Talkin’ Oscar

Little short on time, but yesterday was probably the first time I was in the same room with two Oscar nominees. Or at least two Oscar nominees five days before the Oscars in which they’re nominated. That happened yesterday at Honesdale High School of all places, where Mark Ruffalo (best supporting actor for Kids Are All Right) and Josh Fox (his film GasLand is nominated for best documentary) both spoke out against proposed regulations of natural gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin Commission. I had thoughts of cornering Ruffalo to ask him about Hulk and Avengers, but he took off when I wasn’t watching. So there will be no PopRox exclusive on one of the most important comic book movies ever. Boo. I’ve heard a lot of backlash about Fox, but didn’t talk to him. All I know is that at a press conference before the meeting, he came in a little late and decided to stand directly in front of me so that I couldn’t see the interview subject. Thanks, man.

Oscar predictions will be coming Friday, fyi. A little tease — Ruffalo won’t be on there.

Some Oscar-related links on a slow news day:

best movie and best trailer

best movie and best trailer

The Oscars isn’t the Grammys, we don’t need to get rid of 90 percent of the awards to make sure the show even approaches moderately watchable. That doesn’t mean there aren’t obvious changes that can quicken the pace of the show and make sure we’re not frantically looking for a Family Guy repeat when you hear the tease before a commercial, “Coming up next, the Oscar for best documentary, short form!” The problem is, I have no ideas in how to change it without turning it into the MTV Movie Awards with statues given out for best kiss or something. Luckily, Cracked has my back with a really, really good list of alternate awards that actually are surprisingly practical and even doable. Who wouldn’t love a best scene category? (This year’s winner: The final dream sequence of Inception.) Or best trailer? (This year’s winner: Social Network’s hauntingly good choir version of Creep, which fits the movie more perfectly than any other trailer music, ever.) Or best ensemble cast? (This year’s winner: Winter’s Bone, which didn’t have anything less than an A+ performance from any of the non-name actors.) The Oscars are too stuffy to ever change, but you would hope they’d at least consider it.

I called uncle after seeing seven of the 10 movies nominated for best picture this year. I just couldn’t find time to get to The Fighter and 127 Hours, and I’d rather be locked in Maynard’s basement with Zed and The Gimp before watching another Pixar movie. Only three of them — Social Network, Inception and, slightly, Winter’s Bone — can make a good argument to win the actual award. There will be some King’s Speech complaining, I’m sure, but I just didn’t like it as much as everyone else did. That doesn’t mean people aren’t trying to make other arguments. Feel free to leave your own argument for any of the other movies down yonder in the comments.

the real oscar winner of 2004

the real oscar winner of 2004

There’s no real investment for me in any movie this year, so I’m not playing favorites in any category. I really liked Inception, and I really, really liked Social Network, but other than that, nothing really stood out to me as something I’ve never seen before and deserves to be put up on any kind of pedestal. Before the 1995 awards, I remember saying something along the lines of, “If Lion King beats Pulp Fiction for best picture, I’m boycotting Disney forever.” But there just isn’t anything that draws that kind of ire this year. I’ll be disappointed if Social Network doesn’t win best original screenplay because it was by far the best writing of the year, but I don’t see myself losing sleep on Sunday if it loses like when Bill Murray in Lost in Translation lost to Sean Penn in Mystic River in 2004.

It’s taken me more than 15 years to come to terms with the fact that Forrest Gump beat Pulp Fiction for best picture in 1995. It finally clicked that they’re two of the most rewatchable movies ever made. If you’re surfing through the channels and accidentally hit on either one of them, you stop and watch. Doesn’t matter which part, because they’re all good. They’re just such fantastic, engrossing movies that literally make you feel better after you watch them. They’re like shots of adrenaline — not shots of adrenaline administered by druggie hit men in crack houses, but you get the idea. It took me a long time to break down and admit this, because I never wanted a movie to win best picture as much as I wanted Pulp Fiction to. Quentin Tarantino was my personal god at the time and he incited the Pulp-Gump dozens of time, culminating with his acceptance speech at the MTV Movie Awardsin 1995 (probably the coolest one ever, Horshack as Vincent Vega makes me laugh just thinking about it). Time has made things easier just because it’s so darn easy to love Forrest Gump. You couldn’t make two more completely different movies and have them vie as the favorite for the Oscar. Maybe that’s why it was so easy to root for one or the other at the time, and why it’s so easy now to recognize that maybe this should have been the only tie in Oscar history for best picture. Now, I don’t want to think about it, I want to see Horshack as Vincent Vega.

When you see the headline “O’Donnell mulls Dancing with the Stars invite” you’re probably going to click on it to find out which O’Donnell, right? Rosie, in an attempt to plug her upcoming talk show? Chris, even though he’s got a hit show on a different network? My friend Tim because, well, he’s the first person I think of when I hear “O’Donnell”? Nope, nope, and nope, although if you knew Tim, you’d think he’d be pretty funny on DWTS. Just an aside. No, this one is Christine O’Donnell, and pardon me for being politically behind, but I had to read two grafs (newspaper term!) before I remembered who the heck she was. So not exactly starting out with a sterling DWTS lineup.

A local note: there will be a benefit for the son of local DJ Ian Grossman, who died Super Bowl Sunday. The proceeds will go to the college fund of Grossman’s son Nathan, 7, and will be held Thursday night at The Lounge at the Comfort Innon Route 611 in Bartonsville. The fundraiser starts at 8 p.m., with a $5 cover at the door. Other local DJs from around the area will be playing the event. No reservation necessary, just show up with the cover charge.

Actually, another local note. If you can play hookey tomorrow, and want to try and get on TV, be at Mount Airy Casino Resort in Paradise Township tomorrow morning by 11. The casino is hosting an open casting call for The Amazing Race. I was there for the casting call for America’s Got Talent in November, and it was a blast. Just remember — there won’t be one CBS executive there. The people taping are from local CBS affiliate WYOU that will be sending the audition tapes to CBS. So please don’t hounf the poor cameraman about when you’ll be getting a call and a check to be on the show. Won’t work.

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