Friday, February 24, 2006

Oscar Predictions

Time now for the You Can’t Teach That ( Oscar Special. It’s the Super Bowl of the film industry on March 5. There are a lot of close races this time, so I think I’m going to struggle to hit .500 (like every other year.) My "should win" picks are the films I would vote for if I was in the Academy, and the "will win" picks are the films that are actually going to take home the hardware.

Should win: Munich
Will win: Brokeback Mountain

Yes, I’ll be cheering for the underdog but I’ll pick the favourite. That’s what I do every single Oscar night, because the underdog hardly ever wins. Brokeback is a sappy love story that will melt enough of the voters in the Academy to put it over. Unfortunately, the one movie that I thought had a decent enough chance to beat it wasn’t even nominated (Walk the Line). There’s talk of Crash being the dark horse, and there’s some justification behind that since it plays the race card pretty hard (the Academy likes that.) However, I don’t think it has a chance, just because it was released way too early.

Should win: Steven Spielberg
Will win: Ang Lee

Spielberg will never win another Oscar ever again, so you can all but count him out. However, the Academy loves the Jewish movies, and remember that the odds makers had Roman Polanski chalked up at 100:1 for The Pianist. I kind of wonder how a director who can barely speak English (Ang Lee) does such a good job, so he must be doing something right…And for the record, I think Richie got snubbed…I thought his work on Cinderella Man was just as good, if not better, than his work on A Beautiful Mind.

Should win: Reese Witherspoon
Will win: Reese Witherspoon

Witherspoon pulled off a perfect June Carter in Walk the Line. I must say, I really don’t understand the Academy’s fascination with Judi Dench. And I don’t think Charlize Theron will win again, but the Academy’s bias may show here. Witherspoon has been cleaning up the minor league awards though, so chalk this one up as my Lock of the Week.

Should win: Joaquin Phoenix
Will win: Phillip Seymour Hoffman

The field here is wide open. Hoffman is the overwhelming favourite, but I think Phoenix (that’s wa-KEEN, not JO-kwin) deserves it over Hoffman, just because I thought Hoffman overdid it a little. However, he was still spectacular in Capote, and if he wins, I certainly won’t shed a tear. Watch out for River’s brother though…the Academy seems to like him. After all, he self-taught himself to play the guitar and did all the film’s vocals himself. And of course, don’t count out Ledger by any stretch, because to win an acting Oscar these days, you have to play somebody who’s retarded or gay, and in Brokeback, he sounds retarded and is gay. Deadly combination?

Should win: Rachel Weisz
Will win: Rachel Weisz

I haven’t seen any of these performances except for Catherine Keener in Capote, and I don’t think she deserves to win. So I would vote for Rachel Weisz, just because she won the Golden Globe. Pretty weak reasoning, I know, but that’s what I often do when I haven’t seen the movies and it works more often than not (except in Jim Carrey’s case.)

Should win: Paul Giamatti
Will win: George Clooney

I think the Academy dislikes Giamatti, seeing as how he should have been nominated for Sideways, and should have won for American Splendour, like Nick Tam said. If Giamatti wins, then it will be one of those sentimental picks, but Clooney should take it by the closest of margins. My mom is convinced that Clooney will at least win something since he’s nominated in three categories, and I don't think he has a chance in hell for the other two. Weeds has warned me not to count out Jake Gyllenhaal. It could happen if there's enough vote splitting between Giamatti and Clooney. Should he win, I think that will make him the Pepto Bismol Upset of the Week.

Should win: Syriana
Will win: Crash

Really tough call on this one…I guess we’ll see if Flippy the Coin knows as much about film as he does about football (he’s right about half the time.) It seems to me that the Academy doesn’t like stories that are hard to follow like Syriana, but I think that’s the best kind of writing. Crash will win because it was kind of innovative, I guess. It also had a lot of things happening at once like Syriana, but it also plays the race card. I’d go for Syriana just because I thought some of the dialogue in Crash was just a little wee bit contrived, especially the scenes involving the police. I also despise Paul Haggis (as a writer) for shitting something as stupid as Million Dollar Baby out on a piece of paper, and I’m also a pretty big Stephen Gaghan fan. I would be elated if Woody Allen won for Match Point, but he hasn’t won diddly poo since Hannah and her Sisters.

