An Oscars Rant for Oscars Night

Liam Neeson’s beautiful wife, in real life, died. Since that happened he has acted in a lot of violent rolls. He also starred, last year, in “The Grey,” as a suicidal widower battling a pack of wolves in a snowy forest. Neeson channeled the sadness of an ultimate real-life tragedy into a poetic, angry performance. It is total crap he isn’t nominated along with Daniel Day, Denzel and Joaquin Phoenix. F*ck Hugh Jackman.

As any character other than Wolverine.


Phoenix seemed an Oscar lock when “The Master” came out in September. He drinks chemicals, fights fat strangers, fingers a sand lady and becomes the broken dog of a cult leader. Daniel Day hit the party late, on Christmas, because that’s how real gangsters roll. Of course he would crush it as Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln: [pounds his hand on a table as his cabinet squabbles] I can’t listen to this anymore. I can’t accomplish a goddamn thing of any worth until we cure ourselves of slavery and end this pestilential war! I wonder if any of you or anyone else knows it. I know! I need this! This amendment is that cure! We’ve stepped out upon the world stage now. Now! With the fate of human dignity in our hands. Blood’s been spilled to afford us this moment now! Now! Now! And you grouse so and heckle and dodge about like pettifogging Tammany Hall hucksters!

There’s a blockbuster article in the new Esquire about the SEAL who fired the shots that killed Osama bin Laden. He scoffs at the raid scene in “Zero Dark Thirty,” but calls the portrayal of the CIA analyst who found bin Laden “awesome.” He’s right, it is awesome. Jessica Chastain is awesome in that flick, and she would probably win, except Jennifer Lawrence was such an intimidating, likable, unpredictable widow in “Silver Linings Playbook.” Lawrence freaks us out, befriends us and lets us into her damaged psyche. Bradley Cooper must have this woman; she’s too intriguing to let go.

And Robert De Niro destroyed it as a classic movie dad and a sympathetic nod to all the tortured sports fans out there.

Speaking of Esquire, the magazine also had a short writeup of “Django Unchained” headlined “Catharsis of the Year.” It included this: “(N)early three hours is filled wth slaves being whipped, dogs chewing slaves to death while bystanders watch, slaves being forced to gouge out one another’s eyes, slave women being given to houseguests the way one might give a basket of decorative soaps, slaves dying of thirst in burning holes, slaves having their balls cut off with red-hot blades, and so on. The amazing thing about watching all this is that it’s all perfectly Tarantinoesque, but it’s also for the most part historically accurate. Tarantino himself has neatly pointed out that you cannot make a film as lurid as slavery was in reality. He’s right. While you’re watching the filmic violence, the fact that these horrors really happened keeps intruding. The monstrosity of real history in the United States surpasses any pretend violence. It’s physicality is why Django Unchained is so necessary. … Lincoln is oddly bloodless.”

In “Avengers,” a team of superheroes battles an alien horde coming through a hole over Manhattan. In “The Hobbit,” dwarfs fight monsters. “Life of Pi” is about a boy trapped with a tiger on a life boat in the middle of the ocean. And “Prometheus”? “Prometheus” is a state-of-the-art atheist creature feature and the only film all year to harness the 3-D medium’s potential to make eye-popping artwork. These are the special effects nominees, and I don’t know how you pick a winner. More than any other, that’ll be the race I’m watching tonight.

The fat tear Anne Hathaway blinks off during her singing scene in “The Miserables” is so perfectly timed that she’s gonna win an Oscar for it.

Go Denzel.


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