I use hands to help my fellow man / I use hands to help with what I can / But when I face an unjust injury / Then I change my hand into FIST OF FURY

2004 Oscar nominations

Alot of us movie fans, we got this problem called “the Oscars.” Every year we’re pissed off by who they neglect or who they give it to. Akiva Goldsman?! Bitch, are you for real? But then we get involved in it anyway, rooting for the ones we like, against the ones we hate, fuming over how bad those assholes in the academy fucked up this year.

We say we don’t care about the Oscars, because they’re always wrong. Then we spend half an hour complaining about how wrong they are. Because of how much we don’t care. So here’s my thoughts on this year’s nominations.

This year though especially, I think somebody needs to have a talk with that academy, because they seem to be confused about a few things. I mean for example did you know that a fictional movie about a camel counts as a documentary? (THE STORY OF THE WEEPING CAMEL was nominated for best documentary feature.) Listen up academicians, if you’re gonna bump CONTROL ROOM that’s your prerogative, but at least bump it for a fuckin documentary if the category’s supposed to be documentary. Or if it doesn’t have to be a documentary, why not just throw anything in there? How bout PUNISHER? That was a pretty good documentary I thought.

And I think they’re confused about adapted screenplay too, since BEFORE SUNSET was nominated in that category. How did they figure that? What are they saying it was loosely based on Ethan Hawke’s failed marriage?

That reminds me, another thing they fuck up – I mean they do this every year – they don’t seem to know what’s a lead actor and what’s a supporting actor. For example, how the fuck is Jamie Foxx a supporting actor in COLLATERAL? Who’s the lead then, the car? They’re trying to say because Tom Cruise is the bigger star he’s the bigger role, but that just ain’t true. The movie starts with Jamie Foxx and he’s in it maybe 15, 20 minutes before Cruise even shows up. The movie is mostly told through his point of view and it ends up with him at the end. He’s the protagonist, the hero, the main character, the lead actor. They pulled the same switch on Denzel and Ethan Hawke in Training Day, and Sam Jackson and John Travolta in Pulp Fiction. I think the category is actually up to the studios when they submit movies for consideration, but if they’re gonna keep jerkin the oscars around like that the oscars should just say listen up studios, it’s up to us now, quit fuckin around, Jamie Foxx is obviously the lead. Assholes.

You gotta feel for that Paul Giamatti, man. It was one thing when he got snubbed for AMERICAN SPLENDOR. A man can live with that kind of snub. But SIDEWAYS got nominations for best picture, director, adapted screenplay, supporting actor, supporting actress… and not lead actor! In a movie that’s all about his character. At first I thought maybe they were confused, maybe they figured he wasn’t acting, it was all 100% real. But if that was the case, they probaly woulda nominated it for best documentary.

What about Garfield, that was a pretty good nature documentary I thought. Very objective.

Anyway, that was a pretty brutal snub they did there. I thought it was kinda cool that they nominated my man Clint for acting, but Giamatti obviously deserved it more. (Plus Thomas Jane in Stander if the fuckers had even heard of it.)

I really hope Giamatti’s out there somewhere tonight, downing some drinks with the makeup crew from Hellboy. I mean shit, I never saw that Jesus movie but what did they do, squirt some fake blood on the guy? I don’t want to be sacreligious or nothing, but that demon out of hell, that was some good god damn makeup. And his fishman buddy. I never seen anything that good in years. At least now they don’t have to worry about oscars anymore. If they didn’t get an oscar for that it’s not ever gonna happen. I mean if it was up to me, slim pickings this year, but I would put Ron Perlman pretty high up in the list of performances. But I’m realistic, I know that could never happen in mainstream society. But I really thought the makeup was a shoo in. Damn, if only they had jesus in that movie somewhere.

(When are they gonna do separate makeup and effects makeup categories, anyway? Isn’t it kind of dumb to have latex monsters always competing against eyeliner and blush?)

