DOCUMENTARY FEATURE Children Underground — LaLee’s Kin: The Legacy of Cotton — Murder on a Sunday Morning — Promises — War Photographer Holocaust- and Jewish-themed movies have won this award for five out of the last six years, so the very strong Promises, about children in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, should score here. Dark horses are Sundance faves Children Underground, about homeless kids in Romania, and LaLee’s Kin, about the legacy of poverty for one family in the Mississippi Delta.
DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT Artists and Orphans: A True Drama — Sing! — Thoth The sentimental favorite may turn out to be Artists and Orphans, about a theater troupe rebuilding an orphanage in the republic of Georgia.
ANIMATED SHORT FILM Fifty Percent Grey — For the Birds — Give Up Yer Aul Sins — Strange Invaders — Stubble Trouble We were charmed by Ireland’s homespun Give Up Yer Aul Sins, but this field is outclassed by Pixar’s birds-on-a-wire entry; giving the award to anything else would be For the Birds.
LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM the accountant — Copy Shop — Gregor’s Greatest Invention — A Man Thing (Meska Sprawa) — Speed for Thespians We love the moving A Man Thing and the technological innovations of the Austrian Copy Shop, but the black comedy the accountant, about a potential farm foreclosure, is the best of the bunch — and the favorite.
FILM EDITING A Beautiful Mind — Black Hawk Down — The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring — Memento — Moulin Rouge Editing remains mysterious even to most voters. So, while they could vote for a film with lotsa cutting (Moulin Rouge), elegant storytelling (Rings, Mind), or major technical challenges (Black Hawk Down), we suspect they’ll reward the most interestingly put-together film: Memento didn’t get this nomination by accident.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM Amelie (France) — Elling (Norway) — Lagaan (India) — No Man’s Land (Bosnia & Herzegovina) — Son of the Bride (Argentina) Common sense says Amelie, which has broad-based Academy support, should edge the more serious No Man’s Land. But voters must see all five nominees, so any could be a threat.
SOUND Amelie — Black Hawk Down — The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring — Moulin Rouge — Pearl Harbor We can still picture The Lord of the Rings and Moulin Rouge — but we can still hear the battles of Black Hawk Down, which we think will slide by Pearl Harbor in a war-flick face-off.
SOUND EDITING Monsters, Inc. — Pearl Harbor Words we thought we’d never say last summer: Pearl Harbor is going to win an Oscar.
ORIGINAL SONG ”If I Didn’t Have You,” Randy Newman, Monsters, Inc. — ”May It Be,” Enya, Nicky Ryan, and Roma Ryan, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring — ”There You’ll Be,” Diane Warren, Pearl Harbor — ”Until…,” Sting, Kate & Leopold — ”Vanilla Sky,” Paul McCartney, Vanilla Sky In a battle between the British veterans, ”Until…,” Sting’s elegant Kate & Leopold waltz, should top Paul McCartney’s Vanilla Sky title song.