The nominations are out. Let the race begin. Here are a few early insights into the mystery of Academy Award voting. For complete nomination lists, voting schedules and daily updates, see www.oscar.com.
Surprise of the day Pedro Almodóvar's double nomination as writer and director of Talk To Her.
Why Chicago Won't Sweep No nomination for Golden Globe winner Richard Gere. If the membership had been in a sweepy mood, Gere would have got the spot that went to Michael Caine.
DEFINING OUR TERMS Original screenplay nominee Far From Heaven is virtually a scene-for-scene remake -- at times shot for shot -- of All That Heaven Allows. Making the Rock Hudson character black doesn't change that. Original screenplay nominee Gangs Of New York is based on a book, but the story isn't, just the setting.
ANOTHER MYTH DIES People love to believe that Hollywood just hates Miramax and that studio head Harvey Weinstein is riding for a fall. But three of the five best-picture nominees, The Hours, Gangs Of New York and Chicago, are Miramax pictures, with over 40 nominations among them. The Weinstein brothers also have executive producer credit on The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, though that's only because it passed through their hands. This means that after years of DreamWorks and others complaining about the Weinsteins' excessive Oscar campaigns, we get to see Miramax campaign against itself.
FRESH BLOOD Whoever wins best actress will be a first-time winner. But unless Adrien Brody wins for The Pianist, whoever wins best actor will be a repeater.
SCORSESE'S CHANCES Martin Scorsese has lost best director to Kevin Costner and Robert Redford, both first-time directors. No movie stars are nominated as director this year, but Chicago director Rob Marshall is a first-timer. And we all know that there's no justice at the Oscars.
John Harkness is the author of The Academy Awards Handbook: Who Won What When? (Pinnacle), revised 2003.