But Best Picture is still a horse race between ''Gladiator'' and ''Crouching Tiger''

By Justine Elias
Updated March 15, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST
Credit: Kate Hudson: Gregory Pace/Corbis Sygma

Oscar’s big night (March 25) is less than three weeks away, but if EW.com’s readers had to make up their minds today, the clear winners would be Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, and Benicio del Toro. This is right in line with what Entertainment Weekly and other observers are predicting — but readers have expressed a strong and surprising preference in the Best Director category.

While pundits puzzle over how Steven Soderbergh’s dual nominations (”Erin Brockovich,” ”Traffic”) might hurt his chances, EW.com visitors are voting overwhelmingly (42.1 percent) for ”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” director Ang Lee. In fact, even if the percentages for Soderbergh’s two movies were added together (26.5 percent for ”Traffic,” 8.2 percent for ”Erin”), he’d still finish a distant second to Lee.

So far, more than 3,500 movie fans have logged in to say who should win and who got snubbed in EW.com’s Academy Awards poll. But the race ain’t over: You can still vote — or revise your ballot — right up until Oscar night.

Still hotly contested are the races for Best Picture and Best Actor. The ancient Roman epic ”Gladiator” (37.7 percent) is currently leading the ancient Chinese epic ”Crouching Tiger” (30.3 percent). And sword swinging star Russell Crowe (39.3 percent) is edging the desert island ”Cast Away” Tom Hanks (34.4 percent).

As for the snubs, readers are irate about the Academy’s failure to nominate ”Almost Famous” for a Best Picture trophy. A full 44 percent are picking it as the most overlooked movie, and 57 percent say Cameron Crowe also deserved a nod for Best Director. Others wonder where the nominations were for ”Wonder Boys” stars Michael Douglas and Robert Downey, Jr. (35.6 percent and 28.5, respectively, say, ”The Academy blew it!”)

Though ”Crouching Tiger” did get 10 Oscar nods, its high flying heroines did not; and 27.4 percent of EW.com readers say Michelle Yeoh deserved a Best Actress mention, while 38.8 percent think newcomer Zhang Ziyi should have earned a Supporting Actress nomination. But who’s the most overlooked woman of 2001? ”X-Files” star Gillian Anderson — 28.4 percent of voters say she should have been nominated for the heavyweight drama ”The House of Mirth.” With that title, maybe some clueless Academy voters thought it was supposed to be a comedy.