Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Same Dame Presents: Chris and Jeremy's Speech: The Only Oscar Article That's Longer Than the Oscars®: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire

And now ... your hosts for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards ... James Franco and Anne Hathaway!!

James Franco: Hi everyone, I’m James Franco and I don’t have any arms.

Anne Hathaway: And I’m Anne Hathway, and I have Parkinson’s Disease.

James Franco: We’re both very happy to be here hosting the Oscars. And we promise we won’t make fun of all you secretly gay Scientologists and recovering drug addicts. The Kodak Theatre is a classy joint. And I oughtta know joints – I just smoked one backstage with Sandra Bullock.

Anne Hathaway: You know Bullock’s a narc, right?

James Franco: Dammit! Although that probably explains why she won an Oscar for that shitty “Blind Side” movie last year. No way anyone votes for that performance unless they’ve got some warrants hanging over their head. Sounds like Sandy made ‘em an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Anne Hathaway: On that note, let’s get to our first award!

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, “The Fighter”
John Hawkes, “Winter’s Bone”
Jeremy Renner, “The Town”
Mark Ruffalo, “The Kids Are All Right”
Geoffrey Rush, “The King’s Speech”

Introducing the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, please welcome Guy Pearce!

Guy Pearce: If any actor knows how to support a movie, it’s Guy Pearce. Not to toot my own horn, but do you want to know the thing that this year’s eventual Best Picture winner, and last year’s Best Picture winner, had in common?

Give up?

I’ll tell you: Guy. Fucking. Pearce. That’s right, I supported the shit out of those movies. An Oscar is all the thanks I need; I’m just in it for the love of the game.

By the way, has anyone seen my career walking around lately?

Jeremy says: The category is very strong this year, but I’ve assumed this one was a lock for Christian Bale since I saw “The Fighter.” His performance is the kind of thing Academy voters love — a fast-talking drug addict with a larger-than-life personality — and as a bonus, he happens to be really good in it. If there’s going to be an upset, it’ll be Geoffrey Rush riding a bigger-than-realized “The King’s Speech” wave. Australians love to surf, you know.

John Hawkes provides a wonderfully nuanced performance in “Winter’s Bone,” but as far as the Academy is concerned his award is in the nomination, which is a shame. His portrayal of a dangerous yet complex man is the best of the nominees.

Which isn’t meant to take away from Mark Ruffalo’s performance, which basically made “The Kids Are All Right.” The man can do so much with a facial reaction or a twitch that he should have more nominations in the history books than he does. (In case you were wondering, that number of past nominations is zero. Zilch. Nada. Other words that mean zero. Not for “You Can Count on Me.” Not for “Zodiac.” Not for “The Brothers Bloom.” Not for “Just Like Heaven” — which is kind of a joke, but he really gives a great romantic comedy performance in it. He was even charming in “13 Going on 30” for Christ’s sake.)

Chris says: First of all, Ruffalo was terrible in “Just Like Heaven.” (And I love the guy.) Secondly, Jeremy is right about everything else he said. Every Australian I’ve ever met has been a surfing fiend, for example.

I was pleased to see Hawkes get recognized. The guy’s been doing great character work for years, but rarely in the types of films the Academy bothers to care about. As good as Bale was in “The Fighter,” Hawkes gave the best performance of the bunch. I’d love to see an upset here, but I can’t see it happening – so I’m picking Bale, but I’m rooting for Hawkes.

Christian Bale: Oh, GOOOOOOOD for YOOOUUUUU! You and me, Bellamy? We’re fuckin’ done professionally, man! We’re fuckin’ done!

Chris: Anyway, to give credit where credit is due, I’ll give it up for Bale. From the opening moments of “The Fighter,” he commands our attention so completely, we can’t help but be mesmerized. It’s a tricky thing to actually pull off such a high-strung role without it devolving into needy Oscar trolling or self-parody, but Bale pulls it off. Probably because nobody walked through his fuckin’ shots to mess with the fuckin’ lights when he was tryin’ to do a scene.

While I like Renner and “The Town,” I didn’t think he was quite award-worthy. Andrew Garfield deserved consideration for either “The Social Network” or – preferably – “Never Let Me Go,” the year’s most underappreciated film. But perhaps even more deserving was Rhys Ifans for his loving, gentle and profoundly human performance in Noah Baumbach’s “Greenberg.”

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, “The Fighter”
Helena Bonham Carter, “The King’s Speech”
Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”
Hailee Steinfeld, “True Grit”
Jacki Weaver, “Animal Kingdom”

Please welcome Haley Joel Osment and Keisha Castle-Hughes to introduce the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress!

Haley Joel Osment: Well, Keisha and I were both nominated in the supporting acting categories at a young age, and that was a real springboard for our careers. I know Keisha has some exciting projects in the pipeline.

Keisha Castle-Hughes: That’s right! Currently I’m starring in “Whale Rider: The Musical” at the Gershwin Theatre.

Haley Joel Osment: Hey, I sell popcorn and candy there! Plus, the manager lets me sleep in the closet on weekends. As long as I'm out by morning.

Keisha Castle Hughes: That’s so great! What else have you been up to lately?

Haley Joel Osment: Well, uh, recently I’ve gotten into the aluminum can industry. So I’m gonna ride that out for a while. By the way, Keisha, do you have change for the bus?

Chris says: If there’s one thing the Academy is attached to, it’s tradition. And there’s no more reliable Oscar tradition than nominating a lead actor for a supporting part – and vice versa. So let’s give it up for Hailee Steinfeld, whose nomination carries on this grand tradition.

Academy Voter: Sssshhhh, Bellamy! She doesn’t know that being the protagonist and appearing in almost every single scene of the movie qualifies as a lead role – she’s just a dumb little kid. Do you know who her agent is? A Teddy Ruxpin doll, that’s who. Just keep this shit to yourself! You too, Mathews!

Jeremy: Ah, nuts.

Chris: Ahem … my apologies. Nevermind, Hailee, I was only kidding.… uh … Hey, look behind you – it’s Justin Bieber! [Pause] Phew! OK, Academy, she’s gone – we can speak freely now. Back to the nominations. I think it’s just adorable that you Academy folks finally deemed Helena Bonham Carter worthy of your attention again now that she finally played a Proper English Bird (P.E.B.) after more than a decade of dirtying herself up for roles. No “Fight Club”? No “Sweeney Todd”?

Academy Voter: Hey, whoa, whoa, whoa – Ms. Carter used the word “abortion” in the deleted scenes for “Fight Club”! The Academy has standards, ya know!!

Chris: Fair enough. Anyway, what’s most unfortunate is that she only gets recognized – her second nod, after the VERY prim and proper Henry James adaptation “The Wings of the Dove” – because you guys didn’t know who else to nominate, so you figure, fuck it, what’s the big frontrunner this year? “The King’s Speech,” eh? Are there any chicks in it? Fine, nominate one of ‘em. Poor Helena.

You want a British lady in your field of nominations? Look, I’ll give you a British lady. How about Jessica Barden for stealing every scene in “Tamara Drewe”? How about Lesley Manville? Or will you nominate her – wait for it … wait for it … another year? (Hahahahahahaha!) Olivia Williams in “The Ghost Writer”? Rebecca Hall in “Please Give”? Lucy Punch in “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger”? I won’t even MENTION the Greta Gerwig-in-“Greenberg” snub, because she’s not even British.

Anyway … one of the Academy’s other great traditions is the old Whoops, We Should Have Given You An Oscar That One Year So Now We’ll Give You One This Year Instead. So I can go waaaaay out on a limb and pick Amy Adams to win after she got robbed for “Junebug” in 2004 … but it’s her “The Fighter” co-star Melissa Leo who’s gotten all the award-season love. She seemed quite a likely winner for this award until her supposedly “self-gratifying” (as if the Oscars are anything but) campaign ad seems to have turned people off her. So that brings us back to Steinfeld. Like so many Coen performances before her, Steinfeld absolutely nailed it in a role even more challenging than some might think. She’s basically playing a somewhat comically absurd character, but she can’t ever give any hint that she knows she’s being funny. And she doesn’t, delivering all that cracklin’ dialogue with a straight face and surgical precision. And with Leo pissing people off, that opens the door for Steinfeld to pull the upset … and a deserving one, if you forget the fact that it’s not a supporting fucking role.

So Ms. Leo, if you’re wondering where your shoo-in Oscar went, it’s being held by a 15-year-old kid.

Jackie Treehorn: A fifteen-year-old kid … is this some sort of joke?

Chris: No, no joke, man … Fuckin’ social studies…

Jeremy says: Did Bellamy just compare himself to The Dude? I love ya, buddy, but I don’t know if anyone but Jeff Bridges can be The Dude.

I must admit, when I watched “The Fighter” I assumed it would be Amy Adams with more of the award buzz. After all, she plays a hardened, tough chick — a different thing for her — and plays it very well. But I guess it wasn’t fucking over the top enough. I’M CRAZY!!! GIVE ME AN OSCAR.

Now, first things first, I don’t think any actual voters really give a fuck about Leo’s campaign. Remember when Nicolas Chartier ruined “The Hurt Locker’s” chance of a win and stopped Kathryn Bigelow from becoming the first woman ever to win a Best Director Oscar?

The truth of the matter is that the Oscar predictors like to stir up shit because it gives them something to write about. If there were no developments during Oscar season, they’d just have to make up shit about a late “127 Hours” surge.

So when Steinfeld pulls the upset, it won’t be because Leo fucked it up, or because she’s really, truly, obviously the leading actress, but because she kicks ass. She kicks so much fucking ass.

Best Art Direction

“Alice in Wonderland” – Robert Stromberg, Karen O’Hara
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I” – Stuart Craig, Stephenie McMillan
“Inception” – Guy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Douglas A. Mowat
“The King’s Speech” – Eve Stewart, Judy Farr
“True Grit” – Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh

Please welcome the director of the Academy Award-winning classic “Mrs. Doubtfire,” Chris Columbus!