Also, a quick note for all you cartoon animators out there. Remember when you were asking about why your medium don’t get enough respect? Maybe a good place to start would be YOU JUST NOMINATED FUCKING SHARK TALE FOR AN OSCAR. I don’t care if you had to work on the fucking thing in order to eat, that’s not a good enough reason to vote for it. I don’t buy the idea that some adult somewhere actually liked that movie and thinks it’s worthy of even some kind of field day third place ribbon, let alone an oscar. If SHARK TALE really is the best you can offer then be a fuckin man and cancel the category this year. Bugs Bunny would be rolling in his fuckin grave he saw how you people are behaving.

But to be fair to the cartooners, it does seem like alot of the other categories aren’t being taken too seriously either. For example, the appropriately named Taylor Hack-ford was nominated for best director! I liked that movie Ray but come on, at best it was real good TV movie directing. He shoulda been disqualified for the text at the end alone. That’s to say nothing of the tv style white flashes he uses before flashbacks. That movie is all about the performance of Jamie Foxx and the music of Ray Charles. It’s a triumph of just-good-enough-to-work, not virtuoso filmatism. Taylor Hackford does not, and never will, have a commitment to excellence. He has a commitment to getting lucky. I mean I should be nice to the guy, I liked his movie. But it’s ridiculous to see this guy nominated over Tarantino, or Zhang, or some of the other fellas. Scorsese’s finally gonna get his Oscar, but it’s for the movie he did as a favor to Dicaprio, and against mediocre competition like this. Not as meaningful if you ask me.

And the best original song category is really living up to its tradition of terror. I mean I actually kind of liked that freaky ass Polar Express movie, but if the song they nominated is the one I’m thinking of, it’s one of the most sickening, saccharine pieces of garbage this side of the dumpster behind the saccharine factory. And saccharine has caused cancer in lab rats so why you wanna give it awards? You trying to encourage cancer? Anyway it’s another case where they single out the very worst aspect of an okay movie and offer an award for it. Way to protect the culture, assholes.

It really seems like they just pick out some movies they liked and nominated them for everything possible. I mean shit, you know how much I loved Million Dollar Baby. But no fuckin way Morgan Freeman deserves a nomination for that shit. I mean he is literally playing a character he could play in his sleep. I know it sounds like I just misused the word “literally” like people always do but seriously, I bet he talks in his sleep and it’s the same down home wisdom narration stuff he does in this movie. This is exactly the character he plays in everything, the one thing different being the one contact lens he wears. Yeah maybe it’s uncomfortable to sleep in a contact lens, I’ll give you that, but still, not oscar worthy.

I don’t think Hillary Swank really deserves it either but Morgan Freeman’s nomination makes that seem more reasonable by comparison. I woulda liked to see David Carradine for Kill Bill and Mark Wahlberg for I Love Huckabees (he won the Cinemarati award, I’m happy to say).

And speaking of Kill Bill, and back on the topic of Ethan Hawke’s failed marriage, that’s the one thing I most woulda liked to see, even though I knew it was a long shot: I think Uma Thurman shoulda got nominated for Kill Bill. In that movie, even if you don’t count the first volume, she’s doing so much. She’s doing badass action movie swagger, she’s doing trauma and horror, she’s doing the awkward Keds-wearing girl going up in the mountains to be tormentored by Pei Mei. And remember those heartwrenching scenes between her and the little girl? She does everything in this movie, and all that’s fine for Oscars, but what I think lost it for her is that she’s also fighting. Choreographed kung fu, street fighting in the mobile home, and the sword fights. I think physically she’s spectacular in this movie, the ways she moves, but going that extra 85 miles loses her any serious consideration. That’s bullshit, because Catherine Zeta Jones and Queen Latifah didn’t get disqualified for singing and dancing in that Chicago movie a year or two ago. But give a girl a sword and suddenly the best female performance of the year doesn’t count for shit.

OH well, it wouldn’t be as cool if those squares were into the same movies we are. Fuck ’em.

But I love them though. And I want them to love me back.

