Best Actor 1998 and 2002

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  • Macbeth
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    #140521

    I wanted to combine the discussion of these two categories so I don’t take up too much space on the forum.

    When talking about recent Best Actor wins, 1998 and 2002 seem to be common in circles of upsets. However, many people seem to believe Benigni was the frontrunner, and Brody was rapidly approaching frontrunner fast as well.

    Honestly, who was expected to win? Who was it a battle between on those nights (eg. Viola Davis vs. Meryl Streep)? How would the nominees have been ranked in terms of speculation.

    From what I’ve read, the 2002 race was something like this (in terms of speculation and predictions):
    1. Jack Nicholson (About Schmidt)
    2. Daniel Day-Lewis (Gangs of New York)
    3. Adrien Brody (The Pianist)
    4. Nicolas Cage (Adaptation)
    5. Michael Caine (The Quiet American) 

    Also, who was expected to get in, but didn’t? Who was the early frontrunner to win but lost steam as the season went on?

    Sorry for the bombardment of questions  

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    RobertPius
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    #140523

    In 2002 I think the feeling was Nicholson was the front runner after the Golden Globes but then faded when people realized it would be his 4th Oscar. Day-Lewis won SAG and I remember him being the favorite going in to award night. I remember Brody being a complete shock. Maybe among insiders he was becoming a favorite but it didn’t really leak to the press. (and Oscar blogs were kind of rare back then so all you had was what newspapers etc. were saying) There was supposedly a big campaign to get Polanski the award and the feeling at the time was that Brody get swept along with that. (and there was some sort of backlash against Scorsese at the time. Gangs was considered a disappoinment to some and some of his actors were denied wins (Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder in Age of Innocence) or nominations (Michelle Pfeiffer in Age of Innocence).when they had been predicted.

    Richard Gere in Chicago was the person most spoken of as being left out. Caine was kind of a last minute surprise as a nomination.

     

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    TomHardys
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    #140524

    I was just a kid in 1998 but having seen those five nominated performances I can safely say that I ranked Roberto Benigni last. Ian McKellen was my personal choice but I would be totally fine with Edward Norton making an upset.

    In 2002 I remember that Jack Nicholson and Daniel Day-Lewis were the ones who left the biggest impression on me. My dad got pretty upset that Daniel lost but he likes Polanski so… Imo I would give that Oscar to Day-Lewis and his third for There Will Be Blood.

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    Macbeth
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    #140525

    I was just a kid in 1998 but having seen those five nominated performances I can safely say that I ranked Roberto Benigni last. Ian McKellen was my personal choice but I would be totally fine with Edward Norton making an upset.

    In 2002 I remember that Jack Nicholson and Daniel Day-Lewis were the ones who left the biggest impression on me. My dad got pretty upset that Daniel lost but he likes Polanski so… Imo I would give that Oscar to Day-Lewis and his third for There Will Be Blood.

    Yeah I agree regarding both your points – McKellen was simply phenomenal. The fact that he didn’t win for such a complex, dark performance is bad enough, but he lost to a fluffy performance like Benigni’s? Edward Norton completely surprised me, as did Nick Nolte (the latter of whom just seems like a growling old man these days). I would have been fine with either of them winning. I like a good upset, but not if it is something is stupid as Robert Benigni winning Best Actor. Best Director? Maybe that would have been somewhat acceptable because Life if Beautiful was made well, but as a performance, it just seemed like an afterthought.

    Regarding 2002, it holds two of my favorite film performances in history – Jack Nicholson as Warren Schmidt and Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill the Butcher. I don’t hate Brody’s win, but I think Jack and Daniel were far superior. Jack will win his fourth someday (he has this Howard Hughes biopic coming up sometime), and I think when someone takes a cellphone video of Daniel Day-Lewis sitting on a park bench reading a newspaper, he will win his fourth as well.  

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    TomHardys
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    #140526

    Not that matters the most but I honestly hope that Ian McKellen wins an Oscar before he dies. He’s an outstanding actor.

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    GhostOrchid
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    #140527

    I can’t get over the fact Jim Carrey won the Drama Globe and didn’t even got nominated. *sigh*

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    TomHardys
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    #140528

    Jim Carrey, Nick Nolte, Ian McKellen, Tom Hanks and Edward Norton. What a beautiful line-up that would be.

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    drenja
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    #140529

    Perfect one.

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    ETPhoneHome
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    #140530

    In 1998, I don’t think Benigni was a front runner, and it was probably a very close race. I agree with other posters here that he would not have been my choice, I would have definitely picked Norton.

    I haven’t seen enough of the performances in 2002, so I can only say that I preffered Adrien Brody to Michael Caine. I need to see more of those movies to be able to offer reasonable commentary.

