“I want to lie down with you in the firmament and make love to everybody.”

Every generation has their Johnny Carson.

Oh, you can almost hear Billy Crystal singing!  Yes friends, it’s that second great secular holiday, the Oscars.  (Last night’s Independent Spirit Awards were mainly dominated by Precious.)  So if you’re the kind of moviegoer who realizes the title of this post is from Roberto Benigni‘s joyful acceptance speech of ’97 (that is still going on!), please continue reading.)

Of course we all know the Oscars are, frankly, political b.s., they’re still a grand moviegoing tradition.  As a primer, here’s Mark Harris’ excellent New York magazine piece on how these things are actually decided, and, if you haven’t read / seen it, Robert Hooker’s hilarious Los Angeles Magazine piece on the ’89 kudoscast (to borrow Variety speak), with two must-watch awful clips (trust me, you’ll realize how good Messrs. Martin and Baldwin should be).  I’ve bolded who I think will win, so onto the horse-racing!

Well, it was easier than 'American Idol.' And yup, she's an underrated host.

Best Picture Should Win:  The Hurt Locker Will Win:  The Hurt Locker (Seriously, folks, we’re calling it here.)  Should’a Been Nominated:  I’m gonna go crazy here and say Where The Wild Things Are.  It’s a complete, beautiful movie that takes advantages of the medium.  And now I’m gonna go a little crazier, and say Star Trek.  It’s truly awesome popcorn picture making, and that was the whole point (aside from money) on expanding to 20 10 flicks!  Maybe Should’a Not:  10 nominees aside, An Education is a bit slight for Best Picture, The Blind Side too Lifetime TV

I've won, and I've hosted. And now I'm on 'The View.'

Best Director Should:  Kathryn Bigelow  Yes, yes, James Cameron is the King of the World, an epic moviemaker on par with C.B., but he’s all spectacle.  What Bigelow achieves with a very serious topic–making it a feat of entertainment–is not something you see every day (um, In The Valley of Elah or Redacted, anyone?  Rendition?  No?).  Will:  Kathryn Bigelow, a woman I’m a little bit in love with right now, if you can’t tell.  Rent The Hurt Locker now, people!  Cameron’s made as many enemies as he has friends, and there’s a sense it’s time for a woman to finally win Best Director.  Also, she deserves it.  Nominated:  Spike Jonze, for the best work of his career on Wild Things.  Also, maybe Marc Webb for his first time helming of (500) Days–don’t worry, he’s getting the Spidey reboot out of it!–and Clint for Invinctus ’cause he’s, well, Clint.

Best Actor Should:  Man, this is a very strong category.  George Clooney gives such an easy performance in a hard role (oh my God, he’s playing a real person!), and Jeremy Renner is just so good in every scene.  But I’m good with Jeff Bridges taking it; he’s been so good for so long, and here’s no exception.  Will:  Bridges.  As Mark Harris explains, it’s His Time.  Nominated:  Michael Stuhlberg, for A Serious Man.

Oh, you think this is easy? Wanna give Craig Kilborn a shot?

What if I apologize to Sean Penn and Jude Law? Can I host again then?

Best Actress Should:  Tough to say.  Maybe the pitch-perfect Meryl Streep, maybe the beguiling Carey Mulligan?  Will:  Sandra Bullock Much like Julia with Erin Brokovich, this is The One We Can Give Her.  Nominated:  Honestly, not a great year for actresses.  Maybe Meryl again, for It’s Complicated?  Or Zoey D., for (500)?

Best Supporting Actor Should:  I haven’t seen Inglorious Basterds yet, so I’m at a loss (in fact, the only flick I caught in this category is Invinctus, so I’ll go with Damon’s disappearing act.  Will:  Christoph Waltz Hollywood has coalesced.  Somewhere, John Travolta is crying (Pulp Fiction, anyone?).  Nominated:  Go with me here:  Zach Galifianakis, who’s hosting SNL tonight, for The Hangover.  No one made a movie work this year like him, nor supported anyone so damn well.

Every generation has their Bob Hope.

Best Supporting Actress Should:  The beautiful Vera Farmiga, for Up in the Air.  Thanks for bringing a sexy, stylish, smart, serious woman to the silver screen–  that’s a rare occurence these days.  Will:  Much like her male counterpart, there’s been an anointed one:  Mo’Nique, for Precious.  And good for her; it’s not everyday a talk show host wins an Oscar!  Nominated:  Again, no one actress springs to mind.  Sorry, ladies.  Betty White for The Proposal?  (It’s a joke, though I would like to see her host SNL.)

Best Original Screenplay Should:  Mark Boal, for, yes, The Hurt Locker.  And guess what, he Will:, too.  If it’s not on the page, there ain’t nothing for Bigelow, Renner et al. to make awesome with.  Nominated:  Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Webber, for (500) Days of Summer.  Really, this wasn’t an incredible, original screenplay?  Are you kidding me?

Whaddya mean, this isn't The Tonys?!

Best Adapted Screenplay Should:  Jason Reitman and some unknown guy named Sheldon Turner, for Up In the Air.  This screenplay manages to be everything, and so nimbly.  And guess what, they Will:, too.  Nominated:  Novelist Dave Eggers and Spike Jonze, for Wild Things.  I’m guessing it’s not easy turning a kid’s classic into a terrific flick.  What’s that I hear, agreement from the creative teams of The Cat in the Hat and The Grinch?

This is going well, right? Hello? Anyone? We got any cute interns back there?

Best Animated Feature Should:  I haven’t even seen it yet, and I know the answer’s the same as ever:  Whatever Pixar made.  Will:  And as it’s nominated for Best Picture, Up will.  And one of its co-typers is the great writer / director Tom McCarthy, of The Visitor.

Three random categories that I care about this year:

Best Original Song The terrific-on-its-own The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart) With Ryan Bingham doing to co-composing and performing, I’m actually sad they’ve eliminated the live performances of songs on the kudoscast.  That’s gotta be a first since the late, great Elliot Smith and Good Will Hunting.

Best Original Score Really, no nomination for Karen O & The Kids’ compulsively listenable and writeable-to score for Where The Wild Things Are?  Really, Academy, you think Hans Zimmer needs another Oscar?  Really?!

Best Editing If Avatar beats The Hurt Locker here, there’s no justice in Hollywood.  If The Hurt Locker wins, there’s still no justice, but….

And finally, my own category:  Best Underrated Flick of the Year Well, a quick IMDB search suggests Sugar came out in 2008, though I still don’t know anyone who’s seen this wonderful tale of immigration, baseball and life.  But let’s try and bump the Netflix-ability of two small indies:  The Sam Mendes-helmed (and husband-and-wife screenwriting team of Dave Eggers and the improbably-named Vendela Vida) Away We Go and the Greg Mottola typed-and-directed Adventureland, both sweet lil’ coming-of-age flicks.

Every generation has their... I've got nothing.

Enjoy the Oscars so long as Cablevision / ABC 7 / The Walt Disney Co. doesn’t screw us all!

Good luck, fellas!

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One Response to ““I want to lie down with you in the firmament and make love to everybody.””

  1. SCOTTALOT Says:

    Pretty good pics sir. Glad we didn’t bet.

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