Is this one of my nightmares? No, silly, it's what this year's Oscars will probably look like!
Ted Haggard and Diana Ross tried to stop us. But we will not be silenced, especially after an inspiring letter sent to us from eternal Oscar also-ran Banlop Lomnoi, whose overlooked performance in Tropical Malady still stands as one of the Academy’s all-time fumbles, despite a pricey ad campaign from Strand. Lomnoi, for whom we tirelessly said “For Your Consideration!” wrote: “I made mix tape for you. You have my heart.” The mix tape consisted of hiccups, beeps, and catchy Thai pop songs. We’ll never forget.
So, we couldn’t resist, and the best minds in the biz return for the 2009 round of super-cool (or is it hot?) Oscar predix.
Best Picture: While the consensus would have it that the re-release of Black Orpheus, oops, er, I meant Slumdog Millionaire, would seem to have captured the imagination of the world and the Academy, I am going to go way out on a limb and beg to differ. The Oscars just haven’t in the past proven themselves fond of faux Bollywood dance numbers and the scooping out of children’s eyeballs, so I think any of the other four nominees has a real shot at the gold guy. With the double bonus of being both the only documentary and comedy nominated (always two big pluses for a best-pic candidate), Allah Made Me Funny could be laughing its way to the podium, but steep competition from Academy favorite Ken Jacobs’ Razzle Dazzle, with its Oscar-friendly reappropriation of silent film footage, could make its chances less likely than a Ramadan BBQ. The other two nominees—the gentle, erotic, good-natured gay romance Shelter and the thought-provoking Canadian drama The Tracey Fragments—would seem to be also-rans, but let’s not count out two Oscar standbys: gentle, erotic good-natured gay romances and Ellen Page.
Who will win: Allah Made Me Funny. Who should win: We Are Wizards.
Best Actor: Despite my attempts to get Banlop Lomnoi his write-in (and damn all the naysayers: write-ins do work! Just look at Linda Hunt), his chances look slim. So with a sigh, I’ll go ahead with common wisdom and say that John Leguizamo will finally pick up his long overdue Oscar this year for his comeback performance in Where God Left His Shoes, which will basically double as a lifetime-achievement award. His To Wong Foo snub still smarts. (In all likelihood, he’ll lose his second nomination this year, for best supporting actor in The Happening, to Heath Ledger.) The rest can just enjoy their time in the glistening bask of Oscar’s shining glow—that thrilling month between nomination and ceremony in which press junkets and Leno appearances make them think that they’ll be remembered come April: Scott Prendergast (for his subtle work in Kabluey), Matthew Broderick (for mincing around in Finding Amanda), a fake Brad Pitt (he was CGI’d to perfection in Ben Buttons, but he still might have originated as an animatron), and Jacques Nolot (for his cuddly, Parisian, fallen-arched, naked-and-saggy, HIV-positive, Roland Barthes–fucking intellectual former hustler).
Who will win: John Leguizamo. Who should win: Jar-Jar Binks in The Clone Wars.
Best Actress: Fast becoming the Susan Lucci of the Oscars, Scarlett Johansson will probably have to accept that her eleventh nomination, for The Other Boleyn Girl, will be just that. It’s likely she’ll lose to one of two strong candidates, both household names: Tao Zhao, for her reliably restrained work in Still Life, and whoever played “Yum-Yum” in Gran Torino. The former is a Jia Zhangke standby, having appeared in all of the Chinese master’s films since Platform, and the latter barely had a line, or a character name, and was on screen for only a few minutes (Warner Bros. took a risk that paid off in campaigning her as lead), but Clint Eastwood’s irascible racial ribbing of her helped make a place for her in all our hearts. Other nominees include the lesbian who got a pole shoved up her cooter in Mother of Tears, which was Dario Argento’s comeback and one of the heartwarming stories of the movie season, and Gabby LaLa from National Lampoon Presents Electric Apricot: Quest For Festeroo, which apparently was a real movie.
Who will win: Yum-Yum. Who should win: Tori Spelling in Cthulhu (also a real movie).
Be there, Sunday, February 22, for all the winners, and for Hugh Jackman prancing around onstage with Miley Cyrus, an orangutan, Jerry Lewis, and, God willing, Jennifer Hudson. Night of a million stars!!