Every year, the Oscars come along, and it becomes more evident that the Oscars are the worst live event on television. Other award shows are smart enough to jettison technical categories, get the nominees shitfaced, and encourage poor wardrobe choices. Meanwhile, these things are still as self-important as ever and staged like the second night of a fucking political convention. It is the final, tiresome act of an increasingly crowded award season that doesn't need to exist. Only in Hollywood would they have a SEASON—an entire swath of the calendar—reserved for stars getting together to blow each other.
And not only does this season exist, but entertainment journalists will actually refer to this season as a grind, and will do so with a straight face. In other words, here is an industry that blows itself so much that it gets tired of blowing itself, but then continues to blow itself, and then blows itself for surviving all those days and nights of blowing itself.
This is why Oscar Night represents the one night every year in which I turn full-blooded Republican, instead of being my usual hypocritical liberal self. ("They should really reform the prison system … OMG THEY WANNA BUILD A HALFWAY HOUSE TWO BLOCKS AWAY I DON'T WANT THOSE CRACKIES IN MY BACKYARD SOMEONE GET A PETITION!") Fuck these self-aggrandizing liberal dipshits. I hope every last one of them gets electrocuted charging up a Nissan Leaf. VOTE BUSH 2016.
Anyway, as we do every year, let's take a moment to say absolutely horrible things about all of the nominated movies and actors and actresses. Keep in mind that since ignorance is the necessary fuel for any good Hater's Guide, I have only seen four of the eight nominated films listed below. Frankly, four is probably too many. I should have seen zero. I shouldn't have even watched the trailers. Your host this year is Doogie Stinson:
Will there be musical numbers? Oh, there will be musical numbers. Horrible, horrible musical numbers. Let's do this. As always, beware of potential SPOILERS …
Whiplash. It's just an episode of House, but with shitty jazz music. Everyone dumped on Backstrom for being House, but Whiplash is House, too. From the yelling to the mind games to the victimized student who just HAS to prove himself to his surrogate daddy to the completely unrealistic extremes to which the dickhead boss' methods are tolerated by his underlings to the idea that greatness can only be unlocked with a hearty mix of abuse and cruelty ... that's pure Laurie, right there. And the presence of Paul Reiser undermines the legitimacy of the whole affair.
Also, no concession-stand girl is that hot. Total bullshit.
American Sniper. More like American Humblebragger, AM I RIGHT? Here was every scene of American Sniper:
SOLDIER 1: "Bro, was that the 90th baby you shot?"
CHRIS KYLE: "[Super humble] Aw, shucks, I dunno."
SOLDIER 2: "Dude! You just tagged your 100th street vendor! You get free tickets to Lady Antebellum for that!"
CHRIS KYLE: "[Kicks dirt] Just doin' my job, I reckon."
SOLDIER 3: "Are you Sergeant Kyle? Hoo, boy, my platoon was in deep shit until you dropped an anvil on that special-needs child holding a wheelbarrow full of C4!"
CHRIS KYLE: "[Shakes head] I ain't no hero."
Finally, a war movie that says that war is good, and that war has closure so long as you ice the sniper on the other team, and that you can TOTALLY shake off PTSD if you just, like, go out into the woods with a couple of crippled vets and fire some guns. GUNS: IS THERE ANYTHING THEY CAN'T DO?!
By the way, a galactic FUCK YOU to this movie for inspiring four billion thinkpieces from the Problem Internet. I just came for the sniping, man. I didn't ask for all these takes.
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance). Here's a shock for you: One of the Oscar frontrunners this year is a movie about movies. I know! I can't believe it either. God forbid they honor a film that is not explicitly about the filmmaking process.
One other thing: This movie's subtitle can go straight to hell. Why is the or not in parentheses as well? It sounds like the proper title of the movie is supposed to be Birdman Or. I think Birdman was a fine title on its own. You didn't need to actively drive people away by including an impossibly pretentious alternate title. It's like having Bono name your movie.
The Grand Budapest Hotel. Oh, hey, it's Wes Anderson using production money to create a human dollhouse again. Not at ALL creepy. I really like how the unrelenting whimsy of any Wes Anderson movie completely deprives it of anything resembling realistic human drama. OOPS! JEFF GOLDBLUM GOT HIS FINGERS CHOPPED OFF AND WAS MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD! Adorable.
