Wednesday, February 15, 2012

2012 Oscar Predictions From a Guy Who Doesn't Watch Movies: Return of The Artist

Before I get started on my fourth annual attempt at predicting the Oscar winners, let's start with some background information. As I state every year, I don’t watch or rent movies anymore. I pretty much stopped watching movies and DVD's when Hollywood studios began trying to out “special effect” each other in order to overcompensate for bad writing and a lack of original ideas, a/k/a "the George Lucas syndrome."

My formula for predicting the Academy Award winners despite not ever watching movies is simple. I use a combination of word of mouth, watching movie trailers, reading movie posters, and my own personal analysis of how Hollywood works.

So what type of film or role is the Academy looking for? Since I am not predicting the winner for Best Supporting Actor, let's take a look at the role Christopher Plummer played in The Beginners.

Plummer, who's 82-years-old, played an elderly man dealing with his decision to come out of the closet late in life. Much like in the movie Milk, where a actor like Sean Penn who's allegedly straight played the part of a gay man, a legendary Hollywood womanizer and carouser playing a new take on a gay character is exactly the type of thing that the Academy is looking for.

Let's look at it another way in the form of a question I received from a reader in Kleneth Falls, Oregon who came to my blog asking, "Why doesn't Will Smith have an Oscar?"

For the purposes of educating the masses, let's just pretend that this really was a serious question. Illustrated by way of multiple choice answers, here's the Academy's thought process as to why an actor like Will Smith may have been snubbed from winning an Oscar for all these years:
A)  Because he's a terrible actor;
B)  Because he's in terrible movies;
C)  Because these are the Oscars, not the Golden Globes;
D)  Because he's black;
E)  All the above.
If you chose E), "All the above," you either work for the Academy or you have a good understanding of how they think. Either way, you're ready to play along.

So without further ado, let's hope that the Academy ponied up this year and hired a host who can actually act so we can see how we did after we rank the nominees for Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Picture:

Best Actor:

5. Brad Pitt - Moneyball: Brad Pitt starred in two movies that were nominated for Best Picture. Of those two movies, Moneyball was not the one I would have expected to earn him a Best Actor nomination. And by the way Brad, doing an interview and saying that you don't really care much for baseball before you did the movie doesn't really show the Academy that you have range...The fact that he'll also give the show a big ratings boost probably didn't hurt his case for a nomination though.

4. George Clooney - The Descendants: Putting George Clooney in a Hawaiian shirt and saying that he made himself ugly is not going to cut it. Either go "all in" like Charlize Theron did in the movie Monster (to the extent that any future boyfriend of hers has to be at least slightly terrified to see what she looks like without make-up on), or just keep playing your debonair old self like you do in every other movie.

I hope George enjoys his prime seat at the Awards and his invites to all the A-List parties, because The Academy did him yet another favor by nominating him for Best Actor for his role in The Descendants. 

3. Gary Oldman - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: In Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy the normally eccentric Gary Oldman plays a cool and soft-spoken spy. Clearly, Oldman is following a poor man's version of the Robin Williams/Adam Sandler formula for success, where if you essentially spend your entire career coked up and/or acting like you should be in special classes, the first time you take on a role that is the least bit serious and dark you will receive immediate critical acclaim.

2. Demian Bichir - A Better Life: The story of a hard working illegal immigrant gardener trying to make a better life for his teenage son. Spoiler Alert! The scene where Bichir and his fellow immigrants get run out of Alabama due to the state's racist profiling laws, which as an unintended consequence causes all of the local strip clubs to shut down due to a lack of patrons, is a real tear-jerker.

1. Jean Dujardin - The Artist: This movie was a tribute to the silent movies of 1920's silverscreen. Dujardin's portrayal of an actor from that era is said to be brilliant, until you take into consideration that thespians in 1920's Hollywood were terrible. Want proof? I present to you the most direct Hollywood legacy link back to that era...Ms. Drew Barrymore!

Best Actress:

5. Rooney Mara - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: Rooney Mara winning a Best Actress Oscar in an American adaptation of a recent Swedish film would be equivalent to a hit British sitcom getting re-made in the States and getting all sorts of critical acclaim...Thank God Hollywood hasn't run out of ideas and sunk that low yet.

4. Michelle Williams - My Week With Marilyn: Then again, Hollywood really might be running out of story lines if you can get nominated for an Oscar simply by playing the role of an actress who won an Academy Award. Seriously though, someday, when Michelle Williams gets old and ugly, she'll be just as well respected for her acting skills as Meryl Streep and Glenn Close are...but she has to get old and ugly first.

3. Glenn Close - Albert Nobbs: Bonus points for doing a period piece that focuses on the proletariat and not the bourgeoisie. Points deducted for taking on a female cross dressing role. I'm not saying that Glenn Close doesn't look like a man, because she does. It's just that the female to male transgender role has already been played out in classic films like Boys Don't Cry, Sylvia Scarlett, Victor Victoria, Shakespeare in Love and Just One of the Guys. I don't exactly know where Hedwig and the Angry Inch fits in with those movies gender wise, but John Cameron Mitchell's role in that movie was far more deserving of a Best Actress Oscar than Close's role in Albert Nobbs.

