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August 28, 2001

Oscar Candidates Plentiful as Falling Leaves
Patrick Goldstein

Elijah Wood and Sean Astin as Frodo and SamIs it really possible that Hollywood only made about four movies this year that weren't aimed at charter members of the Britney Spears fan club? Breathe a sigh of relief, because that's all about to change. About six weeks from now the movie business will perversely screech on the brakes, shift gears and start flooding the marketplace with adult (and I mean this in the best sense) movies.

Talk about feast or famine. It's only a matter of time before your friends will be complaining that there are too many good movies to choose from. In baseball, October is playoff time. But in Hollywood, October is the start of Oscar season, that all too-brief 10-week window when the studios shed their ripped-T-shirted summer wardrobe, put on their holiday tuxedos and opt for class over crass.

From Oct. 5 to year's end, not a weekend will go by without at least one Oscar-friendly film hitting the theaters. The closer to Christmas, the bigger the crowd. "It's a huge issue for everybody, having all these movies coming out at once," says DreamWorks marketing chief Terry Press. "Look at December—it's just a logjam of potentially great big-star films."


"Lord of the Rings" (18-1): A classic fable of good against evil, this Peter Jackson-directed film has the grand ambition (it's just the first in a trilogy of films) and the mythic sweep to be a serious contender. It has some history on its side—"Star Wars" was a best picture nominee—and a dream cast (including Ian McKellen and Cate Blanchett) that gives it a leg up on "Harry Potter," especially if academy voters aren't offended by the Burger King marketing tie-ins.

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