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Donovan's 2002 Oscar Picks

Submitted by ryandonovan at 2002-03-19 01:11:27 EST
Rating: 0.67 on 7 ratings (7 reviews) (Review this item) (V)


“Experts” predicted that in the wake of September 11th, American filmgoers would turn to family fare and patriotic themes. Never to be overestimated, the resilient American public craved what it always has – crap. Black Hawk Down made an Oscar push, hoping to ride a wave of patriotism, but it got blanked in the Best Picture category, where Moulin Rouge, a horrible film about debauchery and hookers, scored big. Irritating films like Orange County and Snow Dogs thrived, simply begging for more of the same. In the words of my roommate, “The American public deserves what it has coming to it”. That’s why this spring you could go see quality films like Kissing Jessica Stein, but instead the top grossing film will be Blade 2. So, America, behold the awards for the best of your best (relatively speaking). I will attempt to wade through these underachievers, and make my Third Annual Oscar Picks. As always, I will accurately predict who WILL win and who SHOULD win (and bear in mind the Academy’s age old credo: “We are an equal-opportunity awards show - it doesn’t have to be good to win an Oscar”).

SHOULD WIN: Memento… but it’s not nominated, so A Beautiful Mind
WILL WIN: A Beautiful Mind
We already know that hands-down the best film of the year is Memento. There’s no reason to belabor that point. The Academy already pooched this category by not nominating it, so rather than talking about who deserves to win, let’s talk about who DOESN’T deserve to win. First and foremost, Moulin Rouge!. Upon principle alone, I cannot condone a movie that has an exclamation point in its title. Every favorable review that I have read of this film seems to be apologizing and making excuses for it, on the basis that “we really NEEDED a this kind of film this year.” Horseshit. We NEEDED film that badly re-mixed Lady Marmalade with Smells Like Teen Spirit? I can almost hear Kurt Cobain reloading in his grave. I’m sure the producers of the film are pleased with the accolades the film has been getting. Not only is Moulin Rouge! nominated for Oscars, it’s nominated for a Steamie as well. The Steamie, of course, is the nickname for the Jack Nicholson Cleveland Steamer Award For Disgrace In Filmmaking (the award is not named after Mr. Nicholson for his poor acting skills, but rather for his affinity for defecating on his lover’s chest while receiving fellatio). On the bright side, Moulin Rouge! proves once and for all that the modern musical is, in fact, dead. The next least deserving film is The Fellowship Of The Ring. I liked the movie, but I’m shocked that the Academy chose to honor a film that was made for no other reason than to create a franchise. The film is in no way a stand-alone film. It’s like giving an Emmy to Part 1 of the Whack-A-Ho Mini-Series Of The Week. Next up at the trough is Gosford Park. It’s a pitiful paradox no matter how you look at it: it’s a murder mystery without the mystery, it’s a period comedy without the comedy, it’s a character ensemble without the character. Worst of all, it’s an amateur script directed by a veteran amateur. The only real murder that occurred was when the film bored the audience to death. Finally, we jump to the other side of the quality spectrum with In The Bedroom. A fantastically quiet film with some of the most realistic portrayals of family discord I’ve ever seen, as opposed to the overblown huffing and puffing of American Beauty and Life As A House. I felt embarrassed every time the family tried to have a conversation, and just… couldn’t. Politeness and rationality take over for emotion. In many families, that goes on for decades. I called my dad to tell him about the film, but wound up talking about motorcycles instead. Since Bedroom is seen primarily as an acting feat, it will not contend seriously for the top prize. Finally, the eventual Best Picture winner, A Beautiful Mind. It will be a well-deserved victory, as it is an incredible film in its own right.

