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My Precious Impressions of the Oscar Nominations

Uggie, the dog from the film The Artist, wearing a bowtie on the red carpet..Here is one major decision I came to this morning while watching the Oscar nominations. For the Oscars, I must craft a bowtie for my dog to wear around her neck, much like the bowtie Uggie, the dog from The Artist wears when he wants to look a bit more dressy while making public appearances. I can get away with this because my dog, while female, is not what you would call dainty or feminine.

The bitch is kinda butch, is what I’m trying to say.

That heavy decision out of the way, I can focus on the nominations.

Best Supporting Actress – I’m all for Melissa McCarthy winning this one for Bridesmaids. It’s time for the Academy to recognize comedy as a legitimate art form. You don’t have don a prosthetic and weep/drown/or kill someone in order to deserve recognition. It’s much harder to make people laugh.

Berenice Bejo, while beautiful and peppy in The Artist (in fact, her character’s name is Peppy), didn’t have to speak. I’m just saying.

Octavia Spencer was very good in The Help but I fear  her performance won’t hold up over time. I fear that the entire The Help phenom might make us either wince or shrug in 2020. Many movies dealing with race relations feel instantly dated. Have you tried watching Dangerous Minds lately?

Best Supporting Actor – I’m placing my bet on Christopher Plummer. OK, it’s because he’s super cool more than because of his performance. But it seems fair that I support him because Beginners is the only movie I’ve seen in this category (the others being My Week With Marilyn, Warrior, Moneyball and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close).

Watch this profile of Christopher Plummer on CBS Sunday Morning and you’ll probably love him, too.

Note: What the hell is Warrior? When they first read this on TV, I thought they were referring to The Warriors, which would have been more interesting except Nick Nolte wasn’t in that.

Also, Nick Nolte seems to be back amongst the living. No more drunken arrests complete with crazy hair in the near future. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Note: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was panned by almost all the critics. And yet it got the nod for Best Picture. Why? It’s Tom Hanks. There are a few things that equal nominations no matter what. Here is a brief list:

  • Famous actress donning a prosthetic that makes her ugly. Everyone knows this.
  • Anything Tom Hanks does, is in, produces, mentions that he likes. Exception: Larry Crowne
  • Double the above rule if it’s something with Tom Hanks or sanctioned by Tom Hanks that involves WWII.
  • Dames Mirren or Dench. You want awards? Hire a Dame.
  • Most bio pics. This year’s heavily-awarded biopic that no one saw is My Week With Marilyn.

Best Actress – We’re not going to have any democracy in this category until Meryl Streep is either too infirm to leave her house or dead. I wonder if it’s not just a little bit embarrassing for her at this point. If she voiced a raccoon dying of mange in a Pixar movie, she would get a nomination. “Oh, Meryl, that inflection you gave Rita Raccoon! Unbelievable! For the first time I felt as if I knew what it would be like to have mites.”

It is my dream, and I know this makes me an awful and petty person, that, upon her death, one of her daughters will publish a Mommy Dearest-style memoir and we as a nation will be shocked and chagrined. And then there will be a biopic made from the memoir and the actress portraying her – Anne Hathaway with a dye job? – will win an Oscar.

I don’t know what to do with this category. Besides Streep for The Iron Lady, there’s Viola Davis for The Help, Michelle Williams for that Marilyn movie, Glenn Close for the disturbing Albert Nobbs (the trailer sure made it look like some funny business goes on between Close and Mia Wasikowska but not in a fun, lesbian kind of way), and Rooney Mara for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Best Actor – I’m going with The Cloon. I saw three out of the five films in this category and I think George Clooney turned in a fine performance in The Descendants. Is it life-altering? No, but none of the performances I saw are. I like Jean Dujardin’s expressive eyebrows as much as the next gal, but I don’t think his performance in The Artist is Oscar-worthy. Maybe the two foreign guys in this category – Dujardin and Bichir, cancel each other out – because we’re in a Theodore Roosevelt-inspired, jingoistic mood. Then Gary Oldman goes out because it’s determined that his glasses and trench coat did the bulk of the heavy lifting and Brad Pitt… well, I heard he’s busy dealing with a severed head.

Best Director – Of the two people I know who actually saw Tree of Life, neither one had anything good to say about it. Perhaps Malick is nominated in this category because it took him so long to make this movie and people feel bad about that. “This took you how long? Oh. Well, bravo. Here’s a… statue.

This is one film I will have to try to see before the awards though, so that I can keep putting it down but in a more intelligent manner.

For me, this category is between Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris and Alexander Payne for The Descendants.

Best Original Screenplay – I’m waiting until I have more information on this one – there are two films I still need to see in this category, which I take ridiculously seriously. In a contest that has no bearing on my everyday life, this category means more to me than the price of a gallon of gas and maybe more than who is going to get the Republican Presidential nomination, although in that contest I’m rooting for Gingrich because it will be more fun for all of us.

The nominees are Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist, Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo for Bridesmaids, J.C. Chandor for Margin Call, Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris and Asgar Farhadi for A Separation.

Best Adapted Screenplay – Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash for The Descendants.

Best Picture – They could have nominated 10 films in this category but, for giggles, they nominated nine. Those tricky Academy members! By the way, I know of two people who are actually in the Academy and they have awful taste and the film projects they’ve been involved with are shit, so it raises the question of whether we should put any stock in Academy members’ opinions in the first place, but then again it’s not just one or two votes that matter, it’s the aggregate, so in that sense it’s like the popular vote in the Presidential race.

I guess.

The nominees are The Artist, War Horse, Moneyball, The Descendants, Tree of Life, Midnight in Paris, The Help, Hugo and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

I’m going with The Descendants because it’s got it all – Clooney, Payne, Hawaii, the other Bridges brother, some laughs, some tears. What more do you want from a movie?

Or it could be Midnight in Paris, just for Corey Stoll’s portrayal of Ernest Hemingway alone.