Item! Well, it's that time of year again! Once again, Americans will unplug their phones, plop down in front of their TVs, and watch the greatest human drama on Earth unfold live in front of them! I can only be talking about one thing: Egypt! Just kidding. No, I mean the 83rd Annual Academy Awards!
Just when you were catching your breath from the amazing spectacle of the Grammy Awards, along come the Oscars to really knock your socks off. And if your office has an Oscar pool, you need to keep reading, because my Harvey Oscar Picks will help you win!
Are you ready? ACTION!
For the big kahuna, the one everyone wants to know about, Best Picture, there's only one movie worth considering, and that is The Black Swan. I know, it's arty, but the behind-the-scenes romance between Natalie Portmen and a dancer I never heard of is resulting in a real-life baby! What other nominee can claim that it was responsible for a new life? This is the kind of thing The Academy Voters really love to sink their teeth into.
The dark horse in this category is The King's English—no offense to my speech-impeded readers, but there's nothing Hollywood sexy about a stutter, so I call this a long shot at best.
For Best Actor, a lot of people are saying that Jeff Berges is a shoe-in, but I can't see him taking the award this year. Not that he's not a good actor (I loved him as a troubled troubadour in last year's Crazy Eights), but it's unlikely that you're going to win two years in a row unless you're Tom Hanks. Besides, Tron 2 was a disappointment. The 3-D made me throw up (again—when will I learn?), and I had no idea what was going on. The first one was simple. They were in a computer, and they had to fight the Master Control Program after being de-rezzed. This one was pure nonsense.
That's why I think the best actor Oscar is going to go to 127 Hours actor Tony DiFranco…for GROSSNESS! No, I wouldn't really predict that. But he saws his own arm off (Spoiler Alert)! It's disgusting! The real winner will be Colin Firth, because he's British, and playing royalty is glamorous, and people will feel bad if they don't vote for his movie.
In the category for Best Actress, it gets tricky. All the nominees are great, but the movies they're in are big downers, from the name on down (I'm looking at you, WinterBone). The exception was The Kids Are All Right, which has some laughs and a nice story. This is why, at the end of the day, the award goes to Annette Benning, because she has to get SOMETHING out of living with Warren Beatty.
When it comes to Best Cinematography, I always err on the side of Roger Deakins. True, his work didn't have the flashy urgency of The Social Network's Jeff Cronenweth, or the surreal qualities of Matthew Libatique's work in Black Swan, or even Wally Pfister's innovative dreamscapes in Inception, but Deakins is brilliant at making a movie look better without drawing attention to itself, and that's a dying art these days.
As for Best Documentary (Short Subject)? I'll have to get inside the head of an Academy voter and go with the coolest sounding name, which would be Killing In The Name.
So there you have it, the Harvey Oscar Picks! Some of you eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that there's a lot of categories I didn't cover, but I guess, to be honest, I'm not as excited this Academy Awards season. Where's the scandal? Where's the drama? And the hosts? Instead of the Martin-Baldwin or Billy Crystal magic, we are stuck with a couple of nobodies with all the charm of a mismatched pair of wet socks.
I'm sorry, but that's just the truth. I look forward to the Oscars every year, but with all these art films up for nominations, there's nobody to root for. And that's why the ratings for the broadcast are slipping, Academy. You're betraying your audience.
This is the first time in 18 years of writing this column that I canceled my Oscar party. What's the point when I don't really care which one of these movies wins? I saw one yesterday that I could root for called Going For It with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Anniston. It had heart, depth, and a whole lotta laughs. But to prepare for this column, I had to go see a movie that ends with a guy whose big triumph was that he could send his country to war.
Remember Entertaining, Hollywood? Maybe you should look it up in a dictionary. It used to be the silver screen was all about entertaining, but not anymore. Not with these nominees. If I wanted to watch ballet or the Internet, I would go to the ballet or the Internet!
Anyway, maybe I'm just in a funk. This winter has got me down. It's too much snow, and I have six tickets on my car because I couldn't move it after my snow shovel broke. I've barely seen another human being in two months. I'm going to go watch When Harry Met Sally again and call it a day. Maybe I'll have a change of heart when the Oscars air. Until then, I'll see you across the aisle 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!"