Sunday, March 7, 2010

Word Vomit About The Oscars (our scattershot version of live blogging)

GOLAN: So far, we're one out of one!  Suck it, America!

BRIAN: ....Because America was expecting Woody Harrelson?  We're keeping track of our predictions point total here.  But also, I'm keeping count of how many times someone at this viewing party comments on the length of the telecast.  Hilarity.  So far I've heard 4.

GOLANWow, Christoph Waltz just told the longest metaphor ever.  Yawn.  And that's two for two.  Sadly, it's the two that everyone else got, too.  On the bright side, we also hit #3.  So far, perfect score.

Also on the bright side, when Ryan Bingham said to his wife, "I love you more than rainbows," the next comment from one of our houseguests was, "Oh, that guy cheats on her.  No faithful man says shit like that."  Awesome.  Best line of the Oscars so far.  Certainly better than anything uttered by Steve Martin or Alec Baldwin.

Commercial time.

While we're waiting, what do you think of the format and the hosts so far?

BRIAN: Meh.  Nothing new.  Great party.  I love your friends.

GOLAN: But you're being quiet.  Oh, you meant... Oh, that's funny!  I don't know those people.

Wow.  Molly Ringwald can't blink.  That's a shame.  Is that botox?  So we're batting 1000%.

I'm confused.  Is this John Hughes thing part of the In Memoriam thingy?  Or is the Academy saying that he is more important than the other dead people?  Whoa, Farrah Fawcett died?

BRIAN: I love the John Hughes montage.  Real good and moving.  And kind of an Academy mea culpa for never recognizing him, right?

GOLAN: So you agree with this?  Wouldn't that be similar to picking and choosing our favorite dead people and doing montages and speeches just for them?  That could take forever.  The John Hughes thing, as much as I love him, belongs in a TV special, not part of the Oscars that we are trying to make shorter.

Now for the bad news: we're three down.  We lost three awards.  Best short animated thing and best short documentary thing and best short live action thing.  This is where you people can pull ahead of us.  The awards that we literally did no research on, nor give much of a shit about.

Why do we still love Ben Stiller again?  Did he whiten his teeth for this?  Man, I hate that guy.

BRIAN: The Oscars is a TV special, silly.  They should start burying movie stars during the Oscars.  It would help society cope with death, I feel like.

GOLAN: Wow!  PRECIOUS just won the Adapted Screenplay Oscar.  That is ridiculous.  The professor's speech was better than his script.  Ugh to say the least.  And we missed another one.

Sadder still, the phrase, "Academy Award winner Robin Williams."  I just got really depressed.

Sadder still, that means that the powers that be selected Robin Williams to stand in for Heath Ledger.

Fuck me, this ceremony sucks.

BRIAN: I like how they're doing the clips for acting categories a lot.  Nice to give the performances more context.  Judi Dench would have had her entire performance from SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE screened before she won.

GOLAN: So, to recap, what's the tally?

BRIAN: I don't know.  So, hey, they're explaining what the sound categories are all about.  Do you think as the Academy is watching this, they're...

GOLAN: Did you just fall asleep?  So did everyone else.  And now they're introducing their musical people.  Is this supposed to prove that gay guys made this ceremony?  We get it!  Musical numbers, Neil Patrick Harris, a little too much costume love...

Then there's this weird PARANORMAL ACTIVITY parody, that's been done to death.  Why not do a BLAIR WITCH parody now?  It would be just as topical.

And then a tribute to horror movies.  You know that genre, right?  It's the one that has never been nominated for an Oscar.  So appropriate.

Morgan Freeman is now explaining something about sound and THE DARK KNIGHT.  I'll admit that Freeman's voice makes things sound more interesting, but this is still boooooooring.  The best sound trick in DARK KNIGHT was making Christian Bale sound like Dizzy Gillespie.

BRIAN: Kristen Stewart's hot even when she turns her head to cough in front of a billion viewers.  Man, I wish I was backstage with a cough drop right now.  But maybe I don't deserve her...

GOLAN: Best cinematography goes to a blue screen!  Well done, Academy.

BRIAN: OMG, they didn't show Farrah Fawcett in the In Memoriam!  And now they're doing a tribute to STEP UP.  Weird.

GOLAN: A bunch of awards have gone by.  We ate pizza.  The pizza was more interesting than the ceremony, so we lost focus.

Here's my catch-up... Keanu Reeves is presenting something about THE HURT LOCKER!  I can't believe I called that.  Jesus.  I was kidding, and the Academy thought they were being clever.  Yikes.

Now Quentin is making weird voices.  Oooooookay.

And now THE WHITE RIBBON is losing Best Foreign Film!  What?  I haven't seen the Argentinian flick, but how did Haneke not take it?  Weird.  Well, I guess if they couldn't give it to Germany, they compromised and gave it to the German hiding place.

BRIAN: History jokes.  Giving our readers what they want.  Jeff Bridges, wrap it up.  Prepare something if you're a fucking lock, loser.

GOLAN: Wow, man.  You're angry tonight.  I mean, I understand.  This Oscar ceremony may be the most boring on record.  I couldn't give less of a shit anymore.  It's running way long, and we still have Best Actress, Best Director and Best Picture to go.  And Oprah is talking and talking and talking.  How come she prepared a long speech and Colin Farrell ad-libbed a joke about getting gonorrhea in Mexico?

BRIAN: Sandra Bullock calls her mom by her first name?  I like the Best Director introduction: Will the first woman director win?  Will the first black person ever win Best Director?  Or will the White Man prevail yet again?

