By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Imagine police cars and fire trucks racing toward a building where a fat man, a short guy and a woman teeter on the roof’s ledge while the crowd below yells, “Jump!” Fantastical, sure. But clearly the message Academy Award voters sent this year to Harvey Weinstein, Tom Cruise and Amy Pascal is: Drop dead.
The snubbing of Cold Mountain(Weinstein’s Miramax), Last Samurai(Cruise for Warner’s) and Big Fish (Sony’s Pascal) is the only scintillating news to come out of Tuesday’s Oscar nominations announcement. The rest is a total snore. Well, it gets worse because we can expect even less buzz from the actual broadcast on February 29.
You heard it here first: It will be a crushing bore. No suspense. No surprises. No Michael Moore. And with Joe Roth producing, expect lots of “Young Hollywood” stuff, which translates into crotch shots of Ashton Kutcher and acne close-ups of Hilary Duff.
As far back as October, it became clear who was going to win this year’s Oscars. Jeez, even the I-watch-movies-therefore-my-opinion-is-authoritative blogging mouth-breathers — and you know who you are — can get it right this time around. That is, if they finally accept the fact that the Oscars have nothing to do with art or performances and everything to do with old scores to settle, runaway egos to lasso and flagrant jealousies gone amok.
So let’s handicap this lame race, shall we?Best ActorIf readers of Us, YM and In Style were giving out awards, Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean) would win hands down. If I were giving out awards, Ben Kingsley (House of Sand and Fog) would get another one because he scared the bejesus out of me in Sexy Beast. As for Jude Law, sorry, no Brits need apply this year. (Blame Tony Blair for partnering with Bush in all that war mongering.) No, this year it’s between Sean Penn (Mystic River) and Bill Murray (Lost in Translation).
Here are two of the most disliked people in Hollywood, with a difference. Penn has always been talented. Murray has always been toxic. The comedian spent years squandering the good will he’d built up in this town thanks to blockbusters like Caddyshack, Stripes, and Ghostbusters by acting like a total asshole the minute he had any success. He demanded to be cast in that remake of The Razor’s Edge, then singlehandedly ruined an otherwise good film. But on Quick Change, he really blew it. It wasn’t just the wooing sessions he demanded of studios. (Dawn Steel ordered authentic deep-dish pizza from his adopted hometown of Chicago.) It was the awful arrogance he displayed. (At the movie’s completion, he insisted that Geffen Films remove its logo from the picture.) Yes, he fell on hard times. Yes, he made amends with Rushmore. But here Oscar voters have a choice of rewarding bad behavior and worse behavior. Besides, some of Hollywood’s anti-Iraqi war fervor may tilt in Penn’s favor. And the geezers who fill out the ballot want to honor geriatric Clint. Sean Penn wins.
Whoever thought Nicole Kidman (Cold Mountain) would get another nomination (that’s you, Harv) had to be smoking something. Look, she had to disguise and disfigure herself (not to mention get dumped by Cruise) to win the Oscar last year. And the Academy is not going to feel sorry for her twice in a row. Forget Samantha Morton (In America) and Naomi Watts (21 Grams) because they’re relative newcomers to the Oscar race with lots of years to win ahead. (Translation: Their racks still hang high.) This is the category that usually goes to a sentimental favorite with a long body of work or a public tale of woe. Not to the 13-year-old kid from Whale Rider who, unlike Tatum O’Neal, didn’t have to put up with the horror of having Ryan as a father. (If she throws a tantrum, shut her up with a Juicy Couture velour hoodie.)
So it’s between Diane Keaton (Something’s Gotta Give) and Charlize Theron (Monster). Diane deserves to win. After all, she gave virtuoso performances living in sin with all those nutty superstars like Woody Allen, Al Pacino, Warren Beatty. Both her boobs and her butt will soon drag the floor. And she even made some incredible films. Unfortunately, the old broad is going to lose this year to stunt work by that annoying Theron, who pulled every trick to score this win. She gained 30 pounds. (Oh, like that’s sooo hard.) She dyed her blond locks mousy brown. (Again, a no-brainer.) She kissed Christina Ricci. (Lesbianism is so mainstream now.) And she told of the tragedy — to Diane Sawyer, no less — that her mother shot and killed Theron's drunken, gun-toting father when the actress was 15 years old. The only thing that could sink Charlize’s chances between now and final balloting is if she gives too many interviews. Have you heard her speak? She’s a moron who’s so in love with herself that Shrek’s egomaniacal Lord Farquaad could pick up pointers. Charlize Theron wins.