The Four-Hankie Message Movie
- Antwone Fisher. Last year's Best Actor, Denzel Washington, waited years to make his directorial debut with this great, real-life saga, written by Fisher. Rookie Derek Luke movingly portrays a damaged young sailor's painful journey to growth and reconciliation in this Fox Searchlight release. Plus: The Academy's 1,300 actors love actor-directors like Robert Redford (Ordinary People). Minus: Not a feast for the eyes.
- Far From Heaven. Todd Haynes's critically hailed Douglas Sirk homage needs to thrive outside of limited release in major cities (Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love collapsed in suburbia). Plus: Julianne Moore will certainly win a Best Actress nomination for her performance as a fifties housewife who seeks comfort from her black gardener (Dennis Haysbert) after seeing her husband (Dennis Quaid) kissing another man. Minus: The Focus Features flick may be too academic for the average Academy voter.