GOLAN: It's like the election all over again!  Yes, that's right.  An election joke!  Topical!  Beyond that, my favorite moment of the Oscars so far was when Barbra Streisand said, "The time has come!" but didn't specify if it was the "time" for a black man or a woman, and Lee Daniels started to lean forward.

Finally, THE HURT LOCKER wins Best Picture.  At least AVATAR didn't win Best Picture.  I'm happy.  So?  Were you as bored as I was?

BRIAN: It's reflected in how uninspired this blog post is.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Welcome to OUTGUESS THE I LIKED THE TRAILER BETTER’S OSCAR PREDICTIONS COMPETITION™!  Instead of "Brian" and "McFilmerstein" each offering up their own predictions, they will settle on one (that’s right, one) choice through furious debate and compromise. Or, more likely, name-calling and threats of bodily harm.

They will stand by this single prediction as a unit, sharing in a victory and taking credit equally.  It’ll be like Jason Reitman sharing the award with Sheldon Turner as if they both deserved it.

Readers are invited to post their predictions in the comments section, and those of you who can beat their choice (and who we can get in touch with afterwards) will win a free FROM PARIS WITH LOVE t-shirt!

This award is functional (it can cover your torso!), and also holds a special place in our hearts.

First of all, it’s an homage to one of our earliest blog posts, and therefore commemorates how far we’ve come since we started (9 posts and 21 followers later… it’s been quite the ride, my friends).

Second of all, they won matching t-shirts one night as a result of a couple of earth-shattering karaoke performances.  They first brought down the house with ALADDIN’s “A Whole New World,” then sang the shit out of AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.”  Who wouldn’t want to proudly wear a shirt that memorializes such an occasion?  They know you, the I Liked The Trailer Better readers, would.

Additionally, they will each sign John Travolta’s name on the unworn t-shirt before giving it to the winner.  The t-shirts remain unworn for fear that they might be caught dead in them.  I repeat: after singing the song from ALADDIN in front of an adult crowd, they still refuse to wear the shirt in keeping with what remains of their dignity.  That’s how unworn it is.

And on that note, good luck!  Post your predictions before Sunday!

GOLAN: Well, boy-o, the Oscars are right around the corner, so we better get with the predictions.  How do you want to start this off?  Right at the top, with Best Picture, or just kind of willy nilly, jumping from random category to random category?

Uh, let’s jump from category to category, similar to how the telecast runs, sandwiching the celebrity categories inside the technical ones.  In fact, let’s start off with the supporting acting categories as the show usually does.  But before we get to that, where the fuck is the opening song-and-dance number?

Enter Jennifer Hudson, singing to the tune of “Since U Been Gone”:

Here’s the thing, we started with ten
We cast our vote and we wait for when
Yeah yeah
There can only be one….

She gets booed off stage while pulling her Oscar out of her dress and defiantly pumping it in the air.  

Okay.  Best Supporting Actor.  I go with Christoph Waltz for INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS.  No argument here, right?

GOLAN: Since I already said so in our Oscar nomination extravaganza, correct.  Waltz all the way.  That being said, where is the typical backlash that comes with this kind of landslide obvious victory?  Shouldn’t people be clamoring for this guy to lose (for no other reason than pure ugly jealousy)?  I am seriously waiting for Sissy Spacek’s Oscar for IN THE BEDROOM to be handed to Halle “make me feel goooooooooood” Berry for MONSTER’S BALL again.  But, for now, no backlash.  So yeah, Waltz 100%.



GOLAN: Well, that was relatively painless.  I have a feeling we’ll agree on a lot of these winners, since it’s not about taste – it’s about predicting the tastes of the Academy.  In short, if we can’t argue with each other, we better start getting catty as hell about the Academy’s taste.  Shouldn’t be hard.

On to the next.  Best Supporting Actress.  Another lock.  Mo'Nique for PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL ‘PUSH’ BY SAPPHIRE BASED ON THE MOVIE ‘PRECIOUS’ BY PUSH BASED ON THE PUSH BY ‘NOVEL’ FOR SAPPHIRE, or whatever.  I mean, even if it wasn’t a lock, without Samantha Morton in the running, what are the other options?  The actress playing an actress in NINE?  That’s a stretch.  The girl supporting Jeff Bridges in the movie about Jeff Bridges?  It was really sweet of her to be there so he had time to do his costume changes.  The chick from TWILIGHT whining at George Clooney?  I mean, that was some quality whining, but come on!  Yes, I’ll admit that I would be fine with Vera Farmiga, but it’s not even a close race and she’ll win one later anyway.  Mo'Nique by a mile.  Thoughts?

Dim the lights.  Cue theme from FORREST GUMP.  Begin IN MEMORIAM 2009 montage – I know it’s a bit early, but go along with me for a sec.  We golf clap to the many who have entertained us – and entertain us still – for they will forever live on the silver screen.  Brittany Murphy… gone too soon.  I think these jokes are too soon.  David Carradine, cut to Tarantino doing the rock n’ roll sign with his hand.  Some writer who wrote some movie.  Farrah Fawcett… Farrah Fawcett died?  Thunderous applause for Michael Jackson (seriously, when did Farrah Fawcett die?).  Michael Jackson’s kids walk sadly across the stage.  Billy Mays the Shamwow guy? Man, they weren’t kidding about wanting to attract a broader viewing audience.  OMG, Jeff Goldblum fell off a cliff while filming a movie!  Wait, someone edited this montage on Twitter Cut Pro – I don’t think that’s right.  And finally, Heath Ledger.

