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
Now, for my peek inside the twisted mind of the Academy.
This ain’t Johnny Depp’s year, no matter how much we love him. That Leo scored a nomination, undeserved, since it robbed Liam Neeson of a spot for Kinsey,is reward enough for the Miramax machine. In a perfect world, Don Cheadle would win. But he ain’t as cool as Clint or fine like Foxx. Now, about that upset. Foxx is expected to win. But who in hell really thought Eastwood could chew up the scenery when most of his contemporaries are gumming their food? Talk that it’s the performance of a lifetime is Hollywood code for We’dbettergiveittotheguynow,beforehecroaks.Foxx has struck just that right ass-kissing “I’m not worthy” chord wooing Oscar voters. I still think Jamie will win in this category, but if he doesn’t, he won’t come away empty-handed. Keep reading.
In that same perfect world, the dumpy English broad from VeraDrakewould be the winner, just like Judi Dench before her. But it’s not DameImelda Staunton — yet — so forget her. No one on the planet saw MariaFullofGrace.Kate Winslet would have been a shoo-in for supporting, but not in this category. So the contest is between Annette Bening and Hilary Swank. Bening has the sympathy vote down cold. After all, she plays house with a has-been. But hers is a good performance in a lousy movie vs. Swank’s good performance in a great movie. Besides, Hilary dies.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Paul Giamatti deserves this hands down, but he wasn’t even nominated, because the category isn’t called Best Annoying Actor, now is it? Alan Alda is best known as the new Huell Howser of PBS, not as a movie actor these days. With so many good American performances this year, no one’s gonna give Oscar to Clive Owen, a Brit. It’s between Thomas Haden Church, best known as a dreadful TV actor, and Morgan Freeman, who’s played God, the U.S. president and Nelson Mandela. Only idiots would deny him the Oscar. But if that big upset we spoke of earlier happens, Foxx wins for his work in the wrong film, Collateral.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
No one plays blind or deaf, although there is a lot of hair dyeing. If the Academy decides to pull a Marisa Tomei, it’s Natalie Portman. But I doubt they can overlook her near-career-ending woodenness in StarWars.This isn’t Cate Blanchett’s year. And Sophie Okonedo doesn’t stand a chance. Laura Linney is Meryl Streep with a nicer nose. But Virginia Madsen will win, because Hollywood loves ex-sex-symbol survivors who, when their careers grew cold, had the good taste to avoid suicide.
There’s a reason “hack” is part of his name, so don’t consider Taylor Hackford for Ray.Alexander Payne is on the way up and Mike Leigh on the way down. What’s needed is middle ground. The East Coast is pulling for Marty. The West Coast is clamoring for Clint. If the Academy trends to Eastwood for Best Actor, they may give Best Director to Scorsese as a sop. If not, Clint wins.
Not in my lifetime will a movie about wine win the Oscar. FindingNeverlandshould never have been nominated. We’ll never know when the Academy will be ready to vote for a black film like Ray, or a blacker film like HotelRwanda,for Best Picture. (That’s right; I’m saying racism is rampant in Hollywood.) C’mon, this town hatedHoward Hughes — there are still actresses who won’t admit they slept with him — plus, his Nixon slush-fund contributions make him non-P.C. The voters will cry MillionDollarBaby.
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