I was asleep last year when Warren Beatty, who last made a good movie before the advent of the steam engine, and Faye Dunaway botched the Best Picture announcement for Moonlight. I have very few regrets about this because I just watched it on YouTube the next day and because, if you go by the analytics, sleeping through the Oscars is always the correct decision. The data is ironclad.
In fact, it’s an even shrewder move to skip the Oscars this year, because there’s no way they’ll fuck up as badly, and as amusingly, as they did last year. The Academy will install 67 different fail-safe triggers to ensure that the Best Picture announcement proceeds according to custom. Once more, it will go back to being a forgettable capstone to a frantic blitz of important awards presented at the very end of the show, when everyone is already bored to death and just wants to go home. That’s the way the Academy likes it, and that’s the way it’s gonna be.
And so I absolve you, the viewer, from giving a shit about this telecast. Nothing important will happen. I bet they don’t even address the most pressing issue of the evening. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the reason everyone is quietly angry and the whole industry is poised to come apart at the seams. I am speaking, of course, of the fact that they eat a baby at the end of Mother!
That was really fucked up.
In all seriousness, though, you’re apparently not even gonna get tasteful acknowledgement of #TimesUp from host Jimmy Kimmel, who is abiding by a strict “stick to movies” philosophy. Maybe you’ll get an ambiguous WOMEN IN FILM montage presented by, like, Oprah. But that’ll be it. That seems suitably tone deaf for an industry that loves to tout its progress while deliberately failing to acknowledge how much MORE progress needs to be achieved (Five women in history have been nominated for Best Director; Woody Allen has been nominated seven times alone). No, no this show will proceed as “normal,” and none of the people who bravely came forward to help kickstart an entire movement will actually get any kind of meaningful work in that town again. Pretty awesome system! WHERE IS MY GODDAMN ANNABELLA SCIORRA COMEBACK? ANNABELLA SCIORRA FUCKING RULES.
I’m so sick of this garbage. And so, as per tradition, I will now proceed to say horrible, awful, downright libelous things about all of the major nominees, none of which are Blade Runner 2049. What is you fucking DEAL, Academy? I guess two-plus hours of bitchin’ flying cars and breathtaking set design just didn’t grab you, eh? YOU FUCKING SUCK! EVERYTHING IN THAT MOVIE EXCEPT JARED LETO WAS MASTERFUL!
Call Me by Your Name. This is the movie where a dude fucks a peach, which is much better than a baby getting eaten. HOWEVER, I would like to file a notice of copyright infringement on director Luca Guadagnino and screenwriter James Ivory, who I did not know was still alive until just now. The following is a true passage from my seminal 2008 work, Men With Balls:
SOUND FAMILIAR?! I guess you guys were so bereft of ideas for tastefully erotic Travel Porn films that you STOLE my work without any credit! I demand recompense from this glorified Nancy Meyers Italian villa showcase. I want that peach back, AND I want Armie Hammer’s role in the film digitally replaced with a younger actor so that the age difference doesn’t make everyone so uncomfortable.
Darkest Hour. Folks, you’re not gonna believe it, but the Oscars have decided to honor a movie about a famous English person. I know! I can’t believe it! It’s completely unprecedented, unless you count The Iron Lady, and The Theory of Everything, and The Imitation Game, and The King’s Speech, and The Queen, and Prince Eggbert Watches The Telly. If you are famous and you are English, rest assured that a studio and a company of actors is prepared to ride your biographical coattails to Oscar glory. You don’t even have to be a GOOD British person. Five years from now, Timothée Chalamet is gonna sweep award season playing fucking Phil Collins.
Dunkirk. Oh hey, more English people! And this movie is even better than Darkest Hour because, in Dunkirk, you can’t even tell which British dudes are which! Who’s that one kid who just drowned? Was that the One Direction kid? No wait! I think he’s still alive. He was the one who found a dead body to carry so that he and [unidentifiable other British guy] could get a ride back to England. Or was he? I can’t keep track of any of these limeys. One was wearing a sweater. I think they were all named Nigel. Why did they cast this movie like they were making a Starsailor video? They didn’t even give Tom Hardy a name in this fucking movie. Here we have one of the most technically brilliant war movies ever made, and they forgot to write a fucking screenplay for it.
