Will ''Gladiator'' win while Ang Lee beats out Ridley Scott?

By Justine Elias
Updated March 22, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST
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Credit: Dragon: Chan Kam Chuen

Could this be the year that EVERYBODY wins the office Oscar pool? EW.com’s Academy Award poll shows that nearly all the major categories have a runaway favorite, with the only real drama and disagreement coming in the hotly contested Best Director race, where double nominee Steven Soderbergh (”Traffic,” ”Erin Brockovich”) has made up ground against leader Ang Lee (”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) and third place holder Ridley Scott (”Gladiator”).

If readers had to make up their minds today, the easy winners would be Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, and Benicio del Toro. Some 5,440 movie fans have logged in to say who should win and who got snubbed in EW.com’s Academy Awards poll. And the race ain’t over: You can still vote — or revise your ballot — right up until 5 p.m. on Oscar night.

Since our last tally, there has been substantial movement in the acting categories. The Best Actor race, which was too close to call between Russell Crowe (”Gladiator”) and two time winner Tom Hanks (”Cast Away”), now has arena rocker Crowe ahead 41.1 percent to 35 percent for Mr. Fed Ex. (Guess it pays to play to the crowd.) And nobody’s got more fans now than ”Erin Brockovich”’s Roberts, who’s boosted her total to 70.6 percent. (”Requiem for a Dream”’s Ellen Burstyn is second with just 10.6 percent.)

In the Supporting Actor categories, EW.com voters made no changes among the leaders, with Del Toro (who plays a Mexican cop in ”Traffic”) at 48.1 percent and Hudson (the rock groupie in ”Almost Famous”) at 60 percent. One change: Roberts’ costar Albert Finney (now at 15.2%) has crept into third place ahead of Willem Dafoe’s deliciously creepy turn in ”Shadow of the Vampire.”

The big question on Oscar night, though, is likely to be: Will the Best Picture and Best Director awards go to different movies? (It happened only once in the past decade, when in 1998 ”Shakespeare in Love” won the top trophy while Steven Spielberg earned a golden statuette for directing ”Saving Private Ryan.”) It may occur again on March 25, if front runner ”Gladiator” — which 37.7 percent of EW.com visitors are picking to win (as are many other observers) — takes home the big prize.

”Gladiator”’s director, Ridley Scott, faces a tight race against Ang Lee, who won the Director’s Guild prize and whose subtitled ”Crouching Tiger” is a long shot in the Best Picture race, and the much admired Soderbergh, whose two nominated films could cancel each other out. EW.com’s poll reflects this intriguing divide: Lee (38.9 percent) leads the director’s race, but Soderbergh has gained with both ”Traffic” (he’s in second; 24.8 percent) and ”Erin” (fourth; 11.9 percent). Scott’s still in third (22 percent).

SNUBS

EW.com readers have also been casting votes for who got shafted when nominations were announced. The winners: ”Almost Famous” and its director, Cameron Crowe; Gillian Anderson’s stylish star turn in ”The House of Mirth”; and Michael Douglas and Robert Downey, Jr. from ”Wonder Boys.” The only change is that a week ago, 38.8 percent of voters said the most overlooked Supporting Actress was Zhang Ziyi of ”Crouching Tiger.” Yet in our latest tally, the martial artist / ingenue was overtaken by ”Traffic”s surging Catherine Zeta-Jones (35.7 percent). Hmmmm. Look, Michael Douglas: It’s one person, one vote. And no fair getting your whole family to vote for your lovely wife — the honeymoon’s over!

Read All About Oscar 2001 for EW.com’s comprehensive Academy Awards coverage.

Or see photos from the nominated movies at People.com

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