By Donalevan Maines
Note to the Academy: I’m sorry, my dears, but you are up for elimination.
Oh, who am I kidding? Sure, the Oscars have lost “the enthusiasm factor” (as have some presidential candidates), but I dance with who brung me, so I will probably watch all three hours of the kudofest just to see if host Chris Rock will lip-sync for his life!
I might even go see The Revenant.
Well, let’s not go overboard! Action movies just aren’t my thing. But speaking of overboard, I get that Hollywood wants to redeem itself by anointing Leonardo DiCaprio as Best Actor, after snubbing his performance in Titanic, but how much “acting” does it take to run from a bear?
I wasn’t expecting more minorities to be nominated, nor was I surprised that out director Todd Haynes wasn’t in the running for Carol. I figured the Academy would think those regal performances by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara directed themselves, just as Julianne Moore’s performance in Far from Heaven did in 2002.
What bugs me is that the two films with the most nominations—Best Picture finalists The Revenant (with 12) and Mad Max: Fury Road (with 10)—don’t have scripts that were worth nominating.
Is this where Hollywood is headed? Movies without words?
That seems a giant leap backward to me.
Film is a visual medium, and actions do speak louder than words. I understand all that—but personally, I like to be able to quote lines from a movie’s script. For example, last month on cable TV, I finally caught September (a Woody Allen movie that nobody saw in 1987), and in it, the late, great Elaine Stritch says, “I am too young for liver spots—maybe I could merge them into a tan.” Wit! That’s what I want in a movie! Not some lizard, which is as far as I got watching the opening seconds of Mad Max: Fury Road.
At press time, a growing number of Hollywood stars were threatening to boycott the Oscar ceremony because, for the second year in a row, no African-American performers won nominations. Some have even called for Rock to bow out of hosting (the Oscars snubbed his movie debut, Pooty Tang, in 2001 with nary a nomination). Others will be watching to see whether any of Rock’s trademark barbs equal or surpass last year’s jab by out host Neil Patrick Harris, who announced, “Today we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest. Sorry, brightest.”
Maybe the LGBT community should organize a little protest on behalf of Todd Haynes, but without gay fans, who will watch the Academy Awards? The Oscars without gay people is like a Miss America pageant without Southern girls.
However, we find ourselves in February 2016 with a slate of boring nominees, so we do what we always do: we make the best of it.
Plus, there’s always the office pool! (I live a block away from OutSmart. Does that count?)
Surest bet: Sylvester Stallone for Best Supporting Actor as Rocky Balboa in Creed.
Next, howzabout Best Actress? The winner will be Brie Larson for Room. She looked golden in Calvin Klein at the Golden Globes.
Best Director will be whoever wins Directors Guild of America honors on February 6. I think he will be Alejandro González Iñárritu for The Revenant.
Best Actor: Leo.
Best Supporting Actress: Rooney Mara (Carol) or Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl). I say go with Vikander; she’s more “international.”
Finally, Best Picture (see Best Director. I hope Spotlight wins, and it might have a chance, with its six nominations, tying Stephen Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies. The other nominees for Best Picture, along with Mad Max: Fury Road, include The Martian with seven nods, The Big Short (five), Room (four), and Brooklyn (three).
Congratulations to all of the nominees.
What: 88th Academy Awards
When: February 28, 6 p.m.
Donalevan Maines also writes about The Sound of Music in this issue of OutSmart magazine.