SHOULD WIN: Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind)
WILL WIN: Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind)
If you want a prime example of why the Academy is vile, this category is it. Russell Crowe did not deserve a nomination last year. Of course, he won. This year, he deserves to win, without a doubt. But will the voters give it to him two years in a row? They’ll feel like it’s time to give it to Denzel Washington. But he deserved it TWO years ago. Compared to his past nominated roles, Training Day is not even in the same township. Where do the voters go from there? The other guys don’t have a chance. Tom Wilkinson was fantastic, but underplaying rarely sways Oscar votes; besides, In The Bedroom was really Sissy Spacek’s show. Sean Penn offended more people than he impressed. And as for the Fresh Prince, he gave a great performance, and deserved a nomination, but the Academy will have a hard time crowning the man who popularized the phrase “Smell ‘ya later!” Besides, Denzel would have him killed. As much as Denzel clamors about wanting a black man to win, he really only wants one PARTICULAR black man to win (fortunately for all parties involved, Denzel doesn’t consider former Oscar winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. to be black). So then it will come back to Denzel versus Russell, and the voters will be forced to choose which guy would be more entertaining to watch while he fumbles through an awkward speech and fumes about funny jokes made at his expense. And thus they will permit a rare successful defense of the title.

SHOULD WIN: Sissy Spacek (In The Bedroom)
WILL WIN: Sissy Spacek (In The Bedroom)
God bless you, Halle Berry. The fact that women in Hollywood still have to get naked to be taken seriously is the most sublime double-standard that exists in the world today. The fact that women believe that they ARE taken seriously when they’re naked onscreen is the most brilliant fallacy. And the fact that female nudity is marketed as “a brave performance” is sheer marketing genius. Oh sure, you’re brave… nice cooter, by the way. Berry will get beaten in this category, but not by Renee Zellweger. Bridget Jones’s Diary was too fluffy to garner an acting award, even though Fat Girl said she suffered and slaved to put on weight for the role by shoveling junk food into her mouth (more likely, she simply put her eating disorder on hiatus for a week). However she did it, I hope she’s able to lose the pounds before the ceremony so she can fit through the door. If not, she could cancel her AAA service, since she can replace a flat tire by using her waistline. The other three actresses actually have a shot at the award. Nicole Kidman was unremarkable in Moulin Rouge!, but everyone simply ADORES her this year, and wants to commend her for her “strength” while she gouged Tom Cruise during the divorce that she caused by getting knocked up by another man. Judi Dench is a contender in any race, and could conceivably pull this out. However, this is Sissy Spacek’s year. She’s snagged most of the acting awards so far, and rightfully so. I really hope the Academy rewards reality acting, where silence in one scene screams louder than an entire soundtrack of Moulin Rouge!.

SHOULD WIN: Ben Kingsley (Sexy Beast)
WILL WIN: Ben Kingsley (Sexy Beast)
This is always a pretty interesting category, because it harbors such eclectic roles. This year is no different, but the nominees are much less appealing than they usually are. I was really pulling for Steve Buscemi, whose life’s work of playing weirdoes seemed on the cusp of paying off. But the Academy strikes again, instead nominating three other undeserving fellows (Ethan Hawke, Ian McKellan, and Jon Voight). One of the only deserving nominees, and the eventual winner, is Ben Kingsley. Gritty has never been so smooth. He’ll get some competition from Jim Broadbent, a guy whom I’ve never heard of. Broadbent has an added advantage of praise for both Iris and Moulin Rouge!, so the Academy could decide to award him for both roles, essentially. Ian McKellan rode the wave of The Fellowship Of The Ring’s blind fervor to this nomination, and he’s such a quality performer in everything else he does that he could conjure up some votes. The other two clowns REALLY don’t belong here. Has-been Jon Voight got selected for literally wearing a rubber mask. And Ethan Hawke is freakin’ Ethan Hawke, for god’s sake.

