It’s that time of the year again. Stories about ill-gotten Oscars blanket the internet. We’re reminded that many truly crappy films have won “Best Picture” (Chicago, Crash, Titanic, Out of Africa, Million Dollar Baby, Oliver! blah, blah, blah), and that if an actor wants to make the final cut, a good way to do it is to play a handicapped person, as long as you heed Robert Downey’s advice in Tropic Thunder and don’t go “full retard.” (Colin Firth takes the advice in “The King’s Speech.”) Another sure bet for actors is to play a real person. In just the past 10 years, actors have won for portraying Queen Elizabeth, June Carter, Ray Charles, Harvey Milk, Truman Capote, Idi Amin, Wladyslaw Szpilman (The Pianist), Leigh Anne Tuohy (The Blind Side), Edith Piaf, Aileen Wuornos (Monster), Virginia Woolf and Erin Brockovich. This year Colin Firth, who plays King George VI, is fighting it out with James Franco (127 Hours) and Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network).
Still, you got to get the roles, and pretty much all those acting Oscars were well-deserved. I don’t want to gripe about them. Intead, I wanna bitch about truly stupid Oscars, even worse than the ones “Chicago” got. Let’s start with one specific award given in 2002. “Frida” won Best Make Up. Ever seen it? A good enough film, but “Best Make Up?” I remember watching the Oscar telecast. Selma Hayak, who portrays Frida Kahlo, went nuts. For what? An eyebrow. That’s pretty much the height of the make up in that film. Frida Kahlo’s unibrow. Other films that came out that year? The Two Towers, The Time Machine, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Star Wars: The Attack of the Clones, Star Trek: Nemesis…Even if you don’t like genre films like this, can you acknowledge that their make up teams had a few more challenges than giving Selma Hayak a unibrow???
There are two Oscar categories I truly hate: Best Song and Best Costumes. Best Costumes? Damn straight. I’m pleased when films that go all out (LOTR, Harry Potter, etc) get the award, but more often than not it goes to a so-called “costume” drama, a Jane Austin adaptation or something. What exactly do the costume designers “design” for such films??? Can’t they just drag their team to an ethnography museum in London, point to a dress and say, “Make that?”
Best Song. Ugh. I was pleased last year when the telecast did not have some aging pop stars sing their crappy little Disney songs, and we didn’t have to hear all the tired jokes about Randy Newman’s latest nomination. In some cases, a winning song is absolutely essential to the movie. That’s especially true in musicals like “Once.” Other movies revolve around a song, like “Hustle and Flow,” and that song, if it’s good, should be recognized. But how many songs win that you don’t even remember hearing in the movie? Sometimes the song is played over the credits, but if it’s a long movie you’re too busy running to the john to listen to it, and who watches credits on dvds? Cher raised a fuss about some crappy song from her crappy movie “Burlesque” not getting nominated this year. Maybe I am a little sad about that. Maybe in the middle of the song, on live tv in front of millions of viewers, she would’ve died. I don’t mean bombed, like screwing up the lyrics or something, but literally dying. She just keels over and croaks, hitting the stage and, because of all the “work” that’s been done on her, she shatters like a porcelain vase. Then every time she resurfaces after two years of surgery and recovery in South Africa, we wouldn’t have to listen to all the bonehead celebrities talk about how great she looks.