By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
Those pesky Oscar nominations will be announced on February 15the high point of the year in triviabut for now, my crystal (meth) ball has spewed forth with its own kooky predictions.
BEST PICTURE: The witty-ish 'American Beauty' struck me as a watered-down version of various Christina Ricci movies, but its dark aesthetic and antimarital stance have made it a millennial shoo-in. 'The Green Mile' and 'The Hurricaneboth center on wrongly imprisoned African Americans, but while Academy thinking is that Mileran long and fell short, The Hurricaneis such a rousingly fraudulent amalgam of Gandhi, Raging Bull, I Want to Live!, and Lady Sings the Bluesthat you can expect a Rubin sandwich filled with nominations. Another mildly distorted yet riveting legal tale, The Insider, was so long you had to run out in the middle and have a smoke, but Oscar loves to inhale on that kind of social importance. And he also feels that The Talented Mr. Ripleyhas youngish sex appeal, Toy Story 2has even younger merch appeal, and The Sixth Sensewas last year's The Full Monty.
Fuggeddaboudit: Tarzan(me Oscar, you lose), Anna and the King(nature abhors a vacuum), Being John Malkovich(Oscar won't dive into its head), Boys Don't Cry(thistime they will), Titus(tight assis more like it when it comes to Academy tastes), The End of the Affair(a dignified fuckathon, but you leave humming the costumes).
The nominees will be: American Beauty, The Hurricane, The Insider, The Sixth Sense, Ripley.
BEST ACTOR: Kevin Spaceygave one of the year's best performancesno, not his Playboyinterview, but in American Beauty. Ripley's Matt Damonwas convincingly cuckoo and looked cute in trunks, while The Hurricane's Denzel Washingtonwas a storm of dignity and looked hot in boxing shorts. Russell Crowe's off-putting brand of showy underplaying has delighted the Academy since Jane Darwell won for The Grapes of Wrath. And The Straight Story's cuddly Richard Farnsworthhas suddenly got some mileage on his mower. Alas, while there's nothing Hollywood loves more than a restrained wildman playing an unrestrained wildman, Jim Carrey's virtuoso Man on the Moon performance isn't luring in the customers, and all that hype about how he became Andy Kaufman left millions saying "Andy who?"
Also fuggeddaboudit: Tom Hanksfor The Green Mile(the mouse that snored), Kirk Douglasfor Diamonds(Farnsworth's got the fogey slot), Sean Pennfor Sweet and Lowdown(sweet, but low down on Oscar's priorities), Bruce Willisfor The Sixth Sense(he let the kid rock the movie and now must pay for it), Jim Broadbentfor Topsy-Turvy(Oscar's got a little listand he's not on it), Ralph Fiennesfor The End of the Affair(the category's too tight and so are his lips), Rupert Everettfor An Ideal Husband(he's friends with Madonna).
The nominees will be: Crowe, Damon, Farnsworth, Spacey, Washington.
BEST ACTRESS: Hilary Swankwas so powerful in Boys Don't Crythat she can unstrap her breasts and start heading to the Oscars right now. Annette Beningwas the target of American Beauty's misogynistic jokes, but she'll get them back with a nomination. Julianne Moorewas nobly restrained in The End of the Affair, even when showing her titsplus she had a hack cough. Sigourney Weavergot raves for A Map of the World, and Oscar owes her for the year she lost twice. And though The Music of the Heartstruck no chord with ticket buyers, we're talking Meryl Streep, folks. She passes gas, she gets nominated.
Fuggeddaboudit: Jodie Fosterfor Anna and the King(she had better chemistry with Hannibal Lecter), Winona Ryderfor Girl, Interrupted(nomination, intercepted), Nicole Kidmanfor Eyes Wide Shut(the film needed more thighs wide open), Kate Winsletfor Holy Smoke (I liked it), Janet McTeerfor Tumbleweeds (every time something dramatic was about to happen, her character ran away), Gwyneth Paltrowfor Ripley(no one wants a reprise of last year's acceptance speech), Susan Sarandonfor Anywhere but Here(appealingly looked at sunsets and sang "Be Optimistic," but the movie tanked, so be pessimistic).
The nominees will be: Bening, Moore, Streep, Swank, Weaver.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Haley Joel Osmentis a given for The Sixth Sensefor recognizing that Bruce Willis is dead. Ditto The Green Mile's childike Michael Clarke Duncanbecause of his ability to spew locusts into your mouth and make it stop hurting when you pee. In another superhuman feat, The Insider's Christopher Plummerplayed Mike Wallacebetter than Wallace himself. Meanwhile, Ripley's Jude Lawwill be the first person ever nominated for being cute. And the not exactly troll-like Tom Cruisegives a showboaty peformance as Magnolia's preening, woman-hating pig who believes, "No pussy has nine lives." By nominating Tom, Oscar can simultaneously thank him for slumming in an art piece and forgive him for Eyes Wide Shut.
Fuggeddaboudit: Michael Cainefor The Cider House Rules(that feelgood abortionist movie), John Malkovichfor Being John Malkovich(not exactly a stretch), Max Von Sydowfor Snow Falling on Cedars(and falling and falling . . . ), Jason Robardsfor Magnolia(he had to sing an Aimee Mannsong on his deathbed), Rhys Ifansfor Notting Hill(personally, I was lunging at the screen).
The nominees will be: Cruise, Duncan, Law, Osment, Plummer.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Toni Collettegave a deeply compassionate performance in The Sixth Sense, but has a chance at a nomination anyway (though her buzz is fading faster than those pee pains). Chloë Sevigny's wail in Boys Don't Cry"Leave him alone!"stings in the memory, plus she always says hello at B Bar. Natalie Portmanwas poignantly morose enough to overcome Anywhere but Here's bad box office. Girl, Interrupted's Angelina Joliewas so charismatic, you cheered as she drove all the nutjobs to suicide. Sweet and Lowdown's muteSamantha Mortonwas the woman of Sean Penn's, and Oscar's, dreams. (Patty Duke, Jane Wyman, Marlee Matlin, and even John Mills all signed their way to the gold.) And, conversely, Julianne Mooreyeah, her againtold off four separate people in Magnolia(though she was even chattier, and better, in An Ideal Husband).
Fuggeddaboudit: Catherine Keenerfor Malkovich(Remember Lisa Kudrow last year? Neither does Oscar), Sissy Spacekfor The Straight Story (brain damage was so '96), Bai Lingfor Anna and the King(Ling and the King don't zing).
The nominees will be: Jolie, Moore, Morton, Portman, Sevigny.
Oh, and Phil Collinswill win Best Song, depriving the "Uncle Fucka" tune from South Park of its big chance for a Celine Dionproduction number!