Chris Columbus: What’s with nominating “Harry Potter” for awards? Everyone knows the films have been shit since I stopped directing them! And I never got nothin’ from you Oscar folks! Where’s MY award? I’m a visionary! I directed “Bicentennial Man,” goddammit!

Jeremy says: Here we have a group of respectable nominees, most of which history tells you Academy voters have no chance of awarding. Some people have predicted “Inception” for this category. After all, if you mute that infernal dialogue the film has some pretty remarkable visuals. But anyone who has tried to predict this category in the past ought to know that thoughtful, elaborate contemporary design usually doesn’t win you Oscars — hell, it usually doesn’t even get you nominated. I can certainly envision a world in which Dyas, Dias and Mowat receive an award for creating a collection of mental environments and psychological puzzles, but I just don’t think it’s the world we’re living in.

Did Warner Bros. come up with an ingenious For Your Consideration Art Direction campaign that I missed?

“True Grit,” of course, has no chance because a lot of the movie takes place outside, and most of the interiors are just some slabs of wood thrown together. All really slapdash, eh? Jess Gonchor and Nancy Haigh did some fine work but it will of course be ignored because it isn’t the type of thing the academy appreciates.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is my favorite. It features some great environments and props, clever in both design and references, but the movie itself didn’t receive enough praise for voters to notice the stuff that doesn’t call attention to itself.

In my cynical mind, this movie is a two-horse race between “Alice in Wonderland” and “The King’s Speech.”

And “The King’s Speech” does have some nice production design, particularly in the offices and living quarters of Geoffrey Rush’s speech therapist character. So what if all Eve Stewart and Judy Farr did was tour all the gay porn studios in London and pick the one they liked best? That still took work. Hard work. They even moved out the pool table.

But in all seriousness, it’s very nice. Those gays know how to pick ‘em.

P.S. You may want to check for pop-under windows after loading that link. But it’s worth it.

Chris says: Wait, you’re saying “The King’s Speech” wasn’t a gay porn movie? Well I’ll be!

(Snookered, that is.)

Anyway, I still don’t believe you. What about that part when that speech therapist tells Colin Firth to put “marbles” in his mouth? You know what “marbles” means, don’t you?

(It means balls! And you know what “balls” means, don’t you? It means TESTICLES.)

And what about that one scene where that other speech therapist is like, “Mmmm, that’s a mighty big chair you have, you adorable King you!”

Yeah, I think we can read between the lines, Jeremy.

Anyway, yes, as you suggested, “Inception” would make for a fine winner – and would be my choice of the three – but I’m not foolish enough to pick it as the winner. I’m unfortunately going to be saying this a lot tonight, but I think it’ll go to “The King’s Speech.” I think we’d agree that, as usual with the Coens, the visual elements are strong across the board. And you and I were both impressed with the artistry in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” – particularly the exquisite design of the Ministry of Magic’s propaganda, deliberately reminiscent of Nazi- and Cold War-era propaganda.

But could we expect that movie, or something contemporary like “Inception,” or even something that wasn’t nominated like “Shutter Island,” to defeat an Important Historical Period Piece like “The King’s Speech”? Forget it, Jeremy – it’s art direction.

Best Costume Design

“Alice in Wonderland” – Colleen Atwood
“I Am Love” – Antonella Cannarozzi
“The King’s Speech” – Jenny Beavan
“The Tempest” – Sandy Powell
“True Grit” – Mary Zophres

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Academy Award nominee *cough*for best song*cough Julie Taymor!

Julie Taymor: Thank you very much. The craft of costuming is one I have valued in both my films and in my stage work, such as “The Lion King.” Everyone said my use of animal masks was a big risk, but it turned into a big hit. It was then that I decided to always take r—

(Spider-Man swings across the stage, linking his webs as he swings around until he slips and falls, crashing into the podium.)

Taymor: You OK, Spidey?

Spider-Man: Yeah. Heh. Just a bit of a slip, nothing big. I just wanted to say hi and thank all the costume designers who decided it’d be a good idea to cover my face so that Sam Raimi always had to find excuses for me to take my mask off. Good stuff. Well, I better be off — I have some rehearsals to attend!

(Spider-Man shoots his web to the ceiling and starts to swing out of the theater, but oh no! The humanity! The lights he attached his web to fall, and free-fall straight onto Andrew Garfield, who spills his champagne all over his tuxedo before being electrocuted to death. David Fincher looks vaguely concerned. He thinks he left the gas on at home.)

Chris says: OK, guys – what the fuck. We’re in crisis mode here. Did you guys even SEE “I Am Love” before nominating it? Did you even KNOW that it’s – oh god, I’m gonna throw up – set in the MODERN DAY???? For years we’ve been convincing audiences that the only movies that have costumes are old-fashioned period pieces! And now you decide to destroy all that we’ve built? Our partners in the Victorian and Elizabethan fashion industries are NOT going to be happy with us.

Can you imagine what will happen if it WINS? Audience members will start gettin’ wise! They’ll never take us seriously when we automatically give the award to a movie called “The Royal Corset and Golden Petticoat That Ate the Queen’s Powdered Wig” as a knee-jerk reaction again!

And now I’m supposed to convince voters to pick a movie like “The King’s Speech,” which didn’t even have any costume design at all because those dudes were completely naked the whole time? Fuck it, we’re doing it anyway. Throw everything at “The King’s Speech.” We’ll CGI some costumes and wigs on those fuckers. And hey, whoa, whoa, I wasn’t calling ‘em “fuckers” like, “Hey, you fuckers!” I just meant, ‘cause, like, they’re fucking and stuff. Wait, wait, wait … does jizz count as a costume? Does it depend on the amount of jizz? Bah, nevermind, we’ll work out those details later.

Harvey Weinstein: Wait, that’ll still get us a PG-13, right?

Chris: Yeah, no worries, Harv. Plus, I think I just got you an extra Academy Award, how’s that sound? How’d ya like to put “WINNER: Best Costume Design!” across the cover of the “King’s Speech” Blu-ray?

But just as a public service, I should mention that, in the event that “I Am Love” does win, the winner’s name must be pronounced like this:

Jeremy says:
Also weird: Giving credit to the craft in a dingy old Western? What the fuck? I’m beginning to think the Academy liked “True Grit” more than they’ve been letting on. It’ll probably sweep its categories.

But in the event that it doesn’t, I’m really leaning toward “The King’s Damn Speech.” I mean, I could make persuasive arguments for all the other nominees, but I don’t even know if I should consider Colleen Atwood’s possible win for all those trippy “Alice in Wonderland” costumes. And I don’t know if anyone saw “The Tempest.”

Best Makeup

“Barney’s Version” – Adrien Morot
“The Way Back” – Edouard F. Henriques, Greg Funk, Yolanda Toussieng
“The Wolfman” – Rick Baker, Dave Elsey

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome two pioneers of makeup-wearing – Max Schreck and Lon Chaney.

Max Schreck: Willkommen.

Klaus Kinski: Lon Chaney couldn’t make it tonight because he had to have his arms cut off, but seeing as I played the same character as Herr Schreck, I vill introduce einen award. Who wants to play Russian Roulette?

Max Schreck: Nein! Do not point that thing at Jack Nicholson. He wore makeup when he play das joker!

Klaus Kinski: Perhaps a razor blade would be better? Those pointy ears would be so much better, Herr Schreck, if I were to carve a cunt into them!

Max Schreck: Yes, makeup could present a horrific wound such as the one of vich you speak. Isn’t makeup vonderful?

Klaus Kinski: Makeup is for girly men who don’t vork wid real directors!

Werner Herzog (from audience): Oh, once you cut a vagina into someone’s ear, it never heals properly.

Jeremy says: This year’s makeup category features three films that each to do different things with makeup very well. Choosing between them is almost ridiculous — they each succeed in different endeavors.

“Barney’s Version” follows its characters through not only different ages, but also different eras and styles of hair, facial hair and makeup.

If I had to vote in the category, I’d probably go for “The Way Back” for its memorable depiction of exhaustion, sunburn, rot, freeze and mosquito bites. The film is about a harrowing journey by foot, and the makeup that really makes you feel the strain of the journey. In fact, I’m kind of tempted to predict it to win in an upset, but I’m not sure how many voters even saw the film.

And those who didn’t see any of the films will surely vote for “The Wolfman.” While the film effectively became the butt of jokes when it came out after 73 years of post-production, a lot of craft went into bringing that nonsensical screenplay to life. The film’s tempo and visual style is erratic, its plot confused, its CG silly, and its grandiose dialogue often laughable, but you can’t really complain about the makeup, which is featured quite prominently in the film’s climax.

Chris says: What Jeremy said. I don’t really have time to make any other predictions right now – Klaus Kinski just shot me in the leg because he said I was breathing too loudly. And he just keeps smiling at me! I think I have to go to the hospital.

Best Original Score

“127 Hours” – A.R. Rahman
“How to Train Your Dragon” – John Powell
“Inception” – Hans Zimmer
“The King’s Speech” – Alexandre Desplat
“The Social Network” – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

Presenting the Oscar for Best Original Score, please welcome Random Goth Girl From Mid to Late 1990s!

Random Goth Girl From Mid to Late 1990s: Know who’s a genius? Trent fucking Reznor. He isn’t only a talented musician, but a poet and a prophet. It is a joke that —

Kanye West pushes the Inception button

Random Goth Girl From Mid to Late 1990s: You have something to say, Kanye?

Kanye West: Nah, I just like this button. I don’t like to interrupt. Go ahead and finish.

Random Goth Girl From Mid to Late 1990s: OK, as I was saying, it’s a crime that David Fincher didn’t allow Reznor to write lyrics for “The Social Network.”

Kanye West pushes the Inception button

Random Goth Girl From Mid to Late 1990s: Who doesn’t want to fuck someone like an animal? Not to mention that “The ruiner’s your only friend well he’s the living end to the cattle he deceives.” Think about THAT. Trent Reznor is the only one who understands my pain, so he better win this award or a lifetime of fucking things up will be fixed in one determined flash.

