Wonderful night for Oscar! Oscar! Oscar!
Who will win?!
It’s that time of year again, folks! Time for the most wonderful marketing-convention-slash-awards-banquet in human history: The Academy Awards. This year, they’ve nominated nine films for best picture, including two World War movies, six directed by white men, two with a woman first billed in the credits, and one film in a language other than English. Or as Hollywood likes to call it: Diversity!
I will be the first to admit, I was extremely wrong about last year. The host-less ceremony went off without a hitch, so ABC and the AMPAS decided to do it again this year. Apparently because the god himself, Billy Crystal, is chopped liver. Come on guys! You had a golden opportunity this year! It’s a travesty of justice that we aren’t going to get Billy singing while Joker-dancing down a flight of stairs in full makeup. I’m crying just thinking about this missed opportunity.
Last year wasn’t without some controversy, however. None of it was as fun as the Moonlight/La La Land snafu from a few years ago, but it was extremely entertaining watching the horror slowly creep over the room (and on Twitter) as they realized that Green Book, a film about how white people solved racism by eating fried chicken on a road trip with a black person, would win best picture. It was a marvelous piece of entertainment. More enjoyable, in fact, than some of the films nominated this year.
So join me, will you, as I—the Jeff Wells of Lewton Bus—break down the big awards races and try to picture what a voting body made up of some of the dumbest, most racist old white people on the planet will decide to honor this Sunday night.
Nominees: Cynthia Erivo – Tubthumping, The White Devil – Marriage Story, Greta Gerwig’s Irish Stand-in – Little Women, Charlize Theron – Fox News is Bad, Renée Zellweger – Walk Hard 2: Judy
Who Will Win: Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story
Zellweger could very well win here because the Academy loves nothing more than famous people in makeup singing karaoke, but I’m going with ScarJo here. Partially because her performance in Marriage Story is stunning, but mostly because she brings the exact right amount of baggage to the table to turn Film Twitter into a chaotic mess of Takery. She’s got all the angles covered. She’s angered the LGBTQ community by saying dumb stuff about taking a role as a trans character. Ghost in the Shell featured her in a whitewashed role that I’m sure will cause some “ScarJo is racist” reactions. Woody Allen has worked with her multiple times and she’s said she’d work with him again, so anyone down with the #MeToo movement is gonna be furious. Plus, she’s engaged to Colin Jost,the human embodiment of boat shoes, which should disgust anyone with a sense of taste. She’s essentially the White Devil at this point, and I’ll be thrilled to see her take center stage and melt the brains of take-havers across the globe.
Write-in Candidate: Sayuri – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
It’s about time the Academy makes up for it’s original sin: not letting a dog win an Academy Award. I say “original sin” because, at the first Academy Awards, German Shepherd Rin Tin Tin was the original vote winner for Best Actor, but the losers who ran the show fixed the vote because they wrongly believed a dog winning would ruin the legitimacy and prestige of the ceremony. It was a spineless act that set the tone for the AMPAS being supreme dinguses. This mistake needs to be rectified immediately, hence why Brandy, played by Sayuri, is the only choice for this category. Not only is this the goodest girl on the planet (just look at that picture), but she also helps murder the members of the Manson family who committed one of the most heinous crimes in American history. It’s the performance of a lifetime.
Nominees: Antonio Banderas – Pain & Gain, Leonardo DiCaprio – Quentin Tarantino’s Hollywood Wet Dream, Kylo Ren – Marriage Story, Joaquin Phoenix – Taxi Driver, but Dumber, Jonathan Pryce – 2 Guns Part 2: The Two Popes
Who Will Win: Joaquin Phoenix – Joker
Joaquin Phoenix winning for Joker is evidence that we are doomed to fail as a species. Phoenix is a great actor, don’t get me wrong, and he does his best to mine something out of this hot garbage excuse for a movie, but it’s still bad. It’s doubly atrocious when you consider that he’s been one of the best actors working for the past decade and put together complete, incredible performances such as his turns in The Master, Her, and The Immigrant. It’s a war crime when you put it in context and realize that Joker isn’t even his best performance in a Taxi Driver riff in the past few years (You Were Never Really Here, which is the far, far, far superior film). The only saving grace is that Phoenix winning means that Jared Leto is going to be very, very, very angry… I guess that means I’m rooting for Joaquin Phoenix now?
