Oh hey, the Oscars are on Sunday night! And congratulations to America's celebrities for enduring another painfully long and arduous awards season. YOU POOR THINGS! Being shuttled from red carpet to red carpet, forced to wear nice clothes, asked the same dumb questions over and over again ("How's it feel to be nominated?") ... it's just such a grind, isn't it? Who has the energy to open ALL those goody bags?
Oscar season (and it is now referred to as a "season" with a straight face, specifically so that Andy Greenwald can make terrible sports analogies) is basically one long stretch of commiseration between stars and entertainment journalists, all of whom play along despite the fact that they know it's dumb and they hate participating and they ALL know that the entertainment industry is a human centipede of inanity deep throating more inanity. I bet 90 percent of all backstage conversations between stars is, "I'm so happy this is almost over," as if they just had to march to Lauenburg with a bayonet jammed between their shoulder blades.
This year's Oscars will be hosted by milquetoast elf puppet Ellen DeGeneres. When you want joke-like objects but don't want ACTUAL humor that might make anyone in the audience uncomfortable, Ellen's your woman. She's just like Jay Leno, only she's too pleasant to earn the mass scorn that Leno has dumped on him with regularity. You know who should host the Oscars? BANE. Fucking Bane should host them. No jokes. No attempt at currying the audience's favor. Just the constant threat of death and hostile takeover.
And what will King Joffrey be presiding over? An Oscar ceremony with the theme of "Heroes," which is just so specific, you know? Finally, protagonists will get the spotlight they've long deserved. I'm excited for next Oscar ceremony theme: COLORS. There are theme weeks at your local nursery school that have more nuance.
Anyway, it's time again to say horrible, awful things about every movie and actor nominated Sunday night. Except 12 Years a Slave because, hoo boy, make a joke about THAT movie and you are playing with knives, my friend. It's your Hater's Guide to the Oscars, so let's get hatin'! Please note that mild spoilers abound.
12 Years A Slave: This movie isn't winning Best Picture. I can guarantee it. And you know why I can guarantee it? Because people are cowards. Schindler's List made over $100 million and has been broadcast on network television unedited and without commercial interruption. Ditto Saving Private Ryan. And every installment of the Saw franchise mints a new fortune. Holy shit, are we fascinated by seeing white people killed. Kill them, torture them, mutilate them, have a white girl assaulted on SVU weekly—WE WILL BE THERE. Can't get enough of it. It's important to let white people know we support them in their time of suffering.
But ask people to watch a movie about slavery? "WHOA HEY THAT SOUNDS LIKE HOMEWORK! And, God, it just sounds so brutal, you know? I much prefer movies about race to congratulate me and my fellow white theatergoers on our broad-mindedness. Let's go watch fucking Crash instead."
Jesus Christ, America. You can at least try to not be so obvious.
(NOTE: I have not watched this movie. I'm no masochist.)
Dallas Buyer's Club: Because I think we can all get behind a movie that teaches us that the doctors who know the MOST are the ones selling unapproved meds down in Mexico. Screw that fancypants doctor you got back home, with his Harvard degree and his license to practice health care in your state. He's just gonna poison you with vaccines and shit! Much better to trust a coke-snorting rodeo clown who just unloaded 500 pounds of Dr. Yucatan's Vitamin G from the back of his Lincoln. That guy ... that guy knows his shit. I bet Jenny McCarthy gave this movie a 50-minute standing ovation. Regular doctors treat you like scum. But your Mexican herbalist? SECRET MAGIC BUTTERFLY CHAMBER.
The Wolf of Wall Street: I liked this movie much more back when it was called Boiler Room, mostly because it was shorter, and because shitbag con artists do not need to be painted in shades of gray.
American Hustle: Awww, it's the sweet story of a guy who rips people off but you should feel bad for him because his wife is a bitch and he only keeps going back to her because she has an insane body! THE POOR BASTARD. If only the Feds would, like, not ask him to do stuff, so he can keep his con money and go fuck his mistress in peace, nah mean?
Every few years, the hottest actors in the world get together and pay themselves to throw a '70s theme party, and American Hustle is one such party. Thankfully, there was so much big hair and loud screaming and quick cutting and WHOA DUDE LED ZEP ON THE SOUNDTRACK RAWK and people ALMOST fucking but not quite that I still haven't realized this movie wasn't all that great! Well done, J-Law and company.
Her: Guys, I think Spike Jonze has a problem with women, because if you ever make a movie where one of the female characters happens to be a bitch, it TOTALLY means you have issues with women. What other possible explanation could there be? I mean, it's not like there are actual women out there who are of questionable character. That's just a male superiorist fantasy construct. God, men are such dicks.
