There were surprises


Published: Wednesday, January 28, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 28, 2004 at 12:47 a.m.

Sure, there were some surprises among Tuesday's Academy Award nominations: Alec Baldwin earned a nod for best supporting actor in "The Cooler," while star William H. Macy was as luckless as Bernie Lootz.

Then Keisha Castle-Hughes, now 13, became the Academy's youngest best-actress nominee.

But, according to Roger Beebe, the biggest surprise came with dippy Jack Sparrow. That is to say, Johnny Depp's nomination as the swish-swashy pirate in "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" is, quite frankly, a "sign of the Apocalypse."

An assistant professor for the University of Florida's Film and Media Studies program, Beebe has seen a good chunk of films that made Tuesday's cut. He saw "Pirates of the Caribbean" on an airplane and remains baffled by the Academy's choice.

"It was no better than I expected it to be. I don't get it," Beebe said. "Johnny Depp's fine in the movie, but I really think he's acting in another film."

To top it all off, Beebe said, "The Station Agent" - an across-the-board critical favorite - disappeared from the Academy's radar.

The Sun called Beebe for his thoughts Tuesday. He contends his opinion is not exactly a power voice in Hollywood, but - upon some urging - he did offer a handful of predictions on the Oscars race.

  • Best Picture: Beebe feels the drama "Lost in Translation" should claim the prize on Feb. 29, although it likely will settle for best screenplay. The probable winner? "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," which claimed 11 nominations.

    "Hollywood loves a winner. It may be the 'Titanic' of this year," said Beebe, who admitted he had not seen the lengthy trilogy cap. "Three and a half hours? Could it possibly be that good?"

  • Best Actress: "I have no idea," Beebe answered. "It seems wide open."

    There are good choices in there, he said, particularly noting Naomi Watts in "21 Grams." But, he added, there's a lot of talk about Charlize Theron's take on serial killer Aileen Wuornos, especially after the model-turned-"Monster" took home a Golden Globe last week.

  • Best Actor: "I would love to see Bill Murray win," he said. "He makes ('Lost in Translation') what it is."

    The likely winner? Sean Penn for "Mystic River."

    "Hollywood loves that sort of thing - lots of crying," he said.

    Dave Schlenker can be reached at 374-5045 or scene@gvillesun.com.

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