Write-in Candidate: Alcohol – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
If we’re talking performances that are ingrained into a film in every possible way and practically consuming every frame, then none comes close to the booze-soaked alcoholism of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Blender margaritas, bloody marys, sixers of beer, whiskey sours… if you watch this film and don’t get even the slightest of a contact buzz from it, you’ve got an insane alcohol tolerance. Even in scenes where no one is drinking, the liquor reigns supreme. For instance, Rick Dalton’s hangover on the set of Lancer was, sadly, painfully relatable. You can just feel the whiskey sweats, throbbing headache and general anatomical malaise over your own body as Rick shoves his face into a bowl of ice water. This face just says it all
Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Kathy Bates – Dick Jewels, Laura Dern – Make-up Award For Jurassic Park, Mrs. Colin Jost – Jojo Rabbit, Florence Pugh – Pretending to Enjoy Zach Braff’s Company, Margot Robbie – Not Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Because The Academy is Wrong
Who Will Win: Laura Dern – Marriage Story
Sure, Laura Dern is good in Marriage Story. Great, even. But no one will ever convince me that this isn’t a makeup win for Jurassic Park, the greatest film of all time. No, I will not elaborate on this further.
Write-in Candidate: Bob Iger
No one, and I mean no one has done more for women in film, and feminism as a concept, than our lord and savior Bob Iger. From introducing the world of Star Wars to strong female characters (Leia and Padme don’t count. Rey came first) to his masterful work developing the concept of “women who science”, the House of Mouse has ended misogyny and brought us into a new era. A corporate sponsored feminist utopia, if you will. Mind no attention to the multiple accusations of gender discrimination against Disney, nor the fact that almost all of their films have and are being directed by men. And definitely don’t acknowledge the sidelining of Kelly Marie Tran in The Rise of Skywalker and the overall lack of support she received after becoming the target of death threats, harassment, and nerd scorn for her role in The Last Jedi. None of that matters. Please enjoy this gif of all the iconic Marvel women (who won’t get their own solo movies) that you know and love—like Mantis and… Goop Girl—that single-handedly destroyed the patriarchy:
So, in honor of his work supporting actresses, I believe it’s important, nay our obligation, to honor Bob with the title of Best Supporting Actress. Congratulations, frankly, to us.
Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Tom Hanks – That Mr Rogers Movie Your Mom Thought Looked Nice, Anthony Hopkins – 2 Popes 2 Furious, Dunk Acino – The Irishman, Joe Pesci – Gone Fishin’, Brad Pitt’s Abs – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Who Will Win: Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
I don’t even have anything witty or funny to say here. Pitt absolutely rules in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It’s a killer performance matched by arguably the most complex, richest character Tarantino has ever written. Plus, just look at that body, man. Those are some Academy Award-worthy pecs if I’ve ever seen them.
Write in Candidate: The Food – The Irishman
No performance was as important, essential, and instantly iconic than Jimmy Hoffa’s ice cream sundaes in The Irishman. Just look at these works of art:
Add to that the wonderful beer grilled hot dogs, the single serving boxes of corn flakes, the bread and wine/grape juice, and the booze watermelon and you’ve got the best movie food of the decade. Maybe the best use of food in cinema since the prison scene in Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Rarely do performances inspire me to change my way of life, but after seeing The Irishman I’ve become a sundae man. I’m basically a whole new person.
Ford v Ferrari
I’m going to be perfectly honest: I haven’t watched Ford v Ferrari. I was supposed to catch a festival screening, but then I decided to stay home and do literally anything else. I might be a dad now, but I’ve still got more to live for than spending an evening watching a two-and-a-half hour movie by Hollywood’s 7-out-of-10-iest director about making cars go vroom vroom real fast. I’ve still got aways to go before I’m a 58 year-old wearing Oasics and wear-over sunglasses.
This could have been the worst film ever made and I still would have been ecstatic that Martin Scorsese managed to grift $200 million out of Netflix in order to make a three-and-a-half hour crime epic that utilizes state-of-the-art digital de-aging technology and is about being old as shit. It also works as a “one last ride” with his three best on-screen collaborators—De Niro, Pesci, and Keitel. Just the absolute work of a man king, and I have to respect it. Fortunately for us, it’s also one of the best films of Scorsese’s career. And now I can watch it while sitting on the couch in my underwear at 6AM on a Saturday morning. Poetic Cinema.
Honestly, this is the one I’m most excited for this year. It’s had the most low-key insane discourse in film circles, somehow surpassing the very dumb “Tarantino/Scorsese Hate Women” and “Joker Will Literally Murder Us” bad faith takes and inspiring something even more mind-boggling. It boils down to a very not-insubstantial number of people believeing that “if you like this movie, you’re an anti-semitic Nazi sympathizer” which is a very exciting proposition for me, a casual observer of the Film Twitter in its natural, dumb habitat. It almost certainly won’t win Best Picture, but it looks likely to win at least a screenplay award, meaning there will be lots of enjoyable Takery to be had by people who think Jewish-Maori jokester Taika Waititi believes in the Aryan Ethnostate. I, for one, am ready for it.
