I have just one week to see the remaining Oscar movies! Can I do it?
No! Of course I can’t!
Well I could, if I wanted to. But I don’t, so I won’t. So there.
But - why not? Because, well because - Beasts of the Southern Wild? Really, what does it even mean?
Thus far I’ve forgone Armour (too French) and Beasts of Southern Wild (What? Where? Huh?). Actor wise I’ve no idea what Joaquin Phoenix was doing in… whatever he was in. Emmanuelle Riva was probably brilliant in, er something, and Quvenzhané Wallis was…Eh? Huh? Who?
Well… good luck everyone!
Wilful ignorance isn’t going to stop me shooting some Oscar arrows, so - here goes!
Let’s dust off the crystal dartboard with, ready, aim…
It looks as if Ben Affleck’s sort-of-true story recounting the 1970s American Embassy exfil operation in Iran is now the Oscar shoo-in for a best film bullseye. But, steady…whoosh,
Every dart player knows that ominous pinging sound.
It’s the sound of arrows bouncing off the board. Yes, ‘ping’ means only one thing:
I loved this movie, loved the notch by notch ratcheting up of the tension, the comic relief of John Goodman and that bloke out of Little Miss Sunshine. I even loved Ben Affleck’s beard. But you have to be careful when you torture the truth. A little tweak here and there is OK, but - Jeeps chasing the plane?
Way to pop the pressure bubble Ben.
Bully’s Oscar Dartboard Score: Nada! Ben’s dart is lying bent and blunted beneath the board. Pick it up Mr. Affleck. Perhaps we’ll see you back at the oche next year.
Django Unchained is another cracking movie…which won’t win an Oscar. Tarantino’s crimson tinged treatise has all the essential elements of an Oscar contender: Great acting, great pacing, snappy dialogue, but - there’s just so much gore.
You can’t underestimate the ‘gore score’ when it comes to making your Oscar picks. Can you think of a movie this gory that ever got the nod? No! Oscar doesn’t do gore. They do war (Platoon, The Deer Hunter, Bridge Over The River Kwai). And Law (Chicago, No Country for Old Men). They even do Whore (Driving Miss Daisy). But - they’ve never done gore.
So, sorry Quentin. If you’d like to win the little gold man you gotta clean up your actors (good luck with that).
Bully’s Oscar Dartboard Score: …Plop! Oh! It’s landed on 15, just outside the center circle. No bullseye this time Mr. T but not to worry, the arrow is a perfect marker for your next throw.
Les Miserables got the Oscar nod purely out of sympathy - you know - for trying so hard. Sort of an ‘A’ for effort sort of thing.
If there was sympathetic applause for losing movies, Les Mis would get a lot of it.
Les Mis ain’t going to win, everyone knows that. And nor should it. The first 20 minutes of the movie are amazing. But once Ann Hathaway is away with the French fairies the rest of the film d-r-a-g-s...
Oh, God…so much singing, when will it stop? Christ - is he still alive? Ug, enough with the Master of the House. And, what’s this now – a revolution? God let it be over! Zzzzzzzzz.
It takes a lot to make me sleep through a revolution but Les Mis tucked me in nicely.
Bully’s Oscar Dartboard Score: Ka-plump! Alas, the dart has landed harmlessly wide, arcing over the top of Tarrantino’s flight and settling near the treble 12. A bad miss. We’ll put that one down to nerves.
Life of Pi
Life of Pi is the kind of movie I’m supposed to like more than I did. But I didn’t. In fact I liked it only exactly as much as I did which was, well - just a bit.
Life of Pi is good - watchable. I admire Ang Lee for keeping me engaged when all I was watching was a boy in a boat with a tiger. But – why pick that subject matter anyway? It’s all well and good to applaud the efforts of a director who takes a dry subject and wets your eyes but, well – he didn’t have to pick this did he? It’s like 127 Hours – a movie that feels as long as its name - and Castaway. You watch these movies and you ask yourself: How good can you really make a film with only one frame?
