Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.
Print Email


The Opposite of Suck

Our Fourth Annual Fake Oscars

HIDE YOUR FACE: A still from The Brown Bunny, aka "the most talked about film that nobody saw."

Posted 2/23/2005

The two most culturally prominent movies of the year involved a right-wing flaying (Mel Gibson’s gore-religious The Passion of the Christ) and the flaying of a right-winger (Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11). Both polarized audiences (and a possibly even larger group of opiners who didn’t bother to see both, or either) and both did unprecedently whopping business for movies that, just a few years ago, would have been considered indie niche releases. Taken together, they represent something of the struggle for the American soul that dominated the year’s news and politics. Together or separately, they were both shrill, wildly manipulative, and not very good. And neither is up to much in this year’s Academy Award sweepstakes (Passion’s nominated for Best Cinematography, Makeup, and Score; Fahrenheit’s nominated for nada). Other than that whole Paul-Giamatti-getting-stiffed-out-of-a-Best-Actor-nom thing, we’re feeling uncharacteristically warm and fuzzy about Academy voters this year.

It helps that 2004 turned out to be a good year for us non-Academy voters, what with the outta-nowhere boom in comedies that were actually funny (even the ones without Will Ferrell) and the cornucopia of theatrically screened documentaries that didn’t feel like eating your vegetables. Hollywood even turned out a respectable slate of worthy entertainments large (The Incredibles) and small (Sideways) amid the usual raft of already-forgotten crap. And so while we’ll be toasting Giamatti while enjoying Jamie Foxx’s acceptance speech Feb. 27, we again take the opportunity to announce our exhaustive annual list of non-Oscar superlatives, aka the Alties. Violet Carberry, Blake de Pastino, Lee Gardner, Richard Gorelick, Ian Grey, Eric Allen Hatch, Bret McCabe, Wendy Ward, and Gabriel Wardell comprised the members of the City Paper anti-academy whose nominations and votes are duly represented herein. And remember, no wagering.


Best Comedy: Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Bret McCabe: “Who knew Asian-Americans were the key to reinvigorating the anti-PC stoned college flick?” Notable nominees: Team America: World Police, Shaun of the Dead, Mean Girls, Napoleon Dynamite, Garden State, Saved!, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

Best Sci-Fi/Horror/Fantasy Movie: Saw.

Best Kids Movie: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Most Overrated Movie: Sideways. Richard Gorelick: “Please not Sideways. I liked it. Oh well.” Notable nominees: Open Water, Garden State.

Best Movie That Worked Much Better as a Trailer: National Treasure. Blake de Pastino: “It distilled what felt like an interminable episode of The Amazing Race into what looked like an Indiana Jones highlight reel.” Notable nominees: Open Water, The Village.

Best Picture From the “Axis of Evil”: Crimson Gold (Iran).

Best Ensemble: Ray. McCabe: “Everybody’s gonna say Sideways, if only because Paul Giamatti isn’t getting any Oscar love, but what about all those workhorse character actors—Kerry Washington, Regina King, Clifton Powell, Harry Lennix, Bokeem Woodbine, Richard Schiff, Larenz Tate, David Krumholtz, Wendell Pierce—who signed on to Ray knowing full well they were playing third, fourth, and fifth fiddle to Jamie Foxx?”

Best Actor Forced to Do Crap in a Hollywood Movie: Alfred Molina in Spider-Man 2.

Best Actress Forced to Do Crap in a Hollywood Movie: Dame Judi Densch in The Chronicles of Riddick.

Best Performance by an Actor Who’s Not Taken Seriously as an Actor: Mark Wahlberg in I ™ Huckabees.

Best Performance by an Actress Who’s Not Taken Seriously as an Actress: Uma Thurman in Kill Bill: Vol. 2.

Best Extended “As Themselves” Cameo: Neil Patrick Harris in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.

Best Performance by an Artificial Life Form: Selma Blair’s gargantuan knockers in A Dirty Shame.

Best On-Screen Freakiness: The Passion of the Christ. Gabriel Wardell: “Sadistic, drunken Roman legionnaires get plain silly with the cat-o’-nine-tails. Thank you, sir, may I have another . . . and another . . . and another . . . and another . . . and another . . . and another.” Notable nominee: Paul Wolfowitz’s spit-assisted grooming in Fahrenheit 9/11.

Best Gratuitous Nudity: The topless intern in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.

Worst Gratuitous Nudity: . . . no gratuitous nudity, aka Colin Farrell’s deleted nude scene in A Home at the End of the World.

Best Gratuitous Cuteness: The tiger cubs that are the sole reason to sit through Two Brothers.

Best Graceful Aging On-Screen: (tie) Susan Sarandon in Alfie and Darryl Hannah in Kill Bill Vol. 2. Ian Grey on Sarandon: “She dumps Jude Law for a younger guy, and you really feel for Law.”

Best Ungraceful Aging On-Screen: Robert De Niro in Godsend, Shark Tale, and Meet the Fockers. Notable nominees: the Olsen twins in New York Minute.

Performer Most in Need of a Vacation for All Our Sakes: (tie) Ben Stiller (Along Came Polly, Starsky and Hutch, Envy, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Meet the Fockers) and Jude Law (I ™ Huckabees, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Alfie, Closer, The Aviator, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events).

Best Completely Inexplicable Accent: Tom Hanks in The Terminal. Wardell: “Sounds remarkably like Borat from Da Ali G Show.” Notable nominee: Tom Hanks in The Ladykillers.

