Friday, February 25, 2005

If I Ran the Oscars

This is what you've all been waiting for, readers (surely some of you bastards have been waiting for this ... please?). Chase McInerney picks the Oscars:

The Aviator
Finding Neverland
Million Dollar Baby

Who Will Win: We loved the loopy, larger-than-life spectacle of The Aviator, but ultimately the movie boasts more bells and whistles than soul, and that is likely to make Academy voters believe it's just not "serious" enough for the self-important title of Best Picture. And so the Oscar goes to ... Million Dollar Baby, an excellent film in its own right (if a little less serious than it pretends to be).
Who Should Win: Sideways hit all the right notes, a pitch-perfect masterpiece of poignant character study, raucous comedy and wine-drenched tragedy.
Glaring Omission(s): We will go to our deathbed never understanding Ray's inclusion here. OK, that's a little over the top; surely, we will go to our deathbed not understanding how to set the VCR machine, either. That said, if we ran the Oscars (hence the name of this friggin' post!), that fifth nominee slot instead would have been filled by one of the following: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Maria Full of Grace, The Woodsman, The Incredibles, Kinsey or Spider-Man 2.

Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda
Johnny Depp, Finding Neverland
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Aviator
Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby
Jamie Foxx, Ray

Who will win: No contest: Jamie Foxx channeled the spirit of Ray Charles in one of the rare instances that tour-de-force seems an appropriate term.
Who should win: People who weren't even nominated.
Glaring omission(s): Where to begin? Both Eastwood and Depp were customarily great, but both could have been dropped to make room for others. The omission of Sideways' Paul Giamatti is the most obvious travesty. But Javier Bardem for The Sea Inside, Sean Penn for The Assassination of Richard Nixon, Jeff Bridges for The Door in the Floor and Kevin Bacon for The Woodsman are all deserving candidates.

Annette Bening, Being Julia
Catalina Sandino Moreno, Maria Full of Grace
Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake
Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby
Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Who will win: Swank. Her work in Million Dollar Baby is as much of a revelation as she was in Boys Don't Cry. She doesn't work too often, but when she does, it's a doozy.
Who should win: Swank. Although we're big fans of Catalina Sandino Moreno's debut in Maria Full of Grace, Swank's brilliance in Million Dollar Baby is impossible to dispute.
Glaring omission(s): No complaints about the nominees, but personally, we would have selected Helen Mirren in The Clearing above Bening, whose radiance is about the only thing that made Being Julia bearable.

Alan Alda, The Aviator
Thomas Haden Church, Sideways
Jamie Foxx, Collateral
Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby
Clive Owen, Closer

Who will win: The conventional wisdom says Morgan Freeman, although we wouldn't be shocked if Clive Owen wins. Still, our money is on Freeman, who is long-overdue for the award.
Who should win: Heck, we've got no quarrel with Freeman's acting chops. Either we'd award the Oscar to him or go with Clive Owen, who was the best thing in Closer, or Thomas Haden Church, a marvel of comic timing in Sideways.
Glaring omission(s): Foxx's role in Collateral was a lead part, for Pete's sake, and Alan Alda's admissible performance hardly rose to the level of a nomination. That said, we don't think there are any glaring omissions, although Freddie Highmore for Finding Neverland would have been an inspired selection. That is one talented lil' kid.

Cate Blanchett, The Aviator
Laura Linney, Kinsey
Virginia Madsen, Sideways
Sophie Okonedo, Hotel Rwanda
Natalie Portman, Closer

Who will win: Blanchett steals most of her scenes in The Aviator, so we think she's the odds-on favorite. Plus, Katherine Hepburn won a whopping three Oscars during her lifetime, so it's only fair that someone win an Oscar for portraying the actress herself.
Who should win: Well, we're still partial to Madsen solely on the basis of that terrific monologue in Sideways regarding the allure of wine.
Glaring omission(s): Personally, we would've rejected a Linney nomination and added either Meryl Streep in The Manchurian Candidate, Laura Dern in We Don't Live Here Anymore or, yes, even Irma P. Hall for the criminally underrated The Ladykillers.

