Will the supposed shoe-in fail to grab her Golden Boy?
But who, you ask?
According to Anne Thompson and Peter Travers, it will be Annette Bening for "The Kids Are All Right."
Here's more from The Envelope:
"Portman ('Black Swan') and Colin Firth ('The King's Speech') have won all of these awards this derby season: Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, Critics' Choice and BAFTA. With only one exception, all actors who have pulled off that feat in the past went on to bag the Oscar next.
"However, some notable gurus, such as our Buzzmeter pundits Anne Thompson and Peter Travers, are nonetheless betting on Anette Bening ('The Kids Are All Right') to prevail.
"The only star who didn't win the Oscar after sweeping those precursor prizes: Russell Crowe ('A Beautiful Mind'). He probably would've won the Academy Award too, but he lost the sympathy of voters when he lost his temper and attacked a BAFTA producer, thus throwing the lead actor race to Denzel Washington ('Training Day').
"Portman has behaved most graciously throughout this awards season, of course, but there are several good reasons why she could be tripped up by Bening, who is: 1) a three-time past loser overdue to win; 2) a member of the academy's Board of Governors; 3) a heterosexual star who plays gay, which earned Oscar gold for Sean Penn ('Milk') and Tom Hanks ('Philadelphia').
Cracked lists them
While some on their list, like "Best Scene" is a good idea, it's probably never going to happen. But Best Stunts? Why is this not an award indeed.
And then, this one, another omission that should be added to the Awards Ceremony. Never mind how long they run, Saul Bass should have been given his Lifetime Achievement Award long ago.
"Best Title Design
"Back when silent movies first began playing at nickelodeons, their opening title sequences were nothing more than some words slapped up on a poster board, which was presumably made of dried out buffalo hides and Indian tears, because it was the olden days.
"It's like they're not even trying to hide the Indians.
"Back then, the only point of the cards was to give credit to the movie makers and let the audience know when the show started and ended, since silent film audiences were apparently still getting the hang of film going, and would have thrown rotten vegetables and polio germs if they'd reached their seat and found a blank screen.
"But it didn't take long for creative Hollywoody types to start arting up their credit sequences with fancy lettering and beautiful backgrounds. Alfred Hitchcock famously employed master title designers like Saul Bass to deliver his highly stylized odes to mid-century design.
"The title sequence was soon firmly established as an art form unto itself - giving filmmakers a chance to express the tones and underlying themes with animated (The Pink Panther, Life of Brian and Catch Me If You Can) or live action (the documentary that preceded JFK, the opening fly-by in Beetlejuice) short films that were often just as artistically interesting as the film that followed. Hell sometimes they're the only thing that makes the movie worth seeing, as when Lost in Translation's title sequence introduced us to the glory that is Scarlett Johansson's ass.
"You can win an Emmy for doing the same exact thing. The team who designed Mad Men's opening sequence featuring the the silhouette of a suited man falling out of a building was eligible for international acclaim and awards for their work, including the 2008 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Title Design...while Daniel Kleinman's 2006 opening to Casino Royale, which featured the silhouette of a suited man beating the crap out of some baddies, was eligible for a steaming plate of bupkis.
"Casino Royale, recipient of a hug from the world's No. 1 Grandma.
"Instead, we spend 15 minutes of the Oscars celebrating the Best Animated and Live Action short, but exclude pieces like the mind blowing 'The Life Of A Bullet' because it was attached to the front of a $50 million film called Lord of War."
Galifianakis goes Vuitton
I thought the still seemed pretty routine until I noticed Zach Galifianakis's ... luggage. I actually laughed out loud. (It's been a weird day.)
The image is courtesy Coming Soon, and you can check out another here.
As CS writes:
"In the follow-up to the record-breaking hit comedy 'The Hangover,' Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha) travel to exotic Thailand for Stu's wedding. After the unforgettable bachelor party in Las Vegas, Stu is taking no chances and has opted for a safe, subdued pre-wedding brunch. However, things don't always go as planned.
Golden boy contenders slapped with censorship
Here's one of the most famously banned films:
"A Clockwork Orange" (1971)
The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, but its extremely violent story caused some countries (Ireland, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Spain) to worry about copycat behavior, so it was banned. Even its director Stanely Kubrick muzzled it. He had it removed from U.K.. theaters after he and his family received death threats.
To his ... wife?
Here's the earth-shattering news:
"Actor Johnny Depp gave his partner Vanessa Paradis a standing ovation as the French singer performed a rare gig in New York. The 'Pirates of the Caribbean' star sat in the front row of the balcony for the show, which included many of Paradis’ hits and a touching rendition of Leonard Cohen’s 'Hallelujah,' reports dailystar.co.uk.
