Item! Anyone who's read my column in the past knows that I am pretty outspoken about the Oscars. Even though I readily admit it's the biggest event of the entertainment year (and hosting my Annual Oscar Party is the biggest event on my social year), I've also been quite the critic: I nearly boycotted the show in 1999 when they announced that Billy Crystal wouldn't be hosting. And when filmmaker Monty Moore gave his speech about President George Bush, I let people know that, though I didn't disagree with him, I thought it was traitorous to use the Oscars to push your political views.
So you know I don't take it easy on The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. When they announced changes, I was already sharpening my word-knives to totally cut them to pieces. Imagine my surprise, then, when the changes were all good!
First of all, the Oscars are going to be hosted by not one but two powerhouse actors. When the red carpet is trod and the curtain goes up, it will be The Two Steves, Martin and Baldwin. Can you imagine the brilliant comedy star that brought you Sgt. Bilko paired with the powerful dramatic actor that made Unusual Suspicion so gripping? Hope there's an award for best presenter, 'cause I think this year it's gonna be a tie! As if that weren't monumental enough, the 82nd Academy Awards is finally opening its doors a little wider and letting some other movies in. Now we get to enjoy 10 Best Picture nominees instead of the humdrum six. It's about time, too. It always seemed like the field contained four films fewer than necessary. So say goodbye to the days of art-house flicks like A Beautiful Mind or Chicago taking all the honors. It's time to give some of the people's movies a chance!
Now let's move onto Harvey's Oscar Picks!
Because of space considerations, I'm only going to give you a few. Plus, if you're competing against me in this year's Oscar pool, I don't want to give anything away.
I'll be honest: I didn't make it through Avatar. Don't get me wrong, I adore director Cameron Crowe, and I've seen Titanic at least 40 times, so I was more than excited to hear that he was coming out with a follow-up—my pump was primed. But I wanted to experience it the way he intended, so I went to the 3-D Imax version. After about 20 minutes with the glasses, I started to get a migraine, and I had to leave before I threw up. I thought it might just be a coincidence, but after the fifth time I tried to see it, I finally had to accept that this amazing piece of film induces head-splitting agony in me. And I can't see the normal version because it would betray his vision. Despite this, I just have to go with my gut here and say that Avatar is going to take Best Picture.
For Best Actress, let's look at the contenders. There's two people I've never heard of, so I can take them off the list. The obvious choice would be Meryl Streep, because that woman has so much class, but I never believed her character as a host of a French cooking show. So then, you'd think, "Of course, it would be Helen Myron, because she's British." That's ordinarily true, but you have to think like an Academy voter. In these troubled economic times, America needs one of its own to look up to. Someone spunky that doesn't get up in your face with controversial choices. That leaves America's spunkiest, Shandra Bullock, whose powerful dramatic turn as a woman who takes in a football player and makes him smart through the power of love didn't leave a dry eye in the house. She's the clear forerunner in this category.
For Best Supporting Actor, I mean, Stanley Tucci. Case closed.
Now, for Best Supporting Actress, it gets a little tricky. I did see Precocious and was blown away by its powerful story and brave acting. One surprise was comedian Mornique, who gave a powerful dramatic turn as the abusive mother of an abused child. But then she started showing up at events without shaving her legs. Well, that sends up a clear signal that she doesn't want the award badly enough, and what voter is going to give the award to someone that doesn't care enough? Mornique certainly is "more unique," I'll give her that much, but for the Best Supporting Actress, I'm going to have to go with the apple-cheeked Maggie Gillinhall.
Well, that's it for this special Oscar edition of The Outside Scoop. I know, there's a lot of hot news I didn't get to, like the new car that Brangepitt is looking at buying (hint: it's not a coupe!) or what Bachelor hunk was spotted promoting a sports bar's quarter wings night. But that can wait for next time. So until then, I'll see you…on the Outside!
Jackie Harvey graduated from Viterbo University with a degree in English literature in 1990. After honing his writing and copy-editing skills at The Sunshine Shopper, he became The Onion’s entertainment columnist in 1994, replacing the outgoing Archie “Arch” Danielson. Currently, Harvey writes his regular column, "The Outside Scoop," as well as his blog, "Harveywood!"