Oscar picks not as hard as usual — 10 movies or not

Making Oscar picks is hard. Kind of like how hard it’s going to be for Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin to make a cohesive, thoughtful joke Sunday night.

5 or 10 ... doesn't matter

5 or 10 ... doesn't matter

First, you have to see all the movies. Then you have to formulate your own opinions on those movies. Then you watch all the other awards shows to see who wins. Then you have to read — and be confused by — every two-bit Joe Six Pack making their own lame-brained picks. By the time you finally get around to making your own picks, you might as well be coming out of a half-hour spin cycle. Your brain is spinning, deteriorated mush.

Those of us who enjoy making Oscar picks every year and sacrificing their minds to the washing machine treatment were worried this year they’d be thrown in the dryer this year because of extra five movies tossed into the best picture race.

At least that’s what we thought.

What we forgot to realize is that there is a reason there were only five best picture nominees in the past — because there are only five movies that can possibly win. Usually, you can eliminate two of the five. Did anyone really give The Reader or Frost/Nixon a chance last year? So even though there are five new movies, that doesn’t make it any harder. It only means you use more ink easily crossing off an extra five movies in a heartbeat.

BEST PICTURE

my life's goal to be the last one to see avatar is working so far

my life's goal to be the last one to see avatar is working so far

In politics, the thing the favorites fear most is splitting the vote. No favorite wants to see more than one opponent in any race. Usually, one campaign makes a deal with another campaign to make sure it doesn’t happen. That’s what Avatar has to be worried about right now, more candidates effing up its path to the Oscar. Here’s the good news — there’s no way District 9, the Blind Side, An Education or A Serious Man have any shot whatsoever of winning best picture, and there isn’t a person in Hollywood that would vote for any of them. At least there better not be. There isn’t even much competition from the semi-contenders like Up, Up in the Air, Precious and Inglourious Basterds. This comes down to two movies: Avatar and Hurt Locker. It’s setting up perfectly for Avatar to get best picture but for Kathryn Bigelow to get best director. And that’s how you split the vote. NEXT IN LINE: Hurt Locker.

BEST DIRECTOR

Bigelow just seems to have the juice right now. There’s no way it’s getting best picture over Avatar, and there is no way it’s getting best original screenplay over Inglourious Basterds. This movie just can’t go home empty-handed, so Bigelow gets her due here. NEXT IN LINE: James Cameron.

BEST ACTOR

hey honey roy, was that the guy from hurt locker in your movie or what?

hey honey roy, was that the guy from hurt locker in your movie or what?

Congratulations to Jeff Bridges, the winner of the fourth annual It’s His/Her Time Honorary Oscar won by Martin Scorcese in 2007, the Coens in 2008 and Kate Winslet in 2009. The Oscars have started this strange trend and it appears they have no plans to stop it. I still haven’t seen Crazy Heart yet so I have no idea whether he deserves the Oscar or not, but somewhere in the last three months, Jeff Bridges became the most popular actor in movie history who “deserves” this Oscar, apparently for his career body of work. I love The Dude as much as anyone else does, but let’s remember this is the same guy mucked up Blown Away, one of the top 5 most disappointing movies I’ve ever seen in the theater — and I only paid a dollar to see it. NEXT IN LINE: Jeremy Renner, Hurt Locker. Am I the only one who keeps thinking Renner was Robby Gillon in Diggstown? Just thought I’d ask.

BEST ACTRESS

Can we have two It’s His/Her Time Honorary Oscars in one show? Sandra Bullock hopes so, even though she should be disqualified for making All About Steve and The Proposal this year too. Don’t think voters don’t know this, but she’s too well-liked to have that count against her. If there was any legitimate competition the rest of her yearly career choices would hurt — but there’s just no one there to step up and take her spot. NEXT IN LINE: Gabourey Sidibe for Precious, and the chances of a 17-year-old in her first movie winning are about as good as the Academy holding a recount and giving Clerks II best picture for 2006.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Here were my exact words after the opening 20-minute scene of Inglourious Basterds and Christoph Waltz’s performance in that 20 minutes: “Jsdgfmgnbdgzz!” Little did I know he was only getting started — he trumped himself for the rest of the movie. Now that’s a winner. NEXT IN LINE: Uh oh, we could be talking an unprecedented THREE His Time Oscars if Woody Harrelson can score the upset for The Messenger. But it seems like he’s got about 10 years before that talk when he stars in Ron Shelton’s movie about the seamier side of backgammon.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

The talk lately is that Mo’Nique isn’t campaigning enough for the Oscar, instead staying in Atlanta. You know, where her job is and all. So if she doesn’t win, you know why. Then you can officially boycott the Oscars for the rest of the your life because you’ll know it’s political garbage. Far and away the best performance I’ve see this year regardless of gender or category. In fact, she should bring Becky Buckwild as her date so if she doesn’t win, Buckwild can storm the stage Kanye-style and steal the statue. Cuz dats how Buckwild rollz! NEXT IN LINE: Anna Kendrick was pretty good in Up in the Air. But because you can’t get enough Becky Buckwild:

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

My only regret about this category is that they don’t say where each movie finished because I’d like to see the looks on the Coens faces when A Serious Man finishes sixth out of five movies. The more I think about A Serious Man, the more it makes me angry. It was like Barton Fink all over again, expect it wasn’t in any way funny. Barton Fink was crazy weird and plodding like Serious Man, but at least it was funny. I laughed more watching Precious than A Serious Man. Bad one-two punch of Burn After Reading and A Serious Man for the Coens. You always wonder why the Coen Brothers don’t make more money with their really brilliant stuff — Fargo ($24.6 million), Big Lebowski ($17.5 million), Miller’s Crossing ($5 million), even No Country for Old Men ($74.3 million despite winning best picture and staying in theaters for about three months) — but it’s because of movies like A Serious Man. People don’t want to pay for a Coen Brothers movie because they don’t want to take the chance it might be another Serious Man. Anyway, this is Quentin Tarantino’s award to lose. NEXT IN LINE: Up, because that would open the door for Fantastic Mr. Fox to take the lesser award of best animated feature.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Jason Reitman is working on one heck of a resume right now. Three major movies directed, three home runs (Up in the Air, Juno, Thank You for Smoking). He’s making his way up the list of directors whose movies you have to see no matter how silly the premise. There was probably ridiculous amounts of pressure on him to make Juno 2 and 3, but to his credit, he decided to adapt some unknown book about a loner who loves being a loner. Good times! Somehow, he turned it into the most interesting of the year. It didn’t hurt that he grabbed the guy in Hollywood who seems to have written the book on good career decisions, George Clooney. NEXT IN LINE: Would it be too hacky if I said this category is “up in the air”? Yeah? Whatever. Anyway, it’s the one category where I can easily see any nominee winning. If you’re in any Oscar pools, this is the category that’s most likely going to make or break your picks. I’m sticking with Up in the Air, but Precious could make a push, and even District 9 has an outside shot because of its populist, politically correct undertones, a la Crash a couple years ago in the best picture race. If District 9 had been staged in Los Angeles, it would be the winner. Seriously.

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