The Oscar Race Decoded!

This year's Academy awards nominees (which will be announced on January 23) are bound to celebrate tyrants, accents, tyrants with accents, violence, and stories "inspired by real life," if not always inspired. The front-runners are anyone playing a world leader written by PETER MORGAN as well as all manner of teachers and/or pedophiles with their tongues out and trousers down. Let me run down the rundown in the major categories before the nominees are run down by their own success.


BEST PICTURE
Falling through the cracks will be: World Trade Center (a feel-good picture about 9-11); United 93 (a feel-bad picture about 9-11. One of the year's best-reviewed movies, but the nominators can't remember that far back. Some of them can't even remember 9-11); Volver (it's foreign); Pan's Labyrinth (ditto—and it sounds like some kind of new-style bread restaurant); Letters From Iwo Jima (though the "shit pot" scene is amazing); Stranger Than Fiction (and duller too); Notes on a Scandal (I'm scared of that dyke); The Good Shepherd (it spans the history of the CIA—in real time); Flags of Our Fathers (raised a red flag at the box office); Little Children (too many sexual hypocrites disliked this movie about sexual hypocrisy); Happy Feet (even real penguins don't get Best Picture nods); The Painted Veil (even real Merchant Ivory flicks stopped getting Best Picture nods); Bobby (real Altman films did get Best Picture nods, but out of respect for his death, this flick won't); Children of Men (it makes United 93 look like Happy Feet); Apocalypto (the Jews will kill Jesus again before this one gets nominated)

Forrest Whitaker in Last King of Scotland
photo: Courtesy Film Four & DNA Films Limited
Forrest Whitaker in Last King of Scotland

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Gossip columnist's fab book party
Photo gallery by Tricia Romano

Tune in: The Oscar Race Decoded!



Helen Mirren in The Queen
Laurie Sparham/Miramax Films

The nominees will be: The Queen (about a big queen dealing with Di's death—no, not Elton John); Babel (a/k/a Crash '06); The Departed (The arm battering! The ground splattering! The screaming if Marty loses again!); Little Miss Sunshine (a dark, edgy family succumbs to all the warm, familiar road-trip formulas); Dreamgirls (there's got to be something light in the top five—if you consider a musical melodrama about greed and corruption to be light, and strangely enough I do)


BEST ACTRESS
Tumbling into non-recognition will be: BEYONCÉ KNOWLES, Dreamgirls (they nominated the real Diana Ross, but she had to shoot up and throw up and give it up for over two hours. Beyoncé's part doesn't allow her to wallow nearly enough); CATE BLANCHETT, The Good German (the bad casting); ANNETTE BENING, Running With Scissors (terrific, but most observers feel the movie collapsed under its own weirdness); MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL, Sherrybaby (she appealingly elevated it from a Lifetime movie, but I'm one of three people who saw it, and the other two weren't thrilled); RENÉE ZELLWEGER, Miss Potter (Are we even sure it is Renée and not Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo?): NAOMI WATTS, The Painted Veil (tramp finds redemption in China, but is hungry again an hour later)

The nominees will be: HELEN MIRREN, The Queen (the biggest lock since Mother Teresa's chastity belt); MERYL STREEP, The Devil Wears Prada (all right, everyone, gird your loins); JUDI DENCH, Notes on a Scandal (she had to deliver the year's most impossible line, "Lasagna tends to disagree with my bowels. I'll ask for a small portion"); KATE WINSLET, Little Children (if we reward her for playing bad girls, maybe she'll stop doing cutesy shit like The Holiday); PENÉLOPE CRUZ, Volver (yet another knife in Tom's back)


BEST ACTOR
Falling into crack vials will be: MATT DAMON, The Good Shepherd and The Departed (even two crime flicks can't seem to get him arrested); EDWARD NORTON, The Illusionist (he flubbed his biggest trick—keeping my eyes open); Ed Norton, The Painted Veil (this freak is busier than Cate Blanchett); RYAN PHILLIPPE, Flags of Our Fathers (nobody cheats on my Reese and gets away with it!); DEREK LUKE, Catch a Fire (it didn't); TOBY JONEs, Infamous (if they nominate him, they're admitting they were wrong last year); KEN WATANABE, Letters From Iwo Jima (alas, the letters don't say, "You're nominated, Mister!"); RICHARD GRIFFITHS, The History Boys (he's groping—for a nomination); JAMIE FOXX, Dreamgirls (everyone hates him for dumping Effie—and for doing Miami Vice); NICOLAS CAGE, World Trade Center (you couldn't even see him through all that smoke); DANIEL CRAIG, Casino Royale (shaken, not nominated)

The nominees will be: LEONARDO DICAPRIO, The Departed (it helps that he was also in Blood Diamond—or does it?—plus he's finally become sort of a man); PETER O'TOOLE, Venus (Quick, before he melts. Besides, who else could bring such dignity to the scene where he tries to lick the girl's finger after she rams it into her snatch?); FOREST WHITAKER, The Last King of Scotland (he does a mean Amin and will be the first 220-pound nominee since Shelley Winters); WILL SMITH, The Pursuit of Happyness (where there's a Will, there's a podium); RYAN GOSLING, Half Nelson (I was half awake. Let's wait till he gets a role deserving of his talent. Nah, let's not.)


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Missing the golden boat will be: CATHERINE O'HARA, For Your Consideration (though she's hilarious, and in mocking the Oscar race, the movie shows the award's stunning power); Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal (the year's fourth cradle robber; don't kiss me, Cate); Cate Blanchett, Babel (Enough already!); Maggie Gyllenhaal, World Trade Center (she should have named the baby Oscar instead of Olivia); MARIA BELLO, World Trade Center (Ciao, Bello!); VERA FARMIGA, The Departed (last name pronounced . . . oh, never mind); SHAREEKA EPPS, Half Nelson (though I'm shareeka-ing her praises); PHYLLIS SOMERVILLE and JANE ADAMS, Little Children (they'll sadly get lost in the pedo shuffle); THANDIE NEWTON, The Pursuit of Happyness (she interrupted the pursuit a little too much); FRANCES DE LA TOUR, The History Boys (it was a de la Tour de force, but one we'd already seen onstage); EMILY BLUNT, The Devil Wears Prada (she was adorable, but she should get a sitcom, not an Oscar); SHARON STONE, Bobby (if you do nails and hair and underact in a forest, does anyone hear it?); EMMA THOMPSON, Stranger Than Fiction (a/k/a Murder, She Wrote); EMILY WATSON, Miss Potter (compared to her, even Renée isn't quirky); BRITTANY MURPHY, The Dead Girl (please, she just lies there)

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