Technically, he died in 2008, but it’s traditional to have the winner of the previous year hand out the award to the opposite sex of the same category, so let’s please welcome to the stage, winner for his performance in THE DARK KNIGHT, Heath Ledger!  Using the same technology that gave a dead Fred Astaire the ability to dance with a vacuum cleaner, Heath Ledger appears on the screen to give the award to….

Mo’Nique.  Yeah, that’s pretty much a lock.  


BRIAN: Moving on to Best Sound Mixing, also known as your cue to take a leak.  The thing about the technical awards is that it’s voted on by members of the Academy that have no understanding of the category itself.  Consequently, voters will essentially vote for their Best Picture, so this category will come down to AVATAR or THE HURT LOCKER.  Since AVATAR was more about the visuals than the sound (or acting or writing), I say it will go to HURT LOCKER.

GOLAN: Ah, that was a good leak.  Full body shiver inducing, in fact.  Good call.

So, yeah – most people have no clue what sound mixing is, but they understand the word ‘sound’ and assume that means loudest movie.  In this category, the loudest movie is easily TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, but I think enough people hated this log of donkey shit enough that it won’t win.

BASTERDS was about dialogue, so it’s out (especially because film people forget that dialogue has to be recorded and mixed).

Then there’s STAR TREK.  This one actually has a shot, because it’s loud and cool and respected and made money and didn’t get the Best Picture nomination a lot of people thought it deserved.

And finally AVATAR.  I hate to say it, but despite the fact that – yes – this movie was all about the visuals, people having one of their senses bombarded tend to forget which one it is.  So as much as I’d like to say that this one is between STAR TREK and HURT LOCKER with HURT LOCKER pulling out a much-deserved win, I actually think this one will be going to AVATAR.

Plus, the Vegas odds are all about this one going to AVATAR.

Our first disagreement!  The tension is so thick, you can cut it with a straight razor.  What now?

BRIAN: I dunno.  I guess I’m giving too much credit to the Academy in thinking they’d put more than two seconds of thought into their vote.  It’s probably easier to just vote for AVATAR in all technical categories.  If I were campaigning for Team Avatar, I’d somehow remind voters that it’s not just Sound Mixing, it’s Sound Mixing in 3D.  I feel like that would make it a lock.  



BRIAN: Let’s play it safe and choose the same for Sound Editing, yeah?  That FROM PARIS WITH LOVE t-shirt is mine!  Suck it, readers!  I hate you all!  Seriously, why do all our readers think I’m a pretentious asshole according to your Twitter feed?  Don’t get it.  

GOLAN: Short and sweet: cool.  AVATAR for Sound Editing works for me, too.  As for you being a pretentious asshole, I have a simple retort.  Here it is: and?



BRIAN: Handing out the award for Best Costume Design, please welcome Taylor Lautner!  To illustrate why NEW MOON wasn’t nominated in this category, he takes off his shirt.  Bowtie remains on his neck.  

Wow, it’s between five movies nobody’s seen.  This is exciting.  So Catherine Leterrier was nominated for her costume design for COCO BEFORE CHANEL.  I mean, is Catherine Leterrier the pseudonym for Coco Chanel?  What kind of research were they expecting the designer to do other than comb through Chanel’s own collection?  

Let’s go with THE YOUNG VICTORIA since those clothes looked the most uncomfortable.  I’m telling you, this is exactly how the Academy thinks.  

GOLAN: The sad part is that you are 100% right.  That is exactly how the Academy thinks.  And since most of the voters are actors, they will pick the costume that will most readily win them an Oscar if they were wearing it themselves.  BRIGHT STAR has a lot of top hats and waist coats, but is pretty drab overall.  COCO BEFORE CHANEL is lovely, but – as you already pointed out – shouldn’t really count because they just kind of pilfered Chanel’s early designs to make it happen.  It’s like when SHINE got nominated for Best Score, when really the only piece of music in it that is moving belongs to Rachmaninoff.  NINE made slut chic look… um… slutty?  PARNASSUS got nominated because it was weird, I guess.  So yeah, THE YOUNG VICTORIA is, I think, a lock.  Way to go, Sandy Powell.



GOLAN: While we’re in the awards that we pretend to respect while we’re waiting for more stars to come out, let’s move right along to Best Art Direction.  Instead of having a human come out to present this award, the Academy does that thing they do sometimes when they have animated characters present awards.  The people at home delight!  The people in the audience take the opportunity to get sauced.

This time, the two main characters from AVATAR, Neytiri and Jake Sully, speaking entirely in Na’avi (with subtitles, of course) present the nominees.  This is the Academy’s way of saying “Let’s not waste any time – the winner is so obvious we may as well have fun by having characters from the winner talk to you right now!”

They sure as hell are not going to give it to NINE.  SHERLOCK HOLMES was all dark and moody and bland (and yes, I know all of you will tell me that they used London to better effect than anyone ever in the history of the world, but it was still fucking bland).  VICTORIA was really more about costumes than anything.  And PARNASSUS is – again – weird.

Hell, the Vegas odds for this category now read like this (and no, I am not kidding):

Any Other Movie: 14/5

Hard to dispute the odds when they don’t even bother typing out the other films’ names.

Any arguments with that?

BRIAN: Arguments?  I mean, the art direction of all of the other nominees is in 2-D.  2-D is for losers.



BRIAN: To perform the first of our nominated songs, please welcome to the stage Lady Gaga with her rendition of “Loin de Paname” from PARIS 36!

Lady Gaga performs “Poker Face.”  Multiple cuts to Goldie Hawn dancing in her seat.  

