Sunday night’s Oscar broadcast was fine, I suppose. It was nice to see Billy again, even though much of his scripted material felt flat and hacky. Meryl was humble and deserving (though I not-so-secretly rooted for Michelle) and you gotta love Jean Dujardin’s victory. Though my friends Beth and Anne said “He didn’t even have to say anything!,” I argued that this fact made his job that much more challenging.
I recalled, however, the 2009 Oscars, when my beloved Kate Winslet nabbed her first golden statue (Best Actress, The Reader) on her sixth nomination. I was legitimately swelling with happiness for her. “It’s about time,” I thought, even though she was only 34 at the time. I may have cried a little, okay? It was memorable.
This year’s Oscars? Not so much.
Last year’s Oscars? Other than Melissa Leo acting a fool and Corey Haim being snubbed from the “Those we have lost” montage, there was nothing much to write home about. At least not from where I was sitting.
Once again, I’d like to see an actor I really root for nab the grand prize, even while I acknowledge that these prizes in actuality mean very little (see: two Emmy plus two Golden Globe nominations and Sheen, Charlie). ANYHOO, here are five Oscar winners I would love to see one day. Soon.
1. Leonardo “Leo” Di Caprio.
Awards-season history: Three Oscar nominations, for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator, and Blood Diamond. One Golden Globe win (The Aviator) and a slew more GG nominations: Gilbert Grape, Titanic, Catch Me If You Can, The Departed, Blood Diamond, Revolutionary Road, and J.Edgar. He probably should have scored at least a few extra Oscar nominations there as well.
Leo has come bursting out of the pretty-boy stereotype, taking on challenges like the occasionally terrifying Frank in Rev Road and the complex tortured titular character in J. Edgar. He never phones it in, he always immerses himself, and perhaps his greatest (only?) flaw is taking himself too seriously.
Rumor has it that ‘The Academy’ didn’t approve of his late-20s shenanigans with the so-called ‘p*ssy posse.’ C’mon, folks. He was a good-looking, rich, talented A-lister. He’s NOT supposed to be a player?
2. Justin Timberlake
Awards-season history: Nothing. Yet.
So Ronald Reagan went from matinee idol to California governor to two-term President. FINE. But going from Mickey Mouse Club alum to Oscar nominee? Wait … Ryan Gosling already did that? FINE. So going from Mickey Mouse Club alum to boy-band alum to pop idol to wardrobe-malfunction participant to Oscar WINNER? Epic journey. JT is bursting at the seams with acting talent, as evidenced from his very first SNL hosting gig. If he stretches his chops beyond silly rom-coms, he will astound people. Just you wait.
3. Richard Gere
Awards-season history: Two Golden Globe nominations for Pretty Woman and An Officer and a Gentleman. One Golden Globe win (Chicago). No Oscar nominations.
In 2003, Chicago was the talk of tinseltown. And when the Oscar nominations came out, every principal in the cast was nominated: Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Queen Latifah, John C. Reilly. All except Gere, who had won the Golden Globe and who was — in many critics’ and fans’ eyes — the best part of the film. Dude learned to tap dance, for God’s sake (see below).
Now, ten years before that, in 1993, Gere was banned from being an Oscar presenter after using the awards show to proselytize about Tibet, denouncing the Chinese government in the process. Perhaps not the venue, but certainly other actors have followed suit (Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Sally Field, etc.)
If this remains true (not to mention the Leo rumors), it really makes me wonder. Are these ‘offenses’ really worse than A) giving Quaaludes (allegedly) to a 13-year-old before hooking up with her or B) cheating on your partner with your common-law stepdaughter? Because both those guys? Have recently won Oscars.
So while Richard isn’t necessarily one of my favorites, I’d like to see him turn in a performance so moving that the Academy is forced to acknowledge (and reward) it. He is still owed such a superlative from his performance as Billy Flynn.
4. Michelle Williams