But fuck ’em.

thanks,

Vern

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 25th, 2005 at 8:21 am and is filed under Vern Tells It Like It Is. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

11 Responses to “2004 Oscar nominations”

  1. You could republish this article with the names changed and it would work every year.

  2. Yeah, I liked the bit about Best Animated Feature. Can we cancel this category please? Pixar have proven that they can sit at the adults’ table, but the remaining nominees are usually padded out with embarrassing kid-flicks. 2004 was a particularly bad example: SHARK TALE and SHREK 2? Jesus Christ.

  3. In fairness to the assholes who decide on the Oscinees, the car in COLLATERAL *is* as much a character as her driver. Everything that happens to Jamie Foxx happens simultaneously to his cab.

    Clearly it should have at least been nominated for Best Leading Metaphorical Symbol.

  4. Crustacean: First, what’s wrong with kids movies? You think because a movie is targeted at kids, it can’t be Oscar worthy?

    I do agree that sometimes they should really dig deeper to get some good nominees in that category, though. The SHREK 2 & SHARK TALE year was seriously awful and I’m sure there were some art house animation, maybe even foreign movies, that would have been a better fit, but oh well.

    Anyway, I really take offense at your statement that “the remaining nominees are usually padded out with embarrassing kid-flicks”. Let’s have a look!

    2001, we had SHREK, MONSTERS INC and JIMMY NEUTRON. Yeah, although NEUTRON was very entertaining, it wasn’t really OScar worthy. But the category was new, so I forgive them for going all random with their nominees. The other two were that year’s Pixar, plus a Dreamworks movie, that caught lot of flack for being too mean spirited for kids.

    2002 we had:
    – Spirited Away (I don’t think anybody would call Miyazaki’s movie “emberassing kids movies”)
    – Ice Age (which for any reason has a pretty bad reputation, although it is surprisingly well written and has its share of dark and/or tear jerking moments!)
    – Lilo & Stitch (which was one of the very few modern Disney movies, that were a huge success with audiences of every age!)
    – Spirit (Which I haven’t seen, but is from what I’ve heard way more mature than you would expect from an American mainstream animated movie about a horse)
    – Treasure Planet (which isn’t anything too special, but a very well made adventure movie)

    2003:
    – Finding Nemo
    – Brother Bear (Which was one of the more mature Disney movies, with its theme of loss and revenge)
    – The Triplets Of Bellville (Arthouse!)

    2005:
    – Wallace & Gromit (Come on, who doesn’T love those two?)
    – Corpse Bride (While not exactly great, the proof that Burton can also do good animation without Henry Selick)
    – Howl’s Moving Castle (Again Miyazaki)

    2006:
    – Happy Feet (Which is a lot darker and has more depth than you might expect from a dancing penguin movie starring Robin Williams)
    – Cars (Okay, this time Pixar made the emberassing kids movie)
    – Monster House (The best 80’s Amblin familly horor adventure hommage in years!)

    2007:
    – Ratatouille (Pixar)
    – Persepolis (Arthouse for adults)
    – Surf’s Up (Haven’t seen it.)

    2008:
    – Wall-e (Motherfuckers!)
    – Bolt (Yeah, that one is for kids)
    – Kung Fu Panda (aka the moment when Dreamworks started to catch up with Pixar in terms of quality)

    2009:
    – Up (The one Pixar that I will never watch again, because its story depressed me to no end)
    – Coraline (!!!!!!!)
    – Fantastic Mr Fox (One of Wes Andersons Top 3 movies!)
    – The Princess & The Frog (Disney’s admittedly not very successful try to return to their 90s greatness)
    – The Secret OF KElis (Arthouse)

    2010:
    – Toy Story 3 (!!!)
    – How To Train Your Dragon (Which was IMO even ebtter than TS 3!)
    – The Illusionist (Arthouse!)

    2011:
    – Rango (Which isn’t that great, but I wouldn’t call it an “emberassing kids movie”)
    – A Cat In PAris (Arthouse)
    – Chico & Rita (Arthouse)
    – Kung Fu Panda 2 (Which was even better than part 1)
    – Puss In Boots (which shouldn’t be put in the same corner as the SHREK series)

    And the Oscars for 2012, that happened in 2013, just happened yesterday, so we all remember them.