Should win: Munich
Will win: Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback wins and it’s going to be a travesty, just because that story was sofa king slow. Annie Proulx wrote it as a short story, but for some reason, they felt they need to drag it across 2 hours and 45 minutes. Munich was by far the best, and in a perfect world, this wouldn’t even be close. But the mushy forbidden love story will win. Although I would like to see a copy of this screenplay, just to see if Heath Ledger’s dang ol’ Boomhauer accent was actually written into the dang ol’ script, or if it was dang ol’ ad-libbed, man.

I've made picks in all 24 categories, but I won't post why I picked them. It's all just guessing when it comes to live action short films anyway.

Animated Feature: Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Foreign Language Film: Joyeux Noel
Documentary Short Subject: God Sleeps in Rwanda
Documentary Feature: March of the Penguins
Film Editing: Walk the Line
Art Direction: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Cinematography: Batman Begins
Costume Design: Mrs. Henderson Presents
Visual Effects: War of the Worlds
Makeup: Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
Sound Editing: War of the Worlds
Sound Mixing: King Kong
Original Score: The Constant Gardener
Original Song (a stupid category): "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp"
Short Film - Animated: One Man Band
Short Film - Live Action: Ausreisser (The Runaway)

Monday, February 13, 2006


It's been about 11 days...I just thought I'd let everyone know what's been going on in those days.

Feb. 5: Super Bowl. The Super Bowl Buffet Spectacular was pretty spectacular. At first, there were bologna sandwiches and KFC. Then people started bringing real food. Weeds brought cupcakes and five-alarm chili and Dre and VA brought salad and chicken fingers (the good kind.) We had several sad Seahawks fans there and they went home after the game to eat a whole birthday cake and say the dog did it. I think the refs lost because the Seahawks fans were crying conspiracy, but I think they're just a bunch of fucking crybabies.

Feb. 7: Watched Good Night and Good Luck (and good times, and good smoking...) with Weeds. Good show, but it's now out of theaters, so tough luck if you missed it. A little dry and political for most people I'll bet (especially the Academy) but I had done a paper on McCarthy for HIST 251, so I found it interesting. I wrote the paper on how the anti-Communist consensus of the American people, the fact that the executive branch didn't try to stop him initially and poor far-eastern foreign policies all somewhat justified McCarthy's actions. I tried to make the argument that McCarthy was a scapegoat for a broader anti-Communist movement and that his actions were understandable given the context of the time. The main point of this paper was to piss off my communist prof. I knew that I was right too...she gave me a C+ based on shit like paragraph development and not enough primary sources. They actually addressed the first point (mass hysteria by the American population) a little bit in the film, but overall, it's pretty biased toward Ed Murrow's viewpoint. I didn't expect the film to be fair and balanced or anything, and David Strathairn still put on a brilliant performance as Murrow.

Feb. 8: Airplane ride. It wasn't looking good early in the day, especially at 11:00 when it started snowing. It was pretty much a game time decision, and when I filed my flight plan, I was told that it was snowing in Red Deer. But when I got out there, it was bright and sunny and the only clouds were far off to the southwest. On the way back from Red Deer it was pretty windy and my approach was pretty bumpy. But my approach was straight down the center line and the actual landing was pretty soft. High winds don't really scare me...I got my glider license in Gimli which offered 90 degree crosswinds pretty much on a daily basis and I did my private license in Calgary, which was pretty windy as well. I guess high winds don't really happen that often here because I think I was the only one to fly that day. Bitches...

Feb. 10: Watched High Fidelity with Mick and Mick's wife. It was a pretty good story. Made me laugh to beat the, anyway. I thought Jack Black kind of overacted a bit though. And I must admit that I prefer the midlife crisis story that doesn't all work out in the end, like American Beauty or Sideways. I guess Lester did have everything worked out in the end...for about 3 seconds before he gets snuffed and in Sideways, we're led to believe that Miles ends up with Maya, but he's still a failure as a writer and has to go back to teaching 8th grade.