Again, this movie has not one, but TWO framing devices. As if filming one of his precious dioramas wasn't enough, Anderson had to nestle it inside two OTHER dioramas. Ten years from now, Anderson will win Best Director for shooting a five-second short on an old Nickelodeon and bracketing it inside seven different Victorian-era caper films.
I was at a party once and got trapped in a conversation with two Wes Anderson fanboys, and they kept referring to all of his movies in shorthand. So it was like, "Bro, Aquatic is secretly better than Moonrise." By the end of the night, I wanted them both killed. I may have issues.
Boyhood. I don't need three hours to watch a child age. All I need is four minutes:
BOOM. Done. Crying UNLOCKED. I get all of the crying with none of the Ethan Hawke. I win. Don't go handing out the Oscar to a longform AT&T ad.
Selma. "Whoa, hey, didn't we give all the Oscars to the black movie LAST year? We can't do that two years in a row! Now they're just being greedy." By the way, I know the real reason that Selma got hosed: OPRAH. I don't trust any movie that has Oprah in it. Not Selma. Not Beloved. Not Lee Daniels' The Butler Presented By Oprah Brought to You by Maybelline. Any time Oprah appears in a movie, it is a deliberate attempt by Oprah to insert herself into critical moments in world history. I'm surprised she didn't play fucking Moses in Exodus. One day my kid's gonna bring home a history book, and it will say that Oprah was the one who discovered radium. Fuck Oprah eternally.
The Imitation of Everything. Is this the Hawking one?
The Theory Game. No wait, it's this one. Definitely. Do both of these movies feature a character who stutters? Such a shame that these two will end up splitting the "Slight British character piece that's just inoffensive enough for everyone to enjoy" award.
By the way, you will notice that none of these movies are Snowpiercer, which renders the entire category null and void.
Michael Keaton. Only in Hollywood can you have a heartwarming "comeback" after, like, just chilling out for a few years. Michael Keaton has spent the past decade sitting on a mountain of gold kruggerands, vacationing in the Seychelles, and doing the occasional voiceover job. It's not like he went to prison or anything. And this entire movie is meta-commentary on how hard it is to be someone who got to play fucking BATMAN. Batman! That is strictly a showbiz problem. Everyone wants to be Batman. That's no burden. You know how much I'd pay to be Batman in a movie? At least three dollars. This is an even less dramatic comeback than when Mickey Rourke came back from being a psychotic asshole, only to remind everyone that he is still a psychotic asshole.
And every time an actor comes back for some critically adored prestige project, they always make it sound like he opted out of acting for a while just because he was picky about good roles. Dude, this guy was in Jack Frost. He ain't that picky. Let's not give him an Oscar for having such imaginary good taste.
Eddie Redmayne. Finally, someone nailed the Stephen Hawking origin story. I don't know about you, but when he gets in that chair and you hear the robot voice boot up … CHILLS DOWN THE SPINE, GANG. It's just how I imagined it from the Frank Miller comic. I hope they don't reboot the Hawking franchise with Andrew Garfield six years from now. That would be a waste.
By the way, would it kill Hollywood to produce a biopic that isn't one extended lie? They'll mangle any biography, and not even for the sake of juicy storytelling. Hawking's second wife was investigated for physically abusing him. THAT IS NOT BORING. And yet, it gets left out. Shit, there are 5,000 amazing psycho tidbits about Chris Kyle that they left out of American Sniper. If they made a biopic about John Lennon, they'd probably change the ending and have him retiring to Florida. It makes no sense.
Bradley Cooper. You know damn well that he loved bulking up and putting on that crazy sniper equipment. Look at all this cool shit:
He's got a rifle, a handgun, a utility vest with all kinds of cool pockets, a beard … that costume is a 10-year-old's wet dream. You don't get an Oscar for looking COOLER than you actually are. In 20 years, Cooper will win an Oscar for his gritty performance in Sniperman, an inside-Hollywood story about a man who gets stereotyped for always playing kickass war heroes.
