Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Oscar Preview and Predictions

Well, the Oscars are upon us, so I have to jump in here and make my predictions. This Sunday night (Feb. 22), numerous of you out there will waste a good 9-and-a-half hours of your life watching the Academy Awards Ceremony, while simultaneously trying NOT to throw your shoe at the television as Ryan Seacrest and Joan Rivers babble on about how important they are and interview celebrities that are pretending to be interested in them. However, if you check out my blog, you will receive all the important Oscar information you need - and you’ll only waste about 20 minutes of your life reading this, which is a lot better than 9-and-a-half hours.

Unfortunately, there is one monkey wrench in this whole scheme: I have yet to see the majority of the movies that received Oscar nominations. In fact, I’ve only seen like 2 or 3 of the movies that received Oscar nominations. So, when making my predictions, it would only be fair for me to use the films I’ve seen this year to gather my nominations and pick a winner. This may greatly diminish your desire to read this column, but you will be happy to hear that I will not be predicting the countless awards that are entirely worthless and that no one cares about. Do you really need to know which picture had the Best Costume Design or Film Mixing? Are you dying to find out the best Foreign Language Film or Documentary Short? I didn’t think so. AND, to make up for the awards I’m cutting out...(are you ready?)… I decided to add a few of my own. You’re welcome.

And now, predictions for the 81st Annual Academy Awards…from an unqualified and ill-equipped source that has yet to see basically every Oscar-nominated film and even added a bunch of stupid awards of his own. I bet you are just dripping with excitement.

Actor in a Leading Role
My Nominations: Robert Downey Jr. – Iron Man; Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler; Jason Segel – Forgetting Sarah Marshall; Dev Patel – Slumdog Millionaire; Jim Sturgess – 21

Winner: Robert Downey Jr. – Iron Man

It was a close call between Downey Jr, Rourke, and Patel, but in the end I was most impressed by Downey. The demons and trials of his own life translated perfectly to Tony Stark, and I thought he played the role to perfection.

Actress in a Leading Role
My Nominations: Frances McDormand – Burn After Reading; Freida Pinto – Slumdog Millionaire; Angelina Jolie – The Changeling; Eva – WALL-E

Winner: Freida Pinto – Slumdog Millionaire

I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is yes - this prediction is complete crap. I had a tough time coming up with four ladies for my nominations (I even had to use an animated character that couldn’t talk). I also don’t like Angelina, so I chose Pinto for the award, mainly because she was the only other of my nominations in a legit “Oscar movie” (Slumdog). Plus, she was so pretty it made my teeth hurt. But let’s move on quickly before you fully grasp how poor that prediction really was.

Picture Most Likely to make you Throw-up from Long-Sustained Motion Sickness: Cloverfield

Picture that was Agonizingly Long and is Most Likely to Cause Eye Gouging and Suicide Attempts: The Other Boleyn Girl, Sex and the City, and Australia (take your pick)

Actor in a Supporting Role
My Nominations: Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight; Robert Downey Jr – Tropic Thunder; James Franco – Pineapple Express; Brad Pitt – Burn After Reading; Matthew Fox – Vantage Point

Winner: James Franco – Pineapple Express

Franco showed just how strong of an actor he can be by playing the “stoner/drug dealer” role flawlessly. His burn-out routine really enhanced the transcendence of the film, and showed his versatility as well. How many other actors can play a revenge-minded super-villain (Spiderman), the son of Richard Gere in a chick-flick (Nights in Rodanthe), the homosexual boyfriend of a gay rights activist (Milk), and a pot-head? Well, maybe a lot of actors can, but Franco is the only one to do it to this point, so he deserves the award.

