It pays to have friends in high places. At least at Academy Awards time, that is. And because I know two people involved on the fringes of the movie and entertainment industries, I get to see just about every Oscar-worthy movie just about every year. For free!
These “For Your Consideration” DVDs aren’t really supposed to be passed around, but something tells me they are by just about every member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences who gets to vote on the Oscars.
So, without further ado, following is this avid movie fan’s take on what will transpire in Hollywood this coming Sunday evening. (ABC Television Network, 8:30 p.m. until only God knows when.)
And if you can hang in there until the end of this column, there’s a challenge awaiting that could win you a $100 gift certificate to the Mattituck Cinemas.
BEST PICTURE: I’ve seen nine out of the 10 nominees, with “Toy Story 3” the one missing link. Of the others, “Inception” was the only one I could not force myself to sit through until the bitter end. It was way too frenetic and disjointed for this senior citizen. Besides, in my opinion it doesn’t belong on a list of the top five movies, and I still don’t understand why the Academy extended the Best Picture list from five to 10 in the first place. Couldn’t be greed, could it?
And the winner should be: “True Grit” — because it accomplishes what it sets out to do, albeit quite modestly, without missing a beat. PS: “Winter’s Bone” is an outstanding movie, but it’s not going to win because its subject matter is so very bleak. And Hollywood doesn’t like bleak.
BEST DIRECTOR: And the winner is: David Fincher (“The Social Network”) — because of guilt over not having named his movie Best Picture. Long shot: Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”) — because he must be really “gifted” to fashion such a bizarre tale. And the winner should be: Joel and Ethan Coen (“True Grit”) — because (see Best Picture above).
BEST ACTRESS: And the winner is: Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”) — because if there’s a lock in this year’s competition, this could be it. Long shot: Michelle Williams (“Blue Valentine”) — because this probably is the only way this outstanding flick will be recognized Sunday. (Her co-star, Ryan Gosling, should have been nominated for Best Actor.)
And the winner could (not should) be: Nicole Kidman (“Rabbit Hole”). But, once again, Hollywood doesn’t like sad stories, and it doesn’t get any sadder than this. P.S.: Jennifer Lawrence was amazing, particularly in that “Winter’s Bone” was her first ever movie role.
BEST ACTOR: And the winner is: Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”) — because he plays a royal, doesn’t he? Long shot: Jeff Bridges (“True Grit”). Not likely to win because the Academy wouldn’t honor him two years in a row even if he deserved it, would they? And the winner could be: James Franco (“127 Hours”) even though he has about nine lines of dialogue and ends up cutting off his own arm.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: And the winner is: Melissa Leo (“The Fighter”) — because even though her co-star, Amy Adams, gives an equally memorable performance, Leo chews on the scenery just enough to win a split decision. Long shot: Helena Bonham Carter (“The King’s Speech”) — because she plays a royal … and for lifetime achievement. And the winner could be: Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”). She’s another first timer who carries this movie every bit as much as Jeff Bridges.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: And the winner is: Christian Bale (“The Fighter”). Please disregard what I said earlier about Natalie Portman being the most likely lock. It’s Bale, no doubt about it. Long shot: Geoffrey Rush (“The King’s Speech”). You know why.
And the winner could be: Jeremy Renner (“The Town”) — because this highly entertaining movie from director Ben Affleck really does deserve to win something. Besides, Renner should have won Best Actor last year for his role in “The Hurt Locker.”
And now, the chance to claim that $100 gift certificate. All you must do to win is post a comment naming the most winners in the six categories cited above — having done so, of course, prior to the 8:30 p.m. Sunday airing of the Academy Awards broadcast.
Sorry, but in the event of a tie, the value of the gift certificate will be divided by the number of winners. Remember, these are difficult economic times — but popcorn is included.