WARNING: The following column contains Highly Opinionated Rhetoric.
WARNING ABOUT THE WARNING: Well yes . . . you're probably thinking "And how is this different from Uncle Mikey's usual columns?" But some people tend to get really crazy about the Academy Awards, and I figured I'd just cover my hiney here.
Well pumpkins, it's getting close to that time. On February 24th the eyes of the world will focus on Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills (that is) where the 85th Annual Academy Awards will take place and answer the burning question that will be on the minds of so many people:
What will Jennifer Lawrence be wearing?
Seriously . . . cards on the table time. Those of you who've been with me since the bright beginnings of this rant-o-rama know my feelings concerning the Oscars. As with many other similar events, the Academy Awards has clearly lost its focus. It is far less concerned with excellence in motion pictures than it is with Who's Wearing What, Who Shows Up with Who and similar other fluff to throw on the gossip pile.
So why do I write about the subject?
Well: "To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men". Abraham Lincoln said that. You're familiar with Lincoln aren't you? There's a movie out about him. Let us just say, pumpkins, that what we have here are my two cents on the nominations, with the emphasis on the all-encompassing Best Picture category. Since Bill Murray is no longer delivering his predictions on "Saturday Night Live" (which, to my way of thinking, represented the acme of the art), it behooves some of us in the trenches to try and pick up the slack.
So what's the choices look like?
"Amour" (directed by Michael Haneke) --- no, no, no! Forget about this even getting close to copping the Best Picture statuette. Sorry. It's a good production with respectable performances. But it's an artsy French film full of people who Americans have never heard of. And yes I know "The Artist" won last year. That was last year. Besides, "Amour" also got nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and that is what it will receive.
"Argo" (directed by Ben Affleck) --- I was pleasantly surprised to see this getting a Best Picture nod, and it would give me no end of wiggly pleasure to see the award going to a movie where one of the characters was Jack Kirby. But the field's pretty stacked and I'm giving this one the Official Uncle Mikey Dark Horse slot (look for Chris Terrio to perhaps score the Best Writing - Adapted Screenplay Oscar).
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" (directed by Benh Zeitlin) --- wonderful, beautiful, charming film. An award winner at Cannes. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize winner at Sundance. No way in Hell it'll get Best Picture.
"Django Unchained" (directed by Quentin Tarentino) --- ouch! I won't lie to you people. This is obviously my personal favorite on the Best Picture list, and nothing would tickle me more than seeing Tarentino pick up a statuette for this one. But note . . . note that he didn't get nominated for Best Director. If that's not a telling sign then I don't know what is. The way I'm seeing this, Martians will open up a Starbucks in the Washington Monument before the fossilized hags at AMPAS acknowledge that Tarentino knows which end of a camera to look through. He could get Best Writing - Original Screenplay, but I'm betting that one goes to John Gatins for "Flight".
"Les Miserables" (directed by Tom Hooper) --- winner of the prestigious Uncle Mikey Award for Best Movie Poster/2012. Oh God, and it's a musical! There hasn't been nearly enough time passed since the last musical won the Best Picture Oscar ("Chicago", 2002). so I'm afraid it's a big NO for this one (although look for Best Original Song, Production Design, Costume or Makeup).
"Life of Pi" (directed by Ang Lee) --- if "Lincoln" wasn't on the list I'd put my money down on this to win, and don't ask me why. Ang Lee's both surprised and disappointed me, and I wouldn't care to count him out entirely. I've got Lee as a strong contender for Best Director, or at least have the film grab the Best Original Score or Best Song Oscar. My advice to people putting Serious Money on the Oscars: be cautious when considering this film.
"Lincoln" (directed by Steven Spielberg) --- my personal choice to get the Best Picture award if only because it's such a Normal Movie you can practically hear the hags at AMPAS rolling around on the carpet with their little paws in the air going "not a Hobbit or a CGI effect in sight!". The only thing which, to my way of thinking, could spoil the party for this movie is the opinion that Spielberg already got his "adult" Best Picture Oscar for "Schindler's List", so he can now go back to making films about ominous truck drivers and playing with George Lucas. The strength of this opinion could tip things in favor of "Life of Pi", and allow "Lincoln" to sweep all the other awards (and I am so hot for Sally Field getting Best Supporting Actress I can almost spit fire).
"Silver Linings Playbook" (directed by David O. Russell) --- a romantic comedy winning Best Picture? Let's see . . . "Moonstruck" didn't get it in 1987, but "Annie Hall" did in 1977. Wow. Pumpkins I'm gonna have to cut you loose on this one because it's a poser. If this was professional sports instead of movies I'd call this a wild card. Once again this will hinge on how the Academy fully feels about Spielberg (with "Life of Pi" as a possible spoiler). Russell could get Best Director (letting AMPAS feel better about giving Best Picture to "Lincoln") . . .
Byzantine, pumpkins. Really Byzantine. And, of course, there's no guarantee that any of my guesses are right (I can testify that my track record for judging these sort of events is wretched).
Personally, as usual, I'll give watching the Oscars a pass. But let's get back together on or around February 25th and compare notes, huh?