First up on the films nominated for an Oscar is The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. It's been nominated for Best Picture, Art Direction, Sound, Sound Editing (how's that for splitting hairs?), Visual Effects, and Film Editing. How it missed out on Makeup, Cinematography, and Best Supporting Actor for Golem (more on that later) is beyond me.
Let's get the bad out of the way first. The worst thing I can say about this movie is that it is another one with an unfortunate colon in the title. At least it doesn't have two colons in the title, like Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones, but that movie sucked anyway so you kind of expected it. Other than that, the scene with the white horse (I can't remember it's name) was lame. Gandalf shows up, says a few lines, walks out of the forest and whistles for his horse. The horse gallops up, in slow motion, in a gauzy, out-of-focus shot. I thought we were going to have to cover the kids' eyes for an equine-wizard sex scene. Yech.
Beyond that, this movie rocked. A little more humor than in the last movie, and dwarf jokes are always welcome. "Don't tell the Elf". Classic. Speaking of the Elf, Legolas is awesome. He's like a character out of a John Woo movie come to Middle Earth. He's shooting off arrows at an incredible pace, yet his quiver is never empty.
Oh yea, Golem as Best Supporting Actor. Hollywood always loves a mentally challenged character. Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sean Penn, the list goes on. So why not nominate this year's favorite character struggling with a split personality?
I think the movie is a shoe-in for two awards, probably three, but Best Picture won't be one of them. The Academy would hate to see a fantasy trilogy win the big prize for two of its three installments, and everyone know that Return of the King will be better, if only because it will have a real ending.