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…

Immigrant Song.

Look at this:

A bootleg look at the trailer for David Fincher’s upcoming adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Finally. Perfect timing too since I was just watching The Social Network again tonight with a friend. A NSFW work trailer (because of Rooney Mara nudity) for “the feel bad movie of Christmas.” I’m definitely excited.

Also, That’s Karen O’s voice on the cover of the Led Zeppelin song, which is an interesting addition to the soundtrack. And what do you think of Rooney Mara’s look as Lisbeth Salander?

The year in film.

This is a fun little montage:

from here and here.

The year is almost over.

Mad linkage:

Chuck Klosterman on Jonathan Franzen.

Mary-Kate Olsen and SUDDEN NUDITY.

Reality A and Reality B” by Haruki Murakami.

The Onion AV Club interviews Charles Burns.

Aaron Sorkin on Sarah Palin’s reality TV show.

The Day looks interesting, but maybe I’m just a sucker for post apocalyptic post rock?

Thankfully Giada De Laurentiis is not fucking John Mayer.

Ken Burns hates reality TV.

They made a TV show out of Douglas Adam’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis to star as rival political candidates in a Jay Roach comedy.

Pictures in this post are originally from here, here, here, here, and here.

The 25 best children’s books of all time.

The real-life Swedish murder that inspired Stieg Larsson.

Watch James Franco as he makes out with himself in a mirror.

Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel to be called “Paradise.”

Inception in real time!

The MPAA has overturned it’s rating on Blue Valentine.

On The Bro’d.

Bebe Zeva’s account of her relationship with Carles/”Hipster Runoff” seems “fascinating” and “insightful” and “not at all made up.”

7 scenes from The Walking Dead comic that should’ve ended up in the TV show.

Umberto Eco on WikiLeaks.

The most racist commercial ever is hilarious.

Ah, 2010, we hardly knew ye, you came and went, and now the end of you is almost upon us…

Binary day.

from here.

Today is 10-10-10!

Mad linkage:

Douglas Adams and the answer to the ultimate question.

Susannah Breslin on This Recording.

John McTiernan is going to jail.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master delayed indefinitely.

Remembering David Bowie’s Station To Station.

Anthony Bourdain is writing a graphic novel “about ultraviolent food nerds.”

Great new albums coming out of the Milwaukee music scene.

David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King gets a release date.

This is some ridiculous bullshit.

John Gabriel’s G.I.F. theory.

from here and here.

More actors added to David Fincher’s version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Bob Woodward on President Barack Obama.

Are tests biased against students who don’t give a shit?

Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe.

Al Pacino to play Phil Spector.

Shia LeBeowulf wants to play Karl Rove. Suck it, Frankie Muniz!

Doctor Who is coming to America next season (and is going to face Nixon).

Scientists explain the parting of the red sea.

Rob Liefeld is writing a script about the founding of Image comics/the comics boom of the 90s. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!

Yoda’s cousin: Night Eyes.

Powers and responsibilities/Up, up, and away we go.

Two announcements made in the last 48 hours after quite a bit of speculation online:

1. Zach Snyder will unfortunately be directing the next iteration of Superman, this one produced by Christopher Nolan and written by David Goyer and Nolan’s brother, Jonathan.

2. Natural blonde Emma Stone has been cast as love interest Gwen Stacy in the next Spiderman movie, to be directed by Marc Webb and starring Andrew Garfield, recently of Never Let Me Go and The Social Network.

Some thoughts on these two prospects:

1. Zack Snyder? That’s fucking ridiculous.

2. Wait, didn’t we all think that Emma Stone was going to be playing Mary Jane Watson (who, if you know your true Spiderman lore, plays Peter Parker/Spiderman’s love interest and eventual wife after the death of Gwen Stacy), right?

1. The original short list of directors that Christopher Nolan was considering for this project included Darren Aronofsky (the presumed front runner who everyone seemed to assume would bring Natalie Portman along as Lois Lane), Duncan Jones, who directed Moon, Matt Reeves, of Cloverfield and Let Me In, Tony Scott, and Jonathan Liebesman, who’s doing a movie called Battle: Los Angeles that’s getting a lot of buzz but no one has seen yet . That’s not to forget that names like Robert Zemeckis (who is directing a new live action time travel movie, thankfully) were being thrown in as well.

Look at that list and tell me that if you had to rank those directors that you wouldn’t put Snyder dead last. Hell, I don’t think the guy would even win in a game of FMK.

2. Alternately, the list of young female actors that Emma Stone was possibly competing against for the primary and secondary female leads in the new Spiderman movie included: Dianna Agron from Glee, Mary Elizabeth Winstead from Scott Pilgrim and the upcoming unnecessary prequel to John Carpenter’s The Thing, Imogen Poots from 28 Weeks Later, Emma Roberts, Teresa Palmer (who had been cast in George Miller’s Justice League movie that didn’t happen), Lilly Collins, Ophelia Lovibond, Dominique McElligot, and Mia Wasikowska, who was last seen in Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland.

Presumably Mary Jane is still in this movie, but just in the background, not taking center stage until a second or third movie?

1. Supposedly the choice of helmer for this project was Christopher Nolan’s, which, of course, would then have to be approved by the studio. But, based on the very realistic take that Nolan has always adopted in his previous films, can you really believe that Zack Snyder was his top choice? I call studio bullshit.

And if that’s the case, then it’s a shame. Warner Bros,  you’re not MGM, you know. You can afford to make some good decisions. I mean, shit, did you guys even see Watchmen? And can you actually look at the teaser trailer for Sucker Punch and say that you actually want to go see that? I’d hate to unfairly malign frat boys and date rapists in the same lumping, but let me put it this way: I wouldn’t want to be rubbing elbows with those kind of people at the theater on the opening night of a movie like Sucker Punch.

