Because I'm bored and procrastinating and using this thread to entertain myself has reached its natural limit, I'm going to post on the big event that I only just now realized is happening tonight: The Oscars. I've barely seen any of the contending movies, and I don't want to see many of them ever, so I feel that I'm about as much an expert on this as any of the voters. So here's my predictions. Here's the list of nominees so I don't have to reproduce it.
Best Picture: I've only seen "Milk", so I think that should win by virtue of getting me out to see it. Nate Silver predicts that "Slumdog Millionaire", which is the only other one I actually considered seeing, mostly because the lead actor is charming as all get-out, but I'm stymied by my fear that it will, despite protests to the contrary, romanticize poverty. But I predict that it will be "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button", because it's been a couple of years since a real stinker won the award, and it's time. If the Academy doesn't reward mediocrity and balls-out suckitude more than it rewards genuine greatness, then the universe will implode. I haven't actually seen "Forest Gump 2", but I don't need to observe what you leave in the toilet to know it stinks, either.
Best Director: Danny Boyle's got this one wrapped up, even though he's not going to get Best Picture. In fact, I bet he gets this as the boobie prize for not getting Best Picture. I think a lot of voters will also believe that a vote for an English director inspired by Bollywood is a way of acknowledging Bollywood, which is otherwise ignored by Hollywood.
Best Actor: Despite the critical raves, it won't be Mickey Rourke. People just won't be able to bring themselves to vote for him, especially since Marisa Tomei is also in "The Wrestler", and voting for her in the past made fools of the Academy. Sean Penn will probably get it as a way to acknowledge "Milk" , and he should, because it's my favorite performance I've seen of his, hands down. Brad Pitt is a dark horse contender, though, because it's a showy role like the kind lampooned in "Tropic Thunder" with the "full retard" line.
Best Actress: It's time for the Academy to acknowledge that Kate Winslet is the next Meryl Streep. But they'll think, "Why give it to the next Meryl Streep when Meryl Streep is right here?" The only thing that might change the equation is the Hollywood allergy to older women, and without having seen a single on of the movies in this category (I do want to see "Doubt", though), I know that "older" is part of the characterization of both Streep and Winslet's characters. So that might give it to Hathaway. But I'm putting my money on Streep---it'll be a quiet way to reward her for "Mamma Mia" without the voters having to admit that they totally went to see "Mamma Mia".
Best Supporting Actor: The question is not, "Who will win this?" The question is, "Who is going to accept Heath Ledger's award for him?" That's the burning question of the evening, and I suspect the Oscars will have much higher ratings than usual because people are dying to know the answer. I also predict that the #1 video search tomorrow will be for the acceptance of Ledger's Oscar by whatever friend or family member does it. I have no quarrel with Ledger winning this, even if it's motivated by sentimentality. He deserves it, and since his death was an full-blown tragedy, I don't quarrel with the sentimentality either.
Best Supporting Actress: This one usually goes to the ingenue, and so with that in mind, it's hard to imagine that Amy Adams won't get it. But as someone who hasn't seen any of the movies in the category, I think I'd go with Penelope Cruz, because she deserves some kind of prize for her long career. This is the logic I suspect drives the voting, so my money's on her. Nate Silver predicts that Taraji P. Henson will get it, and it's hard to quarrel with that, because I fear a "Benjamin Button" sweep.
Best Animated Feature Film: Why "Bolt" didn't get a Best Picture nod is beyond me, but it'll easily sweep this category. I think "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" was only excluded on a technicality, or else it would be a lock for this one.
Best Foreign Film: "Waltz With Bashir" will win, due to having the most awesome title. Voters will definitely not bother to actually watch the nominated films before voting, and so having a great title will be the kicker.
Best Original Screenplay: If Sean Penn wins for "Milk", then "Milk" won't win this one, because the Academy will feel like they gave "Milk" something. If Penn doesn't win, "Milk" will get this one. If it's not "Milk", it will be "In Bruges", because the screenwriter has spent most of his life as a playwright, and that gives "In Bruges" that extra bit of pretentious juice that will push it over the top. I have seen "Milk", "Wall E", and "In Bruges", so the others are dead to me. Just kidding! I actually have seen and want to see more of the movies in this category than any other. Only "Frozen River" is a turn-off to me. If I were a voter, I'd vote for "Happy-Go-Lucky", because Mike Leigh doesn't actually write the scripts (he writes an outline and actors improvise), and so if he won, that would be hilarious. But I suspect there are not enough pranksters in the Academy to pull this one off.
Best Adapted Screenplay: "Forest Gump 2" for a win. That movie is going to be covered in slobber before the night's over, I fear.
Best Documentary Feature: I've not seen any of these, but I've heard "Man On Wire" is amazing. And it's a lock for the win, not because it's so great, but because it's about the World Trade Center, and the sentimental value will push it way over the top. Voting for this movie makes you feel good about yourself without actually watching any of the documentaries. "Trouble The Water" is a close second, for similar reasons, but relating to Hurricane Katrina. Again, not judging the movie---I've heard that it's great---but I have no pity for the Academy voters who gave "Gladiator" and "Crash" Best Picture awards.
Best Original Score: "Wall E", because you have no choice but to pay attention to it, when there's so little dialogue.
Best Original Song: "Down To Earth" from "Wall E". I'm sure there's more Academy voters with small children who watch the movie over and over again than Academy voters who know who M.I.A. is, and so more exposure to the song from that movie than to the "Slumdog Millionaire" songs that have appeal outside of their attachment to the movie.
Best Film Editing: "The Dark Knight" should get it. But another one so that "Forest Gump 2" can tout that it won more awards than anyone else. Remember, the Earth's very existence depends on the Academy slobbering over obviously shitty movies.
Best Cinematography: Beats me. "The Reader", probably. It should get something, and this one is good enough. Only serious nerds see movies for the cinematography, and I say that as one of those nerds.
Best Costume Design and Best Make-Up: "Benjamin Button", of course. I don't think they're going to walk away with 10 Oscars or anything like that, but it has to be enough to feel like a mega-sweep. This movie cannot go away quietly. It must live on into infinity, appearing relentlessly on cable movie networks. Avoiding it should become impossible.