2006 OSCAR NOMINEES: The Reaction

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Nominations for the 78th Academy Awards were announced yesterday morning and, well, that seems to be the only thing worth talking about isn’t it? There were some surprises and some snubs, but mostly… pretty much what we expected.

But first it’s time to own up. In my Contender articles, I made some bold predictions. I made promises to the American People. I did not mislead the public into making predictions under false pretenses. I relied on intelligence I believed to be true at the time. Hey, much of this information came from the French (who were gaga over Match Point). I wasn’t the only fool to predict a Memoirs of a Geisha Best Picture nomination. This was intelligence shared by many other prognosticators and we believed the intelligence we were given. Now some of them want to turn around and blame me? They had the same briefings I did! They shared the same opinions and now they want to tell the American People they didn’t? That’s just wrong.

Look, when I began my Contender columns in November, it was a different world. King Kong was poised to dominate Chronicles of Narnia. The Producers looked to be a hit. Everybody’s favorite whipping boy, James Frey, his word was gospel.

So where did I go wrong? Where did I go right? And where did I go wrong again. Let’s take a look, category by category…

BEST PICTURE
What I said then… (11/14/05)

2 out of 5: Your retarded cousin could have picked ’em better.

Holy Sweet Jesus I goofed this one up. Sure, these were predictions made in November. Sure, my pet python died by way of exploded stomach when it tried to eat a six-foot alligator (linky). Sure I was diagnosed with a terminal disease the week I wrote the article. Yes, I was wrote the article while I was in the hospital, resting for having recently donated my one healthy kidney (yeah…I can’t back any of that up… except for the part of the article being written in November. Please see my fact checkers at Doubleday and Anchor Books), but we don’t make excuses here at Camp Contenders. No, siree, Bob.

Aaaaaaall the way back last year I said that Munich, Memoirs of Geisha and Brokeback Mountain were “locks” for Best Picture nominations. This is worse than it seems. A few weeks after my article, the buzz on Memoirs of a Geisha was dying. FEMA got better press than Geisha did in late 2005.

I also lucked out with Munich which was one of the surprise nominations yesterday morning. I really thought the film had no chance. As for Brokeback, I guessed that the film would make enough box office dough to overcome its “gay cowboy movie” label. Big whoop.

I said that if it came down between Walk The Line and Capote, Walk The Line would be nominated. But I said Walk The Line wouldn’t be nominated anyway.

I said Cinderella Man, though a little beaten up in the race due to Crowe’s antics and a disappointing box office, would still be nominated Best Picture. In fact, I said the following:

Russell Crowe would have to murder a hotel bellboy, rape the guy’s wife and snap a poodle’s neck on live television to have prevented Academy adoration. Okay, two poodles.

Somewhere in America (or Australia) are two poor, dead, decaying poodles. There’s so many channels on TV these days, it’s easy to miss something like that.

In the first Clooney versus Clooney fight, I also said that if it came down to Syriana and Good Night, and Good Luck, Syriana would have the advantage because it was “sexier”.

Huh? Yeah, buddy, whatever that meant.

Anyway, Syriana had yet to be released and looked ultra-promising. It had the bigger cast, timely subject matter, El Fuego Clooney…the elements were in place. But when I came out of the theatre the week Stephen Gaghan’s film was released I knew I’d made a mistake. Syriana was too ambitious for its own good and it would not connect with audiences emotionally the way Good Night, and Good Luck does without even trying.

BEST ACTOR

You know when you’re on your computer and you got your iTunes open, and your Internet Explorer open, and your Microsoft Word open, and your Instant Messenger open and you’re eDonkey files are downloading…and you’re computer says, “Wait a minute, what the hell do you think you’re doing?”…and then it decides it’s just going to lock up and shut down, vomit out a blue screen and call it a night? Well, that’s what happened to my brain when I was so torn between choosing Russell Crowe and Terrence Howard for the fifth and last slot of the Best Actor race. So I went ahead and picked Clooney in the fifth slot. It was a gamble, a dangerous pick, perhaps even brave, sure. That’s right, Iceman, I am dangerous.

