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The Academy Awards: Which Movies Will Win, Which Should Win, and Which I'll Probably Get Around To Watching

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Long after everyone has forgotten about Dallas Buyers Club and Nebraska, I'll still be re-watching Thor. Just sayin'.

Of course, you can't really judge movies against each other. I mean, you can compare Rocky 2 with Rocky 3. (Rocky 3 was better. Mr. T adds 1.5 stars to any movie in which he appears.) But Pulp Fiction was a perfect film unto itself. And Mary Poppins was a perfect film unto itself. It is impossible to objectively prove one movie to be "better" than the other. "I double dare you motherf**ker, say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious one more God**mn time!"

Let me explain. The Denver Broncos played the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Nobody knew who was going to win. People made predictions. Regis Philbin picked Denver. But nobody actually knew who would win the game. It hadn't been played yet. And after the game was over, everyone agreed that the Seahawks won the game... at least I assume Seattle won; I was asleep by the third quarter.

But the Academy Awards are meaningless. Well, okay, they're not "meaningless." They give Joan Rivers something to do. But because a movie wins "Best Picture" does not mean it's the best picture. It just means that within an organization of about 5800 voting members, one movie received more votes than another. I don't trust Jeff Goldblum to name the best car of the year. So why would I care what he thinks is the best film of the year? (Okay, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does not publicly disclose its membership. But Jeff Goldblum must be a member, right? I mean, Jurassic Park! Hello!)

The Big Lebowski, Scarface, Best of Show, A Christmas Story, The Princess Bride... all modern classics. None of those films were even nominated for best picture. But Michael Clayton, a crappy George Clooney lawyer movie, was. Do you remember Michael Clayton? No? I saw it. I remember a car blowing up near the end of the movie, or maybe it was closer to the beginning of the picture, or maybe it wasn't a car. Anyway, that's all I remember about the movie. And George Clooney played a good guy or a bad guy or something.

One of my favorite movies of all time, Lost In Translation, lost the "Best Picture" award to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Was the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made up of my high school audio visual club that year? I assume the Academy is made up of an eclectic sample of people. So you're telling me that middle-aged women voted for The Lord of the Rings? My mom watched the first five minutes of The Lord of the Rings and said, "Hobbits? What the hell is this sh*t?"

The first film to win "Best Picture" -- actually, back then it was technically called "Outstanding Picture," but they presumably changed the name after Crash won the big one, and nobody thought Crash was outstanding -- was called Wings, in 1927. It's still on my Netflix queue ("long wait"). The other nominated movies that year were The Racket and Seventh Heaven. You've never head of those films. But somewhere in the country, a very old film fanatic is still thinking, "Seventh Heaven was robbed."

But let's get on with the show. And the winner is...

SOUND EDITING

Let's start with the big one, "sound editing." I have to be honest. I caught a lot of movies this year. And the sound editing was always pretty good. At this point, you'd think that all the film studios have the sound editing process pretty much down pat. To save time, can't the Academy Awards telecast just open the show with a shout-out to the "sound editing" industry in general? "Hey -- the movies sound great. You guys are all doing a heck of a job. Now let's get to the actual movie stars, which is the only reason why people are watching us right now."

Nevertheless, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is nominated. Geez, again with the hobbits. What am I not getting?

Plus, I'm worried that if The Hobbit wins, it will open the floodgate for movies with "Smaug" in the title.

Gravity will probably sweep all the technical categories. It's ironic, though, since "gravity" itself is not high-tech science. Even the people of Kansas accept gravity as true science... though they believe it's only 5000 years old.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Jennifer Lawrence, in American Hustle, should win an award for "most miscast actress." Am I the only one who noticed she was 10 years too young for the part? I know that an actress's career in Hollywood is pretty much over by the time she hits 30, but can't they at least give the role of a 30-year-old woman to an actress who is, oh, I don't know, 30?!

We still love Jennifer Lawrence, though.

Lupita Nyong'o will probably win for 12 Years A Slave. I haven't seen the film yet. But she's pretty and I like saying her name.

