So the Oscars are tonight.  Once again, I’ve been snubbed by the committee, all because of the pesky fact that my screenplay has not been made into a movie yet.

I used to be, like, way into this stuff.  Every year, when the big night rolled around, I’d have watched at least four of the five Best Picture entries, plus usually a bunch of other, lesser films.

This year?  Well, we watched The Hurt Locker last night.  It was hilarious!  Other than that, though, I’m more qualified to parse episodes of Max and Ruby than Academy Award-approved motion pictures.

And, I mean, shit.  Why are then ten freakin’ Best Picture nominees?  Isn’t that sort of like in nursery school, how you have to bring a Valentine for the whole class?

I’m stoked that Alec Baldwin is one of the hosts.  I know he’s overexposed, and also a bit puffy these days, but I’ve been wanting him to take that stage since the early 90s. (Sorry, Garrett Socol).  “Put…that statue…down.  It’s for closers.”  But then, I really enjoyed when Letterman did it, so what do I know?

I think Mo’Nique is a shoo-in for a statue, because of the Academy’s long-stated desire to laud someone with an apostrophe in her name.  Plus, I mean, did you see Precious?  Me, neither.  But Stephanie did, and said it was very well done, and that it makes our troubles seem minor in comparison. Which may be, but I’d rather re-watch Bruno (like me, snubbed by the Academy).

Meryl Streep!  She’s the Henry Clay of the Academy.  She commands a sizable bloc of voters, but not enough to win her the presidency statue.  Plus, they need to apotheosize Sandra Bullock, so they can do the whole “Academy Award winner” thing when promoting future rom-coms, like they do with Julia Roberts.

The dudes, I don’t know.  I bet Jeremy Renner was the best of the bunch, but will they really give it to him?  Or will they wait and nominate him again for his portrayal of Hawkeye in The Avengers?  And were any of these guys better than Sacha Baron Cohen in Bruno?  Was shooting in Jordan, right near the Iraqi border, any more daring than telling a Hamas leader, in Lebanon, that Bin Laden looks like a “dirty Santa Claus”?  Did Renner have to subject himself to time-stop photography on his erection?

Nine really came and went.  Did anyone see it?  Does it actually exist?  They should call it Nein.

If James Cameron wins, will he hold up the statue and say, “I’m on top of the world…of blue people I invented on the rim of the Solar System!”?

Didn’t see Avatar.  I’ll hold out for the sequel, Gravatar.

I’m rooting for Music by Prudence to win short doc.

And I will hold out hope that whoever presents Best Picture pulls a Kanye West and says, “Fuck that.  This statue belongs to Bruno!”, followed by Baron Cohen, in character, planting a sloppy wet kiss on whoever gives the boring Jack Valenti speech.

Enjoy, folks!




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GREG OLEAR is the Los Angeles Times bestselling author of the novels Totally Killer and Fathermucker and founding editor of The Weeklings.

36 responses to “Oscar the Grouch”

  1. Zara Potts says:

    Ha ha. Gravatar! I can’t wait for that. Maybe I’ll go turn myself blue in anticipation…
    I just don’t get Sacha Baron Cohen. I know this puts me in the minority – but I just don’t find him at all funny.

    • Greg Olear says:

      Well, he’s hit or miss, and he’s definitely an acquired taste. I think a lot of people don’t like him, actually. And I don’t like meanness in comedy, generally, so some of his stuff doesn’t do it for me. But when he’s on, man. To me, it’s much more impressive to have shot “Borat” or “Bruno,” and gotten away with the shit he gets away with, than is it to have a bunch of blue creatures look real on some planet.

      GRAVATAR! Rated PG-13.

  2. James D. Irwin says:

    I don’t really care about the Oscars, mostly because I tend to find all the Oscar winners quite boring. Also, what tends to happen is the Oscar-baiting films come out just before Oscar season and we don’t get them released until a few months after the awards are doled out.

    But I do want Waltz to win best supporting actor, because he was incredible in Inglorious Basterds.

    Also, I want Bigelow to win best director. Partially because I think Cameron is a bit over rated, but mostly because I’d love to see the words ‘Point Break’ preceeded by ‘From Oscar winning director…’

  3. Simon Smithson says:

    Renner as Hawkeye? Huh.

