Hollywood’s Holy Grail: The Academy Awards

El Vaquero Staff Writer

I had always wondered if the
Oscar trophies were made of
actual gold or if they were just
spray pointed with gold. So, I
tried buying one on Sunset
Boulevard, but then I found out
the one I bought was made in
Taiwan, and was certainly not
covered in gold. I decided if I
wanted to find out, I had to win
an actual Oscar.

But when I found out the
nominees were already
announced, I decided I would
wait until next year. But in the
meantime, I will make some
predictions in terms of who will
walk away with a real Oscar on
the 76th Annual Academy
Awards on Feb. 29.

The films of 2003 will always
be remembered for pushing the
envelope in terms of visuals and
record making ticket sales. Also
in 2003, many new faces have
appeared and have taken some
of the spotlight, but some of the
veteran stars still remain and
showed their presence as well. It
is difficult to predict winners in
all the categories, but here’s how
it would go if yours truly, the
Elvaq critic, picked the winners.


WILL WIN: “The Lord of
the Rings: The Return of the

of the Rings: The Return of the

Although I said in the
December issue of the El
Vaquero that “Mystic River” was
the best picture of 2003, I should
have meant the best picture of
2003 up till Dec. 10.
Because after that issue came
out, I saw “The Lord of the
Rings: The Return of the King.”
This film was so spectacular
that it help me choose which film
was the best picture of 2003
overall. I think Peter Jackson’s
“The Lord of the Rings: The
Return of the King” fits my
definition as a film that deserves
the best picture. “The Return of
the King” has everything a great
film should have, great direction,
a great story, great setting, great
characters, a great score and of
course the visual effects.
After all of the effort put into
the largest project in cinema
history, earning the highest
possible award in the motion
picture industry will help “The
Lord of the Rings” trilogy
receive all the credit it deserves.


WILL WIN: Peter Jackson
for “The Lord of the Rings: The
Return of the King”

Jackson for “The Lord of the
Rings: The Return of the King”

Peter Jackson deserves the
Oscar for best director not only
for being overlooked from the
earlier installments of the
Tolkien trilogy, but also for
pulling off such a feat as creating
a whole new world for audiences
to explore.

Sure, other directors have
created their own worlds in their
own films, but Jackson has
accomplished what so few
directors have. Jackson created
not only a whole new world, but
one with colorful and whimsical
characters that fight for such
beliefs as honor and protecting
the innocent. Characters like the
hero Aragorn, that us spectators
cannot help but admire. With the
characters aside, Jackson also
created a visuall stunning world
for his character to strive in.

Never had I seen such
breathtaking landscapes and
immense battle scenes with
thousands of on-screen computer
generated of people that looked
like the real thing.

Jackson deserves to be
recognized for accomplishing so
much in a single film. Now let’s
just hope he’ll make a film based
on “The Hobbit.”

WILL WIN: Sean Penn for
“Mystic River”

Murray for “Lost in Translation”

Once again, I cannot stress
how much I loved “Mystic
River,” but where the film
succeeded in brilliant
storytelling and a great ensemble
cast, Bill Murray accomplished a
lot more in his leading role for
“Lost in Translation.” What Sean
Penn provided for us in “Mystic
River” was a character we have
seen so many times before. A
man who has lost just about
everything in his life and is
painfully continuing on in his
life. What Bill Murray displayed
for us in his film, was a character
we so rarely see. Bill Murray
plays a man who was famous
actor, but had reached a slump in
his career. Or maybe, he just got
tired of it all. Murray gave a
brilliant performance as a man
who wanted more, but didn’t
exactly know where to start or
even what he wanted. Murray
was a in a role that made me
keep wondering, “What type of
man is this? Is this a weak man?
Is this a confused man?” Never
has a character in a film since
Lester Burnham in “American
Beauty” made me question how I
value my own life or how I could
make it better. Bravo, Murray.

WILL WIN: Charlize
Theron for “Monster”

SHOULD WIN: Charlize
Theron for “Monster”

In a year of great and
memorable performances by
actresses such as Naiomi Watts
in “21 Grams” and Samantha
Morton in “In America,” only
one performance stood out from
the rest and that was Charlize
Theron’s portrayal of real life
serial killer Eileen Wuornos in
the terrifyingly disturbing
“Monster.” To look like people
who actually exist, actors and
actresses do many things to alter
their appearance. They either
lose or gain large amounts of
weight and use different types of
appearance altering make-up.
Not only did Theron perfectly
alter her appearance to look like
Wuornos her acting, her behavior
convinced me that I was
witnessing the life of the real
serial murderer. Theron’s tense
behavior and mannerisms made
be believe I was witnessing the
true essence of evil embodied in
this poor woman. Theron
accomplished a great many
things in her performance
including making me feel sorry
for this unfortunate woman and
absolute hatred for this monster.

ACTOR: Alec Baldwin in “The

ACTRESS: Holly Hunter in

Sofia Coppola for “Lost in