"The 47-year-old star then joined fans in giving the singer a standing ovation at the end of the gig, before heading backstage to congratulate Paradis and leading her through a mass of fans to escape in a waiting car."
Some great, nutty moments in Oscar history
The Academy Awards -- one of cinema's most supreme accolades.
So prestigious that, as many filmmakers and actors claim, it's an "honor" simply to be nominated. A gift from your peers, a historic milestone, a career changer, an ... oh ... where's Sacheen Littlefeather?
Oscar is at his best when he goes a bit batty. Cher's see-through dresses? Angelina Jolie's "love" for her brother? Roberto Begnini wanting to make love to the "firmament" (or something), Sean Penn getting agro for Jude Law, Rod Steiger thanking the Maharishi? George C. Scott not showing up. Adrien Brody tongue-wrestling Halle Berry? Now that's a show!
So with this year's Oscars hosted by James Franco (oh yes, and Anne Hathaway, but come now ... Franco), and hoping for some nutty moments (Bansky, what-ya-gonna-do?), I'm looking at some of my favorite crazy moments in Oscar history.
Joan vs. Bette (1963)
I love a good Bette vs. Joan throw-down and this is a great one. Furious when her "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" co-star Bette Davis was nominated for Best Actress and she wasn't, Joan Crawford got supremely crafty in the ongoing grudge match with Miss Bette (their feud went as far back as an affair with Francois Tone). Joan wrote each of the other nominees and offered her services to accept on their behalf should one of them be unable to attend the ceremony. And wouldn't you know it? Anne Bancroft, who couldn't attend, wins for "The Miracle Worker." Sweeping on stage and pawing that golden boy like a jungle cat snatching a fat water buffalo, Joan basked in the limelight while Ms. Davis steamed in her seat. Joan, I love you, and I'm usually on Bette's side (not Christina's, however) but, Bravo and well played. A diva to the death.
Vanessa Redgrave's Pro-Palestine Speech (1978)
Oscars are noted for winners espousing political statements (Michael Moore is a major recent example), but no actor got into the thick of things like Vanessa Redgrave. Redgrave, an outspoken supporter of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), was being picketed by members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) for her involvement in the documentary "The Palestinians" before she even took the stage. When she won Best Supporting Actress for "Julia," Redgrave delivered a jeremiad supporting Palestinian rights and applauding Hollywood for standing "firm" and refusing "to be intimidated by the threats of a small bunch of Zionist hoodlums whose behavior is an insult to the stature of Jews all over the world and to their great and heroic record against fascism and oppression." But Hollywood wasn't on the same page. Screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky took the stage shortly thereafter and chastised Redgrave to thunderous applause, saying, "Before I get on to the writing awards, there's a little matter I'd like to tidy up -- at least if I expect to live with myself tomorrow morning. I would like to say ... that I'm sick and tired of people exploiting the Academy Awards for the propagation of their own personal propaganda. I would like to suggest to Miss Redgrave that her winning an Academy Award is not a pivotal moment in history, does not require a proclamation, and a simple 'thank you' would have sufficed." No matter how you feel about Redgrave's statements, this was beautifully stated by Chayefsky, and goes to show how much more credit we should give screenwriters in the industry.
The Curious Case of Frank Capra (1934)
This reads like something that would happen in, well, a movie. But it did happen. Director Frank Capra was just plain confused when presenter Will Rogers opened up the Best Picture envelope with the folksy: "Come on up and get it, Frank!" Capra, assuming he was the Frank who'd deserve the accolade (for "Lady for a Day") bounded on stage only to realize... oops ... Frank Lloyd was the winner for "Cavalcade." Capra must have thanked the Lord there was no such thing as a televised Oscar broadcast in 1934. Ever the gentleman, Rogers gamely called third nominee George Cukor to join the two Franks on stage. That had to take the sting out of a potentially long walk back into the audience. Capra was back up there the next year, however, for his masterpiece screwball, "It Happened One Night."
Jack Palance Don't Need No Stinkin' Geritol (1992)
This wasn't exactly crazy bur rather an old school, star-studded brand of my-grandpa-can-kick-your-grandpa's-ass when "City Slickers" star Jack Palance picked up his Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Not content with the requisite "thank you's" delivered by scroll (and Palance has been around -- he'd have a lot of shout-outs), the actor dropped to the floor and performed an impressive set of one-handed push-ups. Not bad for a 72-year-old. His amused "City Slickers" co-star and Oscar host Billy Crystal used Jack as the running gag for the rest of the evening with zingers like: "Jack Palance has just bungee-jumped off the Hollywood sign." Or after a musical number performed by a host of kids, Crystal announced all of the children had, in fact, been seeded by the virile tough guy. No matter how much Palance may have deserved an award for better films in his canon like "Shane" or "The Big Knife" or "Sudden Fear," there's no doubt that he flat-out ruled that night. And yes, he probably could beat up your grandpa.