Get Out. I’m sorry Get Out, but now that Black Panther has come out I have a NEW movie to tout as evidence of my wokeness. As a suburbanite, I can only accommodate one such movie at a time. I’ve seen Black Panther three times now! I would MOVE to Wakanda if it were real! Sometimes I think about how strong Okoye was in that movie and I CAN’T EVEN!
By the way, Get Out is masterful for the first hour and then basically becomes every horror movie ever made at the end. Why didn’t they use the alternate ending and leave everyone in the theater horribly depressed? This idea of “pleasing” “crowds” has no place at the Oscars! It’s gonna be a bitterly ironic moment when they give Jordan Peele a screenwriting trophy and honor his movie in NO other way.
Lady Bird. Lady Bird is the story of a teen who thinks she’s so special that she’s entitled to call herself Lady Bird (that’s annoying!) and bring her family to brink of financial ruin because she doesn’t want to go to a state school. Lady Bird is about a teen who discovered Internet Forums and thinks she’s hotter shit than anyone for 500 miles. Lady Bird is a prequel to a horror movie about your worst freshman year roommate. Lady Bird is charming as long as you don’t consider it to be happening in the real world. Lady Bird is about Greta Gerwig praising her hometown of Sacramento even though she would never ever ever move back to that dump in a zillion years. I bet it cleans the fuck up on Sunday night. MORE LIKE LADY TURD AMIRITE?
Phantom Thread. If you’re like me, you got super pumped when you heard PT Anderson was making a new movie with Daniel Day-Lewis, and then that excitement cooled CONSIDERABLY when you found out that it was a very long, Barry Lyndon-style movie about a persnickety, overly demanding, 1950s fashion designer guy. There’s already ONE James Ivory movie on this stupid list. We didn’t need two. Phantom Thread is the best movie ever made where you can take a nap in the middle and no one could blame you for it. All I know about it is that people eat loudly in it. This represents a narrative step up from Inherent Vice for Anderson, but it still ain’t Boogie Nights 2.
The Shape of Water. Oh god, it’s a Guillermo del Toro movie. Christ. Yet another AICN nerd totem who makes movies that are quietly shitty. If you’re a man-child who keeps a collection of Ray Harryhausen figurines on your desk, Hollywood has a $150 million working budget ready for you. “He grew up loving monster movies and now he makes them!” WANK WANK.
Can we please stop these all these bearded dorks the green light? I don’t need a 27th upscale monster movie that gets described as “sumptuous” by critics. A lady fucks a fish in this flick and they don’t even bother to really explain why. You’re just supposed to be rhapsodized by Michael Bay with a Manga collection here. I say enough. Force Guillermo to make a movie about actual people and he’ll end up fucking paralyzed.
The Post. Someone take Spielberg’s camera away from him. He is BANNED from filmmaking until he finds a way to stop making nostalgia porn. Here is yet another disposable Tom Brokaw wet dream, featuring white journalists in bad pants saving the world from all the Bad People by doing some Good, Old Fashioned Shoe Leather Journalism. The DVD of this movie includes a commentary from Aaron Sorkin where he freebases coke and then screams “WHERE ARE TODAY’S EDWARD R. MURROWS?!” at the top of his lungs. I wouldn’t watch this even if you told me the Trump pee tape was hidden inside it.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Oh look, it’s the movie for people who still wish they were living in 1995. I bet this movie makes a mean double feature with Smokin’ Aces. A white lady drops the n-word in it! NOW THAT IS SOME EDGY SHIT. Did anyone like this movie? Why is it here? The title alone is INSUFFERABLE. I’m genuinely angry I had to cut and paste something that long.
TimothéeeeeeeeeeEEEEeeeeEEEEeee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name. You and I both know that Chalamet shouldn’t have been nominated for this movie. He should have been nominated for THIS:
OH HELL YEAH YOU KNOW IT’S GETTIN’ CUDDLY.
