The Oscars eat chode less than usual this year

By Jesse Sawyer

The degree to which I loathe the Oscars is on par with the sort of unbridled contempt that most people reserve for killers of children and taxation without representation. I may watch them, begrudgingly, and I probably spend gratuitous amounts of time reading previews and recaps of the event, but I do so for the same reason I sometimes get drunk and watch Bill O’Reilly: I like to be angry at the television. It is a safe and contained venue for the many internal rages that build up inside of me. When I shout and launch empty beer cans at Tom Hanks reading his scripted self-congratulatory shit-spiel, I’m not just attacking poor Tom; I’m lashing out at my unreliable e-mail service, the wine stain on my shirt, and the fact that I will never make out with Parker Posey. Basically, I’m confronting the overarching imbalance in the universe that inexorably slants everything against me.

It’s essentially the same masochistic drive that keeps sports fans glued to their home team’s games even in the deepest pits of a losing season. Curse the quarterback when he throws an interception; shout obscene remarks at Gwyneth Paltrow when she deadpans some unfunny remark about naming her child ‘Apple,’ before handing the award off to a post-prime wankfest like Gangs of New York.
That said, the films nominated this year are serious, more complex than past nominees and signal Hollywood’s return to an embrace of liberal politics. Sure, they are still missing out on instant classic Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City, Tommy Lee Jones’ directorial debut The Three Burials of Melguiades Estrada, Jeff Daniels in The Squid and the Whale, and the hilarious post-modern brilliance of Kung-Fu Hustle, but, really, the nominees aren’t damn bad. Although, isn’t it tragic that a film as good as Miranda July’s Me and You and Everyone We Know wasn’t even considered for an award? Anyway, here are the picks:
Supporting Actor
Will Win: Probably George Clooney in Syriana, as much for the performance as for his outstanding year with Good Night and Good Luck and being the face of the New Hollywood.

Should Win: Clooney, for the same reasons.

Supporting Actress
Will Win: Rachel Weisz, for The Constant Gardner
Should Win: Did you see Amy Adams in Junebug? Neither did I, but I heard she’s incredible.
Best Actor
Will Win; Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote
Should Win: Hoffman; The performance was easily the best acting job of the year. Hoffman WAS the film, absolutely spellbinding in every way.

Best Actress
Will Win: Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line
Should Win: Judi Dench in Mrs. Henderson Presents
Best Directing
Will Win: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Should Win: I’d personally love to see Clooney take this home for Good Night and Good Luck, but it just isn’t gonna happen.

Best Picture
Will Win: I’m gonna go with Crash, a thought that leaves an empty sad feeling in my soul.

Should Win: And the reason for that empty sad feeling is this: Capote was my favorite, but Brokeback Mountain needs to win it. If the Academy retreats from Brokeback’s sexuality into the safer issue of race explored by Crash, it fails to recognize the capstone of a year in which homosexuality broke into mainstream film consciousness. A vote for Brokeback functions as a vote for the alternative sexualites portrayed in Capote and TransAmerica as well, and that vote is needed urgently in today’s cultural-political climate.