By the way, I do not want to live in a future where people can earn a living wage writing dead-tree letters for other people. Not only is that a completely fabricated movie job (I'm shocked Kate Hudson hasn't done this job in a movie yet), but it suggests a 22nd century hipster-led economy in which such retro boutique businesses are somehow viable, so much so that Joaquin Phoenix is just one of MANY people crafting horseshit notes on old parchment for other bearded assholes. No way that happens. If it does, I'll torch the globe.
Nebraska: This movie was fucking awful. I genuinely hated it. People are so used to Alexander Payne making good movies that they just lied to themselves after walking out of this pile of shit and convinced themselves it was awesome. It was not. It was like visiting relatives you hate in real time. I guarantee you that there were pretentious assholes in New York and L.A. who watched this movie and were like, Oh wow, these people are so REAL. They're REAL Americans, you know? They're so fat and boring and stupid ... and they NEVER comb their hair. That realness speaks to me, because I am a fucking poser. That's how this movie ended up on every top 10 list. How the fuck did American Hustle get a backlash and this movie got off scot free? We choose our backlashes poorly.
If I were from Nebraska, I would find Alexander Payne (who is from Nebraska and clearly thought he was flattering his home state even though he'll never live there again) and piss in his flowerbed. If you liked this movie, you were wrong. I know everyone has a right to an opinion, but not this time. You have no right to like this movie. You are hopelessly deluded, and I will send your brain to be cleansed. Were you aware that there are other movies out there in which things happen? In which time moves forward?
Gravity: Is there some sort of law that any new landmark moviemaking technological achievement must be done in service of a script written by a fucking 14-year-old? I bet it's called Cameron's Law. "Hey guys, let's spend a few years literally inventing a spaceship so that we can film a movie inside a spaceship. Oh, a script? Let the fucking coffee boy go write it. Stick a girl in there somewhere, and put her in a tank top. We've got thrusters to engineer from scratch!"
And how does the astro-debris not hit Sandra Bullock on the second pass? That debris had worse aim than the bad guys in Commando.
Captain Phillips: Hey guys, a few years ago, our entire naval fleet took on a band of four dirt-poor pirates floating around with a hostage in a piece-of-shit lifeboat. And I'm happy to report that, in true underdog fashion, we won! FUCK YEAH! AMERICA DEFIES THE ODDS ONCE AGAIN. All I know is that it's a good thing Captain Phillips was a white dude with a terrible Boston accent (I bet Ben Affleck watched this movie with his pants around his ankles). Because if it had been a movie about a black hostage, OH GEE WHIZ GUYS I DUNNO IF I CAN SIT THROUGH TWO HOURS OF THAT SORT OF THING. You don't have to be all up in my face with the ugliness of history, you know! Let me just read about it instead, and maybe skip the parts where people use guns and stuff.
Philomena: What is this? This came out in a theater? No, it didn't. You're full of shit. Every year, Hollywood has to whip up a fake movie like this one, or The Reader, or Love Field, so that they have enough roles to fill out the Best Actress category. Because in any given year, there are only three open jobs for working Hollywood actresses.
Oh, Harvey Weinstein made this movie? OK, now I get it. Every December, Harvey Weinstein shows up at the door of the Academy with a gun in one hand and the title of some piddly shit indie movie in the other. And PRESTO! Oscar nominations for a movie you will never hear from again.
Matthew McConaghey: He played a Texan! WHAT A FUCKING STRETCH. Just a remarkable transformation from Regular Laconic Texan to Alarmingly Thin Laconic Texan. It might just be the best Texan role McConaghey has ever played, and Lord knows you have choices in that department. Just look at his iMDB profile!
- Mysterious Texan, True Detective (2014)
- Scary Texan, Frailty (2001)
- Horny Texan, Dazed & Confused (1993)
- Homicidal Texan, Killer Joe (2011)
- Brave Texan, Lone Star (1996)
- Guy Literally Named Dallas, Magic Mike (2012)
- Matt Schaub, Untitled ESPN Docudrama (2018)
I couldn't even see the actor anymore. All I could see was the Texas. Just an amazing performance.
Chiwetel Ejiofor: Pfft. He didn't play a Texan! LAME. By the way, it's gotta be fun to spend weeks in the deathly Louisiana heat, playing a role in which you are beaten and hanged and forced to re-live the horrors of the past, only to be told by the media, "Nah, you have no chance of winning. It's THE YEAR OF THE MCCONAISSANCE. Sorry, guy!" God forbid there be any suspense to this Oscar ceremony. No no, please have the media run 50,000 voter polls so that the outcome becomes ironclad. At least Chris Berman only tips picks the DAY of the draft.
Leonardo DiCaprio: I'm gonna be honest: Any time I see Leonardo DiCaprio play a grownup (which happens in every movie now), I just keep waiting for him to sweep his bangs across his face and wear little boy suspenders and start defying his parents. This is my life, Mom! Jeez aloo! I bet he totally was one of those guys who got a beard transplant.