Chris says: I typically love Alexandre Desplat, but I’ll be pissed if he pulls the upset this year because Trent Reznor’s score plays such a crucial role in the way “The Social Network” works.

Atticus Ross: Hey, my name’s listed on there, too! I’m an Oscar nominee, too!!

Chris: Oh, right – my bad, Atticus. Anyway, Reznor’s powerfully unsettling score is absolutely essential. From the opening scenes, it gets under your skin. It’s one of the most unique compositions we’ve gotten in a movie in years. Despite a completely different style, it reminded me of the effect Jonny Greenwood’s score had on “There Will Be Blood” – in that they both reflect (and anticipate) the characters’ states of mind. Notice how both films almost feel like horror movies in certain scenes and moments.

I love Zimmer’s work on “Inception” as well. The slowed-down re-orchestration of “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” was clever and effective, but other passages were equally effective – the pulsating effects that accompanied the action and set-up sequences; the quiet, high-pitched hum during the film’s more contemplative moments. But Zimmer still can’t top Reznor in “The Social Network.”

Speaking of non-classical movie composers, Daft Punk were overlooked for their fascinating work on “TRON: Legacy.” I know, I know, A.R. Rahman is in the “club” now, since he won an Oscar and all, so there’s probably a little gold statue icon next to his name on the nomination ballot or something. But seriously, those of you who’ve seen “127 Hours” – do you remember one second of the music from that movie?

Jeremy says: I remember one second! Wait, nevermind, I was thinking of Colin Firth’s penis sticking out of his outfit in “The King’s Speech,” but that’s a whole other category. It certainly created music in my mind.

So yeah. This baby still seems likely to go to Trent Reznor.

Atticus Ross: And Atticus Ross!

Jeremy: You hear something Chris?

Chris: Hrmmm? No. I didn’t hear anything.

Jeremy: Alright then, as I was saying, Reznor’s score is both distinct and appropriate, making it the most likely winner. And the Academy sometimes picks actual music in this category, rather than voting for the film they liked best. And “The Social Network” has to win a few awards, right?

I quite liked John Powell and Atticus Ross’s barrage of Scottish instrumentation and soaring orchestration in “How to Train Your Dragon,” which is surely going to pull a mega-upset, right? No? Oh. OK.

Atticus Ross: What are you talking about? I didn’t co-score…

Oscar Orchestra says: Bom bom BOM BOM BOM BOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!

Best Original Song

“127 Hours” – A.R. Rahman, Dido (“If I Rise”)
“Country Strong” – Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges (“Coming Home”)
“Tangled” – Alan Menken, Glenn Slater (“I See the Light”)
“Toy Story 3" – Randy Newman (“We Belong Together”)

Now to present Best Original Song, please welcome Working Title Productions' Music Supervisor!

Working Title Productions’ Music Supervisor: If I were supervising these musicians, I would have had some great title suggestions, including “There’s a Rock Crushing My Arm,” “I’m Making a Musical Comeback,” “My Hair is Really Long and Magical” and “Toys Come to Life When the Kids Aren’t Around.”

Jeremy says: After his double win for “Slumdog Millionaire,” I think it’s safe to assume that A.R. Rahman will probably sit this one out, unless people like “If I Rise” a lot more than I realize.

So that leaves us with two musicals — one animated and one a backstage drama — and one movie everyone loves with a Randy Newman song.

As for the backstage drama about the washed-up country star, well, we’ve been there and done that, haven’t we?

The question, then, is whether the Academy will award “Tangled” a consolation Oscar or pump up “Toy Story 3's” tally. Either seems plausible.

History tells us that betting on Newman only yields a 5 percent success rate, but this would be a great opportunity for him to win by default.

Alan Menken and Glenn Slater may suffer due to the horrible first impression provided by the opening song in “Tangled,” but they may also benefit because “I Saw the Light” is sung during the film’s most beautiful sequence. Who knows?

I’m going to have to go for Newman, if for no other reason than because people love the guy, love the film and there are no knockout candidates to overshadow him.

Chris says: Personally I’d like to congratulate A.R. Rahman for “composing” a song that managed to sound exactly like every other Dido song. Well done, sir. Jeremy’s right about the scene in which “I Saw the Light” appears – but if a “Tangled” song was going to get nominated, it should have been “Mother Knows Best.” I guess I should just feel lucky that godawful opening number wasn’t the pick.

Since neither of us saw “Country Strong” (who did?), I can’t speak to that song’s effectiveness within the context of the movie. Out of context, it sounds perfectly adequate and perfectly forgettable. Though I’m sure Gwyneth Paltrow looked lovely while singing it. Much lovelier than Randy Newman, for instance.

But Newman wrote the best song of the bunch, and he’s Randy Newman, and “The King’s Speech” wasn’t nominated in this category – the Working Title Films Music Supervisor’s rockin’ number “I Can’t Give This Bloody Speech Because I Keep on Stuttering” just missed the cut, unfortunately – so Newman would have to be the pick.

One last thing – as if to add insult to injury, I just found out that the title song in “NEVER LET ME THE FUCK GO” was an original song, created by songwriter Luther Dixon, composer Rachel Portman and singer Jane Monheit (or “Judy Bridgewater”). It’s such an authentic-sounding song that I (and I assume most other people) made the assumption it was an obscure piece of period music. But no – apparently it was written specifically for the movie, and it eats the rest of these nominees for lunch.

Best Sound Mixing

“Inception” – Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo, Ed Novick
“The King’s Speech” – Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen, John Midgley
“Salt” – Jeffrey J. Haboush, William Sarokin, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell
“The Social Network” – Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Mark Weingarten
“True Grit” – Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff, Peter F. Kurland

Best Sound Editing

“Inception” – Richard King
“Toy Story 3" – Tom Myers, Michael Silvers
“TRON: Legacy” – Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Addison Teague
“True Grit” – Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey
“Unstoppable” – Mark P. Stoeckinger

Introducing the Sound categories, please welcome Michael Bay.

Michael Bay: The sound in “True Grit” is totally gay. Where’s the excitement? I can’t get excited if the pounding isn’t really loud: The spurs should jangle around in the fucking ear!

Chris says: The two films that got nominated in both categories – “True Grit” and “Inception” – are indeed the two strongest, and if I had my way they’d split the vote. Let’s say the former for mixing and the latter for editing. I’m still pissed that Lievsay and Co. didn’t win for their spectacular sound design on “No Country for Old Men,” but I suppose life goes on.

That’s right, I said it – life really does go on when the movie you wanted to win for sound mixing and sound editing loses to another movie. It’s tough, but you can make it.

Jeremy says: Some don’t survive. It’s like those poor Nigerians who kill themselves when some soccer team in England loses.

Chris says: Anyway, for the wrong reasons, I could see the Academy honoring “Inception” in both sound categories – and there is some great sound work, so it’s a deserving winner. But it seems they usually just honor the movies that have the most sound rather than the best. “True Grit” deserves some recognition, too, dammit!

Jeremy says: Yeah, I’m happy to see “True Grit” nominated for its rich soundscapes that really make the setting immersive, but sadly I know that it won’t win anything.

“TRON: Legacy” probably won’t either, despite its fascinating collage of sounds that recall video games, voice-capture technology (see The Same Dame Podcast with Robert Zemeckis) and more other-electronic-worldly tones. The action scenes really have a much more interesting sound than usual.

But unless the Academy actually pays attention to “TRON,” I’m guessing “Inception” will take both categories. Its mix evokes some nice dreamlike qualities. If only they’d turned down the dialogue.

Best Foreign-Language Film

“Biutiful” – Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu (Mexico)
“Dogtooth” – Giorgos Lanthimos (Greece)
“In a Better World” – Susanne Bier (Denmark)
“Incendies” – Denis Villenueve (Canada)
“Outside the Law” – Rachid Bouchareb (Algeria)

Ladies and gentlemen, the Oscar-winning auteur behind “Wolverine” and “Tsotsi,” director Gavin Hood.

Gavin Hood: As I reminded people when I made my Oscar speech, we may be Foreign-Language Films, but we’re people, and we have stories, just like you. I can see that each of the nominees is indeed a person, and I have a hunch that each of you have told a story. But I gotta say, those Greeks — they’re some weird people with weird fucking stories.

Jeremy says: I smile every time I see “Dogtooth” up there with the nominees. I wish I could have been there when the crowd that attends the Academy Foreign Film screenings watched it in horror. The film itself is a pitch-black deadpan comedy about a most disturbing life of seclusion. It doesn’t give the sunny glow to which the Academy is accustomed, but instead offers a sturdy kick in the balls. Will any film receive fewer votes in this year’s awards?

As for the other nominees, “In a Better World” and “Incendies” both provide the kind of sturdy, emotional drama that Oscar loves. Some have accused Susanne Bier’s “In a Better World” of condescending preaching, but the film doesn’t really preach — it presents different scenarios in which violence is used and allows the characters and audience to grapple with them. It doesn’t suggest easy answers, but depicts a world of conflict, confusion and heartbreak. And it does so with a collection of great performances.

But wait. “Incendies” also features a few really powerful performances, and presents a ballsy Greek tragedy of an ending that inspires both admiration and incredulity. Seeing as Oscar voters never get incredulous, they really only had the film’s emotional wave to contend with. There’s also a rather brilliant set piece on a bus — one that puts the short “Na Wewe” to shame.

Ultimately, I think “Incendies” will fall to the overwhelming emotions of “In a Better World,” but having two films sure to catch voters’ hearts makes things tricky — and interesting.

Chris says: Because I missed Sundance this year, I only managed to see two of these nominees – “Biutiful” and “Dogtooth.” Of the two, “Dogtooth” is the best, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the best of the bunch overall. But it’s not nearly melodramatic enough for this category’s tastes. From what I’ve heard, I would imagine “Incendies” would take it, but what do I know?