    I’ve been a fan of Renner for a while now – I think my very favourite Renner moment is during The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. There’s a totally gratuitious, almost slow-mo shot of his naked butt sliding down a snowbank. I can attest to this, as can others at different screenings: it’s a tension-breaker. The whole cinema erupts in laughter.

    • Greg Olear says:

      His IMBD page is funny. Lots of small stuff, lots of crap, Jesse James, Hurt Locker, and whammo! Suddenly he has a bunch of kick-ass projects coming up. Good for him, I say.

  4. Gloria Harrison says:

    You were wrong on all accounts.

    Can I just go on record as saying that Sandra Bullock sucks as an actress? I know that the academy awards just ended moments ago and that Bullock won best actress and I haven’t seen whatever movie she’s in – but I’m still mad at her for the year that the awful piece of shit movie Crash beat out Brokeback Mountain for best picture. Yes, I blame Sandra Bullock specifically. Perhaps that’s irrational – and I don’t care.

    As for parsing kids’ shows – this too shall pass. T and I just turned 8 last month and I’m only just now rejoining grownup land. And just barely.

    • Greg Olear says:

      Oh, come. There are plenty of more egregious examples than Crash, which had a lot of really great moments, beating Brokeback, which, besides Ledger’s bravura performance, is more celebrated because of the subject matter than the actual film.

      Re: Bullock. We realized last night that, aside from Crash, we’d never seen any of her movies. I mean, she makes crap, generally. Whereas Brad Pitt, it seems like we’re always watching, because he seems to pick films that are great and that we want to see. Colin Farrell is another one who always surprises me by how good he is.

      • I think basically I’m with you, Gloria regarding Sandra B. She annoys me to no end.
        I’m very surprised that she’s gotten where she has. I will say, however, that I did not see Blind Side (yet) and I did think her acceptance speech was redeeming. She was very botoxed, no? She seemed a bit robotic – maybe that’s why her speech was redeeming. And I did think she played a good bitch in Crash. I will say that. And I was pulling for Brokeback that year too – cuz I love gay love.

    • I’d like to note that Crash didn’t beat out Brokeback Mountain, which Greg rightly points out gets attention for its subject matter and not its quality, but rather Good Night, and Good Luck. That night those couple years ago should have belonged to Clooney. I would love to see him continue to embrace behind-the-camera work (not that he’s not terrific in front of it; Up in the Air was my hope for best pic this year).

      Good for Bigelow. I didn’t really dig Locker (bored me to shutting it off, in fact), but hey, lots of people have. I think Oscar gets off on the whole “Look at us and how conscious we are of the world around us! Look at the socially conscious movies we reward.” Which, hey, you know, whatever floats, I guess. Lord knows there’s always been a giant disconnect between the kind of art that audiences love and actually want to watch versus the sort critics think is actually good.

      I only caught twenty minutes of the broadcast (I was in the Rock of Ages audience), but Sandra Bullock gave one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard, and I was glad she got it. I saw the movies her and Streep were nommed for, and I liked Bullock’s performance much more.

      Plus: damn that woman is beautiful.

      • Greg Olear says:

        Agreed on Sandy’s speech. I teared up. But then, I cry at the drop of a hat.

        I’m excited for Up in the Air. I worked in HR for years and knew people who did that job, so it should be especially poignant for me.

        I thought Good Night was OK, but it didn’t go deep enough. It didn’t make me cry, and it should have. Perhaps it’s silly to base things on an emotional response, but I feel that way about books and good dramatic movies. I should feel something, or I should think about it for days afterward. It didn’t pass that test for me.

  5. Dana says:

    I wasn’t a fan of Crash either – but I’ve always just kind of liked Sandra Bullock. Also Greg, I totally agree about Brokeback Mountain, so overrated and more than anything so depressing. Heath was a wonderful actor and he shone brightly in many things.

    I liked Sandy (ha! see – we’re buds – she seems like a nice gal) in Speed and that thing where she’s a computer geek that seems to get rerun a lot. I can’t think of the name but Dennis Miller is in it and he’s HORRID. It’s like he just walked out of his standup routine and right into the movie.

    I had not seen a single nominated BP this year. I need to get my Netflix back in action.

  6. I’m probably among the few movie going females ever to not care about George Clooney. I just don’t get the appeal.
    Sandra Bullock? Meh. Okay for the material she chooses– but Oscar worthy? Not sure. Then again: what is? Sometimes the “we’re trying hard to be socially aware” Oscar Committee’s choices seem a lot like a tragedy of the moment pick (redemption, rise from the ashes, we are at WAR, alternative societies).

