Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 2002

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Adrien Brody (The Pianist)
Nicolas Cage (Adaptation)
Michael Caine (The Quiet American)
Daniel Day-Lewis (Gangs of New York)
Jack Nicholson (About Schmidt)

Biggest Snub:

Richard Gere – Chicago

My Overall Thoughts:

This was a year dominated by two performances and it looked as if Day-Lewis would win his second Oscar throughout the awards season until Brody came from behind to surprise everyone by winning for an amazingly emotional and powerful performance.

My Rankings:

Acting Performances

5. Michael Caine
4. Nicolas Cage
3. Jack Nicholson
2. Daniel Day-Lewis 
1. Adrien Brody


5. The Quiet AmericanPretty boring film with some fine performances. The pacing of the film moves along way too slowly and even as a short runtime of 90 minutes, this film feels too long. The love triangle aspect of the film is a bit hard to swallow because of the vast age difference between Caine and Fraser. The film does a fair job of showing how the early American involvement on Vietnam led to the need for escalation in the decade that follows. The acting is fine by Caine and Fraser but neither is amazing here and I question how Caine got an Oscar Nomination for this film.
4. Gangs of New YorkEpicly done, but I couldn’t get into it or care / sympathize with any of the characters.
3. AdaptationIf you like Kaufman’s work, you should like this. It’s a bit far out there for me, but I can see the genius behind the chaos.
2. About SchmidtAlexander Payne amazes me more and more with his writing and directing skills the more I see of his films. Nicholson is great playing a lower key character. Love the message about life being short so make the most of it which is a constant theme in all Payne movies I’ve seen.
1. The PianistAmazingly done emotional Holocaust movie, Brody is superb in the title role and deserved his Oscar win.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely!  As great a job as Day-Lewis did here, no performance this year or even in the previous two years (at least) were as powerful as Brody’s in The Pianist.

Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!

6 thoughts on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 2002

  1. Only seen Pianist once and don’t remember being blown away by Brody’s performance. Day-Lewis on the other hand – who in my opinion – did NOT deserve even a nomination last year for Phantom Thread – DID deserve a win for his titanic performance in Gangs of NY. I’ve seen it multiple times – and it is incredible every time. I don’t know which shocked me more – Brody’s win – or the win for Polanski, considering all his baggage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with u about the Phantom Thread. As for The Pianist, I believe its one of the best Holocaust survival films (after SChindler’s list) ever made.

      You should probably try and see it again since Brody was amazing here and despite all of the controversy around Polanski as a man, his film is amazing and could have potential won BP that year if it wasn’t for that controversy. I realize that looking at the situation today, they would never have given him the Oscar, but that can only be said in hindsight.

      I personally HATED Chicago and am still baffled as to how it won BP


      • Hmmm. You HATED Chicago, but thought Gere – in it – was the biggest snub.Funny thing – he wasn’t 1st choice for the part. JohnTravolta, Kevin Spacey and Hugh Jackman were all considered. I saw it on Broadway and the movie and was impressed by both – but not sure it would’ve been my pick for BP. Might’ve gone with Gangs of NY – or Road To Perdition – which I loved and wasn’t nominated. Talk about Biggest Snub – how about Tom Hanks in that one?

        As for BP win being influenced by Polanski – had his “controversy” affected anything – he never would’ve won Best Director – which was an individual honor. So i doubt it affected The Pianist from winning Best Picture.

        Liked by 1 person

        • its possible to hate a film but still like a performance (Gere). Hanks was good in RtP but that film had too many flaws IMHO despite its cast.

          Im not sure i completely agree with u abt Polanski splitting BP and BD cause as Im sure u recall, it was a rare occurrence back then to split those categories (unlike today where it has become the norm)


          • So with “Chicago” you can separate Gere’s performance from the movie you hated, but with Road To Perdition – you can’t separate Hanks’ performance from a “flawed film”? Sounds a bit inconsistent. Paul Newman WAS nominated for Road. Hanks was not. Newman’s whole career was playing flawed men. Hanks, at the time, was stretching to play an assassin and a bad guy (although a good father) – and I think it shocked the Academy voters who overlooked what was – for me – another excellent acting job by one of my favorite actors.

            To your 2nd comment – not all that rare to split director and picture – going all the way back to 1940 – when REBECCA won Best Picture – but its director – Alfred Hitchcock – did NOT win as Best Director (and NEVER won a competitive Oscar as Best Director for the entirety of his career). My point was that if the Academy was going to penalize Polanski for the rape charges that caused him to flee the US and hide in Europe – they would NOT have awarded him Best DIRECTOR. They might still have given Picture to The Pianist however. They did the opposite – which I find baffling.

            Liked by 1 person

            • always fun debating these things with u.

              I also love Hanks, but RTP wouldn’t come anywhere close to my top ten.

              dont think im being inconsistent here with that.

              as for BP and BD, 64 of the 90 winners have corresponded over the years, that’s 71% of the time. taking into consideration the years when there wasn’t a preferential ballot, (1945-2008) it happened only 13 times and 13 times when there was.


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