Tuesday, March 2, 2010

If I Ran the Oscars

As the hurricane of glitz and gay and gold that is Oscar season reaches critical levels, I'd like to step aside for a moment and imagine just how much sweeter the show would be if I was calling the shots.

First thing to go would be that miserable Best Picture top 10. If you consider the top 5 to be those with corresponding director nominations, then we effectively traded 1 deserved nomination for An Education for 2 mediocre ones (Up and A Serious Man) and 2 I could entirely do without. In fact, I'm hailing District 9 as the worst nominee since Crash, maybe even since Jerry Maguire (Though not worse than that. It's hard to trump the triple threat of Cruise/Cuba/Cthulhu). Certainly, the top 10 brought diversity to the lineup, but the top 5 would still have had that in spades between Up in the Air, Precious and the war films of (alternate)past, present and future. Maybe if the new system had allowed a foreign film to slip through the cracks - and it's been a startlingly good year for foreign cinema - I'd be a bit more forgiving.

As for hosting, no disrespect meant to the team of Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin - I'm sure they'll ace the gig - but there could be no greater host of the moment than Conan O'Brien. Of course the late night scandal hit well after hosting duties had been doled out, but in my little world, Conan would have been signed up well before that went down.

And what I really wouldn't stand for is all this incessant tweaking with the ceremony itself. This year we have no time for the Honorary Oscar presentation (no Lauren Bacall! no Roger Korman!), but we can make time for John Hughes to get his own private send off video, an honor not granted to Altman, Bergman, Antonioni, Kurosawa and countless other influential directors that have kicked off in the last decade. That, far moreso than Sandy's likely Oscar win, offends me.

Lastly, there's the categories themselves. This years batch of nominees is decidedly average (for the sake of comparison, we'll call 2007 above average and 2005 far below), but as usual, I think I could do better. That means it's time for my yearly awards, and I think they look pretty swell.

Sadly, I just can't see it all. Grand Rapids has done me no favors in the world of art cinema, and while through my resourcefulness I've tracked down quite a bit, there's always more to see. Some notable films that I've not seen, (mostly) want to, and plan to post haste. Soon as I have the chance:

A Prophet
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Il Divo
The Milk of Sorrow
El Secreto de Sus Ojos
White Material
Precious (I feel bad about this, but it didn't play here long at all)
Police, Adjective
Fish Tank
The Young Victoria
The Princess and the Frog
Me and Orson Welles
The Red Riding Trilogy
Blind Side (actually, just avoiding this one)

Kind of a long list, but it was once much longer. I feel fairly accomplished with what I did manage to catch, which includes everything nominated in the big 8 categories at the Oscars except Precious and Blind Side. Below are my proposed changes to the nominees, along with what I'd have win in bold. No ranking, although I'll include my top 25 of the year along with my Best Picture choices.

Best Supporting Actor
Peter Capaldi - In the Loop
Andrew Garfield - The Imaginerium of Doctor Parnassus
Anthony Mackie - The Hurt Locker
Christopher Plummer - The Last Station
Christophe Waltz - Inglourious Basterds

RU: Tom Waits - The Imaginerium of Doctor Parnassus

Best Supporting Actress

Penelope Cruz - Broken Embraces
Vera Farmiga - Up in the Air
Rinko Kikuchi - The Brothers Bloom
Melanie Laurent - Inglourious Basterds
Olivia Williams - An Education

RU: Anna Chlumsky - In the Loop

Best Score

The Brothers Bloom
The Fantastic Mr. Fox

The Last Station



Best Original Song
All is Love - Where the Wild Things Are
Boggis, Bunce and Bean - The Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Fantastic Mr. Fox AKA Petey's Song - The Fantastic Mr. Fox
I've Got You Wrapped Around My Little Finger - An Education
The Weary Kind - Crazy Heart

Best Cinematography
The Beaches of Agnes

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Inglorious Basterds
The White Ribbon

Best Art Direction
An Education
The Imaginerium of Doctor Parnassus

Inglourious Basterds


Where the Wild Things Are

Best Adapted Screenplay
An Education
The Fantastic Mr. Fox

In the Loop
The Last Station

Up in the Air

Best Original Screenplay
The Brothers Bloom
Inglourious Basterds


The White Ribbon

Best Costume Design
An Education
Bright Star

Broken Embraces
The Brothers Bloom

The Imaginerium of Doctor Parnassus

Best Makeup
Broken Embraces
Drag Me To Hell
The Imaginerium of Doctor Parnassus

Best Editing
Broken Embraces
The Brothers Bloom

The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds

The Limits of Control

Best Visual Effects
The Imaginerium of Doctor Parnassus

Star Trek

Best Foreign Language Film

35 Shots of Rum
Broken Embraces
The White Ribbon

Best Animated Film

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

A fair sampling of the shorts categories, as well as documentary, and sound editing/mixing would be difficult. I'll abstain from those, with a note that I'm rooting for The Lady and The Reaper in animated short and anything but The Cove in documentary. I've actually seen two very good documentaries this year and both will make an appearence in my top 25.

Best Actor
Matt Damon - The Informant
Lluis Homar - Broken Embraces
Joaquin Phoenix - Two Lovers
Jeremy Renner - The Hurt Locker
Sam Rockwell - Moon

RU: Isaac de Bankole - The Limits of Control

Best Actress
Charlotte Gainsbourg - Antichrist
Kim He-ja - Mother
Carey Mulligan - An Education
Gwyneth Paltrow - Two Lovers
Rachel Weisz - The Brothers Bloom

RU: Saoirse Ronan - The Lovely Bones

Best Director
Wes Anderson - The Fantastic Mr. Fox
Michael Haneke - The White Ribbon
Boon Jong-ho - Mother
Hayao Miyazaki - Ponyo
Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds

RU: Spike Jonze - Where the Wild Things Are

And now...drum roll please...my top 25 films of 2009, culminating in my 10 Best Picture nominees. That's right, I can totally do that and still bitch about the academy when they pull that shit.

25. The Summer Hours
24. The Limits of Control
23. Avatar
22. The Beaches of Agnes
21. La Danse, The Paris Opera Ballet

20. Around a Small Mountain
19. Up in the Air
18. Coraline
17. The Last Station
16. 35 Shots of Rum

15. Moon
14. Broken Embraces
13. The Hurt Locker
12. Two Lovers
11. Where the Wild Things Are

10. Antichrist
9. The Imaginerium of Doctor Parnassus
8. The Fantastic Mr. Fox
7. In The Loop
6. Mother
5. The White Ribbon
4. Ponyo
3. The Brothers Bloom
2. An Education
1. Inglourious Basterds

And after all that, my top two are actually Best Picture nominees. I actually can't think of another year which that could be said of. Of course it was twice as likely to happen this year what with the expanded category and all, but maybe that's a sign I should stop bitching.

Nope. That won't stop me. I'll post Oscar predictions complete with further criticisms later this week.

1 comment:

  1. Brothers Bloom? That's high even for a Johnson fanboy such as myself.

    I need to educate myself on this education movie everyone's obsessing over.