Best Film: The Dark Knight. Duh. Too easy. The exclusion of Christopher Nolan's Batman sequel led the Academy to reconsider the nominating process and expand the field of Best Picture contenders from five to 10. Let's move on.
Best Screenplay: Scream. It's hard to find a great mystery. It's hard to find a great horror movie. It's hard to find a great comedy. It's hard to find a cultural critique that's self-referential without being self-indulgent. Scream is all four, and a fabulous popcorn movie with smart dialogue, engaging characters and creative plotting, too.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Fight Club the book is a mess of childish angst that reads like the fantasies of an 24-year-old eunuch. Fight Club the movie is a work of genius that describes the mind of man without being preachy or precious.
Best Actor: Christian Bale for American Psycho. I thought Patrick Bateman was an unfilmable character. Not because of his sadism, but because of his cartoonishness. Bale, in his best performance ever, brought the monster to the screen, and found a way to communicate the horror of his preening and the meaning of his butchery.
Best Actress: Naomi Watts for Mullholland Drive. Watts' twin performances are so stunning that some people miss that the jaded Diane and her idealized projection betty are played by the same actress. It's perhaps the deepest, bravest performance in the history of American film.
Best Direction and Cinematography: Miami Vice. For all the reasons I already gushed.