(Prediction: Sunday, February 27th, 8:00 p.m. EST)
It’s Oscar season. Are you excited? I am excited. I get excited for the Oscars because all of the famous people are dolled up and looking excellent on the red carpet, posing for pictures and taking questions from Joan and Melissa Rivers, who are Hard Hitting Journalists. The Oscars are America at its best, and America at its best is the only America I’ve ever even heard of.
So I’m predicting the Oscars. I know what you’re saying to yourself. “I’ll bet you didn’t even see any of these movies, Tom O’Hare, because they’re not on Netflix Instant and you’re too poor to go to the movie theater because you spend all of your money on cigarettes.” To which I’d reply that one of the nominees is, in fact, on Netflix Instant, thank you, that I’ve seen it, and that I ALSO saw ‘Inception’ in the theater last summer, when I was not quite so broke. I would point out further that with these types of large data-set predictions, it often doesn’t matter how much specific knowledge you have of the data in question, and that picking names out of a hat can be a very sound course of action, indeed. (I will not actually pick names out of a hat, though, for my Oscar predictions. My system is much more clever. And sneaky.)
Have you ever participated in a March Madness pool? When, like, even though you don’t follow college basketball at all during the regular season, for the week between the release of the official bracket and the start of the tournament you’re frantically researching, like I dunno, Gonzaga’s points per game versus Purdue’s overall defense to see which team you should pick for easy first round points? Have you ever done that? And your buddy who subscribes to ESPN The Magazine and has a satellite dish and a TiVo and NFL RedZone or some shit is all, “I’m gonna mop the floor with you, mister!” and you’re like, “Ha! Not if I can help it!”? And then thirty days and many pitchers of cheap beer later, you’re watching the National Championship, but it doesn’t even matter anymore, because your ESPN The Magazine buddy’s friggin’ girlfriend already won the pool, and all she did was just pick the team names that sounded the nicest?
It is directly a consequence of this phenomenon that I am making Oscar predictions. I am a fairly firm believer in shit luck.
If you have an office Oscar pool going on, heads up! I’m talking to you. You do not want to be the butt of the jokes at the water cooler Monday morning. “Hahaha,” Wendy will say, “Phil picked Javier Bardem for Best Actor, what a homosexual” snicker, snicker — in this case you are Phil, and your face turns red, and you feel bad for Wendy because she is a bigot. Wendy makes you pony up the $10 you wasted by not reading this article. Your credit card’s maxed out and you can’t afford lunch. Way to go, pal. Shoulda probably read this, shouldn’t’ve ya?
You should have. Don’t even argue.
On to the categories!
Actor in a Leading Role Best Actor: Sorry, The Academy, but we plebes call this one Best Actor. “Actor in a Leading Role” sounds stupid, and I really don’t know why your stodgy little website has to put on airs about this. Just call it Best Actor and move the fuck along.
So. Who we got? We got Javier Bardem, who was good in ‘No Country for Old Men.’ Jeff Bridges, who was good in the ‘Big Lebowski,’ Jesse Eisenberg, who was good in ‘Zombieland,’ Colin Firth, who I feel like I’ve seen in a movie before, and James Franco, who is hosting the Oscars. Wait–what? James Franco is hosting the Oscars? And he’s nominated for an Oscar? And he played a guy who cinematically cut his own arm off for that nomination? And he goes to Columbia? And he teaches a class about himself to college students? And they’re willing to spend their parents’ money on it? OMG, this one’s a no-brainer.
Prediction: Jesse Eisenberg
Okay, so this one’s got Batman, John Hawkes, who I’ve never even heard of, Jeremy Renner from ‘The Town’ (Holy shit! I saw that one! I’ve seen THREE Oscar nominated movies!), Mark Ruffalo from that movie about old lesbians who want to have sex with men and who I’ve never even heard of, and Geoffrey Rush, who is from Australia. This one is slightly more difficult, because I wasn’t counting on Australia being a factor, but it is.
Strong field in this category. Real strong. Annette Bening, who played an old lesbian (not sure if she was the one who converted to penis, though), Nicole Kidman, who was in a movie I’ve never even heard of, Jennifer Lawrence, who is a human being I’ve never even heard of, Natalie Portman, who is reportedly pregnant (CNGRTZ NATZ!), and Michelle Williams, whose ex-husband is dead and was named Heath Ledger. Michelle Williams’ dead ex-husband won an Oscar last year, which would seem to give her the leg up in this race (like dead ex-husband, like wife), but The Academy doesn’t really work that way. What The Academy wants is a nice acceptance speech that will make everyone happy, not Michelle Williams on the stage looking all spritely and twee and saying a bunch of mopey stuff like, “I miss you, Heath! You were Australian, too!” So I’ve got to take Michelle Williams out of the running. That being the case, there’s only one other possibility, no matter how much it pains me to say it.
Prediction: Serious actress, Natalie Portman
This category’s basically a bunch of no-names that I’ve never heard of. Amy Adams and Melissa Leo (never heard of you!) from the movie that Batman will win an Oscar for, Helena Bonham Carter, who is creepy, Hailee Steinfeld, whose name rhymes with Seinfeld and who is all of six years old (the talent was a little thin this year, eh, The Academy?), and then Jacki Weaver, who I’ve never even heard of and who was in a movie called “Animal Kingdom,” which has got to be the stupidest name for a movie with human beings in it I’ve ever heard. Maybe the reason the movie didn’t make enough money for me to even hear of it was because it had a stupid name. Ever think of that, Producers of ‘Animal Kingdom’?
