What a horrible year for the Oscars. Most of these nomiations are for movies all about Gloom and Doom, and I can't help but think of this as an echo of the American climate: "the year of the middle-aged, white conservative voter." Steve Martin will be the only reason to watch the show, and the critics will come down very hard on him because so much of his humor is "too high concept" (not dumbed down enough).
Oscarus Annus Horribilus...Par example:
Best actor: Jack Nicholson, and four middle-aged white guys running against Jack Nicholson. No contest.
Best picture: A violent, testosterone-driven gangster flick. A sexist, violent, testostereone-driven fantasy flick. An overrated movie that glorifies and romanticizes murder and publicity, supplies men with two solid hours of T&A, and annoyingly bursts into song every five minutes (and we have to watch Richard Gere DANCE, for corn's sake...). A movie about the holocaust, directed by a well-publicized child molester. And of course, a movie rafe with female bisexuality, lesbianism and prosthetic noses hedges out an arguably better movie with a closeted gay man and a bi-racial relationship in the plot. And nothing remotely "fun" like Greek Wedding or spiderman. This is one category where I'm not particularly sure I CARE who wins this year.
Best support. I don't care that they dissed Richard Gere...but dissing Richard Harris and Dennis Quaid reaches a level of WRONG I haven't seen in awhile. That said, John C. Reilly was the best thing about Chicago, and he totally deserves this award but will lose it to someone named Chris. (Walken or Cooper...either one.)
In two major cases, they nominated something completely deserving and then set it up to lose...
Best supporting actress. Queen Latifah, who channelled the spirit of Billie Holliday...it was INCREDIBLY validating to see the movie industry nominate a role where an overweight woman was given a sensual role full of zest and life (rather than the typical "psycho," "matron," or "laughingstock" typically assigned to plus-sized women). Queen Latifah was beautiful, sexy, WONDERFUL. And they set her (the only person of color nominated for acting, by the way) up to lose by putting her against Meryl Streep and T&A girl, Catherine Zeta-Jones. Very upsetting.
Original Screenplay. Nia got her nomination for Greek Wedding, and I cheered out loud. But this is a year where most of the "best screenplay" types were original, not adaptation. So she's gonna get rooked, too. (Speaking of adaptation: um, SPIDERMAN? um, HARRY POTTER? um, LORD OF THE RINGS???? What the....)
Best actress. I cannot STAND Renee Zellweger...but oddly, her annoying qualities worked completely in her favor in "Chicago." I think the one to beat though is Nicole Kidman, and I hope she wins it for a variety of reasons. Would have been very nice to see Nia in there, even if she wouldn't have won.
As great as "Ice Age" was, and as much of a shoe-in as that is, what a slap to the people at Disney, and for the second year in a row. There wouldn't even BE an "animated full-length feature" category without Walt Disney, yet Disney will lose the statue for the first two years (having had Monsters, Inc. lose to Shrek last year).
I'm going to shock my husband now. I hope Eminem wins best song this year, because he's the only one nominated without any political-type thing going on. Paul Simon could get the hippie vote. Bono could get the humanitarian vote. But Eminem did something raw, something real, something about both himself and the movie that speaks to both the frustrated youth situation and the frustrated American situation, no holds barred. And a win for Eminem in this regard would certainly go with the themes that seem to be dominating the award nominations.
Best score...no Elfman, not anywhere. And the fact that the score for "Signs" didn't make it, is sad. John Williams and a bunch of other people including Philip Glass.
NO LOTR nomination for costumes? For makeup? Directing? They must really be expecting Episode 3 to clean up next year. And what a loss for George Lucas, in the technical area, to have Star Wars NOWHERE. They also dissed Spielberg this year, who actually invented a new type of camera shot in "Minority Report."
One thing I was VERY glad to see: they weren't tasteless enough to nominate Sum of All Fears for anything, even technical.
I have to run this SORRY LIST through my "system" before I can make my official predictions. And you know what, I'm tempted to share my system with you guys because there are a few too many wildcards that could throw it this year for me, anyway. And that way, you'd all win your office pools...what do you guys think? Share my system?