SHOULD WIN: Who gives a shit?
WILL WIN: Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind)
Roll a die. Pull a name out of a hat. I could care less about this category, even less than most years. It’s just above Best Costume Design. None of the roles were particularly strong, which stems directly from the fact that there are no good supporting female roles in Hollywood. That, of course, is a rant for another time. In the meantime, put the names on a wall and throw a dart. If I have to pick a favorite, I’ll go with Jennifer Connelly. She did a pretty fair job of keeping bigger-than-life Russell Crowe in check. She’s beautiful, but aging badly… forget crow’s feet, she’s got crow’s everything (including Crowe’s cock in her mouth). I guess it’s nothing a little surgery around the eyes and a dental dam couldn’t fix. Oscar win or not, she’ll never top riding the mechanical horse in Career Opportunities. The next mildly substantial role belonged to Marisa Tomei. With her return to success, has the Best Supporting Actress curse finally been lifted? Current Max Bickford sidekick Marcia Gay Harden doesn’t think so. Kate Winslet is always solid all the way around (actually, she’s always chunky all the way around). She won’t win for Iris, but wearing such a horrid wig for the entire film deserves at least a nomination. Maggie Smith got a nomination because for the simple-minded Academy members, “British and crusty” usually means “charming and nominated”. If she hadn’t won twice already, she’d be the favorite here. The last vacancy is filled by Helen Mirren, because they are forced to have five in the category, and there is literally nobody else.

SHOULD WIN: Christopher Nolan (Memento)… but he’s not nominated, so Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind)
WILL WIN: Robert Altman (Gosford Park)
Most years the Academy gives out a “charity” nomination in this category, so it can say that it rewards visionary work. This year, two worthy candidates got passed over – Chris Nolan and Todd Field. Sadly, Nolan’s lens was overpowered by Memento’s script, and Field’s direction was overpowered by In The Bedroom’s actors (people seem to forget that Field orchestrated the quiet performances and the foreboding silence, the keys to the power of the film). Instead, the charity bid went to Peter Jackson – not that he didn’t deserve it. Really, Best Director is the only nomination The Fellowship Of The Ring actually deserved. Regardless of how awkward the screenplay was, the film looked amazing, and he avoided alienating millions of Tolkien fans. For me, the deserving winner is a tough call between Ron Howard and Ridley Scott. Howard had a head start with A Beautiful Mind’s extraordinary script, and he made the most of it by drawing out exceedingly strong performances and weaving in the year’s most valuable musical score. The big negatives for Howard were the shameless nods to his own films, including one to How The Grinch Stole Christmas, when a little girl was carrying a Dr. Seuss book (of course, there’s no need to discuss the bigotry of Howard and Seuss here; that is discussed at great length in my article “You’re a Racist, Dr. Seuss”). Had he stopped there, I would have been okay with it. But did we need to see the Apollo 13 spacecraft in the background sky in 1970? Or the firefighters on their way to a blaze in Chicago? The mermaid was certainly a bit much. The slam-dunking octogenarians were utterly outrageous. And the Potsie cameo was simply embarrassing. Scott is this year’s Most Improved Director. He’s finally back on track doing quality work. He really should have been dissed last year for Gladiator, but such is life at the Oscar Bungalow. With Black Hawk Down he took what could have been a laughable shoot-em-up flick and made it tense and stirring. There’s not a moment in the film that didn’t make me feel wrought with anxiety. A third acceptable choice for Best Director is David Lynch, for Mulholland Drive. Any purveyor of graphic lesbian sex gets my approval. The least deserving, but most likely to win, is Robert Altman for Gosford Park. I’m sure the Academy feels it’s time to honor the decrepit old hack. Why do people worship this guy? Did he cure a life-threatening disease or something? Have people failed to notice that all of his films are horrible? It would be nice if someone finally called attention to the emperor’s new clothes. Until then, every actor and actress in the business will be dying to work with him. Why? So he can bury them in a talentless role in a screwball ensemble? So he can make murder mystery dull by hiding it in 1930s England? So he can send up the fashion industry by having all the female models walk the runway in the nude? Hang on a second… maybe this guy’s not so bad after all…

WILL WIN: Memento
Since I’m the model of modesty, I’d just like to point out that one year ago, before its theatrical release, I predicted that Memento would be victorious in this category. Back da fuck up. Memento really should have been placed in the Adapted Screenplay category, as Chris Nolan says it was adapted from his brother’s story. But instead, they nominated both brothers for the screenplay and put it in the Original category, where it actually has a better chance of winning. If it doesn’t win, I’ll be absolutely shocked, as it is one of the best screenplays ever written, period. I thought The Royal Tenenbaums was very good, and I’m thrilled to see Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson get an Oscar nomination, but I would have rather seen it for their superior film, Rushmore.

