Feb. 20, 2013 - Issue #905: DOA No more - Trading in punk for politics
And the alternative Oscar goes to…
Offical list be damned; One of Vue's film writers gives his picks for Oscar winners
Welcome to that red-carpeted land where Garbo and Dietrich give acceptance speeches. An auditorium where Citizen Kane leaves How Green Was My Valley in the ditch, Taxi Driver knocks out Rocky for the title, and Blood Simple, not Amadeus, strikes a chord with the Academy. It's the Alternative Oscars!
Lest you think I'm a cranky fantasist, some nominees this year are deserving: if there were a just God, Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin would nab Best Adapted Screenplay for Beasts of the Southern Wild, while Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola would grab Best Original Screenplay. But I'm no rainbow-eyed, unicorn-loving idealist, either; I'm considering a deal with the devil—selling him some of my bile-filling organs—to ensure that in no hell-on-earth does Les Misérables, that piano-and-plot-bashing collection of oversung nose-and-throat closeups, win any awards. Now, without further grumpy ado about Hollywood know-nothing, here are this year's AOs:
Up to 10 films can be nominated, but there are only nine this year. A shame there wasn't enough support for The Master or Moonrise Kingdom, two bookish nerds kicked out of the Tinseltown prom, just like that. I get that The Master's a kind of intimidating, cryptic, yowzers! Great American Novel/Film that not many people actually read/saw, and Moonrise Kingdom is the quirky little McSweeney's tale that lots of white people like. But either one would be a deserving winner.
Best Foreign Film
The most screwed-up category (one pic wades through red-tape and politics to get nominated by its country's film-overlords, then the Academy usually crowns the exotic escapade or history-heavyweight). Turkey's nominee Once Upon A Time in Anatolia never even made last year's finalists. So a chest-slam adrenaline-shot of redemption's needed, stat. First, Cristian Mungiu's Beyond the Hills makes the final five, just to make up for his 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days not getting shortlisted in '08. Then, Leos Carax's playful but melancholy Holy Motors takes it over Haneke's slightly-too-grave Amour.
Best Animated Feature Film
Psst, Oscar! Hey, look, I know you gave the first one of these to Shrek and you've given it to a few other studios, too, but, let's face it: this has usually been the Pixar award. And there's another workshop out there just as good. Are you satisfied with Studio Ghibli only snapping up one of these, for Spirited Away in 2001? (Pixar probably isn't—they love Miyazaki and co, too.) You should be going to The Secret World of Arrietty, with the most intricately layered story and lushest detail of any animation last year. Done. Huh? Oh yeah? Well, screw you, too, you miniature gold-skinned eunuch.
Rachel Weisz in The Deep Blue Sea. A spellbinding performance that suggests the rubble-buried depths and stifling corners of Hester Collyer's life in post-war London as she drifts from an unhappy marriage into her helpless love for a cad of a pilot.
Fine, so Day-Lewis has got this one in the stovepipe-hat-shaped bag. And he is great as the soon-to-be-shot abolisher of slavery (though Spielberg could've cut all the black servants looking adoringly after him and just flashed "Obama Moment Movie" in neon-lit capitals above the screen). But Denis Lavant acts nine times over in Holy Motors, a film about finding the saddest, strangest truth in putting on performances—as a rich man off to work in the city, as an old beggar-woman, as a green-screen actor, as a red-headed, Fagin-looking, hair-eating, sewer-dwelling Monsieur Merde, as a father driving his daughter home, as a gangster, as a man on his deathbed, as an ex-lover in a musical and as a suburbanite come home to his non-human family. An Oscar for the man who, riding around in a limo between thespian gigs, is "Monsieur Oscar."
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
(See above and donne ce prix à Bernard Floch et Olivier Seyfried for Holy Motors.)
Best Supporting Actor
For the most riveting performance of a 2012 genre picture, and surpassing even predecessor Ian Holm as Ash in Alien, the AO goes to ... Michael Fassbender, as android David, in Prometheus. Spookily, inhumanly good.
Hey, Oscie! Look, I'm sorry, OK? I just wanna make a quick suggestion. See, I've been thinking ('cause my head's not hollow like yours). How come documentaries never get nominated here? Because I'd say The Imposter is better shot, all in all, than your fiction-feature nominees this year, which have moments of flair (and camera-flare), sure, but, like most soccer games, aren't 90-plus minutes of sheer beauty. Hell, The Queen of Versailles and Searching For Sugar Man look mighty fine, too. (Don't get me started on why those aren't up for Best Documentary ... but speaking of what's up, duck, why isn't "Daffy's Rhapsody" up for Best Animated Short?) Still, the winner in this category is ... The Master. Go screw yourself, Oscie (if you even could, you gilded, gelded Ken doll.)
Has there been a recent film more about the mastery of its director than The Master? It sweeps us through post-war California from John Steinbeck's landscapes to echoes of The Great Gatsby in runaway Freddie Quell's delusional rebirth on a boat ... then that Kubrick-like eye draws us into its horribly enthralling gaze at cult-leader and devotee. All in the first hour alone. And in 65mm. After a feast like that, give Paul Thomas Anderson his just desserts, already.
Okay, look ... ACADEMY, ARE YOU TRYING TO REMOVE THE "EYE" FROM "IDIOT"? DID YOU ACTUALLY LOOK AT THE SCREEN DURING Moonrise Kingdom? If you look up "production design" in the dictionary, you'll see a picture of its sets, you GOLDEN-GLOBES-SUCKING FU[the remainder of this writer's piece has been cut by the MPAA for fantasy-related foul language.]
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