Steve Carell. You get bonus Oscar points if you are a normally funny person who decides to be BRAVE and DARING and play a serious role. Look at Bill Murray in Lost in Translation. I'm not even sure he talked in that movie. He just looked sad. BOOM, Oscar frontrunner. Same thing here. Give the 40-year-old virgin an ugly nose and a monotone voice, and suddenly critics are like MY GOD WHAT A REVELATION. Critics are the only people who profess to be surprised when a talented movie star does something a talented movie star ought to be able to do. Just be a funny guy playing serious or a normal actor singing, and you can clear off your trophy shelf.
Benedict Cumberbatch. Hey, this movie is A Beautiful Mind! It's the same goddamn movie! It even has a motivational catchphrase that gets repeated three times. Is "Morten Tyldum" Elvish for "Ron Howard"?
Felicity Jones. Who is this? Is this Keri Russell? Does she have the long hair again? This lady isn't winning.
Julianne Moore. Good Lord, this is a fallow category. I think Hollywood has a special charity fund that they dig into every year just so that they can produce enough low-budget indies to ensure that there are actually five eligible Best Actress nominees. Like Philomena last year. Or The Reader. Those movies existed somehow. I wonder if their negatives have dissolved already.
Anyway, after a career of playing crazy naked people, Julianne Moore is finally gonna win an Oscar thanks to this movie, which is about a woman who gets Alzheimer's and slowly spirals into decay OH JESUS CHRIST WHY WOULD ANYONE WATCH THAT WHERE'S MY DVD OF IRON MAN 2? It's an immutable law that you will win an Oscar so long as you portray an affliction that NO ONE wants to actually see portrayed on screen: dementia, butt cancer, Venezuelan Tree Disease, etc.
By the way, Moore can win all the Oscars she likes. She'll still be most famous for doing the world's worst Boston accent on camera:
I hate Boston, and even I'm offended by that accent.
Rosamund Pike. Finally, the movie that tells it like it is: That women are fucking LUNATICS, and if you marry one, she will turn ice cold, bankrupt you, drive you into the arms of another woman, fake her death, frame you for her murder, and then blackmail you into taking her back, trapping you in an existential psycho-marriage hell for the rest of your existence. Just like my Reddit thread warned me!
(Seriously though, women roll their eyes any time you tell them that you once dated a crazy woman, but it's a 1,000-percent true. Every man alive has dated at least one woman who is literally crazy, and women NEVER believe you when you tell them that. "Oh, you're just being sexist." No, dude. You're not listening. She really did attack me with a paring knife.)
Reese Witherspoon. She can win her second Oscar on Sunday night, but she will never give a more convincing performance than she did in this video. I AM A U.S. CITIZEN AND I HAVE A RIGHT TO STAND ON AMERICAN GROUND AND ASK ANY QUESTION I WANT TO ASK! It's good to know that underneath all those accolades and producing credits, Reese is still an SEC sorority chair who isn't afraid to get in a cop's face because Daddy is a lawyer.
Marion Cotillard. Look, she already won this award for ONE unwatchable foreign movie. She's not winning for two of them.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Ethan Hawke. I don't wanna live in a world where Ethan Hawke—your childhood friend who moved to L.A., became an actor/screenwriter, and turned insufferable, but you don't have the heart to tell him—has his career validated with an Oscar. Ethan Hawke should be the only person who takes Ethan Hawke seriously. Is that REALLY his name? Ethan Hawke is a pen name that Ethan Hawke would totally invent for himself. R0ughly 99 out of 100 American men would give anything to punch Ethan Hawke in the face. He's one of our most punchable stars.
Edward Norton. I also don't want to live in a world where Edward Norton has his career validated by winning an Oscar. Ed Norton is already a crazy asshole who will walk onto any movie set and rewrite not only his dialogue, but also everyone else's. "This script is a nice first pass, Mister Spielberg. But I have some notes." Imagine trying to explain to this pretentious ass that he was hired strictly to be a word puppet, and that should keep his script revisions to himself. I bet he would turn into the Hulk. A low-rent Hulk, like the one he played in the movie. Speaking of Hulks …
Mark Ruffalo. Everyone's favorite Hulk. They should give him a trophy for Best Hulk just so I can watch Norton brood. Anyway, Hulk Ruffalo in his Foxcatcher costume looks an awful lot like pro-wrestling legend Rick Steiner ...