In fact, since I only saw 40 percent of the nominees, this is a total crapshoot for me. So I’ll go way out on a limb and stupidly predict that “Dogtooth” will pull the shocking upset. What do I have to lose? I picked “The White Ribbon” just to spite Jeremy last year, and did so for the purpose of a rather specific wager involving a potato and an orifice. Well, along those same lines, Jeremy and I are making another bet. He doesn’t know it yet, but he will soon. If “Dogtooth” wins, he can lick my motherfucking keyboard. (See? Now everyone will have to go watch “Dogtooth” – now playing on Netflix Instant – to understand that reference. Kino International should be paying me for this shit.)

Best Animated Film

“How to Train Your Dragon” – Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
“The Illusionist” – Sylvain Chomet
“Toy Story 3" – Lee Unkrich

Robert Zemeckis: It’s an outrage that neither voice capture nor motion capture was used in any of these films. Who allowed this shit to be nominated? “The Illusionist” wasn’t even made in 3-D! Can’t we just wait to hand out this sucker until my motion-capture remake of “Nights of Cabiria” comes out?

Chris says: Alright, “How to Train Your Dragon,” that’s enough. You’ve had your joy, you’ve had your fun, you’ve had your season in the sun. The Annie Awards are adorable and all. You now officially go down in history alongside, say, “Kung Fu Panda.” Put it back in your pants, DreamWorks. It’s time for the big boys to have their time.

And by “big boys,” I mean Sylvain Chomet, Jacques Tati and the cast and crew behind one of the year’s best films, “The Illusionist,” pulling off the Upset o’ the Century by toppling the juggernaut that is “Toy Story 3.” This is happening, folks. This. Is. Happening.

OK, it’s not actually happening. It just should be happening. As much as I like “Toy Story 3,” it’s hard to match the grace, humor and visual splendor of Chomet’s film. And you big tough guys out there in mass audience land who bragged about fighting back tears when some toys almost got incinerated? Just wait till you see what happens with three little words on a handwritten note left on a kitchen table. Then we’ll see how manly you are. Don’t take my word for it, just watch the fuckin’ movie for yourself. You’ll see. Someday, you’ll ALL see!

Jeremy says: Oh my god. The ending of “The Illusionist” is the essence of cinematic perfection. It heartbreakingly moves from one perfectly composed, perfectly timed shot to the next. If the film hadn’t already been brilliant, that ending still would have given it a place in film history. Holy shit.

Chomet at once captures the mannerisms and character that Tati created in his classic films while creating a film that is distinctively its own style. He also threw in a few Buster Keaton references, just to keep Papa happy. (I’m Papa.)

“How to Train Your Dragon” is quite fun, if a bit flawed in some of its character designs, and the eventual winner “Toy Story 3" is great entertainment — touching, funny, clever (especially a certain bit involving Mr. Potato Head), the best of its trilogy. But “The Illusionist” is majestic, and the correct pick for any voter who wants to be on the right side of history.

Best Documentary Feature

“Exit Through the Gift Shop” – Banksy, Jaimie D’Cruz
“GasLand” – Josh Fox, Trish Adlesic
“Inside Job” – Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs
“Restrepo” – Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger
“Waste Land” – Lucy Walker, Angus Aynsley

Presenting Best Documentary, please welcome super-human box-office man and murderer of cinema James Cameron.

James Cameron: I’ve made some documentaries that were quantifiably better than any of these nominees. Know why? A 50 percent increase in dimensions. I woulda named these movies “True Lies About Street Art,” “The Deadly Piranhas of Natural Gas,” “Terminators of the Economy,” “Dark Angels of War” and “A Titanic Heap of Garbage.”

Know what’s nice about modern technology? We can now remove all the grain from “Hoop Dreams,” maybe finally make the thing worth watching.

Jeremy says: This category seems to have narrowed to a two-horse race between the dry, immaculately researched but cinematically dull investigative report that is “Inside Job” and the vibrant, lively “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” which actively invites the audience to question its own veracity.

Which will win? The majority of prognosticators will tell you “Inside Job” will take it, but my epidemiologist sources have told me about a serious case of Banksy Fever breaking out throughout Los Angeles. That’s right, folks, Banksy to win it, some weird shit to go down during the acceptance speech. An Oscar moment to remember.

What’s curious is that “GasLand” is a much better made investigative film than “Inside Job.” Its deadpan satire emphasizes the absurdity of the damages caused by natural gas extraction. And it made me glad I didn’t get a CNG car after all. Fuck that natural gas shit, man.

Also curious is that “Restrepo,” a poignant portrait of war and the emotional toll it has on soldiers, seems to be all but forgotten. Will voters remind everyone it exists on Sunday? Only time will tell.

Chris says: You think the Academy is going to allow us to have an Oscar moment to remember? Something they can’t control? Your naivete is charming, my dear boy, charming!

Jeremy: I’m not a boy. I’m a grown man. We wrestled!

Chris: I still can’t imagine anything but “Inside Job” winning this one – which is unfortunate, since it may be the weakest of the nominees. I missed “Waste Land,” but the other three are certainly all stronger than the probable eventual winner. The thing about “Inside Job” is that director Charles Ferguson is clearly a great researcher, and works his ass off to get as much information and cover as much ground as possible. But he doesn’t have the slightest idea how to turn that into interesting cinema. There’s nothing remotely cinematic about “Inside Job” – it’s straightforward talking-head interviews, narration and infographics, put together in organized, linear, boring fashion. “Inside Job” is not so much a movie as it is a long essay. An interesting one, sure, but if you’re going to show me a documentary, goddammit, it better be a fucking movie. Have an aesthetic, won’t you please?

I’d prefer to see “Restrepo” or "Exit Through the Gift Shop” win – the former because it’s one of the most intimate portraits of life during combat that I’ve seen; the latter for the obvious reasons of what might happen if fucking Banksy wins a fucking Oscar. (And for the mere fact that it’s not really a documentary – just a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek satire.) That said, the fascinating and unfairly criticized “Catfish” - which constantly reinvented itself and challenged its viewers’ expectations - was probably the year’s best doc and should have been at least nominated. But then again, since when has the Academy ever nominated the year’s best documentary for Best Documentary? Don’t be silly, Bellamy.

One final note: I’ve narrowed Banksy’s identity down to a few choices. Nicolas Cage. Jason Statham. Barack Obama. Matthew Piper. The “late” J.D. Salinger. (Is it just a coincidence that he “died” right when “Exit Through the Gift Shop” was premiering at Sundance?) And, finally, Osama bin Laden. Any other guesses?

Best Visual Effects

“Alice in Wonderland” – Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas, Sean Phillips
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I” – Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz, Nicolas Aithadi
“Hereafter” – Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojansky, Joe Farrell
“Inception” – Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley, Pete Bebb, Paul J. Franklin
“Iron Man 2" – Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright, Daniel Sudick

To present the award for Best Visual Effects, please welcome Digital Young Jeff Bridges from “TRON: Legacy.”

Digital Young Jeff Bridges: See how my head kinda wobbles strangely as I smile at you with a fixed expression? That makes it more lifelike! Digital is totally better than the real thing! And don’t worry, I may look like a hollow, vacuous, dead-eyed zombie, but I’m not going to start inexplicably singing a song about hot chocolate or anything like that. I promise.

Chris says: As our good friend (and short-film category presenter) Joe Beatty and I were discussing the other day, it’s telling how often non-“special effect” movies pull off their special effects better than the actual “special effect” movies. Plenty of fantasy/sci-fi/action spectacles have had great and groundbreaking effects, but even more have suffered from shoddy craftsmanship (or, in some cases, not enough time in post) or have leaned on their effects as too much of a crutch. Of course movies like “Harry Potter” and “Alice in Wonderland” get nominated – look at all those CGI things! Wheeeee!

Which of course means this category overlooks the brilliant special effect in “The Social Network” that no one knew was a special effect until they went home and read about it on the Internet. Or how about “Black Swan”? Those scenes of transformation weren’t enough for you, Academy? You don’t think Natalie Portman actually did that to her legs, do you?

Jeremy says: You’d be amazed what Natalie Portman can do with her legs.

Chris: Still, I shouldn’t be complaining, since I would imagine “Inception” has this category locked up, and deservedly so. Nolan has always shied away from using CGI unless absolutely necessary – which has given his films a noticeably more authentic feel than those of many other big-budget filmmakers. When he does utilize CG, he has a perfectionist’s eye and pulls them off seamlessly. That was certainly the case in “Inception” — and hey, those effects helped craft a couple of scenes that have already become somewhat iconic.

Jeremy says: You mention the CG in “Harry Potter,” but one of the things that impressed me about “Deathly Hallows, the Part that Randomly Ends in the Middle” was how restrained director David Yates often was in terms of CG. Sure, he uses the effects when he has to, and often quite well, but he’d just as soon show the air moving snow on the street than the effect of Harry and Hermione arriving through whatever the location warping thing is called.

In fact, young Mr. Potter has my vote, but I agree that “Inception” will win for its eye-popping and varied special effects, which are all pulled off quite well so that we can watch a bunch of video game dream drones get meaninglessly killed off without distraction.

Chris: Ah, here’s where your anti-“Inception” bias kicks in. For such a CG stickler as yourself, you can’t possibly think the effects in “Deathly Hallows” are better than those in “Inception.” It is not possible. You're right about what you said regarding Yates’ restraint, but that still can’t defend a couple of the obvious and flat-out poor CG creations in this movie. Not as poor as, say, that forest scene from Yates' “Order of the Phoenix,” but shoddy nonetheless. Say what you will about “Inception” as a film, but the effects are about as seamless as effects get. “Deathly Hallows” absolutely can’t say the same.

Jeremy: My admiration for "Deathly Hallows" actually lies in the non-CG effects, but like I said, "Inception" is a worthy winner. That Dobby is adorable, though!

