By Joshua Rich
Updated February 27, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST
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Keisha, Fernando, Seabiscuit — we love ’em. But, man, did they screw things up this year! At least that’s how it looks according to EW.com’s annual Oscar Snubs Poll, which lets fans vote for the overlooked movie, director, or actor they think most deserved to get nominated. (Polls are open until showtime on Feb. 29, so log on to ew.com/oscarsnubs to cast your ballot.) The leader so far? Gigli. After all, Ben and J. Lo have never been better, and they certainly deserve…oh, we jest. But 2004’s glut of actual surprises left several worthy candidates out in the cold (mountain).

Sure enough, that Hollywood-size gasp heard when Miramax’s Oscar-baiting epic extravaganza got passed over for Best Picture — presumably opening the gate for Seabiscuit to sneak into the race — was for real. Cold Mountain is the runaway ”winner” of our poll, with 53% saying it should have been noticed. That’s almost double the support for runner-up Big Fish (27%), and even farther ahead of In America (8%), 21 Grams (7%, or three grams for each percentage point), and American Splendor (5%).

It’s no surprise, then, that Mountain’s Anthony Minghella is one of the top vote getters among snubbed directors, taking 31%. He’s running neck and neck with Seabiscuit helmer Gary Ross, who, with the shocking inclusion of City of God’s Fernando Meirelles, joined an enviable list of filmmakers — DeMille, Scorsese, Spielberg, etc. — who have failed to be recognized for directing Best Picture nominees.

Continuing the Cold Mountain-Got-Snubbed-Big-Time trend is last year’s Best Actress, Nicole Kidman, who was denied a rare third consecutive nomination. Why? Maybe she looked too pretty for the Civil War South. Or maybe Whale Rider’s Keisha Castle-Hughes was just plain better. Either way, Kidman scores a whopping 46% here — way in front of Freaky Friday’s brutally funny body switcher Jamie Lee Curtis (18%).

And, of course, we’d fail miserably at our jobs if we didn’t mention Kidman within 50 words of her ex-husband — so it’s lucky The Last Samurai’s Tom Cruise is tops among those omitted from Best Actor contention. His 35% tally is one knot ahead of the 34% for perennial Oscar fave Russell Crowe, whose rousing portrayal of Capt. Jack Aubrey was pretty much the only part of Master and Commander not nominated. Meanwhile, American Splendor’s Paul Giamatti is at 9%, and The Station Agent’s marvelous Peter Dinklage gets 5%.

Which brings us to a few other actors from some of the year’s most popular movies. Finding Nemo scene-stealer Ellen DeGeneres (40%) is swimming past her Best Supporting Actress Snubbee competitors — pretty good for a disembodied voice. Two-time Oscar winner Emma Thompson stood out in Love Actually’s all-star cast, a fact that nets her 19% in our poll. And speaking of folks elbowing their way to the front of a crowd, our voters say The Return of the King’s Sean Astin (45%) — who everybody knows is the real star of the show — was totally robbed of a Best Supporting Actor nod. Hobbits still get no freakin’ respect!

Big Fish

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  • Tim Burton