If they give Ruffalo an Oscar, they better damn well make him split it with the Dog-Faced Gremlin. The dark facial hair, the alarmingly narrow singlet straps … this is no mere coincidence.
JK Simmons. Again, he was House. They could make a Whiplash TV show and have Simmons berate his neophyte band members for an hour every week, and it would probably draw 10 million viewers every time. Hell, I would watch it. Did you know that Simmons was already trained in music before he took this role? Not much of a challenge, if you ask me. Have him play Jackie Robinson. Now that's an Oscar-worthy stretch.
Also, there is a nonzero chance that Farmers Insurance will pay Simmons $500,000 to sing the Farmer's jingle during his acceptance speech. Two days of furious industry backlash for a cool half a million? I might risk it.
Robert Duvall.The Judge was a fucking terrible movie that no one liked, and I bet even Duvall is embarrassed that he got nominated for this. When it comes time to play the money clip during the show, they should just throw in a clip of Duvall as Tom Hagen instead. By the way, Robert Duvall is an Argentinaphile and married a lady from Argentina who is a full four decades younger than he is …
Is it possible to be both admiring of Duvall and completely grossed out by him at the same time? I've seen Robert Duvall attempt to kiss people onscreen. It looks like a bear mauling a helpless victim.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette. I'm fine with this being a retroactive Oscar for Arquette for her performance as Alabama Worley in True Romance. You're so cool … you're so cool… you're so cool … I mean, look at how brutal this fight scene is. I don't think anyone has ever been thrown through a glass shower door as convincingly. Does Arquette fly through a shower door in Boyhood? She ought to. Does she put a corkscrew through Ethan Hawke's foot in Boyhood? Again, she ought to. Does Drexl Spivey show up in Boyhood, demanding to know where his bitch is? He ought to. I'm just saying: Boyhood would have been better if it had been True Romance 2: Bodybags.
Laura Dern. Are there dinosaurs in Wild? Again, here is another movie that would be radically improved if it were another movie. One with dinosaurs. And with Laura Dern looking convincingly afraid of those dinosaurs.
Emma Stone. Did you see her Rosanne Roseannadanna impression on Sunday night? They didn't even give her a new script. She just recited the old Gilda Radner routine line for line. It didn't make any goddamn sense. I felt awkward watching it, and I blame Emma Stone for that discomfort.
Anyway, like Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone seems to be completely accessible and friendly even though you, Mr. Moviegoer, don't know her at all. She could be a complete bag of shit for all I know. Or she could be a GHOST. She's very pale. She needs to eat more beta carotene: carrots, sweet potatoes, etc.
Keira Knightley. Got a small-scale European period piece that the general population won't want to watch? Need a lass who knows how to stay plucky in a repressive setting? Well then, here's your gal: Atonement, Anna Karenina, A Dangerous Method, The Duchess, The Edge of Love, etc. In fact, I have taken the liberty of planning out the next decade of Keira Knightley movie titles for you:
* The Dowry
* The Governduchess
* The Commoner
* The Cobbless
* The Maiden
* The IRISH Maiden
* Nigella Howley
* Endless, Horrible Regret
* The Hours 2!
* 'Ello, Poppet
* Francis Works The Loom
* War and Yearning
* The Mayonnaise Sisters
* The Thackery Years
* Fancy a Fuck?
Meryl Streep. Have you seen Into the Woods? Don't see Into the Woods. I am never adequately prepared for how musical musicals are. Everyone sing-argues through the whole thing. Why can't they just talk-argue and save the singing for later? Streep also sings out all of her exposition. Johnny Depp leers at a little girl and basically sings about raping her, which is subversive because … I guess because it's a musical? So long as you sing about child rape, it's mere whimsy, I guess. Broadway makes no sense to me. FACT: Actors enjoy being in musicals 100 times more than you enjoy watching them in musicals. It's like filming an updated resume for them.
Anyway, there are your major Oscar nominees. Watch on Sunday night as they try to look excited giving the same exact speech they've given for the past eight award shows. The Oscars should be dropped into a volcano.
Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also order Drew's book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.
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