Oscar race: Clooney vs. Bridges

By: Mike McCrann

Happy Monday! Professor MacGuffin is back in class with more on this year's Oscar race. To read my superior views on the Best Supporting Actress and Actor awards, click here.

Today's focus is on the Best Actor category, and the race seems to be between Jeff Bridges and George Clooney. (Colin Firth deserves to win, but that's beside the point.) George Clooney’s father Nick (former host of AMC) has better looks than George and his aunt Rosemary (White Christmas) had more talent. Clooney’s idea of acting is to not smile and squint a lot. Not that he’s not effective in certain parts, but he has no real range in my opinion.

And have you seen his penis?

Photos: Getty Images

Neither have I, but I thought the very idea would get you to the next page. Now, onto Jeff Bridges…

Mr. Bridges comes from an acting family. Maybe not as famous as the Redgraves in England, but the Bridgeses are pretty special. Father Lloyd, best remembered for his ’50s TV show Sea Hunt, was actually a fine actor whose best work was opposite Broadway legend Kim Stanley in The Goddess and in his TV movie Silent Night, Lonely Night with Shirley Jones. Jeff’s brother Beau preceded him in feature films like Gaily Gaily and The Landlord while Jeff made his feature film speaking debut in Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show—which is my choice as The Great Movie of the 1970s. Playing Duane opposite Cybill Shepherd (in her debut), Jeff gave a great performance and snagged the first of his four nominations. He then bounced around for 30 years in good, bad, and indifferent movies—but was always superb in them. His greatest film is probably the unknown Cutter’s Way. This fine film showed not only his acting talent but his sexiness as well. Unfortunately he’ll probably win this year as a thank you for a wonderful career, when the film for which he’s nominated, Crazy Heart, is simply a warmed over retread of Robert Duvall’s Tender Mercies from 30 years ago. Duvall also won an Oscar for his overall career for this so-so film. Aging country singer on the skids from drink and drugs finds solace and peace with the right woman. This year it’s Maggie Gyllenhaall. 30 years ago it was Tess Harper.

Oscar_02 But if Jeff Bridges does win, no one is really going to be too upset. He’s well liked in Hollywood, and the Oscars are a bit of a joke anyway. I mean, Hilary Swank has won twice while Deborah Kerr and Thelma Ritter never took home the gold despite six nominations each. Edward G. Robinson was never even nominated, despite a great career. (The full list of non-winners is too long to rehash here but with the exception of honorary awards, you might be shocked to know that Greta Garbo, Barbara Stanwyck, Rosalind Russell, and Cary Grant never won an Oscar either. And while we're at it, let's not forget Natalie Wood who should have gotten a statuette in 1961 for Splendor in the Grass but lost it to Sophia Loren for Two Women. Clearly the lesson that year was don’t divorce Robert Wagner and take up with Warren Beatty and then publicly travel to the Cannes Film Festival during the month preceding the Oscar voting.)

We will leave you with the memories of poor, un-awarded Natalie screaming "I'm not spoiled!" at her mother from the bathtub in Splendor. Dear Natalie, you spoiled us with your beauty and your talent, and we still miss you terribly.