The GRIDLINE staff is proud to announce that we have won the coveted club prize (pictured) this year for selecting the most winners in the local speakeasy's "Pick the Oscars" competition. Our goal was 15 correct but we ended up with 13 out of 24, but it was enough to WIN in a competition against a hundred or so entries. For the sake of prosperity we have annotated our original editorial to indicate the winners in every catergory.
There's no business like show business, and there's no awards show
like the Academy Awards. The 74th Annual Academy of Motion Picture
Arts and Sciences Awards, that is.
Everybody watches at least a part of the show. Here at GRIDLINE, we watch every second, from start to finish, and we keep score. We have to because we are currently the reigning "Pick the Oscar" champs at the local club, and there are dozens of patrons there that would love to knock us off our perch. There's also the matter of a small bank envelope that contains this year's cash prize.
With this in mind we offer our visitors the benefit of our extensive research into the Oscar competition. There's no formula, no computer, just the skeleton GRIDLINE staff poking their nose into the business of the academy, and making our picks based on the predjudices, whims and foibles of the voters therein. Ladies and gentleman, GRIDLINE Picks the Oscars!
|Documentary Short Subject: ARTISTS AND ORPHANS: A TRUE DRAMA|
Has anybody seen all three of these short films? We don't think so. We
didn't see them, you didn't see them and the academy didn't see them.
So how does the academy decide which one to vote for? They look at the
titles to determine which one will cast the academy in the most
charitable light. This year its no contest as "Thoth" and "Sing" can't
possibly compete with "Artists and Orphans".
|Documentary Feature: CHILDREN UNDERGROUND|
Again, you can't go wrong with children. "Children Underground" deals
with an entire population of Romanian children exposed to toxic paint.
"Promises" also deals with kids, but they are middle-eastern and its
just too touchy a subject with the state of affairs in the Arab world.
MISS: Murder on a Sunday Morning
|Live Action Short Film: GREGORS GREATEST INVENTION|
What is Gregor's greatest invention? Its a big balloon thats helps
his aging mom get around. Last year in the animated short category "Mama"
won so we feel pretty good about selecting a Mama themed live action
short. May get some competition from "A Man Thing", which deals with
MISS: The Accountant
|Animated Short Film: FOR THE BIRDS|
Hollywood has a big investment in computer generated animations but only
two of the five nominees feature this technology: "For the Birds" is
about several birds and their precarious perch on a wire, and "Fifty
Percent Gray" features a man shut off from the world. What can we say,
birds are funnier than people.
|Animated Feature: SHREK|
No contest really as "Shrek" combines state of the art computer animations
with a fleshy, hollywood-style love story. "Monsters, Inc" and "Jimmy
Neutron" end up lost in kiddie land.
|Visual Effects: LORD OF THE RINGS|
"Lord of the Rings" opened late in the year to position itself for the
Oscars and it should start to pay off here. Its not going to get Best
Picture but it should pick up a few of the "look and feel" awards.
|Best Makeup: LORD OF THE RINGS|
Maybe they should call this the MOST makeup award. Its a lot harder to
build a hobbit than it is to make Nikki Kidman look pretty. RINGs
beats Moulin Rouge handily.
|Best Costume: MOULIN ROUGE|
This time Moulin Rouge edges out Rings. Ironically, when it comes to costuming Nikki Kidman, less
is always better.
|Art/Set Direction: MOULIN ROUGE|
Who can forget the ominous windmills and huge curtains, stage settings
and rooftops of Moulin Rouge? We can't, no matter how hard we try.
|Cinematography: LORD OF THE RINGS|
Didn't see the movie but we saw the trailers and those awesome landscapes
were impressive, to say the least. Rings eeks out the award over
Moulin Rouge in the last of the artsy-
|Best Sound: BLACK HAWK DOWN|
Moulin Rouge had those gently swaying, whispering windmills. No match
for the pulsating choppity-chop of American helicopters. Go USA!
|Sound Editing: MONSTERS, INC.|
Only two nominees in this category (Pearl Harbor) with sound crews who
have been nominated or won on several occasions. We'll go with Monster's
Gary Rydstrom who already has claimed 9 Oscars.
MISS: Pearl Harbor
|Film Editing: MEMENTO|
Memento is one of those great independent movies that never gets the
recognition it deserves. Still, it has a following among the critics
and because of that its possible that a certain portion of the academy
may have actually viewed it. If thats the case then those who have
seen it know that the editing is an integral part of the film's
narrative and they shouldn't have any qualms about voting for it.
MISS: Black Hawk Down
|Original Score: LORD OF THE RINGS|
We don't think Rings is a great movie by any stretch, but it does have
a certain look and feel as we mentioned earlier, and a big part of that feel
is the score.
|Best Song: THERE YOU'LL BE (Pearl Harbor)|
This category features songs by Paul Mcartney, Sting and Randy Newman
but we're going to go with the lesser known Diane Warren, who has been
nominated several times but hasn't broken through. Could be a
sentimental vote for a sentimental song.