The only nice thing I will say about Joker is that it exposed so many members of the critical community for the namby pamby wimps that they are. All this hype over Joker being this crazy dangerous film and all it did was inspire some weird 35 year olds to put on makeup and do a dumb dance on some stairs. Probably because Todd Phillips wants to be Scorsese but isn’t smart enough to make something as thoughtful as Taxi Driver despite his best efforts. I mean, this is a film that wanted so desperately to be considered edgy that it references the 1984 NYC Subway shootings but wasn’t courageous enough to actually explore that event and the subsequent demonstrations’s racial motivations. Todd keeps saying that his film is all about empathy for the downtrodden, yet Joker on multiple occasions stops dead in its tracks to make fun of little people. If we were going to have a self-serious origin story about The Joker directed in a faux-auteur style that aimed to be controversial and potentially offputting to moralistic audiences, they should have gone all out and gotten a better Todd do make it. Solondz was right there.
I oppose Little Women’s nomination based solely on it’s premise. Not the fact that it’s a female-centric coming of age story about discovering what you want out of life and love. No, I hate this film because it was a cowardly attempt at counterprogramming against the most important film of 2019 that audiences apparently ate up. I’m speaking, of course, of Netflix’s masterpiece Tall Girl, the film that, if not for the chicken-hearted AMPAS and their fear of streaming technology, would be a lock to win the majority of this year’s awards. Little Women disgusts me.
Wow! You’re telling me that Noah Baumbach made a film about upper-class white New York artists that also happen to be struggling with divorce and daddy issues? And it involves a kid who kinda sucks? I, for one, refuse to believe this. Write what you know, I guess. Baumbach did kinda chicken out, though, given that his stand-in character, Adam Driver’s Charlie, funds his side of the divorce by winning a MacArthur Grant as opposed to writing terrible kids movies the way the man himself did. Charlie should have had to quit his day job and write, like, Despicable Me 7 or something.
Has Sam Mendes ever laughed? I’m not even trying to be a dick here, as I kinda liked 1917 and wouldn’t expect a film about WWI to be a barrel of laughs, but holy cow why does everything with this guy have to be so joyless all the time? American Beauty, Jarhead, his Bond movies… just so damn stolid all the time. He makes Christopher Nolan look like he makes Adam Sandler movies for crying out loud. I feel like Mendes watches comedies and the most he can ever muster is a sensible chuckle and the rest of his life is spent blankly staring into the void, Anton Chigurgh style, pondering what fun must feel like.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
It’s honestly admirable how Quentin Tarantino (I presume) saw how everyone liked to give him flack for his hangups and decided to make a film that just rubs its feet all over you. “You think I’m a podophile1 and am obsessed with how old movies make me feel? Here’s an entire subplot where Margot Robbie watches 1968’s The Wrecking Crew while shoving her dirty tootsies into the frame and looking on giddily as the audience laughs along with the film. Much like Scorsese, I’m in awe of the sheer audacity of the whole enterprise. Plus this film gave us the most iconic imagery of 2019: a robed Rick Dalton angrily sipping margaritas while screaming at “dirty hippies.” More movies should have that.
The AMPAS when they hit play on their screeners for Parasite:
Honestly, this awards cycle was worth it solely for Bong Joon-ho and his translator’s constant dunking on American audiences for not being willing and able to read. I knew Bong was a master of cinema, but he’s also a better roastmaster than any of the Golden Globe hosts NBC keeps trying to convince us are funny. I would pay at least five American dollars to have them host next year’s Academy Awards. It would be incredible. Also, at least 50% of the AMPAS probably watched Parasite and thought the film’s brilliant thematic exploration of class conflict and the destructive nature of capitalism were actually a warning about keeping better tabs on their nannies and housekeepers. I fully expect it to win big for that very reason.
So there we have it, all nine nominees for Best Picture at the 92nd Academy Awards. 1917 is the heavy favorite to win, and that’s who I’m gonna go ahead and predict will win. Alas, we’ll find out for sure on Sunday night, which means we’re less than 72 hours away from knowing what the only film from 2019 we’ll ever be allowed to watch and talk about again is. I know I’m excited! See you next year when we get back together again to celebrate the finest in Hollywood’s awards marketing campaigns!