Fuck the Na'vi--give the Oscar to the woman who earned it
Dear Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: Just give the damned Best Director Oscar to Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker. No, really. There's the whole absence of women director's in the awards' 82-year history, during which it has only nominated female directors four times while 83 men have been nominated multiple times. A woman wasn't nominated until the 1970s--Lina Wertmeller for 1976's Seven Beauties. Jane Campion deserved to win it in 1993. Sofia Coppola certainly didn't deserve the nom in 2003 (come on: Sally Potter, Catherine Breillat, Kimberly Peirce, Mary Harron, Julie Taymor, and Icear Bollaen all made movies worthy of a Best Director nom between The Piano and Lost in Translation). And Bigelow just became the first woman to win a BAFTA Award for Best Direction. Just do it.
More importantly, though, she's earned it. Say whatever you want about The Hurt Locker's politics or lack of them, but the movie is undeniably the work of an artist with a singular vision.
Besides, such an award might get some people to see the damn thing. The Hurt Locker, according to boxofficemojo.com as of March 1, ranks 131st in 2009 box office, while Bigelow's competition--her ex-husband James Cameron for Avatar (No. 1), Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds (No. 25), Jason Reitman for Up in the Air (No. 38), Lee Daniels for Precious (No. 65)--rank well in the top 100. And the difference between $706 million (Avatar) and $12.6 million (Hurt Locker)--or even Precious' $47 million--translates to a number of asses in seats. Look at it this way: Judging purely by these returns, more people saw that braindead Jeremy Piven comedy The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard--$15.1 million--than The Hurt Locker. Ouch.
So as much as you might occasionally slap your forehead and roll the eyes at who the Oscars choose to honor--Crash Heath Ledger Really--they can serve the function of giving moviegoers a reason to give a damn and check out a movie, a performance, a filmmaker. And for the eighth year in a row, City Paper offers its own awards to the consummate artistry and dubious achievement of the movies entertained or stole time from our lives in 2009.
Best Comedy: The Hangover.
Best PAY ATTENTION TO ME!: Where the Wild Things Are.
Best Movie We'll Now Be Seeing under a different title Every Few Months for a Coupla Years: Taken.
Best Facepalm: Away We Go. Gardner: "'Where in the world could possibly be awesome enough for us two awesome people to live and raise an awesome family together Oh, I know, how about this totally awesome house on the water we owned the whole time'"
Best Kids Movie: (500) Days of Summer. Ward: "A doomed romance for the 14-year old romantic in you."
Best Bitter Ex-Boyfriends: Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber, the screenwriters of (500) Days of Summer.
Best Realistic Portrayal of an Indie-Rock Boyfriend: Whip It.
Best Style Over Substance: Inglourious Basterds.
Best Mighty White of You: The Blind Side.
Best Sexual Tension: Humpday.
Best Opposite of Subtle: The Stoning of Soraya M.
Best Gumby-style Animation: Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Best Scary 3-D for the Children: Coraline. Ward: "Amazingly apt at getting what upsets a child: mentally absent parents, a new neighborhood, exclusively nutritional food, kids with button eyes."
Best Over-hyped Standard Kids Movie: Up.
Best Rom-Com: The Young Victoria.
Best Feature That Should Have Been a Short: Avatar. Gardner: "The chief of the Na'vi finds out that Sam Worthington's character is a human warrior sent to learn his people's ways, and instead of trusting him and taking him in, he kills him, or at least banishes him, like a sensible big blue cat person. The end."
The House of Mirth award for Misleading Title: Everybody's Fine.
Best Manmade Race: The numbers in 9.
Best What-He-Always-Does: Alan Arkin, Sunshine Cleaning. Ward: "As the dad Joe, he's a little grumpy and a little misunderstood, still a solid guy with a big heart."
Worst What-She-Always-Does: Jennifer fucking Aniston, Love Happens. Ward: "It's like she's not even trying to be a mess/good catch anymore. Convince me you drive an old VW bus and run a plant shop, Jen, you are an actress for fuck's sake."
Best Adorableness: Tie: Audrey Tautou in Coco Before Chanel and Rachel Weisz in The Brothers Bloom. Ward: "They make me covet to have chin length, dark curly hair so bad it hurts."
Best Nazi in a Leading Role: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds.
Best Nazi(s) in a Supporting Role: The SS zombies, Dead Snow.
Best Jew: Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man.
