Friday, February 22, 2013

Burning Questions: The Back in Melbourne in 2013/Matthew McConaughey Edition

Why didn't Matthew McConaughey get an Oscar nomination this year? Was Alan Arkin's work in Argo really more nod-worthy than McConaughey's in Magic Mike? I know Oscar has a bias against actors with matinee-idol good looks, and he generally prefers to honor them later in life (see Paul Newman), but at 43, McConaughey is the perfect Oscar age for actors (the one at which Robert Redford and Warren Beatty finally got theirs, though for directing). I suppose being a contender for a role that plays up those matinee-idol looks and then strips them down to the skivvies probably didn't win him any bonus points with the Academy, but it's not as if Magic Mike's stripper den dad was McConaughey's only 2012 role/performance that was more nomination-worthy than Alan Arkin's movie producer in Argo (see Bernie -- seriously, see it!).

Speaking of Bernie, why wasn't Jack Black ever in the Oscar discussion this year? I know both the movie and Black got good reviews, and he did get a Golden Globe nomination in the Best Actor -- Motion Picture Musical or Comedy category, but it's not like he had much of a chance against Oscar-nominated Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper. I really loved how detailed and carefully measured Black's Bernie performance was, how he played so far against manic type, and how there was just a hint of aggression behind his pleasant facade, which made his act of unkindness not all that shocking. He also nailed the asexual yet obviously gay-but-so-on-the-down-low quality of the character, never lapsing into closet-case parody or cliche.

What's with McConaughey, attorneys and murder cases? And I'm not referring to 2011's The Lincoln Lawyer, which I've never seen. A few nights ago, I saw A Time to Kill (his 1996 breakthrough) for the first time on TV, and last night, I watched Bernie. It was interesting to see McConaughey playing two very different kinds of lawyer (one defending an accused and admitted killer, another prosecuting one) at both sides of his career. Who said he doesn't have range? (Actually, my friend Dave did in December when I dared to suggest he might get an Oscar nomination for Magic Mike!)

Who does Richard Linklater have to sleep with to get some real Oscar love? He's been directing critically acclaimed films for all of my adult life, often along with cinematographer Lee Daniel, not to be confused with Lee Daniels, the Oscar-nominated director of McConaughey's other 2012 film, The Paperboy. (In a cool twist, Zac Efron, who costarred in Linklater's 2008 directorial effort Me and Orson Welles, also costarred in Daniels' The Paperboy with McConaughey). But Linklater's only Academy Award nomination to date has been for co-writing 2004's Before Sunset with his stars, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. I hope this year's sequel, Before Midnight, reverses his fortunes. Such a talented director (one who seems like such a sweet guy -- see the video below) deserves to be in the Best Director running at least once.

Why is it that for a show with some 127 episodes in existence, every time I watch The Big Bang Theory on Australian TV, it seems to be one of the 10 episodes I've already seen? Even How I Met Your Mother, which also seems to be on every night on Australian TV, has finally entered November of 2012.

Isn't wearing headphones tantamount to pinning a "Do not disturb unless it's important" sign on your head? Did that memo not make the rounds in Melbourne? Apparently not, considering how many people (usually workers in Woolworths) make me break Rihanna's cardinal rule -- "Please don't stop the music!" -- just to ask me how I'm going, or if I would like a bag, or if I want my receipt. Do they really think I'm going to walk home carrying frozen goods in my hands? How much paper is a receipt really wasting? Just print it out and leave me be. And attention, lady who gets paid for doing God knows what: Standing beside me and staring, insisting that I fiddle with my iPod to find the off switch (I swear, they keep moving it), only so that you can ask "How are you going?" before offering me a chance to enter a drawing strikes me as customer harassment. I was going fine and out the door until you interrupted me with your foolishness!

Speaking of foolishness, is it bad Facebook etiquette to un-friend someone for sending too many pointless Facebook invitations? I mean, what the hell is Pengle? My mother once told me she had to un-friend my uncle for posting too many photos of Serena Williams, whom she hates. I'm not sure what Serena ever did to turn her off, but mom has spent my life setting an example for me, so why should I stop following her now?
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