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Oscar Breakdown & Predictions

If you read this blog regularly you should know that the first thing I hope (and certainly expect) from the 2010 Oscars is a prominent role for the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling ” in the pre-show hype fueled montage. 

When can we stop having a feeling? Sometime after the Oscars is my guess.

My biggest hope is that during the Oscars someone comes out and says, “By the way, The Blind Side is actually not nominated for Best Picture.  That was a big joke.  And also, An Education was extremely boring and we apologize for nominating that so congratulations 500 Days of Summer and The Messenger – you are actually nominated for Best Picture.”  Not going to happen, but here are my predictions for the major awards and what should occur (within the realm of possibility):

BEST PICTURE

I would be OK withany of the following winning in descending order of preference: District 9, Up In The Air, Inglourious Basterds, Up, Precious, Avatar, The Hurt Locker. 

I think Inglorious Basterds is going to win in what I will call the “Norah Jones Strategy.”  In 2002, the Best Album Grammy went to Norah Jones despite The Rising by Bruce Springsteen and The Eminem Show being nominated.  I think voters split on Eminem and Sprinsgteen leaving a plurality to Norah Jones.

I like Basterds' chances.

The Hurt Locker has a lot of momentum and Avatar is the most financially successful film of all time.  But I think people who put The Hurt locker first would not have Avatar second and I do not think people that vote Avatar first would have The Hurt Locker second.  But those voters who put either of those first could very well put Basterds as their second choice.  And since Quentin Tarantino is a Hollywood favorite and an original I think he could pick up some small percentage that think it is time he won a big prize so I am putting my money on Inglorious Basterds to edge out Avatar and The Hurt Locker.

Best Actor

Jeff Bridges is going to win the Oscar that Mickey Rourke should have won last year.  Jeff Bridges is a really good actor and it will be nice for him to win. 

 I would vote for Clooney for Up In The Air.  It was his best acting job yet and finally fulfilled all the love that Hollywood had bestowed prematurely on his high brow films (which were generally sort of boring  -Michael Clayton, Good Night and Good Luck and Syriana were all overrated, relatively boring movies, but Hollywood loves the high school quarterback who also hangs out with the geeks and that has been Clooney for the past decade).  And the look that Clooney gives his lady friend when he meets her at her house was one of my favorite acting moments of the year.

Best Actress

This is a two horse race.  Meryl Streep was great in Julie and Julia and this is her 134th nomination. She has won twice, but I think it is time she get another win.  She is like the Michael Jordan of actresses – she should win the MVP every year, but doesn’t because some obscure actress did something obscure and artsy or some pretty actress got fat, or naked, or sassy. And with that let’s discuss the other best actress front runner – Sandra Bullock.

The Meryl Streep of basketball.

Sandra Bullock was a B+ in The Blind Side, which was good because the movie was a C/C-.  But other than a benign racism that is sweeping the country (“Hey, we voted for a black guy, we like movies where white people save black people – damn we are awesome white folk!”) I do not understand why Meryl Streep is not guaranteed a third Oscar.  If you need ant other reasons not to root for Sandra Bullock and/or The Blind Side please watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_oK6EPc6QA

So I am going to go with what is right and say Meryl Streep over Bullock.

Best Supporting Actor

Christopher Waltz from Inglourious Basterds might be an even bigger favorite than Heath Ledger last year.  What a great performance – he is the front runner and deserves to be.  He was so good that the Academy is considering granting him a Polanski (“a pass for a rape of a minor based on high quality work”).  I enjoyed Woody Harrelson in The Messenger and must admit I did not see The Last Station yet, but am glad to see Christopher Plummer nominated (in my mind his lack of a nomination for The Insider is still the biggest snub I can remember).

Best Supporting Actress

Mo’Nique in Precious. Also a no-brainer.  The most raw performance I think I have ever seen.  Her motivation may have come from the fact that Mo’Nique’s husband has a hairy leg fetish, which probably means he is on the down low.  That would make most women pretty angry, but Mo’Nique took it to another level. The only thing that may detract from this for Academy voters is that the film is very black in both mood and casting.  It is sort of the Anti-Blind Side.

She has an "open relationship" with her hairy leg-loving husband. Keep it on the down low and go win your Oscar Mo'Nique!

Best Director

Without ten nominees to thin the voting, this will be between James Cameron (Avatar) and Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker).  I enjoy the fact that they were married and that I think James Cameron bounced.  That will make it even more painful if she has to lose to him, which I think she will.  The breadth and technological advancements and sheer volume of time spent on Avatar should give it to Cameron.

I might go for Tarantino or Reitman (Up In The Air) with my vote. Which I don’t have.  But Avatar is pretty hard to deny.

Best Animated Feature

Up. 

The only thing that would make me madder than a Blind Side victory in any category would be Fantastic Mr. Fox winning here.  I think Wes Anderson films are incredibly irritating, though Mr. Fox was relatively enjoyable.  But Up’s first 15 minutes alone crush the competition.

A moment of silence for Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, which was ignored and not even nominated.

Best Adapted Screenplay

I think Precious should and will win here because form what I have heard the original text is written in the first person and might pose a challenge to make into a quality film, which they did.  However, the hilarious and extremely clever In The Loop, as well as the most original film of the year, District 9 would make me happy as well.  Fu-k An Education.

