The most boring Oscar season yet?
Hello, boys. Professor MacGuffin here with my observations based on 55+ years of movie going.
My mother claims that my birth was accelerated by her seeing the 1944 ghost flick The Uninvited and almost jumping out of her seat during a climactic séance scene. You don't need an abacus to figure out my age from that.
But enough about me, let's talk Academy Awards...and how this just might be the dullest Oscar season in years.
Photos: Getty Images
Any time you have the Best Picture race between blue people and bomb diffusers you know you’re in for a long evening. In recent years it seems the Oscars have gotten duller and duller. The last real excitement was Marion Cotillard’s stupendous win as Best Actress for La môme (or La Vie en Rose as we called it here in the U.S.). Watching this unknown actress waltz through awards season was totally compelling. When she won the British Academy Award (over home country fave Julie Christie), you knew the race was heating up. The Friday before winning the Oscar, she was in Paris accepting the French Caesar as Best Actress. Here she’d already won the Golden Globe, but it wasn’t televised due to the strike and the winners were simply announced. Hopping a plane for L.A. the day between award shows brought the exhausted but jubilant actress the coveted Best Actress award for a foreign picture that had been released the previous June. What no doubt turned the tide in her Oscar race was the brilliant decision to include a picture of Marion as she actually is superimposed over the aging Edith Piaf she played in the movie. Until that ad campaign, most of the voters probably figured her to be an old crone.
This year there don’t seem to be many surprises in store. Mo’Nique will no doubt get the award for Best Supporting Actress. She unleashed so much bile on the screen in the super downer Precious that the Academy will be hard pressed to deny her. (I even suspect that members who avoided seeing the film because of its depressing subject matter will vote for her, thinking Well, she must be great, she’s won all these other awards. Let’s just give it to her.)
Christopher Waltz is the odds-on fave to snag the Best Supporting Oscar, as he too has won almost all of the early contests. The first chapter (about 20 minutes) in Quentin Tarnatino’s film Inglourious Basterds is so riveting due to his acting and the brilliant writing and direction. Unfortunately, the piece pretty much collapses after that and becomes yet another bloated, violence-ridden, badly done Tarantino film. Having the talentless Brad Pitt in the lead doesn’t help. Other than his early abs-revealing moment in Thelma and Louise, Pitt has been pretty dreadful in every starring role. The latest pics of him with the hideous goatee make him look like he should be back in the hills of Missouri where he came from. Quentin Tarantino, meanwhile, has never made a decent film. I wanted to walk out of Pulp Ficton, but I was on a date and couldn’t. At 2½ hours, Inglourius seems to go on forever. Tarantino blows the suspense in the German bar sequence where we keep waiting for Nazis to discover the British spies. This stupid scene goes on so long that you want to start shooting yourself. (It reminded me of the old joke about Pia Zadora playing Anne Frank onstage and someone in the audience screaming, “She’s in the attic!”)
I don't know about you, but any mention of Pia Zadora makes me want to run as far away from the computer as I can get. Check back Monday for more pithy Oscar observations.