You can't win them all...unless, of course, you're The Lord of the Rings! The third Rings installment, The Return of the King, reigned supreme Oscar night, winning 11 out of 11, but EW didn't do too badly either, correctly predicting 21 out of 24 prizes (readers graciously pardoned us for picking The Last Samurai over King for best costume). ''Thank you!'' cheers Dan Rebuck of Media, Pa. ''I won the family Oscar pool. Now I have bragging rights for an entire year! I couldn't have done it without you.'' Owen Gleiberman and Lisa Schwarzbaum's debate of the great race also elicited ovations. Sunil Patel of Ann Arbor, Mich., says, '''Critic vs. Critic' was one of the most intelligent and thought-provoking pieces I've ever read in EW.'' The same couldn't be said for Jim Mullen's quip that the worst thing you can call Canadians is Newfoundlanders. ''There are two kinds of people,'' attests native Cindy Bush, who now lives in Toronto. ''Newfies and the ones who wish they were. That should explain it all.'' And so it does.
The Expert Factor
I'd like to thank the anonymous Academy members quoted in ''Behind Academy Lines,'' particularly the producer and director. Taking potshots at such wonderful films as The Return of the King and Lost in Translation, they convinced me that Hollywood is indeed the shallowest place on earth. RAYMOND J. KOTZATOSKI, JR. Kskil5@aol.com Altoona, Pa.
I was happy to discover that I am not the only person who ''detested'' Lost in Translation. Cold Mountain got shafted for that waste-of-life bore? Lost in Translation was the most monotone, anticlimactic movie in cinema history. AMANDA PALUCH Spicy025@aol.com Roseville, Mich.
I hoped you would release the name of the director in your piece so that I can forever avoid his movies. He obviously slept through The Return of the King in order to miss that Frodo and Sam are the humanity of the movie. And he completely missed the point of the poignant and beautiful Lost in Translation, which was the connection these two people made. This was just a pretentious director delighting in his ability to trash good movies because of his anonymity. KATELYN HARKER email@example.com Calgary
Thank you, Owen, for pointing out that the emperor has no clothes (''Critic vs. Critic'')! I have been baffled by the praise surrounding Mystic River. My husband and I suppressed laughter at Laura Linney's Lady Macbeth -- meets -- Barbara Walters ''You aw a king'' speech and couldn't believe Tim Robbins channeling Law & Order when he turned cunning criminal and product-placement tool. MARGARET HERMES firstname.lastname@example.org Bloomington, Ind.
I found myself taking sides and disagreeing with both critics. Sorry, Lisa, but Mystic River suffered from a convoluted plot based on coincidence. I disagree with Owen regarding his dismissive lamentation of Bill Murray's amazing performance in Lost in Translation. But I agree that Hollywood has been remiss in its coverage of post-9/11 America. I salivate at the possibility of a future ''Critic vs. Critic'' column. JAY YOHE email@example.com Harrisburg, Pa.