When Hollywood was HOLLYWOOD! we’d have a bunch of films we loved contending for an award during the one evening of the year where awards were given out. Legendary stars like Humphrey Bogart, Myrna Loy, John Wayne, Jimmy Cagney, Jimmy Stewart, Liz Taylor, Bette Davis and so forth would either win, be nominated or present in festivities hosted by Bob Hope.
What do we have now? An endless award season where overpaid entertainment-biz royalty continually stroke each other’s egos over largely forgettable fare, with a few diamonds in the rough. I’m always reminded of that when I cull through the screeners I’m lent by bona-fide academy members to see what I actually want to watch. It’s usually pretty thin.
Much the way NFL ratings dropped like a rock this year partly due to overexposure of mediocre product (like having last-place teams play week after week on Thursday night primetime games), the Oscars now blur into the year-long promotional fest of Hollywood telling us how great it is. It used to be a rarity to see our favorite actors & actresses as themselves, commenting on their work. Now, it’s everywhere, every day. Why, then, would Oscar night be a big deal? It’s just another day at the self-congratulatory office now.
Did I mention the show itself is most often a colossal bore? A funny joke here and there, usually depending on the host… but mostly it’s like watching factory gears turning. Every year at the end, I’d find myself saying “I don’t think I can sit through another one of these” and this year, I am keeping that promise.
I will not be watching.
I’ll check winners online, yeah, I’d like to see how well I call the winners, but I can’t sit through the broadcast. Through the boring production numbers. Through behind-the-scenes people who’d have great things to say being played off stage to make time for…. more production numbers. Through painfully unfunny contrived comedy bits like Neil Patrick Harris’ “psychic” act from a few years ago. Through this year’s memorial reel, filled with far too many wonderful people who died this year, and inevitably sitting there annoyed at who they left out. One year they left out DeForest Kelly. Another year, they skipped over Patrick McGoohan. Who will get dissed this year?
And then, this of all years, will be the politics. Movies are a nice escape from real life, or a window onto reality by way of creative fiction. If actors broke character and the 4th wall and speechified during their films, most people would walk out.
Hence, my reaction to the show. I’ll be watching the Columbo rerun, prolly. I have no idea what Peter Falk’s politics were, and I don’t care. They don’t matter.
Anyway, here are my predictions:
Best Picture: La La Land (they love movies about themselves)
Best Director: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Best Actor: Even though Denzel Washington won the SAG award, I’ll go with Casey Affleck for Manchester By The Sea.
Best Actress: All signs point to Emma Stone for La La Land, but a dark horse upset would be an interesting barometer: voting on this took place just after Meryl Streep‘s highly publicized political speech after winning a Golden Globe for Florence Foster Jenkins, not exactly one of Streep’s “major” career roles, but if everyone who agreed with her speech voted for her on account of it, AND rationalized the vote since, after all, she’s Meryl-fucking-Streep-fer-godsakes…. well, don’t be too surprised if her name is announced.
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Best Supporting Actress: Rhode Island’s Viola Davis, Fences
Best Animated Feature: Zootopia
Best Animated Short: Piper
Best Original Screenplay: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Best Adapted Screenplay: Eric Heisserer, Arrival
Best Cinematography: Greig Fraser, Lion
Best Documentary Feature: OJ, Made In America
Best Documentary Short: The White Helmets
Best Live Action Short: Enemies Within
Best Foreign Language Film: The Salesman
Best Editing: La La Land
Best Sound Editing: Hacksaw Ridge
Best Sound Mixing: Hacksaw Ridge Swinging for the fences here… Kevin O’Connell finally winning after going 0 for 21!
Best Production Design: La La Land
Best Score: Justin Hurwitz, La La Land this is getting monotonous….
Best Original Song: I’ll go for an upset here… “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana
Best Makeup: It’s always the one with he MOST makeup, so… Star Trek Beyond
Best Costume Design: La La Land
Best Visual Effects: The Jungle Book
Well, there. My guiding principles in picking these was to pick movies that make Hollywood feel good about itself, either aesthetically (La La Land) or politically (the shorts, foreign film & documentary). We’ll see how I do.