    The only moment worthy of last evening’s telecast: RDJ and Tina Fey. Oh — and a glimpse of the darling Stanley Tucci.

    • Greg Olear says:

      Lenore also doesn’t like George Clooney. So there are at least two of you.

      I love the guy. Love the Oceans movies, love Burn After Reading, love Out of Sight, etc.

      And yes, the RDJ TF banter was awesome.

      • Burn After Reading is the single instance in movie land where I didn’t dislike either Clooney or Pitt– and those were huge “look at me” roles. Perhaps because the entire time I didn’t feel like they were ACTING. Or, the Coen brothers’ are simply THAT good.

        • Greg Olear says:

          They were both playing against type, making fun of themselves. And Pitt is always great when he plays stupid people. That movie is really really REALLY funny, and I can watch it over and over, almost like with Lebowski.

  7. Dana says:

    Yes Will – The Net! Thank you. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Demolition Man. 🙂

    Greg – is Dennis Leary maybe with her in Miss Congeniality? I saw that too. I can’t believe I saw that, but heh, I guess I am a girl after all sometimes. Plus she was pretty good in it.

    Also, meant to say that this comment from James “Also, I want Bigelow to win best director. Partially because I think Cameron is a bit over rated, but mostly because I’d love to see the words ‘Point Break’ preceeded by ‘From Oscar winning director…’” is awesome. And that reminds me, I still want to do a poll and find out if this really is a guy favorite or just a TNB guy fave.

  8. Richard Cox says:

    I dunno. I still think everyone is smoking crack with THL. Bigelow is great and did an amazing job, but I don’t think the script tells a compelling story. To me it’s just a dramatic concept with no character development and no subtlety and a lot of unbelievable and inaccurate military situations that everyone wants to like because they think it’s an even-handed account of the Iraq conflict.

    I’ll just sit over here in the corner and pretend like everyone else is crazy instead of me.

    • Greg Olear says:

      Nah, I’m in the corner with you. The script was not Oscar-worthy, I don’t think…the opening sequence was too manipulative, and it should have ended with Sanborn, not James, because it began with him, and he’s sort of the filter. I don’t think it’s something that will stay with me for long — we just watched it two nights ago.

      That said, I’m fine with it. It’s a very good movie, certainly better than other past Oscar winners. And I think if Cameron had won, his little minions would have bowed down and worshiped him. The sycophancy last night was a bit much. He had a vision, Cameron did. Did everybody get that? A vision, I tells ya.

  9. Matt says:

    I’m going to stick my hand in the pot here and say that, while I’m happy as hell for Bigelow’s win (I loved THL, and her Strange Days is one of my favorites) I still think it’s an f’n tragedy that Moon was shut out of every category. Bridges earned his win, for sure, but Sam Rockwell should have been nominated for best actor. That film was fantastic, and he carried it all the way.

    • Greg Olear says:

      I forgot she did Strange Days. Great idea that fell apart in the last half, if memory serves…

      I have to add that to my queue…thanks, man.

      • Matt says:

        Not in the last half, really…more the final 20-25 minutes, mostly because I don’t think the riot sequence entirely pays off. But the film has so many other strengths that I’m willing to forgive that. That was the first thing I ever saw Ralph Fiennes in (I didn’t see Schindler’s List until 1997) and it made such an impression on me that I always think of him as lovesick hustler Lenny Nero.

      • Matt says:

        Oh, and rent Moon. Best science fiction film in at least a decade. And I say that as someone who loved Children of Men to pieces.

    • Richard Cox says:

      Yeah, and Rockwell basically acted on his own the entire film. That dude is great and he has amazing range. That one is going in my permanent collection.

  10. I don’t think Sony put Moon forward for consideration in the Oscars. There was a lot of protest on Twitter and Facebook, supporting both Rockwell and director Duncan “Zowie Bowie” Jones.

    I loved the way Moon cheerfully, openly copped visuals from 2001, Alien, Silent Running etc, and that he wore the ubiquitous American Apparel track jacket – and mid-’80s Hi-Tec Super Squash shoes. There’s a pair in a cupboard somewhere in my parents’ house.

    Sorry, I could crap on about Moon (and District 9 (sorry Will, but I absolutely loved it)) all afternoon.

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