Worst Jew: Larry David, Whatever Works.
Alcohol is a Hell of a Drug: The general state of Christopher Plummer's nose, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and The Last Station.
Best Performance No One Saw: Tilda Swinton, Julia.
Most Talked About Film That Nobody Saw: The Road. Ward: "But I did read about how important it is."
Best Performance by an Artificial Life Form: Anna Wintour, The September Issue. Ward: "She only wears trousers (white jeans) on the weekend and isn't a bitch, she's 'decisive.' Who else can wear the same topaz-colored jeweled necklace every day to work and make it look beyond stylish"
Best Career Move: Colin Firth, A Single Man. Ward: "Not only does it take him far from the arms of Bridget Jones and Jane Austen heroines, he gets to show off his toned physic in amazing designer clothes and his acting chops by not getting seduced by Julianne Moore."
Best Auteur Moment: Director/star Tony Stone taking a dump on-camera in Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America
Best Gratuitous Nudity, Body Double: The one for Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air. Ward: "Next time, real Farmiga, please, especially if she just had a baby. Or, for fun, George Clooney."
Best Gratuitous Nudity: Paz de la Huerta, The Limits of Control. Gardner: "Her only wardrobe is a pair of glasses and a clear vinyl raincoat, and her character is billed in the credits as 'Nude.' Might as well have called her 'Keeping Dudes Awake.'"
Best Ass: Gerald Butler, Law Abiding Citizen.
Best Graceful Aging On-Screen: Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci, Julie and Julia. Ward: "Their chemistry was hotter than anything cooking at that French Culinary Institute that taught Julia how to chop onions."
Outstanding Achievement in Revisionist History: Julie and Julia. Ward: "Julie Powell was a full blown cunt to her husband in the book, and the movie made it seem she was just confused about her life. Cooking the books, indeed."
Best Use of Jacking Off as a Narrative Device: Big Fan. Ward: "Patton Oswalt's character Paul Aufiero having his special moment interrupted by his mom's yelling followed by an accusation in the car. He has got to get his own place."
Best Gross-Out: The outhouse sex scene in Dead Snow. Gardner: "Not only are Jeppe Laursen and Jenny Skavlan getting busy in a wooden shack built over a pit full of poo, after Skavlan jumps on his lap--cause he's been sitting there for a while--she suggestively sticks his index finger in her mouth." Runner-up: every blessed second of Dead Girl.
The Joe Pesci Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Use of Profanity: Peter Capaldi, In the Loop. Gardner: "Not only was he creatively foul at length and full volume, he managed to breathe convincing new life into a shopworn trope like 'lubricated horse cock.' Masterful."
Best GTFOH: Michelle Monaghan as a long-haul truck-driver with a cute hipster-chick living room featuring, like, live plants and shit, Trucker.
Best Lost Wilson Brother: Sharlto Copley, District 9.
Best Yippi-Ky-Ay, Motherfucker: Michelle Rodriguez going native and going out in a blaze of warpainted, feather-decked sacrificial glory in Avatar.
Best Comeback: Red West, Goodbye Solo.
Best Reincarnation: Karl Urban becomes DeForest Kelley to play Leonard "Bones" McCoy, Star Trek.
Best Fight Scene (Teenage Boy Edition): All of Crank: High Voltage.
Best Fight Scene (Pervy Middle-Aged Man Edition): Ali Larter and Beyonce, Obsessed.
Best Throwback, Horror: The totally '80s The House of the Devil.
Best Throwback, Comedy: The totally '70s The Informant! (score by Marvin Hamlisch).
Worst Throwback, Drama: The totally '80s The Informers. McCabe: "Boring, rich white people do drugs and fuck. They show that on TV now."
Worst Harbinger of Things to Come: The Girlfriend Experience. McCabe: "I actually prefer to keep my porn and social economics separate, thank you."
Best Lifestyle Porn: It's Complicated. MacLeod: "People actually live like this. They get their roof raised up and their kitchen turned into the size of our house."
Outstanding achievement in fetish/cuteness: Whip It. MacLeod: "Bighead Ellen Page dressed up in a Girl Scouts uniform"
Outstanding achievement in iguana, drugs, and Nicolas Cage: Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.
Outstanding achievement in not being able to "write women": Marion Cotillard, Public Enemies. MacLeod: "Jeez, was Michael Mann so cockstuck on casting her he didn't listen to her speak zee Engleesh?"
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