NewsWire: Wide-open Oscar Race Pushing the Envelope - The Hollywood Reporter

The pursuit of a gold talisman can be exciting, exhilarating, exhausting and ... corrupting. That, of course, is one of the morals of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, with 13 nominations, the most-nominated film heading into Sunday's 74th Annual Academy Awards. But it could also serve as an epitaph for this year's rough-and-tumble Oscar race, one of the most unpredictable contests in recent memory.

Here is an excerpt from Gregg Kilday's article:


With an early Christmas present in the form of Golden Globe nominations from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., two potential front-runners finally emerged. Mind -- whose inclusion on the list was not so surprising -- and Rings, which had overcome more than a few odds to win over critics and audiences alike.

Easily the riskiest business proposition among the five best picture nominees, director Peter Jackson's adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien classic -- the first installment in a back-to-back-to-back trilogy -- Rings, by virtue of its cinematic ambition, has overcome much of the Academy's resistance to cinematic fantasy. But whether it can go all the way Sunday night is quite another question.

Rings already appears likely to be the Star Wars of its generation. Nearly 25 years ago, when George Lucas' Star Wars burst onto the scene, it captured 10 nominations. Like Rings, it earned noms for best pic, best director and even a best supporting actor -- Alec Guinness in the case of Star Wars, Ian McKellen in the case of Rings. But Star Wars had to settle for six technical Oscars as well as a special award for its sound effects. In 1978, Annie Hall took home best picture honors.


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