And stupid.

BEST ACTRESS

In my column for Best Actress I said this:

The attitude towards Keira Knightley for Pride and Prejudice seems to be, “Look, you’re beautiful, we really like you… but not yet.”

Here’s what the Academy said this morning…

Dear Andre Rivas,

We kindly request that you cease and desist from attempting to crawl your way inside our collective brain. Your apparent “quotes” on OUR attitudes towards young female actors such as Ms. Knightley are as ludicrous as they are glib (What? We’re learning to improve on our vocabulary here at the Academy).

Furthermore, we would like to pose the quite obvious question on your mental health. What kind of grown man makes up imaginary quotes from a collective group?

We sincerely hope this letter finds you in a much improved mental state than the one that occurred on 12/31/05 (too much champagne, we hope).

We sincerely wish you the best of luck and are more than willing to pay you for every article you do not write on this matter as you are dragging us all down with you, Leaving Las Vegas-style.

Best of wishes,

The Academy

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Scarlett Johansson not getting nominated for Match Point? Really? I regret not choosing Amy Adams in my article at the time but overall, I stand by my choices on this one. I think even in hindsight they looked pretty good. I heard the Catherine Keener talk on Capote. I knew she was good in the movie. But I stared right back in the cold, dead eyes of that talk and said two words… “Maria Bello”. The Academy also had two words for me but I can’t repeat them here.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Here’s what I wrote:

Now, last time I ranted and pissed my diapers about how tough if it is to pin down some of this year’s Oscar races. But I have no room for complaint here since I’m pretty solid on the five Best Supporting Actor nominees this year.

Nostradamus, not even The Box Office Oracle, could have been so razor sharp in his predictions (if you don’t believe me, just check out last week’s Oracle’s weekend box office predictions. Booyah, Laremy!). And, uh, Nostra-baby…uh, where’s that end of the world thing, bro? No response? Not feeling so predictable right now, eh? Yeah, baby!!! Eat that!!! I don’t care if you have to wash it down with Yoo-hoo, but you will chew, you will swallow and you will like it!

I’d like to point out that Brad is especially delighted to have seen the William Hurt prediction work out. He had nothing but glorious things to say about the man in his review here!

BEST DIRECTOR

I sound like a broken record by now but I don’t dislike Bennett Miller‘s Capote. I just think people have gone a little overboard in their praise. Here’s what I wrote:

Miller may get nominated if Capote sneaks in with a Best Picture nomination. He doesn’t have a shot otherwise, but at the same time it is looking more and more like Capote gets nominated Best Picture

Basically, I was like the O.J. Jury (that’s right, the well is that dry for me right now), the facts are right there before me, the truth is staring coldly into my face but I still do not want to admit the obvious.

BEST SCREENPLAY

The Academy decided (rightly) that, despite Syriana being “suggested” by Robert Baer’s book, “See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism”, it is essentially an original work so they nominated it in the Best Original Screenplay category instead. This is good news as far as I’m concerned because I was happy to see A History of Violence get some love. It was the right call.

Meanwhile, in the Best Original Screenplay category, I was the victim to the Syriana switch-a-roo which knocked Cinderella Man out of contention. And don’t you worry, I will have plenty to say about Cinderella Man in the coming week.

In fact, I’m going to have plenty to say about a lot of things. Like the nominations that really got under my skin (Capote, I am on to you). The nominations that made me smile (two words, one symbol: Hustle & Flow). Who’s got the juice, who doesn’t. And what to make of those other categories for the office pool? This is only the beginning.

To check out the full list of nominees click here, and remember to keep coming back, there is a lot more where this came from.

The 78th Annual Academy Awards will be held on March 5, 2006 at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland.

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