do. Anyways, Christopher Nolan just called and asked if you would please turn the knife a little more to the left.
OH! There’s a movie to pick here? Sorry, I was just excited we finally had something to debate, the first one in two years of film. Yeah, I’m obviously taking Memento. Please see above…
Casey: I won’t even waste my time acknowledging your little rant there. You do realize how hard this pick was for me, right? I mean, 10-years-ago-Casey is now working really hard at inventing a time machine (Guy Pearce allusion totally coincidental!) so he can come murder me. I mean seriously, I’m a math nerd. You may recall some parts of college when I actually bordered on some John Nash-like behavior (whilst you tended more toward the Steve Nash-like behavior in intramurals). It’s ironic you spent your time in THIS section dragging me through the dirt for apparently snubbing Chris Nolan, when it is in this very section that I actually turned and saluted him!
Jon: I knew that would be your response! Let me ask you this. If I owed you $2 but only paid you $1 would you be happy? (Right now I’m imagining you slumping your shoulders dejectedly and sadly shaking your head as if to admit defeat.) That’s what I thought! By the way, Christopher Nolan called again. He doesn’t want your fake charity!
Alright! So, when does the Best Picture debate start? Wait, what? I missed it?!
Score: Jon 6.5 Casey -1 (Another -0.5 point for trying to bribe your way back into Nolan's good graces! And also because I like round numbers...)
Nominations: A Beautiful Mind
LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring
Jon: Ocean's Eleven
Casey: Ocean's Eleven
Jon: Now, that we’ve moved beyond our petty debates, of which I would never drag out far too long, it’s time for me to throw another big curveball here. Like I said before, it will be interesting to see how this category gets picked. I picked Ocean’s Eleven because it’s the best combination of quality and entertainment. Yes, Beautiful Mind and Memento are better, and yes, I like both movies more. Ocean’s however, had a much broader impact. It appealed to a wider array of people and that has to be part of the selection. The fictional Best Movie has to be something that is also extremely re-watchable. The thing about the other a movie like Memento is, despite how amazing it was, it isn’t the type of movie that sucks you in when it pops on TBS for the 20th time. It also doesn’t hurt that Ocean’s is really funny.
Casey: Well so much for the ‘curveball’ effect – this was going to be my curveball, too! For me, this movie (NOT the sequels!) represents something very significant: a worthy remake! You know very well that I could go on another equally exhausting rant right now about modern remakes, but I’ve done enough of that already today. The bottom line is, the original Ocean’s Eleven was a great movie for its time, and the new Ocean’s Eleven is just as great for its time. And best of all, going with my theme of BANG endings, this one leaves you with a deep, profound question – will we ever know why Brad Pitt is eating in every scene?
Jon: You stole this from me! You scorpion woman! Alright, maybe I’m overreacting. It’s an amazing movie. I actually liked Ocean’s Thirteen, though not nearly as much as this one, but Ocean’s Twelve was just dreadful. The Brad Pitt eating thing is probably my favorite part. For some reason, it makes me happy that he’s eating all the time. Perhaps that’s because I’m eating all the time…though I don’t quite look like Brad Pitt.
Casey: Since we obviously have nothing else to say in this section, it’s tempting to lower myself to your level and respond to previous comments about me, but I won’t!!! Instead I will use this space talking about an awesome film that, somehow, never once got mentioned above: Donnie Darko. This may be the all-time surprise cult film (has ANYONE even HEARD of director Richard Kelly???). Thanks to this film, I can forgive Jake Gyllenhaal for Brokeback Mountain, and I’ll never look at bunnies the same way again.
Score: Jon 6.5 Casey 1 (First to mention Donnie Darko got two points! Congrats on getting in the positive Casey!)
Jon: Well, Casey, we finally had some good debates and some crazy Oscar snubs to get into! This was much more eventful than 2000! I have to admit, I’m a bit ashamed now after not bringing up Donnie Darko. After all, it is one of five or so movies I talk about non-stop. Completely and utterly underrated! Too bad poor Jake Gyllenhaal’s career was tragically murdered by The Zodiac killer.
Casey: Oh man, I still have nightmares about the Zodiac killer, and it’s not because I was raised about 10 miles from where he murdered a bunch of people, but rather because I saw that sorry excuse for a movie!!! Oh well. I also have an apology to make, to my friend the dog-faced-boy from Saving Silverman, for not bringing him up in the heat of the comedy talks. I have always loved that film and I’m still kinda sad that there were so many good comedies this year, and I wasn’t able to give it any awards.
Jon: You're not gonna believe this, but Saving Silverman called too! He said he doesn't need your pity! Anyways, it's been a big day for you Casey. You've stabbed a lot of people in the back. Now that I think about it, you kinda fit the profile for the Zodiac Killer...hmm, Well, I guess we better wrap this up before the body count gets too high. Also, I'm gonna need plenty of time to celebrate my completely meaningful and totally unbiased victory!
Again, if you haven't read our 2000 Oscars Reset, then you can find it by using the link at the top of the page. With March Madness coming up, I wanted to remind everyone that Boris Diaw Time has an ESPN Tournament Challenge group set-up and there is a prize for winning. There is a post on the front page of the web site with a link to follow if you want to sign up. Casey and I will do our best to get 2002 done over the weekend, but, again, no promises. As always, if you have any comments or criticisms, you can post a comment on the web site or email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, we promise to respond to each and every one of your comments. You can also follow us both on twitter -- @borisdiawtime and @caseyrichey. Thanks for reading and please pass this on to your friends!