There is only one thing U.S. midfielder Aly Wagner loves more than soccer, and that's an afternoon at the flicks, with a big tub of popcorn and plenty of munchable snacks. That's why when it came time to handicap the Oscars, there was no better choice among the U.S. Women's National Team players than the Santa Clara University senior. This month in Center Circle, Wagner gives her picks in five of the top categories.
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Russell Crowe, "A Beautiful Mind"
Sean Penn, "I Am Sam"
Will Smith, "Ali"
Denzel Washington, "Training Day"
Tom Wilkinson, "In the Bedroom"
Aly's Pick: "I know everyone is probably picking Russell Crowe in 'A Beautiful Mind.' He seems to be the Hollywood favorite, but I have to go with Sean Pean in 'I Am Sam.' His Dustin Hoffman-esque performance was brilliant, even for one of the most talented character actors of our generation. And the fact that he was married to Madonna gives him the edge over all the other actors."
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Halle Berry, "Monster's Ball"
Judi Dench, "Iris"
Nicole Kidman, "Moulin Rouge"
Sissy Spacek, "In the Bedroom"
Renée Zellweger, "Bridget Jones' Diary"
Aly's Pick: "Although Renee Zellweger gives a compelling and humorous performance in ‘Bridget Jones' Diary,' and the scene where she belts out ‘All by Myself' while finishing a bottle of wine reminded me of my last year's Valentine's Day, I have to choose Nicole Kidman for ‘Moulin Rouge.' She gets major props for doing the singing herself. She played the smoldering temptress to perfection, but at the same time, was a woman that wanted to be swept off her feet. Not an easy combination to pull off. She hit us with a one-two punch. A knockout."
"Until", by Sting, from "Kate & Leopold"
"May it Be", by Enya, from "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"
"If I Didn't Have You", by Randy Newman, from "Monster's, Inc."
"There You'll Be", by Dianne Warren, from "Pearl Harbor"
"Vanilla Sky", by Sir Paul McCartney, from "Vanilla Sky"
Aly's Pick: "Had any ‘Moulin Rouge' song been nominated (except for the song where Christina Aguleira, in her scantily-clad outfits in the video, pretends to be sexy), that would have been my choice. But since none were, I'm going to have to give the theme from the somewhat scandalous film ‘Vanilla Sky' the nod. It just might have been the film that broke up my guy Tom Cruise's marriage to Nicole Kidman, but I digress. Paul McCartney is a legend and deserves to win an Oscar just because he was a Beatle. The soundtrack itself was fun, but a little bit offbeat in a good way. It's one of those CDs that you can pop into your player and cruise down Highway 1 on the coast of California. It's a group of songs that can change your mood. It can make you reflective or put a smile on your face. The song ‘Vanilla Sky' and the entire soundtrack set the overall tone of the movie and fits perfectly with the pace and direction. The one track by Peter Gabriel is especially good over the montage of scenes between Cruise and Penelope Cruz. You can listen to that song and put together a montage of your own life in your mind."
Best Animated Feature Film
"Jimmy Nuetron: Boy Genius"
Aly's Pick: "Shrek. How can you go wrong with a sarcastic big green Ogre with the voice of Mike Meyers?"
"A Beautiful Mind"
"In the Bedroom"
"The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"
Aly's Pick: "Surprise, surprise ...can we get a 'Moulin Rouge' in the house? It is the ultimate modern day musical. It's edgy, it's sappy and it's got Ewan McGregor. Can you say 'major chick flick?' Now, any film with Ewan has a chance to win my Academy Award for the sole reason of seeing him walk on stage to get his Oscar, but this movie has so much more. The direction was phenomenal and you are totally drawn into the love story. [Editor's Note: Stop reading now if you want to avoid ruining the outcome of the story.] But like many love stories -- too many I've found -- the picture-perfect ending does not come to fruition. Let's just say, I bawled my eyes out, and to me, the more tears, the more chance to take home the statuette."
Table of Contents
1) Armchair Midfielder (A look at the new Nike U.S. World Cup jerseys)
2) Word Association (w/ MNT forward Brian McBride)
3) At the Oscars (w/ U-21 WNT/WNT forward Aly Wagner)
4) Queries and Anecdotes (w/ U-20 MNT midfielder Jordan Stone)
5) Life as a Soccer Mom (w/ WNT defender Joy Fawcett)
6) Superstar!!! (w/ U-23 MNT/MNT forward Landon Donovan)
7) Mark That Calendar (MNT vs. Ecuador, Germany -- March 10, 27)
8) "You Don’t Know Jack (Marshall)" (MNT's "European Vacation" Trivia)
***HOW'S OUR WRITING?***
We want feedback. No, really. Positive, negative, indifferent - we take all kinds. Reach us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.