Bully’s Oscar Dartboard Score: Plop…Oh! 25. Not bad for a first try. A few more throws Mr. Lee and you’ll hit the bully for sure.
Lincoln is another critics’ pick and, let’s be fair, another great movie. But the trouble with great movies that are based on true stories, especially ones that don’t involve jeeps chasing planes, is that they whittle you away.
Lincoln is dry, as dry as the powder in the soldier’s guns. You don’t notice the blandness so much at first, ensconced as you are in the elegant trimmings of the 19th century scenery, entranced by Daniel Day Lewis’ exquisite portrayal of the legendary war time pol. But then the movie wears you down and before you know it you’re, uh oh, is that the time?
Bully’s Oscar Dartboard Score: Swoosh…Ah! That was close! The arrow was swooping into the bullseye bed but then…What? It swooshed sideways at the last second! Better check those flights Stevie Boy…
Silver Linings Playbook
Silver Linings Playbook is my pick for Oscar night. Not just because I’m a sap and I have the hots for Jennifer Lawrence who’s cute in a, I’m-not-sure-why-she’s-cute sort of way. It’s my pick because it’s the best movie of the lot (of the ones I’ve seen which is some of them).
SLP feels new – like a pile of clean laundry. Director, David Russell picks a stinky subject and gives it a fresh spin. At the end of the film we all feel a little tumbled yet replenished at the same time.
Bully’s Oscar Dartboard Score: Ooooh – Get in! Bullseye all the way.
Zero Dark Thirty
Zero Dark Thirty is my Dark Horse contender. Apparently this movie isn’t supposed to win because it’s too blunt on, ooh! Touchy touchy torture.
The torture scenes aren’t overdone and nobody is suggesting everything in the movie is totally real. Why would they do that? Let’s face it, when Hollywood turns the page there’s no such thing as a ‘true story’. Just ask Ben Affleck.
Bully’s Oscar Dartboard Score: Ka-ping! Is it in? Is it in…?
…Bigelow steps up to the board, her eyes trace the line of the tungsten but…oh! Can you believe it? It looks as if, just like all those Jihadists stuffed into crates all over the world, this movie has landed on the wrong side of the wire.
Daniel Day Lewis.
Because: Well, because of course.
Best Supporting Actor
Because: I didn’t see Philip Seymour Hoffman. Why not? Because he was in The Master. So, assuming he was no good I’m giving this to Christoph. The guy is just brilliant. Tommy Lee might win though because he’s old.
Because: Because it’s not easy walking around looking stroppy for 90 minutes.
Best Supporting Actress
Because: I didn’t see Helen Hunt or Amy Adams and, whatever - this one’s a lock. How could it not be? I mean - Singing in a coffin? In just one take? Making me cry? (Allegedly). Yes, it’s all over (bar the Susan Boyle duet DVD).
Drum roll please…
‘And the Oscar probably goes to…Steven Spielberg!’
Because: ‘All hail Steven!’
Steven Spielberg always comes away with something. He’s like that kid at the party who doesn’t get a lucky bag because that ginger brat took two and now they’ve run out so he whines and cries and he won’t leave until you:
‘Give me something!’
I think Spielberg left empty handed last time he was here and everyone held their breath. God help us if they run out of gold toys this time around.
Best Picture: Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty
Best Actor: Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix, Denzel Washington
Best Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin, Robert De Niro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones, Christoph Waltz
Best Actress: Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Emmanuelle Riva, Quvenzhané Wallis, Naomi Watts
Best Supporting Actress: Jacki Weaver, Helen Hunt, Anne Hathaway, Sally Field, Amy Adams
Best Director: Amour (Michael Haneke), Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin), Life of Pi (Ang Lee), Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell), Lincoln (Steven Spielberg)
Oscar broadcast date: Sunday, February 24th.
Enjoy the show folks and, if all my picks are wrong don’t blame me blame this stupid magic crystal dartboard (I bought it in a charity shop after all, hey – half price!).