The Oscars are on tonight, right?

Blah blah blah I am not excited about the Oscars this year.

I am not excited about trying to celebrate the bleakness that was Film in 2011. There were a few solid, good movies out there and a lot of… Sigh. A lot of trying to grasp at relevancy. A lot of trying to fit in while dumb down. It’s in my DNA to care about the Oscars and to be curious about winners and bitch about nominees and what have you, but the urge is just not strong enough this year to watch. Normally, when this flaccid about the Oscars, I’d at least watch the opening, then turn away, and check back in during the last hour, but this year… This year I’m going to follow Benjamin Light’s lead, and perhaps just keep one eye out on twitter, tumblr, and, shit, I don’t know… Yahoo! news, maybe? Ugh.

But I know. “Another guy bitching about being unenthusiastic about the Oscars.” How boring, right? Believe me, I’ve tried. I’m just not there. But like A. O. Scott said, “Oscar cynicism has become its own special form of Oscar hype.” Too true, I guess.

So anyway, I’m going to put up a thing here of my predictions of winners this year – just cause. Just cause it’s in my DNA, as I said. Review, debate, ponder, ignore, do as you please. Let’s look at the Top 7 Categories of Oscar Interest:

Best Picture

And the nominees are: The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight In Paris, Moneyball, The Tree Of Lie, and War Horse.

Fuck me. I’m not feeling any of this. Y’know, last year they added an additional 5 nominees to the Best Picture potentials and somehow The King’s Speech still beat out The Social Network.

Let’s talk about movies that don’t have a chance here: Midnight In Paris, The Help, and Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close. And Moneyball. I’ve seen Midnight In Paris, and it was okay, a fun little film, Woody doing Woody nicely, but Oscar material? No. Sorry. And that right there, ladies and gents, is the Theme of this year’s Oscars. Moneyball is a solid, good film, but nothing about it is strong enough to win an Oscar. But let’s not shit ourselves, we all know where this is heading: The Artist vs. The Descendants.

I’ve not seen The Artist because I think that I might rather watch paint dry on a mirror. I am enamored by old, classic Hollywood as much as the next amateur film geek sounding off from their internetastic soap box, but I’m not that hard up. The Descendants was a solid film, and it was about cancer and infidelity and bringing a family back together and a girl cries underwater. This is all Oscar material. I want The Descendants to win. I want that (I guess), but I suspect that The Artist will take it. Why? Because I think that the Weinsteins are going to prove to us yet again that money trumps talent every time.

Best Director

And the nominees are: Woody Allen, for Midnight In Paris. Michel Hazanavicius, for The Artist. Terrence Malick, for The Tree Of Life. Alexander Payne, for The Descendants. Martin Scorsese, for Hugo.

The winner will be: Alexander Payne.

I’ve seen some people predict a split and predict that The Descendants will win Best Picture and The Artist will be the Best Director choice, but… Nahh. I can understand an argument in which you judge the Act of Directing to be different from the Completed Product/Finished Film, and yet… those two should be so intrinsically connected that I would think that the Best Director winner would automatically cue you in to the Best Picture winner, but… What do I know? Everything. Nothing. Everything. Nothing! I don’t know.

Best Actor

And the nominees are: Demián Bichir, for A Better Life. George Clooney, for The Descendants. Jean Dujardin, for The Artist. Gary Oldman, for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Brad Pitt, for Moneyball.

Again, I’ll admit that I have not seen The Artist, but I’m not enthused to (and I’ve long nursed a suspicion that you could judge all Oscar movies and their corresponding performances by the trailers, as weak of a suspicion though that may be), and I have my doubts about that being a Best Actor-worthy performance. I haven’t seen Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, only because it wasn’t playing anywhere in a theater remotely around me (thank God it comes out on DVD in March), but I like the idea of Gary Oldman winning, you know, just to fuck with people. IYFF, Hollywood. And Brad Pitt is a solid actor, always, and will someday have a performance that will be more than worthy a Best Actor statue, but to me, that performance wasn’t happening in Moneyball. So… George Clooney.Yeah.

Yeah. Sure. Yeah. That’s my pick for the winner.

I mean, c’mon, he’s the closest we have to real, functioning Hollywood royalty these days.

Best Actress

Glenn Close, for Albert Nobbs. Viola Davis, for The Help. Rooney Mara, for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Meryl Streep, for The Iron Lady (as Maggie Thatcher). Michelle Williams, for My Week With Marilyn.

Sadly I’ve only seen one of the movies that had one of these performances, and because I am a huge dork and Fincher fanboy, it was The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Rooney Mara’s performance was very strong in that film, and equal parts very alien and very, very humanistic, at least compared to the terrible Swedish adaptations of those novels, but I don’t know if I think there’s a Best Actress performance there. And I doubt the Academy thinks so either.

