It's Oscar time again, boys and girls, and you know what that means. For
film students, it's time to party like it's Quanza 1999, all the while
spouting trite and cliched opinions about this year's nominations. While I
for one would love to wax pretentious and get all snippy about how Wonder
Boys and Dancer In The Dark weren't nominated, I think instead I'll just
tackle the actual nominees, and why they all stink worse than Pauly Shore's
stand-up routine after it's been left in the sun.
Gladiator: Swords, sandals, and stupidity all add up to an almost guaranteed
win for this thunderously familiar story. Add the Oscar pre-requisite of
being at least three full days long, and start listening to the acceptance
Erin Brockovich: Actually, this isn't a new film. The producers of last
year's John Travolta starring vehicle A Civil Action just decided to change
its name and take another run at the Oscar race. Using the miracle of
digital technology, Fox Studios has managed to not only change the title in
the opening credits, but alter Travolta's figure so significantly he's now
just a giant pair of teeth in hot pants.
Chocolat: The Oscars' plea for indie acceptance extends only so far as the
token indie movie nominated ever year. It's a good thing, too, because
without the Oscars' endorsement, Fox Searchlight and Miramax could barely
afford the $35 million dollars these ultra-lowbudget features cost to make,
and B-level stars like Juliet Binoche and Johnny Depp couldn't run around
pretending they can act.
Traffic: The one film that actually deserves to win probably won't, because
that would threaten to restore my faith in an institution I've been
thoroughly disillusioned with ever since Army of Darkness was shut out of
all but four categories in 1993.
TV Casualty: A brilliant film that will unfortunately loose out this year
due to the fact that it's only 20 minutes long and also not a film.
Nevertheless, the nomination is a testament to the video's tight direction
and superb writing, and proves that the Oscars aren't just a four-hour long
People's Choice Awards with crappier music acts.
Russell Crowe, for Gladiator: Now, I've been a big Crowe fan ever since his
humble beginnings, appearing in such films as skinhead classic Romper
Stomper and freakish western The Quick and the Dead, but giving him an Oscar
for advertising beefcake in Gladiator seems somewhat tragic, like giving
Steven King a Pulitzer for his shopping list.
Javier Bardem, for Before Night Falls: Who? For what?
Tom Hanks, for Cast Away: In my mind, the true nominee should be Wilson, the
volleyball that played Hanks' heathen pagan idol, who managed to keep an
impressively straight face despite the shirtless Hanks' nauseating
tubbiness. But the Oscars tend to frown on nominating product placements
rather than real people. Guess that rules out Russell Crowe.
Geoffrey Rush, for Quills: A movie about the infamous sexual deviant and
murderer the Marquis de Sade, and it's a comedy. I guess my idea for a
Holocaust gas chamber musical has a chance after all.
Ed Harris, for Pollock: The Academy has an unfortunate habit of making up
movies so that its tastes seem eclectic and esoteric instead of just plain
bad, and Pollack is no exception.
Alex Contreras, for Alex, Vampire Slayer 2: Despite not actually being
nominated, young wunderkind Alex Contreras has a fairly good shot at winning
the coveted Best Actor Oscar this year. His riveting performance as the
troubled Alex in Al Kratina's much lauded sequel to 1997's Alex, Vampire
Slayer apparently so wowed Academy voters that they are reported to be
considering giving him an honorary lifetime acheivement award.
Let's ignore the actual nominees in this category, since no one really cares
about who batted their eyelashes with the most finesse this year, and focus
instead on the godless atrocity that is Joaquim Phoenix. Some of you (hi
mom!) may remember my review of Gladiator from a couple issues ago, in which
I referred to him as a 'mush-mouthed retard'. I assure you, I was being
entirely too kind. It happens sometimes. Well, now it seems that our
cud-chewing friend has been nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for
his role in the aforementioned film. As inspirational as this may be for
Down's Syndrome sufferers around the world, it's an affront to movie buffs
everywhere. I keep reminding myself that this is the same Academy that gave
Mira Sorvino of Mimic 'fame' an Oscar, but even that doesn't explain this. I
mean, at least Sorvino's kind of cute. Phoenix, if you've never seen him,
looks sort of like a cross between a weasel and the cross-eyed halfwit from
NSYNC who was on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, except dumber. If you've
seen any of his other films, like 8MM or To Die For, then you're probably
still reeling from the shock of his nomination, provided you haven't climbed
a clock tower with a Winchester already. Rest assured, I will do everything
in my power to make sure that he doesn't win, from whining and complaining
about it, to complaining and whining about it. Anyway, as for the real
nominees in this category, Ellen Burstyn should win for the horribly dank
Requiem For A Dream, but the award will probably go to John Travolta for
Well, that's all I feel like writing for now. Stay tuned next issue for my
review of the Oscar telecast, provided I don't die of kidney failure during