TROPHY TIME Further muddying the waters for Oscar prognosticators, the American Film Institute announced nominees for its first-ever movie and TV awards, with ”In The Bedroom” and the upcoming ”Black Hawk Down” leading the pack with five nominations apiece. Yesterday’s announcement effectively upstages the Golden Globes, whose film and TV nominees will be announced Thursday and whose January awards telecast, formerly the year’s first, will now follow the Jan. 5 AFI telecast by a couple weeks. The AFI named four nominees in each of 10 movie categories and seven TV categories, except for Best Picture, where there are 10 nominees: ”A Beautiful Mind,” ”Black Hawk,” ”Bedroom,” ”The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” ”The Man Who Wasn’t There,” ”Memento,” ”Monster’s Ball,” ”Moulin Rouge,” ”Mulholland Drive,” and ”Shrek.”
For Best Actor, the AFI named usual suspects Russell Crowe (”Beautiful Mind”), Billy Bob Thornton (”Man Who Wasn’t There”), Denzel Washington (”Training Day”), and ”Bedroom”’s Tom Wilkinson. Best Actress nominees included some already named by critics groups (Halle Berry of ”Monster’s” and ”Bedroom”’s Sissy Spacek), as well as Naomi Watts (”Mulholland”) and Stockard Channing (”The Business of Strangers”). Other new names added to the pool, in supporting categories, included Tony Shalhoub in ”Man Who Wasn’t There,” Gene Hackman in ”The Royal Tenenbaums,” Frances O’Connor in ”A.I.,” and Jennifer Connelly in ”Beautiful Mind.”
On the TV side, the AFI trumped the Emmys by recognizing for the first time such series as ”Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and ”Curb Your Enthusiasm” alongside such typical nominees as ”The Sopranos,” ”The West Wing,” ”Sex and the City,” and ”Everybody Loves Raymond.” The TV acting nominees are all thrown together (sitcom and drama, lead and supporting), so that ”Sopranos” star James Gandolfini is competing against ”Raymond”’s Ray Romano, Chi McBride (”Boston Public”) and Michael C. Hall (”Six Feet Under”), while the actress category pits ”Sopranos”’ Edie Falco against ”West Wing”’s Allison Janney, ”Malcolm in the Middle”’s Jane Kaczmarek, and ”Raymond”’s Doris Roberts.
After a week of varying picks from critics’ groups in New York, Los Angeles, and Boston, the AFI nominees reinforce the sense that there is no clear front-runner for many of the Oscar races. Like the critics, the AFI ignored many of the more heavily promoted hopefuls from the big studios and major independents. The film and TV nominations were chosen by two separate 13-member panels of critics and industry insiders. A full list of nominees is available at the AFI website.