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A belated column on the 1999-2000 Oscars (G)


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The Oscars are here! The Oscars are here!

The single greatest night of year is coming, and that means it's time for me to tell you who will win! I'm good, you know it. Last year, I told you James Coburn would win, and you all laughed, and he won. WHY DO YOU DOUBT ME?

Many of you cling to the belief that the Oscar goes to the most deserving nominee. Get over yourself. Oscars have nothing to do with talent and everything to do with marketing. With that in mind, here is the list of who will win.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR OK, everyone loved the little kid in Sixth Sense. But the last time the Academy gave an award to a damn kid (Anna Paquin from The Piano) she vanished off the face of the Earth to concentrate on a spelling bee. Face it, they ain't gonna give an award to anyone who still worships the Power Rangers. How about Michael Clarke Duncan from The Green Mile? Too tall. Jude Law? Forget it, his name's Jude.

There are really only two possible winners, Michael Caine and Tom Cruise. Caine's won this award before (Hannah and Her Sisters) so the Academy is gonna take this opportunity to reward pop icon Tom Cruise. They love awarding pop icons, keeps the kids interested. Plus, the Academy gives one Supporting Oscar a year to a non-dramatic role, and while Tom gets very dramatic, he also spend a great deal of the movie shouting "Respect the Cock!" So I think that qualifies.

WINNER: TOM CRUISE - Magnolia

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Quick! What do Toni Collette, Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton and Chloe Sevigny have in common? Right! You've never heard of any of them! I hear they do good work. I even saw some of their movies. But ask me to pick them out on the street and I'm more likely to identify the Green Party Presidential Nominee than these four Oscar-Nominated women. The award goes to Angelina Jolie by default. Plus, she's in a movie that has punctuation in the title, and the Academy digs that kind of thing.

WINNER: ANGELINA JOLIE - Girl, Interrupted.

BEST ACTOR Sean Penn is one of the greatest actors of our generation. Some day he's going to win an Academy Award. Not today. To be honest, the award could easily go to any of the other four nominees. They're all great actors in great roles. So it's gonna come down to who plays the more palatable character.

Denzel Washington's movie has gotten lots of criticism for being untrue to the true story it's supposedly telling. The Academy hates a liar, so he's out. Kevin Spacey plays a middle-aged man who seduces a teenaged cheerleader, and while much of the Academy secretly wishes to live out this fantasy, they're not gonna admit it in public by giving him an award.

That leaves Richard Farnsworth and Russell Crowe. Richard is a Hollywood legend who gives the best performance of his career in a movie no one saw. Uh-oh, sounds suspiciously like last year's surprise winner James Coburn. In fact, it's too similar, and they hate to be predictable. Plus how can you give an award to a guy who drives a tractor for a few hundred miles?

That leaves Russell Crowe, who plays a guy who tries to blow the whistle on the tobacco industry. That's about as PC as you can get.

WINNER: RUSSELL CROWE - The Insider

BEST ACTRESS Meryl Streep? Please, no one wins awards for roles that were originally going to be played by Madonna. Julianne Moore? She'll win some day, but she needs to put more distance between herself and the movie where she played a porn queen. Janet McTeer? Who? This has been Annette Bening's award for the last few months.

But she got pushed out at the last instant because of timing. If American Beauty gets released in December, she wins hands down, but it got released in August, and the effect has worn off. Meanwhile, little Hilary Swank has come on the scene with a vengeance. Plus, it's never a bad thing to play someone who dies. And by giving her the award, the Academy is saying "We support the right for women to dress up like men!" and that's a subject that is very near and dear to Hollywood's heart. But wait, you say, didn't Hilary Swank star in Karate Kid 4? Yes she did. And if she doesn't win, she's gonna kick some serious ass.

WINNER: HILARY SWANK - Boys Don't Cry

BEST DIRECTOR See Best Picture. (Come on, these two almost always go together. Just because there was some bizarre mix-up last year that separated them doesn't change anything.)

BEST PICTURE Five movies. None of which would have a chance in hell at beating most of the past winners. What, you think one of these things could beat Shindler's List? Braveheart? Hell, Godfather III would win in this crowd.

Why is that? Wasn't 1999 a banner year for movies? Yes. It was a great year for movies. Some of the most exciting and interesting films were released in 1999. But they weren't nominated for Academy Awards. The Academy looks for a certain type of movie, and they didn't get it this year. So let's use the process of elimination to find out who gets the golden statue.

The Cider House Rules has no right to even be nominated. It is the most blatant example of Oscar lobbying since ... well.. since Shakespeare in Love.

And Miramax said as much when one of the heads was quoted as saying he wanted to apologize to the cast of The Talented Mr. Ripley for being sick and not lobbying enough to get it nominated. He went on to say that his partner did his job, by getting Cider House Rules nominated, but he himself had dropped the ball. Well the Academy, having just been told that they were suckers, are NOT going to be sucked anymore.

The Sixth Sense was a great movie with a great ending. But it starred Bruce Willis. 'Nuff said.

The Green Mile had the pedigree. Starring Academy Award-winner Tom Hanks. Directed by the Academy Award nominated director of The Shawshank Redemption. Problem was, it wasn't as good as Shawshank, and Tom wasn't as good as he'd been in Philadelphia or Gump. And that just doesn't cut it.

The Insider is an important movie. It's a good movie. It's about Tobacco and 60 Minutes. You just can't get that excited about that subject matter, can you? What's the message of the movie? Smoking is bad! Duh.

And that leaves American Beauty. A movie that says that everyone in America is screwed up. Finally a movie we can all relate to! Personally, I relate to the freaky voyeur kid with the camera, but you may relate to the hard-working mother with the mid-life crisis, or the screwed up middle-aged man who hits on the teenager, or even the trendy, popular girl who is all bark and no bite. Whatever your neurosis, this movie's got a character for you! And when push comes to shove, isn't that what we all want? A movie we can identify with?

WINNER: American Beauty

BEST ORIGINAL SONG I only include this award to point out who WON'T win, South Park. And they should. They really, really deserve to win. The song Blame Canada is far and away better than any other nominee. It has more to do with the movie and any other nominee. The South Park soundtrack was one of the most brilliant movie soundtracks of our generation. But it won't win, because they say 'fart' 'b*tch' and 'f**k' in the song. And the Academy doesn't like that. Still, I can't wait to see how they stage it for the telecast.

Who will win? Who cares. But my money is on Phil Collins for the song from Tarzan. Hey, better him than Randy Newman.

WINNER: "You'll Be in My Heart" by Phil Collins - Tarzan

There ya go. These are the people who will win. You are free to disagree with my predictions, of course, but you would be wrong.




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