Spring is officially in bloom as the madness of March returns for a retrospective look at the year in films that was 2002. Amass with wizardry, Jedi, singing and dancing, a more traditional Adam Sandler and Nicholas Cage playing his own twin brother, last year made its indelible mark as one of the most memorable years in recent movie history. Oft considered the only remaining legitimate media awards ceremony, the Academy Awards are gearing up to unroll the perennial red carpet and welcome home the best that Hollywood has to offer.

Returning to the Kodak Theater for its second year, the presentation also welcomes back comedy legend Steve Martin to the hosting pedestal. Along with some of the best films in recent blockbuster history, some surprises have hit the stage this year with “Chicago” leading the nominations pack at 13. With the post-Golden Globes buzz and nine nominations to its name, Miramax’s upstart “The Hours” will certainly hope to take away some of that jazz, not to mention the long-expected Scorsese epic “Gangs of New York,” which should finally give him the Best Director award, and the dark horse from Roman Polanskim “The Pianist.”

Other films like “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” and “Frida” also received their fair share of nominations, but will the thus-far award ceremonies’ domination by the four frontrunners be too much to overcome? While the world braces for war, the film world anxiously awaits the culmination of one of its finest years to date. Many new names and faces are gracing the nominees this year, alongside some of the most legendary figures, but one thing is certain: This year’s Academy Awards will be one worth watching.

Because of the tremendously long duration of the ceremonies and the lack of background provided, we’re hoping to give you some insight into the nominees, some predictions for winners, as well as some information that you might not have known or even yet considered.

Thus, without further delay, we present to you the Weekend Magazine guide to the 2003 (2002 by release year) Academy Awards. Brace yourselves; it

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