Best Documentary and Documentary Short.  I haven’t seen any of the nominees and I’m too lazy to look up the Vegas odds, so I’ll base my decision on the political climate.  Let’s go with THE COVE because harm to whales make killers of them all, and THE LAST TRUCK: CLOSING OF A GM PLANT because GM makes cars and Toyota does too.  Most voters uttered the word “topical” as they cast their ballot.  I feel like I missed the opportunity to win an Oscar this year and should have made LUGE: THE HUMAN DEATH SPORT or MY BIG FAT GREEK DEBT CRISIS.


GOLAN: Before I begin, I’d like to just distance myself from that luge joke.  Unlike NBC!  *SLAM!*

Wow, you have really burrowed into the mind of the voter (who also, incidentally, have not seen any of the documentary nominees)!  There are a few reasons why I agree with you that THE COVE is taking it – one, dolphins are delicious (that’s what it’s about, right?) and two, Fisher Stevens produced it and he used to hump Julia Roberts.  So he’s one of us, guys!



GOLAN: But I will have to disagree on the Short Subject.  While it is totally topical that GM closed plants (and that Toyota makes cars that don’t stop), UP IN THE AIR is about layoffs, so we addressed it already!  Plus, there’s something else that is nominated that is suddenly topical, too.  And, I think more topical… Anyone?  Anyone?

That’s right!  Earthquakes for 500, Alex!  CHINA’S UNNATURAL DISASTER is about an earthquake that killed a bunch of people and generally made stuff bad and sad.  Sound like any country we know?  The tears of the Sichuan Province are flowing right into the Kodak Theater, my friends! Now that, my friend… is topical.

Huh.  I didn’t realize what that film was about.  Excellent point, sir.  Text 90889 to donate your vote to CHINA’S UNNATURAL DISASTER.  



Oh, shit.  We’re losing viewers.  Quick!  Please welcome to the stage the president of the Motion Picture Academy, Tom Sherak!  

Tom Sherak: Ladies and Gentlemen, the movies are what we watch…

*changes channel*

Oh, look.  The Puppy Oscars are on Animal Planet.  How cute.

*changes back*

Tom Sherak: …so please everybody, stop downloading music!

Alright, Best Foreign Film.  The only film to be released domestically before the nominations was THE WHITE RIBBON.  Plus, it was nominated in one of the major technical categories, which means enough people saw it.  Lastly, it has a well-regarded director in Michael Haneke.  That’s my choice.  It’s quite the upset otherwise.  

GOLAN: Le sigh.  That’s French for ‘sigh’.  Remember the French?  They were the people that Germany enslaved and pillaged during World War II!  Interesting that you want to vote for the Germans.  Interesting indeed.  That being said, as a Jew, I know better than to bet against the Germans when they’re going up against France, Israel, Peru and their chosen vacation spot, Argentina (another Mojito, Mr. Hitler?), so I agree – WHITE RIBBON it is.



GOLAN: Speaking of pillaging, there is one company that basically is guaranteed an Oscar every time they make a movie (yes, I know SHREK beat out MONSTERS, INC., and HAPPY FEET beat out CARS, but you know what I mean).

Obviously, I’m talking about Pixar.  And this year, they have UP.  It’s the only film in this category to also have a nomination in the Best Picture category.  That’s Best regular Picture.  So it must be a lock, right?


Time Magazine named THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG the best movie of the year.  AO Scott of the New York Times selected it as his pick to win this category.  Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave it an ‘A’.  Allison Samuels of Newsweek said, “For what seems like forever, I have waited for THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG.”  And, most telling, a guy with the username ‘jbboy’ posted in the LA Times public forum that he, “thinks it has a chance in the Best Animated Film category.”

So, what does all that point to?  Will this be the year that Disney bests it’s Pixar underlings?  Will this be the year that traditional hand-painted animation prevails?  Will this be the year of the massive upset?

No.  Of course not.  Don’t be retarded.

UP for the win.

Of course PRINCESS AND THE FROG doesn’t stand a chance.  2-D is for losers, remember?  Losers like you, jbboy.



So UP just won, beating out Wes Anderson and his film FANTASTIC MR. FOX.  He’ll definitely be the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award in about 40 years after never winning an Oscar during the prime of his career.  

The nominees for Future Lifetime Achievement Award as a Better Late Than Never Consolation Prize are: Wes Anderson, Jim Jarmusch, Alfonso Cuaron, Spike Jonze, and PT Anderson.

And the winner is actor-turned-director Zach Braff.  

Let’s get a couple more meaningless categories out of the way.  

For Best Live Action Short, eenie meenie miney moe, catch a tiger by the toe, if he hollers, let him go, eenie meenie miney moe – it’s going to INSTEAD OF ABRACADABRA.  

Best Animated Short.  I say it goes to A MATTER OF LOAF AND DEATH, a return to short form in the beloved Wallace and Gromit series.  It already won Best Picture at the Puppy Oscars.  I say that’s a harbinger.  

GOLAN: Live Action Short.  God, who cares?  Let’s put it this way – THE DOOR is getting all the play, but I think your system is far too scientific to be wrong.  Hell with it.  ABRACADABRA it is.



GOLAN: Animated Short.  From everything I’ve read, THE LADY AND THE REAPER sounds awesome.  Since no one is ever going to see these things, I’ll just tell you that it’s about death trying to kill a lady.  When a doctor revives her, she realizes that all the chasing death has done has caused her to fall in love with him.  So she jumps into a bathtub with a toaster so they can be together.  Awesome, right?  Oh, sorry – spoiler alert.  Meant to say that earlier.  Likewise LOGORAMA sounds neat-o.  Any short in which Ronald McDonald blows the head off of Mr. Peanut with a machine gun sounds tight.  That’s what the kids call it now, right?  Tight?