Feb. 12: Went to Lister for movie night and caught the last little bit of Clockwork Orange. I was only there for the discussion though. It went pretty good until we launched into a big discussion about how the movie makes you feel. I was more than content to argue about state intervention and free will, but whatever.

I'll put up my Oscar picks after I've seen more of the movies.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Super Bowl XL

6-4 in the postseason, then I am without football until early June. Sad state of affairs. And arena football just won't do, I can't stomach that crap.

PIT #16 total offence vs. SEA #17 total defence
PIT #4 total defence vs. SEA #2 total offence

PIT #9 scoring offence vs. SEA #7 scoring defence
PIT #3 scoring defence vs. SEA #1 scoring offence

PIT #5 rushing offence vs. SEA #5 rushing defence
PIT #3 rushing defence vs. SEA #3 rushing offence

PIT #24 passing offence vs. SEA #25 passing defence
PIT #16 passing defence vs. SEA #13 passing offence

PIT #11 takeaways vs. SEA #2 giveaways
PIT #7 giveaways vs. SEA #18 takeaways

PIT #3 punt returns vs. SEA #18 punt coverage
PIT #23 punt coverage vs. SEA #30 punt returns

PIT #20 kickoff returns vs.SEA #19 kickoff coverage
PIT #17 kickoff coverage vs. SEA #18 kickoff returns

Wow. Never before have I put together a head-to-head comparison that was so closely matched. Usually, there's one stat that's kind of one-sided for a particular team and that helps me to decide the outcome. The Steelers did just make short work of Denver's #29 pass defence, but Seattle's pass defence chewed up Jake Delhomme and spit him out. The Steelers were also able to hold Denver's running game to 97 yards, a pretty good accomplishment considering Denver's running game, en route to being the first visiting team to ever win the AFC Championship at Mile High Stadium. I also believe that Seattle's pass defence did so well against the Panties because they didn't have to respect the run. I think the Panties were down to their 4th string RB. But the key to the game is the Steelers run defence. I heard on TSN this morning that the Steelers haven't allowed an RB to rush for 100+ yards in a game in over thirty games. I also had to look at the Dallas-Seattle game of this season, since Dallas runs a 3-4 defence quite similar to Seattle's. Alexander was held to 61 yards on 20 carries. If the Steelers are able to duplicate that, then they'll win it. If the Seahawks successfully establish their running game, there's no limit to what they'll be able to do on offence, and they'll win it.

My intangible for this game is that the Steelers come from a dirty city, so they have the advantage going into dirty Detroit. Seattle is a beautiful city so the Seahawks aren't going to be used to it. The Steelers also have the whole Jerome Bettis retiring on top in his home city thing going for them, and I think Joey Porter can back up his trash talk better than Jerramy Stevens. However, as far as intangibles go, I noticed a very disturbing thing about the Steelers. They were the 6th seed in the conference and they defeated the #3 team in the first round, followed by the #1 team, followed by the #2 team, and now they face the #1 team in the other conference. There was another team that did the exact same thing, and that was the 2003-2004 Calgary Flames. So if history is doomed to repeat itself, the Steelers will lose this game by the closest of margins, just because sooner or later, luck runs out. And the Steelers certainly have been lucky. It took tearing up Carson Palmer's knee and that awful Vanderjagt field goal try for them to get this far. The win over the Broncos was legit, I'll give them that much.

It took me forever to decide this game, but when you look at the stats, the answer is pretty obvious. So will Big Ben be drinking like a champion surrounded by broads this Sunday? I think so. Steelers 24, Seahawks 17.

Another reason not to see Brokeback Mountain...

Apparently, Ang Lee wore this hat the WHOLE FUCKING TIME during the shoot. On Global News, they showed an interview where they asked Lee about Alberta, and he held up one of those car flags and started chanting "Go Flames Go!" And to top it off, to motivate extras, he told them to cheer as if "the Flames had just won the Stanley Cup." I'm really hoping he loses now (although he probably won't) because if that's what passes for good directing these days, I'll eat my boots.

Well, it kind of gives the term "Flamers" a new meaning now, doesn't it? ;)