How’s this for a hard-knock life? While that ”lil’ orphan that could” drama ”The Cider House Rules” scored a surprising seven Oscar nods Tuesday, voters in EW’s exclusive Online Oscar nominees poll left the film without a single nomination. Why the disparity? ”Cider”’s piddling box office ($20 million) suggests that few online voters even saw the film. But the Miramax release undoubtedly benefited from one of the studio’s signature Oscar promotional blitzes. Don’t forget that last year’s surprise Best Picture winner was Miramax’s ”Shakespeare in Love.”
There were other notable differences between the picks of EW Online’s 2850 voters and the Academy’s 6,000 members: Cyberfans thought a Best Actor nod was due Jim Carrey for his role in ”Man on the Moon,” but the Academy chose to give him another ”Truman Show”-like snub.
And the age difference between our Online movie buffs and the Academy’s older voters led to something of a generational divide. EW Online viewers nominated ”The Talented Mr. Ripley”’s fresh-faced Matt Damon, 29, for Best Actor, while the Academy preferred the more experienced Sean Penn, 39 (”Sweet and Lowdown”), and Richard Farnsworth, 79 (”The Straight Story”). Likewise, the emerging star Reese Witherspoon, 23 (”Election”), took an Online nomination for Best Actress instead of Oscar stalwart Meryl Streep, 50 (”Music of the Heart”). And while Web voters chose 21-year-old newcomer Wes Bentley for a Best Supporting Actor nod (”American Beauty”), he was one of the few ”Beauty” talents not recognized by the Academy.
But there WAS one young actor on whom EW voters and the Academy could agree: ”The Sixth Sense”’s 11-year-old ghost seer Haley Joel Osment for Best Supporting Actor. In fact, Osment pulled the most online votes in his race, and ”Sense” (which earned a whopping $276 million) was the one film that EW voters and the Academy agreed deserved consideration in all of the same major categories. Talk about spooky.