It's Oscar time, but the interest isn't easy. Maybe I've changed, but I can't remember being this unenthused about the Academy Awards for a very long time. I distinctly remember the late 90s Oscars being snoozefests for a variety of reasons (the Titanic Oscars because I was mad L.A. Confidential was going to get screwed, the following year because it was more about the size of Harvey Weinstein's cock than it was about cinema). Still, as lame as the Oscars look to be each year, I still watch unless something fairly dire comes up.
Usually, even in slow years, there's at least one picture behind which I can throw unqualified support. The frustrating years are the ones where the best movie has no shot because it's too good. The Million Dollar Baby year was a pain in the fuckin ass for that very reason, since the two best movies that year were Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (by far) and Sideways (a distant though respectable second) with Million Dollar Baby ranking somewhere way behind Ocean's Twelve but slightly ahead of The Butterfly Effect. Those years I usually zone out after they hand out Best Screenplay, the traditional consolation prize for movies that are, to borrow a wildly inappropriate and only slightly relevant phrase from Ghostface, “too black for BET.”
So what the fuck is up with this year? They've got that stupid “let's expand the Best Picture category to include two-thirds of the movies released this year” new wrinkle. There's the whole “Jim Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow used to be married” meme that no one really gives a shit about because they act like grownups about it. The acting categories are snoozers because Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock, Christoph Waltz, and Mo'Nique are going to win (normally I'd qualify this assertion but there's no fucking point whatsoever this year), and no one except industry people and cinetards like me give a jet-propelled fuck about any of the other categories.
The thing that sucks is that, for whatever reason, the three movies I thought kicked the most ass are all—miraculously—nominated for Best Picture. In case you don't get it, this never happens. Movies that actually kick ass are not supposed to get nominated for Oscars, and if they do, they have no chance of winning. And yet . . . The Hurt Locker (backlash notwithstanding, and I have a funny feeling all this random “I don't get what's so special about The Hurt Locker” mewling is largely propaganda from rival studios) Inglourious Basterds (pinch me) and District 9 are all nominated for Best Picture. Whatthefuck.
The reason for this sadistic cocktease is, naturally, that Avatar is primed to sweep. Just like Titanic. For all the (justified) holes we like to poke in Jim Cameron's writing, the guy is a legitimate visionary. His only peer is Spielberg, and that's lofty fucking company. Avatar is a visual spectacle of a kind we've never seen, and probably heralds the future of cinema (but, since it's so far ahead of its time technologically, that future won't get here until the 2030s or 40s). And since Hollywood is constantly chomping at the bit to have its biggest commercial hit also be its biggest artistic hit, there's going to be a zerg rush of Oscar voters frantically trying to fit their dicks into their own mouths, thus making this whole charade about this year's ceremony being a competition null and void.
But, because doing totally pointless things is fun sometimes, I decided to pick each category. Rather than do an Entertainment Weekly-style “what will win/what should win” thing (because I don't give a shit about what should win) I'm going to do a “what will win/how shocked you should be if I'm wrong” thing, just because being obnoxiously arrogant about something totally fucking retarded is how I like to spend my Wednesdays. For a full list of nominees, go here.
Best Foreign Language Film: Ajami. The winner of this category is always something you've never heard of before, so Haneke's fucked, not in the least because everyone in Hollywood remembers the size dick his American remake of Funny Games sucked.
How shocked you should be if I'm wrong: Actually, you should be shocked if I'm right. The only thing we can be reasonably certain of is that Haneke's fucked because people have actually heard of him.
Score, Sound Effects Editing, Cinematography, Editing, Sound Mixing, Art Direction, Visual Effects: Avatar.
How shocked you should be if I'm wrong: Check the sky for flying pigs and call up Satan to see if he wants to play hockey at his place.
Best Makeup: Star Trek. Because the green chick Kirk fucks is still hot enough that you would hit it too.
How shocked you should be if I'm wrong: Seppuku. Immediately.
Best Costume Design: The Young Victoria.
How shocked you should be if I'm wrong: Deeply, but remember to repress your shock; someone might talk.
Documentaries and Shorts: No idea. No one else does, either; they pick these categories by playing pin-the-tail-on-the-auteur.
And the biggies:
Best Adapted Screenplay: Up in the Air. Unless Peter Jackson bribes people with Hobbit points to vote for District 9.
How shocked you should be if I'm wrong: Mildly. Up in the Air is the classic early frontrunner that loses steam, and those pictures always win Best Screenplay.
Best Original Screenplay: Inglourious Basterds. Everyone's picking The Hurt Locker here, but I don't know.
How shocked you should be if I'm wrong: Meh. The only possible winners are The Hurt Locker and Inglorious Basterds, and Californians are such mercurial fucking aliens that it's impossible to tell what the hell they're thinking. I just really want to see Quentin's rambling acceptance speech. Actually, if Quentin wins, and he doesn't hold up a finger to the orchestra when they start to cut him off and say “No! I'm not done” then, you should be shocked.
Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique.
How shocked you should be if I'm wrong: Those hoofbeats are the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz. Instead of him saying “thank you” in his speech, we should say thank you to him for that performance.
How shocked you should be if I'm wrong: I'm not wrong.
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock. Because despite Meryl's renaissance, she's already won and no one liked Julie & Julia, Helen Mirren just won, Gabourey Sidibe is a nice kid (she's really adorable) but has no chance, and Carey Mulligan's going to win one within five years unless she gets fucked up on coke, so she has to wait this year.
How shocked you should be if I'm wrong: If it goes to anyone other than Sandra Bullock or Meryl, extremely.
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges. For stupid Hollywood reasons, even though everyone says he's great in that movie.
How shocked you should be if I'm wrong: Dude, seriously, it's a fait accompli.
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow. For reasons I'll explain in a minute.
How shocked you should be if I'm wrong: It's either her or Cameron.
Best Picture: Avatar. They're going to split the vote because of the whole “Avatar made a shitload of money but The Hurt Locker was the critics' favorite” Oscar wishywashy fuckfacedness. And because Avatar made the money, it gets Best Picture, and Kathryn gets to be Best Director.
How shocked you should be if I'm wrong: If I'm wrong, I've just reversed with the Best Director winner. But this is the way it's probably going to be.
---Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin are going to be stiff and awkward (I hope I'm wrong)
---In spite of the thing they're trying where the winners give their thank-yous to a backstage webcam, somebody's going to say “I don't care what they said, I need to thank these 12 people out here!” and the fucking telecast will last three days.
---The dead people montage will have at least three people you didn't know died, and at least one will prompt an actual, vocalized “Holy shit.” (With each three drinks you have while watching, up that estimate by one)
---The Cameron Diaz Memorial “Presenter Clearly Fucked Out Of His/Her Mind On Pills” Award will be won by Jake Gyllenhaal.
---Jason Bateman, however, will look stoned but on plain old-fashioned weed and will say something really hilarious (dare I say Bluth-esque?)
---James Cameron will make a joke about the whole “king of the world” thing that will be intended to be self-effacing but will still make him seem like kind of a dick. (Bonus prediction: he'll be aware of seeming like a dick and it'll bother him slightly).
---The commercials will suck. Unless they replay the “I'm on a horse” Old Spice Super Bowl ad. That fuckin thing is classic.
---The Best Song performances will suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
I'm thinking about getting hammered and live-blogging this whole business, but I highly doubt whether I'll be that bored. Man, Sundays between football and baseball season . . . the things we stoop to. Anyway, enjoy the Oscars, even if that enjoyment consists of not watching.