But who are we kidding?  If the Puppy Bowl says so, it may as well be Moses bringing the tablets down the mountain… because it’s gospel.



GOLAN: Let’s move on to what may be the toughest race of the night.  Are you sitting down?  Fasten your seat belts.  Prepare for a water landing.  Because we’re delving into a category where there are no certainties.  Where truth is just an illusion.  Where you think you know what’s coming around the corner, but all that comes is more mystery, wrapped in riddles, wrapped in enigmas.

Oh wait, my bad – this one’s a gimme.

AVATAR wins Best Visual Effects.

Hang on, let me check the Vegas odds…  



Here to perform “The Weary Kind” from CRAZY HEART is singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham.

“Anybody who ever built an empire/Or changed the world/Sat where you are now…”

HAHAHA.  Get it?  It’s ‘cause George Clooney’s character is named Ryan Bingham and so is the name of the guy who wrote that song!  It’s hilarious when I explain it!  LOL.  Fuck you.

Best Original Screenplay.  It’s between BASTERDS and HURT LOCKER.  Even though I think a script like BASTERDS is what the Academy tends to favor (it’s very, very written and clever), a couple things make me think it’ll go to HURT LOCKER.  One, I think Tarantino’s previous work will work against him.  He’s recycling a whole lot here, and he did it better in his earlier films.  And two, I think of MILK winning last year, whose script was smart, well-researched, and more respectable than dazzling.  I think HURT LOCKER will get a similar conscience vote, even if the writing is nothing without the directing.

GOLAN: I am so torn.  On one hand, I feel like you’re right – THE HURT LOCKER is a no-brainer.  That being said, this is usually the consolation prize award.  GOSFORD PARK, USUAL SUSPECTS, PULP FICTION, MILK, JUNO, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND… and on and on.

In other words, this is the slot where films that are cool, hip, subversive, different, quirky, violent, profane or up against a Ron Howard flick go to die.

All that being said, I don’t think that THE HURT LOCKER is going to get shut out this year.  And so it doesn’t need to go here to die.  Plus, without the directing, the script doesn’t stand on its own.  And that’s why I’m leaning towards INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS.  Like you said, it’s just so damn written!  And, as we pointed out actors make up the majority of the voting population, and they all want to speak Tarantino-ese.  And INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS totally won the top award at the SAG awards for exactly that reason.  For all of the reasons I laid out here, I’m saying BASTERDS takes it.

Weird, because I don’t disagree with you.  I just have no faith in the voting population.


That’s right. I forgot that it won the top SAG award and the acceptance speech was given by not only the worst actor in the movie, but a non-actor: Eli Roth. I’m not so sure BASTERDS really has the goodwill of the acting community after that.  

That was a pretty weak argument, but I still feel like HURT LOCKER is gonna win here because the film is not a lock for Best Picture, nor Best Director. A favorite, but not a lock. I still lean towards HURT.

GOLAN: Like I said, I don’t disagree with you.  And since I don’t, and since Eli Roth was so so so bad in it that it almost ruined the movie for me in parts, I’ll go with you on this one.  I’m not even checking the Vegas odds.  That’s the faith I have in my little man.  Yes… you… are my little man.



GOLAN: Let’s move on to that other screenplay category.  The one where a great novelist is up against a film professor, a special effects guy, some TV writers and the son of a  famous director (along with his barnacle).

That’s right!  It’s time for Best Adapted Screenplay!

Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart walk out on stage and ad lib the funniest lines of the night in order to prove that scripts are utterly dispensable.  They completely ignore the teleprompter and forget to read the list of nominees.  So, in confused silence, clips of the nominated films play in the background.

And the winner is… Jason Reitman for UP IN THE AIR!  He comes out on stage.  Hanging onto his back, using no energy to make it to the stage… is Sheldon Turner.

A little back story.  Years ago, Turner adapted UP IN THE AIR.  Nobody liked it.  It went on a shelf.  Years later, Reitman wanted to make UP IN THE AIR.  But now there was this other screenplay already written.  Reitman read it and was like “eh,” and wrote his own.  Arbitration occurred, and – as usual in situations where screenplays are adapted from other work – the WGA was like, “The characters are similar, the situations are similar, the set-pieces are similar, the sequence of events is similar…”  Well, no shit, WGA, it’s adapted from a book!  How different did you expect it to be?  I mean, the writing is nowhere near the same, the depth of the characters is nowhere near the same, the message and emotion and everything is nowhere near the same… but the fact remains that the WGA awarded co-writing credit to both guys.

Many years ago, there was a similar story on the movie MIRACLE.  Eric Guggenheim wrote a draft.  The producers hated it.  They fired him and brought in Mike Rich, he of THE ROOKIE fame.  He wrote the draft that you see on-screen.  Literally, all of it.  Every line of dialogue, every situation, every character arc.  But the WGA said that they couldn’t award Rich any credit because the exact same events occurred in the exact same order they did in Guggenheim’s draft.  The characters were the same people.  The outcome of the movie the same.  It even shared similar lines, like, “Do you believe in miracles?!”  Rich and the producers argued that of course all those things were the same – it was based on a true story.  No dice.  If you watch that movie now, the script is credited to Eric Guggenheim.  Mike Rich’s name is nowhere in sight.

In short, this means that even though Reitman wrote it on his own not using Turner’s draft at all, tough shit.  This is a shared award.

