Sunday, March 24, 2002

On non-Oscar related guff, I must direct you to the fabulous reviews for "Blade 2" which are presently dominating the front page of Ain't It Cool News (http://www.aintitcool.com).

The geeks like it, vampire fans, they really like it. And they're not alone. Even CNN's online reviewer dug it, and he hates everything.

Form an orderly queue outside your local Palace-au-flicks on Friday, won't you please, and make this movie so big that it whups the ass of that ill-considered "E.T." re-release (Adding new CG to "Star Wars" I can handle, but digitally grafting expressions onto ET is akin to hiring your neighbour's caffeine-addled, hoodie-sporting, Slipknot-fixated twelve-year-old to do a subtle touch-up on an Edward Hopper original). I'll be your friend?

If nothing else, "Blade 2" boasts the undeniable must-see sight of Luke Goss - Yes, THAT Luke Goss - as the head villain in the flick, and leader of a demonic uber-Vampire hybrid sect called the Reapers.

Face it, if you ever suspected that the Bros twins were genetically-engineered nasties just hiding huge fangs and grotesque mutant features under their blandly airbrushed boy band features, isn't it worth your six quid to see him get hammered into the middle of next year by Wesley Snipes? Hell, yes!

Before I forget? "24" is on BBC 2 at 10:30pm tonight. Be a dear and watch it for me. It's getting more essental by the week.

Patster Hiroprotovitch - Out

Since people have been asking, and I'm loathe to keep my mouth shut when pressed on such important issues, I feel it only proper to enter that already overcrowded field of Oscar Punditry and have a shot at predicting how this year's glitzy bunfight will pan out.

Best Film
My gut says that this will go the "The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring", but my head tells me that "A Beautiful Mind" might just sneak in and nick the statuette. There's a gathering momentum for this flick, despite the whispering campaign against it, and it's the kind of middle-brow, middle-weight, triumph-over-adversity crapulence that the Academy goes for. Also, the long-range predictions already have a sweep predicted for the third "LOTR" movie, "The Return Of The King", all the way ahead in 2003/04, on the not unlikely basis that "Fellowship..." is but the opening gamut of a much bigger epic.

Of course, I could be completely off-beam and "Moulin Rouge" could sneak in, but I doubt it. It's too youthful, effeverscent and contemporary for the Academy to acknowledge. Perhaps, like me, they felt that "Moulin Rouge" was uncomfortably akin to being shouted at by drama students for two, exhausting hours.

Best Director
Ron Howard. For no good reason that I can think of. It's all political, and he's due for the recognition, having generated mucho dinero for the studios in the past and being the very definition of a team player. I mean, I enjoyed "The Paper" and "EDTV" probably as much as anyone, but I didn't see anything in "A Beautiful Mind" that warranted recognition. It's a big "So What?" of a film, and stole multiple nominations from more deserving candidates like "The Royal Tenenbaums" or, in an unforgivable snub, "Shrek". And, as we've already discussed, Peter Jackson is locked in for 2003/04.

But he deserves it now, of course.

Best Actor
Russell Crowe. Again, the "A Beautiful Mind" juggernaut would seem to guarantee that he's a shoe-in, but his work in this film is questionable at best, and downright phoned-in, if we're being truthful. The last-minute money has Denzel Washington's incediary lead in "Training Day" snagging the gong but I still have my doubts that the Academy want to be seen giving the big Golden guy to a film which is only a step away from being a Steven Seagal vehicle. It's a popcorn flick, folks, which an ass-kicking central performance and some pretence at representing live as it is in South Central. But, that said, Denzel is the man and this is perhaps the year that the good people of the Academy give him the award for his sterling body of work.

Dark Horse candidate? Tom Wilkinson, for "In The Bedroom", which nobody saw and I'm no exception here.

Best Actress
A tough one to call, but I'd go with Sissy Spacek, if only because the talk is all in her favour, and she has Awards Season momentum firmly behind her. If you want to make a smart bet, I'd go with Halle Berry, if only because she's been around for a while and finally hit a stride, of sorts (We don't talk about "Swordfish", here, obviously). The critics praised her work in this bleak tale of Deep South racism and redemptive, mismatched lovers and essentially made her a contender. And, to be frank, nobody expected such powerful work of her.

Best Supporting Actress
My heart tells me that Jennifer Connelly will be onboard the "A Beautiful Mind" bandwagon if it does roll, but she's also a deserving candidate, especially given that her astonishing work in last year's "Requiem For A Dream" was so overlooked by everybody. It's a similar story to Halle Berry, really. She's a looker and nobody knew that she had the skills to become such an accomplished actress - This may be a time when the acknowledgement is due mostly to an existing body of recent work and the potential ahead of her.

Failing that? Helen Mirren, for Altman's genuinely tiresome "Gosford Park". She's a beacon in an otherwise eminently missable lark of a flick. I mean, if you're going to nominate Altman for this bobbins, why didn't Soderbergh get a nod for marshalling his mates through "Ocean's Eleven", which is at least enjoyable and worth a damn.

Best Supporting Actor
If Ian McKellan doesn't get this for "Fellowship...", I give up. Honestly. Especially as nobody nominated Viggo Mortensen in the same film. If "LOTR" gets nothing else in the big, showy catergories, it should win here. McKellan is THE MAN in this flick and you know it. His deafening delivery of that film's money line, "YOU! SHALL NOT! PASS!", is my favourite movie moment of the last year and I make no bones of that. Call it residual THX damage if you must, but I'm down with Gandalf.

If not McKellan, I'd say that this one belongs to Jim Broadbent, and I guess, only somewhat grudgingly, that I can't complain about that choice. If only because the Oscar would all but guarantee no more series of his woeful BBC sitcom vehicle, "The Peter Principle", which any studio casting people should check out before offering Mr Broadbent any leads in broad comedy flicks.

My Alternative Oscars, then?

Best Film: "The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring"
Best Director: Peter Jackson, "LOTR"
Best Actress: Audrey Tautou, "Amelie"
Best Actor: Haley Joel Osment, "A.I."
Best Supporting Actress: Alyson Hannigan, "American Pie 2" (Kiss my ass, these are my awards!)
Best Supporting Actor: Bill Murray, "The Royal Tenenbaums"

Yep, when I get to hand out the gongs, Willow Rosenberg's alter-ego gets the recognition that she so richly deserves and there ain't a damn thing that you can do about it (Eliza Dushku was THIS close to winning for her turn in "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back", by the way, which may be more to do with her rubber catsuit than the work. I know, I know - what do you want me to say? I still miss Faith...).

Check back in next week for more commentary on the Academy Awards, which I can almost guarantee will be free of any vital analysis of frocks, fashion and million-dollar jewellery. You'll be reading next week's "Heat" for that, anyways...

Patster Hiroprotovitch - out....

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