Best Documentary Short

“Killing in the Name” – Jed Rothstein
“Poster Girl” – Sara Nesson, Mitchell Block
“Strangers No More” – Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon
“Sun Come Up” – Jennifer Redfearn, Tim Metzger
“The Warriors of Qiugang” – Ruby Yang, Thomas Lennon

Best Animated Short

“Day & Night” – Teddy Newton
“The Gruffalo” – Jakob Schuh, Max Lang
“Let’s Pollute” – Geefwee Boedoe
“The Lost Thing” – Shaun Tan, Andrew Ruhemann
“Madagascar, a Journey Diary” – Bastien Dubois

Best Live-Action Short

“The Confession” – Tanel Toom
“The Crush” – Michael Creagh
“God of Love” – Luke Matheny
“Na Wewe” – Ivan Goldschmidt
“Wish 143" – Ian Barnes, Samantha Waite

And now to introduce the short-film nominees, please welcome once and future Same Dame Podcast guest, aspiring lawyer and all-around entertainer, Joe Beatty!

Joe Beatty says: Hello. My name is Joe. It’s short-film nominee time!

(Which means you should probably go to the bathroom during this category, since you don’t give a shit!)

(Though you WILL be giving a shit about the category this year, amirite, amirite?)

(Get it? Bathroom? Shit?)

Hey, let’s start things off with a joke!

Question: Why were the lactose-intolerant plane crash survivors so scared?

Give up? Answer: Because the Udders were coming!


Anyway, let’s get to these predictions, yeah? Mazel tov to all the winners. L’chaim!

Jeremy says: After last year’s debacle in Best Live-Action Short, I don’t know what to predict. Seriously, “The New Tenants” was possibly the worst film nominated in any category last year. Worse than “The Blind Side.” And it wasn’t even Oscar bait. If the award went to a piece of shit about a disabled boy whose parents were raped by Nazis while wearing Elizabethan clothing, I wouldn’t have been surprised. But “The New Tenants” was a wannabe hipster movie. Ninety-nine percent of the time, Oscar would ignore a film that succeeded in the realm in which “The New Tenants” failed so completely. So when it won last year, it shook me to my core.

What? This year’s nominees? I’m getting to it. But also: Who woulda thought that “Logorama” would win Best Animated Short? Don’t old stiffs usually go to these screenings? Did they all decide they wanted to be edgy for a year?

What I’m getting at is that I have zero confidence in any prediction in this category. Zero. A big egg. Again, some more words that mean zero.

Of all the live-action short nominees, only one of them doesn’t completely cop out before the characters resolve their issues, face reality or make decisions. That film also happens to be the most light-hearted and funny of the bunch, “God of Love.” I would hope that the well-made but ridiculous “The Confession” would have lost any potential vote after its final ludicrous plot development. “The Crush” doesn’t know whether it’s a comedy or drama, and features a remarkably silliy explanation for double-crossing the audience. “Wish 143,” about a cancerous teenager whose charitable wish is to get laid, is directed with the skill of a blind nine-year-old, but it’s got a sweet message, so it’ll probably win.

I can’t comment on “Na Wewe” because I still don’t know if it was taking the piss or not.

The animated shorts were of a higher average quality. Pixar’s “Day & Night” is a charming, visually clever tale that works as both a portrait of friendship and as a stylistic exercise. “Madagascar, a Journey Diary” is the most stylistically ambitious film, playing with many different forms, but it doesn’t pull all of them off and is sometimes a bit aesthetically clunky.

“Let’s Pollute” is kind of clever with its retro ‘50s educational style, but gets old after a while and is a bit too pleased with itself.

But I’ve got to favor “The Lost Thing,” with its brilliant production design, surreal story and just enough heft to give it some clout. Keep in mind, however, that no one else thinks this one will win.

More likely, some say, is the cute but not astounding “The Gruffalo,” which tells an amusing, repetitive story with celebrity voices and indistinct animation. If the Academy wants cute, they should go “Day & Night.”

In the documentary category, all the filmmakers press the definition of “short.” Each film presses dangerously close to 40 minutes, so don’t expect to get through all those films fast. Like last year, we’ve got a film about Chinese villagers fighting their corrupt government. This time it’s about factories polluting the water. “Sun Comes Up” is about a small island village that has to relocate due to rising sea levels brought about by global warming. “Killing in the Name” is about Muslims arguing about terrorists who kill other Muslims. (If you’re not Muslim, you’re pretty much fucked.)

All three of those films are interesting, but none really connect with their subjects on a deep emotional level. The two strongest films are “Poster Girl,” about a woman suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving as a soldier in Iraq, and “Strangers No More,” about a school in Israel that takes in students from around the world.

Those are your two possible winners, so you’ve got a 50-50 chance. I’d give the slight edge to “Poster Girl,” because it focuses on one person and really gets in touch with her character, issues and hangups. But don’t count out “Strangers No More,” which features adorable kids multiculturally bonding with one another. It might not matter that “Poster Girl” has a tighter structure when the other film brings cute kids into the equation.

Chris says: Yeah, the live-action shorts program was one of the worst I’d seen until “God of Love” mercifully came along and salvaged it. Of course, they like to honor Important Movies in this category, so a self-conscious, playful, mildly absurdist comedy like this one – as strong as it is – may get the proverbial shaft. Which is unfortunate, since it’s made by someone who’s clearly got some filmmaking chops and his own brand of humor. (And he gets extra props for throwing in some clever Woody Allen references just to keep Papa happy.) (I’m Papa.)

“The Confession” is kinda well-made, I guess, but so extraordinarily misguided from the start that I found myself laughing at it even before the ludicrous and indefensible final plot development Jeremy mentioned. Really, it’s a fucking thing to behold, that plot development. High comedy. Jeremy hit the nail on the head with “Wish 143" and “The Crush,” both of which are so tone deaf that at times I could barely guess what it was the filmmakers were trying to accomplish. “Na Wewe” is even more vexing, in that all I could think about during its central segment was a Monty Python routine from “The Meaning of Life” – the “marching up and down the square” one. Was I alone on this, or did “Na Wewe” and that sketch pretty much have the same exact premise but with different circumstances? It also has the most inexplicable “appearance” of a famous musical act since digital Steven Tyler and Aerosmith scared the shit out of all your children at the end of “The Polar Express.” Let it be said here, folks (mild spoiler alert, in case you haven’t yet seen the shorts program): According to “Na Wewe,” U2 can bring together Hutus and Tutsis, and probably save the world. Next up: Israel and Palestine. Make it happen, Bono.

As for the animated films, I don’t know what the fuck was up with “The Gruffalo” – why it insisted on being so fucking monotonous, why it was so languidly paced (27 minutes to see basically the same scene over and over again?) and why it felt the need to rhyme its way through the story, when the rhymes weren’t all that clever. And why was the frame story with the rabbits – at least I think that’s what they were; they were either rabbits or those weird puppets from those old Quizno’s commercials – even in the movie in the first place? What purpose did that serve at all?

Jeremy: I thought they were squirrels. You know, nuts and stuff.

Chris: I didn’t find “Madagascar, a Journey Diary” nearly as uneven as Jeremy did. In fact, it’s easily my favorite of the bunch – a brilliant display of visual styles and techniques that adds up to a rather remarkable and dynamic portrait of a specific place. One thing that struck me was the how three-dimensional so many of the images felt. Which, of course, comes simply from great composition – spatial orientation, perspective, shadow, what have you. Unlike, ahem, the effect that comes from that chintzy 3D bullshit.

“Day & Night” was a typically strong Pixar effort and I guess I’ll go ahead and predict that one, if only because it’s Pixar. Or they could give it to the mildly (at best) clever and extremely subtle “Let’s Pollute” because of its timeliness.

Best Cinematography

“Black Swan” – Matthew Libatique
“Inception” – Wally Pfister
“The King’s Speech” – Danny Cohen
“The Social Network” – Jeff Cronenweth
“True Grit” – Roger Deakins

Introducing the Best Cinematography award via Twitter, please welcome Kevin Smith!

@ThatKevinSmith: OK, I gotta wonder why there’s even a category for Cinematography. I mean, YOU don’t care about that. YOU just wanna see a movie, right?

@ThatKevinSmith: What, because these guys actually TRIED to make a visually interesting, engaging movie, WE’re supposed to suck their dicks or something?????

@ThatKevinSmith: Shouldn’t COP OUT have been nominated? We weren’t trying to make SCHINDLER’S FUCKING LIST, so we shouldn’t be held to the same standards...>

@ThatKevinSmith: In fact, we were trying the least hard to make a film for YOU to enjoy, so the OSCARS ought to be given to US, THE PEOPLE WHO LOVED COP OUT!

@ThatKevinSmith: If YOU didn’t like it then YOU are NOT ONE of US!!! And YOU can suck my dick because I wasn’t making it for YOU and YOU hurt my feelings!!!!

Chris says: I’ve got a quick question. What do you get when you add up the visuals of “True Grit,” “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “No Country for Old Men,” “A Serious Man,” “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” “Kundun,” “Fargo,” “Passion Fish,” “Barton Fink,” “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” “Dead Man Walking,” “The Big Lebowski,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” “The Hurricane,” “Jarhead,” “Revolutionary Road,” “A Beautiful Mind” and “Homicide”?

Zero Oscars, that’s what.

So arguably the best cinematographer in the world still doesn’t have an Oscar to his name. You know who does have an Oscar?

Three 6 Mafia, that’s who.

It would make sense that, in a year with no clear favorite for cinematography, they would finally give Roger Deakins his due. But with such a wide-open category, it’s hard to tell where the Academy’s hearts and minds will go. “True Grit” is classic Deakins – look at the shadow and light in that opening shot, for fuck’s sake!! – and a win here couldn’t be considered a mere sympathy vote or anything like that. There’s real majesty to the way he paints the film’s Western landscapes.

But Wally Pfister recently took home the ASC’s top prize, and his work on “Inception” is strong as always. “The King’s Speech” is the Best Picture frontrunner, so it might get some votes for that reason alone. And the fact that I keep hearing people say how “beautifully shot” it was. And I ain’t sayin’ it’s ugly or anything – I’m saying it’s no “True Grit.”

