Powered by Google
Editors' Picks
Arts + Books
Rec Room
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Adult Personals
Adult Classifieds
- - - - - - - - - - - -
FNX Radio
Band Guide
MassWeb Printing
- - - - - - - - - - - -
About Us
Contact Us
Advertise With Us
Work For Us
RSS Feeds
- - - - - - - - - - - -

sponsored links
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sex Toys - Adult  DVDs - Sexy  Lingerie

  E-Mail This Article to a Friend

Bio picks
Oscar gives its nod to lies and lives
Peter’s picks

Best Film

The Aviator

Finding Neverland

Hotel Rwanda

Million Dollar Baby


Best Director

Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby

Marc Forster, Finding Neverland

Alexander Payne, Sideways

Martin Scorsese, The Aviator

Zhang Yimou, House of Flying Daggers

Best Actor

Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda

Johnny Depp, Finding Neverland

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Aviator

Jamie Foxx, Ray

Paul Giamatti, Sideways

Best Actress

Annette Bening, Being Julia

Catalina Sandino Moreno, Maria Full of Grace

Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake

Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby

Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Best Supporting Actor

Thomas Haden Church, Sideways

Jamie Foxx, Collateral

Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby

Freddie Highmore, Finding Neverland

Clive Owen, Closer

Best Supporting Actress

Cate Blanchett, The Aviator

Laura Linney, Kinsey

Virginia Madsen, Sideways

Sophie Okenedo, Hotel Rwanda

Natalie Portman, Closer

George Bush has to be the luckiest screw-up who ever lived. Just look at the past month. A tsunami and the deaths of 200,000 people cover his ass as all order breaks down in Iraq and the administration admits that there were no WMDs. And next week, when the so-called Iraqi election collapses into a bloody fiasco, Americans will be preoccupied with the Super Bowl and the Oscar nominations.

True, the Academy’s choices sometimes reflect its discontent with the ways things are going in the real world, and no doubt a membership consisting of the bluest of the Blue is still simmering from its defeat in November. Will the Academy’s choices reflect its bitterness? Hell, no. It reached its peak of protest last year with Michael Moore and Sean Penn, and that didn’t change a thing, except perhaps for the worst.

So this year, it’s back to the same old glad-handing routine of self-promotion, phony piety, and maybe even some cynical sucking up to the Red State "mandate." That might partly explain the success of a boutique film like Sideways, which has won virtually every critics’ prize, not to mention a host of Golden Globe, Director’s Guild, Writers Guild, Producer’s Guild and Screen Actor’s Guild nominations.

Here’s the story: drunken, privileged, self-pitying failure finds a new life with a worthy woman. Sound familiar? True, unlike our president, the hero of Sideways can speak in complete sentences and prefers pinot noir to Coors Light. And no doubt the pair’s politics would differ. But as was pointed out in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, it’s the myth that gets printed, not the facts. So don’t be surprised when Sideways is besotted with nominations: Best Picture, Best Director for Alexander Payne, Best Actor for Paul Giamatti, Best Supporting Actor for Thomas Haden Church, and Best Supporting Actress for Virginia Madsen.

Sideways is just one exemplary life story to be rewarded by the Academy. Instead of dealing with abstractions like history, ideology, principles, injustice, and the like, Hollywood prefers to focus on the individual. Thus, we have the year of the bio-pic.

Here’s another story: The Aviator. The callow scion of a wealthy family battles vested interests to achieve his dreams and become a national leader despite a huge boondoggle at the taxpayers’ expense. True, Howard Hughes’s outsider image, unlike George W.’s, wasn’t just phony spin. And the Spruce Goose, his huge troop carrier that barely got off the ground, can’t compare in folly, deceit, and cost to the debacle in Iraq or the despoiling of Medicare and Social Security. Nonetheless, comparisons could be made between the president’s fundamentalism and Hughes’s compulsion to grow his nails and pee in milk bottles. Besides, Hollywood can’t resist a self-congratulatory epic about Hollywood, especially one as classy as this. Finally, the Academy wants to give Martin Scorsese, one of America’s best directors, another shot at losing for Best Director. So he’ll get a nod, as will The Aviator for Best Picture and Leonardo DiCaprio as Hughes for Best Actor. As for Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn, such a note-perfect imitation of the actress who won the most Oscars in history is a sure thing for Best Supporting Actress.

How about compassionate conservatism? Here, Hollywood has outshone the administration in the face of one of the greatest natural disasters of all time (which occurred two days before the Academy mailed out its Oscar ballots to its membership). While Bush vacationed in Crawford, Sandra Bullock shelled out a million bucks to the tsunami victims in Southeast Asia. Soon celebrities were climbing over one another with their checkbooks, a movement topped off by George Clooney’s shaming Bill O’Reilly into appearing on his star-studded benefit concert.

So why not finally acknowledge the 1994 genocide of 900,000 Tutsis? Although it hasn’t been a big winner of awards to date (a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture and SAG nominations for Best Actor for Don Cheadle and Best Supporting Actress for Sophie Okenedo), I think recent events might encourage the Academy to lay down the red carpet for Hotel Rwanda. It should get a Best Picture nomination, Best Actor for Don Cheadle as the resourceful and courageous hotel manager who saved more than a thousand lives, and Best Supporting Actress for Okenedo as his long-suffering wife.

As for other liberal causes, Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake, a cheerily grim melodrama about your friendly neighborhood abortionist, might be too edgy despite its wishy-washy attitude toward the subject. Imelda Staunton, the critics’ darling and a SAG and Golden Globe nominee, should, however, get a Best Actress nomination because in the end she cries about what she’s done.

page 1  page 2 

Issue Date: January 21 - 27, 2005
Back to the Movies table of contents
  E-Mail This Article to a Friend

about the phoenix |  advertising info |  Webmaster |  work for us
Copyright © 2005 Phoenix Media/Communications Group