It also means that the million dollar writer of exactly one movie (not counting ‘story by’ credits or projects that haven’t been released yet) is about to win an Oscar for a movie he didn’t write.

And this in the same ceremony where if THE HURT LOCKER wins, Nicolas Chartier won’t be able to accept his award.  God bless America.

Wow!  That was a long story, Grandpa!  Your hands feel like leather!  

Jesus, whenever anyone begins a story with “Many years ago,” I start salivating for a Werther’s Original.  

Those are kind of amazing WGA arbitration stories though.  It’s almost as if the committee is a bunch of barren would-be mothers teaching their children how to share.  It’s okay if you can’t have children, WGA arbitration committee… You can just tie balloons to your house and adopt a chubby Asian boy scout and his talking dog.  

Definitely agree with you about the winner.  Here’s where the consolation prize logic works since UP IN THE AIR is mostly out of the running for Best Picture.  

Wow.  I’m stunned we went through that last category without making a single “Based on the novel Push by Sapphire” joke.  



Best Makeup.

Makeup will go to STAR TREK, I guess.  The other two are biopics and nobody remembers what the real life people looked like to give a shit.  

GOLAN: How can I argue with that kind of logic?  STAR TREK it is!  Especially because they made William Shatner look so young.  Amazing.



GOLAN: On to a serious category, cinematography.  Apparently this is another category where AVATAR and THE HURT LOCKER are neck-and-neck.  And, of course, the serious upset at the Cinematography Awards (voted on by actual cinematographers!), where THE WHITE RIBBON upset the apple cart and took home the prize.

Once again, we have to take into consideration the idiocy of the actors in Hollywood, and how little they actually understand about the process.  I am taking this out on the actors because they are such a big part of the voting population that if they all vote one way, it can change the sands of time.

In this case, we have a group of people who think that what they see on-screen counts as cinematography, which would make them lean towards AVATAR, even though most of the movie took place on worlds and in environments that were totally manufactured in post-production.  In other words, if AVATAR wins, it is winning for being the best cinematography of a green screen.  Again, knowing that the collective IQ of most of the actors in Hollywood equals the number of calories in a Tic Tac (“less than 2 calories per mint!”), this may still prevail.

So let’s discuss THE WHITE RIBBON.  This is in black and white.  And in German.  And not directed by Steven Spielberg.  Fail.

Then there’s HURT LOCKER, which had some of the best cinematography of the year – gritty, realistic, in-your-face.  It’s obvious that this guy works with Paul Greengrass a lot.  His intimate camerawork blends Super 16mm and digital video together seamlessly, and uses some of the best high speed work I’ve seen in a long time.  While I often ignore my gut when it comes to matters of the Academy, I have to ignore the Vegas odds (which have AVATAR a smidge ahead of THE HURT LOCKER) and stay true to myself – I’m saying THE HURT LOCKER takes it by a nose.

I definitely see your point, but THE HURT LOCKER isn’t pretty.  When was the last time the award went to something purely gritty – or for its blending of different formats for Christ’s sake?  The only winner I can think of is SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, but that was novel in its technique and had plenty of stretches of beautiful landscape.  HURT’s look by design is unglamorized and unpretty.  By contrast, WHITE RIBBON is gorgeous to look at.  I can see clueless voters using the ASC Awards as a cheat-sheet and just going with the winner.

GOLAN: This is our longest argument yet!  The readers must be ecstatic!  Either that, or they’re sad that mommy and daddy are fighting.  I’m mommy.

I love the purity of your logic, duder, but the fact remains that best does not always win.  Remember the cinematography in MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA beating out BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN or ROAD TO PERDITION beating out THE PIANIST?  All solidly shot films, but the best cinematography did not win out either time.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of what people feel more comfy with or what more people saw.  And the bottom line is that of the 6,000 voting actors in the Academy, I would venture a guess that 500 saw THE WHITE RIBBON.

In my personal opinion, there’s no way I can ever see a scenario in which THE WHITE RIBBON wins it.  Saying it that boldly, I may end up with egg on my face Sunday night, but I am quite sure that I’m right.

So without that one in the running, I’m holding out hope that they realize that AVATAR is manufactured.

I still say THE HURT LOCKER.

So I think WHITE RIBBON wins it, but can certainly see HURT LOCKER taking the prize.  You think HURT LOCKER wins it with WHITE RIBBON not having a chance in hell.  Okay, then: HURT LOCKER it is, as a compromise.  Goddamnit, all daddy gets tonight is a handjob.  Marriage sucks!



The announcer calls my name and announces that I will now sing the the last nominated song of the night!

And then I perform “A Whole New World.”

Bruce Vilanch, Neil Patrick Harris, Rupert Everett, the cast of Wicked, and my mom appear stage right and call me a homo.  I slink offstage.  I find an empty room of the Kodak Theatre and look out the window.  “Riff raff…street rat…”

Best Original Song is easy.  The CRAZY HEART song wins it.

Best Original Score also easy.  Did the Academy just get lazy with their nominations here?  I remember the scores to AVATAR and SHERLOCK HOLMES being loud and obnoxious – I just think they got recognized because James Horner and Hans Zimmer are perennials.  HURT LOCKER had music?  Really?  When the film wins all those awards, I’m expecting the orchestra to play either “Love Hurts” or NIN’s “The Perfect Drug.”  I always love the music in Wes Anderson’s stuff, but UP is the people’s choice, and the people are right on this one.  

GOLAN: I come up behind you in that empty room at the Kodak Theater and smile coyly, singing, “…I don’t… buy that…”  What ensues is the best Oscar number since Rob Lowe molested Snow White.

