BY GEORGE ARTSITAS — It’s really sad how much I care about the Academy Awards.
I care enough to spend hours memorizing who old winners are. I actually feel cool knowing all of the best pictures directly from memory, and I don’t care that I know it’s not cool. People make fun of me behind my back. Friends make fun of me. I will not be deterred, however, because I like the Oscars
I care enough to seriously consider writing a book about the history of Oscars. I wanted to be one of those talking heads on the History Channel that discuss a bevy of cinophilic topics. My name would read at the bottom right of the screen with my profession as “Oscar historian”. This was the ultimate pipe dream; I wanted to pursue a life just to be able to say I was an “Oscar historian.” I even started doing research. Thank god the first thing I did was an Amazon search for similar books. Suffice it to say I would’ve made the same amount of money the producer of Zzyxz Road made. Even still, now, I consider it a possibility down the road, just for fun, because, well, I like the Oscars.
I care enough to write an absolute hell of a piece predicting the winners this Sunday. To be honest, I’m already in the bag for this year’s show no matter what, but it does have a lot of potential. Some solid upsets are brewing in the big categories, Seth McFarlane is going to be much more solid than people think and the Golden Globes, lest we forget, was an absolute blast. With my luck, it will probably turn out to be harder to watch than old Terry Schiavo footage and Seth McFarlane will end up stringing the show along with awful fart jokes before Sally Field has the lamest moment in Oscar history (SEE BELOW). Again, I won’t care, because I like the Oscars.
The Best Picture race this year is just a miserable run that’s boiling down to the lesser of evils. It’s like the end of Talladega Nights when all the cars are on fire and the drivers are just running by themselves down the homestretch before they dive and slap the checkered finish-line in exhaustion.
Suffice it to say, this Best Picture race is not as locked up as it been in the past. Silver Linings Playbook has the Weinstein factor, Lincoln has the history factor, Argo has the sneaky-Clooney factor and Zero Dark Thirty has the You’re-Not-an-American-if-You-Can’t-Remember-Where-You-Were-When-Osama-Died-Factor. It’s probably going to come down to the campaigning if Argo somehow doesn’t continue to trend upwards. For an awards show to become so inundated with politicking and campaigning for individual awards, it’s incredible to see how prevalent it is this year when more people in the public are aware of it then ever.
Vegas has Argo as the favorite at -800. No reason it shouldn’t be. It won the Golden Globe where we got to see Affleck look like a hoodlum while having his gorgeous wife on his arm. It’s almost unfair. The guy dumped Jennifer Lopez for Jennifer Gardner, has two gorgeous kids, gets to pile-drive JImmy Kimmel any time he wants and his life is less then 24 hours from getting even better. He would be impossible to root for under any circumstances, but he was the bombs in phatoms, yo.
I don’t necessarily think Argo was the best picture of this year. It was a Michael Mann-ish movie with a happy ending. The production design and costumes seem good, but my parents hadn’t even hit puberty yet with the film takes place so what do I know what that era looked like. The reasons why people love this movie I don’t buy 100% but it’s not like I didn’t like it. I don’t think I know anyone who didn’t like it either, so at least there won’t be backlash. It really is the lesser evil.
It also helps that Lincoln was at one point a -600 favorite to win before winning anything. That brings a smile to my face.
If there is one great thing that would happen from an Argo win is that it came out in October. Hopefully this will mean executive will spread out nominees throughout the fall instead of pumping four Grade-A Oscar bait movies all on Christmas, necessitating spending ten hours in a cineplex on Egg Nog’s holiest day to get a head start on Oscar season. For this, I will root for Argo.
Okay, I remember hearing that Daniel Day Lewis was going to be Lincoln. I had been excited about this project for years now, especially back when Spielberg wanted to re-team with Liam Neeson to be Honest Abe before he was Taken 2 The Grey. Photos leaked of Neeson and he looked awesome and I was ecstatic to be able to root for a Spielberg movie again. Then, Spielberg upgraded to Lewis, a guy who has a higher hitting percentage than Mark Price at the foul line.
About a year later, Lewis is a -30000 favorite to win Best Actor.
That’s not a typo. Honestly, the number could’ve been played when the poster came out. He cinched the Oscar when news broke that he was going to play him. Nobody even needed to see the movie. It wasn’t just his to lose, but to have the BIGGEST UPSET OF ALL TIME handed to him to lose.
Here’s my supreme issue with this. The performance was certainly solid and deserving of praise. But to say the guy embodied Lincoln? Come on. Who the hell knows what Lincoln was like, how he sounded or what his demeanor was like? All I know about the guy is that he didn’t lie, freed slaves and killed vampires. That’s all I know. I’m sure DDL studied phonographs and whatever other doo-hickeys they had available back then to capture someone’s speech. I just don’t buy that this guy can be the greatest actor ever after a handful of performances. If/when he wins, he will be (including a possible snub in 2002 for Gangs of New York. I don’t believe this, but I’ve heard people are upset about this). I’m not ready to hand over the ultimate crown of screen acting to a guy who has a resume as sparse as Chris Tucker’s. Sorry.
