What is it about reporters, from political elections to the Academy Awards, that makes them feel the need to declare the race over before it's really over?
By arguing that the Oscar race is a much narrower affair than it really is, Kenneth Turan seems intent on using his Times platform to create prophecy that will fulfill itself, beginning with his assertion that a best picture nomination for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" would be a "major upset" ("Wide Open? Not Exactly," Jan. 7).
The many industry types I know who've seen the film are simply in awe of it, and the upset would be if it weren't nominated for that and at least half a dozen other awards. Also, he fails to mention that the widely admired "Almost Famous," "Wonder Boys" and "You Can Count on Me" have considerable support around town and cannot be ruled out.
He then characterizes each acting category as being a nearly done deal, ignoring what may be the most generous spread of great acting the movies have offered up in years, including (just to name a few) two of the year's most hilarious roles from scene-stealers Jack Black in "High Fidelity" and Elaine May in "Small Time Crooks"; Jennifer Ehle and Rosemary Harris' seamlessly matched turns as the young and old Valerie Sors in "Sunshine"; Marlon Wayans' reinvention of himself as a genuine, dramatic actor in "Requiem for a Dream"; and Bjork's mesmerizing and authentic performance in "Dancer in the Dark."
One can only hope that academy voters who've not yet seen these films will ignore Turan's early call and get to some of the many screenings going on around town. The race is wide open and should be discussed as such until the envelopes are opened.
In "Dancer in the Dark," Bjork (like Hilary Swank, last year's Oscar winner) truly elevated the art of acting to a higher level. Her performance was highly praised too by Turan in his review of the film.
Does his failure to mention this stunning performance indicate that he thinks Bjork (for reasons not related to her performance) has no shot at the big prize, or is he simply short-sighted?
I am very disappointed in recent articles on best films and performances for 2000 and possible Oscar contenders.
None of them have mentioned Stanley Tucci's "Joe Gould's Secret," which is my vote for one of the best films of the year. Ian Holm's performance as Joe Gould was exceptional and very moving.
Rancho Palos Verdes