Martin Scorsese, The Aviator
Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby
Taylor Hackford, Ray
Alexander Payne, Sideways
Mike Leigh, Vera Drake

Who will win: Nail-biter between Scorsese and Eastwood. We suspect that Marty might just eke out the win, simply because as Oscar has eluded him for for far too long.
Who should win: It's a tough call, but we'd give the nod to Scorsese. That said, Payne and Eastwood did amazing work this year.
Glaring omission(s): Hackford's nomination is absurd. More deserving -- by a long shot -- would have been Finding Neverland's Marc Forster, The Sea Inside's Alejandro Amenabar, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind's Michel Gondry, A Very Long Engagement's Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Maria Full of Grace's Joshua Marston or even The Bourne Supremacy's Paul Greengrass.

Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, Before Sunset
David Magee, Finding Neverland
Paul Haggis, Million Dollar Baby
Jose Rivera, The Motorcycle Diaries
Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Sideways

Who will win: We suspect this will be the consolation prize to Payne and Taylor for Sideways getting shafted in other categories.
Who should win: That said, Payne and Taylor deserve this Oscar.
Glaring omission(s): Oh, if we want to nitpick we might say Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant for A Very Long Engagement, but all the nominees here are top-notch.

John Logan, The Aviator
Charlie Kaufman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Keir Pearson and Terry George, Hotel Rwanda
Brad Bird, The Incredibles
Mike Leigh, Vera Drake

Who will win: This one really is a toss-up. John Logan is the likely winner, but the Academy's left-leaning social-consciousness might just gravitate to the writers of Hotel Rwanda. We will gamble here and say Kaufman will win it, especially since the Academy might feel a few pangs of warranted guilt for short-shrifting Eternal Sunshine elsewhere.
Who should win: Charlie Kaufman, Charlie Kaufman, Charlie Kaufman. Hands down, Eternal Sunshine is the most inventive original screenplay for a major motion picture since, well, Pulp Fiction. Oh, and Eternal Sunshine was also responsible for the most thought-provoking experience I had in a movie theater this year (excluding, of course, some decidedly different thoughts that leapt to mind when Natalie Portman performed her lapdance in Closer).
Glaring omission(s): Vera Drake is a good screenplay, but Bill Condon's work in Kinsey is terrific, taking a big, troubling and didactic subject and making it as entertaining as it is ambitious.

The Incredibles
Shark Tale
Shrek 2

Who will win: The Incredibles.
Who should win:
The Incredibles.
Glaring omission(s):
When the Academy is relegated to nominating Shark Tale, you know there were slim pick'ns. Meanwhile, Brad Bird's The Incredibles more than lived up to its name, and is Pixar's finest film to date.

As It Is in Heaven
The Chorus
The Sea Inside

Well, The Sea Inside is the only one of these we saw, but regardless, we can't imagine that anything else out there was better. Even so, how did The Chorus beat out A Very Long Engagement as France's entry?

Born into Brothels
The Story of the Weeping Camel
Super Size Me
Tupac: Resurrection
Twist of Faith

Who will win: Our prediction is Super Size Me.
Who should win: Not Super Size Me. But we haven't seen any of the other nominees, so what the hell do we know?
Glaring omission(s): The really, really, really unconscionable omission is Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, which, in our humble estimation, is the most enduring documentary of 2004.


At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having not seen a single entry, I have no business replying, but Chase might possibly hang himself if his Oscar blog is ignored, so...

Oscar Thoughts, by Jack Handy:

The Aviator - Howard Hughes portrayed by the fat-fetish kid from Titanic? No thanks.

Finding Neverland - Is this about Jacko?

Million Dollar Baby - I heard Clint cries in this movie. There's no crying in Dirty Harry movies!

Ray - Seriously? Jamie Foxx can pull off Ray Charles? I call BS.

Sideways - Isn't this about a pair of losers who get drunk and shag tramps? Now THAT'S a movie!


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