Picture that may have been mediocre at best, but seemed much better because a previous version of the film was grotesquely terrible: The Incredible Hulk

Picture that caused a giant spike in the number of pot-heads and may have been single-handedly responsible for the Michael Phelps incident: Pineapple Express

Picture that was created simply to try and scare the living hell out of high school girls
: Prom Night

Actress in a Supporting Role
My Nominations: Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler; Anne Hathaway – Get Smart; Angelina Jolie – Wanted; Everyone - The Women

Winner: Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler

No, I didn’t see The Women, but it had tons of big-name actresses in it and was a huge chick-flick, so I figured I’d give them all a nice plug by putting them in one group and throwing them in the field of nominations. I truly am an incredibly nice guy. But Tomei definitely deserves this award, and she is actually nominated for this Oscar, which adds some legitimacy to my selection. Her win for My Cousin Vinny was questionable, but if she wins this time, no one should be surprised.

Picture that forced me to kind of, sort of, maybe start to like Tom Cruise…maybe: Tropic Thunder

Picture that was not nearly as funny as I expected but was still relatively good: Burn After Reading

Picture that was much funnier than I expected and also relatively good: Four Christmases

Picture I am most likely to stay up until 4 in the morning watching on cable, despite the fact that it was incredibly stupid and will be a complete waste of my time: Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay

Animated Feature Film
My Nominations: WALL-E

Winner: WALL-E

A runaway victory for WALL-E in this category, for two reasons: First of all, it was actually a very clever and well-made picture, and it was by far the best animated movie I saw this year. Second of all, it was the only animated movie I saw this year, so even if it sucked, it would still be winning this award. But, what I said about it first is true, and that is the part that really counts.

Worst Picture I have ever watched on an airplane: Fool’s Gold

Picture that entered my top-3 list of “Worst Movies I Have Ever Seen….EVER”: The Strangers

Picture that single handedly tried to ruin a legacy, and I discovered this by watching only 5 minutes of it on TV: Stars Wars: The Clone Wars

My Nominations: Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire; Christopher Nolan – The Dark Knight; Jon Favreau – Iron Man; Joel and Ethan Coen – Burn After Reading; Andrew Stanton – WALL-E

Winner: Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire

It was a close race between Boyle and Favreau (Iron Man), but in the end I have to give the Oscar nod to Boyle. Slumdog was one of the best films I saw all year, and I was pleasantly surprised that it lived up to the insane amount of hype it has gotten over the past few months. Also, it often seems (to me at least) that so-called “Oscar worthy” films are never as good as everyone pumps them up to be, but I felt like Slumdog avoided this category. The storyline and writing were phenomenal, and the strong acting by complete unknown performers was just the nacho cheese on top (most people say cherry, but I like nacho cheese). Boyle’s genius deserves to be recognized.

Picture that continues to prove that Dane Cook should quit acting and stick to stand-up comedy: My Best Friend’s Girl

Picture that made me want to start gambling impulsively, despite the fact that I would most certainly lose every cent to my name: 21

Picture that I didn’t see because I knew the title was much better than the film could ever end up being: Bangkok Dangerous

Best Picture
My Nominations: Slumdog Millionaire; The Dark Knight; The Wrestler; Iron Man; Tropic Thunder

Winner: The Dark Knight

This was another close race, coming down to The Dark Knight and Slumdog Millionaire. Slumdog is a fantastic movie, and if it wins the actual Oscar for Best Picture, I will not be surprised. But for me, I felt Dark Knight was deserving of the honor. I thought the acting was terrific across the board; Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Michael Cain, Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman were all great, and Maggie Gyllenhaal was even an upgrade over Katie Holmes (in terms of acting, at least). The story was deep, intense, clever, sarcastic, and humorous all at the same time. I also thought it was much better than Nolan’s first installment (Batman Begins), which I felt was good, but sub-par for my “Batman” standards. If Nolan does decide to make another sequel, he will have a tough act to top. But for now, he should enjoy my blessing of the Oscar for Best Picture. I mean, it may not be the real thing, but it can’t be too far behind…can it?

My review of the Oscars Ceremony will be coming at some point next week. Yup, I’m attacking this thing from every angle. Look out Joey Fatone; if I keep it up, your job is mine.

Thanks for reading

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