Mrs. Movie Lady’s Oscar Picks

Francine Pickens here, aka Mrs. Movie Lady, the lady who “tells it like it is” at and on Topeka radio station KPZX-FM! It’s Oscar season, which means it’s time for me to make my patented Mrs. Movie Lady Oscar Predictions. If you follow my predictions and win your office pool, be sure to cut me in on your winnings! (Just kidding. I would never accept money earned from gambling.)

I’ll be honest with you, I was disappointed with this year’s nominations. There were so many blockbusters in 2005 that were simply overlooked! Four example, where are the nominations for “Fantastic Four”? That film should have had at least four fantastic nominations! A movie grosses $158 million yet isn’t worthy of awards? Unlikely! Ditto “Hitch,” a movie that went off without one (a hitch, that is) and that should have earned a nod for Will Smith as Best Actor. Will Smith ever get his due from the Academy? That would be “fresh” indeed!

Instead, this year’s Oscar nominations are all obscure “arthouse” movies that the average person hasn’t even HEARD of! I mean, look at the Best Picture nominees. Combined, they haven’t made as much money as “War of the Worlds” did by itself. (Total nominations for “War of the Worlds”: ZERO. Unless it’s for one of the little categories that I don’t pay attention to.) How good can “Good Night, and Good Luck” be if no one has seen it?

I’m disappointed in some of the other choices, too. “Munich” and “Brokeback Mountain” are both terrible films, just awful. “Munich” teaches that the Israelis were murderers and the Palestinian terrorists were victims, while “Brokeback Mountain” teaches that being “gay” (I don’t accept that word as meaning what people today think it means) is perfectly normal and will lead to a happy life of fulfillment and pleasure! Now, I haven’t seen these films, but I’ve read articles that say that’s what they’re about. So it’s pretty appalling! Usually Hollywood has its finger on the pulse of middle America, so I don’t know why they’re so off-base this year.

Anyway, here are my predictions for Sunday’s ceremony.

Will win: “Capote.” What a delightful little movie about a delightful little man! I tell you tru, man — that Capote was quite a character! It’s a shame he never married. He’d have made a great dad!
Should have been nominated: “Rent.” This is a throwback to the old Technicolor musicals of the 1940s, complete with singing and dancing and talking that sounds like singing. Don’t rent it. Buy it!!

Will win: Joaquin Phoenix, “Walk the Line.” I’ll tell you one thing about this handsome actor: If ‘e nicks himself shaving, he can joaquin to my bathroom for a piece of toilet paper any time!
Should have been nominated: I know the Academy is too stuffy to honor comedic actors, but would it have killed them to give Adam Sandler his due for “The Longest Yard”? This was one remake that made me totally forget the original, which I’d only first heard of the day before anyway.

Will win: Charlize Theron, “North Country.” The Academy members are sure to give Charlize this award — unless ther on crack, that is! “North Country” is a stirring drama about the power of one woman to fight against dozens of one-dimensional, cartoonish men. And it’s just as inspiring if you live in the South Country! (i.e., Mexico.)
Should have been nominated: Come on, Academy? No nod for Jodie Foster in “Flightplan”? What happened? ‘dja O.D. on anti-Foster pills?

Will win: There’s one actor Hollywood has been dying to reward for years now: Matt Dillon. Ever since “The Outsiders” and “The Flamingo Kid,” people have been wheelin’ and dillon’ to get him an Oscar. And now’s their chance, dammatt! I’m just sorry he was nominated for that awful “Crash” (which I haven’t seen, but which I understand contains racial slurs) instead of his stellar work in “Herbie: Fully Loaded.”
Should have been nominated: I know the Academy hardly ever nominates animated characters, but honestly, what about David Schwimmer as the neurotic giraffe in “Madagascar”? I gir-laffed my head off at this old “friend” of mine. (Full disclosure: I don’t mean he’s really my friend. I mean he was on a show called “Friends” where he was one of the friends in the title.)

Will win: Frances McDormand, “North Country.” Go around your dorm and tell everyone: She’s France’s (OK, America’s) greatest actress! Well, greatest supporting actress.
Should have been nominated: How did Jane Fonda’s great work in “Monster-in-Law” go unnoticed?! Me Tarzan, you great actress! I’m quite fonda you!

Will win: George Clooney, “Good Night, and Good Luck.” Get a cloo and don’t be looney: George is Hollywood’s golden boy. You don’t have to be devastatingly handsome to win a Best Director Oscar — but it sure helps!!
Should have been nominated: Nora Ephron, for her calculated, thought-provoking update of “Bewitched.” The TV show made you think while it made you laugh, too, but the movie made me do both even more. You might say I was “entranced” by it!

The other categories have to do with technical things like “art direction” and “screenplay,” so I’m leaving them out. Have fun at your Oscar parties, and I’ll see you at the movies! (Unless it’s a Thursday; that’s when I play bridge.)

Mrs. Movie Lady first appeared in a column where she named her picks for the best movies of 2004. It seemed like the Oscars would be a good occasion to bring her back, applying her clueless, unfunny hackery to 2005's crop. The fact that there really are critics like this -- who support movies based on star power or box office rather than quality, and who miss the point of a lot of things -- makes it a cathartic experience for me to write.

Plus, I get to practice making terrible, terrible puns. It's the rare situation where no matter how belabored or gruesome the pun is, it's OK because it fits the character.

By the way, the statistic about the five Best Picture nominees not grossing as much as "War of the Worlds" did by itself is accurate.

There was an annoying trend this year of people criticizing the "agendas" of movies like "Brokeback Mountain" and "Munich" even though they hadn't seen them. I don't understand how you can do that. I'm sorry, but actually SEEING a movie seems like a prerequisite for telling people that you don't like it. Am I missing something here?

It's one thing to say, "I haven't seen the film, but from what I've read, it seems to espouse Message X and Agenda Y. And if that's the case, then I'm against it." But people weren't doing that. They were saying, "This movie promotes Message X and Agenda Y! And I'm against that!" Pressed for details, they'd confess they hadn't seen it, but that they'd read something where a writer offered his or her view of what the movie was about. And I guess they figured that person's interpretation was good enough, so they adopted it as their own without any further deliberation. Which I suppose is fine for one's own personal decisions about what movies to see. But if you're going to start publicly denouncing something, you should probably have more familiarity with the subject than merely having read what somebody else said about it, don't you think?