The CRAZY HEART song?  You’re not even going to give it the recognition of calling it “The Weary Kind”?  Rude.  On the other hand, who knows the name of this song as anything but the CRAZY HEART song?  Touché, sir.  Well played.

Well, of course the CRAZY HEART song wins!  What are the other options?  Something in some weird language, something from a bomb of a movie based on a bomb of a musical?  Or (speaking of perennials) perennial loser Randy Newman?



GOLAN: Thank you thank you thank you for pointing out that the scores of SHERLOCK HOLMES and AVATAR were nothing short of annoying.  And, if I’m being kind, at the very least unnecessary.  The funny thing is that the one movie you didn’t mention was the one that came closest to overtaking UP in this category.  FANTASTIC MR. FOX (which, yes, I finally saw, and loved) had a – wait for it – fantastic score.

But yeah, UP not only had the sequence at the beginning of the movie that was all music that made everyone cry, but it also has the guy from “Lost” doing its music.  How do you go wrong?



GOLAN: We’re getting down to the final stretch here, kids.  It’s all serious from here.  One of my favorite categories is editing.  I love this category because a bad movie can be made good in the post process, and a good movie can be made very very bad.  This is where movies are made, ladies and gentlemen.  If anyone tells you different, they are directors and have some kind of God complex.  Without editors, directors would just be egomaniacs that like to tell actors what to do.  Want proof?  Look no further than Mr. Michael Bay, the #1 grossing person in the industry last year.  He is known for shooting miles and miles of footage from way too many cameras from way too many angles and then handing it all to his editor and saying, “Make this into something coherent.  Oh, and no cut longer than an eighth of a second.”  All that fancy footwork that is now known as the ‘Michael Bay Filmmaking Technique’?  All done in the editing room.  And since he is not his own editor, he can suck it.

Anyway, this category has some great work in it this year.

I feel like we have to eliminate PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE HIT MUSICAL WRITTEN BY STEPHEN SONDHEIM because it simply drags some stuff on too long.  When it works, it’s great.  When it doesn’t, it gets kinda boring.

Likewise INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, which is far too long a film to warrant any kind of editing kudos.  I want to eliminate AVATAR for the same reason, but somehow more of that visual feast seemed okay.

DISTRICT 9 was really clever in its editing techniques, cutting around mediocre and cheaply made effects.  But that’s what it was.  Parlor tricks to avoid revealing their low budget.  Not the best editing of the year.

So where does that leave us?  Oh yes, right back where we have been about a dozen times already.  AVATAR vs. THE HURT LOCKER.

I think the only option here is to give it to THE HURT LOCKER.  Sure, it was over two hours long, but not by much and none of the film felt draggy.  I’d even go so far as to call it tightly edited.  Bottom line, though, as to why HURT LOCKER is my choice is that this movie was all about tension.  It was all about making my palms sweat.  And that, my friends, is part directing… but mostly editing.  This movie may have been the tensest I’ve ever been in a theater.  I gripped that armrest time and again, watching as the cuts on the screen were so fine, they nearly drew blood.

Also, the editor’s union (ACE) has only missed this winner one time in ten years, and their award went to HURT LOCKER.  So there you go.

If you opened a movie theatre, the concession stand would run out of Werther’s Originals.  

HURT LOCKER all the way.  Deservedly so, even if they forgot to edit Kate from “LOST” out of the movie.  



Ah, the Best Actor and Actress categories.  Your favorite people.  

We should really change the way they show 8 second clips of the performances out of context. Half the time the actor looks ridiculous.  Let’s be more inventive here:

For the Jeff Bridges clip, they should do a Lifetime Achievement Award montage in 8 seconds.  

For Clooney, show him working the phone banks at an earthquake relief center.  At the last second, he looks up at the camera and flashes that smile.  

For Meryl Streep, we’ll do a split-screen with Julia Child on one side and Streep’s impersonation of her on the other.  

For Sandra Bullock, we do a split-screen of THE BLIND SIDE mom on the left side and Erin Brockovich on the right.

You get the idea…

Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock will win their long-awaited Oscars.  

GOLAN: My favorite part about this category is how we’re totally glossing over it.  Lumping Actor and Actress together is just about the best thing you’ve ever done.

Hitchock once said, “Actors are cattle.”  He then apologized and said he misspoke.  This is what he corrected himself with: “I didn’t mean that actors are cattle.  That’s ridiculous.  What I meant is that actors should be treated like cattle.”  Hell yeah, Hitch!

So, with that being said, let’s move on to honoring the most overpaid cattle in the world.

Bridges takes this one to the bank.  I love how he somehow manages to make it sound like he is still under-rated after all these years.  And I never doubt it for a moment.  After being in huge blockbusters.  After being in iconic roles that will be remembered forever.  And I bet even after he wins this Oscar.  I kind of want to put money down that his speech will, at some point, include the phrase, “By giving me this award, you guys are making it hard to be under-rated!”



GOLAN: And then there’s Julia Roberts.  Not necessarily the best performance of the year, but a fine southern accent and a solid movie that made tons of money.  This is our way of telling Julia that we know she’s not our best actress, but she is one of our most enduring ones, and we respect the fact that she keeps making us money and somehow manages to avoid the sands of time.

Oh shit, did I say Julia?  I meant Sandra.  Whatever.  Same thing.



GOLAN: Cameron. Tarantino.  Daniels.  Bigelow.  Reitman.  A formidable group.  Well, Cameron, Tarantino, Bigelow and Reitman are, anyway.

Yes, I did just dismiss Daniels from the running.  It was a nice run, though, and I’m sure your next film will also be equally over-praised.

