January 22nd, 2009


Steven A. Taylor's Academy Awards Brouhaha (The Curious Case Of Slumdog Milk/Nixon)

Boom goes the dynamite! Another Oscar Nomination Post!

I'm not gonna lie to you, I have seen roughly zero-thirds of the movies that have been released in the last few months. So, I'm going to base my opinions on who I feel should win by the veracity with which I wish to see the involved films.

First, and really, most importantly, if the Academy gives Best Animated Feature Film to anything but Wall-E, I will line them up one by one, hog-tied, upside down, and rip their god-damn tits off with my bare hands! Kung Fu Panda and Bolt may be the cutest little things since those tiny Wonder Bread loaves they used to make, but I don't care! Waaaalllll-eeee.

Now, nobody hates the idea of "The Duchess" more than me, so it soothes my savage heart to see that it's only up for the crappiest of shitberg catagories like Art Direction and Costume Design. You know who I hate more than life itself? Kate Winslet!

Wait, what? Kate Winslet wasn't in The Duchess you say? Then who am I thinking of?

Nevermind! First she tugs at Oscar's ballsack with Atonement and then she goes all Victorian on us with this tripe! No more, Kate Winslet! You've HAD yours!

OK, let's get to the writing before I forget. First, adaptations. We've got one HELL of a tango in Paris on this one, with four awesomely AWESOME movies that I've totally seen, with my eyes. Benjamin Button, Doubt, Frost/Nixon, and Slumdog Millionaire are all POWERHOUSE accounts of filmmaking expertise (and from what I understand, The Reader has a lot of boobs). Therefore, having given this a lot of thought, my vote is for boobs. But Benjamin Button will win because, come on, it's F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story.

As for Original writing, you've got Milk, you've got a surprize inclusion of Wall-E, you've got Happy-Go-Lucky which I hear is just fabulous, you've got In Bruges which I hear is tolerable, and you've got Frozen River which, if I've done my homework, is about fishing. Or, I guess, border-smuggling in Canada. Why do I have the feeling I saw previews for this movie about 19 years ago? You're telling me this thing is just now seeing the light of day? Anyway, I've got this one going to Milk in a landslide (mostly since it's an awesomely awesome movie that I've totally seen, with my eyes; and mostly because it'll be shut out in the other major catagories).

All right, all right, time to stop fucking around. We want meat and potatoes, God damn it! ACTING!

Supporting Actress. Marissa Tomei gets naked, Taraji P. Henson was in "Hustle & Flow" a few years ago, Penelope Cruz is a sexy latina, Amy Adams is a cutie-pie, and Viola Davis is black. This one's tough. Tomei won't win because any awards going to "The Wrestler" shall be directed towards Mickey Rourke and ONLY Mickey Rourke. Taraji won't win because, let's face it, she was in "Hustle & Flow" a few years ago. Penelope won't win because Oscar doesn't go in for these sexy romps. Amy won't win because she's too much of a cutie-pie. My money is on Viola Davis, mother of a boy who may or may not have been sexually abused by a priest. Mark it dude, that's my slam dunk lock of the year.

In the Leading Actress catagory you've got frontrunners Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married) and Meryl Streep (Doubt) and you've got the rest of the field. Kate Winslet won't win, even though Oprah loves her rack. Angelina Jolie won't win because, honestly, who the fuck saw "Changeling"? That leaves RAGING underdog Melissa Leo from Frozen River (no, not the fishing movie). I'd watch out for her, since Hathaway and Streep could very well split their votes right down the middle. In a pinch, Oscar loves surprising with this catagory more than any other, but I think with the year she's had, combined with the fact that she's one Academy Award away from being a true Hollywood Princess - as stunningly beautiful as they come - I'm going to go out on a limb and say Anne Hathaway will get hers. Followed by every quality female role Hollywood has to offer for the next 3 to 15 years.