Bruce Dern: Just be an old actor in a major role with an admired director giving you orders and you'll probably get nominated. Your character doesn't even have to TALK. You can just sit there and grunt and people will be fucking DAZZLED. Oh my God, he brings such gravitas to the role! That old man really looked like an old man up there on the screen! And if your character is unlikable, then all the better. In Hollywood, it counts as a legitimately brave act to play someone who isn't perfect. Dern is gonna clean up whenever Gran Torino 2 finally comes out.
God, I hated Nebraska.
Christian Bale: He's just doing De Niro! You shouldn't get any credit for that. De Niro is already in that movie. You don't need him twice. Anytime Bale was feeling off his game, he probably just went up to De Niro and was like, "Hey De Niro, is this De Niro-ey enough?" And then De Niro probably said GRUMBLE GRUMBLE WHERE'S MY PAYCHECK GRUMBLE. And then Bale was probably like, "That's it! That's just the kind of surliness I was looking for! Thanks, bloke!"
Also, Bale gained a lot of weight for this role and blew a disc in the process. As a proponent of spinal health, I beg you: Please don't ever be this stupid. Chances are, if you gain weight to win an Oscar, you're just gonna lose to the asshole who LOST weight. It's not worth ruining your life.
Cate Blanchett: You don't have to believe Dylan Farrow's accusations to know that Woody Allen is a repulsive man and that it has been a decades-long embarrassment to see Hollywood actors fall all over themselves to line up and play whatever stock character Woody has decided to recycle this time around. Is it the flaky shiksa? Is it the nerdy commitment-phobe? Is the not-rich person who is trying to fit in with rich people? No matter which tired archetype Woody decides to drag out of the garage, you can bet there will always be a shitload of ingénues climbing over each other to get to his doorstep. Oh please, Woody! Let me star in your shitty little movie! I'll take no pay! I just want to absorb all your knowledge! Groom me! Train me! Let me be your muse! Your prestige! I need your prestige to keep my blood circulating! And the worst part about being brainwashed by Woody Allen is when he forces you to listen to him play clarinet. Forcing people to pretend to like jazz is its own harrowing criminal act.
By the way, some day, someone will explain to me why men fell over themselves for Mia Farrow back in the '70s. She's white and frail! I must have her!
Amy Adams: Did anyone understand the bathroom scene? Like where she and Bradley Cooper are at that nightclub and she "presents" herself for sex but then changes her mind and is like "We'll fuck when we mean it, OK?!" I dunno, seems like Bradley was REALLY ready to mean it right there. Here's an anonymous Oscar voter talking about Amy Adams:
By the way, Amy had no boobs in that dress. A beautiful dress, but she's flat chested.
I know! How can you act without any tits to stick out at people? Jen Lawrence: Now THERE are some tits with real screen presence. Please note that pretty much every anonymous Oscar voter account ends up sounding this vacuous and self-centered. It's quite a feat. These people should be burned.
Sandra Bullock: Just like a woman to not know how to drive a spaceship.
Meryl Streep: Because I haven't seen enough movies where unhappy white people gather at a family dinner and bitch each other out. Is there single fucking American playwright who grew up in a functional household? Don't hold me hostage for two hours and a brief intermission just so you can get your revenge on Mommy.
And actors can't get enough of this shit! Tell them they get to argue with some other respected actor for 100 minutes straight and they die from pleasure. "I was really intimidated to work with Meryl. I mean, come on: It's Meryl Streep! But then she turned out to be so NICE!" Really? Color me stunned. FACT: All actors are illiterate. When actors tells you they "read the script," that means they had an assistant circle all the lines in their part and read them out loud.
Judi Dench: Again, not a real movie. They just spent $5 million on a really nice trailer. If you attend an actual screening of Philomena, you get a matinee showing of Gosford Park. Close enough!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Jared Leto: Dying? Check. An actor playing transgender? Check. A handful of sassy lines? DING DING DING YOUR RUNAWAY OSCAR WINNER. I love that voters were dazzled by the scene in which Leto dressed like a man. I bet he was so uncomfortable dressing up like a woman, but then he had to stop dressing like a woman and look even MORE uncomfortable! THAT YOUNG MAN HAS GRIT.
I didn't think Leto was that much better than anyone else here, if he was better at all, but this is why the Oscars are dumb. Somehow, the media and the voters congeal their stupidity into one giant blob of groupthink that decides, "It's Leto's time," or that one actor is a RUNAWAY winner over another, as if dying of AIDS on screen made you Secretariat. Barkhad Abdi just spent two hours on screen playing the world's most desperate man. NOT A LOW-MOTOR ACTOR. But sorry Barkhad. Better luck next time JK there won't be a next time because we'll never hire you again the thrill is gone.