SHOULD WIN: A Beautiful Mind
WILL WIN: A Beautiful Mind
Since it’s not competing against Memento, there’s no reason A Beautiful Mind shouldn’t win. It’s a slick piece of writing. The “twist” (which I won’t give away) was pretty excellent, even though it’s a trick that has been over-used in the past few years. Credit Mickey Rourke’s Angel Heart for inventing that maneuver, by the way. I don’t think In The Bedroom will be a serious threat, since the script was probably the film’s weakest aspect. The Fellowship Of The Ring doesn’t have a chance, as it suffered greatly from an awkward ending forced upon it by the book’s anti-climax. Shrek won’t be given a second thought either, but its presence in this category sends the message that digital animation will be a serious contender in the future. The final nominee, Ghost World, wasn’t seen by enough people to garner any votes. Besides, the film itself fell a bit short of the screenplay.

Looking back on my picks, I see that I have once again placed too much faith in the Academy. I have predicted that in almost every category, their picks will align with my own. The evil masterminds at the Academy will not permit such logical choices. So scrap the whole thing. The Fellowship Of The Ring will win everything.

Review This Item




Submitted by SullyThePirate at 2004-10-12 23:57:34 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

Submitted by me <me.at.me.net> at 2002-03-19 13:27:36 (#)
Ranking: 1

"I don't agree that momento is the best movie this year, not by a long shot but that's personal taste for you."

Memento definitely should've been best picture. One of the best movies I've ever seen and it's a shame A Beautiful Mind had to win it.

Submitted by gibberish at 2004-07-30 16:24:12 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

Submitted by Christ at 2004-07-23 13:51:34 EDT (#)
Rating: -2

You suck testicles! Boo!

Submitted by Random Joe at 2002-03-19 15:53:32 EST (#)
Rating: 2

Kudos to Dig for using the word 'cooter.'

Submitted by Random Joe at 2002-03-19 14:59:30 EST (#)
Rating: -2

You suck.

Submitted by Random Joe at 2002-03-19 13:27:36 EST (#)
Rating: 1

I don't agree that momento is the best movie this year, not by a long shot but that's personal taste for you.

My personal pic would have to be Mullholland Drive, a brilliant movie to those who know movies and probablly a horrible movie to those who would rather see beautiful mind which of course will win the oscar.

The only award up in the air is the best female lead. Should this be sissy spacechick or will it go to hallevenerial disease?

Guess what, who cares!

Submitted by Random Joe at 2002-03-19 13:06:10 EST (#)
Rating: 2

I'm rating this so highly because Ryan is probably correct with his
picks. I'm also fairly in line with his 'should win' picks as well,
although I'm one or two people off. Crowe's performance was
very good to excellent. However, still not the best. Everyone
from Gosford Park was not excellent, they were merely good.
Laziness in acting does not translate to excellent. In the Bedroom
was an acting feat, if you have never seen any good acting
before. I don't know what all these critics are talking about.
It's of the caliber of a Monday Night Whack-a-Ho pictures
that my ex always loved to watch, until I started whacking...
no. That's not true. Halle Berry gave one of the best
performances ever. Yes, EVER. The range and conviction was
too good to ignore. Spacek's performance was admirable as well.
What's the difference between the two? The roles deal with
very similar emotions, but both actresses handle it in
different ways. Plus Berry has not one but two very convincing
orgasms. I'll send you the shorts I was wearing during the
film to prove it. And Dig, shut up about the whole advertising
tricks thing! Don't you want to see Brittney Spears in a
similar role some day?

Must destroy mankind! (His watch alarm goes off) Ooh, lunchtime!

-- Homer Simpson
Homer Goes To College