Okay, okay. Artsweek is a little late. So sue us. We’re well aware that every reputable publication has already published and shelved their year-end best of/top 10/New Year’s issue. But, you know what? Artsweek’s got shit to do and sitting in front of the ol’ typey-typey during finals week or Winter Break just didn’t sound like a rip-roarin’ idea. As the dust on 2003 has finally settled, though, and the ever-so-dull routines of UCSB squeak back into action, it seems fitting to reflect on the highs and lows of the last year. It may not be fair to dwell, but we figure better late than never. So, without further ado, please mull over and enjoy Artsweek’s slightly tardy year-end wrap-up. 2003 wasn’t much of a winner, in many respects, so fingers are crossed that the Year of the Monkey will bring peace, prosperity and Jake Gyllenhaal to Artsw – ahem – the world.

In no particular order, the winners are:

Best Album of the Year
The Shins | Chutes Too Narrow | Sub Pop
These guys are finally being catapulted into the well-deserved spotlight, just in time for a major label bidding war to ensue as their Sub Pop contract expires. A perfectly catchy, wonderful pop album from start to finish, hands down. Catch them live if you know what’s good for you.

Best Film of the Year
“Lost In Translation” / “Spellbound” / “Kill Bill Vol. 1”
Okay, so a three-way tie isn’t very fair, but with film studies majors to deal with, it couldn’t be done any other way. Sofia Coppola dazzled the world with her directorial abilities, along with Bill Murray giving the performance of a lifetime alongside luscious-lipped Scarlett Johanssen. Then, the documentary that could came along and showed the world how truly mesmerizing the world of spelling bees are, all while giving a keyhole glimpse into the ever-varying American family. Two words: “out, out!” Lastly, Tarantino’s mega-movie that had to be sliced in two grossed out most of its audience but backed up the bloodbath with some of the most breathtaking filmmaking and over-the-top film references ever crafted.