Jack? Oh, yes. Nicole? Well, maybe. EW's film critics name their favorites in the top Oscar races
Lisa Says: JACK NICHOLSON
He has called his comb-over-and-all transformation into retired Omaha actuary Warren Schmidt his ”least vain performance.” It’s just that honesty — and the mature tamping down of his own howlin’ Jackness — that makes Nicholson’s work in ”About Schmidt” so winning, and so deep.
Owen Says: JACK NICHOLSON
In his greatest performance since ”Cuckoo’s Nest,” Nicholson leaves his Jack-o’-lantern mannerisms behind, playing Warren Schmidt as a man whose tragedy — and comedy — is his unawareness of his own indifference.
Lisa Says: NICOLE KIDMAN
I could have easily picked Julianne Moore for her projection of refined repression, or Diane Lane for her evocation of erotic itch. If Kidman wins my vote by a nose, it’s because she illuminates her madness-fatigued minutes in ”The Hours” with an intensity that has no need of a putty proboscis.
Owen Says: DIANE LANE
As a Westchester housewife who falls into an affair for no good reason (which turns out to be the most profound reason of all), Lane commands the screen in ”Unfaithful” with lust, fear, the sheer potency of her passion.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Lisa Says: CHRIS COOPER
In ”Adaptation,” Cooper’s challenge is to make real (and magnetic) a character almost too wacky (and toothless) to fathom. He adapts beautifully, a hardy perennial professional blooming in a hothouse role.
Owen Says: CHRIS COOPER
It takes an inspired actor to make a man with this frightening a smile this magnetic (and even sexy).
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Lisa Says: MERYL STREEP
What a pleasure to see Streep so loose, so light, so sexy — and at one point in the confoundingly clever ”Adaptation,” so deliriously drugged on flower power! Her fun is its own fragrant posy to a charmed audience.
Owen Says: MERYL STREEP
Leaving the gimmickry of transformation behind, Streep plays the author Susan Orlean as a misplaced soul who chases down a flower fetishist because her own sensual nature is dying to bloom.