East-Coast Oscar Predictions

Good morning on Oscar Day, Lynda:

What you have to say—party gossip (overseen, overheard), industry prognostication, and so forth—is of most interest in these few short hours before the ceremony. How were the parties? Who said what to whom? Was there a radical difference in perspective between East and West Coast types? Was there any grumbling about Gil Cates? (I’m hoping for a class-conscious groundswell: Let the Techies—and the Exhibitionists—Speak!) How do my East Coast-based predictions look now?

Picture: the overrated MDB

Director: Eastwood (sorry, Marty)

Actor: Foxx (lock—but with much affection for Cheadle)

Actress: Swank (by a whisker over Bening)

Supporting Actor: Freeman (lock)

Supporting Actress: Blanchett? (Or will Madsen or Okonedo come from behind?)

Original Screenplay: Charlie! 

Adapted Screenplay: Alexander and Jim!

Cinematography: Deschanel for The Passion or Richardson for The Aviator?

Editing: Thelma Schoonmaker (lock)

Score: Debney for The Passion

Any upsets brewing? You did have an inkling that Denzel Washington and Halle Berry would take their prizes three years ago, having voted for each of them …

I have not seen one of the nominated docs, but I suspect that Born Into Brothels will take the prize. The Sea Inside will be hard to beat for foreign-language film, making this the Year of Assisted Suicide. (I haven’t yet seen the last days of Hitler picture; one can’t dismiss the idea that some of the older Jewish Academy members saw it several times to gloat.)

As usual, one of the highlights of Oscar season is Andy Trudeau’s lengthy analysis of the nominated scores on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday. (These are archived on the NPR Web site.) He admires all the scores but makes a convincing case that the best of them is John Debney’s for The Passion of the Christ. I agree, although I also admire James Newton Howard’s horror-flick-cum-swooning-violin score in The Village.

Please, please don’t let Andrew Lloyd Webber win for his even-worse-than-usual new (i.e., written especially for the Oscar) Phantom song.

Speaking of Phantom of the Opera, here are this year’s Razzies (too Phantom-free, if you ask me):

Picture: Catwoman

Actress: Halle Berry, Catwoman

Director: Pitof, Catwoman

Screenplay: Catwoman

Actor: George Bush, Fahrenheit 9/11

Support actor: Rumsfeld, Fahrenheit 9/11

Worst Comedy in 25 years: Gigli

Worst drama in 25 years: Battlefield Earth

Most nominated actor in 25 years: Schwarzenegger

Well, Halle Berry wasn’t that much worse in Catwoman than she was in Monster’s Ball. But at least some of us can now write about her woeful acting without being reminded that she’s an Oscar winner.

The choice of George W. Bush as the worst actor of the year is inspired on all sorts of levels. He really is extraordinarily inept—wooden and unstudied, frighteningly unnatural, prone to telegraphing his lies. What made the Will Ferrell parody Bush commercial so brilliant was that it was fundamentally accurate: Bush doesn’t need much help to turn his words and actions into verbal and physical slapstick. Are the Razzies telecast? Now, that’s a party I’d want to attend!

On the subject of actors, a reader asked about Hilary Swank’s second coming—and why she needed to come again. Swank was astounding in Boys Don’t Cry, but not many people saw the movie. (I remember you hated it.) And Swank’s political strategy might have been problematic. She was careful to dress very femmy and to cite her husband as early in her interviews and acceptance speeches as possible. She took a lot of girly roles. She didn’t want to be typecast as a tomboy, and she didn’t want anyone to think she was a dyke—God forbid. And although she is an extremely striking young woman, I’ve heard that male studio types don’t consider her sufficiently “f—able”—their favorite adjective for describing leading ladies. She needed another tomboy martyr role, and did she get it.

It’s time to stir my chili, put the beers on ice, and Windex the TV.

At my Washington Post online chat on Friday, Adam Bonin proposed this Unofficial 2005 Oscar Drinking Game, which you can find on his group blog here. The idea is one drink per infraction execept where noted:

•   Every Michael Moore and/or Mel Gibson reference.

•   Every Brad/Jennifer/Angelina reference.

•   Every poor schlub who, just as he is about to get his chance to say thank you after the first guy droned on for a minute, doesn’t even get a second at the microphone before the band drowns him out.

•   Every time someone mentions how wonderful The Movies are as an institution.

•   Every male winner who thanks his wife for being “beautiful”, rather than intelligent, loyal or supportive.

•   Every person named during the Necrology who you forgot was dead.

•   If booing is audible when Reagan’s death is mentioned, chug, because we’ll have two weeks of conservative complaints to endure.

•   Every losing nominee who pretends to look happy as someone else goes up to the stage.

•   Every actor you spot with odd facial hair he has obviously grown for a current movie role.

•   Every time ABC promotes Desperate Housewives in some way.

•   Every time Chris Rock mentions a black person, and then they cut to a shot of the first black person they find in the audience.

•   Chug if during or immediately after the Counting Crows performance, they cut to one of Adam Duritz’s many ex-girlfriends.

•   Chug when Chris Rock makes fun of any ABC programming.

•   Every shot of or reference to the guys from Ernst & Young.

•   The Mary Steenburgen Memorial Shot: Every presenter who’s announced as an Oscar nominee or winner and you can’t remember for what.

•   Every time there’s an inexplicable cut to Jack Nicholson.

•   Every shot of one of Rock’s former SNL castmates, but drink everything in the entire neighborhood if they show Rob Schneider.

• Drink if you can’t figure out a damn thing Prince says when presenting an award.

• Chug if Rock brings up Pootie Tang.

My feeling is that THIS WILL KILL US ALL.

Talk to you tomorrow, I hope.