Academy Awards Pre-viewing pleasures!

I am all atwitter (yes, I just said “atwitter”. Get over it.) about this week. First, it is Super Bowl week, a magical week where football comes to a magnificent head and blows its shoulderpadded load all over sports fans from coast to coast. Ask a football fan who they think is going to win, and they will give you a step by step breakdown of the season, who has the better secondary when in a 3rd and long scenario when blitzing 4 and the free safety in the A gap (I know – for those who aren’t football fans like I, you just read white noise. Yes you CAN read white noise. read the previous sentence and see if any of it makes sense). But other then my irrational obsession with football, this is ACADEMY NOMINATION WEEK! I am so over stimulated viscerally (since this NEVER happens, them both occurring the same time!) that I actually haven’t stopped talking for an entire day about the Oscars or football. And with some people, BOTH! By Sunday, the phrase “Who’s going to win” will have crossed my lips no less the 2,173 times, and made those closest to me contemplate the benefits of murder. Just to be clear: Yes you go to jail, and might be forced to give up “lovin'” to a large man named Bruno, but you never have to cook your own food again, or wash your cloths, plus prison workout are notoriously harsh, whipping you into the best shape of your life. So it isn’t all bad. But I digress…

This might be an odd choice – picking my favorites to win BEFORE viewing all the films. In fact, it probably would never work EVER. But, every year before the football season even starts – in fact, immediately AFTER Sunday’s game, the pundit’s will be picking NEXT years SuperBowl match-up. It is one of the glories of sport – you have a small pool in which to pick from, and you have basically a 1 in 16 shot of getting a team in the SuperBowl right. So, in that spirit, I will be picking My favorites for each category NOW, and then as I watch and review the films individually, my opinions might change. So we will see how this little experiment holds out. So, without further adieu…

BEST PICTURE
Good God… 10?! TEN BEST PICTURES NOMS….!?
Settle in for a second. think how much a waste that is. there is no runner up statuette. No Bronze Oscar for 3rd place. Just one. Why do we need 10?! In past years, yes, that might have been needed, even necessary. But this year? Look at the list, and you can find four films that can be scratched off right away (My thought on that: would Up, The Blind Side, District 9 or An Education be on this list in ANY other year?) My front-runner is “A Hurt Locker”. Now, I must admit, when it came out in theaters, I was not overly enthusiastic on it. However, I am hearing good things (yes, I saw it too, and was impressed) and think it has an excellent shot. All that being said, it is James Cameron’s “Avatar” that steals the glory – though I do think that there is a chance you might see Lee Daniel’s up there for “Precious”

Prediction: Avatar. Hopeful: The Hurt Locker. Dark Horse: Precious

BEST DIRECTOR
Maybe it is just me, but isn’t it a huge misnomer that the Best Director DIDN’T direct the best film? Shouldn’t that be the case? Wouldn’t the best director ALWAYS make the best film?

Not when James Cameron is making a film.

Ok, Ok, that is just me being bitter. James Cameron knows how to shoot an epic, visually stunning film. The way he creates a scene that is brilliant before your eyes borders on genius. There in lies the problem. If he worked for McDonald’s, He would make 1 Big Mac a day, it would cost 43 dollars (even though the menu said $4.95) look like the most incredible Big Mac ever. But there lies the problem: Once you eat it, you realize it taste just like every other Big Mac, and, even though it is pretty, you walk away still feeling a little hungry, like something was missing. Ladies and Gentleman: AVATAR!

Maybe I am not being fair, having not seen it yet. But – I somehow doubt it.

Prediction: A Hurt Locker Hopeful: Up in the Air Dark Horse: Avatar

BEST ACTOR
At first glance – I was shocked, and thought: “My God – this is the weakest Best Actor Class I can EVER imagine!” Jeff Bridges? Clooney? Jeremy Renner? You cannot be serious…
But then I thought about it. Jeff Bridges has always been around in that arena of “he could be brilliant or nuts – time will tell”. In a hybrid story of Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard, I keep picturing “The Dude” as Johnny Cash in “walk the line”. Let me put it another way: Remember when Michael Jordan Retired the first time and went away to play baseball, and people thought “its Michael Jordan! He can do anything!” especially to us impressionable 12-13-14 year olds then. Then we saw him hit. and field. and realized that something was not quite right as we watch the HOUSTON ROCKETS win the NBA title TWICE!!!
I am getting that sense of foreboding with Jeff Bridges.

Prediction: Collin Firth Hopeful: Jeff Bridges Dark Horse: George Clooney

BEST ACTRESS
As weak as the men are, the woman are that strong. It is like looking at an amazing cross section of talent, young, in Prime, and older – Maybe some of you remember the 1999 All Star game at Fenway – the all century team – as they announced these hall of famers, every name that came out was bigger then the last, some recently deceased, others long gone, but the chills, the chills you get from seeing Pete Rose on the field, getting a standing ovation, Ted Williams coming out, being announced as “the Greatest Hitter of all time” and throwing the ball to Nomar in his prime… It brings a tear to your eye.

Ladies and Gentlemen…. The Greatest living actress… Meryl Streep.

Prediction: Meryl Streep Hopeful: Helen Mirran Dark Horse: Gabourey Sidibe

Best Supporting
I will group Men and women together for the because… well, I can. Who Do you go with? Those who have been nominated before? What about the ones who already have a statue, do they deserve another? How about those who played creepy, despicable characters? What about a military person (though I am not saying which side he fought on…)? The List could go on… But the roles, they are more limited.

Prediction: Stanely Tucci Hopeful: Cristoph Waltz Dark Horse: Christopher Plummer
Prediction: Mo’Nique Hopeful: Maggie Gyllenhaul Dark Horse: Penelope Cruz

Best Original/Adaptive Screenplay
Someone recently asked me what the difference was between the two.
Seriously.
I blinked until I thought my eyes would shoot out of my head. For those of you who might not know: Best original screenplay is for the film that is a concept created solely by the writer (hence ORIGINAL) where best adaptive is taken from another source (Theatre, novel, ETC)

If this isn’t obvious enough for you, just ask me for a further explanation, leave me your address, and please, don’t mind me when I arrive at your house with a shovel ti crack you over the head.

Prediction: Inglourious Basterds Hopeful: A Serious Man Dark Horse: The Messenger
Prediction: Precious Hopeful: In the Loop Dark Horse: Up In the Air