Julia Roberts is nominated for August: Osage County. It's kind of a pretentious title. I'm not going to see that film. If I want to watch vengeful family members criticizing each other, I'd have dinner with Queen Elizabeth and her offspring.

Boy, Pretty Woman was an insane movie. Julia Roberts played a prostitute, selling her body to rich corporate a-hole Richard Gere. This is not a sweet romance; this is a tragic social problem. And suddenly, at the end of the film, George Costanza goes from being comic relief to a sexual predator. This is a comedy?

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

I liked Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips. Is he actually an actor, though? I get the sense that he looked right for the part, so they hired him. Honestly, I'm not even sure he knew he was acting. I suspect that if you take any Somalia pirate and tell him to go rob Tom Hanks, and you film it, you've got yourself an Oscar-worthy performance.

But at least Abdi is not a child. I can't stand when they give Academy Awards to children. Here's some advice to all you Academy members out there. You never want to remind people that children can do your job just as good as you can. That's why Joe Biden never lets pre-schoolers sit in his chair.

Jonah Hill is nominated for The Wolf of Wall Street. I'm waiting for the DVD. I didn't want to see that movie in the theater. I mean, three hours of rich jerks doing coke? Sounds like the time I took a tour of Dartmouth.

But the winner will probably be... eh, how should I know? USA Today usually picks these things accurately. So I put my money on whoever they pick.

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

I don't care if Matthew McConaughey wins or not. No award will ever take away the suffering I went through watching How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. Ughh! I mean... ughh!! He should use his Oscar to strike whoever convinced him to star in that cinematic crime.

I hope Nebraska's Bruce Dern doesn't win because he'll have lots of other chances to be nominated. His career is barely getting started.

Do you remember the Chiwetel Ejiofor part in Love, Actually? His wife was being stalked by his creepy best friend. Great movie, but those scenes were a bit out of place. But what really dragged the film down was the Emma Thompson segment. Geez, when I heard she was going to be in a movie called Saving Mr. Banks, in which she was going to play an angry shrew ruining everyone's good time, I just assumed she was reprising her role for a Love, Actually sequel.

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Everyone says Cate Blanchett will win for Blue Jasmine. I enjoyed the movie. I enjoy most Woody Allen movies. Wasn't a big fan of the Italian one, though. Anyway, a lot was written about Andrew "Dice" Clay appearing in the film. But was that Ali, from the Bachelorette, in that one scene? I'm not joking. I think Ali the Bachelorette was in a Woody Allen movie. What has this world come to?! It was a good film, though. And I liked Ali's season of The Bachelorette, too. But this season? That Juan Pablo is a real dunce.

Who else is nominated? Oh, Meryl Street and Judi Dench? Yeah, they're pretty good.

BEST PICTURE

I saw American Hustle in the theater with two friends. Mike kept whispering, "Is this movie ever going to end?" Answer: no. And Christian Bale's character suddenly, out of nowhere, completely changes his personality about halfway through the film. And you can beat up your FBI boss without repercussions?

I didn't see Nebraska. And I'm boycotting Kansas. Director Alexander Payne made the brilliant About Schmidt. But he also directed the overrated The Descendants. An Academy Award for best screenplay? That movie was like a 90-minute episode of Three's Company.

Gravity
is getting a lot of buzz. And they say it looks spectacular. I'm looking forward to watching it on my iPhone.

I liked Her. I mean, I haven't seen the actual movie. But I saw the episode of The Big Bang Theory with the same plot. That Raj is a hoot.

I'm looking forward to watching 12 Years A Slave. It's important that we never forget the evils of slavery. I'm glad they're making movies about the subject, about what really happened. Or, as Fox News calls it, "reverse-racism."

I've heard that some people think 12 Years A Slave is depressing. I don't know. I haven't seen it yet. Of course, the subject matter is depressing. But a good movie about a sad story is never as depressing as a bad movie about a happy one. And How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days made me want to jump off a bridge.