And it’s no “Black Swan,” either – which is my personal fave of this category (and plenty of other categories for which it was – or even wasn’t – nominated). The deep grain of the 16mm film, the low lighting, the intense and powerful use of close-ups throughout … it’s just a joy to watch Matthew Libatique operate and enhance all the massive swings of mood, style and temperature as deftly as he does. It’s fantastic work.

Call me crazy, but I can’t shake the unfortunate feeling that “The King’s Speech” is going to sneak in and swipe this category.

Fuckin’ British period pieces. All nice and classy-looking.

You want to honor a nice British movie, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences? How about “NEVER LET ME FUCKING GO.” For shit’s sake, people.

Jeremy says: Seriously.

Chris: And how about, since it got no other consideration at all, “Shutter Island”? It’s a master class in visual style. The use of unnatural light, the deep, bold reds in the dream sequences, the floating ash, the “Spellbound” shot at the end, the visual shifts between, and combination of, gothic horror, film noir, giallo, German expressionism and European surrealism? What’s not to love about it?

Jeremy: How much of “Shutter Island” was shot in a gay porn studio, Chris? How much?!?

I, too, favor Matthew Libatique, but I’m not sure that I agree with you 100 percent on your prediction work, Chris. While I also fear an onslaught of wins for “The King’s Speech,” I think they’ve got to give it to “True Grit.” The film has earned a lot of nominations, and while it will be overlooked in almost all of them, it’s hard to ignore Deakins’ visuals. This will finally be his year.

@ThatKevinSmith: Fuck that shit. REAL movie fans don’t GIVE a flying fuck what a movie LOOKS like. What, am I supposed to lick Roger Deakins’ asshole because he’s an “artist”? BLOW me.

@ThatKevinSmith: REAL artistry is in the eyes of the fuckin FANS, man. It’s not like they’re predisposed to like whatever shit I give ‘em. They just know what MOVIES are all ABOUT.

Best Editing

“127 Hours” – Jon Harris
“Black Swan” – Andrew Weisblum
“The Fighter” – Pamela Martin
“The King’s Speech” – Tariq Anwar
“The Social Network” – Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall

Ladies and gentleman, introducing the Best Editing Award is a man who received his first and only Oscar nomination in 2009. Please welcome Werner Herzog!

Werner Herzog: Editing is an interesting craft. Once you’ve stolen the camera and the film and the chemicals to develop the film, you have to steal a Moviola editing machine, which can be difficult to track down. And it's very large and difficult to move. You then need to pick the right person to kidnap and force by gun to splice together your various shots. It is a painstaking process and not at all pleasant.

Jeremy says: Jon Harris deserves a lot of credit for cutting down “127 Hours” to 94 minutes, but really, most of that was just a guy moaning about his arm being stuck under a rock. GET IT?!? I made a joke!

I was going to talk about how a lot of people really love the cross-cutting in “Inception” and why it didn’t work for me, but then I saw that it wasn’t even nominated, so I guess I don’t have to worry about it.

Here’s something to think about: “Black Swan” is in the top five in this category and Best Director, suggesting that it’s also in the top five of 10 Best Picture nominees. Interesting. Could that mean that Andrew Weisblum will win it for the year’s most virtuoso display of editing? Probably not, but it could happen. Weisblum creates a hypnotic rhythm as he and director Darren Aronofsky journey though an artist’s psychosis. The stress, the tension and the glory are all bottled up into one sly, seamless experience.

Sure, Academy voters are more likely to go for the cross-cutting between two trials and the main story in “The Social Network,” or, failing that, “The King’s Speech” because, um, it’s “The King’s Speech.” But am I not a man? Do I not have the guts to predict the completely wrong winner in this meaningless article? No, I do not not! Fuck y’all, I’m saying “Black Swan.”

Chris says: Rofl.

No, no, I’m not rofl-ing at the suggestion that “Black Swan” should win, which is obvious. But a win in the category that more often than not predicts the Best Picture winner? We should be so lucky.

I was among those baffled at the exclusion of “Inception” in this category. It’s a phenomenally well-edited film, and it’s the editing that makes the film work as much as anything else given the importance of the story’s structure and timing. But nevermind – we’re here to talk about the actual nominees, are we not?

I suppose there could be an editing/picture split with “The Social Network” taking the former and “The King’s Speech” the latter, but I’m going to keep with my gut feeling about “The King’s Speech” taking pretty much everything it can. I make that prediction begrudgingly, of course. Call me a pessimist if you like.

Best Adapted Screenplay

“127 Hours” – Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy
“The Social Network” – Aaron Sorkin
“Toy Story 3" – Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich
“True Grit” – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
“Winter’s Bone” – Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini

Introducing the award for Best Adapted Screenplay, please welcome the woman who’s never met a script she didn’t like, Kate Hudson!

Kate Hudson: Remember when I was supposed to win that Oscar and Marcia Gay Harden won it instead? Well, all you screenplay nominees shouldn’t get down if you lose, because this Oscar will really charge up your career and you’ll continue to go on to bigger, better things! If there’s one thing I know, it’s how to pick a script. There are only a few of us who really know how to do it. Me, and Jennifer Aniston, and Ryan Reynolds...yep, that’s about it.

But before I hand out the winner for this year’s screenplays, I’d like to sing you a song, from my 2009 film “Nine,” “Cinema Italiano” – hit it, boys!

I love the black and white
I love the play of light
The way Contini puts his image through a pri—

(Klaus Kinski shoots Kate Hudson.)

Chris says: You can’t really argue with a win for “The Social Network” here. The movie is the best I’ve heard Aaron Sorkin dialogue sound in a long time – and hell, it’s not as if the true story he was adapting would automatically make for an interesting script. It’s about college nerds doing a lot of coding. If you pitched that premise to the folks at TNT, they’d reject it flat-out. And they know Drama, you know. They know Drama.

I would have liked to see Alex Garland’s script for “NEVER GODDAMN LET ME FUCKING GO” get recognized, but what did I expect? Some actual recognition for one of the best films of the year? Hahaha, silly me!

Jeremy says: Yeah, this would have been a great opportunity to give “Never Let Me Go” a small portion of its due, but what do you expect? Sorkin’s script is good, and it’s going to win, but I wouldn’t mind seeing “Winter’s Bone” take home a statuette for its vivid descent into the darkness of Appalachian meth culture. You don’t wanna fuck with those people.

Best Original Screenplay

“Another Year” – Mike Leigh
“The Fighter” – Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington
“Inception” – Christopher Nolan
“The Kids Are All Right” – Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg
“The King’s Speech” – David Seidler

Paul Haggis: You know what all these films could have used? A bit less ambiguity. I mean, what happened with the stupid top? Did it turn out to be a good thing that Edward abdicated the throne? Did that old lady REALLY wanna fuck her friend’s son or what? Was she bisexual, a lesbian, straight or really a dude? Was boxing really the right profession, or would he have become a successful construction foreman? These things are important, people.

Jeremy says: Well, this puts me in a difficult position. “Another Year” clearly has the best screenplay of the bunch, but Mike Leigh’s way of working isn’t that of your typical screenwriter, as he works with his actors to create natural performances and characters. The film is the most honest about and true to its characters, and reveals them by allowing them to live instead of slamming them into a rigid plot. But seeing as Lesley Manville couldn’t even get a fucking Best Supporting Actress nomination, I suppose there’s no chance of Oscar recognizing Leigh.

There’s been some talk of Christopher Nolan’s rulebook, “Inception,” winning. It did win the Writers Guild of America Award, after all. Here is a sample of its award-winning dialogue: “What, another plot development just occurred? Well shit, we better explain some new rules about it that are different from the previous rules. We would have explained them earlier, but we’ve got a lot of rules to get through, folks. A lot of rules. We’re just gonna have to make them up as we go. Paradox!”

I’d honestly be less surprised to see “The Kids Are All Right” pull the upset, but there ain’t gonna be an upset.

Granted, this is a category in which more ambitious films often receive a consolation Oscar, but there’s a pervasive feeling that “The King’s Speech” is running away with this thing. And it’s by a Brit, and British people are witty. There’s even a sweet story about how David Seidler wanted to tell the story for a long time, but was waiting for Helena Bonham Carter to die before doing so. Oscar voters eat that shit up, you know.

Chris says: I was expecting more of an “Inception” screenplay rant from Jeremy, but I guess that’s all we’re going to get. In that case, I suppose I’ll keep my retort as brief as I can. Jeremy does himself no favors being as dismissive of “Inception” as he is. While even I had certain issues with the writing – I, too, laughed at the “Paradox!” line – the fact remains that the exposition in the screenplay is hardly different from that of countless other films that, by their very nature, required that exposition. Heist films, in particular, but loads of other crime set-up films as well. Or Bond movies. Or mind-bending sci-fi flicks. Ya know, all the subgenres in whose footsteps “Inception” is consciously following. Or just look back at all the great “LOST” episodes built almost entirely on characters explaining things to each other to set up the action and plot twists – like “Inception,” that bordered on gratuitous at times, but it was also essential to the way the show and characters worked. Ditto “Inception.” And in any case, a screenplay isn’t simply its dialogue, Jeremy. All the film’s ideas originate in the script – and this is one of the most unique, inventive and complex films to come along in some time. It is for those reasons in particular that I believe “Inception” should win this one – of the nominees, at least. That’s not counting the inexplicably shunned “Black Swan,” not to mention Jessica Hausner for “Lourdes,” Giorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou for “Dogtooth” or Noah Baumbach for “Greenerg.” Just to name a few.

But the momentum of “The King’s Speech” is just too much for any more deserving film to overcome. And there is some genuine wit in the film – I’m certainly more impressed with its writing than its direction. Jeremy’s probably right that a dark-dark-darkhorse would be “The Kids Are All Right,” because Oscar voters (and too many critics) seem to have failed to notice how much of the screenplay is Dumb American Sitcom writing. (Like the cringe-inducing scene when Annette Bening is talking about one thing, her son is talking about another, only they THINK they’re talking about the same thing, leading to “hilarious” and completely believable misunderstandings, hahahahaha!) Despite my enjoyment of the film, the screenplay is not award-worthy.

