The Academy Awards are Sunday, so it's time for the annual predictions from the revered GonzoGeek panel: Bruce, Chris, John, Matt, Stephe and Matt’s copy of “Wrestlemania 2000” for the Nintendo 64.
Today: Miscellaneous Comments & Smart-Ass Remarks
There's so much talk around the Oscars that DOESN'T involve predicting winners, so allow us each a little soapbox time...
1.Is the Academy so scared of Jason Segel that it canceled all (two) musical performances this year? The guy resurrected “The Muppets” and you won't even let him perform the song on the broadcast? I was frankly looking forward to him and Jim Parsons on a stage surrounded by Muppets in an epic production number.
2.Nice job on banning Sacha Baron Cohen in costume. What went from being a funny story on Monday morning is now a viral sensation. When the guy gets in character play on “The Today Show” you've overplayed your hand.
3.With “Hugo” and “The Artist” vying for the right to be this year's Academy ode to the Academy, the Academy is starting to show its age. We all know you can't work in Hollywood without being a highly functioning narcissist, but you don't have to spend three hours of our time with a big multi-disciplined circle jerk.
4.The Academy missed the boat big time in the Best Supporting Actress category by not nominating Shailene Woodley for her performance in “The Descendants.” If George Clooney was the broken heart at the center of that movie, then Woodley was the bruised soul.
5.And finally, Billy Crystal? Really? I know Eddie Murphy punted after the Ratner debacle. I also know that Crystal is the last guy on the planet under 70 who still deifies the Borscht Belt, but its time to move on. Try picking someone under 50 for your host next year. Not comfortable with under 50? Can we at least try under 60 and ease into it?
John Goodman not only appears in two of the best picture nominees (matching Brad Pitt), but also had a turn in Kevin Smith’s ‘Red State.’ Dude is almost always solid gold money. Whether serving as the Coen Brothers’ anti-muse (‘O Brother, Where Art Thou,’ ‘The Big Lebowski,’ ‘The Hudsucker Proxy,’ ‘Barton Fink,’ ‘Raising Arizona,’), or in ‘Sea Of Love,’ ‘The Big Easy,’ and yes, even ‘Born Yesterday.’ It’s great to see non-Coen big wigs finally putting him in movies that match his prodigious talent. Now let’s find him a role that’ll get one of those little gold men in his hands.
Billy Crystal will sing and dance. The show will run too long. Over/under on speeches being cut off by the orchestra: 3.
Bruce nailed a lot of the reasons why I won't be watching much of the broadcast this year. It's just too...old. The night will belong to The Artist, a 'love letter to the movies,' but in between awards Billy Crystal, a host who is so relevant his last major movie credit is from 2006, will turn this into a four-hour love letter to the Academy. Stale jokes, video packages that insert him into the nominated films and intros that thinly veil his boredom with anything that doesn't put him in the spotlight. Then, of course, we will get at least two montages (the traditional retrospective on "those we lost" as well as some convoluted piece on film history), plus a large-scale Cirque du Soleil performance that apparently bumps the original song nominees from being performed. Oh, and maybe it doesn't matter anyway because Sacha Baron Cohen can't be there to see it.
I'm not writing the show off completely, as there is gold to be mined: Bret McKenzie of the Flight of the Conchords is famously one of those omitted Best Song performers, and it would be great to see what he does for an acceptance speech. The Descendants, which is the odds-on favorite to win Best Adapted Screenplay, was co-written by Jim Rash and Nat Faxon, or "the dean from Community and the milkshake from Reno 911" as I've been explaining to friends. There ought to be at least a few funny presenters, with the cast of Bridesmaids, Will Ferrell, Chris Rock, Ben Stiller and Zack Galifianakis (!) all scheduled.
In the end, maybe that's all the Oscars will ever be: a celebration of back-patting by the old white men who dominate the academy, with the occasional bone to women, African-Americans or anyone in the 18-49 bracket. This widening gap challenges the relevance of the Oscars as more and more well-made films go unacknowledged. It's great to see Moneyball and Bridesmaids among the nominees, but as long as movies like Drive, 50/50 and Steve James' The Interrupters are left outside looking in, it is hard to call the Academy Awards a celebration of The Best in film.
I’d like to put in a plug for ‘Rango’ for Best Animated Feature. This weirdly inventive film was an absolute pleasure in a year when most animated films pandered to the lowest common denominator (that would be you Dreamworks, and even Pixar’s ‘Cars 2’). You have to salute a film that features a ‘Star Wars’ homage featuring bat-riding moles set to Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’. So tell me, punk. Are you missing your mama’s mangoes?
Wrestlemania 2000 *
I've been doing this since about 2002 or 2003, and I can't remember a year where The Rock, Stone Cold, Triple H and The Undertaker all lost outright. Shit's messed up, man.