The catagory everyone will be talking about - mostly because it has just about all of the best actors Hollywood has to offer - is Supporting Actor. Michael Shannon is the only guy you've never heard of (it says in IMDB that he was in Groundhog Day; my guess is that he's the groom-half of the couple that received Wrestlemania tickets from Bill Murray; if I'm right on that, somebody owes me a Coke), but I have a feeling someone will follow up a statement like that with, "but after his turn in 'Revolutionary Road', he'll be somebody you'll remember." Yeah, well, forget him, because nobody saw 'Revolutionary Road', nobody will ever see 'Revolutionary Road', and there's absolutely no way he'll win an award for his work in 'Revolutionary Road' because he's going up against the biggest of the Big Dogs there is. Are. Is.

Josh Brolin, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr., and THE Heath Ledger. Milk, Doubt, Tropic Thunder, and The Dark Knight. First, let me just say that the fact that The Dark Knight was snubbed from the Best Picture catagory is mind-boggling. I'm all for the small "arthouse" pictures that Oscar has been favoring like a limp-legged step-child for the last few years, but COME ON! Have the balls to let ONE blockbuster through! I'm not saying you have to give it the award, but Jesus, when a movie grosses the second-highest take in movie history to Titanic and it only gets technical awards ... that's a travesty! Now, I'm not going to say they're only nominating Heath Ledger because he died - because he trounced my expectations as The Joker - but they PROBABLY only nominated Heath Ledger because he died. And if you don't think he's going to win, you're looney tunes.

Which is too bad, because Philip Seymour Hoffman is awesome in everything he does. And Josh Brolin has come on like gangbusters the last few films he's done (Milk, W, American Gangster, In The Valley Of Elah, No Country For Old Men). And I'd REALLY like to root for Robert Downey Jr. as a white Australian playing a black Vietnam Vet from the 60s in one of the most outrageous comedic roles I've ever seen in the sheer BALLS it took. But, let's face it. This is Heath Ledger's world and we're all just swimmin' in it.

And with that, I'll segue right into Leading Actor. We can split this up easily into three tiers. On the bottom, you've got Richard Jenkins in some movie I'll never see and you've got Frank Langella as Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon. I'm sure the two Dicks were great, but no, I'm sorry, thanks for playing, our producers will give you the Academy Awards Home Game on your way out the door.

On the middle - very much higher, more prominent tier - we've got Brad Pitt (Benjamin Button) and Sean Penn (Milk). I'd like to think that Brad Pitt could break on through and get his Leading Actor award; lord knows he's been trying his damnedest with these unpopular indie movies for the last few years. But, my hunch is, the make-up department and the special effects department deserve this award more than he does. He's a popular, well-liked face, and a damn fine actor whose day will come. But, it won't be this year. Sean Penn, on the other hand, has his awards. And since Milk is this awesomely awesome movie that I've totally seen, with my eyes, I know for a fact that he was amazing in it. But, if the Globes hold true, he'll be left at the altar on this one.

Let's face it, dude, it's Mickey Rourke by a mile in the top tier. I'm not going to say this is as much of a lock as Daniel Day-Lewis in last year's There Will Be Blood, but I will say it's close. Call it a make-up for Rourke's snub in 'Harley Davidson & The Marlboro Man'. Just make sure to give half of that Oscar to Don Johnson. In fact, everyone who wins an Oscar should give half of it to that wonderful, wonderful man.

Best Picture:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Last year, these catagories went to No Country For Old Men. Does Oscar have the cojones to do it two years in a row? I say no. My money is on Milk, The Reader, and Frost/Nixon being shut out of all major catagories. David Fincher will win Best Director for Benjamin Button because he's FUCKING RAD TO THE BONE! See: Zodiac, Fight Club, The Game, Se7en, and even Panic Room if you don't believe me. And Best Picture will go to Slumdog Millionaire. Because it's the little Indian Movie That Could. Because it's got more buzz behind it right now than a fucking fleet of bee-powered lawnmowers. Because it's not trying to be political, or revolutionary, or excessive with its bared breasts. It's just a good fucking story. And if Oscar loves anything, it's a good fucking story.

And finally, give the Man On Wire a cigar for Documentary Feature