'Chicago' Likely Globe, Oscar Winner
That, at least, is according to the third annual Oscar Index appearing in USA Today, which claims to have correctly named four of the five nominated best pictures for the past two years, as well as the winners.
The paper's survey takes into account critics' and film festival awards, the take at the box office and industry consensus. The Index also considers the Globes a major influence on the Oscars.
While the conventional wisdom is nearly unanimous in thinking that "Chicago" will nab the Best Picture Academy Award (it would be the first musical to do so since 1968's "Oliver!") there is one detractor.
Emanuel Levy, author of "All About Oscar," considers "The Hours," despite its mixed reviews and existential-like pace, to have a slight edge for the Oscar because, he tells USA Today, it "has some pluses that 'Chicago' does not have. It has a literary cachet ... and Nicole Kidman is the hottest actress in Hollywood."
On the other hand, Friday's Wall Street Journal tips its hat to Miramax's "relentless, high-octane" Oscar campaign for "Chicago," which, the paper's Hollywood Journal columnist Tom King says, "has people buzzing more about the musical than Middle Earth."
Not that "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," a box-office blockbuster, is being overlooked, despite the quiet nature of its Oscar campaign. (Last year's "Fellowship of the Rings" garnered 13 nominations, more than any other film.) "'Rings' speaks for itself," its studio's marketing chief tells the Journal.
Others are apparently speaking for it, too: On Thursday, the Producers Guild of America named "Two Towers" among its six best picture nominees -- along with "Adaptation," "Chicago," "Gangs of New York," "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and "Road to Perdition."