We choose 10 early-season movies that may be worth a statue -- and you can post your own list
Diane Lane, Unfaithful

Early picks for the stars who may take home Oscars

Early autumn signals the advent of Oscar season, with the release of such prestigious fare as ”Gangs of New York,” ”The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,” and ”Chicago.” But even though fall movies usually dominate the Academy Award nominations, each year a small number of spring and summer performances manage to sneak through (and sometimes even win: witness Julia Roberts in ”Erin Brockovich,” Russell Crowe in ”Gladiator,” and Frances McDormand in ”Fargo”). Here are EW.com’s picks for the 10 early-2002 achievements that we hope the Academy will remember after other summer memories fade away.

Dennis Quaid in ”The Rookie” Who’d have thunk that a little G-rated baseball movie would earn the veteran actor the best reviews and box office of his career? One of the reasons the film was so purely inspirational was Quaid’s subtle yet touching performance as a has-been pitcher receiving a miraculous second chance.

Diane Lane in ”Unfaithful” More than 20 years after making her debut in ”A Little Romance,” Lane experiences a whole lotta romance as the philandering wife in Adrian Lyne’s naughty drama. Give her a Best Actress nod for her bravery, her bedroom eyes, and especially, that brilliant post-coital laughing/crying scene on the commuter train.

Robin Williams in ”One Hour Photo” Williams saves the best for last in his dark trio of recent movies that includes against-type turns in ”Death to Smoochy” and ”Insomnia.” But it’s his creepy film developer in ”One Hour Photo” that emerges as the most vivid — and frighteningly, the most familiar.

Bebe Neuwirth in ”Tadpole” Sure, everyone was talking about Sigourney Weaver when the movie opened. But it’s Neuwirth’s outrageous supporting turn that steals the intergenerational love story. In the movie, Neuwirth’s scheming Diane successfully squires a teenager named Oscar. We’ll soon see if she can seduce an older guy with that very same name.

David Hyde Pierce in ”Full Frontal” He has received NINE consecutive Emmy nominations (and three trophies) as ”Frasier”’s hysterically neurotic Niles Crane. Now, in Steven Soderbergh’s experimental film, the comedian creates an equally neurotic character to amazing dramatic effect: a magazine journalist with a thing for tainted brownies.

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