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OSCAR: MINE ARE WEENERS… A Hopeless Slackass’ Guide to Handicapping the Academy Awards by JAY

Posted on February 24th, 2010
Posted on February 24th, 2010

Tis’ the season to see folly.

It never fails. Every year about this time movie studios all along the San Andreas are clamoring to unload their homogenized, “release delayed”, unscreened, should’a-gone-straight-to-DVD dreck onto a movie going public so starved for any semblance of post-tryptophanian entertainment that it doesn’t seem to mind plopping down ten bucks a pop for the cinematic equivalent of a Zippy the Pinhead comic. B-movie sequels, RomCom bomb-athons and shameless hyperfad exploitationals clog our collective movie-going consciousness, leaving us longing for the unrivaled artistry and emotive tour de force of “Dracula vs. Billy the Kid”. But with the predictability of an Uwe Bol flop, each and every year from New Years to late February the silver screen becomes so stained with hapless celulidic slime that not even a healthy dose of Wright’s polish can restore its luster. This is no mere op ed piece here, my friends. I have unequivocal scientific factual data to back me up. Applying what little accounting I learned from “Business Math for Art Majors”, I did a quick tally of the top 50 grossing movies currently in theatres and discovered that of all films to see wide release since Dick Clark’s ball dropped (that’s using 8 weeks as the cutoff), only “Shudder…” er, “Shutter Island” received a passable grade of “fresh” on the Rotten Tomatoes “Tomatometer”.

But even as the current bumper crop of cine-crap has you Googling “Thing to do on a Date – that doesn’t involve going to a movie – that still might get me laid”, take heart. All is not lost. For coincident with the death throes of FlushFest at your local bijou, another annual event makes a more celebrated and eagerly awaited return; one which seeks not only to exorcise the screen of demonic D-listers and tweener pop tarts who want to add “actoress” to their resume, but to restore the glitz, glamour and the green to the Hollywood we’ve all come to know and tolerate. It’s the one magical night each year when the god-like glitterati of Tinsel Town descend from their palaces in kingdoms far, far away (Santa Monica and Malibu) and gather before the Kodak theatre on Hollywood Blvd in rented limos and form-fitting fashions. These bold, beautiful and vapid semi-gods smile and wave to the unworthy throngs massed behind a phalanx of k-rails and off-duty vice cops. Loaner diamonds sparkle amid the glare of countless flash bulbs as the Tabloid titans rush through the gauntlet of the press line, stopping long enough only glare with unbridled condescension at Whats-her-name from Entertainment Tonight and clip off a hasty “uh…, okay I love you, b’bye!”. The straight men dress as gay men, the gay men dress as really gay men and women dress like Parisian hookers from the 1920’s; all while bobbing and weaving through the receiving line, mindful to keep at least a two-bodyguard buffer between themselves and Joan Rivers to prevent them from catching whatever it was that turned her into a encephalitic Mongolian woman. It’s one the night when more ass is kissed than at a Microsoft job interview. It’s the one night when Disney is actually glad it bought ABC. And it’s the one night when the unintelligible blathering of an acceptance speech sounds less like “thank you” and more like the guest list to the Arnie Schnickelwitz bar mitzvah.

That’s right, kids; it’s the night of the Academy Awards!; the televised self homage to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that invites the world to watch as it bestows upon the most talented highly paid strata of the cinematic universe the most coveted statuette in filmdom.

Oscar.

