Shine those shoes and Botox those foreheads! The Oscars are coming! This year's list of nominees has been released (see the full list here), with some surprises and some eye-rolls. Here are my initial thoughts:
The 2010 Academy Awards are over, and now I don't know what to do with myself. I suppose I'll have to take up some kind of legitimate hobby like knitting or fly fishing in order to keep busy until August when the Fall Movie Preview edition of The Bible (AKA Entertainment Weekly) is released and I can begin the Oscar process all over again.
Sadly, this was not a victory year for me. I lost the Oscar Crown (awarded to the honoree who predicts the most Oscar winners) to my mother for the second year in a row, despite the fact that I have seen more of the nominated films than she has, read more Oscar articles and blogs than she has, and I have a much more meticulously organized system for my Oscar ballot. Also, she hasn't even seen Avatar. I am ashamed to say I walked away with only 15 out of 24 categories correct, however, I was pleased with the way things went overall. Let's break down the winners and losers, shall we?
WINNER: Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first female to win an Oscar for Best Director.
As both a woman and a disgruntled James Cameron hater ("hate" is a strong word... I would say I find his arrogance and general demeanor extremely annoying), I was very excited to see Bigelow take home the statue for The Hurt Locker, which is now the lowest grossing Best Picture ever. Hear that, Avatar? You can take your "record-breaking" (don't get me started on the issue of inflation and 3-D ticket prices) multi-billion dollar box office gross and shove it. Money can't buy you a Best Picture title.
LOSER: Sarah Jessica Parker's dress. And face.
My hatred for SJP is completely unwarranted and irrational, but I can't help it. I can't watch her movies (with the exception of Hocus Pocus, for obvious reasons), but even without my personal bias I would still recognize that her Oscar gown looked like a middle schooler's Shop project slash Home Ec project. Her hair-do did nothing to help her, pulling her face so that she looked positively skeletal. Note to SJP: Eat a cookie and put down the spray tan.
Let's face it, Meryl could show up at the Oscars high on six kinds of psychotropes, wearing a dead deer carcass and a "George Bush for 2012!" button and still be a Winner. Meryl is a goddess, and everything she does is gold. She broke her own record (again) this year for most acting nominations with her 16th for Julie & Julia. By the way, Academy, the last time Meryl won was 27 years ago. She's now 0 for 12 since then. Kindly remedy this egregious oversight on your parts.
LOSER: Screenplay winners.
I know it seems odd that the "winners" are Losers, but I was quite disappointed by the upsets in the screenplay categories. Yes, Precious was a great film, but the acting carried it, and I was really hoping the Adapted Screenplay Oscar would go to the amazing Up In The Air which got exactly zero awards. In honor of this and the aforementioned injustices, I will announce the winners of the new Oscar categories I have created:
Best Transformation From Tertiary Twilight Character To Oscar-Nominated Clooney Costar: Anna Kendrick
She went from teen vampire romance to Oscar nominee in a matter of months--not an easy feat. Also, she successfully maintained her cool when accosted by E! "reporter" Giuliana Rancic (I swear, anyone can be an entertainment reporter these days... Is there no dignity left in celebrity voyeurism?) at the Golden Globes. Rancic did not even try to feign interest in Kendrick past her gown, and instead openly tried to use her to get an interview with the cleverly evasive George Clooney. Rancic lost interest in Kendrick when she wouldn't play along, and the camera cut away as Rancic chased after Clooney, shouting at his date in Italian. I'm not kidding. Look it up on YouTube.
Best Impression--I'mma Let You Finish--of Kanye West: Crazy Lady Who Apparently Co-Produced Music By Prudence
There was definitely a WTF moment when, halfway through the acceptance speech of the nice man who picked up the trophy for Best Documentary Short, some seemingly random woman hustled onto stage and tried to commandeer the microphone from him. He did not surrender his space (or his Oscar).
Best Bow Tie: Ryan Reynolds
Have you seen him?
Best Use of Neil Patrick Harris in a Musical Number: Academy Awards
This was a close race, considering his wonderful performance in How I Met Your Mother several weeks ago, but ultimately he was best-utilized here. It would be a different story if Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog had been eligible, or if NPH had already finished his stint on Glee.
Best Acceptance Speech in the History of Speech: Sandra Bullock
Not only is Bullock amazing, she is from my hometown, and she is married to Jesse James. If anyone but her had won Best Actress, I would have been appalled on Meryl's behalf at her having been robbed yet again (you know what you did, Kate Winslet), but I am so glad Bullock pulled it off, mostly because her speech was as deserving of an award as her performance in The Blind Side. I laughed, I cried, I had a sudden urge to hug my mother, it was beautiful. Plus, bonus points for thanking Meryl in her speech and referring to her as her "lover." I'm declaring it now: Sandra is the next Meryl. Spread the word.
I know I'm considerably behind the rest of the country on this one, but I finally saw 'An Education,' and I have to say I don't really understand all the hype. Don't get me wrong, it was a good movie, but I don't see it winning any Oscars. I had reservations going into it because I knew it was one of those teenage-schoolgirl-falls-for-cultured-older-man movies, and I have never really understood or appreciated that whole thing. That being said, Peter Sarsgaard gives a great performance as the older man in question. Most of the time you can't really tell that he's creepy because he's just so damn charming. He must have some kind of mind control powers. He's like the parent whisperer. How else do you explain a thirty-something-year-old man being able to convince his barely-seventeen-year-old girlfriend's parents to let her go with him to Paris for the weekend? Seriously?