I suspect you’ll see this award go to Meryl Streep, because she does a physical change and she plays the British Godzilla we call Maggie Thatcher, but I’d be okay with either Glenn Close or Michelle Williams winning, especially Michelle Williams, to further propel her along on an interesting career.

Or Viola Davis, just to make people spit out their drink when this award doesn’t go to an old white lady with blonde hair.

But, even still, my prediction: Meryl Streep.

Also, did I read this all right and Shailene Woodley is not nominated for anything? Seriously?

That makes me want to cry underwater, yo.

Best Supporting Actor

Kenneth Branagh, for My Week With Marilyn. Jonah Hill, for Moneyball. Nick Nolte, for Warrior. Christopher Plummer, for Beginners. Max von Sydow, for Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close.

My suspicion/hope: Christopher Plummer. Beginners was, like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, one of those movies that I really wanted to see last year but just never got around to seeing for whatever reason. I have a good feeling about the movie, I guess.

Runner up suspicion/hope: Kenneth Branagh.

Third choice: I don’t know… Max von Sydow? Though, that said, I would strongly like to see Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close win nothing.

Side note: I originally mistyped that was “Extremely Cloud And Incredibly Loose.” Ha ha! Anyway. Here is another picture of Michelle Williams in pseudo-Marilyn mode (because we want those hits to be through the roof on this post):

I doubt Nick Nolte will take it, just because… well, who saw that movie? That’s the one with Bane vs. Uncle Owen, right? Whatever. And JONAH HILL, ARE YOU FUCKING SHITTING ME!?!? I suspect his inclusion here is just the work of some jokester in the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences wanting to see if anyone actually even reads this shit.

Best Supporting Actress

Bérénice Bejo, for The Artist. Jessica Chastain, for The Help. Melissa McCarthy, for Bridesmaids. Janet McTeer, for Albert Nobbs. Octavia Spencer, for The Help.

My suspicion: Man, I don’t have a clue.

Octavia Spencer?

This is a picture of Bérénice Bejo:

And this is another:

Anyway, I have not seen a single one of these movies, so this is a real guess. The Weinsteins want to buy Best Picture awards, so I don’t think they care about Best Supporting Actress awards. And Jessica Chastain… I don’t know. I feel like she’s someone, like Jeremy Renner and Sam Worthington, that somebody in Hollywood really, really, really wants to make happen, so you’re going to see them crammed into a lot of shit. Kind of like how Spielberg adopted Shia LeBeowulf for a while and shepherded him for a while until that plane crashed into the mountain. And Melissa McCarthy? Is her performance worthy of an Oscar or is this someone trying to say that these awards are “relevant” and capable of being “edgy”? You tell me.

I was going to cover both Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay, because I am a writer nerd. I collect all the Screenwriter Trading Cards! But the nominees for Best Original Screenplay are boring as shit this year, so instead…

Best Adapted Screenplay

And the nominees are: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash, for The Descendants. John Logan, for Hugo. George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon, for The Ides Of March. Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, story by Stan Chervin, for Moneyball. Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan, for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

My suspicion: Sorkin and Zaillian.

No, I take that back. My suspicion: The crew from The Descendants. Partly because a Google image search for “Sorkin COCAINE” came up with a lot of boring hits, but also because…

The Dean from Community with an Oscar? That’s total LOL worthy. That’s EPIC LOLZ FOR DAZE worthy. There’s an amazing meta-in-joke on a future episode of Community (whatever that looks, tastes, feels like) there. Shit, you might as well just had Jim Rash host the ceremonies this year in character as the Dean from Community. I mean, cause why the fuck not?

I read something somewhere the other day that said that they suspect that Alexander Payne develops his projects based on where he could film them, and that made me LOL hard.

Runner up guess: The duo who adapted John Le Carre.

Closing thoughts: The Ides Of March, based on the play, Farragut North, was an okay film, but just okay. Clooney and Gosling and Phillip Seymour Hoffman and even Evan Rachel Wood were all just okay in it. There wasn’t a whole lot to chew there. Sadly, I feel like The Ides Of March are more out of place here than even Moneyball is. Also, I don’t think the guy that wrote Star Trek: Nemesis (which, you’ll remember, or not, starred Tom Hardy as Captain Picard’s clone) should be allowed to be nominated for an Oscar. Sorry, bro.

Final category: The Host.

Billy Crystal? Ugh.

This seems like a direct continuation of The King’s Speech winning last year. A return to the tired and the slightly boring. Granted, the Oscars is always a conundrum, and a study in contradictions. The old classic Hollywood vs. the new, the exciting, the experimental. And I think the celebration of those sides is always lost, or the mix is always wrong. The artists who are always pushing this medium forward aren’t being celebrated and encouraged and appreciated like they should. Last year’s debate of The Social Network vs. The King’s Speech was really about the New vs. the Old, and guess what? Boring won. (I’m going to guess that perhaps Weinstein $$$ didn’t hurt that debate tipping to one side over the other.)

