Feb 10, 2014

The Academy almost always messes this stuff up.

Note:  Over the coming weeks I will be writing about the Oscars, giving you my personal, sometimes very idiosyncratic, picks on who or what should win (whether they were nominated or not), and then give you my opinion on who is likely to win from the nominees.  Today I am going to talk about Woody Allen, Cate Blanchett, and the Academy Awards, in general.

Take for instance that William Randolph Hearst and his media empire intimidated Hollywood and the Academy enough that Citizen Kane was nearly 'deleted' and/or destroyed before it was released, and that every single time one of the many nominations for Citizen Kane came  up, it was roundly booed at the Academy Awards.  Citizen Kane won only one award, for best screenplay, and that was really for Herman J Mankewicz, a recognition for all his significant contributions to building the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Or, let us talk about the Academy giving Elia Kazan a lifetime achievement award.

I would not be the least surprised to hear boos when Woody Allen's name is called at the Academy Awards next month.  Academy members are allowed to express their opinions, certainly.  Allen, himself, will not be there.  He never attends award ceremonies.  But, I am curious to see if Academy members will  boo Cate Blanchett or Sally Hawkins.  I would hope not, but like I said, the Academy almost always makes the wrong choice, or does the wrong thing when it comes to controversial issues like this.

And, I think we can pretty much forget any chance of Ms Blanchett winning Best Actress this year.  (I really do not believe Ms Hawkins had any shot at winning in her category, Best Supporting Actress.) Which is a real shame.  Ms Blanchett's performance in Blue Jasmine is certainly deserving, and is the type of performance the Academy generally adores.  But her association with Allen will likely prohibit her from taking home the Oscar.

Instead, I think, this year's Best Actress Award will go to Amy Adams.  (Much to my Wife's chagrin, who believes Ms Adams should win the Academy Award for Most Acting While Not Wearing a Bra.  When will that category be created?)

Yet, if I were King Academy Award, I would give the Best Actress Award to Barbara Sukowa for her mesmerizing, slinky, and seductive performance as Hannah Arendt.

Still, King Academy Award and the Academy could very well be agreeing with each other regarding the Best Supporting Actress category.  As elated as I am that Ms Hawkins (one of my absolute favorite movie stars right now) received her second nomination -- she should have won Best Actress for Happy-Go-Lucky! -- I think that Jennifer Lawrence and Mickey Sumner (as Sophie in Frances Ha) should share this award.  Ms Lawrence in American Hustle reminded me so much of say, Judy Holliday's sterling performance in Adam's Rib.  Or Jean Hagan's performances in Singin' in the Rain and Adam's Rib.  Or Ruth Hussey in The Philadelphia Story, etc, ... Meanwhile, Ms Sumner gave one of the richest and most complex performances I have seen this past year; an exquisite study of female friendship.

As for Best Original Screenplay, notwithstanding the controversy, Mr Allen is deserving of the nomination, but will not win.  I imagine it will go to either Bob Nelson for Nebraska or Eric Warren Singer and David O Russell for American Hustle.

If I were King Academy Award, however, I would give the prize to Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig for Frances Ha.  Seriously, for just this passage alone:

Frances: It's that thing when you're with someone, and you love them and they know it, and they love you and you know it... but it's a party... and you're both talking to other people, and you're laughing and shining... and you look across the room and catch each other's eyes... but - but not because you're possessive, or it's precisely sexual... but because... that is your person in this life. And it's funny and sad, but only because this life will end, and it's this secret world that exists right there in public, unnoticed, that no one else knows about. It's sort of like how they say that other dimensions exist all around us, but we don't have the ability to perceive them. That's - That's what I want out of a relationship. Or just life, I guess.

All my love,

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