"People Are Talking... Never Mind 'Pianist,' How About That 'Lilo'?"

by Alina Larson, Oakland Tribune, 16 February 2003

The Oscar nominations are out and so are the opinions. Some liked the sound of "The Pianist," others wanted to know more "About Schmidt." Some could spend "Hours" with Nicole Kidman, while others wanted to be "Unfaithful" with Diane Lane.

At any rate, unless your address is Under a Rock, it's tough not to have at least one opinion about one of the films or stars.

Outside the new Century 12 movie theater in downtown San Mateo, Christine U'Ren waited for a friend to join her to see "The Hours."

"It seems like all these strong films came out at once," said U'Ren, lamenting that has only had the chance to see "Adaptation," "Chicago" and "Frida." U-Ren, who works in Foster City and lives in Berkeley, has no intention of seeing "The Pianist," though. She boycotts all Roman Polanski films because of the director's 1977 rape charge.

She does, however, plan to go to an Oscar party.

"I remember the year Gwyneth (Paltrow) came out in that awful dress and we all went 'Ewwww,'" she said, "That was fun." This year she'll probably cheer most for Salma Haywek, nominated for her portrayal of Frida Kahlo in "Frida."

Martin Lowenstein agreed that Hayek acted well. "That was the best performance of her career," said the Burlingame resident. "It showed she was more than a chick with big breasts."

Like U'Ren, Lowenstein said he had not had the chance to see all the films and actors that were nominated.

He wished he hadn't seen "Gangs of New York," however, stating that Daniel Day Lewis "was the only redeeming thing about it." The fearless film fan was not only bold enough to say that "Lilo & Stitch" was a "surprisingly good film," but he and his two male friends admitted they were off to see "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" because they didn't have dates.

Wait, wouldn't a guy see that if he did have a date?

"I don't really have any strong opinion," said Scott Trimble of the nominations. The San Francisco-based location scout liked "Gangs of New York," "Chicago" and particularly "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," because, he says, "it was such monumental filmmaking." Despite his profession, Trimble had not yet seen all the nominated films, including "The Hours" and "The Pianist." He did prove his mettle by noting the two films with Bay Area ties: "Mike's New Car," made at Pixar in Emeryville and nominated for best animated short film, and "Star Wars: Episode Two — Attack of the Clones," nominated for best special effects and made at Marin-based Industrial Light & Magic.

For sisters Samantha, 11, and Teresa, 10, of Burlingame, humor and romance are the two most important elements. They found the films nominated for best animated feature funny. Samantha liked "Ice Age," while Teresa was a fan of "Lilo & Stitch." When it came to romantic films they agreed, though, both giving a thumbs up to "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," which got an Oscars nod for best original screenplay.

©2003 Oakland Tribune