Marlon Brando and Sacheen Littlefeather (1973)
Oscar acceptance speeches have never been quite as elaborate as Marlon Brando's (non) acceptance speech in 1973. Winning Best Actor for "The Godfather," the eccentric thespian not only rejected his well-deserved award, but he appointed a woman dressed as an Apache Indian to refuse it for him. Sacheen Littlefeather, a B actress, appeared on stage and solemnly stated: "Marlon Brando ... very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award ... the reason for this being ... the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry ... excuse me... and on television in movie re-runs, and also the recent happenings at Wounded Knee." Few applauded. Most jeered. The rest of the evening provided grist for presenters, including the usually staid Clint Eastwood, who wondered if the Best Picture award should be accepted "on behalf of all the cowboys shot in John Ford Westerns over the years." It was scandalous then, but through time, it's become a terrifically entertaining bit of Oscar history. And it had to have inspired Neil Young: Marlon Brando, Pochantas and Me....
David Niven and the Streaker (1974)
I adore David Niven. How can you not adore David Niven? It seems a part of one's biolgical makeup to adore David Niven. But David Niven plus Oscars plus a streaker? In that case, I worship David Niven. Shaking up the normally demure affair in 1974 was one naked Robert Opel, a guy who'd managed to sneak onstage and streak past Niven while flashing the peace sign. Debonair Niven craftily upstaged the nude marauder, however, by handling the potentially embarrassing situation with amused aplomb. Not missing a comedic beat, the quick-witted Brit quipped, "The only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping and showing off his shortcomings." One of the most memorable Oscar moments, it's also a sterling example of how to manage a sticky situation -- something many presenters should learn from. In case of emergency, break glass and...resurrect David Niven.
The Oscar ballots are due by 5 PM today!
It's almost upon us. That's right -- the Super Bowl for film fans, the Academy Awards, which will air this Sunday, February 27.
Before I get to my post on predictions and all that business, here's some important news from TheWrap: the votes. The votes are a real thing (we often forget this), as in, real ballots exist and have to be counted in Los Angeles by 5 PM today.
They're sent in, but I like the idea of Mickey Rooney and Ernest Borgnine racing through traffic, making sure their votes are at the Pricewaterhouse office on time. And to accomplish this, they do as Bette Davis instructed, "take Fountain."
Here's more from TheWrap:
"Almost six months after "The King's speech" screened in Telluride and Toronto and "The Social Network" was first unveiled to critics, more than seven months after "Toy Story 3" topped the $400 million mark at the boxoffice, and a year after "Winter's Bone" and "The Kids Are All Right" debuted at Sundance, it's time to stop campaigning and start counting.
"Oscar ballots are due at PricewaterhouseCoopers' downtown Los Angeles offices by five p.m. on Tuesday. And that that point, a feverish, competitive awards season turns into a waiting game for everybody except a half-dozen PwC staffers.
"The accounting firm and the Academy don't release figures about how many last-minute ballots they receive – but Rick Rosas, one of the partners who oversee the process, has said that the number is substantial. (A public relations firm once put an observer in the lobby for the final day of voting, and counted about 500 ballots hand-delivered, expressed or FedExed that day.)"
The Liam Neeson thriller is number 1
I sort of doubt that. I think Disney shouldn't have named their film "I Am Number Four" and ... according to one certain movie, it's good to be the King. Hmm ... maybe President's Day did have something to do with it.
Here's more from TheWrap:
"Liam Neeson's thriller 'Unknown' won the four-day Presidents Day weekend box office, grossing $25.6 million, according to studio estimates.
"Overall, however, the domestic market was way off from last year's $240 million record gross on The the same weekend, with two other notable new releases underperforming.
"Disney's 'I Am Number Four,' a youth-targeted sci-fi drama that's the first film released under the studio's distribution agreement with DreamWorks, badly missed tracking in the $30 million range, grossing just $22.6 million over the four-day weekend.
"Fox's 'Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son' -- part three of the Martin Lawrence comedy franchise, which featured up-and-comer Brandon T. Jackson dawning his own latex fat suit -- grossed just $19 million. It was projected to take in around $25 million.
"While the overall domestic market continues to struggle, Oscar-nominated specialty titles keep thriving.
"One more such film passed the $100 million threshold domestically this weekend: Weinstein's 'The King's Speech' grossed an estimated $7.9 million over the four-day holiday period, bringing its North American total to $104.6 million."