This Sunday, Hollywood’s elite will get dressed up real nice, put on their biggest smiles, and fight viciously for fame and glory (and bigger paychecks) at that most prestigious of battle royale blood baths: The Academy Awards.
Lucky for Junkyard fans, we are friends with an amazing writer and movie junkie, Mr. Patrick Cooper. We’ve asked Patrick to give a preview of some of the night’s biggest categories, as well as some insights into who will win and who will be left knocked out on the red carpet. Check out the article, and then catch up on all of Patrick’s other great pieces at Collider.com and mishkanyc.com.”
It’s that time of year again. “The Oscars” are here. We say we don’t care about them, but we do. We bitch about who got snubbed and how out of touch the Academy is. But when Oscar night rolls around we still watch and we root for the movies we like, get mad when they don’t win, then spend the next day whining about how the Academy fucked up again.
I’m guilty of this circle of torment. I don’t care about the Oscars, but there I am every February, cursing at the TV. My favorite movies are never nominated so I don’t even know why I watch. Remember when The Artist won Best Picture? I got physically ill over that one. My favorite movie last year was William Friedkin’s Killer Joe, which got absolutely zero nominations. Despite this criminal oversight, there are still enough great movies in the running to have me emotionally invested. Here are my thoughts on some of this year’s nominations.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
This category is usually a wild card. While I really liked Moonrise Kingdom and Django Unchained, I think everyone is familiar with their authors’ styles, y’know? Of course Moonrise Kingdom is filled with quirky characters who deadpan their way through a hyper-literate love story.
So Zero Dark Thirty has my vote. It’s an intelligent thriller and a fascinating character study at the same time. Everything about the script is impressive. It never dumbs itself down for the audience or tells us what to think. And even though Bin Laden gets bucked down in the end, the raid is an absolute nailbiter.
Since Kathryn Bigelow was grossly snubbed, I’m giving this one to Spielberg. Everybody knows he’s one of the greatest visual storytellers of all time, but what made Lincoln work was his ability to tone it down. Other directors might have given it a more theatrical, triumphant feel – especially during the amendment vote – but Spielberg chose to give it all a more somber and contemplative feel. It just works.
If I had my way, John Hyams would win for Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning. What he’s done for that failing, forgotten franchise is incredible.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
This one’s the toughest for me because everyone killed it. In particular there are two American gods nominated: Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln and Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook. My gut tells me they’re going to give it to De Niro because he has a crying scene, but I’m rooting for Tommy. The quiet rage, humor, and passion he put into the character of the curmudgeon Thaddeus Stevens was amazing. He made all the younger actors around him look like dinosaurs.
I honestly don’t understand why Tommy isn’t as revered as old cats like De Niro and Pacino. He’s one of the greatest actors America ever produced and I really hope he takes the win. (We’ve all seen The Fugitive, but for some other examples of Tommy’s greatness, check out Rolling Thunder, The Park Is Mine, and The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.)
If I had my way, Matthew McConaughey would win for Magic Mike.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
I think Sally Field’s got this one in the bag – mainly because I don’t want The Misérables to win anything. Sorry Anne Hathaway. I loved you as Catwoman, but I don’t think you deserve an award for singing and crying. Everyone’s talking about the brave lengths she went to for the role. All she did was shave her head and cry in extreme close-up. Get outta my face with these “brave lengths.”
Sally Field, on the other hand, was an emotional gut punch in Lincoln. She nails the bereaved Mary Todd’s fragility and complexities and manages to overshadow the great Daniel Day-Lewis in their scenes together. I feel like Lincoln was just as much about her as it was the big man. She’s won an Oscar twice before, so it’s obvious the Academy really likes her.
This is probably going to go to either Bradley Cooper or Daniel Day-Lewis. Deservedly so, but I’m given this to Joaquin Phoenix for The Master. Homeboy came out of “retirement” and transformed himself into a hunchbacked Popeye. As disturbed veteran Freddie Quell, Phoenix squinted and slack-jawed his way into my heart. It’s a hypnotizing and terrifying performance. The Master isn’t exactly Oscar-accessible, so I doubt he’ll win. The fact that he’s basically told the Academy to “stick it up their ass” makes me want him to win even more.
It better not go to fucking Wolverine. I have this really unsettling feeling that The Misérables is going to sweep. As one like-minded critic already said, it would be like a cover album winning a Grammy.
Aw man, I’m pretty sure Jennifer Lawrence is going to win for Silver Linings Playbook because she’s already won a zillion awards for it. I agree it’s a lovable and vulnerable performance, but I really want Jessica Chastain to win for Zero Dark Thirty.
Chastain plays young CIA officer Maya with layers of complexities and contradictions. it’s one of the best heroines I’ve seen in a long time. Every ounce of it feels natural too. She’s cold and discrete, yet sympathetic and sensitive. It’s a downright fascinating performance.
I’d be cool with Quvenhane Wallis winning for Beasts of the Southern Wild. It would be adorable and one of those moments people look up on YouTube for years to come. In fact, I’m fine with Beasts winning in every category it’s nominated. It’s always great to see an underdog take on Hollywood.
I can’t front. I haven’t seen Life of Pi. Ang Lee is a great filmmaker, but there’s nothing about a young man surrounded by a CGI ocean talking to a CGI tiger that appeals to me.
I have seen all the other nominees and I’m giving it to Zero Dark Thirty. All of the other nominees are fantastic (Lincoln will probably win), but this is the only film that doesn’t feel like Hollywood bullshit to me. It’s a genuine work of art.
Kathryn Bigelow’s intelligent thriller/character study is extraordinary across the board. As a female in a business dominated by men, it also feels like a very personal film for her. It’s unlike any thriller I’ve seen in years and the same goes for Chastain’s Maya character, one of the most complex heroine’s to come along in a while. The final shot of her on the plane is devastating.
I just wanted to say real quick, all of the debates about whether the movie condones torture are complete bullshit. All Bigelow did was stick to the facts and unfortunately that includes “enhanced interrogations.” Some of the blowhards spitting this crap on the blogs sounded like they’ve never even seen the movie. If Bigelow meant to make a propaganda film, she did a terrible job.
If I had my way Killer Joe would win. If you haven’t seen it yet, remedy that quick. It’s perfect.
I feel bad about not mentioning Argo this entire time. It’s a clever thriller directed with skill by Ben Affleck. I think that ZD30 pushed the artistic envelope more though.
See at you at Oscars, folks. If The Misérables wins Best Picture you can find me under my desk, drinking straight from the bottle. Why? Because I don’t care about the Oscars, remember?
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