Okay, and I don’t hate Billy Crystal, with all the changes they made and their attempts to “revolutionize” and update the Oscars, they’ve basically already said they’re in trouble. An infusion of new blood wouldn’t be such a bad thing. I’m sure there’s equally vanilla hosting options out there, ones that are still something new to this operation. Maybe. Maybe not.

Anyway, Brett Ratner producing was just too bizarre, as was the idea of Eddie Murphy hosting, which would’ve been interesting, but ultimately a pipe dream. An insane, fascinating pipe dream, but Eddie’s gotten too weird with his ego lately. Maybe he could have co-hosted with Scary Spice? Or maybe not. Speaking of Eddie and Scary Spice…

Benjie Light and I discussed this before, but I don’t think that James Franco and Anne Hathaway being chosen as hosts was necessarily a bad choice, but the bad choice was to make them work (with an unfair division of labor because Franco was obviously stoned the whole ceremony and Hathaway was trying to compensate) with the same tired staple of Bruce Villanch jokes. There’s got to be better, edgier, and quite frankly, smarter and safer host choices out there. At least a host that can pick their own joke writers. A Jon Stewart, perhaps? Or Tina Fey? Donald Glover. I’m just spitballing here, but I’m liking it.

Anyway. Tonight’s the night. Let’s see where we end up…

Tuesday, without a cluesday.

Well, first, there’s this:

from here and here.

Wow. That’s just a terrible picture. But it’s an instant classic example of FAIL, right? I’ve really grown tired of FAIL and the people who say FAIL ad nauseam, but this time, it’s justified. FAIL. An equal amount of fail to me, actually, is this picture:

ScarJo and Sandra Bullock sharing a calculated kiss at an MTV something or other? Fuck, could there be anything more boring?

Of course, it’s hard to get too excited about an awards show that’s seemingly calculated and concocted just to test the waters for a spin off movie starring a character that was a silly throwaway cameo in a previous comedy film and was assayed by an actor who had had some problems in recent years. Well, I guess the experiment worked.

I miss the classic train wreck celebs. Otherwise known as the genuine people tossed into the world of the glitz and glamor and stumbling magnificently in front of all of us. Too often celebs are no different from whatever brand of jeans or laundry detergent you’re buying. They’re just another product. Their lives are delicately planned and coordinated PR campaigns, as thoroughly put together as your average storyline in professional wrestling. And who’s the more remembered wrestlers usually?

The villains.

Who gives a shit about the heroes?

I’m tired and it’s hot and it’s 2010 and right now, I just don’t give a shit about all the goodness and sunshine in the world. Maybe I will later when it cools down and the stars come out and I’ve had a cocktail or three or four, but right now all I want to see are the naughty bits.

Or the crazy fun bits, I don’t know, maybe.

Or maybe I’m only happy when it rains?

I don’t want to see the super heroes today. I want to see the super villains, the ones who crawl their way out of their comic book storylines and snort a few lines between the panels of art and story.

from here.

The Sandra Bullock/Jesse James story… I have nothing to add to this. America’s Sweetheart and the motorcycle guy with tattoos and he cheats on her with a girl with neck tattoo and Nazi-esque leanings. It’s fascinating on the surface and the more you dig, it’s sad. And weird. Like a perfect soap opera storyline that’s mutated and crawled it’s way into real life.

And granted, these are people’s names being dragged through the mud and vilified and hearts are being broken and it’s making somebody somewhere money. A lot of money.

Actually, it’s probably making everyone in this situation a lot of money, in different ways. And it’s just one of billions of celebrity headlines that I feel like I’m bombarded with on a weekly basis and it only leaves me hollow. And more and more, I feel like it’s just people playing a role, filling a requirement that’s out there.

In an easy “no duh” statement, are celebrities are doing the work of our pornographers, but we look down on one (aspect of ourselves) and seem to praise and adore another.

This has nothing to do with anything, I just thought it was funny.

I’m not really going to dissect it because I really have nothing to add to it. Complaints, maybe, but it feels pointless to complain about it, like maybe I should be saving my breath for something else, something important. Between Sandy and Jesse and Heidi and Spencer and Tom and Katie (and Suri/L. Ron, Jr.) all the other potential Bennifers and Brangelinas out there, the last one that really made feel anything (and it was laughter) was some headline about how the thing that attracted Brad to Angelina and broke up his marriage to Jennifer was that she (Angelina) gave really great rimjobs and apparently that’s what Brad is into it. I mean, that’s so surreal and absurd and I absolutely hope it’s true because, as ridiculous as it could potentially be, it at least feels human to me. And I miss that, and I really wish that I could turn on the TV and see a bunch of humans doing something…

I mean, look at this: The Queen of England knighting Patrick Stewart. That’s just great. And yet, I look at it and all I see is an old robot being plugged and marching out of her crate to do some ceremonial animatronics on the king of Shakespearean Sci Fi.

