February 26, 2010

Stay Tuned! Oscar Predictions Coming Up. See How I Did in 1999

RON ROECKER’S 1999 OSCARS
Miller Lite Predictions & Insights


BEST PICTURE
American Beauty
Cider House Rules
The Green Mile
The Insider
The Sixth Sense

Ok. There’s no “war” for Best Picture. The marketing people at Miramax want everyone to think that “Cider” has a snowball’s chance in Hades of beating “Beauty.” I guess I look at the best picture race like this:

*Beauty and the Beast: American Beauty vs. The Green Mile (more realistically, the mouse in this movie – who, by the way, was the real star of the show because the script sucked and Tom Hanks held his crotch too much). ‘Nough said.

*Rules Were Made to be Broken: American Beauty vs. Cider House Rules. American Beauty made us look at ourselves in a brutally honest way that made us extremely uncomfortable. That’s not the formula that’s been working with hits like American Pie and Big Daddy. Rule #1: If you’re going to go against the grain, make a helluva movie! Cider House Rules tried to show us that “things aren’t as they seem” and that “we must make our own rules because rules of others are too limiting in the ‘real world.’” Blah, blah, blah, f-ing, blah. The only rule that wasn’t broken in this movie was casting Erikah Badu in it! I thought she was brilliant. I thought her father’s choice in girlfriends was not.

America Undercover: American Beauty vs. The Insider. People watch enough bad news in their own living rooms, why do they want to go to a movie (get a bucket of popcorn – lightly salted -- with just a little bit of “butter,” a large/free-refills diet Pepsi, some Twizzlers – because they’re no fat -- and Goobers for dessert – all while having to take out a lien on the house to pay for all this crap) to see it acted out in Kodak Electravision? Wouldn’t we rather spend our money by watching brilliant performances, young beautiful people, some of the best actors around in a movie that puts US under a microscope all while getting under our skin?

We All Saw Dead People: American Beauty vs. The Sixth Sense. I loved both of these movies. Great performances. Interesting concepts. And, of course, they both featured dead people. But as I’ve said before, American Beauty was a tremendous movie from start to finish – and even after having eaten the bucket of popcorn – lightly salted – with just a little bit of “butter,” a large/free-refills diet Pepsi (of which there were a total of two refills), some Twizzlers (which still had a couple left because they’re no fat and taste like shit) and the Goobers – which were eaten simultaneously with one handful of popcorn, it still haunted audiences – because the ghosts we now were seeing were US!!
The Sixth Sense had an incredible ending. If they gave Oscars for endings, there would be two winners in the “Best Ending Category” – The Sixth Sense (for shocking everyone, dammit) and Cher’s “Faithful” (for just ENDING).

There will only be one beauty queened on Oscar night – American Beauty.
PREDICTION: AMERICAN BEAUTY
ACTUAL: AMERICAN BEAUTY

BEST DIRECTOR
Sam Mendes, American Beauty
Spike Jonze, Being John Malkovich
Lasse Hallstrom, The Cider House Rules
Michael Mann, The Insider
M. Night Shyamalan, The Sixth Sense

Should: Toss-up between M. Night Shyamalan (Doesn’t his last name remind you of the beginning of Laverne and Shirley? “Shalymeezal, Shyamazal, Hossenffeffor Corporated…” I digress!) and Sam Mendes. I mean, not since we all were kicked in the proverbial nuts during the “Crying Game” have we been so snowed over by a movie’s ending as “Sixth.” And the only thing that didn’t die in “Sixth” was its box office legs!

However, the ending was the star of this movie (and the marketing trailers were the supporting actors)– not the movie from start to finish. And the movie really was only focused on “why-the-hell’d-you-pick-me-to-haunt-I’m-a-cute-little-kid-and-now-everyone-thinks-I’m-a-total-freak-but-I’m-WAY-younger-than-Michael-Caine-so-at-least-I-have-that-going-for-me-and-I’m-way-more-bankable-than-Madonna-in-movies-even-though-I’m-only-as-old-as-her-first-illegitimate-daughter-and-I’ve-never-made-an-infomercial-like-Cher-but-I-did-like-that-Believe-song” Osment – not an entire ensemble. Less people – alive or dead – less trouble, I say! So, we go to Sam Mendes as the “should.”

