It’s heady times in Hollywood as everyone prepares for the 83rd Academy Awards on February 27, hosted by jack-of-all-creative-trades James Franco and Anne “The Teeth” Hathaway. At least, that’s what I imagine. Ah, probably most people don’t give a shit. But still… it gives all of us something to think about other than Flavor Flav opening a chicken restaurant in Iowa or the state of the union or Mini Kiss.
I confess to be the kind of person who sits through the entire awards show, minus the musical numbers. I can never stand the musical numbers, which are predictably Randy Newman, a 1980s or 90s female star like Vanessa Williams, Cher or Susanna Hoffs from the Bangles or something more unpredictable, like the year Three 6 Mafia performed “It’s Hard Out There For a Pimp.”
I like the formality of the Oscars. I like how everyone has to look their best. I know that people say award shows like this are bogus but I suspect that if you won an Academy Award you would not feel this way. I would not feel that way. I would be like that Italian guy who so annoyed people with his twee-ness in 1999.
Does anyone else every get weepy during the annual slide show of people who died the previous year? I do. And then I sit there and monitor how much applause each person gets when they appear on screen. Big applause = beloved. Smattering of applause = we don’t really know that person because he was an editor. No applause = that person was in movies in the 1940s but has been a recluse since 1974.
Anyway, here are my predictions for the major categories, sparing you the lesser ones. Let’s face it, you already have your mind made up for Best Art Direction and Best Editing anyway.
Actor in a Leading Role
Javier Bardem in â€œBiutifulâ€
Jeff Bridges in â€œTrue Gritâ€
Jesse Eisenberg in â€œThe Social Networkâ€
Colin Firth in â€œThe King’s Speechâ€
James Franco in â€œ127 Hoursâ€
Winner: Jeff Bridges is my hope, although I can easily see Jesse Eisenberg getting it. I know that every time I mention Jesse Eisenberg I also mention his sister, Hallie Kate Eisenberg, who was the Pepsi girl with the crooked teeth in theÂ late 90s, maybe early 2000’s. Remember her?
The reason I always bring this up is because I’m obsessed with the fact that she started out with all the fame and glory and now has been completely eclipsed by her brother. Does she care? Did she just take her Pepsi money and build a castle to hide in? What is the deal? A trip to imdb.com reveals that she was in the indie film Holy Rollers with Jesse in 2010. So there can’t be too much bad blood there. I really want Jesse to take her to the Oscars as his date.
Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale in â€œThe Fighterâ€
John Hawkes in â€œWinter’s Boneâ€
Jeremy Renner in â€œThe Townâ€
Mark Ruffalo in â€œThe Kids Are All Rightâ€
Geoffrey Rush in â€œThe King’s Speechâ€
Winner: I think the Academy will go with Geoffrey Rush, if only because of all the fuss they’ve made about that movie. It’s to the point now where I don’t even want to see it. But I think I wouldÂ award it to Christian Bale because he’s kinda crazy and he thought Ricky Gervais was funny at the Golden Globes. Sometimes I like that loose cannon, like when Mickey Rourke was nominated and came to the events with his dog.
Actress in a Leading Role
Annette Bening in â€œThe Kids Are All Rightâ€
Nicole Kidman in â€œRabbit Holeâ€
Jennifer Lawrence in â€œWinter’s Boneâ€
Natalie Portman in â€œBlack Swanâ€
Michelle Williams in â€œBlue Valentineâ€
Did anyone see “Rabbit Hole?” Did anyone elect to be made that sad? There must be an audience for this movie somewhere but movies about a couple trying to get over the death of their child are fairly low on my priority list. I saw the preview and felt so much angst it was all I could do not to rush out to the concessions stand and stuff Milk Duds into my mouth until my jaws gummed up and stopped working.
Needless to say, I’m not voting for Nicole Kidman. There’s something off about that woman. You know how sometimes you meet someone that everyone else thinks is so great, talented, wonderful and funny? And you don’t click with that person or you don’t think they’re wonderful but you keep it to yourself? That’s how I am with Nicole Kidman, minus the part about keeping it to myself and minus the part where we meet.
And with Michelle Williams, I can never get past the whole “Dawson’s Creek” thing. Yeah, I know, everyone has to start somewhere. But she was so awful on that show. Just completely deadpan and sigh-y the entire time. I wonder if she’s still friends with Katie Holmes. I wonder if those two are on the phone right now.
Katie sez, “OMG, I can’t believe you’re nominated with Nicole. That bitch! What are you going to wear?” And Michelle sez, “Well, I thought maybe some variation of the dress I wore to the Globes.” Katie is dead silent.
Because that dress sucked. It made her look like she was going to the homecoming dance. Bonus: she got asked by a senior when she’s a freshman!
Anyway, my vote goes to Natalie Portman. She’s having a year, what can I say? I forgive her for the creepy laugh at the Globes because she did a great job of being in a creepy movie.
Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams in â€œThe Fighterâ€
Helena Bonham Carter in â€œThe King’s Speechâ€
Melissa Leo in â€œThe Fighterâ€
Hailee Steinfeld in â€œTrue Gritâ€
Jacki Weaver in â€œAnimal Kingdomâ€
Let’s not hem and haw here. The Oscar should go to Hailee Steinfeld for “True Grit.” If that doesn’t happen then Melissa Leo. Although I worry about Hailee being one of those one-hit-wonders who wins an Oscar and then goes away and becomes just a Trivial PursuitÂ question that no one can remember the answer to until after the reader says her name and everyone goes, “Oh, yeah! Whatever happened to her?” or worse, “Huh. Never heard of her.”
Animated Feature Film
â€œHow to Train Your Dragonâ€ Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
â€œThe Illusionistâ€ Sylvain Chomet
â€œToy Story 3â€ Lee Unkrich
Give me a break. Toy Story 3.
â€œBlack Swanâ€ Darren Aronofsky
â€œThe Fighterâ€ David O. Russell
â€œThe King’s Speechâ€ Tom Hooper
â€œThe Social Networkâ€ David Fincher
â€œTrue Gritâ€ Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
My heart belongs to Darren Aronofsky on this one. I found Black Swan to be an original idea, well-executed at every turn. But I know that the award will most likely go to David Fincher.
It could go to the Coens but they don’t care about awards anyway, so what is one more for them? They’ll just get up, take it and shuffle away. I love the Coens but a little enthusiasm, at some point, would not be a bad thing. Just a smile or a friendly wave. Is this what it’s like to be their next-door-neighbors? Do they drive by in their Land Rovers or whatever and pretend not to see you as you walk your dog or rake leaves or have your National Night Out Party?
â€œExit through the Gift Shopâ€ Banksy and Jaimie D’Cruz
â€œGaslandâ€ Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic
â€œInside Jobâ€ Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
â€œRestrepoâ€ Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
â€œWaste Landâ€ Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley
At the risk of being a big asshole because I’ve only seen one of these movies (so far! there’s still time) I’m going with “Inside Job.” Not only was it a compelling subject but the filmmakers broke down what could be very complicated information and made it accessible. No small task.
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
â€œ127 Hoursâ€ Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
â€œThe Social Networkâ€ Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
â€œToy Story 3â€ Screenplay by Michael Arndt; Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
â€œTrue Gritâ€ Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
â€œWinter’s Boneâ€ Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini
I’m going with “Winter’s Bone” here. I’m throwing a bone to the Bone. Again, Coens would be great, too. Again, we know that “The Social Network” will take it because everyone in Hollywood seems to have a boner for Aaron Sorkin.
Writing (Original Screenplay)
â€œAnother Yearâ€ Written by Mike Leigh
â€œThe Fighterâ€ Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson; Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
â€œInceptionâ€ Written by Christopher Nolan
â€œThe Kids Are All Rightâ€ Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
â€œThe King’s Speechâ€ Screenplay by David Seidler
I’ve seen preview for Another Year and heard that it’s good but all I can think of when I do think about seeing it is bad teeth. Bad English teeth. I’m a horrible person.
Does anyone feel sad for Christopher Nolan that he was shut out of the director’s race? I felt a little bad. Keith had no sympathy at all. I can’t remember his exact quote but it was something like, “I’m sure he’s crying all the way to the bank,” or “I’m sure he’s crying all over his stacks of money,” or “I’m sure he’s weeping as he buries his gold bouillon in the back yard.”
But maybe Nolan should take this one. Because that was a very complicated script. But, truth be told, complicated isn’t always best. I still believe in a simple story well-told. So I’m going to vote for Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg for “The Kids Are All Right.” I laughed, I cried, I always knew where we were in space and time.
â€œBlack Swanâ€ Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
â€œThe Fighterâ€ David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
â€œInceptionâ€ Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
â€œThe Kids Are All Rightâ€ Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
â€œThe King’s Speechâ€ Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
â€œ127 Hoursâ€ Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
â€œThe Social Networkâ€ Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and CeÃ¡n Chaffin, Producers
â€œToy Story 3â€ Darla K. Anderson, Producer
â€œTrue Gritâ€ Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
â€œWinter’s Bone” Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers
I’m sorry, I still don’t remember when we got to this point and why. Ten nominees? Why not make it 12 next year? Or 20? Pretty soon movies like “Easy A” could be in there. “Hot Tub Time Machine,” anyone?
Anyway, the truth is that all of these are great movies in their way. But of course, again, The Social Network is going to win because people will want to feel like they’re commenting on our times. Yes, a commentary on the times we live in. So we can all look back and say, “Remember The Social Network? That really defined our times. And it won best picture, too!”
But I don’t believe this picture will stand the test of time. I think we’ll watch it even five years from now and it will seem stilted and lame. There is such a thing as being too “of the moment” – meaning you won’t last. Some of the best films of all time speak to us even 20, 30 years after they were made. Will there be anything for future generations in The Social Network? Not really, because it’s so bereft of emotion. That’s right – I’m calling something out for being shallow.
My pick is “Black Swan.” I can see watching that movie in ten years and still being taken with it. And, yet again, if “True Grit” wins, that’s equally cool by me. As long as the Coens muster smiles. And then get drunk and jump in someone’s pool.