Jeremy: Expositional dialogue is one thing. Agonizingly tedious expositional dialogue is another. And as for the ideas, there's nothing that really grabbed me about them. Let's go into people's minds so we can … find a piece of paper with writing on it and read it? Yes, that's how the psyche works. Even more cynical is the tacky creation of subconscious protector drones who are little more than video-game targets. Nolan had the whole majestic human psyche to work with and came up with nothing but dull action setups with no urgency. I love that a film founded on ambitious ideas got made, and turned into a massive hit. I just don't love the film. Hopefully it will open the door for others.

Chris: The points you just made are far more tedious than the film's dialogue. Did you notice how the types of subconscious we're seeing and experiencing are CONSTRUCTS, not dream-like reflections of how a brain works?

"That's how the psyche works"? Were you just not paying attention when the film explained exactly why information is stored that way in these dream constructs, and how that makes absolutely perfect sense? Bah, nevermind, it's hopeless. Moving on ...

Best Actress

Annette Bening, “The Kids Are All Right”
Nicole Kidman, “Rabbit Hole”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”
Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”
Michelle Williams, “Blue Valentine”

And now to introduce the award for Best Actress, please welcome George Lucas!

George Lucas: Oh boy, I’m getting all excited thinking about what I’m going to do with the digital versions of these ladies in my private office!

I feel pretty much entirely responsible for Natalie Portman’s soon-to-be Oscar win tonight, since I basically turned her into the actress she is today with “The Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith.” I’m very well-known for working with actors, you see, so I’m pretty sure that when she wins tonight, she’ll thank me most of all, for teaching her all she now knows about acting.

The one thing that I was disappointed about in “Black Swan” was that her performance wasn’t digital enough. I tried to convince her to undergo my radical new Digital Conversion therapy that converts a human being from a physical being to a digital one – so that they only take up digital space rather than using up the Earth’s resources – but she refused.


I’m in the middle of the process myself, and ladies and gentlemen, it is magnificent. Soon we’ll ALL be digital!

Chris says: Well, as much as I loved the performances of Natalie Portman and Jennifer Lawrence, for some reason it feels like there’s a glaring absence on this list. But what is it?

Oh yeah, that’s right, it’s CAREY FUCKING MULLIGAN for “NEVER FUCKING LET ME THE FUCK GO.” Shit, “Academy” – if that’s your real name – don’t you realize you have the best under-30 actress in the world doing great work right under your nose? And you let her lose last year to Sandra Effing Bullock? For the effing “Blind Side”? Come on!

GOB Bluth says: COME ON!

Chris: Look, I know it would have been far too outside-the-box of you to consider nominating Sylvie Testud for “Lourdes” or Isabelle Huppert for “White Material,” surely you could have considered someone like Rachel McAdams for absolutely carrying “Morning Glory,” rather than Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole.” Although I confess, I do have another reason why I’m slightly biased toward McAdams. Explain it to the people, Mr. Pacino:

Anyway, how about Catherine Keener for “Please Give”? Or Hailee Stein—oh, wait, nevermind, we covered that already.

But back to those who weren’t shafted.

Portman has been the frontrunner for months and will probably take it, and she’d be my choice of the five nominees, too. The way her entire countenance – body language, eyes, facial expressions, attitude – shifts during a key moment (the key moment, really) not only brings everything home for the movie, but underscores how effectively she had pulled off the docile, frightened, childlike persona from the rest of the film. It’s a great performance, worthy of all the accolades she's receiving.

I have a weird, itchy feeling that Annette Bening could swoop in and steal it from Portman. The Academy may want to honor “The Kids Are All Right,” and it’s certainly not going to win anything else. Bening is well-respected and has never won an Oscar, and if anyone’s going to upset Portman this year, it’s going to be Bening. So look out for that.

And hey, we’ve been all about Oscar tradition tonight, right? Well, wouldn’t it be all too traditional for an Aronofsky-directed lead performance to get the shaft? *cough*Ellen Burstyn*cough*Mickey Rourke*cough*

Jeremy says: Hrm. What you’re saying disturbs me, Mr. Bellamy. I think I’m going to go cry now.

Chris covered most of my agenda, explaining how great Portman is and wondering where the fuck Carey Mulligan is. (I mean, seriously.)

Jennifer Lawrence shows the promise of a fruitful career in “Winter’s Bone,” but Portman simply commands “Black Swan” through its entirety. It has to be a great performance, and it is.

Bening’s work is cute and enjoyable, and she is kind of a Hollywood institution, but no. I can’t do it. Portman takes the thing by the balls.

Best Actor

Javier Bardem, “Biutiful”
Jeff Bridges, “True Grit”
Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network”
Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”
James Franco, “127 Hours”

And now to introduce the nominees for Best Actor, please welcome: ADRIEN BRODY!


Adrien Brody says: If you Google “Javier Bardem,” you might discover that he’s “doing great” after the birth of his son last year. Or that according to, he joined the Western Sahara Protest last November. Or you might find a photo of him and a small dog with basically the same haircut:

Christ, I sure hope he never wore that haircut in public. Can you imagine if he ever had to be in a movie looking like that? Hey, I was in “The Village,” and even I wouldn’t show my face in public if I had hair like that.

Then after him, I Googled Jeff Bridges. And you know what? Did you know that there’s a whole web site just about Jeff Bridges? It’s! He’s got his own Internet address! Crazy, man. Oh, and did you know – fuck, dude – did you know they made a sequel to TRON? I remember that movie, man, from back in the day. Fuuuuuuck.

So anyway, after I Googled Jeff Bridges, I Googled “Jesse Eisenberg” or whatever. Get this – did you know he invented Facebook?

I know, right? I had no idea. Here he is some actor doing zombie movies and shit, and it turns out he’s got this whole entire website that he invented himself. That must have taken, like, all day to invent that. It’s crazy, he’s probably super rich by now. Know what else? I – that’s right, ME – just got my VERY OWN Facebook page. Bam! I just dropped a truth bomb in your face. Go to Facebook and type “Adrien Brody,” and that’s me. My own Facebook page, my own Facebook account, the works.

Celebrities, right? Fuuuuck.!

So after I got my mind blown by that Facebook shit, I thought about Asking Jeeves about Colin Firth. But it turns out someone took Jeeves out of the equation and now it’s just So I said fuck that and went back to Google. If I can’t have Jeeves I want nothing at all.

So I Googled Colin Firth. I gotta tell ya, man – I barely even needed to Google him because I already bought the DVD of “Mamma Mia” last year. You want to buy it? Too bad, man, you can’t have it – I bought it. Mine. You want to see Colin Firth sing the SHIT out of some ABBA, you’re gonna want to come to MY place.

I know, I know, I’m braggin’ – they probably only let me have it because they knew I was in “Summer of Sam,” and THAT movie used some ABBA songs, too. Celebrities, man.

So the LAST dude I Googled? James. Fuckin. Franco. That’s some sad shit, man. He only got to make, like, what was it, three movies? And then he got in that big famous car wreck and died. Just like that. You’ve just gotta wear your fuckin’ seatbelt, man. Remember that movie where James Franco was like, “YOU’RE TEARING ME APAAAAART!” God, I laughed so hard at that movie. We’re gonna miss you, James.

Anyway, do you want to know what ALL THESE DUDES HAVE IN COMMON? This is crazy. ALL of them – all five – are nominated for Best Actor TONIGHT.

Like, I didn’t even know that before. I just like Googling celebrities. I do it all the time. I probably spend three or four hours every single day just sitting in my house Googling celebrities. Maybe five hours. It’s pretty much like an awesome scavenger hunt.

I even Google celebrities when I’m in my trailer. I have my own trailer, you know. I’m an Oscar-winning actor. And when I won my Oscar, I got to make out with Halle Berry.

What, you don’t believe me? Shit, son, Google it then. Do it, I dare you! Do it just like I did it with Halle Berry after we made out. Google it right now! … Have you ever even Googled before? I’m kind of an expert at it, so I can help you if you want. Bro, just type in “Adrian Brody totally makes out with Halle Berry” and tell me what comes up.

Told you so, cocksucker.

Anyways, I’m pretty much the world’s biggest expert on Googling.

Jeremy says: I will now attempt to fill as much space as possible to tell you what you already know: Colin Firth will win Best Actor. He plays a man with a stammer, you see. And he actually simulates a stammer in his performance. How did he do it? It’s a bleedin’ ma-mmmma-miracle. FUUUUUUCK!

But while Firth is a great actor who gave a strong performance, I have a hard time ignoring Jeff Bridges and Jesse Eisenberg, both of whom inspire awe. Eisenberg completely sells you on his portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg less than 30 seconds into “The Social Network.” It isn’t the Academy’s beloved dead-on imitation of a real-life person because it isn’t trying to be. It creates its own mood and feel.

Meanwhile, Jeff Bridges takes a character known best for its portrayal by an icon of no less stature of John Wayne, and says, “Fuck that. I’m Jeff Fucking Bridges.” He certainly is.

Chris says: I agree with that much. He is Jeff Fucking Bridges. There’s no getting around it. I would question whether or not Rooster is a lead role in “True Grit,” but fuck it, the Academy knows what it’s doing, right?

I’ve always marveled at Bridges’ greatness; in fact, when he won last year it almost filled me with a sense of melancholy, since I could no longer bitch about how underappreciated he’s always been. I’d love to see him win his second in a row, but my personal preference would have to be for Eisenberg, whose brilliant voice inflections, tone of voice and attitude elevate a good role into a truly great one. In him, we see a character who is vicious, insecure, calculating, caustic and even a little scared, and Eisenberg pulls all that off with what seems like no real effort. It’s impressive, to say the least.

