Road To The Oscars: Rest Of The Nominees

Wednesday, February 23 by

The 83rd Academy Awards are less than a week away and the energy in the air is electric. Possibly due to the shoddy wiring job I did when stealing my neighbor’s cable, or possibly due to that airborne infectious disease known as Oscar Fever. Although superficially similar to Bieber Fever, the ailment afflicts not just 12-year-old girls and “To Catch a Predator” alum but pretty much everyone with a pulse including you, dear reader. So now now let us wind down our Oscar coverage and pick our favorites for the lesser-cared-about categories so we can turn our attention to more important matters, such as which Oscar gowns to dress our cats in. If you need me on February 27th, I and Muffin and Skittle Paws and Mister Sniffles will be front and center outside the Kodak Theater, restraining orders be damned!

Actor in a Supporting Role

Christian Bale in “The Fighter”

John Hawkes in “Winter’s Bone”

Jeremy Renner in “The Town”

Mark Ruffalo in “The Kids Are All Right”

Geoffrey Rush in “The King’s Speech”

This one’s a no-brainer: Batman Bateman owns the Oscar hype for his portrayal of junkie/ex-con/former boxer Dicky Ward and he’s a sure thing to take the Shiny Gold Dude. Granted all Christian Bale had to do to prepare for the role was spend fifteen minutes in the Fenway Park cheap seats – and he’s gained some unwanted notoriety for his recent scream-a-thons with hapless lighting directors and the woman who birthed him – but Hollywood seems willing to forgive Bale his eccentricities so long as he keeps the Jews out of it and keeps on delivering outstanding performances like he did in The Fighter. Give that man an Oscar!

Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams in “The Fighter”

Helena Bonham Carter in “The King’s Speech”

Melissa Leo in “The Fighter”

Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit”

Jacki Weaver in “Animal Kingdom”

While Batman Bateman’s co-star, Melissa Leo, has taken several lesser awards for her turn in The Fighter, I predict the Academy will follow the precedence of Oscarses past by giving the Gilded Nude Man to this year’s breakout ingénue, Hailee Steinfeld. I don’t know if anyone was paying attention but Steinfeld’s performance was arguably the best of the year and in this nude man’s opinion, a more nuanced and mature display of thespianism than Best Actress shoo-in Natalie Portman’s. My only gripe is that she’s been mis-categorized. Best Supporting Actress? Who was she supporting, exactly? I love Jeff Bridges, but his Rooster Cogburn was essentially The Dude in an eye patch. And more significantly, Rooster was not the central character of True Grit. Much like our love, it would be a crime for Steinfeld’s performance to go ignored. Give that not-yet-legal lass an Oscar!

Animated Feature Film

“How to Train Your Dragon” Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois

“The Illusionist” Sylvain Chomet

“Toy Story 3” Lee Unkrich

While death and taxes can be avoided thanks to a good accountant and/or a benevolent wizard (Haargoth the Bearded has been filing my 1040 for ages eternal), the one sure thing in life is that if Pixar releases a film, it will win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. But even if this weren’t a fact of life as sure as gravity, Toy Story 3 is not only one of Pixar’s best but — it could be argued — 2010’s best film regardless of whether it contains cartoony men. Give those anthropomorphized playthings an Oscar!

Art Direction

“Alice in Wonderland”
Production Design: Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”
Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan

“Inception”
Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Larry Dias and Doug Mowat

“The King’s Speech”
Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Judy Farr

“True Grit”
Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh

There’s been a lot of talk about The Social Network being the defining film of our epoch, seeing as it’s about the internet and shit. And while I’d agree that The Social Network was a very good film, I think folks should hold off on etching its historical significance on stone tablets. Movies this of-the-now rarely have much of a shelf life. For example, can you watch Singles or Reality Bites without cringing? Well those films were considered defining films of their epoch, too, believe it or not. When the dust settles, I believe Inception will be the film folks are still talking about, once Facebook is a relic as dated as a single of the Spin Doctors’ “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong.” I know as much about art direction as I do about the location of my girlfriend’s supposed “G-Spot”, but Inception has to win something, right? Give that dream-within-a-dreamy film an Oscar!

Cinematography

“Black Swan” Matthew Libatique

“Inception” Wally Pfister

“The King’s Speech” Danny Cohen

“The Social Network” Jeff Cronenweth

“True Grit” Roger Deakins

There was a lot of eye candy at the multiplex this year, and I’m not just referring to Ramona, the busty ticket girl at the Reseda AMC 12. Black Swan, The Social Network and especially Inception were prettier to look at than Conan the Barbarian black light poster, but I believe the Cohen Bros’ go-to DP Roger Deakins will take the Glimmering Bald Fellow for his gorgeous rendering of the old-timey west. Give that man an Oscar!

Costume Design

“Alice in Wonderland” Colleen Atwood

“I Am Love” Antonella Cannarozzi

“The King’s Speech” Jenny Beavan

“The Tempest” Sandy Powell

“True Grit” Mary Zophres

I didn’t see Alice in Wonderland; if I have to suffer through that “effete eccentric” character Johnny Depp phones in for gobs of cash yet again he might as well be wearing something piratey. However I also don’t give a shit about costume design, so I figure Alice in Wonderland is as good a choice as any.  Looked good on the posters anyway, and unlike the historical dramas, Colleen Atwood had to more or less draw from the well of her imagination. So what the hell, give her an Oscar.

