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
Speaking of Harv and Bob, Oscar campaigning has been less nausea-inducing than usual — that is, if you don’t dwell on the drivel being written by the Los Angeles Times and New York Times in their new awards-show blogs. (Please prescribe a Xanax stat for Tom O’Neil’s hyperventilated prose.) Interesting how this year’s absence of backbiting coincides with the Weinsteins’ MIA status while their new company gears up. Still, the dysfunctional duo did manage to eke out two Best Actress nods (Judi Dench for Mrs. Henderson Presents and Felicity Huffman for Transamerica). But don’t be surprised when gossip columns soon start outing category rival and current front-runner Reese Witherspoon as a Ku Klux Klan member or, worse, a Republican donor.
Meanwhile, it’s never too early to prognosticate about who’ll win these lame awards, who’ll lose, and who’ll just jerk off. (Sorry to work blue, but given that this year’s films include gay cowboys, trannies and a song about a pimp, just deal.)
BEST ACTOR: This category should be renamed Best Impersonation of a Real-Life Dead Guy. Terrence Howard fails to qualify. David Strathairn is known as an actor’s actor, which means he’s never the first guest on Leno or Letterman. Translation: He’s not flashy enough to win. Joaquin Phoenix played it like Johnny Cash Lite, so he’s out. Philip Seymour Hoffman eerily seemed more Capotesque than even the writer’s archival footage, so he’s the front-runner. Which leaves as his only serious competition Heath Ledger. I dunno, couldn’t he have married someone hotter than Michelle Williams? I think that lapse in judgment alone gives the Oscar to Hoffman.
BEST ACTRESS: The geezers love Dame Judi, but Dench won too recently. Same with Charlize Theron. Keira Knightley is too waifish; she needs to pack on 50 pounds for a role to get serious notice. Which leaves Felicity Huffman in the perennial Oscar-favored gender-bender role versus Reese Witherspoon in the less admired I-didn’t-think-I-had-to-sing role. Both are one-half of famous Hollywood couples: Felicity is married to William Macy, who always collects accolades, while Reese is wed to Ryan Phillippe, who mostly collects unemployment. Reese therefore gets the sympathy vote.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Forget loony William Hurt, who once fired an agent for “making me into a movie star.” Jake Gyllenhaal already has the next best thing to an Oscar: on-again-off-again girlfriend Kirsten Dunst. Matt Dillon hasn’t done anything decent since 1983, when he played opposite Ponyboy in The Outsiders. Not even George Clooney spitting up spinal fluid can mitigate those Vanity Fair glamourpuss photos of him at the wheel of the speedboat he keeps at his Lake Como villa. By contrast, Paul Giamatti looks like a troglodyte. The ugly guy wins.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: This is usually the wild-card category. (Two names: Marisa Tomei and Juliette Binoche.) Amy Adams and Michelle Williams are still nobodies. Frances McDormand already has one for Fargo. Catherine Keener always elevates the material, so that alone should make her the shoo-in for her work in Capote. But the Academy desperately wants to assuage its liberal guilt and bestow largess on The Constant Gardener. So Rachel Weisz is the beneficiary.
BEST DIRECTOR: Spielberg limped into this category. It’ll take more years for the Academy to forgive Clooney for making Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Paul Haggis and Bennett Miller came close, admittedly. But Ang Lee wins for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
BEST PICTURE: Too close to call between Brokeback Mountain and Crashfor the reasons I’ve cited above. But if the adulated Don Cheadle campaigns hard, give the edge to Crash.