Saturday, February 23, 2008
Oscars, Part Deux!
Well, we here at Stevereads were right. But the Academy - that shameless coven of spoilsports and dimwits, caught in a tight fishnet of popularity-contest mentalities - picked otherwise, strayed from the path of wisdom and started spraying around undeserved honors in all directions. And withholding them, in the case of Ben Affleck and "Gone Baby Gone.": We must not be petulant; we must revise our perfect choices in light of Hollywood's tawdry reality. We must be bigger that way.
So here's the list of our new, revised Oscar picks, also infallible, for you-all to print out and consult during your coke-soaked Oscar Night parties. No need to thank us.
Best Supporting Actress: Our reasoning here is unchanged - Cate Blanchett will win for her Bob Dylan turn in "I'm Not There." The only possible spoiler would be Ruby Dee for "American Gangster" (Saoirse Ronan might get more attention than she deserves as well, but only because her omission would mean the much-touted "Atonement" itself would be entirely omitted), but sentiment only goes so far: Blanchett will win.
Best Supporting Actor: Again, our reasoning holds true - no matter how deserving Casey Affleck is for his work in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," the Oscar will go to Hal Holbrook for his indelible performance in "Into the Wild," and he'll get up onstage looking like a million bucks and give a salty, pitch-perfect acceptance speech, and even Philip Seymour Hoffman will smile. Then Holbrook will be dead within the following year.
Best Actress: The odds-on favorite right now is Marion Cotillard for her performance in "La Vie en Rose," and there may have been a time when we here at Stevereads might have thought the same way. But the Academy has spoken, and the tea leaves speak of history in the making: Cate Blancett will win for "Elizabeth: Golden Age," thereby becoming the only actress in Oscar history to climb up on the stage for both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress in the same evening. Count on her to have something witty to say the second time. Our suggestion for the second win? "People will say we're in love."
Best Actor: It's this category more than any other (well, except Best Director, which is still so sore a spot that we find it hard to mention) that disappoints us here at Stevereads. Tommy Lee Jones for a picture four people saw? Viggo Mortensen for a silly, cotton-candy role? Johnny Depp, for anything, ever, under any circumstances? Yeesh. We look away for a moment or two, and chaos erupts! What's going on here? We might not like roasting tobacco addict Josh Brolin, but he deserves a nod for "No Country for Old Men." We likewise have little regard for roasting tobacco addict Emile Hirsch, but how can the Academy ignore his affecting performance in "Into the Wild"? Johnny Depp? Johnny Depp?
We can ignore him, as we can safely ignore the other weirdo nominees. The contest will come down to George Clooney for "Michael Clayton" (a very strong performance, one of the rare ones where Clooney seems to give a crap) and Daniel Day-Lewis for "There Will Be Blood," and the winner, as we predicted weeks ago, is hands-down: Day-Lewis will win for his performance, which has already achieved iconic status. He will certainly win, and in his acceptance speech (for the record, we're predicting he won't make one because he won't attend) he'll come across as a nickel-plated asshole.
Best Director: We tell you: the wound is still raw. Ben Affleck deserved to be not only nominated but to win for "Gone Baby Gone," just as the Patriots deserved to win the Super Bowl. That his efforts weren't even noticed is a great groaning injustice the like of which the Academy hasn't perpetrated in quite some time, and it renders the actual contest somewhat meaningless. The Coen brothers will probably win, but who cares? They didn't do the best directing of the season, Ben Affleck did. and he was ignored for his trouble. We're sorry, we know you all look to us for wisdom and guidance, but we can't help it - this category is a struggle for second best, and who cares about that? Ben Affleck is 2007's Best Director, and all the rest, to quote Leo McGarry from "The West Wing," is crap.
Best Picture: well, as we previously wrote, this is the one for all the marbles, and it should be "Gone Baby Gone," but it won't be, since the Academy didn't see fit even to nominate it for consideration. So again, we're talking here about a kind of consolation prize, since the winner, no matter who it is, won't be the best. But still, there are strong contestants, so we have to weigh in. The contenders are "Atonement," the loathesome "Juno," "Michael Clayton," "No Country for Old Men," and "There Will be Blood." Aside from "Juno" (which fails to realize that if you're hip and cynical about everything, you'll de facto be hip and cynical about the handful of things you can't be hip and cynical about without abrogating your moral humanity)(but it hardly matters, since the film is so trivial its nomination has to be some sort of fraternity pledging-prank), they're all solid, well-made movies, although "Michael Clayton," essentially a thriller along the lines of "No Way Out." We think it's safe to say it'll be ignored on this account. That leaves "Atonement," "There Will be Blood," and "No Country for Old Men." "Atonement," as already noted, will be completely ignored. That leaves "No Country for Old Men," which isn't really a movie at all so much as it is a bristling collection of horrible portraits, and "There Will be Blood," which is weird and utterly involving and, as we've noted, utterly dominated by a consummate acting performance. So we're giving it to "There Will be Blood" for the big win.
So there you have it! Print it out and take it to heart, trotting it out at your benzadrine-fired Oscar Night parties! We have spoken. So be it.