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This article by Kam Williams was prepared for the December 11, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
For Movie Moguls, It’s Visions of Oscars
When the magical holiday season rolls around, you can
count on finding most movie executives nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of Oscars dance in their heads. It’s no secret that
the studios hold back their best films for December release in order
to attract the attention of the Motion Picture Academy. For some reason
— short memories perhaps — come Oscar time, Academy members
rarely consider a movie unless it was still in the theaters after
The upcoming crop features films from many already familiar with Academy
accolades, names like Spielberg, Denzel, Scorcese, Liam, Hanks, Streep,
Nicholson, Fiennes, Redgrave, Zellweger, DiCaprio, and Benigni. But
there are also offerings from some highly-regarded hopefuls who have
never landed an Oscar nomination, such seasoned pros as Ray Liotta,
Cameron Diaz, George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Sandra Bullock, and
In the coming weeks, word of mouth and marketing blitzes will quickly
separate the pretenders from the pretenders, but till then everybody’s
an Academy Award hopeful, even Rob Schneider for his transvestite
turn in "The Hot Chick." Don’t laugh, cross-dressing did the
trick for Dustin Hoffman in "Tootsie" (1982) and Jack Lemmon
in "Some Like It Hot" (1959). And don’t count out Adam Sandler
just because he’s made the first Chanukah comedy. Remember that Roberto
Benigni won an Oscar just a few years ago for a lighthearted look
at the Holocaust.
In the Theaters:
the first full-length Chanukah feature, a musical cartoon comedy about
a wild guy who opts for community service over prison?
fanatics roaming the Austrian Alps for an avalanche to ride who accidentally
cross a border and run afoul of Serbian war criminals.
of 1972 Russian sci-fi flick about bizarre occurrences aboard an orbiting
a remake of Robert Louis Stevenson’s"Treasure Island," and
its 1950 movie version, updated as a tale about a boy searching for
treasure buried in outer space. `Houston, we do have a pirate.’
for more Mafurbia mayhem, as the "crazy as a fox" mobster
godfather is paroled from prison on the condition that he is cared
for by his ever-exasperated shrink.
as a drug kingpin trying to go legit who gets tricked by his two-timing
moll into turning all his ill-gotten gains over to a smooth swindler.
a shallow, spoiled cheerleader whose karma has her awaken as Rob Schneider.
Jennifer Lopez as a Cinderella to Ralph Fiennes’ princely politician.
installment of the simultaneously produced Tolkien trilogy taking
place in Middle Earth.
Lee joint about the last day of freedom for a convicted drug dealer
before being sent up for seven years.
of Shakespeare’s "King Lear," starring Lynn Redgrave and the
late Richard Harris.
from Harlem who adds a little urban flava’ to his alma mater’s marching
makes his directorial debut with an adaptation of best-seller "Finding
Fish" about a sailor who needs help with anger management.
set in the mid-19th century, tells tale of power struggle between
Irish and Italian mobsters for control of New York City. With Oscar-winners
Liam Neeson, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Jim Broadbent, Oscar-nominee Leonardo
DiCaprio, plus Cameron Diaz and David Hemmings.
franchises promises to boldly go where no man has gone before, namely,
the planet Romulus. Why? In order to prevent an alien invasion of
Earth, of course.
title role in screen adaptation of the Louis Begley best-seller about
a widowed insurance agent searching for the meaning of life while
working on his strained relationship with his daughter.
9/11 tragedy, this adapted from a play performed near Ground Zero,
about a fire chief who had to write eulogies for his fallen heroes.
comedy pits attorney Sandra Bullock against her overbearing billionaire
boss Hugh Grant until the two wise up and fall in love.
TV cartoon about a family of nature-lovers trying to save endangered
African species from poachers. Crisis involves daughter who will lose
her ability to talk to the animals if she reveals her secret.
vehicle for Ray Liotta as a vengeful, bloodthirsty Detroit detective
hunting the drug dealer who killed his partner.
Opening December 25
around this Spielberg 1960s crime caper based on the real exploits
of master of deception Frank Abagnale, Jr., the youngest man ever
to make the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. Star roster includes Tom Hanks,
Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Sheen, and Christopher Walken.
casts himself as the wooden puppet who wants to be a real boy in this
update of Collodi’s 1880s classic tale.
Coming late December
features Rene Zellweger, Queen Latifah, Catherine Zeta-Jones-Douglas,
Richard Gere, Taye Diggs, and Lucy Liu. Tabloid Roaring ’20s tale
about a felonious flapper who lands in jail after shooting her cheating
Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Toni Collette, Claire Danes, Allison
Janney and token male Ed Harris. Adaptation of Michael Cunningham’s
1998 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about several women all influenced
by the writings of Virginia Woolf.
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