Documentary (Feature)

“Exit Through the Gift Shop” Banksy and Jaimie D’Cruz

“Gasland” Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic

“Inside Job” Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs

“Restrepo” Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger

“Waste Land” Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley

Pretty sure I’m not alone in hoping Banksy wins just to see how he culture-jams the Oscars. Maybe he’ll hire a paraplegic midget with Tourette’s to accept the award in his stead. Or maybe this will be the moment he finally sells out and starts doing Sprite ads. I’d be happy to witness either. Give that mystery man an Oscar!

Documentary (Short Subject)

“Killing in the Name” Jed Rothstein

“Poster Girl” Sara Nesson and Mitchell W. Block

“Strangers No More” Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon

“Sun Come Up” Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger

“The Warriors of Qiugang” Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon

I haven’t seen the film (or any of the other shorts for that matter), but I do have the samely-titled Rage Against the Machine song to thank for my short-lived dreadlocks-and-Che-shirt period. Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me! Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me! Give Jed Rothstein a fucking Oscar…. mothafucka!

Film Editing

“Black Swan” Andrew Weisblum

“The Fighter” Pamela Martin

“The King’s Speech” Tariq Anwar

“127 Hours” Jon Harris

“The Social Network” Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

Though well directed and chock full of (almost too) clever dialog, The Social Network could’ve easily turned into a tedious courtroom drama had it not been for the brilliant editing. In fact I’ll go so far as saying that the editing might’ve been the most important component of the film. Also, one of the credited editors is named Angus, and you just don’t fuck with dudes named Angus (never mind one whose surname is an immovable barrier). Give Angus Wall an Oscar before he goes all soccer hooligan on us!

Foreign Language Film

Biutiful” Mexico

“Dogtooth” Greece

“In a Better World” Denmark

“Incendies” Canada

“Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi)” Algeria

You can imagine my surprise when I found out that all of the above-mentioned films are not in English but some incomprehensible gobbledygook. Yeah, I know the category’s called “foreign language film” but I assumed that meant stuff with an accent, like The King’s Speech. So I’m going to have to give it to Biutiful because Javier Bardem’s in it and I at least know who he is, even if I couldn’t understand a friggin’ word he was saying.

Makeup

“Barney’s Version” Adrien Morot

“The Way Back” Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng

“The Wolfman” Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

I like that this category only has three nominees, because it makes it a lot easier for me to guess. I don’t know much about movie makeup, other than that makeup girls tend to be a little, well, trampy, and that’s always a good thing, right? So yeah, The Wolfman.

Music (Original Score)

“How to Train Your Dragon” John Powell

“Inception” Hans Zimmer

“The King’s Speech” Alexandre Desplat

“127 Hours” A.R. Rahman

“The Social Network” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

I’m probably dating myself (or at least sleeping with myself) by saying this, but back in my day Trent Reznor was the black-bedecked, Prince-Valiant-quaffed poster boy for suburban goth angst. He used to be the guy with the suicide hotline on speed-dial; now he looks he jumped out of a PX-90 infomercial to tell us how to maximize our gains but visualizing our goals… and also that he wants to fuck us like an animal. Personally, I preferred Alexandre Desplat’s score – I’m a sucker for them fiddles! — but the novelty of Reznor and Atticus Ross’ bleeps-n-bloops will more likely be favored by Academy voters. Give ‘em an Oscar!

Music (Original Song)

“Coming Home” from “Country Strong” Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey

“I See the Light” from “Tangled” Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater

“If I Rise” from “127 Hours” Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong

“We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3″ Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, ANYONE BUT RANDY NEWMAN!

Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects

I’m going to give it to Inception for the above-mentioned categories. It’s the Academy’s way of mitigating the Christopher Nolan Best Director snub by acknowledging that even if it wasn’t the “best directed” film of the year, it was at least the most impressive technical spectacle.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

“127 Hours” Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy

“The Social Network” Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin

“Toy Story 3” Screenplay by Michael Arndt; Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich

“True Grit” Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

“Winter’s Bone” Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

Aaron Sorkin is heavily favored, not only because The Social Network’s blitzkrieg of postmodern dialog is one of the film’s most noticeable traits, but because it’s the one category where Academy voters can safely favor it over The King’s Speech. Give him an Oscar! And some cocaine! Sorkin looooves the yayo!

Writing (Original Screenplay)

“Another Year” Written by Mike Leigh

“The Fighter” Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson;
Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson

“Inception” Written by Christopher Nolan

“The Kids Are All Right” Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg

“The King’s Speech” Screenplay by David Seidler

The King’s Speech is shaping up to be this year’s Oscar darling, so I don’t see it going any other way when it comes to awarding the Glittering “O” for best original screenplay. Hey David Seidler — come on up here, pal! Guess what I’ve got for you? A Nutty Buddy? Nooo. Although I could actually go for a delicious Nutty Buddy right now, this gold-hewed, slightly phallic statuette I have in my hand is not a Nutty Buddy. Please do not try to eat it, David Seidler, because while it is indeed your “buddy” there is nothing nutty or even edible about it. It’s an Oscar, David!  A fucking O… Jesus. He ate it… the whole fucking thing.  Is there a paramedic in the house? Or does anyone have a stomach pump handy? Natalie Portman? Oh, that’s right, you’re pregnant, which means you’re binging and purging for two. I can’t believe he ate his fucking Oscar. That’s how it plays out in my mind, anyway. Until next year, Screen Junkies! Pudding out.