Okay, I generally have no problem whatsoever with the suspension of disbelief for the sake of a film, but this just completely baffled me to the point of distraction. What kind of father lets his daughter spend the weekend with a near stranger who is upwards of fifteen years her senior? I mean, I know it was the sixties and everyone was more laid-back and love, peace, and LSD and everything, but come on. That's just ridiculous. This wasn't the only thing that seemed off to me, either. Carey Mulligan's performance as Jenny, the main character, was quite impressive. However, she's supposed to be sixteen going on seventeen yet she acts more mature than even the most seasoned seventeen-year-old. And not in a "I'm-trying-to-act-older-in-order-to-be-treated-like-the-adult-I-aspire-to-be" way, but in a way that seems more appropriate for a middle-aged housewife. For example, when a piece of *ahem* sensitive information is revealed on the way to a family dinner with her parents and her creepy older suitor, Jenny stoically absorbs this development and handles the situation with far more levelheadedness than I think anyone in her position could possess. I understand that Jenny is supposed to be incredibly intelligent and very mature for her age, but for God's sake, she's still only seventeen.
All in all, 'An Education' really was a very good movie. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I enjoyed dramatic coming-of-age stories about English teenagers, but I just couldn't get past the absurdity. Yes, Peter Sarsgaard is lovely and endearing, but would I allow my teenage daughter to spend the weekend with him? Maybe not.
Did you feel that? I just got chills. It is officially Fall, and you know what that means: Oscar Season is upon us! I can practically taste the excitement, which, in case you were wondering, tastes a bit like maraschino cherries and burnt toast. I have already thoroughly dissected my Entertainment Weekly Fall Movie Preview issue and covered it with color-coded, meticulously spaced Post-it notes. (I am not exaggerating. Look! I added a picture!) I do this every year. My slightly obsessive compulsive nature is only heightened by my passion for all things entertainment. Ask anyone about my DVD collection. I have a very specific method of organization that only myself and my friend Kay understand. My family makes fun of me constantly and complain that they can never find the movies they're looking for (despite the comprehensive list of films- in order- that I posted beside the DVD shelves), and occasionally they move a DVD out of order just to mess with me. "But why don't you just organize them alphabetically?" people ask me. Psh. Amateurs. My organization is much more complex than that. It includes content-based classifications, transition genres, and sub-categories such as "Unplanned Pregnancy" and "Movies Based on Comic Books." (I'm sorry, "graphic novels" is the preferred term.) Naturally I am even more excessively organized when it comes to the biggest event in entertainment: The Academy Awards.
I won't bore you by systematically going through every movie being released this Fall, but I'll give you the run-down of my early inclinations and the movies I'm most excited for:
The Road, based on the post-apocalyptic novel by Cormac McCarthy (who wrote the novel-turned-Best-Picture-Winner No Country For Old Men, or as I like to refer to it, 'No Country For Tediously Drawn-Out Plot Lines That Leave You Feeling Empty Inside.') is a shoo-in for Best Picture. It seems only fair that since last year's Best Picture winner was the delightful feel-good movie Slumdog Millionaire, that this year's statue should go to the most depressing film of the year. To be honest, I would rather see District 9, the alien apartheid allegory win it. After all, it was produced by Peter Jackson, and I'm pretty sure there's some rule about him automatically getting an Oscar every time he makes a movie. In any case, it looks like no matter how you slice it, this year's Best Picture winner is going to be about the self-destruction of humanity in a not-too-distant future. (I miss the adorable dancing Indian children already.)
I'm thinking Hilary Swank is definitely going to snag a Best Actress nomination for her titular role as Amelia Earhart in Amelia. I mean, look at the facts: she's playing a historical figure, she has a ridiculous haircut, and she's playing opposite Richard Gere. (Hey, it worked for Julia Roberts, Renée Zellweger, and Cate Blanchett.) Of course, it's also possible that Precious will sweep both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. Mo'Nique might as well go out to Ikea right now and buy herself a well-priced Swedish shelving unit (I recommend Benno) for all the awards she'll be getting come this Winter. I can barely get through the preview for Precious without bawling, so it's guaranteed Oscar gold.
Matt Damon looks hilarious in The Informant, but word on the street (Mulberry Street, to be exact) is that George Clooney's dramatic turn in Up In the Air will give him a run for his money. Let's be real here for a second, though, people. Maybe you haven't heard, but Morgan Freeman is playing NELSON MANDELA in December's Invictus, directed by Clint Eastwood. So, to recap: Morgan Freeman, Nelson Mandela, Clint Eastwood. Enough said.
On the other hand, we have Daniel Day-Lewis starring in Nine, the musical that's based on the broadway play that was based on the 1963 drama 8 1/2. Not to be confused with its homonymous rival, 9, the post-apocalyptic animated film starring what appears to be a group of sandbags with googly eyes. Let's play a little game of "One of These Things Is Not Like the Others" with the cast of Nine, shall we? Two-time Academy Award winner Daniel Day-Lewis, Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman, Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard, Academy Award winner Penélope Cruz, Academy Award winner and six-time nominee Judi Dench, Academy Award winner Sophia Loren, and Fergie. (To her credit, she did win an MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip-Hop Video for "My Humps.") Kate Hudson's role in Nine is almost equally WTF-inducing. Despite my hatred for Fergie, I'm superbly excited for Nine, and I'm confident it will earn one of this year's TEN Best Picture nominations (weird), unless there's a huge upset and All About Steve' nabs the last spot on the ballot.