MISS: If I didn't have you - Randy Newman (Monsters, Inc.)
|Foreign Language Film: AMELIE|
We've never understood how an american audience could gauge the excellence
of a foreign language film. How do we know that the actors are not blowing
every single line? And don't we spend more time reading the subtitles
that we do appreciating the subtle nuances of the actors' facial expressions?
Here at GRIDLINE we can appreciate a dubbed Italian sex romp but we
haven't bothered to check any of these movies out. We have eavesdropped
on our haute monde connections and we keep hearing "Amelie", so
thats who'll we go for.
MISS: No Man's Land
|Adapted Screenplay: IN THE BEDROOM|
Bedroom is a longshot in this category but it is deserving of this
award and lately the screenplay awards have transcended the politics
of Hollywood. The big favorite in the big awards is "A Beautiful Mind",
but in this particular category we're looking for a gay-friendly
academy to retaliate against the adaptation because of its refusal to
deal with the main character's homosexuality. This leaves the door open
for the exquisitely scripted "In the Bedroom" and the best-selling "Lord
of the Rings". There's some concern that academy members will simply
default to the "Lord of the Rings" novels but if they check the
screenplays Bedroom should get the nod.
MISS: A Beautiful Mind
|Original Screenplay: MEMENTO|
Another longshot here but as we mentioned the screenplay awards have
been fair for a few years now. The category reads Original screenplay,
and Memento has to have the most original script since "Sixth Sense".
There is a danger here from "Gosford Park", which was concieved during
a drunken weekend by Julian Fellowes and Robert Altman. The academy has
failed to honor Altman for years now, particularly with their snubbing
of his directorship in "Short Cuts". We think the voters would swarm to
give him the Oscar here, but only Fellowes appears on the ballots even
though the credits to "Gosford Park" clearly lists both Fellowes and
MISS: Gosford Park
|Best Supporting Actress: JENNIFER CONNELLY|
Its possible that all of the other nominees presented better supporting
perfomances than Ms. Connelly, but she'll get the award because she was
actually the lead actress in "A Beautiful Mind", and she and the studio
have bumped her down to assure a victory. This was a tactic originally
employed by Marisa Tomei in "My Cousin Vinnie", so she'll have no one to
blame but herself if she loses. Unfortunately, a fine performance by the
still radiant Dame Helen Mirren gets lost in the shuffle.
|Best Supporting Actor: JIM BROADBENT|
Its easy to narrow this field down to two because Kingsley and Voight
already have their Oscars, and the academy won't dare give an award to
Hawkes while they once again pass over his co-star, Denzel Washington.
This leaves the two old timers, sentimental favorites Broadbent and
McKellan. Ordinarilly this would be a jump ball, but McKellen got saddled
with the hobbit thing, while Broadbent plays a faithfully aging husband
whose wife is stricken with Altzheimers. Slam Dunk!
|Best Actress: SISSY SPACEK|
With all due respect to the talented and delicious Halle Berry, nobody
can even approach the intensity of Spacek's performance in "In the
Bedroom". That, combined with a genuine admiration of Ms. Spacek by the
academy makes this one a lock. Halle will get her due next year.
MISS: Halle Berry, Monsters Ball (no such thing as a lock)
|Best Actor: RUSSELL CROWE|
Both Denzel Washington and Tom Wilkinson gave better performances, and
so maybe did Will Smith, but these actors must know that you need a
malady if you want to win the Oscar. Penn had the right idea, but
Hollywood has already given statuettes to several actors for playing
mentally challenged characters, most notably Cliff Robertson for "Charlie".
In fact, if an award was to be given for this years mentally challenged
role, it should go to Edward Norton, an actor who played a thief pretending
to be retarded in "The Score". In any event, that leaves us with Crowe,
who as a schitzophrenic lumbered awkwardly
through the entire movie but who, in spite of his pompously rebellious
attitude, is the consumate Hollywood insider. Make no doubt about it, the
great majority of the producers, directors and actors in the academy
want to be connected to his next movie.
MISS: Denzel Washington, Training Day
|Best Picture: A BEAUTIFUL MIND|
Unfortunately, the more glamorous the award gets, the less likely it
will go to a deserving entity. Such is the case with Mind, a relatively
lightweight movie that we rate as "wait for cable". "In the Bedroom",
"Gosford Park", "Memento", "The Deep End", "The Score", and several others
were much better pictures. Mind gets it because of Crowe, and you're
either with him or against him in Hollywood. It doesn't hurt that Mind
has the gate receipts, but even that is due to a marketing technique
since the movie has been playing continuously for over 6 months now.
|Best Director: RON HOWARD|
We know their hands were shaking as each of the academy members passed
over the Robert Altman box and shamefully checked the one labeled "Opie".
Sigh. We'll all feel a little bit better about it when we see Richie
Cunningham up on that stage, smilin' and thankin', thankin' and smilin'
just like Aunt Bee taught him. We just hope Altman doesn't call it a
career after this one.