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Friday, 28 January
Moving Violations

Theater dweebs start getting excited around this time of year, because OSCARS! We start to think: Wow. This is something I can actually speak knowledgably about! People will respect my opinions! Well, not really. We can maunder on like a pro about how Hotel Rwanda's emotional intensity was masterfully channeled by Don Cheadle, but I think most people know instinctively a few things: 1. These things are very subjective; 2. People who talk about their "craft" are usually untrustworthy windbags; and 3. Like everyone else, we haven't really seen Hotel Rwanda either.

Like pro sports, the Oscars tend to attract a fan base where everyone has strongly held feelings, sometimes deeply irrational and weird. (Once, hung over, I made some baldly idiotic comments about Cal Ripken to friends, who gently talked me down from the ledge--instead of just pushing me off it, which I richly deserved.) But then again, many sports fans are deeply immersed in knowledge of the game, statistics, win-loss ratios, etc. (Some, like me, are just loudmouthed dilettantes.) Oscar fans, however, have no such tools to employ, and so arguments about this and that tend to usually just boil down to "Well, I just liked this one more." Or, if you're me and my friends, "Man, are you stupid."

Some people watch a lot of movies. Some people are Oscar fiends, and can recite chapter and verse from its history. Some people--very few--actually work in movies, but you don't know any of them. But most people are just loudmouthed dilettantes.

Here's one of them, talking about the Oscars. Bear in mind, straight up: I haven't seen most of these films, because going to movie theaters is a pain in the ass. Some of them I have no intention of ever seeing. This has never stopped me from opining on them before, and it shall not this time either.

BEST ACTOR

Nobody sane is betting against Jamie Foxx on this one, which makes me wonder if the Academy is going to pull out one of their perverse gestures and give it to Clint or something. Johnny Depp, a fine fellow, I think has no chance, least of all for a film whose presence nobody can seem to justify, and Don Cheadle, another fine fellow, is similarly doomed for being in a film that nobody saw. Leo DiCaprio in this crowd, I'm sorry, is like seeing Tanyon Sturtze being mentioned in a Hall of Fame discussion.

Prediction: Paul Giamatta. Oh, wait, he's drinking poison, sorry. I meant Jamie Foxx. And Clint has an Oscar already.

(Note: I have seen none of these films, but I and my friends would like to say that Million Dollar Baby is a hauntingly bad title. We like to pretend it's about a barbershop quartet.)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Jamie Foxx again! Don't split the vote, Jamie! He won't get this; it's Ray or nothing. Morgan Freeman is here, and I love this guy, always (I forgive you for Bruce Almighty, Morgan), and he has a chance, and I wish him well. Sorry it was a movie about a barbershop quartet, though. Clive Owen, on the other hand, I think has no shot, because I can barely conjure up an image of what he looks like. (And to be honest, he was an odd choice for a biopic about Mariano Rivera.) Weirdly, rounding out the contenders is Hawkeye Pierce and The Guy From "Wings." This is proof that the Academy has a droll sense of humor.

Prediction: Thomas Hayden Church, if only because Alan Alda makes me remember Sidney Friedman, the cloying pop psychologist character from M*A*S*H, and now I have to drink.

(Note: I also have seen none of these movies.)

BEST ACTRESS

Oh Kate! Sweet Kate! I would love for you to win! You will not. Because, apparently, your movie is a doleful bowl of treacle. (But go ahead and wear something low-cut.) Imelda Staunton made an interesting choice to do a movie in which she portrayed X-Man Bobby Drake's lesbian aunt, but it's not going to get the statue. As for Catalina Dressing Sandino Bambino Rita Moreno . . . I'm sorry, your name is too long and too ethnic. (The Academy is not known for its fiery insistence on multiculturalism. Besides, they get to pat themselves on the back for Jamie Foxx.) So that leaves Annette Bening and Hilary Swank. Nobody on earth saw Being Julia, or has any intention of doing so . . .

Prediction: Hilary "I am the product of a trout-antibody transfectoma" Swank. I'll be happy if I'm wrong.

(Note: I saw one of these films, Eternal Sunshine,) and right now is as good a time as any to just point out that THIS FILM GOT FUCKED, AND IT SHOULD BE BEST PICTURE. Okay, got that out.)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Laura Linney is an interesting actress who consistently makes quirky choices and generally does really solid work. For this, the Academy will always give her nothing. Virginia Madsen is here too, a stalwart actress who might one day set a longevity record for being kind of hot. She will get zip. I was all set to dismiss Sophie Okonedo because of Jamie sitting over there with his statue, but you can't forget about that guy . . . the one who got the Oscar for The Killing Fields? What the hell was his name? The Academy might decide to go for that again. But to do that, they'd have to vote against Cate. And that will be decidedly hard to do.

Prediction: Cate Blanchett. Man, whatta gal.

(Note: I have seen none of these movies. Astute readers might also note that I neglected to mention Natalie Portman. This is because she is beneath mention, and is, in fact, worthless. Dear Natalie: please stop.)

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Is there anything to discuss? The Incredibles. I don't think even the legendarily boneheaded Academy is dumb enough to vote otherwise.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Nobody cares.

MAKEUP

Nobody cares.

MUSIC (SCORE)

Nobody cares.

MUSIC (SONG)

Interestingly, I usually care, if only to validate my longstanding belief that the Academy routinely picks out the absolute worst song every time. (Remember when Elliot Smith lost out? Holy Jesus.)

However, this year, they are all reliably horrible, except perhaps the one from Motorcycle Diaries, which I have not heard.

Prediction: "Learn to be Lonely." Nobody's more horrible than Andrew Lloyd Weber, at least in a non-Phil Collins year.