Best Original Screenplay

Inglourious Basters should win and almost definitely will win.  Part of me is rooting for Up though. It is about time Pixar got recognized for being the most consistently original and great film studio.

Best Score

I genuinely can’t remember any of the scores, so here is my list of my favorite scores of all time (shut up Star Wars fans):

1) The Last of The Mohicans

2) Brokeback Mountain (the score literally could have been called “sad and lonely cowboy”)

3) Chariots of Fire

4) Hoosiers

5) Rudy

Alright – there it is a comprehensive list of the categories you care about.  If you want incessant humorous commentary by me during the Oscars – check out www.twitter.com/JLCauvin

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Valentine’s Day: Maybe The Worst Movie Ever Made

If you have been to a movie recently you have probably seen a preview for “Valentine’s Day,” one of the most trite, shameless and cliche pieces of crap ever produced.  Now I have not seen the film, but let’s put it in perspective:

They could have called this movie "Open Mic Comedy" for all the mediocre talent they have stuffed into it.

1) The preview features “I Gotta Feelin'” by the Black Eyed Peas.  The Black Eyed Peas have made a fortune by shamelessly producing song after song that beg to be anthems.  It is one thing if a song becomes an anthem (Welcome to the Jungle as an example), but when you write songs with the intent of forcing them as “Summer songs” or “New Year’s Eve songs” or “Bar Mitzvah songs” then you are no more an artist than someone who composes commercial jingles.  In fact you are worse because commercial jingles make no pretense about what they are.   So bad move Valentine’s Day.

2) The star studded cast of Valentine’s Day is a who’s who of overrated people.  Jaime Foxx – your career highlights are Wanda from In Living Color and a glorified impression in Ray.  Other than that your performances are lifeless as your mechanized singing.  Taylor Lautner – I am supposed to believe that this kid is in a heterosexual relationship with Taylor Swift in the movie or real life?  Ladies and gentlemen I present to you the next generation Tom Cruise, but with less charisma and talent.  Unless he is sucking Taylor Swift’s twig and berries in the movie I don’t buy it.  The list goes on and on (literally the supply of mediocre talent is bordering on endless), but it really just looks like the cast of the 2016 season of Dancing With The Stars.

3) The name of the movie.  Like a Black Eyed Peas song this movie, if it gains any success will lay claim to the “official movie of Valentine’s Day.”  They couldn’t have thought of something better?  If you go see this movie on Valentine’s Day do your self a favor and drive off a bridge on the way home.

Like the U.S military reaching out to former enemies in Iraq to secure peace I have actually offered to see Dear John with my girlfriend as a way of ensuring that I do not need to see Valentine’s Day.  Dear John is a Nicholas Sparks movie starring Channing Tatum so this is no small sacrifice. 

Nicholas Sparks, Channing Tatum and my balls in a vice are my Valentine's Day plans.

Ok, that’s it for today.  Now I am off to see Extraordinary Measures.  See, anything, even cliche medical dramas with over-the-hill actors, seems palatable after the Valentine’s Day preview.

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2009’s Fond Farewell From A New Jersey Heckler

New Year’s Eve is probably my least favorite holiday.  I have had a relatively good track record on other trite and annoying holidays in terms of enjoying myself and/or not screwing things up.  However, I have managed to have about eight bad New Year’s Eves in the last decade, from sleeping on an assistant coach’s couch in college because I had basketball practice the next day and the dorms were not open yet, to ruining a date a few years later because I passed out from overeating at a steak house, to getting dumped by a fiancee (actually a good New Year’s in hindsight, but you get the idea).  In other words, the holiday has been bad luck for me.  But thanks to my friend and fellow comic Nick Cobb I was getting a paid gig in New Jersey to perform at a New Year’s Eve show in Sommerset, New Jersey.  If anything could break the curse of New Year’s Eve it would be comedy.  And along similar lines of thinking, if anything can turn the country around it’s a Sara Palin presidency.

There is no need for a long post here.  I got on stage and of the 200+ people I’d say I had the attention of 130 and the approval of about 95.  The set was a B- performance and I got a D+ reaction from the crowd.  But the Joe Wilson moment of the night came when Danny Rouhier, the emcee for the night asked the crowd after me if they were ready for their headliner, a woman in her mid or late fifties yelled, “Well, is he going to be better than the other guy (me) hahaha?”  In other words an old, New Jersey, woman, three things that would generally disqualify her from judging my or most people’s comedy, had just delivered the final word on my 2009.

I wouldn't mind getting heckled by these guys.
I wouldn't mind getting heckled by these guys.

I have had some humbling moments in comedy, but this may have been the most humbling.  So I watched the ball drop and said to myself, “Fu-k this year and fu-k this decade.  I’m going to turn my fortunes around starting this New Year’s.”  And then the first thing I heard after the ball drop was the DJ cue up “I Gotta Feelin” by the Black Eyed Peas and I had an inauspicious first thought for the decade: “Not this fu-king song again.”

The sound of annoyance at the beginning of a new decade.
The sound of annoyance at the beginning of a new decade.