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    Anthony
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    #140531

    I agree with 2002 that it was all about Daniel Day-Lewis vs. Jack Nicholson. I do remember people still predicting Nicholson despite the fact he would’ve tied Hepburn’s record, but even though I really loved him in that movie, I predicted Daniel Day-Lewis since he did have the SAG win and a couple of critics awards behind him (for the record, I didn’t care for him in it nor did I like the film).

    Adrien Brody had some talk towards the end regarding being the only non-winner among the list and what if he could pull of the win. No one really took it seriously though…kind of like the Marcia Gay Harden scenario except that was a weaker race. I do recall that Gene Seymour of Newsday was the one major pundit who predicted Brody for the win. Once the win happened, I was definitely surprised but it made sense and the performance has held up quite well.

    1998 is one of the earliest years I watched the Oscars so I didn’t follow the races. All I knew is that whenever Life is Beautiful was mentioned, all eyes went to Beningi and people laughed and seemed to be adoring him. I mean, the man won the SAG award so he did have a last minute surge in a close race. My personal choice was Ian McKellan, and I do want to mention I don’t hate Beningi or the film like many do on here, but I would most certainly not give him an Oscar for it.

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    BenitoDelicias
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    #140532

    Benigni was the frontrunner when his campaign exploted and people fell for him. I was old enough to remember that ridiculous “race”. By the time the Oscars came around Benigni was EVERYWHERE. We barely had internet back then, not to mention we had no twitter, facebook, GoldDerby, about a million sites we have now and about a million talk shows we have now, and we still know he was everywhere. I think McKellen and Nolte were a close second/third, Hanks wasn’t winning for this role and Norton was sort of a surprise nominee.

    As for 2002, it was a very Nicholson/Day Lewis race. I doubt anybody had Brody in their predictions. He was a safe Oscar nominee but far from a winner. Nicholson won his Globe, he had the support and the performance but when this movie couldn’t even get a very much deserved Adapted Screenplay nomination you knew things were going to go bad for Nicholson that night. A fourth Oscar was very much deserved for Schmidt but by that time, Day Lewis looked like the safer choice in a movie with a bunch of problems too. So maybe that’s how Brody ended up sneaking by those two.

    Plus, I do recall rumors that these four past winners were sort of campaigning together for Brody, starting with Nicholson himself (you can see his reaction when Brody won, he was very happy). 

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    KT
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    #140533

    Daniel Day-Lewis had a supporting role in Gangs of New York, but it’s true, he was the frontrunner with his SAG win.  With Jack Nicholson, of course, very much in the picture too, having won the Globe and Critics Choice (a tie with DDL).  If anyone wants a good laugh, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bb7303ukNtk

    Michael Caine was fantastic in Quiet American.  And Nicolas Cage really brought it for Adaptation.  This was a really strong category.  I don’t think people were predicting Brody, but in hindsight the win makes sense.  The Pianist was surging in the extended voting period, and may have won BP if there were a few more weeks.  This was one of the BEST Oscar ceremonies in terms of suspense and upset winners: Pedro Almodovar winning, Adrien Brody with his upset and great speech, Roman Polanski upsetting for BD, Peter O’Toole’s honorary Oscar, Steve Martin’s movie star monologue. 

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    Miss Frost
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    #140534

    I see no logical reason why Sir Ian McKellan lost in 1998. With confidence I can say he was truly the best. All of the acting winners (minus Dench) that year were atrocious.

    I’m no fan of Alexander Payne at all, but I must say I enjoyed every minute of AS. To me, Nicholson gave one of his best performances here. It wasn’t a meaty in your face kind of performance that he has been getting nominated for the last few decades, but it was very subtle and grounded.

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    TomHardys
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    #140535

    I agree. Ian McKellen was delightful to watch.

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    Beau S.
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    #140536

    McKellen and Norton should have tied in 1998. My God, two of the best performances EVER. And they lost to a guy who spends the first half of his movie dropping plates and making bad jokes. If you take out Benigni and replace him with Jim Carrey for The Truman Show and take out Hanks and replace him with Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski, you have the best lineup in the category’s history.

    As for 2002, I’m a fan of all of the performances nominated, even Cage who I usually loathe (I would still replace him with DiCaprio for CMIYC). I do think Brody is the best of the lineup by a thin margine over Nicholson who gave a performance reminiscent of his work from the early 70’s, which imo we’ve only seen twice since his win for Terms of Endearment (About Schmidt and The Departed). Daniel Day-Lewis is in fine form here and Michael Caine is incredibly underrated in this film as well, probably his best work since Educating Rita. Overall great lineup.

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