    Now look at that list. It’s not exactly full of emberassing kids movies, if you ask me. It’s actually full of seriously good or even great family movies and a surprising amount of artsy stuff for adults!

  5. caruso_stalker217

    February 26th, 2013 at 1:24 am

    I’ll admit I get irritated when shit gets nominated in the both the Best Animated and Best Picture categories, like UP and TOY STORY 3. Pick a category and stick with it, motherfuckers. It’s like nominating someone for Best Leading and Best Supporting for the same fucking performance. We know you’re just padding the list, you fucks, and it defeats the purpose of having those two separate categories in the first place.

    If it’s good enough to be nominated for Best Picture, it shouldn’t be nominated for Best Animated. Those Pixar movies only made the grade because they were big hits and the Academy can’t scrape up ten fucking Oscar-worthy films. Why else was DISTRICT 9 nominated, aside from the fact that a lot of people saw it? It was never a serious contender. Just filler.

    By the way, I also shit blood when a film gets nominated for Best Picture/Best Foreign Language Film.

    You’re filler, AMOUR!

  6. Yeah, maybe you remember that they expanded the Best Picture nominees to up to 10 movies, to include more crowd pleasers like DISTRICT 9, so it’s true. It was there as the token popcorn movie.
    Of course like many (including me) predicted, they would ditch that angle very soon and just start nominating 10 “typical” Oscar movies instead.

  7. I agree with CJ on the animated feature category. As his list shows the industry has really grown over the years since this post where I was making fun of it. I don’t see anything else on there as bad as Shark Tale or Jimmy Neutron. And I wouldn’t discount the respect and spotlight given by this Oscar category being one small factor that led to there being so many more quality movies available. I’m sure it’s especially helpful to the indie import ones like Persepolis and Secret of Kells.

    But I disagree with Caruso on movies being nominated in more than one category. If Toy Story 3 was one of the best movies of the year period how could it not be nominated in best animated feature? That would make no sense. And if they believe Amour or Crouching Tiger is one of the best foreign language films and also one of the best films of any language why can’t it be nominated in both? As Spock always said, “not fucking logical pal” or whatever he said.

  8. caruso_stalker217

    February 26th, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    My point is it just feels wishy-washy when they nominate a film in two categories. Especially in the case of the Pixar films, which sure as shit were never going to win Best Picture, but were guaranteed to win Best Animated.

    I take offense to the fact that they were used to fill out the Best Pic nominations because they were popular, not because they had a chance at winning.

  9. caruso_stalker217

    February 26th, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Man, I’m starting to sound like I actually give a shit about this stuff.

  10. But it’s not like somebody figures out all the best picture nominees and then says “Well, let’s put a Pixar in this slot.” I believe they tabulate the votes and the ones that get the most and enough get in. I’m sure the people who vote for the Pixar movie do passionately believe it belongs there, and of course it’s an honor to be there. Beasts of the Southern Wild wasn’t ever gonna win either, but it was useful to get the nomination because I’m sure the amount of people who saw it probly doubled because of the nomination.

  11. CJ: Hell yes, I think that kids films can be Oscar worthy. You’re also right that animated features have really picked up their game post-Pixar. But while I was overjoyed when UP and TOY STORY 3 were nominated for Best Picture, like Caruso said there is no way they were going to win while there’s an Animated Feature ghetto. Plus tricky issues like the confusion around Zemeckis’ mocapatoons are only going to get worse as new technology becomes available.

    It’s cool that Animated Feature category brings attention to some films that would otherwise be ignored, but is creating a niche category the right approach? Should there also be a Sci-Fi category? An Action category? (Yes, I know that animation is a medium, not a genre) Look at the complete joke of a category, Best Foreign Film. Seems like creating specialised categories just creates walls between certain types of films.

    Anyway, Oscars are all bullshit, who cares etc

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