Friday, February 26, 2016

Your Winning Oscar Ballot, Part 2

In an Oscar office pool?  No sweat, guys.  I got this for you.  Yesterday, I gave you a bunch of my guesses in the lesser categories this Sunday night.   Today, we tackle the real premium statuettes.   You'll thank me come Monday morning.

Best Supporting Actress:   Okay, let's first rule out the non-contenders.  Rachel McAdams was decent in Spotlight, but it was truly an ensemble piece.  Jennifer Jason Leigh in the Hateful Eight?   I hear the movie was pretty darn hateful.   It's tough when you ask old Academy members to sit through three hours of garbage.   I'm sure Rooney Mara in Carol was captivating but I'm wondering how many people made it through the first half-hour without falling asleep.  I sure didn't.  I hated the Steve Jobs movie and I have no clue what was so wonderful about Kate Winslet's performance.  So, by process of Len's elimination, the winner is ALICIA VIKANDER for The Danish Girl.   You got to give an actress props when her leading man turns out to be prettier than she is.

Best Supporting Actor:  Everyone raves about Christian Bale's work in The Big Short but I thought it was better suited for the showcase window at your local Honeybaked Ham store.  I did not see Tom Hardy in the Revenant, as I prefer to keep my cinematic bear sightings relegated to Yogi and Boo Boo.  Mark Ruffalo was terrific Spotlight but, like Rachel McAdams, he will get lost in what was basically an ensemble film.  In most years, Mark Rylance would win for his superlative portrayal of a Cold War spy in Bridge of Spies.  But, wait. Hollywood always like to give out lifetime achievement awards.   And there he is.  Rocky Balboa, 2015 edition.  Indeed, he was actually the best thing in this otherwise mundane film,  The SYLVESTER STALLONE for Creed.

Best Actress:  I loved Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years and adored her even more for telling some of the dissenting Academy members to get a freakin' life about all that diversity nonsense.  Okay, Charlotte, there goes Will Smith's vote. Jennifer Lawrence could do no wrong in Joy, but she actually has had better roles.  Saorise Ronan was way too understated in Brooklyn, a movie that was mostly about Ireland.  Cate Blanchett has become the new Meryl Streep and now gets nominated for reciting her order at the deli counter in Pavillion. Again, were there any Academy members whose eyelids made it through Carol intact?  Indeed, this particular award is a lock.  Just like the one that was on the shed in which she was imprisoned for five years.   The winner is BRIE LARSON for Room.

Best Actor:  How many Academy members nominated Bryan Cranston not for his work in Trumbo but because they liked him in Breaking Bad?  Just sayin'. Matt Damon wasn't all that memorable in The Martian and actually too much screen time was devoted to events not on the planet Mars.  I totally loathed the Steve Jobs movie and, as a by-product, I couldn't stand Michael Fassbender's work in it.  Eddie Redmayne did a terrific job in The Danish Girl and I completely forgot he wasn't a chick.   Indeed, with that beautiful red hair, he should be considered for the role of Lucille Ball in Aaron Sorkin's upcoming biopic.  But, again, Hollywood likes to reward actors for their work over several years not just one movie.   And, as the first Growing Pains actor to be given an Oscar, the winner is LEONARDO DICAPRIO for The Revenant.  Sorry about that, Kirk Cameron.

Best Director:  Major props go to longtime film director George Miller for directing Mad Max: Fury Road at the age of 70.  While the Academy would normally like to honor him at this time, the winner of the DGA award usually scores big here.  The winner, as he was last year for Birdman, is ALEJANDRO G. INARRITU for The Revenant.

Best Picture:   A lot of the time, most folks know the winner of this award weeks in advance.  There have been few surprises in this category.  This year, it might be different and threatens to be the difference maker in office pools all across the country.  Let's first rule out the non-contenders amongst the eight nominated films.  Brooklyn?  Nope.  Bridge of Spies?  I loved you, but nope. Room?   I love you, too, but nope.  The Martian?  Meh.  Okay, I think this comes down to the other four movies and I keep hearing it is close.   Mad Max: Fury Road just gobbled a whole passel of technical Oscars, so it's definitely got a chance.  But, the Academy loves to spread the luster around.  The Big Short is a favorite of those Hollywood people who hate the 1 percent, even though they are part of that group.  I hear the Revenant turns off as many people as it turn on and his excessive grunts and groans qualifies it to be, as my good friend and fellow Oscar pooler Dennis remarked, a three-hour commercial for Dulcolax. It's damn close, but I am going to pick the movie that I liked the best in 2015. The winner is SPOTLIGHT.   

You will thank me in the morning.  Or...maybe you won't.

Dinner last night:  Long travel day, so nothing.  

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