"Hedwig and the Angry Inch" wasn't just a reference to the band's name.

2. Viola Davis - The Help: Critics are praising Viola Davis' weight fluctuation for this role. Shame on me for predicting that she'd never get another Oscar Nomination again for fear she'd get typecast after playing Precious.

1. Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady: What the fuck, now we have a male to female cross-dressing role? Oh wait, that's just Meryl Streep trying to portray former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Forget the fact that she didn't transform or even need make-up for this role, and so what if she's probably just the beneficiary of good casting, Meryl Streep looks just like Margaret Thatcher...and that's good enough for me.

Best Picture:

9. Moneyball: This movie was written by Aaron Sorkin, who also did The Social Network, another movie about a relatively recent story that would have been better off made as a TV movie or even a CSI episode. As we discussed last year, The Academy absolutely despises sports movies unless they're about fish out of water characters pursuing boxing, so I can't see Moneyball winning. Not only that, but as a baseball fan I steadfastly refuse to see this movie because of how factually inaccurate it was...Then again, this is Hollywood, and Hollywood don't care about minor details like the truth...Just look at any "documentary" Michael Moore's ever made.

As a Michigan State graduate, I'd like to formally request Michael Moore to stop wearing Michigan State hats in public. The University of Michigan is where all of the elitist slobs go to school in the state of Michigan, thank you...Even if most of them are east coast kids with good grades but who didn't have the minimal social activities like band or safety patrol to get into an Ivy League school. 

8. The Descendants: Making a movie starring George Clooney about dealing with feelings is kind of like making a movie about sex starring Dan Aykroyd and Rosie O'Donnell. I'm not saying movies like that can't be made, because unfortunately they were. I'm just saying that that movies like that shouldn't have been made.

7. Extremely Loud and Extremely Close: A supernatural fiction story about the aftermath of the 9-11 World Trade Center attacks designed to make money at the box office is about as tasteful as Ted Danson saying that he was allowed to dress up in blackface because he was dating Whoopi Goldberg at the time he did it. In hindsight, I think we can all agree that their "relationship" was a convenient cover for both of them. Ted got to use the "but my girlfriend is black excuse," while Whoopi was able to continue landing sexy A-List leading lady roles without coming out of the closet (Jumping Jack Flash anyone?). Not only did Extremely Loud and Extremely Close receive the lowest percentage (48%) on Rotten Tomatoes of any other movie nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, but it also stars Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock...presumably because first choices Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan were busy filming When Harry Met Sally, Too - Electric Boogaloo.

6. Hugo: Directed by Martin Scorsese? Yes! In 3-D? No! That's  kind of like bringing Gianni Versace back from the dead to do a line of clothing for Ed Hardy, or having Coco Chanel come back and do custom fitted designs for Juicy Couture. For the love of God, why can't Martin just knock off the crap and go back to making movies starring Robert De Niro? It would be good for both of their careers.

5. The War Horse: This movie is just a little too Forrest Gumpy to win an Oscar, although the horse probably did do a better job of tying a bunch historic events together than Tom Hanks did.

4. The Tree of Life: This movie was said to be an elliptical story pondering the origins of life...set in Texas in the 1950's...starring Brad Pitt. Yeah, that makes sense.

3. Midnight in Paris: Let's rate the level of culpability here in regards to crimes against our country's youth. Joe Paterno is dead, Jerry Sandusky is likely to go to prison, and Woody Allen is still free and subjecting us to movies starring Owen Wilson. Somewhere along the line our laws and justice system has failed us. And while we're talking about Wilson, can't we just have him sign on for a movie about WWF wrestler Owen Hart (who tragically died in the ring) and get it over with?

Not only does Owen Wilson look the part of Owen Hart, but he wouldn't even get confused by his character's name in the script...kind of like every part ever written for Tony Danza.
2. The Help: I liked it better when this movie was called Driving Miss Daisy.

1. The Artist: The Artist is supposedly a tribute to the silent film era of the 1920's. However, there's a reason that movies added color and sound as soon as that technology became available, as before that time they were God fucking awful. At the time the Oscar Nominations came out, The Artist had made less than a million dollars, still trailing many actual movies from the 1920's at the box office.

Nonetheless, at a time when too many movies are relying on CGI, we can expect the Academy to take a step in the other direction to find it's winner for Best Picture. Just remember, Hollywood is a copycat industry. Don't be surprised if we see Will Smith playing the role of early 20's African-American actor Lincoln Perry in a silent film documenting his life in a few years...And if it comes out in 3-D, that role just might bring him a Golden Globe.

Gettin' Jiggy Wit' It.   

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