Will win: Sam Mendes. As the force behind the Broadway revival of Cabaret, he had a chorus line of tremendous talent in “Beauty.” And he risked making a “dark” Hollywood movie (like Cabaret to lighter fare “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Lion King”). From getting some of the darkest, gutsiest (is that a word?) performances out of some already superb actors, he made this Les Miserables of a story entertaining and mesmerizing. You’re a Good Man, Sam Mendes. (FYI: Don’t forget that I HATED Cider House Rules so Lasse is barking up the wrong tree if he thinks I’m even going to consider him for this award. Sit, Lasse. Good boy.)
PREDICTION: SAM MENDES
ACTUAL: SAM MENDES

BEST ACTOR
Russell Crowe, The Insider
Richard Farnsworth, The Straight Story
Sean Penn, Sweet and Lowdown
Kevin Spacey, American Beauty
Denzel Washington, The Hurricane

Should: Richard Farnsworth. Will: Richard Farnsworth. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Who the hell is Richard Farnsworth??!! Should/Will: Kevin Spacey. ‘nough said.

PREDICTION: KEVIN SPACEY
ACTUAL: KEVIN SPACEY

BEST ACTRESS
Annette Bening, American Beauty
Janet McTeer, Tumbleweeds
Julianne Moore, The End of the Affair
Meryl Streep, Music of the Heart
Hillary Swank, Boys Don’t Cry

May I digress for one moment? I’d like to take just a few lines to chat about Ms. Streep. This is her 12th nomination, brothers and sisters!! Not one. Not seven. TWELVE!!! She now ties Katharine Hepburn for the most Oscar nominations by any performer (even Jack Nicholson now trails here with his mere eleven nominations). She’s even won twice (Katharine’s won four times…nah, na, nah, na, nah, nah!!). She’s like a winninger Susan Lucci, ok?! Anyway, the movie sucked so she’s not going to get this. (And Gloria Estefan, please, please, please use Madonna as an example – stick to singing, sister). Congrats anyway, Meryl. Kiss kiss, and see you next year!

Should win: probably Hillary Swank (She’s basically won every critical award to win so far). BUT Annette just nabbed the Screen Actors Guild Award AND she previously was nominated for her role in The Grifters. So, is it her turn now? Maybe. Will win: Probably Hillary Swank because voters love that indie feel to the movie! FYI: The PR machine for American Beauty has been working overtime. And Boys Don’t Cry hasn’t seen the boost in box office like “Beauty” and “Cider” have (and neither has The Hurricane FYI – is that what happened to The Next Best Thing? Oh, no, it just sucked). Boys Don’t Cry made people very “uncomfortable” because of the subject matter and the graphic ending. And Annette’s all American-pie prego with Warren’s kid. Sidebar: Everything in Hollywood is related (kind of like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon) – Annette was IN “American Beauty”/Madonna REMADE “American Pie” – Madonna USED to date Warren/Annette is now Warren’s Next Best Thing! Again, I digress. Oh, yes, and she was brilliant in this movie (“I will sell this house. I will sell this house!”). And Gwyneth won it last year, so shouldn’t we give it to someone over 25 this year? I say, “f*^#-‘em, your highness” – give it to Annette. (Hillary was so brilliant that, like “I –can’t –believe-these-dead-bastards-and-bitches-won’t-leave-me-alone” Osment, she has a tremendous career ahead of her.)
PREDICTION: HILLARY SWANK
ACTUAL: HILLARY SWANK

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Michael Caine, The Cider House Rules
Tom Cruise, Magnolia
Michael Clarke Duncan, The Green Mile
Jude Law, The Talented Mr. Ripley
Haley Joel Osment, The Sixth Sense

Should win: JUDE LAW, OF COURSE!!! Can he act? I don’t really remember him “acting” – can he look good? Does a cat have an ass??? HE WINS!! Alright, alright…they probably should give it to the “I see dead people” kid. For crying out loud – he’s just so damned CUTE! And he did an unbelievable job – especially the scenes with his on-screen mom, Toni Collette (the car/Grandma scene at the end of the movie was brilliant). But he won’t get it because, obviously by Michael Caine still being around, Osment apparently has about 62 more years of acting ahead of him. (Did I say that out loud?) Will win: I can’t even say it…the guy from Cider House (Sidebar: I haven’t been so bored watching a movie since Cher’s “Faithful” came out – sorry, Phil). I don’t know what all the hoo-hah is about this movie – especially Mr. Caine’s performance. There are a lot more (Jude Law) people I’d rather see snort ether (Jude Law) than Michael (Jude Law) Caine. Anyway, he’s won a whole buncha awards for this damned role, so he’ll probably win the Oscar. Blah, blah, blah…
PREDICTION: MICHAEL CAINE
ACTUAL: MICAHEL CAINE

