We start the Top 7. You finish the Top 10.
I won back my five dollars from my Oscar party pool last year, but I was 0-7 in my predictions considering the ceremony moments I wanted to see occur during what is probably the most important night in movies. In case you forgot, Jeff Bridges did end up beating Colin Firth for “Best Actor,” Up in the Air didn’t win “Best Picture,” and Mo’Nique didn’t do Jack Palance push-ups after receiving her award for “Best Supporting Actress.”
There is hope, however, as even the nominees this year don’t always lend themselves towards an easy win. This year it seems we’ve got a “Best Picture” battle between The King’s Speech and The Social Network, two films that have been playing tug-of-war with previous various award shows. On top of that, we’ve got the potential for a few surprises in the top categories – Natalie Portman isn’t a guarantee for “Best Actress,” and neither is Colin Firth for The King’s Speech, among others. This unpredictability leads me to believe that some of my wistful moments might just happen this time. Either way, should I lose miserably, I can only refer to the wisdom Cher and her non-nominated song from Burlesque: “I’ll be back on my feet. This is far from over. You haven’t seen the last of me.”
And the losing moments are …
7. Oscar politicians and their predictions have their golden brains taken for a whirl when the name “Jesse Eisenberg” is announced when the “Best Actor” envelope is opened up – not that of Jeff Bridges or Colin Firth. Much like we would expect him to act, Eisenberg slowly walks on stage, and delivers a rapid fire, mumbly yet humble acceptance speech. The awards ceremony receives its second surprise of the moment when uninvited actor Michael Cera dashes on stage in a huff, wearing a giant cardboard sign (drawn by Michel Gondry) that says “SEE! I WAS NOT IN ADVENTURELAND.” The two stare at the camera with similar, “quirky” expressions while the entire award ceremony gets quiet. The silence is then broken by a collective, “Ohhhhhhhhhhh.”
6. Hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway take the tradition of a snarky “re-cap” of the Oscar nominated films to a new level when they explore dramatic gender reversal. Anne Hathaway’s balding, hipster-mustached re-enactment of Ryan Gosling’s performance in Blue Valentine drives the real Gosling to tears, especially with how Hathaway handles the “You want me to rape you?!” moment in the motel. Everyone boos Franco when he tries to do a scene featuring the two mothers from The Kids Are All Right.
5. Before everybody sits down in his or her seat, an announcement is made. Over the fancy speaker system, the voice of Donald Sutherland is heard making an announcement: “Attention, everyone. A change has been made in tonight’s program. Hailee Steinfeld is no longer in the running for the Oscar of ‘Best Supporting Actress.’ It has been brought the Academy’s attention that Ms. Steinfeld’s performance in the film True Grit is actually not a supporting role, but a major one. In fact, Jeff Bridges has less screen time than her, and he’s up for ‘Best Actor.’ And please – stop asking us why Jeff Bridges got nominated for playing Bad Blake again, we can’t explain that either. Enjoy the croutons.”
4. James Cameron has his “I’m King of the World!” acceptance speech trounced by another landmark moment of ego, but also one directly referencing its winning film. When Natalie Portman’s name is called for “Best Actress,” she glides to the front of the stage, but not before screaming in poor Meryl Streep’s face, “IT’S MY TURN.” Once on stage, she looks at the crowd, (a mysterious red blotch expanding in her abdomen) and simply says into the microphone, “I was perfect.” Some people laugh, understanding the reference, but no one chuckles even a bit when Portman turns into the Black Swan once again and flies off the stage (but can’t find a window to exit, until Jon Hamm cracks a window open in the back).
3. Banksy doesn’t make a physical appearance, but he does have his hands in a different type of public display. Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens, promoting their new movie Beastly, introduce “A Look Back at 2010,” which is meant to be a cliche retrospective of all memorable moments from 2010. Right before the montage begins, the word “BANKSY” is shown, filling the entire screen, and is then followed by a succession of horrific clips including: a brief re-cap of all dance sequences in this year’s animated films, the scene in Sex in the City 2 when Samantha says “Lawrence of my labia,” the scene in Yogi Bear when Yogi water-skis, a compilation of all of T.I’s lines in Takers, and the entirety of The Bounty Hunter. After the clip is done, with probably not every person in the audience still alive by choice, an image of a shadowy Banksy is shown, and then revealed to be … Justin Bieber.
2. In a no-brainer moment, it is announced that Inception has won “Best Original Screenplay.” The entire theater provides a standing ovation for writer/director Christopher Nolan, who walks on stage (not forgetting to fist bump Christian Bale) while wearing his trademark sleek suits and slicked back hair. After thanking numerous people at Warner Bros. for actually being interested in a non-3D, intellectually-driven script, Nolan says something like, “But you know – this screenplay? I directed it too. You might know that because you’ve nominated my film for ‘Best Picture,’ but perhaps you forgot. Oh well, ‘off to go make another billion dollar-grossing feature for your stupid asses.”
1. Inception for Best Picture. I can dream, right? (Sorry.) Inception is better than The Social Network and The King’s Speech – possibly even combined. But I know this is probably crazy talk, considering the type of box that Oscar likes to be keeping his movies in. (Inception thinks outside this box, among many, many others). The King’s Speech appeals greatly to Oscar’s love of period pieces, and The Social Network fits in with modern golden movies like The Hurt Locker. But regardless of all of this, neither of these top contenders are as absolutely spectacular as Inception, a cinematic event that I have praised endlessly, and always will, forever and ever, amen. Also look at it this way: A “Best Picture” win for Inception would also be a victory for a lot more entities than Warner Brothers and Christopher Nolan – the action movie genre, for one, would earn more respect as a genre that is truly flexible to new ideas, while still maintaining marketability. The concept of the “summer blockbuster” in general would swiftly continue its path towards being a type of film that has the potential to be taken very seriously, and probably most importantly, the idea of wholly original scripts might become sexy again in Hollywood. There are only so many adaptations and sequels from Hollywood that we can take … and the nominee list of 2010’s supposed “Best Pictures” has eight of them.