The glitz, glamour and gibberish of the Academy Awards take centre stage on Sunday as Hollywood convenes for its most famous night of back-slapping. There’ll be joy, tears, and expressions of gratitude to various deities; God, Jesus, L. Ron Hubbard – all the usuals. Even if it’s just to check out the dresses or the strained expressions of the nominees who don’t win, the Oscars ceremony is always worth a watch.
As a betting proposition, it’s pretty much a favourite-backer’s wet dream. In the Big Three categories of Best Film, Best Actor and Best Actress, if you’re fancied to win, then you’re pretty much laughing all the way to the after show party. The favourites tend to oblige – and by some distance. Of the 30 winners in the Big Three awards of the last 10 years, 22 of them have been favourites, which obviously tells us that on just eight occasions have they been denied.
Even when the apple cart of favouritism has been upset, it’s generally not by a complete outsider. Normally it’s someone else who was there or thereabouts, a couple of examples being Marion Cotillard winning for La Vie En Rose and Sean Penn upsetting Mickey Rourke’s performance as pretty much Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler.
That evidence points to the team behind The Artist needing a lot more Brasso in the near future. The homage to French cinema with the broken sound looks set to dominate and is a shoe-in to win Best Picture. Personally, we’d have liked more explosions, but we’re guessing that would have mean a lot more cleaning up after Uggie. Jean Dujardin is hotly-fancied to make it a Best Picture and Best Actor double for the film and it will no doubt pick up it’s fair share of the less-talked-about honours. The Best Actress category lacks the overwhelming favourite of other years, but it should still be good news for Viola Davis as eight of the last t10 gongs have gone in the direction of the market leader. And speaking of virtual guarantees, Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis are great bets to cry in their acceptance speeches.
Hollywood and Oscar voters seem be awash in nostalgia this year. Sunday night’s awards show looks like being more of a tribute to cinema’s past with its elder lemons like Scorsese, Streep and Spielberg all up for gongs. With 10 nominations for The Artist, including the best picture, it’s probably time to bring a Harvey Weinstein Juggernaut Award for the heavy hitter who knows how to run and win an awards season campaign like no one else.
Paddy Power’s Hollywood insider has dished some dirt, especially for you Over The Line readers, ahead of the biggest movie weekend of the year. “With the Academy members having been unmasked as being comprised of 94% white, 77% male and 54% over the age of 60, it shouldn’t be too surprising to see that what they vote for tends to be made by or to star people who are just like themselves,” our deep throat explained from an underground car park.
“How else to explain nominations for Spielberg’s War Horse or the sentimental and atrocious Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close? Gems like Melancholia or Shame were completely ignored.”
Our Tinseltown mole added: “All celebs say it’s ‘great to be nominated’ and they partly mean it. For the month between the nominations and the Oscars themselves, all nominees are golden and nearly all equal. They can get meetings with ANYONE and dine out on the lustre of what getting a nomination means in the industry.
“It’s not widely known, but most actors have it written into their contracts before a movie is even made that they get a bonus of $250,000 just for getting a nomination and $500,000 if they win. They will also get their pick of gigs for the coming years. As Jack Nicolson said in his Oscar acceptance speech for As Good As It Gets – ‘thanks for this. It means I’ve got work for the next couple of years’.”
Our silver-screen spy points us in the direction of one person anxious to break his duck in the Best Actor category. “George Clooney, who’s nominated for a Best Actor gong for The Descendants and a has been showing up at every cocktail party and cock fight for months now, pretending to love every inane question lobbed at him, understands the ‘business’ part of showbusiness. Ever the diplomatic and thoroughly likeable sliver fox, he tried to paint a more chilled out picture than his party attendances suggest.”
Clooney has previously said, “Awards are great in that they help people be aware of the industry and that can help the industry to grow, but in themselves they’re not the end of the world. You have to keep a bit of perspective here.”
It’s the year that’s seen some of the worst movies nominated for Best Picture. Yes, Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, we’re looking at you. There have been occasional upsets, so clearly anything is still possible. Well, maybe not Whitney Houston jumping out of a giant cake. But you get our drift.