Friday, March 11, 2011

If I Picked the Categories

My indifference to the Academy Awards should be obvious since I am only just now getting around to writing about them. My indifference to the world should be obvious since I am only just now getting around to writing about anything all, but I digress.

The Academy Awards or "Oscars," as they are sometimes called in honor of some chick's pedo uncle, are total crap. I feel no need whatsoever to justify this statement as it is immediately obvious on the perceptual level, but I will anyway because it's fun.

For starters, the Oscars have absolutely no effect on anything. All the films have already come out. We've already seen them and decided whether or not we like them. Winning recognition from the mysterious, ineffable Academy won't change that. True, it will matter for DVD sales and for directors, writers and actors who can now be referred to as "Academy Award-winning" in advertisements for future films, but for the millions of people tuning in all over the world, they simply do not matter.

Only two things have ever mattered in the Oscars: speeches and clothes. The clothes took a nose-dive long ago. It's just too cliche to look pretty. Anyone can be pretty, but it takes a person with real skill and courage to go around looking like this:


 If you want style and grace, watch the Emmys, or heck, even the awards for day time television. Acting talent has an inverse relationship to personal style in this world.

Then there are the speeches. These still have the potential to be amusing, but the humor has worn thin. I used to watch to see which stars were idiots. Then I started watching to see which stars were not idiots. Now the best I can do is watch to rank them in increasing order of idiocy. At this point, the actors' speeches are almost as predictable as the films they star in. Zing.

All this is not even touching on the fact that the whole system is ridiculously political. Anyone -and I mean any random semi-literate person off the street- can write a Best Picture. All you need is a beautiful, beloved actor or actress that you can make ugly; a hero who is seemingly wealthy, successful and powerful, but who actually has feet of clay; a hero who is somehow difficult or painful to look at due to a debilitating condition of some kind, with extra points if the condition is the result of childhood trauma (extra extra points if the trauma is sexual); a ridiculous budget to spend on a star-studded cast and abominably detailed sets and period costumes to distract you from the shallowness of the story; and people with accents.

Put it all together and what've you got? The King's Fucking Retarded Speech. QED.

One easy way to dramatically improve the Academy Awards would be to create better categories. With that in mind, here are five categories I would like to nominate, along with this year's winners for each.

1. Most Obvious Attempt to Win an Academy Award

This category I believe is essential. By adding this award alone, the Oscars would go from completely useless to the best thing that's ever happened to cinema. Anyone who has ever taught a 4th grade class knows that you can't just reward good behavior: you must shame bad as well. By adding an award that is an embarrassment rather than an honor to receive, the Academy Awards would serve as a check on the film industry.

Of course, for this to work, the Academy will have to stop being complete whores, but I can dream.

And the Oscar goes to...

Th-th-the K-k-king's Sp-speech

Ok, Colin Firth: you've played a funny gay, a depressing gay, and straight bottom with a disability. You've proven you're a "serious" actor. Now can you please skip playing a drug addict and go back to being every woman's fantasy?

2. Most Unintelligible Screenplay (that everyone claims to love because they are afraid to admit they don't understand it)

This award is similar to the one above, only instead of being a check on filmmakers, it is a check on film audiences. No longer can gaggles of wannabe sophisticates fawn over obtuse films as though they and their fart-smelling friends alone appreciate the hidden genius behind screenplays that read like a bad acid trip, lest their pretense be called out on national television. It's basically one big "shenanigans" check on our entire culture, and boy do we need it.

Again, this assumes the Academy one day stops smelling their own farts as well. Oh, sweet fantasy.

And the Oscar goes to...

Black Swan

I don't care if you tell me you liked it, but don't you dare claim you understood it.

3. Best Disregard for ______

This category should vary from year to year. We could have an award for Best Disregard for History, awarded to The King's Speech (under my system, this film would win different awards, but just as many) for an inexplicable fear of war with Germany in 1925 or the presence of Winston Churchill throughout the 1930s. Or a Best Disregard for Science award could be given to the classic monster film Splice. Or perhaps a Best Disregard for Geography for Salt. The possibilities are both limitless and entertaining.

Best to avoid Best Disregard for Psychology though, as this would lead to far too many nominations.

And the Oscar goes to...

The Social Network

Best Disregard for Facts in the Biography of a Person Who Is Still Alive

4. Person We Most Want to Give an Oscar Speech

Let's face it: half the time you're rooting for the person you think will give the most obnoxious, most pretentious, or just the weirdest speech. So let's cut the nonsense and just make speech-giving a category. In fact, we shouldn't even limit ourselves to people who were involved in a film in the past year. This category is open to anyone and everyone, purely based on their capacity for crazy.

And the Oscar goes to...

It's gotta be Charlie "Tiger Blood" Sheen. In fact, he pretty much invented this award last week. He really does win all over the place.

5. Best Portrayal of an Inanimate Object
This award goes to the Saul Bellow of acting: the man or woman who delivers the most lifeless, flat, tedious performance of the year. Because actors can never be shamed too much.

And the Oscar goes to...

The horse in Secretariat.

I'm just not buying it, guy. You didn't even run very fast, and I couldn't understand a word you were saying.
Assorted other award possibilities include Best Shark Attack (won by Jaws every year), Most Accurate Representation of a Tree (we have yet to have a winner in this category as Hollywood still refuses to produce my screenplay The Truth about Trees), Best Use of Public Transportation (Speed wins most years), and Least Believable "No Animals Were Harmed" Disclaimer (2010 winner: True Grit).
Thanks to the Academy,

S. Misanthrope

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