Oscar the Grouch

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Oscar the Grouch

By Robert Patrick

Everyone has their own prejudices against the Academy’s nominations. I’ll just be another critic, slinging muck at a spreadsheet of names, when I denounce “Blind Side” or “Invictus.” I’ve thrown some pretty mean tantrums in the past – Little Miss Sunshine? Please. This year I’m going to take the obligatory dive, select my Oscar predictions, then scornfully watch the ceremonies down the road. You may disagree, but that’s the fun of it. Here we go!  *I didn’t predict smaller categories, because, well, I didn’t want to.

Best Picture:

Avatar
The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious
A Serious Man
Up
Up in the Air

What will win:

Inglourious Basterds, with its snappy dialogue and kinetic editing, will bag the award for best picture. The ensemble is, compared to its contenders, flawlessly palpable. The verbal chess matches conducted by the menacingly gleeful Hans Landa (Christolph Waltz) is enough to topple even the most chiseled would be challengers.

What shouldn’t be there:

I rather have a wild boar charge at my kneecaps than acknowledge “The Blind Side” as a best picture nomination. The picture, fun as it may be, is still a menial sports movie in category of monolithic proportions. If you nominate this film – and they obviously have – you are obligated to go back and give an award to “The Rookie” with Dennis Quaid.

And by the way:
Let’s not adopt this revisionist policy of selecting ten motion pictures in this category ever again. We’re not trying to field a sports team – at least four of these pictures are expendable.

Actor in a Leading Role:
Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

What Will Win:
Colin Firth will win for his performance in “A Single Man.” My choice, if you’re asking me for the emotional selection, would be Jeff Bridges – and who would disagree? But the grizzled favorite already nabbed his Globe, making me believe, despite my sentiments for Bridges, that Firth is in the batter’s box waiting for his acceptance speech. Both were great performances.

Who Shouldn’t Be There:
Morgan Freeman should not be nominated, let alone looked at, after making the perforated “Invictus.” I’m sure the only reason he’s there, aside from the fact that he is intimidating, is that Clint Eastwood threatened to use a billyclub on the voters if they didn’t prop up Freeman’s name. Aside from a mild resemblance to Mandella, Freeman simply wobbles around, doing his best to sleepwalk through the film.

And by the way:
Where’s Christian McKay? He played a wonderful Orson Welles. I hope he drops down from the scaffolds of the theater, pounces on Morgan Freeman, then walks off in dashing fashion. What a terrible snub from the Academy.
Actor in a Supporting Role:
Matt Damon in “Invictus”

Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

Who Will Win:
Christoph Waltz’s performance in Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” is miraculous. The pulsating evil of Hans Landa is enough to put a boot on the throats of seething villains everywhere. Contemptuous, wildly self-indulgent, full of impiety: Landa is evil incarnate. If any other actor clutches the stoic golden boy, it will be a shame unlike any other.

Who Shouldn’t Be Here:
All these gentlemen should, for one reason or another, be included in this list – except Matt Damon. “Invictus” is a dirty malady that Jonas Salk would attempt and cure if he were alive. If Academy voters enjoy actors who say seven lines of dialogue and look as animate as a coffee table, they hit the lotto. I think the Matt Damon marionette in “Team America: World Police” is more deserving of a nomination than the actual person it was modeled after.

And by the way:
Paul Schneider in “Bright Star” should be here.

Actress in a Leading Role:
Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”
Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious”
Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”

Who Will Win:
Carey Mulligan will win. Carey Mulligan will win with a doe-eyed expression on her face and a bubbly accent on her lips. Carey Mulligan will say something formal, charming, moderately adorable. The crowd will fawn over her impetuous and sincere reaction. Next!

Who Shouldn’t Be There:
Sandra Bullock’s warbled drawl and devil may care attitude in “The Blind Side” was funny, touching, barely annoying. Why is Bullock here? Because she finally managed molt her annoying disposition for one film – just one film. I think they should give her a Lifetime Achievement Award for playing cloyingly dimwitted, impish, lovelorn characters.

And by the way:

Melanie Laurent, you should be here. This is a perfect opportunity to burn down another theater.

Actress in a Supporting Role:
Penelope Cruz in “Nine”
Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”
Mo’Nique in “Precious”

Who Will Win:
Mo’Nique will win, simply because people love her garish portrayal of Joan Crawford. Mo’Nique will win, cry, cover her heart, then mention Lee Daniels. Brendan Fraser will then be shown, if only briefly, as a gyrating member of the audience. Why does that guy look like a convulsing muppet every time he is shown at these award shows? Anyway, Mo’Nique wins.
Who Shouldn’t Be There:
Penelope Cruz, you need to be booted out of here. You were better in “Broken Embraces.” That scene of you writhing around, coddling silly song lyrics on your pursed lips, made me feel bad for you. I felt like I wanted to throw a blanket over you, escort you out the door of that sequence, and bat you on the head with a better script. That’s a bad, Penelope Cruz! Bad!

And by the way:

Diane Kruger and Vinessa Shaw, you both deserve better. I’ll give you due credit later on this site.

Comments, please!

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Author: Rob Patrick

A member of the San Diego Film Critics Society, Rob created Cinema Spartan after he stepped down as the editor of a weekly. He has written for The East County Californian, The Alpine Sun, The East County Herald, The San Diego Entertainer, and the San Diego Reader. He has also introduced films with the Pacific Arts Movement. He co-owns two dire wolves, Buckley and Ruffin. At any given time, he can tell you superfluous hockey statistics. He is the chancellor of Tapatio, an advocate of iced tea, and an owner of at least 70 pairs of Vans.

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