2. A lot of this ranting might really just equate to a thinly veiled reason to post pictures of Emma Stone. Sorry.

1. The minor story details that are leaking out of this Superman project are that it’ll include General Zod in some form, which is… whatever, and that it’ll ask and supposedly the answer of “Why Superman?” with young Clark Kent traveling around trying to decide if he should put on a pair of red and blue tights with a cape and go about doing super heroics to restore the status quo. Great. On a related note, who the fuck is still watching Smallville?

2. I’m not really sorry.

1. Now I’m reading that Snyder was not the studio’s first choice for the big chair – OF COURSE – but that Goyer’s script was a bit of a rushed mess, which isn’t all that surprising, and they wanted a director that would turn the project around quickly (most likely because of the stringent deadline imposed on them by that lawsuit recently), not spend time making the project a beast of quality and beauty like Aronofsky might.

A brief history lesson: Along with Terry Gilliam and about a thousand other people, Aronofsky was briefly (in Hollywood development hell terms) in charge of a Watchmen adaptation. I think this is a golden lesson for what happens when you let a guy like Aronofksy fall off a movie like Watchmen: you get a piece of shit director like Snyder instead.

2. I should say something else here rather than just posting copious pictures of Emma Stone, right?

I’ve got to say that while it was fun but not great, I was glad to see Sam Raimi go back to his roots with Drag Me To Hell after he finished with that first Spiderman trilogy. If, for nothing else, he needed a creative win, but it also pointed out, I think, that back in the 90s, directors like him and Peter Jackson really level jumped far too much past their station of talent with the Spiderman movies and the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

If you give a bunch of low budget silly horror guys far too much money and responsibility and power, they’re obviously prone to a disgusting amount of melodrama, wacky musical numbers/”dance” sequences, and excessive slow motion shots.

1. I’m also seeing that now they’re offering Wolverine 2 to Arnofosky. This is not much of a consolation prize. I’m sorry, Darren Aronofsky, but the winner in this is not you. Nor us.

I’m terrified of who they’ll try to cast as Superman now. I didn’t necessarily love Brandon Routh, who will definitely not be coming back for the new film, but he was hardly the worst thing about Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. The worst thing was clearly the plot. And I’m think I’m paranoid about this because in the past the studio has seriously tried to cast Nic Cage, Ashton Kutcher, Brendan Fraser, and some dude from Mutant X as the last son of Krypton.

This especially all troubles me because A) given the chance, this will be fucked up, and B) we all know who desperately should be cast as Clark Kent/Superman:

Ladies and gentlemen: Jon Hamm.

2. I could really go either way on Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker but it just occurred to me: how great would Jon Hamm be in a Spiderman movie? Right?

3. For all the trouble that these super hero movies and their assorted bullshit can be, can Joss Whedon’s The Avengers come out already?

4. Side bar: Finally got around to seeing Kick-Ass the other day. That movie is fresh, raw bullshit. And was so incredibly boring. I could really see Chloe Moretz become a kind of adolescent Milla Jovovich-type action heroine (but better, of course), but I’m just sad that the road to that hard to start through a movie like this. Not that I was excited about X-Men: First Class before, but I’m somehow less excited now. If possible.

Though those pictures of January Jones as Emma Frost/The White Queen are giggle-inducing.

1. Keep thinking about that Jon Hamm brilliance. Why? Because it’s perfect. Jon Hamm could play Clark Kent and Don Draper could play Superman. Benjamin Light even pointed out it in because, well, do you remember that episode of Mad Men a few weeks ago where Don’s secret identity is about to be found out by the government and he’s having a massive panic attack? He comes into his place with Dr. Faye and tears open his shirt, buttons flying everywhere, and a lot of were thinking, “SUPERMAN!” But now we’ve got Zack Snyder and I can’t help but think that I just got INCEPTED.

But with the dream casting of Jon Hamm one would hope to not cast some 20 year old actress as Lois Lane, I would think.

2. I was re-watching scenes from (500) Days Of Summer and again have to mention how technically impressive that movie is. Marc Webb’s work in that film kind of reminds me of Fincher, to a small degree, who’s probably one of our most impressive working directors as far as the technical aspect goes. Makes me kind of wonder what he’ll do with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo other than just cash in on a hit a la Ron Howard and The Da Vinci Code. That said, I imagine that Fincher could produce a better film version of the Stieg Larsson book than the original Swedish version in his sleep.

You know how it’s upsetting to us when there’s a fine foreign movie that gets an American remake to dumb it down for the audiences on our shores? Well, I’ll go ahead and say what you should all be really thinking: The original Swedish version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is not that great. As a film, it’s actually kind of ridiculously poor. Noomi Rapace is fine in the movie, but the rest of the movie is very poorly constructed (not to mention that the book itself is hardly what I’d call “cinematic”). This isn’t a case similar to Let The Right One In and Let Me In.

1. I’m glad that they’re at least making an animated feature of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All Star Superman, which is the quintessentially greatest Superman story ever. Oddly enough, Lois Lane in that is voiced by Mad Men‘s own Joan Hollway, Christine Hendricks.

2. Emma Stone.

5. Stringer Bell! Apparently Idris Elba has a deal with Marvel’s film people, which could mean either a Luke Cage movie or a rebooted Blade film or both. “Sweet Christmas!” That’s wild. And it looks like he’ll be joining Nic Cage for a Ghost Rider sequel. That’s… less wild.

from here.

1. Zack Snyder, I think I hate you. Is your version of Superman going to look like a cartoon?

2. If I only had two words to use here in conclusion, I’d say simply: Emma Stone. Like you didn’t see that coming. If I had three words…