The Alternative Oscars

22 Feb

Here in this post, we (and the march 2011 issue of Esquire Magazine – the one with Liam Neeson on the cover) are making up for all that the academy ignores: the villainy, the sex, the other severed limbs – and the, uh, acting…

 

Beard of The YearJeff Bridges’s

Ever since its breakthrough role – coated in White Russian in The Big Lebowski – Jeff Bridges’s beard has been his most expressive instrument. On Rooster Cogburn (True Grit), it reeked of whiskey, tobacco, and life experience. And in Tron: Legacy, it was a testament to his character’s humanity, a contrast to his eerily smooth-cheeked digital avatar.

Future Best ActorAaron Johnson

Artist-director Sam Taylor-Wood took a gamble when she entrusted the 20-year-old Johnson with the daunting role of young John Lennon in Nowhere Boy, in which he turned in one of the best biopic performances of all time. (Later, she would get engaged to him and have his child.) Then the makers of Kick-Ass cast Johnson as the world’s scrawniest superhero. Beneath his downy, adolescent exterior seems to lurk the weathered spirit of a Johnny Depp or a Daniel Day-Lewis, with commensurate awards to come.

 

Most Unnecessary Technical Virtuosity In a Comedy or MusicalThe Other Guys

The superfluous but masterful montage in the otherwise straightforward buddy comedy The Other Guys, in which scenes of orgiastic debauchery at a bar are frozen in time as the camera moves freely through them Matrix-style.


Most Unnecessary Technical Virtuosity in a DramaThe Social Network

Casting one guy, Armie Hammer, to play the Winkelvoss twins when, presumably, a real-life pair of twin actors would have worked just fine.

2010 Special Award for Achievement in ProfanityColin Firth, The King’s Speech

“Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuckin’, fuck, fuck, fuckin’, fuck. Bugger, bugger, buggedy, buggedy, fuck, fuck, arse, balls, balls, fuckety, shit, fuckin’ willy, willy, shit, and fuck.  And tits.”

Best Special EffectUnstoppable

In the age of computer imagery, director Tony Scott realized that the best way to make it look like you derailed a train is to derail a train.

Most Convincing LesbianJulianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right

Moore’s two takes on homosexual attraction – one torrid and illicit, the other domestic and well-worn – couldn’t have been more different or more effective.

Villain of the YearMark Strong

Mark Strong looks like the evil version of that other guy, who, in case you’re wondering, is either Andy Garcia or Stanley Tucci. His villainy is elastic, a function of his multipurpose, vaguely Mediterranean ethnicity. (His father was Italian and his mother was Austrian.) Strong can play everyone: Arabs, Eastern Europeans…he topped himself last year, playing a traitorous English knight (Robin Hood), a ruthless Italian-American mob boss (Kick-Ass), and a lily-livered Russian windbag (The Way Back). He brought humility to all those performances. Not that his characters were humble – quite the opposite – but it takes a certain self-effacement to seek the humanity in the most wretched evildoers.

 

Best Leonardo DiCaprio Movie About DreamsShutter Island

Unlike the clinical logic of the dreams in Inception, Leo’s tormented, surrealistic nightmares in the overlooked Scorsese film are actually dreamlike.

Best Supporting NonagenarianEli Wallach

His performances this year – in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and The Ghost Writer – were short but in no way cameos. As sharp opposite Josh Brolin and Ewan McGregor as he was opposite Clark Gable and Steve McQueen.

 

Least Erotic CunnilingusRyan Gosling and Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Even if you think you’d enjoy watching a miserable man go down on his miserable wife in a kitschy motel room in a last-ditch attempt to save their once beautiful but now disintegrating marriage, you won’t.

 

Judge Reinhold Award for Achievement in Masturbation

By a Male – Zach Galifianakis, Due Date

By a Female – Natalie Portman, Black Swan

 

Best DocumentaryJackass 3D

The most fascinating examination this year of a man’s courage, stupidity and genitals.

 

Best Comedic Performance By a NewcomerSean Combs, Get Him To The Greek

He steals most of the honest laughs in his scenes. Either he was making it all up, in which case he’s a much better actor than we thought, or he was playing himself, in which case he’s a jackass.

Best Movie Nobody SawAnimal Kingdom

Take The Godfather, reserve all twisted notions of family loyalty but rinse off the sepia tone and discard any sense that there’s honor and glamor in crime. Replace Italian-American stereotypes with naturalistic Australian grit. Add Aussie actress Jackie Weaver’s brilliant performance as the clan’s saccharine-voiced but ruthless matriarch.

The New Jack Black, Seth Rogen, Johnah HillJosh Gad

As the sarcastic but lovable pudgy roommate in Love and Other Drugs.

The New Chris Farley, Will Ferrell, Zach GalifianakisCharlie Day

As the alarmingly unhinged roommate in Going The Distance.

Best Line in a Bad ScriptJeff Bridges, Tron: Legacy

“Every idea man’s ever had about the universe suddenly up for grabs…bio-digital jazz, man.”

Least Expendable ExpendableDolph Lundgren

The most generous thing you can say about the expendables is that by casting all of those over-the-hill ’80s action heroes, director Sylvester Stallone was intentionally going for that era’s good-bad cheesiness. Lundgren was the only one who didn’t seem to get the irony of it all – and who therefore succeeded in recapturing that spirit.

Best Black ComedyFour Lions

Chris Morris’s farce about inept suicide bombers in England is a hybrid brand of comedy – at once broad slapstick and upsettingly dark and relevant satire – not seen since Dr. Strangelove. It’s also the first movie yet to have truly humanized terrorists. Which is what makes it so terrifying.

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