Michael Fassbender: Well, look, when you're in every goddamn movie, you're probably gonna be decent in one or two of them.
Barkhad Abdi: Please. You think I'm gonna let a TRUE FRESHMAN win this award? How do I know Abdi isn't a real dead-eyed pirate just playing himself? Let me see how he fares in a terrible romantic comedy before I decide if he has a future in this business.
Bradley Cooper: Oh look, it's a guy named Brad playing an asshole. What a stunning development. Demanding you go by your full name on the marquee doesn't change the fact that you are a Brad, and you suck. No one will believe you when you say to them, "Bro, I just read Infinite Jest and cried A LOT, bro." I know what you do in your spare time, Brad Cooper: You laugh at homeless people and yell at women when they menstruate on your sheets. You're fooling no one. Spencer Hall: "Brad Cooper's always like the slightly dim smart attractive dude who wants you to forget he used to frost his hair."
By the way, it's a measure of how low the bar for excellence is in Hollywood that an unreasonably handsome man like Bradley Cooper can get critical notice simply by curling his hair. OMG HE LET THEM MAKE HIS HAIR SILLY! No ego on that fella!
Jonah Hill: Well, someone has gotten solid mileage out of the whole "fat awkward sidekick in a prestige movie" gig. Now let's see how you fare in a role where you have to have a girlfriend. I bet audiences suddenly don't find you quite as believable. Marty Scorsese won't be casting your fat ass as the head gangster anytime soon.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
June Squibb: Oh hey, a sass-talkin' old lady! I've never seen that kind of role before, except in Runaway Bride, and The Proposal, and The Beverly Hillbillies, and Blazing Saddles, and Lake Placid, and Calendar Girls, and Steel Magnolias, and Moonstruck, and Tyler Perry's Madea Drags You To The Preacher!, and every Adam Sandler movie ever made. Oh, but in this movie the sass-talkin' lady is different because the movie is in black and white. Feels realer that way.
Lupita Nyong'o: Run! Run away, Lupita! You don't wanna win. Don't you know that all Best Supporting Actress winners are immediately thrown into a crevasse after they win? Has anyone seen Mo'Nique in the past three years? Where did she go? Is she dead? Did Renée Zellweger fall down a fucking drainpipe? Accepting that award is signing your career's death warrant, especially if you're not a white actress. If you're not a white actress, the Academy says to you, "Welcome! Thank you for coming and being our Tolerance Mascot this year! Have some hot soup! When the show is over, KINDLY GET THE FUCK OUT." You are like a Voltron of five Slumdog Millionaire children. You are the headless veteran who gets a seat next to the first lady at the State of the Union Address. RUN AWAY AND NEVER COME BACK!
Jennifer Lawrence: I got a real problem with Jennifer Lawrence and it's that she always ...
(is grabbed by the Internet)
(is locked in a dungeon 700 feet below ground)
(man in leather mask holding a bamboo cane enters the room)
(is beaten and flayed for nine straight hours)
(released after 60 days without food or light)
How can you not love Jennifer Lawrence? She seems so down to earth, you know? SHE IS THE REAL DEAL AND I WILL BEAT YOU WHILE CRYING IF YOU DISAGREE.
Sally Hawkins: Who is this person? I've never heard of her. NAWT A TRUE MOVIE STAH. Just throw her in the dustbin with Brenda Blethyn, Janet McTeer, Rinko Kikuchi, and Shohreh Aghdashloo. Do they pick these nominees from the fucking phone book?
Julia Roberts: I'll never forget the time she won Denzel Washington's Best Actor Oscar. Good for her! Also, she plays a roaring bitch in every movie! It's like she forgot that she's not Erin Brockovich. How has this woman kept her America's Sweetheart tiara for four decades when she spends every movie hissing at fat people and ex-husbands and random clerks and generally behaving like a sociopath? And you're supposed to love her just because IT'S JULIA! or some shit like that. Well, I don't. I don't like Julia Roberts. She makes forgettable movies and her mouth is big enough for her to swallow an entire birthday cake whole. When she loses her teeth, another row of teeth will push forward, like a goddamn shark. Her laugh is awful. I bet she gets cast as the grandma in Nebraska 2. She walks like someone who spent the '80s playing linebacker for the Raiders.
Gawker's Caity Weaver also reminds you that Julia Roberts once wore a T-shirt ragging on her husband's ex-wife and then told Oprah it was a private matter when Oprah asked about the shirt. Because it's totally normal to broadcast your private matters on a T-shirt.
I fucking hate the Oscars.
Drew Magary writes for Deadspin and Gawker. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also buy Drew's book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.
Image by Jim Cooke and Sam Woolley