Friday, March 03, 2006

Miscellaneous: And The Winner Izzzz ....

I don’t mean to go all Jimmy Carter here, but it seems like malaise has overcome the Academy Awards. As producer Lynda Obst says, it’s a strange year: “The East Coasters love it because it’s so arty, and the Left Coasters hate it because it’s so arty.” Conservatives point to the nominees as proof of Hollywood’s lefty agenda, while liberals are either defensive or excessively proud of themselves.

These are the Oscars That Frivolity Forgot. The Academy Awards are supposed to be meaningless folly, a chance to laugh at the movie business’s penchant for self-love. They’re subjective opinion passed off as objective truth, accompanied by spangly dresses. They’re ice dancing with less falling.

But not this year. This year, they apparently mean something.

The torpor has even affected me. I’m not in an Oscar pool, and I can’t bring myself to write a category-by-category “who will win” post. I just can’t muster the enthusiasm.

I know who I’d like to win. Munich, Terrence Howard, William Hurt, Amy Adams, Noah Baumbach’s script for The Squid and The Whale. I predict disappointment.

While I’m at it, a few other random predictions and observations:

Jon Stewart will dazzle as host. Every interview indicates that he knows exactly what’s required of him: to be unobtrusively funny and to keep the show moving. He seems to be harking back to the Johnny Carson model, which is fine by me.

There will be at least one major upset, in part because the conventional wisdom (Brokeback, Ang Lee, Hoffman, Witherspoon, Clooney, Weisz) calcified early. If everyone knows who’s going to win, nobody will vote that way.

Actress/singer Kathleen ‘Bird’ York, nominated for her Crash song ‘In The Deep,’ costarred opposite Michael Madsen in the TV series Vengeance Unlimited. I point this out to complain that the show is still not available on DVD.

In 1994, screenwriter William Goldman proposed the category of Movie Snubbed By Oscar That Would Come To Be Regarded As A Minor Classic. His on-the-money choice then: Groundhog Day. My pick now: The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

The high point of the ceremony will be the speech by Lifetime Achievement honoree Robert Altman. A maverick like him won’t pass up the opportunity to say something memorable.

The high point of the coverage will be watching A-list actresses shy away from E! commentator/loose cannon Isaac Mizrahi, particularly after Scarlett Johansson slammed him for being handsy at the Golden Globes.

For that reason alone, I intend to break with tradition and watch some of the pre-show this year. I’ve already made my run to the liquor store for supplies. Cocktails at Chez K will be poured early and often.

Miscellaneous: Link

John Rogers gives the lie to the myth of the heartland audience. Go, Kung Fu Monkey, go!