Wednesday, August 27, 2008

MORE ADO ABOUT OSCAR!


Dear Oscar. I just can't get you out of my head! I thought I'd gotten everything off my chest, but comments from people who read my post yesterday got me thinking about you again. Some concurred with my choices, some disagreed, and some pointed out omissions. So today I've decided to revisit one of my favorite subjects (yes, you!), this time highlighting actors you've never acknowledged and specific roles for which you should have. Take note, my man, and try to do better. Love, Jeremy

CAMERON DIAZ Vanilla Sky: Most people would probably say There's Something About Mary, but I think that was Ben Stiller's show. It was as a woman scorned by Tom Cruise (a role originated by Nicole Kidman in real life) that Cameron finally proved she was more than just another pretty face.

HUGH GRANT Bridget Jones Diary: Hugh has given other worthy performances (Four Weddings and a Funeral and About a Boy immediately come to mind), but as Bridget's caddish, womanizing boss, he masterfully played against type while retaining his unique charm. Oscar must have been too busy marvelling at Renée Zellweger's temporarily ample proportions to notice.

JIM CARREY The Truman Show: Everyone in Hollywood (most of all, Jim) seems to think he's entitled to a nomination. He certainly earned a (denied) spot on the shortlist with both The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Truman Show. His performance in the latter as the unwitting star of his own reality show is one of the best examples of a funny man playing it straight in recent years.

LISA KUDROW The Opposite of Sex: The best actor among the Friends, Lisa was so on-point and so un-Phoebe as a dowdy bitter spinster pining for Lyle Lovett.

MARK RUFFALO You Can Count on Me: Laura Linney got all the glory, but this wasn't a one-woman show. Mark's day will come.

MEG RYAN When a Man Loves a Woman (Runner up: Courage Under Fire): She's no Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend. Or Susan Hayward in I'll Cry Tomorrow. Or Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick in Days of Wine and Roses. But damn, Meg can act! Too bad she already had been irrevocably typecast as America's perky-perfect sweetheart. Oscar shrugged.

MIA FARROW I have a confession to make. I've never seen any of Mia's pre-Woody Allen movies. Still, it's hard to believe that with classics like Rosemary's Baby and The Great Gatsby and all those Woody Allen films on her resume, that she's never deserved a single nomination.

MICHAEL KEATON Clean and Sober and Pacific Heights: Cinema's original Batman cast against type. Twice. Oscar shrugged. Twice.

OLIVER REED Women in Love: Oscar nodded Viggo Mortensen for fighting nude in last year's Eastern Promises (and for snubbing him for a number of other worthy performances), but Oliver Reed and Alan Bates beat him to the nude wresting thing in Women in Love (above). And it was a far more daring thing to do in 1969.

THANDIE NEWTON Crash: The movie won Best Picture and scored Matt Dillon a long-time-coming supporting actor nod, so Oscar definitely didn't hate it. But what about Thandie? She drove three of the film's most memorable moments: First, she put up a major fuss after being frisked and groped by Matt's racist cop. Then, she viciously ripped into her husband for not doing anything about it. And finally, in the centerpiece scene, she raged as she was pulled from her overturned about-to-explode car by Matt in redemption mode. At least her efforts were rewarded with a BAFTA, Britain's Oscar equivalent.

Since we're back on the subject of the Oscars, my curiosity was piqued today when I read a teaser saying that the seventh season of Dancing With the Stars would feature a Grammy winner, an Emmy winner and an Academy Award winner. I'd already read about the Grammy and Emmy winners, but I couldn't wait to find out which Oscar winner's career has sunk so low that he or she would actually appear on the show. As it turns out, it's someone whose career is still afloat: Cloris Leachman!

Now I love Cloris (left) as much as the next guy. She looks fabulous, still makes regular sitcom and film appearances and has a role in the upcoming The Women, but the woman is hundreds of years old! Considering that the Emmy Winner, Susan Lucci, is 61, and the Grammy winner, Toni Braxton, suffers from heart disease, I'm wondering if the show is trying to build suspense not only with the contest itself but with an even more pressing question: Will someone drop dead mid-season? I predict the highest ratings yet--but at what cost? On the plus side, at least the show, is raising its standards. Goodbye, C-list, hello, B-list!
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