Over the past 80 years this seminal event has evolved into more than just a simple awards show. It has become an international phenomenon viewed by some eleventy billion people world wide (citation needed). It’s the Superbowl for people who don’t know what the Superbowl is. It serves as a temporary surrogate to housewives and gay men everywhere still steeped in denial that “Sex in the City” is really just on hiatus. And just as March Madness offers armchair sportsmen the chance to test their precognitive prowess by bracketing their predictions from the regionals up to the Final Four, the Academy Awards offers movie fans, film fanatics and even those who can’t spell “cinema” without an “s” the opportunity print out a ballot, pick their favorites and pontificate on how they just KNEW Jim Broadbent was going to beat out Ian McKellan and Ben Kingsley for Best Supporting Actor. What better way to share a evening with a group of friends than to open up a nice bottle of wine while watching the majesty and the pageantry unfold, checking your picks against the official Price Waterhouse envelop and then pontificating animatedly and embarrassingly while shaking your fist at the television when the French chick that you’ve never heard of blows your average (hypothetically). Yeah, picking the winners at the Oscars is a fine example of an activity we can all (insiders, outsiders, vinyl siders) do together. It’s all in good fun. Right?

Well, not necessarily. You see I’ve been handicapping these very same Academy Awards now for going on 10 years and truth be told I’m not too shabby if I do say so myself. That’s because I do not take such prophesying lightly. Oh, there have been the odd years when my average dropped a little (38% in ’07) but I take pride in knowing that over the long term my Oscar-picking average falls squarely in the meaty part of the 40th percentile. And that’s because I know film. I’ve seen ‘em. And I know acting. Oh, I’ve acted, baby. I was an unpaid extra in two – oh that’s right TWO – films during my second stint as a sophomore at LSU. I saw Tim Robbins on one occasion and heard that Brad Pitt was in a nearby trailer on the second. And of my performance in “The Owl and the Pussycat” at the Cabaret Theatre, the theatre critic for the Baton Rouge “Advocate” newspaper described my acting as “erratically competent” and “bordering on interesting”. You see I studied acting in college in order to meet girls explore the art of the theatre and performed in more than a few staged productions. It is with this background in the arts that I can claim a far greater insight into the craft of acting and the business of film making than most cheerleaders; and I have a much deeper understanding on the how and the who of the Oscars than most Tongans.

Now I know I’m no syndicated movie critic like Coop. And I don’t have a Masters degree in screenwriting – like Coop. And I don’t know any of the actors, directors or those techie blue screen CGI guys personally (like Coop). And I’ve never lived in LA (like Coop) or told Josh Duhamel get his lazy but off the couch and get me a beer (… Coop). Yet I feel that these very overachievements are what clouds Coop’s ability to recognize that something as simple as the unwillingness to sign autographs outside the Denny’s on Sunset Blvd is a potentially insurmountable weakness that could cost a nominee the Oscar. Similar intangibles include a receding hairline, failure to wear an Aid Awareness ribbon, ever having been photographed with Kanye West or ever having spoken to Pauly Shore. Was Lindsay Lohan in your movie? Aaaanck! Sorry, thanks for playing. Was Robert Downey Jr. in your movie and you’re not Robert Downey Jr.? Ooo, so close. These are the kind of subtextual considerations that most “qualified” handicappers tend to over look. So for all you self-taught, credit-skipping, “what’s a GRE?” cinephiles out there, listen up. I’m going break down the Oscars for you from Best Director to Best Cinnamon Topography. I’m going to show you the locks to win, the could-go-either-way toss-ups and the dark horse upsets that will allow you to smugly best the picks of the so-called “experts”. Follow my leads, take heed to my sometimes disjointed rationalizations and I guarantee promise assume that these 82nd Academy Awards will not only be much more enjoyable to watch, but will allow you through a stunning display of insider knowledge, terminology and Hollywoodery to elevate your social standing among your community service road crew and immediate family members and turn you from movie novice to movie … whatever beats novice.

And on a personal note to Coop:

Bring it on!!!

-Jay

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    Trailer for the award-winning short PRISMA…


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    Morgan Freeman asks Coop a question at THE BEST DAY premiere! Video below…


    My short film THE BEST DAY premiered in October 2011 at the Delta Cinema in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

    Little did I know I had a special guest in the audience who was about to ask me a question during the Q&A. Yep, I got a little flustered when I saw who it was.

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