Again, I remind you here that I, Drew Magary, have sole proprietary dominion over the peach-fucking concept. So if Timmy wins on Sunday night, that trophy is technically MINE. Please forward any refutations of this claim to my lawyer, Ty Cobb.
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread. Just retire, okay? Derrick Rose has had more fake retirements than this man. What are you gonna do all day if you can’t act, Daniel? Huh? You gonna hike around Europe and drink wine and eat good food and take up woodworking? Actually that sounds pretty solid. I can’t argue with that plan, really. Acting BLOWS. You ever see a call sheet? Actors have to report to the makeup at, like, 2:45 am. What an awful fucking job. Anyway, you should mean it when you retire, dammit.
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out. Oh sure, Kaluuya was fantastic in this movie, but what about Bradley Whitford? And Catherine Keener? And Allison Williams? And Stephen Root?! Oh, and what about the wormy guy who played Allison Williams’ brother? He didn’t score a nom? WOW. It’s just snub after snub after snub, I guess.
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour. In accordance with hallowed tradition, the Oscars will hand out a de facto lifetime achievement award trophy to a beloved actor by honoring one of his most forgettable roles. This man deserved 900 Oscars for playing Drexl Spivey alone, but the Academy is gonna give him a statuette for an overpriced HBO biopic instead. They couldn’t have found a less Winston Churchill-looking dude if they tried. Gary Oldman is a wiry, tense little fellow. Churchill was a slurring bag of haggis with Ted Kennedy’s head where his liver should have been.
Also, Gary Oldman is managed by one of Bill O’Reilly’s old replacement hosts. True story! So weird.
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq. You’re not gonna believe this, but Denzel Washington got nominated for playing a difficult man whom you end up rooting for because he’s Denzel Washington. CRAZY, RIGHT? Never happened before, except when it happened last fucking year. By the way, since I have nothing else to say, and because Denzel has no new roles to portray, you gotta look at some of the random-ass titles that got nominated in 2015: The Danish Girl, Trumbo, 45 Years… JOY. I bet The Oscars would have a less dubious history if they just drew nominees out of a hat every year.
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water. She fucks the fish, right? Give her the award. Give Sally the award, and then she can brain Del Toro on his big stupid head for making her fuck a fish in a movie.
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. I am not done being annoyed by this movie. Here we have Frances McDormand, one of the most gifted and subtle actresses of her generation, and they got her playing Red State Sass Mom. “That Mildred Hayes don’t care none who she offends!” Why, it’s almost as if this movie was written and directed by someone who isn’t from the Ozarks at all!
[looks at photo of Martin McDonagh, who is British]
Ah yes, it’s Seann William Scott with Malcolm McDowell‘s dye job. That’s JUST the sort of thoughtful auteur I trust with this material.
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya. Tonya did it. That tends to cancel out the whole “The real villain here is AMERICA” narrative that this movie is pushing in an effort to correct the historical record. A lady got kneecapped before a skating meet and I’m supposed to sympathize with a co-conspirator in her assault? Yeah no, no thanks. I am also told by our own Dan McQuade that the ice sounds in I, Tonya do not sound like real ice sounds. I’m sorry but if you cannot get your foley work in order, I’m forced to burn the negative.
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird. Listen, I’m sure Ronan is fine in this movie but she still owes me for the two hours I sat through watching Atonement. Atonement sucked heavy balls, man. And Ronan’s character is a real loser in it! Here’s what happens. I don’t care if I spoil it. Ronan intercepts a love letter from James McAvoy to Keira Knightley. Then she catches them doin’ it, and she’s so BUTTHURT that McAvoy loves Knightley and not her that she frames him for a rape he didn’t commit. Then McAvoy and Knightley are separated from one another, and then they DIE. That’s it. That’s the fucking movie. Can you believe that shit? And you expect me to watch Lady Bird like none of that happened? I THINK NOT. My movie grudges are for LIFE.
