Movie: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Nominations: Best Cinematography, Russell Boyd; Best Sound Editing Richard Kingst, Art Direction, Costume Design. Best Director - Peter Weir; Best Editing, Best Makeup, Best Picture, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects
Wins: Best Cinematography, Russell Boyd; Best Sound Editing Richard Kingst. Wow, for ALL the other nominations, Master and Commander was beaten by Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, including Director and Picture. What an odd year when only 2 different films win all the non-acting awards for which they qualify.
However, as an Oscar nominee, it was definitely deserving. Russell Crowe plays Jack Aubrey, captain of HMS Surprise during the Napoleonic wars. Paul Bettany plays his friend and the ships doctor and amateur naturalist, Stephen Maturin. They're tasked with sailing across the Atlantic to prevent a ship of Napoleon's from taking the war to the colonies in the South Seas. Lots of sailing, lots of naval battles with canons flying, and pretty amazing visuals through the movie. As a scientist myself, seeing Maturin tramp about the Galapagos as the ship restocks supplies (water, food, etc.) is pretty amazing. Bettany's intellectual curiosity and lack of naval background helps balance Crowe's "For King and Country" enthusiasm for war, particularly on a sailing ship.
There are many subplots between the crew, but the main focus is on the relationship between Aubrey and Maturin and the ship's mission to "burn, sink, or take as a prize" the French frigate they're hunting. In another year, particularly the technical awards probably would have deservedly gone to Master and Commander, although it is also telling that there were no acting nominations for the film. And something random I just realized rewatching this, there is only a single female on screen at any point and she has no lines, just smiles at Aubrey. How many movies is that true? What did you think of Master and Commander?
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