”Y Tu Mamá También” Yes, it was over the top. Yes, it was a bit too sexy for many eyes. But look at ”También” again and recognize it as an affecting coming-of-age story. If you can get past that diving-board scene, that is.
The screenplay for ”Kissing Jessica Stein” If Ben and Matt could score an Oscar for writing ”Good Will Hunting,” why not Jennifer Westfeldt and Heather Juergensen? Just like Affleck and Damon, the pals worked as a team on their story (about two exasperated gals who try their hands at same-sex romance). The result: a hilarious and beautiful screenplay that should successfully kick-start their careers.
”The Kid Stays in the Picture” Given the voters’ history of ignoring high-profile documentaries (like the not-even-nominated ”Hoop Dreams”), there’s no way the Academy will recognize Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein’s candy-colored take on Robert Evans’ tell-all Hollywood memoir. Its visual-scrapbook style is an inspired way to tell Evans’ one-in-a-million story; let’s hope the Academy allows a true legend into the party.
”The Fast Runner: Atanarjuat” The trick will be getting Oscar voters to sit through the almost-three-hour film about two feuding Inuit families. But once they do, they’ll witness the first feature ever in the Inuit language and one of the most physically beautiful movies of the year.
”Road to Perdition” Name me an Oscar category, and I’ll tell you how the powerful mob drama should factor into it. Best Actor: Tom Hanks for his conflicted hitman. Best Supporting Actor: Paul Newman for his career-crowning achievement as the regretful patriarch. Best Director: Sam Mendes (who already owns an Academy Award) for fashioning a gorgeous, complex film about love, death, a father, and a son.