Prediction: The little girl
Okay, we got ‘Black Swan’ action, ‘Inception’ action, ‘The King’s Speech’ action (musta been some pretty good closeups of that lisp, buddy!), ‘The Social Network,’ and ‘True Grit.’ I’m going to break out of neutral-observer mode for a second here. Even though I’ve only seen ‘Inception’ on this list, and even though I thought the story was kinda dumb and none of the characters were sympathetic (because they were all very boring!), that movie had some rather awesome cinematography, and if it does not win, it will have been robbed. Ergo,
Prediction: ‘True Grit’
Why is this even a category? I know the people who design costumes must work very hard, but Christ. Is there an award for Best All-Around Go-To-Guy On A Set? No? Then why is there an award for this shit?
Prediction: ‘Alice in Wonderland’
‘Black Swan’ guy vs. ‘The Fighter’ guy vs. ‘The King’s Speech’ guy vs. ‘The Social Network’ guy vs. the Coen Brothers. Notice something? Total sausage fest. Great job, The Academy! I think the Coen brothers won a couple years ago, so they’re out. ‘Black Swan’ guy is out because I’m liking his film less and less as I write this review. ‘Fighter’ guy and ‘King’s Speech’ guy are out because they just are. That leaves,
Prediction: ‘Social Network’ guy. Take it to the bank.
I’ve only even heard of two of these, and one of them is one of the three Oscar nominees I’ve seen this year. So, the two that I’ve heard of are ‘Exit through the Gift Shop’ (which is also the one I saw) and ‘Inside Job,’ which I think is about how criminals run Wall Street and the United States government is beholden to the moneyed powers and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it short of a popular uprising — which, let’s be honest, I’m making that up, but even if it’s half true The Academy will not approve.
Best Documentary (Short):
OMG. Never heard of any of them, but did notice that all of them except one are directed by teams of two. The Academy loves an underdog in categories that don’t matter, so they’ll give it to the guy who didn’t need any help directing his short documentary.
Prediction: The one directed by one guy instead of two.
Why do we even pay attention to foreign films? It’s not like any of them are any good. This year we have contenders from Mexico, Greece, Denmark, Canada, and Algeria. Honest question: Canada makes movies? And they’re considered “foreign”? Hey, whatever helps you sleep at night, Canada!
I actually have a dog in this fight, as I thought the trailer for ‘The Social Network’ with the youth choir singing Radiohead was pretty cool. Plus, Trent Reznor. He’s got the most street cred of all those no-name clowns competing against him. Plus plus, the guy who co-scored it is named Atticus, which I thought was just a name people called heroic literary figures, not a real name-name. That seals the deal.
Prediction: Nine Inch Nails
Best Original Song:
Best Original Who Gives a Flying Fuck, is more like it.
Best Short Film (Live Action), Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects:
Doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter. These are your bathroom break Oscars.
The problem with the Oscars is that all the same movies get nominated over and over again. Like, I dunno, I’ve never seen any of the ‘Twilights’ or read the ‘Twilight’ saga, but I just know that the guys and gals who had to adapt that monstrosity into a screenplay deserve an award for something. For perserverance, maybe. For not slitting their wrists and bleeding out in a bathtub. Something. At any rate, this category is stocked with the same names we’ve already heard before, so I’ll cut right to the chase.
Prediction: ‘Twilight,’ in an upset
‘Another Year,’ another stupid name for a movie. God. Also nominated for Best Original Screenplay is the movie with Batman in it, the movie that the Batman director directed in between directing Batman movies, the movie about the old lesbians who need a man in their life, and the movie about the genetic risks of inbreeding among royal families.
Prediction: One of the Batman ones. Flip a coin.
And finally, my friends, the award we’ve all been waiting for!
First, I’d like to thank The Academy for increasing the number of nominees to ten. Lord knows it wasn’t hard enough being an Oscar prognosticator with five films in consideration. Maybe next year they’ll add another ten, just to make me squirm. Whatever. Fuck you, The Academy. Do whatever the hell you want to do. You know how I feel about you, I know how you feel about me. Let’s keep it that way.
So okay, Jesus. There’s a lot of them. There’s the one with Natalie Portman growing wings and making out with Mila Kunis (who I’ve heard is only a figment of Natalie Portman’s imagination in the movie, which means Natalie Portman is making out with herself, which: lame!), the one with Batman in it (again), the one that Batman’s director directed (again), the one with the old lesbians who can’t get enough cock (again), the genetic mutant royal family drama (again), the one where James Franco cinematically cuts his own arm off, the one that should’ve been called Facebook, the one about the complicated emotional lives of children’s toys, the one with the five-year-old and the Dude, and finally there’s ‘Winter’s Bone,’ which I still have never even heard of. The competition is fierce, in a word, and it was incredibly difficult to make my decision. But make it I did. And it is with great humility — nay, great certainty! — that I offer my pick for the Best Picture of the year.