The other night I was talking to Maria and I threatened to do a blog post of nothing but pictures of celebrities drunk because I was feeling low and that would give me a temporary laugh.

And Maria, the classic enabler that she wonderfully is, merely said, “DO IT!”

Some day I’m worried that I might. Out of desperation, fatigue, or boredom, I don’t know. Reiterating from yesterday’s post

…but either way: Internet, give me something new. Please, I beg you. Show me something with flash or sparkle, something that’ll make me laugh or widen my eyes, and I’ll potentially follow you anywhere.

“Hipper than Taebo, sexier than Pilates.”

Man, those Lost withdrawals are killer, aren’t they? Thank God there’s a new episode tonight

And, so, like yesterday, I had limited internet time today and was just browsing around, trying to get my semi-intellectual whistle just a touch wet when I ended up here and noticed this:

That’s The S Factor: Strip Workouts For Every Woman by Sheila Kelley, an actor and dancer who is currently appearing on Lost in it’s final season as Zoe, the geophysicist/black ops operative…

…and huge fucking nerd.

from here.

Gotta say: Didn’t see that one coming. But good for her. Diversity is never a bad thing, especially when it’s sexy, right?

Says Wikipedia:

Following her role as a stripper in the film Dancing at the Blue Iguana, in which she performed a seductive strip routine, she became a fan of pole dancing. Kelley has since become noted for her ‘S Factor’ national exercise studios and her book S Factor: Strip Workouts for Every Woman and DVDs.

Says Amazon:

Hipper than Taebo, sexier than Pilates, The S Factor–stripping–is the hottest new fitness trend. Created by actress Sheila Kelley (LA Law, Sisters, and a host of film and Broadway roles), S-Factor classes are wildly popular and generating an avalanche of attention from Extra, Entertainment Tonight, The Los Angeles Times, Allure, Us magazine, Fox News, and CBS’s 48 Hours, which proclaimed: “Women don’t even know they’re working out until two months later when they say, ‘I’ve never had a better body in my life. I’m strong, I’m limber, I feel great.'” Sheila even convinced Barbara Walters to try a pole dance on The View.

Kelley is also married to Richard Schiff…

…who played Toby on The West Wing. Don’t forget, people, there’s a new episode of Lost tonight!

Also, speaking of nerdy shit, apparently today is “Star Wars Day.” As in, “May the Fourth be with you.” Jesus. Though, and it’s sad that I know this, but May 25 should probably be the day to celebrate since that was the day that the original film (later re-titled A New Hope) came out. Coincidentally, the finale of Lost airs on May 25 this year. Just saying…

The Next Generation.

One of my favorite internet cartoons is Garfield Minus Garfield, which you had to have heard of by now. If you somehow havent’, and if the title doesn’t explain itself, then…

“Garfield Minus Garfield is a site dedicated to removing Garfield from the Garfield comic strips in order to reveal the existential angst of a certain Mr. Jon Arbuckle. It is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quite American suburb.” That’s how the site describes him, and it’s a brilliant study, or alternate take on a beloved classic.

I’m not against the idea of remixes or mash ups or anything like that in theory. Sometimes they’re good. Sometimes they’re brilliant. Sometimes they’re smelly fountains of crap. But I feel that sometimes – and the keyword here is obviously sometimes – they can be an amazingly interesting new form of exploring art. A new art of their own.

Recently I discovered the works of two guys named Jan Van den Hemel and Andrew Hussie who’ve done some work re-editing and creating something new out of old episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. By basically taking bits of pieces from throughout the show and remixing them into something new, they’ve created a kind of hilarious and filthy new thing. It’s the Sealab 2021 or The Grey Album treatment and it’s… just perfect. The episodes are short, most just over a minute but none longer than four minutes, and there’s about 25 or so of them now. If you watch them all, there’s kind of a contuing story, when the edit series cares about it, but usually, it doesn’t. Here’s just a few of my favorites to brighten your day, starting with episode 9, “A Fistful Of Explosions.”

And then episode 10, “It’s Not Lupus.”

And episode 12, “Bridge Buffoonery.”

And last, but not least, of what I’d like to share with you, episode 15, “That Jean-Luc Picard.” I hope you enjoy and if you need more of a chuckle, I’d check the edits’ creator’s websites or their youtube page for more of the videos.