Best Obviously Fake Hair: The glued-on shoe-dye-colored hair strips plastered on Curtis Armstrong’s bald head so as to somehow evoke Atlantic Records legend Ahmet Ertegun in Ray. Notable nominee: Nicholas Cage’s hair plugs in National Treasure.

Best Performance by Male Hair in a Supporting Role: Tom Cruise’s salt-and-pepper brush cut in Collateral. McCabe: “Hmmm, how can we make Cruise look even more like an anal-retentive narcisisst? Give him Richard Gere’s hair. Perfect.”

Best Performance by Female Hair in a Supporting Role: Kate Winslet’s Manic Panic-ed mood hair in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Best Ensemble Hair: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Notable nominee: The Stepford Wives. Wendy Ward: “From all the bouffants on the Steppettes and the ’50s slick-backs on their hubbies to Nicole Kidman’s mousy brown pageboy and Bette Midler’s Jewish ’fro, hairdos cut in front of the Lily Pulitzer ensembles in the importance line.”

Best Line: “You know the Holocaust? Picture the exact opposite of that.” —David Krumholtz referring to Katie Holmes’ breasts in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.

Worst Line: “I think we should just trust our president in every decision that he makes and we should just support that.” —Britney Spears in Fahrenheit 9/11.

Most Quotable Film: Napoleon Dynamite. Wardell: “Close your eyes, and exhale belligerently while reciting: ‘I told you! I spent it with my uncle in Alaska hunting wolverines!’ ‘I already made, like, infinity of those at scout camp!’ ‘You should probably come get it ’cause I can’t fit my numchucks in there anymore.’”

Best Credit Sequence: Napoleon Dynamite.

Best Action Sequence: The Moscow car chase in The Bourne Supremacy.

Best Sex Scene: Puppets doing it in Team America: World Police and Seed of Chucky (tie).

Worst Sex Scene: The copulating Red America couple in Sideways. Violet Carberry: “Please let this be moonshine I’m drinking, I’d like to go blind now.”

Best What-He-Always-Does: Billy Bob Thornton in Friday Night Lights. Wardell: “What could have been showy is actually subtle, understated, restrained.”

Best What-She-Always-Does: Parker Posey in Blade: Trinity. McCabe: “She’s still Josie and the Pussycats’ trend-hunting Fiona, only with fangs.”

Worst What-He-Always-Does: Ben Affleck in Jersey Girl, Gigli, Surviving Christmas.

Worst What-She-Always-Does: Renée Zellweger screwing up her mouth so it looks like a cat’s anus in every frame of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.

Best Career Move: TV dudes Zach Braff and Topher Grace made shrewd film-career inroads—Braff by writing, directing, and starring in the smartish indie fave Garden State, Grace with small but winning parts in a couple of respectable movies with solid casts (P.S., In Good Company).

Worst Career Move: TV dude Ashton Kutcher did the exact opposite by top-lining a big, loud piece of sci-fi/thriller doodoo (The Butterfly Effect).

Best Comeback: Brad Bird, director of The Incredibles. Wardell: “After 1999’s 2-D animated gem Iron Giant kinda flopped, Bird’s vision and box-office power blossomed in Pixar’s vividly imaginative 3-D world.”

Best Embarrassingly Unsuccessful Comeback: (tie) Sharon Stone in Catwoman and Jonathan Demme (The Manchurian Candidate).

Best Use of Pop Music in a Motion Picture: Seu Jorge’s samba-fied acoustic versions of David Bowie songs in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Notable nominee: The songs in Team America: World Police. Fuck yeah!

Best Foreign Film That People Actually Saw: Hero.

Best Documentary That People Actually Saw: Super Size Me.

Most Talked About Film That Nobody Saw: The Brown Bunny.

Least Talked About Film That Everybody Saw: Shrek 2.

Best Eye Candy: Gael Garcia Bernal in Julia Roberts drag in Bad Education. Notable nominee: The ’60s-style clothes and ’60s-style nudity of The Dreamers.

Best Guilty Pleasure: (tie) Alien vs. Predator, Van Helsing, NASCAR 3-D: The IMAX Experience.

Best Picture That Made No Sense but Was Good Anyway: Primer.

Best Marketing Plan Masquerading as Motion Picture: Shrek 2.

Best CD Ad Masquerading as a Motion Picture: Garden State.

Best Totally Ridiculous Product Placement: Jessica Biel strapping on her iPod before fighting vampires in Blade: Trinity.

Best Didn’t Somebody Already Make This Before?: (tie) The Punisher, Alfie, The Stepford Wives, Walking Tall, Shall We Dance, The Grudge, The Manchurian Candidate, Around the World in 80 Days, The Ladykillers, The Alamo, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.

Outstanding Achievement in Tokenism: Louis Arcella as the zany, dumb Mexican gardener taking care of Jeff Bridges’ tortured writer in the latest rich-white-folks-suffer-more-than-anyone feature, The Door in the Floor.

The Joel Schumacher Director’s Cup for Material Squandering: John Waters for making deviant sex boring and mostly unfunny in A Dirty Shame. Notable nominee: Robert Zemeckis for somehow spinning the perfection of The Polar Express into the same old saccharine floss.

The Inaugural Antonio Gonzalez Multicultural Cinema Studies Award: Denzel Washington’s African-American born-again Christian assassin shoving a bomb up an evil swarthy guy’s ass to save a little Aryan tyke in Man on Fire.

Related stories

Film archives

More Stories

New This Week (8/4/2010)

New This Week (7/28/2010)

New This Week (7/21/2010)

Comments powered by Disqus
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter