For all film geeks, celebrity junkies and insomniacs this Sunday, at around 2 in the fracking morning, is the 81st Academy Awards. Or the Oscars for those too stupid to understand something unless it has a nickname.
The biggest award ceremony in film, if not the biggest award ceremony fullstop, it has a tendency to be a little dull and a tad overlong - but for anyone with a love of the celluloid it's really the one definite in the movie calender. And this year 'Wolverine' is presenting. I hope he goes berserker on some old guy getting a lifetime achievement award.
For your consideration, here is a rundown of the 'major' awards - plus who I think will win and who I want to win. Am I that arrogant that I think you care? Yes. Yes I am.
Best Supporting Actress
There was a time in the '90s when the 'supporting' actress winner seemed cursed (Whoopi Goldberg, Mira Sorvino, Mercedes Rheul are not exactly chowing from the trough of the A-list anymore). But as of late a veritable smorgasbord of bigger and better things has lain in wait for the recipient of this trophy (Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett, Rachel Weisz). The less said about Jennifer Hudson as an actress though, the better.
Who I Think Will Win: Penelope Cruz ('Vicky Christina Barcelona'). While Viola Davis may have the best 'Oscar clip' to show people, the fact that those 2 minutes are her entire contribution to 'Doubt' may spoil her chances, as will the split for the vote with Amy Adams (also 'Doubt'). Taraji P. Henson in 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' puts in an assured but histrionic free performance, so no joy there, and Marisa Tomei already has one award for 'My Cousin Vinny'. If they give her another it might remind people that they gave her one for 'My Cousin Vinny'. That film once more. My. Cousin. Vinny.
Who I Want To Win: Marisa Tomei ('The Wrestler'). Not just for the fact that she had to get her tits out around Mickey Rourke (a dangerous task) but because her over-the-hill stripper made the entire film about 'having something and losing it' rather than just another film about one washed-up old guy.
Best Supporting Actor
Not since Cuba Gooding Jr won back in 1996 ('Jerry Maguire') has the Academy made a poor choice for the mini Best Actor gong (and to be fair to Cuba he was pretty good in that one film...13 years ago). And for all intents and purposes they can't really mess up this year either with five fine picks.
Who I Think Will Win:. Heath Ledger ('The Dark Knight'). A lot of cynical idiots are saying this is a foregone conclusion, which will make two things happen on the night. One, people won't be as excited if Heath does win and secondly if he doesn't the person who does will feel like the biggest shit in the room. Way to go cynical idiots! And to be fair to the others, they all deserve to win, one way or the other. Robert Downey Jr is the only good thing in 'Tropic Thunder', Michael Shannon saved me from suicide for his 'ray of hope/voice of reason' in 'Revolutionary Road' and Josh Brolin and Philip Seymour Hoffman gave dictionary definitions of repression (in a good way) in 'Milk' and 'Doubt'.
Who I Want To Win: Heath Ledger ('The Dark Knight'). Playing an icon is pretty hard to do. Stealing scenes from Christian 'Good For Youuuuu!!!' Bale is almost impossible. Making Jack Nicholson look like Les Dennis doing Panto is frankly miraculous. The best thing in one of the best films of last year.
For me this is the big one. As an aspiring screenwriter (read: lonely man that sits in his pants all day) this is the award that one day will sit on my shelf alongside my 'Movie Geek 08' and 'Best Projectionist 06' fake Oscars. Previous Winners include 'Citizen Kane', 'Butch Cassidy', 'Annie Hall', 'Pulp Fiction' - in other words its the one people seem to know what they're talking about when they vote.
Who I Think Will Win: Dustin Lance Black ('Milk'). Purely because I don't see 'Milk' getting many other wins and the Academy does like to be fair. Also his name was the last thing on the trailer in BIG FUCK OFF LETTERS. This may have been a very subtle marketing ploy. 'In Bruges' and 'Happy-Go-Lucky' both deserve their nods, but the Brit split vote may damage both, as could the fact that nobody has seen them. Same goes for 'Frozen River'. I haven't seen that and last year I watched 189 films in the cinema. Because the people on the screen are my only real friends...
Who I Want To Win: Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter ('WALL-E'). I absolutely adore that stupid little robot and every little thing he does. This is mainly thanks to some of the best silent comedy this side of Keaton or Chaplin. That 'WALL-E' remains one of the funniest films of the year despite being un-quotable (save the odd bad 'WALL-E' impression) is worthy of the highest praise in the land.
Aw bless. Its the one where the women get all emotional and start to cry and remind us men that we are in fact the superior species. Who's going to make me feel incredibly uncomfortable for two minutes while they drown the orchestra in tears this year?
Who I Think Will Win: Kate Winslet ('The Reader'). Always the bridesmaid, Kate has been nominated five times previously. This alone would be enough to give her the sympathy vote, but the Golden Globe speech should have sealed the deal. Going against Meryl Streep is also a tricky task considering she shits an Oscar everyday before breakfast. Angelina would scare me into voting for her just by looking at me. As for Melissa Leo in 'Frozen River'... What is this bloody film?
Who I Want To Win: Anne Hathaway ('Rachel Getting Married'). Technically I haven't actually seen this film but I love Anne Hathaway. If she wins the film might come back to a cinema near me and then I can see it. That fair? Yeah?! I don't care. I love Anne Hathaway. If she was nominated for 'Get Smart' I'd vote for her.
For the first time in a long time the nominations for Best Actor are all Oscar Virgins except Sean Penn (Brad got a supporting nom but I'm trying to make a point). Where's 12 time nominated Jack?! Sadly this year Jack Nicholson hasn't been nominated. But he'll still be there in the front row wearing sunglasses with a girl half his age. At least he better be.
Who I Think Will Win: Sean Penn ('Milk'). Having already been nominated for a criminal on death row, a cop and two disableds, unless he was going to play a woman, going 'gay for pay' was Sean's only move to win another statue. I fear the fear of Mickey turning the airwaves blue will cost him the win amongst those oh-so precious Academy members. Brad does have the 'weird affliction' thing going for him, but again no OTT scenes to show him 'acting'. Frank Langella was great as Nixon (not quite as good as my Nixon impression, ask me, its great) but Sheen was better. And Richard Jenkins in 'The Visitor' was *cough* *splutter* didn't see it... move along.
Who I Want To Win: Mickey Rourke ('The Wrestler'). Come on you fuckers! Let him fucking win and fucking swear and fucking fuck whoever Jack Nicholson has brought along. Can you imagine those two out on the pull? Women wouldn't stand a chance. They could get bitches pregnant just by lifting up their sunglasses.
The award for the man who shouts at people lots. Well it used to be with James Cameron and Roman Polanski, but I'd imagine Ron Howard and Danny Boyle are all calm and nice to people and shit. Pussies! Bring back directors who treat actors like cattle.
Who I Think Will Win: David Fincher ('The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button'). I'm going out on a limb here. Against all the form guide. But that's me - I'm Sarah Palin, I'm Mel Gibson, I'm 'bleeding' Spartacus. Everyone says Danny Boyle has this in the bag but I think the Academy will rightly recognise that 'Slumdog' had a certain choas to it, albeit one that worked, whereas Fincher's 'Button' was pushed (nice pun!!!) in all the right directions. As for Gus Van Sant, Ron Howard and Stephen Daldry, they all seem to be breeding contempt.
Who I Want To Win: David Fincher ('The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button').
While he should have won for 'Seven', 'Fight Club' and 'Zodiac' (fuck it I'd give it to him for 'Alien3' and 'The Game') the real reason I want him to win is to see if he just turns around and shoves the award up the presenter's arse. Nobody can give less of a fuck at winning this award than last year's winners, the almighty Coen Brothers (if somebody offered them naked pictures of Mariyln Monroe legs-a-kimbo they'd probably take them without a thank you) but if anyone can be less humble it's David Fincher. Go David!
This is all a bit silly really. Best Film. How do you possibly quantify that? For that matter how do you give prizes in anything to do with art? No, No. This is just stupid. It simply won't do. What's the point in all this really. Really?! Well I'm glad I noticed this after writing for nigh on two hours.
Who I Think Will Win: 'Slumdog Millionaire'. 'Frost/Nixon' is too 'stagey' (we're talking film here, lets blow stuff up). 'Milk' is too 'biopicy' (that train has left). 'The Reader' too 'holocausty' (Jewish suffering no longer en vogue). 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' is too good (despite what numpty (here says). So 'Slumdog' will walk it. So it is written.
Who I Want To Win. 'WALL-E'. Nobody has truly deserved the Best Picture Oscar since, well, last year with 'No Country For Old Men', but before that it had been ages and as 'WALL-E' is the only real choice and it's not even nominated. 'Slumdog' can have it for all I care. Then I can moan for weeks on end and bore everyone to tears with the injustices of the world.
In summation, I don't care who wins as long as the cinematographer for 'The Dark Knight' gets a mention. When they announced his name at the Baftas I shat myself laughing and fell off my chair. To find out why click here.