Saturday, March 04, 2006

Ze Oscars

First things first, my friend Jason says that if I mention the alleged two-inch circumference of his penis, he’ll never delete my blog from his bookmark list again. Jason is a weird dude.


This is probably the least interested I’ve been in the Academy Awards in years. I’m not really sure what the reason is, since I liked a majority of the nominated films, but perhaps that’s just it; I’ll generally be ok with whatever wins, whereas in past years there has either been a real piece of crap that I was actively rooting against or a truly underrated gem that I was interested in seeing rewarded.

This year, the only film of the Best Picture nominees that I actively didn’t like was Munich, which should’ve been 30-45 minutes shorter and included 94% less scenes of Eric Bana orgasming to flashbacks of the Munich massacre. The other four are all pretty good, with Goodnight and Good Luck being my favourite, with Brokeback Mountain and Capote a notch behind, and Crash a notch behind that. The current critical buzz is all about Crash possibly pulling an upset, which I’m not really crazy about. It was good, sure --- I gave it a really positive review when it came out last spring. I just don’t think it’s the best of the nominees by a long shot, nor does it quite hit the ‘good enough to be a Best Picture’ bar that I set for myself in my head.

There aren’t really any underdogs I’m passionate about winning (note: I haven’t seen Match Point or Cache yet, so I’m holding out on my final Best of 2005 list, and I also reserve the right to come back to this post in a few months and ranting at length about how these films were snubbed). My favourite film of the year was Batman Begins, and I knew that had as much chance of being nominated in any major categories as my mother’s digicam footage of my cousin’s kids opening their Christmas presents. It’s up for cinematography (Batman Begins, not my mom’s movie), but has little chance of topping the likes of Brokeback Mountain.

The one point of interest I have is the sound mixing category, where the Memoirs of a Geisha team (Kevin O’Connell, Rick Klein, Greg Russell and John Pritchett) have 41 losing nominations between them with no wins. The movie was junk, but come on, throw these guys a damn bone.

Who I’m actively rooting against on Oscar night….

• Munich, for the reasons stated above. This is maybe the worst Spielberg movie I’ve seen, which is even more disappointing because the first 45 minutes or so was really good. I think I’d rather watch Hook than see Munich again.

• Joaquin Phoenix. I saw Walk the Line with Lori, who came out saying “Wow, Johnny Cash was a real punk.” Well, yes, he was at this point in his life, and Phoenix was believably intense, but I couldn’t get past the fact that he looked and sounded nothing like Johnny Cash.

• Paul Giamatti. I hate makeup Oscars. Spencer Tracy won a Best Actor award in 1938 that should’ve gone to Robert Donat, Donat won in 1939 when it should’ve gone to Jimmy Stewart, and Stewart won the next year when it should’ve gone to Henry Fonda or Charlie Chaplin. Fonda didn’t get his until 1981, when it should’ve gone to Burt Lancaster, and Chaplin never won an acting Oscar. Paul Giamatti did nothing special in Cinderella Man, so he shouldn’t get an award now when he should’ve just been nominated last year for Sideways (and inevitably lost). Give it to Clooney or Gyllenhaal instead.

• William Hurt. He was onscreen for literally under ten minutes. He ain’t Judi Dench (another makeup Oscar fiasco). If I had a vote, I would’ve replaced Hurt and Giamatti in the supporting actor category with Clifton Collins in Capote and Mickey Rourke in Sin City. I can’t believe I’m saying those two are better actors than Giamatti and Hurt, but that’s how it was this year.

• Michelle Williams. Another overhyped role. I was impressed with everything about Brokeback Mountain besides her performance. I think all the critics’ awards he’s been winning has been more due to people being wowed by the “Dawson’s Creek girl all grown up” factor than her actual acting. On the plus side, if she wins, it will be a big middle finger to Katie Holmes, which is one more finger than she’s seen all year from her fruitcake husband.

• Catherine Keener. Another short, meh performance that didn’t really bring much to the table. Since I like Keener, I’ll just pretend this nomination was for 40-Year-Old Virgin instead.

So who do I want to win? GNAGL, Ang Lee, David Straitharn, Reese Witherspoon, Gyllenhaal, Rachel Weisz. Who will actually win is Brokeback, Lee, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Reese, and the supporting categories are crapshoots (though I’d bet on Clooney and Weisz). Hopefully Jon Stewart brings the funny.