Meryl Streep, The Post. It’s just getting obnoxious at this point. There is any number of young actresses out there right now who would KILL for a nomination, and yet the Academy keeps one spot reserved every year for whatever accent Meryl wants to try on. I bet even Meryl is embarrassed by it. I bet she’s tanking! I bet she’s deliberately making lame movies so that she does NOT get nominated, and then they go ahead and nominate her anyway. She’s gonna have to stoop to doing an Adam Sandler movie to finish the job.
Willem Dafoe, Oh Wow, Poor People! Apparently, this is the one time Dafoe doesn’t play a creep who has you running for a cold shower once you see his face on screen. Big step forward for Willem here. This man is 95 percent lower mandible. I do not trust him.
Woody Harrelson, White Folks Cussin’! Dave Bautista was robbed, man. He deserved a nod for wearing eyeglasses so convincingly.
Richard Jenkins, She Really Does Fuck A Fish. I did not see The Shape of Water (as you could have surmised from this post), but I’d like to think that both Octavia Spencer and Jenkins’s characters spend the whole movie looking puzzled and asking Sally Hawkins, “So… you fucked what, now?” Actually, I kinda wanna see the movie now that I’ve pictured it like that.
Christopher Plummer, The One They Fired Kevin Spacey From. This is hilarious. Only in Hollywood would they replace an actor of dubious character with a DIFFERENT actor of dubious character and pretend as if they accomplished some remarkable feat of social altruism. Please enjoy this bit from Plummer’s memoir:
What taxed most of my brain power was what they would look like without any clothes. Each one I passed on the street, no matter what age, I would rape with my eyes, positive that whatever she was wearing would instantly fall from her like lead and there she would stand, for all the world to see—Ha! Ha! without a stitch!
Ha! Ha! Again, this is remarkable. Kevin Spacey’s role in this movie was apparently so fungible that they could bring in another mercenary old guy for a couple of days (funny how no one seems to know what PLUMMER got paid for this) and just plug his ass into the movie without missing a beat. For that, you get an Oscar nomination. Truly the greatest business in the world.
Sam Rockwell, Jesus Christ, The Billboard Movie Again? If this movie wins anything, they should just vacate this Oscar year.
Mary J. Blige, Netflix Movie I Should Watch But Won’t. Excuse me, but did Mary J. not EXPLICITLY promise me no more drama?
Allison Janney, Domestic Violence Is Actually Hilarious! Janney is gonna win this trophy and thank Tonya and it’s gonna be a little weird. She might even thank Tonya’s mom and that’ll be even WEIRDER. Actors always do that. You could have an actor win an Oscar for portraying Roger Ailes and they’d get up there and be like, “And I’d like to thank Roger for his UNIQUE courage, and for his LIFE in general.” They’ll thank anyone! Look!
Lesley Manville, Another Movie That Is Not Blade Runner 2049. I would give Lesley this award because I bet she had to deal with Day-Lewis when he was in character as “Reynolds Woodcock” on the set at all hours. Like, he definitely didn’t just confine his fussy dickishness to when the cameras were rolling. In between takes, he probably sat cross-legged in a chair and demanded someone bring him fresh Kirby cucumber finger sandwiches, all cut the exact same size. That poisoning in the movie? REAL.
Laurie Metcalf, More Warmly Received Version Of Garden State. Laurie got hosed because Allison Janney is also nominated, and the Academy only allows for one beloved TV character actress to be recognized per year. It’s in the charter.
Octavia Spencer, Smellin’ Of Troy. Let us end this exercise by taking a peek at the anonymous ballot of one Oscar voter. Would you like all of your worst suspicions about the people who vote for these awards confirmed? YOU ARE IN LUCK:
Call Me by Your Name: “Without the gay angle, it’s a TV movie.”
The Shape of Water: “Number one, I really like the movie. Number two, Guillermo is a friend and most of the people who worked on it are my crew! So I feel that I have to support it… Octavia Spencer is also terrific, but how many times can you nominate her? ”
Lady Bird: “I liked Lady Bird — even though it’s about a mother and daughter, and even though I’m a guy.”
“Part of the reason why I liked The Shape of Water more than the others is it’s only ‘topical’ in that it deals with outsiders, not racism or sexism or anything else.”
Again, GREATEST INDUSTRY IN THE WORLD. I say burn it all.