ALL THE OTHER CATEGORIES (YES, INCLUDING BEST DIRECTOR)

Nobody cares. Why would you? You haven't seen any of the documentaries or short films, you don't know dick about sound mixing or editing, nor art direction or, really, visual effects, unless you count "This looked cooler than that" as knowledge. These are filler categories, and you might as well throw darts to figure your picks. Best Director gets a lot of play, but when you think about it, why wouldn't the winner of Best Picture dictate who gets Best Director? Oh, right, because of all those filler categories that you don't know shit about. So it's back to the dart board.

BEST PICTURE

As I think I've made plain, I haven't seen any of them. As usual, this doesn't mean I won't get into it. I've already said that I think it's a crime that Eternal Sunshine isn't in there--Finding Neverland? Good God. Using my I Prejudge Movies powers, I already know that this film is stillborn (dammit, Kate!). Ray is unlikely to get anything for anyone past Jamie Foxx. The Aviator hasn't had the handjobs that the remaining two films have received, so I figure it's dead too. That leaves Million Dollar Baby and Sideways.

Prediction: Million Dollar Baby. Yeah, I'm taking the musty route and figuring that the Academy will get their usual quease over voting for anything remotely perceived as "indie" or whatever. I don't even know what that word means any more.

Now, a final thought experiment: Pick any movie referenced in this post. Pick the one you liked best. Now ask yourself: Which would you rather watch? The one you picked? Or 28 Days Later?

Be honest.


Note: Comments are closed on old entries.

Comments

I would probably take The Incredibles over 28 Days Later. But I really liked 28 Days Later, so who knows? Just keep me away from those shoddy alternate endings. And technically, Eternal Sunshine was referenced in this post, and I would TOTALLY pick that one over 28 Days.

I'm kinda pissed that Garden State didn't get any love, but really, I don't think anybody in the world expected that to happen.

Comment number: 005449   Posted by: Ryan Waddell on January 28, 2005 06:52 AM from IP: 66.46.9.23

Between The Incredibles, Eternal Sunshine and 28 Days Later?

I'll get back to you.

Comment number: 005450   Posted by: beige on January 28, 2005 10:17 AM from IP: 128.95.169.36

Between The Incredibles, Eternal Sunshine and 28 Days Later?

I'll get back to you.

Comment number: 005451   Posted by: beige on January 28, 2005 10:17 AM from IP: 128.95.169.36

jesus, what's up with the multiple posts?

Comment number: 005452   Posted by: beige on January 28, 2005 10:21 AM from IP: 128.95.169.36

My commenting system is, how you say, screwed up.

Comment number: 005453   Posted by: Skot on January 28, 2005 10:23 AM from IP: 66.150.9.2

please tell us why you hate Garden State? I thought it was good...and Natalie Portman? Hot.

Comment number: 005454   Posted by: Jason on January 28, 2005 12:12 PM from IP: 216.239.124.38

It's official. I'm the only person in the world that didn't like 28 Days Later.

Comment number: 005455   Posted by: Jon on January 28, 2005 12:35 PM from IP: 207.188.29.244

I turned off 28 Days Later after half an hour.

I'd watch Sideways about 5 times in a row. Or the Incredibles.

Comment number: 005456   Posted by: Thane on January 28, 2005 04:51 PM from IP: 24.16.135.154

transfectoma? is it a real word? it's my new road rage driving invective. thanks!

Comment number: 005457   Posted by: geebee on January 28, 2005 06:57 PM from IP: 68.223.182.14

The one I picked.
Because it has Johnny Depp in it.
I would rather watch "Johnny Depp Makes Soup" than 28 Days Later, even though that was a GREAT FUN movie with ZOMBIES.

I would even rather watch "Depp's Favorite Naps."
If you have in your VCR

Comment number: 005458   Posted by: joshilyn on January 29, 2005 12:53 PM from IP: 24.30.33.107

My man, Sideways was a piece o'crap. I didn't pay eight bucks to learn about Pinot from Paul Giammati and yes, that guy from Wings, mind you, that idiot mechanic from Wings. I will also agree that Sunshine deserved more from the Academy. I think it was Kate's timely every-girl presence that hurt the film, plus a stellar albeit broken-down Jim Carrey. I've come to notice in my 22 years that the folks in Hollywood hate any film that someone can actually relate to.

Comment number: 005459   Posted by: Fissell on February 1, 2005 07:01 AM from IP: 24.107.19.153

Having never seen 28 days later...I'm still not interested. However, I really want to see Million Dollar Baby and Sideways, and I think Natalie Portman's brilliant. But I suppose you're the boss here so what do you care? ;)

Comment number: 005460   Posted by: Shelly on February 1, 2005 05:52 PM from IP: 140.142.172.85

If diCraprio wins it, I will blow some shit up in protest. Not that I've seen any of the movies nominated this year, but Leonardo diCaprio should not be winning Oscars.
I figure Hilary Swank will win. I really like her, but then, I've only seen that movie she won the last Oscar for. So I have no idea if she sucks now. Oh, wait, I saw that craptacular HBO number she did. The day after I saw it, I bumped into her on the street dogwalking, and I stared at her for the longest time going, "Those horseteeth...where have I seen those horseteeth?" I wouldn't mind seeing Kate Winslet win it, just because the Academy always bones her. No friggin' NOMINATION for Heavenly Creatures? I'm still mad about that. But she won't win, because...dude, have you SEEN that movie? Me neither. Neither have the voters. But I'm pretty sure it's crap.
Sadly, I haven't seen ONE of the movies referenced in there, but unless I like Million Dollar Baby, Hotel Rwanda or The Incredibles a LOT more than I anticipate, 28 Days Later.

Comment number: 005461   Posted by: CG on February 2, 2005 12:41 AM from IP: 70.18.193.161

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