I really want Bradley Cooper to win. I don’t think anyone really thought this guy could act as much as he showed in Silver Linings Playbook. The acting in this movie as a whole was incredible and should win at least two out of the four categories they’re in. They won’t, but a guy can pray. At the very least, Cooper has gone from big-time name to bankable star in one movie. Just think, we were calling this guy NutZach just a few years ago.
Jennifer Lawrence is the odds on favorite, and considering she is the only favorite I really support and agree with, I could not be happier about it.
She’s at the perfect time in her career to win an Oscar. She’s broken-through in a major way over the last two years, and if she can take home the naked gold guy holding a reef, it’s hard not to see the parallels between her and Meryl Streep. Before the OScar, her career resembles Scarlett Johansen. She’s gorgeous but not a true classic beauty (like, for example, Jessica Chastain), she’s made a huge splash in serious movies as well as commercial films alike and has a mystique about her that men and women both love. Let’s hope to god she wins tonight so we don’t have to watch her in fifteen subsequent Woody Allen movies, marry Ryan Reynolds and sext pictures of herself to the entire Internet. (The latter reason I can really go either way on.)
To keep with the pervy theme, there was a very weird quirk in Jennifer Lawrence’s performance. She herself, is a beautiful woman, but she’s not necessarily a classic beauty. She comes off very “attainable”. If you added the sex addict factor she has in Silver Linings to the irrational delusion that if you ever met her in real life, you’d have a chance, I can see adolescent boys making her one of the hottest women in Hollywood subconciously. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the adolescent boys demo to go up for Catching Fire.
My big issue with this years nominees is what defines a great Best Actress this year. The two front-running contenders, Lawrence and Chastain, both had their “Oscar moment” (SEE BELOW) where they confronted a man. They both yelled at them as loudly as possibly, opening their mouth much more that needed so the audience could tell if they had ever gotten their tonsils out. Both began to tear up afterwards. Whether it was a tak about the apathy towards hunting Osama or talking about how crazy you are, it seems like yelling was the benchmark of good acting this year for women. Just watch, both those scenes will be shown during the ceremony. I promise that, and it’s a travesty.
We’ve become so conditioned that screaming is the equivalent of emitting high emotion, and subsequently, had a good performance. Lawrence’s performance was so much more than just her losing her temper for a second. It’s sad, but I guess screaming good is really tantamount to an Oscar. But if that’s what gets a person an Oscar instead of extreme nuance and truly great moments, call them scream queens, not Oscar winners.
Best Supporting Actress
Anna Hathway. It’s cut and dry. She wins it. Shes at the perfect time of her career. She really is America’s hidden sweetheart if you really think about it. she’s a bona fide star who is very likable and went from Disney to one of the most beloved musicals ever.
Also, Anne Hathway, unlike any of her other competition, has an “Oscar moment.” This is exactly the same as a “Heisman moment only”, especially in this case, a little more singing. For Hathway, that close-up of her dirtied face before she sang the Susan Boyle classic “I Dreamed a Dream.” is probably the best moment in acting of this year. It’s time to welcome Anne Hathway as an unquestioned household name. I think she’s the next Julia Roberts, minus the Lyle Lovett.
As far as the other nominees, Sally Field seems to be the only other option in this category. But honestly, does anyone really want to hear her say, “You STILL like me, you STILL really like me?” This would be the most cringe-worthy moment ever in the Oscars (and Citizen Kane lost to a movie called How Green is my Valley?) It would be lamer than if James Cameron won for Avatar and said “I’m STILL king of the world.” Please Academy, spare me.
Best Supporting Actor
I don’t understand why people love Alan Arkin so much. The easy answer is because of his storied career that was enhanced by his role in LIttle Miss Sunshine. A lovable heroine addict. Who couldn’t love that?
I’m sorry, I don’t like Alan Arkin. Since he was a sympathy nominee and this category is just chock full of seasoned stars, it remains up in the air. Robert De Niro making it on this list is an abomination for playing a bookie with a rooting interest in a particular team. Phillip Seymour Hoffman could’ve had this locked if Paul Thomas Anderson didn’t make The Master such a weird experience in filmmaking (should I have expected something different?)
My biggest gripe of the entire year is that two of the three best performances of the year were in the same movie. Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz both murdered (NOT A PUN, SWEAR TO GOD) Django Unchained and strung along the two and a half hour brilliantly. John Goodman, who people seemed to love in Argo, was a revelation as Denzel’s coke-dealer in Flight. If you can quantify pure joy divided by screen time like some kind of new age stat, John Goodman would be a sabrematrician’s dream in that movie. It’s probably the best thing he’s done since pretending he went to Vietnam.
Since DiCaprio and Goodman where snubbed, it has to go to Waltz. He’s just so adorable and charming everywhere he goes, especially as a bounty hunter in this movie. I also think the Saturday Night Live performance was perfectly timed. So what if he wins to Best Supportings so close together? Never stopped Daniel Day Lewis from winning anything.
I also like Ang Lee should win for Best DIrector. I don’t think there was movie that was praised more for being converted to screen than Life of Pi. For that reason, I think it should win. The buzz has the man most synonymous with filmmaking as the winner. Big number three for Steve Spielberg. It would suck if it turns out that way, but it just seems the way the cookie is starting to crumble. I don’t are, I still like the Oscars.