Okay, so where were we?  Ah yes.  Cameron, Tarantino and Bigelow.  Wait wait wait… isn’t someone missing?  Ah yes, Reitman.  Enjoy your writing Oscar, because in this category, it was a pleasure to be nominated.  Love your movie, but when it comes to this year’s directing, you are just not in the same league.  I know I praise you often as a director, and I still stand by it.  But in terms of skill and years of experience, you’re just not there yet.  I honestly believe you’ll surpass most of the other names in this category someday (well, maybe not Tarantino and Cameron), but not today.

So we’re down to the final three.  Quentin, let’s you and I have a little chat.  Remember how you got that amazing performance out of Christoph that won him the Oscar?  Revel in that, because it’s all your film is getting tonight.

Which brings us back home to Cameron and Bigelow.  So let’s review their careers for a moment to see what makes this an interesting fight.

Let’s put aside for the moment that they were married.  Likewise, let’s leave at the door that Cameron really helped Bigelow start her career as a director, and mentored her when she first called ‘action’.  Let’s focus instead on other things.

1) Cameron already has one of these statues
2) Bigelow would be the first woman to ever win an Oscar for directing
3) Bigelow won the DGA award – also a first
4) Bigelow’s film is directed better (you’d think this would be enough)
5) Bigelow’s film actually has something to say without being preachy
6) Bigelow got better performances out of her actors
7) Actors are afraid that if Cameron keeps getting better at making movies like AVATAR, they may someday find themselves out of a job as characters will someday be computer generated

1) Cameron has made the two highest grossing movies of all time
2) Cameron is nominated for directing the biggest movie in history
3) Cameron made special effects and 3-D come alive in ways no one has before
4) Cameron’s film is “neat”
5) Cameron got a great performance out of an animated character
6) It made me happy that Cameron and Sigourney Weaver were working together again
7) Actors want to work with Cameron because a starring role in a film of his means they can buy that island they’ve always wanted

So, there you have it.  Those are the factors.  And yes, these are the official factors.  If you don’t believe me, look on the Oscar website.  If you can’t find it, it’s because you’re bad at the internet.

After all that deliberation, the result is the same as it was right after I walked out of the theater after seeing THE HURT LOCKER.

Cameron gave an interview a few weeks ago in which he was asked if he thought Bigelow should win Best Director.  Here’s what he said, and I quote, “That would be a fantasy. That would be my fantasy outcome, absolutely.”  When even your toughest competition is voting for you, that says something.

Team Bigelow all the way.

Wow, sounds like Cameron really respects women!  (Seriously?  You’re sparing our readers what you told me about him and his policy about... uh… you know… uttbay exsay?  Good call, actually.  Good call.)

Cameron’s achievements are monumental, but I get the feeling like he couldn’t be any more successful than he already is, why give him another Oscar…

I think Academy members like to pat themselves on the back when they vote for something as historic as the first female director winning this award, so that’s a big factor here.  

Team History.



Okay, Best Picture.  If it isn’t already clear, it’s another two-man race between AVATAR and HURT LOCKER.  

As you mentioned above, actors make up the majority of the voting members, and they value films more for their story and character than any achievements in technical wizardry.  Also, I agree – actors can be vain, and they’re probably not all that thrilled about the future of motion-capture swallowing up their beautiful faces, no matter how “hot” Zoe Saldana was as that blue horse monkey (I don’t get the “hot” thing at all.  I mean, if Jake Sully mounted Neytiri from behind, it would’ve looked like the nature channel.  Not that I wasn’t wanting it to happen...).  

Best Picture usually goes to the important film over the better film.  And while both of these films address Iraq, only one of them really registers as a war movie.  THE HURT LOCKER will win over AVATAR, just like GHANDI over E.T.  

GOLAN: And here to present the award for Best Picture, Johnny Utah!

Keanu Reeves ambles out on stage.  Despite being in THE MATRIX movies and having 90% of the backend profit participation, he looks like he is Matt Dillon’s stand-in from the movie SINGLES.

“Uh, hey!” he says, sounding more confused than anything.  “A couple of years ago, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola presented the Best Director award.  The suspense was thick, because who would have thunk that the Academy would do something as obvious as getting Scorsese’s three best friends to present him with his Oscar?”

He pauses for a long time.  Remembers where he is.

“Did the chick from SPEED just take home an Academy Award?”  He shakes it off.  “Anyway, in the spirit of that not-at-all obvious handoff, the Academy asked me to be here tonight to present Best Picture.”

He points up to the ceiling, a tear trying like hell to form in the corner of his eye.

“This one’s for you, Bodhi!  Ladies and gentlemen, the Oscar for Best Picture goes to…”

He opens the envelope.


James Cameron, despite his earlier interview, grabs the chair he’s sitting in, rips it from its bolts, and throws it across the room, hitting Linda Hamilton.  “Son of a bitch!  I said give her Director and give me Picture!  Fuck this town.”

Credits roll.  Fade to black.  Another night of bliss in the hills of Hollywood.

Let’s go get shitfaced at the Vanity Fair party.




Reminder to all readers: This was not just us rambling.  This is a competition.  Remember – t-shirts are at stake.  And we just threw in a keychain.  A t-shirt and a keychain.

And hurry – since the awards are Sunday.  We need to receive your submissions by noon on Sunday at the latest.

If you have any problems posting your predictions in our comments section, send us an email to

The first two winners to beat our score will each get a t-shirt and a keychain from the movie FROM PARIS WITH LOVE.  You know you don’t want to pass that up.

Have fun everyone, and happy hunting!