EW.com voters also like Russell Crowe and ''Crouching Tiger'' director Ang Lee

By Justine Elias
Updated March 23, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST
Credit: Gladiator: Jaap Buitendijk

Who should polish up that Oscar thank you speech, and who should practice smiling graciously at the winner? EW.com’s readers ?- some 7,000 of them ?- have been casting their ballots in our Oscar poll. (You can vote right up until 5 p.m. on March 25.) Here are the results — as of Friday morning — listed in order of the top vote getters.

Not even close! The ”Erin Brockovich” star has 71 percent of EW.com readers’ votes, well ahead of Ellen Burstyn (”Requiem for a Dream”) at 10 percent.

Best Supporting Actress KATE HUDSON
Voters are remembering her friendly ”band aid” in ”Almost Famous,” giving her 69 percent of their votes. Past winner Judi Dench (”Shakespeare in Love”) is second with 13 percent for her role in ”Chocolat.”

Best Supporting Actor BENICIO DEL TORO
For his Spanish language performance in ”Traffic,” del Toro leads with 50 percent of the vote, ahead of Joaquin Phoenix’s vexed ”Gladiator” Emperor (No. 2; 21 percent).

Denied last year for ”The Insider,” the ”Gladiator” star takes it to the Maximus with 41 percent of EW.com reader votes ?- ahead of two time Oscar winner Tom Hanks (34 percent for ”Cast Away”).

Best Director ANG LEE
The ”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” maestro ?- the leader at 40 percent ? is holding off vote splitting runner up Steven Soderbergh, who has 25 percent for ”Traffic” and 11 percent for ”Brockovich.”

Best Picture ”GLADIATOR”
The arena rocking Ancient Roman epic is stirring 38 percent of EW.com voters, putting it ahead of another historical epic, Taiwan’s ”Crouching Tiger” (No. 2; 27 percent).

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

Or see photos from the nominated movies at People.com