It’s disappointing to see that neither of Leonardo DiCaprio’s excellent performances were honored in this category – my preference would be “Shutter Island” – and the still-underrated Colin Farrell deserved consideration for Neil Jordan’s beautiful “Ondine” as well. And while we’re at it, a little appreciation for George Clooney in the incredibly underrated “The American,” Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Jack Goes Boating” and Casey Affleck in “The Killer Inside Me.”

But yeah, Firth is going to win it.

Best Director

Darren Aronofsky, “Black Swan”
Joel and Ethan Coen, “True Grit”
David Fincher, “The Social Network”
Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech”
David O. Russell, “The Fighter”

Now to present the award for Best Director, which always goes to the actual best director of the year ever year, please welcome professional DVD special features correspondent, Peter Bogdanovich!

Peter Bogdanovich: Presenting the Academy Award for Best Director brings a flood of memories. Like when I was nominated for it in 1972 and my good friend Orson Welles congratulated me.

Looking at these nominees, I’m reminded of a conversation I once had with my good friend, Orson Welles. Orson had been enjoying a nice bottle of wine — not Paul Masson wine, mind you, he didn’t really drink that shit, you know — and was talking about the directors of the future. This was shortly before Orson’s death, you see, and “Blood Simple” had just come out.

“They say this film is the most assured debut since ‘Citizen Kane,’” Orson told me, “but I think these kids will really reach their pinnacle when they remake ‘True Grit’ in 2010.” Orson was always so wise. He should have remade “True Grit” himself. He could have played Rooster Cogburn himself — I have some rare footage that proves it!

My other good friend Howard Hawks liked to say that a great movie had three great scenes and no bad ones. No bad ones? I guess that’s a bit harsh. Puts Paul Haggis at a serious disadvantage. Howard liked films where you could tell who the devil made it, available in fine bookstores everywhere. You can tell in a few of these films — I can tell that “Black Swan” was directed not by Howard, but by Darren Aronofsky — but can you tell in all of the nominees?

That’s a question I might ask my old pal John Ford, who didn’t like to shoot any coverage because he didn’t want the studios to mess with his films. David Fincher likes to shoot a lot of takes, but then deletes some of them, but how much coverage does he shoot? How much coverage does Tom Hooper shoot?

My late nemesis Fritz Lang once tried to break up my marriage. I didn’t need any help in that regard, thank you very much, I told him. But ol’ Fritzy wasn’t known as the kindest man in Hollywood. Neither is David O. Russell, who likes to yell and throw things. I like to yell and throw things too, but not on movie sets. I think Fritzy was a better crank than Russell. Russell doesn’t play with fire enough.

And now, the award goes to … my good friend Orson Welles for “The Other Side of the Wind!” Hooray! Oh, I’m sorry, that’s next year’s Oscar. I still need to complete the last 0.0000001 percent of the film for Orson before it can be released.

Chris says: I could bitch all night about yet another snub for Christopher Nolan, who expertly balanced the scope of “Inception” with all its complexities and majestic visuals. Especially when Tom Hooper’s adequate but largely pedestrian direction was recognized. Or I could bitch about how the magnificent understated direction of Mark Romanek in “GODDAMMIT NEVER MOTHERFUCKING LET ME GO” was criminally overlooked. Especially when David O. Russell’s very solid but – let’s face it – hardly visionary work on “The Fighter” was recognized.

I could do that. But I won’t. You won’t hear any bitching from me about how those two guys were shafted. Let’s just focus on the nominees. And of the nominees, Darren Aronofsky is the clear champion of this group. How many other filmmakers could craft such a dynamite tapestry of moods and emotions – shifting between operatic chaos and poetic grace – as he did? Stylistically, he reinvented himself once again, and put together an extraordinary piece of filmmaking.

Which, of course, is exactly why he won’t win. And probably never will – that is, until maybe when he’s in his 60s and they figure he’s due, or he directs a biopic or a period piece that suits the Academy’s taste.

Plus, even an Aronofsky win would be bittersweet, because Daniel Craig would probably just come along and steal the statuette and fuck Rachel Weisz with it. So I suppose it’s just as well that David Fincher will get recognition this year for his outstanding work on “The Social Network.” The Coens already have 25 Oscars, and after all, “The Social Network” was the frontrunner for everything until “The King’s Speech” came along with an inexplicable (or all too explicable?) surge of momentum. Fincher it is.

Jeremy says: Ah, the split. You could call it The Harvey Split. Sir Weinstein has twice lost the Best Director statuette while pushing a film through to Best Picture glory — with “Shakespeare in Love” and “Chicago.”

There is, however, a little thing called the Directors Guild of America, which hands out its own little award and hasn’t failed to predict the Oscar since 2003. The guild gave it to Hooper.

Is it just the TV directors pushing through Hooper because he’s one of them? Maybe. But don’t forget all the actors in the Academy. How much affection do they hold for Fincher?

Sure, he’s a respected guy considered by many to be a visionary, but his name doesn’t immediately inspire that warm glow of affection in Oscar voters. If he wins, it will be because voters are wishy washy on whether they want to award “The Social Network” or “The King’s Speech.” My guess: Harvey — err, Hooper — gets his Best Director statuette.

It’s a bit odd to see Russell nominated now, years after “Three Kings” truly deserved recognition for its brilliant, bold direction. But I digress.

Obviously I don’t hold the Academy in the same disdain for the Nolan snub, but I am pissed about Romanek not being on the list, along with “Lourdes” director Jessica Hausner — who created a moment so magical you weren’t sure if you really saw it — or Jaques Audiard — who made a visceral, smart, thrilling crime film with “A Prophet” — or Sylvain Chomet — he’s a great animator, yes, but he’s also a great director. What do I think this is, the Cesar Awards?

Best Picture

“127 Hours”
“Black Swan”
“The Fighter”
“The Kids Are All Right”
“The King’s Speech”
“The Social Network”
“Toy Story 3"
“True Grit”
“Winter’s Bone”

Yeah, fuck the producer credits. Presenting the Academy Award for Best Picture, please welcome the esteemed winner of a Best Director Oscar, Mel Gibson.

Mel Gibson: Let me start by saying that it’s an honor to be here, and I’ve had a few drinks. The Jew producers have really outdone themselves this year. With all sincerity, every one of these nominees deserves to be blown, even if their producers are responsible for all the wars in the world. I mean, King Edward was supposed to be the hero of “The King’s Speech,” but they cut out all the Nazi sympathizing! Fucking Jews.

WHAT?! What do you mean, wrap it up? You want to fuck with me? I fucking own Malibu!

WHAT?! WHAT?! We’re not in Malibu? No, it appears we’re in Zion, and all these Jew producers wanna have prima nocta with my new bride, meaning they get to beat the shit out of her before I do. What do I care about a selfish harpy with a dysfunctional cunt anyway! I better get out of here, before I lose my FREEDOM!

Jeremy says: This is the second year of the controversial 10 Best Picture nominees rule, and by controversial I mean some people bitch about it but I don’t really mind it. I mean, “Toy Story 3" gets a little extra recognition, a solid indie like “Winter’s Bone” gets a wider audience. Chris must be happy to see “Inception” in there, but now that it’s nominated, I have to reveal that if it loses, it will be wiped from the minds of everyone who has seen it. Shit. That’s heavy.

But let’s be honest — there might as well only be two nominees. “The King’s Speech” and “Never Let Me Go.” But seeing how the latter didn’t get A SINGLE FUCKING NOMINATION IN A SINGLE FUCKING CATEGORY, let’s go with “The Social Network,” which was the clear favorite when are award season started, so many years ago. Yes, critics groups loved it, but how often to those groups pick the same film that wins the Oscar? OK, maybe a little more frequently than they used to given recent wins by “No Country for Old Men” and “The Hurt Locker.”

But those were anomalies. The Oscars can’t change their stripes. They might have a few days of sobriety, but soon enough their friend Harvey will stop by and just happen to be holding. Next thing you know that little gold man is on a decade-long costume drama bender. He can’t stop himself. He’s like Charlie Sheen on a talk show.


Of course “Black Swan” is the most perfectly assembled, unforgettable experience of all the nominees. And it also has some hot lesbian sex. But it has even less a chance of victory than “True Grit,” the second-best nominee.

No, it’s all going to the stereotypical Oscar punchline, “The King’s Speech.” I can’t really fault the film for being the quintessential Oscar movie. David Seidler, who grew up struggling with speech problems, had a story he’d been wanting to tell for some time. How was he going to get such a film financed? Well, with the promise of Oscar glory, of course. Harvey may want to edit out the best parts of the film for a PG-13 rating, but this film was never one that would have the junior high boys clamoring. Tom Hooper tackled the script with stately competence, crafting a well-made, pretty film with some fine performances. Many films with similar ambitions have achieved much less. So while “The King’s Speech” may not be among the year’s best films, it is a very good one. Oscar could do better, but they also could do — and have done — much worse.

Chris says: Ehhh, “a very good one” is a bit of a stretch. It’s a decent enough film, I suppose, but let’s not go crazy.

By this point, we’ve pretty much covered all the ground we need to cover. I think it’s clear where we stand on all these films. The best of the nominees is “Black Swan” – what with “NEVER GODDAMN LET ME MOTHERFUCKING GO” being forgotten and all – and the movie that will win it, in typical Academy fashion, is The British Period Piece About the Guy With the Crippling Disability Who Forms a Beautiful Friendship With an Eccentric Supporting Character and Inspiringly Overcomes His Issues and Delivers an Inspirational and Extremely Important Speech About Defeating the Nazis As Tears Flow Down Cheeks and Everyone Cheers and Lifts Him Up On Their Shoulders Singing For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow. Er, I mean “The King’s Speech.”

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – in 20 years, no one is going to remember “The King’s Speech.” There are a number of films on this 10-movie ballot that will still be remembered and discussed, and will still hold up, and many more that aren’t on the ballot at all. Enjoy your time in the sun, “The King’s Speech” – it won’t last long. You seen anyone discussing “Out of Africa” or “Driving Miss Daisy” lately? I didn’t think so.
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