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Toni Collette, The Sixth Sense
Angelina Jolie, Girl, Interrupted
Catherine Keener, Begin John Malkovich
Samantha Morton, Sweet and Lowdown
Chloe Sevigny, Boys Don’t Cry

Should win: ANYONE BUT ANGELINA JOLIE (AND, OF COURSE, HER BROTHER). Sidebar: Does anyone else think it’s a little strange how “close” she is with her brother? I mean, my sister and I are best friends but if I’m going to the Oscars and have an opportunity to hook up with Jude Law, I’m sure as hell not bringing Wendi, ok?! No offense, sis. I digress. I’d love to see Toni Collette win this. Remember her from Muriel’s Wedding where she gained, like, Monica Lewinsky/Kate Winslet-poundage for the starring role? And in “Sixth” you could just see how torn up she was inside from truly wanting to help her son but not knowing how to help the little freak – bless his heart. And she actually held her own next to the adorable-deceased-seeing-kid. She should, once again, be walking down the aisle – this time for a little gold man. Will win: Angelina Jolie’s brother’s sister/girlfriend, Angelina Jolie. She won the Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild – she’ll take this too. Dammit. (I’m sure we can rename her acceptance speech, “Brother, Interrupted”) Sidenote: Word on Rodeo Drive, however, is that she’s pissing off a bunch of people because she’s such a freak. So, you never know…perhaps Toni Collette will win the little man (not Haley, Oscar) and Angelina will simply remain her brother’s keeper.
PREDICTION: ANGELINA JOLIE
ACTUAL: ANGELINA JOLIE




BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Alan Ball, AMERICAN BEAUTY
Charlie Kaufman, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH
Paul Thomas Anderson, MAGNOLIA (Previously nominated for Boogie Nights)
M. Night Shyamalan, THE SIXTH SENSE
Mike Leigh, TOPSY-TURVY (Previously nominated for Secrets & Lies)

Should Win: Alan Ball for American Beauty (his first Oscar nod). Perhaps many would think M. Night Shyamalan for “Sixth” – well, crap, who DIDN’T see this movie. But frankly, I don’t really remember the writing – I remember the ending. I remember the kid whispering about seeing dead people. Don’t really remember being too entranced with the script. So…Will Win: Alan Ball, American Beauty; he did an unbelievable job of writing a script that so eloquently threw society and all its ugliness right back in our faces. His writing was incredible, although his original script had Kevin Spacey coming down as an angel at the beginning of the movie, with a courtroom drama ending that showed the kids being tried for murder. In this case, words spoke volumes over too much action. His script was a real “Beauty”! (Sidebar: Did anyone SEE Topsy-Turvy? Did anyone LIKE Magnolia?)
PREDICTION: ALAN BALL
ACTUAL: ALAN BALL

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
John Irving, THE CIDER HOUSE RULES
Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, ELECTION
Frank Darabont, THE GREEN MILE (Previously nominated for Shawshank Redemption)
Eric Roth and Michael Mann, THE INSIDER (Eric Roth previously up for Forrest Gump)
Anthony Minghella, THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY (Also previously up for writing/directing English Patient – won Director)
PREDICTION: ALEXANDER PAYNE & JIM TAYLOR
ACTUAL: JOHN IRVING

Should win: Anything with Jude Law in it, ok?!! DO YOU HEAR WHAT I’M SAYING??? So what if Matt killed a bunch of people – MORE CLOTHING-OPTIONAL SCENES WITH JUDE!!!! I digress. Should win: Probably The Insider because it’s a critically acclaimed film that no one saw so this would be the perfect chance to give it at least SOMETHING. But, The Insider is going to be left outside in the cold, I fear. Will win: Alexander Payne/Jim Taylor for Election. Although I could barely sit through the rental, it was extremely well-written – biting satire like American Beauty with a layer of good old apple pie to help the bitterness. (Sidebar: my dear friend, Angela, just had lunch with Alexander Payne – Don’t worry, Ang, I’m not going to say anything about those “casting couch” rumors…)