Wednesday, March 9, 2011

BDT Oscars Reset -- 2000

It's about time these things were given to people who actually deserve them!

Ladies and gentlemen, the time has come! Part one of my long awaited non-sports project is done and I couldn't be more excited to post it! One week ago, I had my friend Casey, a movie aficionado, on the podcast to talk about this years Oscars. For whatever reason, the Oscars always seem to incite a great deal of emotion in people and it was no different for Casey and I. Let's just say that neither of us were terribly satisfied with some of this years award selections. That got me thinking; what if we had the ability to hit the reset button on the Oscars and set the world straight with the "right" picks? Well, that is exactly what this little project is all about. Here's how it works:

We are re-picking five categories (Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Picture). In addition, I have created three new categories to give awards to. Five nominations are made for each category and our winners are chosen from those nominations. The nomination process is completely open. They can come from any movie or performance from that year, no matter if they received an actual Oscar nomination or not. The actual; piece is written in a mock debate format. Casey and I alternate who gets first comment and comments are limited to two per person. Unbeknownst to Casey (who happens to know infinitely more about movies than I) I have added a scoring tally to keep track of who wins the debates. I wonder what the results are going to be.......Let's get to it!

Opening Comments:

Jon: Casey, I know you’ve been reeling over the untimely death of your precious Academy. This is a big opportunity for you to pick up the slack! I just want you to realize that you’re stepping into the ring with the big boys now! I’m not gonna take it easy on you just because you’re vulnerable after this year’s show! Prepare to meet your demise!!!

Casey: Untimely? Jon, you fool. Unlike ‘some’ of us who made boisterous claims of boycott and mayhem, I for one have not been taken by surprise, having seen the proverbial writing on the wall of the Oscars for years. We’re going back to the year 2000 for good reason, my friend – there are plenty of do-overs that have been in store for some time now. So, to quote the man I largely blame for the demise of my precious sports franchise, get your popcorn ready!

Jon: Whoa! Name calling? Already? We haven’t even made it to the actual awards! I can see the big guns are coming out early so I’m gonna have to pick it up. Now, look, I might have made some large scale statements about boycotting the Oscars, but I set some parameters around those statements and, believe me, I would have stuck to those claims! Then I broadened those parameters. Then I broadened them again. Alright, fine, you got me! I wasn’t boycotting! Happy? I’m sure you are. Almost as happy as the day Tim Rattay took over as starting QB for your Niners!

Casey: Okay maybe you’ve got a point. I should take it easy and at least save some of the Quincy Carter and Wade Phillips comments for later. I don’t need any more reminders of how the last 10 years have gone for the Niners, the memories are unfortunately still as fresh as a Monday Jay Cutler bruise. On to the nominees!

Best Comedy 

Nominations:     O Brother, Where Art Thou?
                           Meet the Parents
                           Dude, Where's My Car?
                           Road Trip

Jon: O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Casey: Meet the Parents

Jon: I’m very excited to present the very first Boris Diaw Time imaginary, made-up Oscar! Do you think the winners would appreciate it if I whittled a fat, pear shaped Boris Diaw statuette out of wood and sent it to them? I’m sure they would! Anyways, this was an awesome year for comedies! Meet the Parents was great and, for some inexplicable reason, I loved Dude, Where’s My Car? Zoltan! This was an easy pick though. I’ve seen OBWAT close to 10 times now and it kills me every time.

Casey: No doubt, OBWAT was great, and I agree that Dude is one of the under-rated dumb comedies of our generation. But Ben Stiller spray-painting a cat?! Okay, I know you hate Ben Stiller, and it turns out so do I.  But I have watched Meet the Parents so many times over the years and the painful moments don’t get any less painful, thanks to two brilliant acting performances. Stiller was at his best in this film, and he has only himself to blame for his unfortunate regression from this high point to Night at the Museum 8.

Jon: So your argument for Meet the Parents is that Ben Stiller was at his best? Hey, Troy Smith had a career year last year. You’ll have to remind me, were the 49ers in the playoffs?
Seriously, Meet the Parents was great but how can you pick against one of the most creative comedies of all time?

Casey: Okay, so maybe you’ve got me on this one. O Brother was a great film; the issue is we’re talking about two very different types of comedies. For me, Meet the Parents made me laugh more. But O Brother was more sophisticated and in all reality probably deserves to be remembered more in film history.

Score: Jon 1 Casey 0

Best Actor in a Comedy

Nominations:     George Clooney (O Brother, Where Art Thou?)
                           Robert De Niro (Meet the Parents)
                           Ben Stiller (Meet the Parents)
                           Ashton Kutcher (Dude, Where's My Car?)
                           Brad Pitt (Snatch)

Jon: George Clooney (O Brother, Where Art Thou?)
Casey: Robert De Niro (Meet the Parents)

Casey: Like I said above, these guys have great chemistry in Meet the Parents, and that alone is the driving force of the film’s humor. DeNiro’s switch from crime-drama to comedy should have been met with more fanfare. Of course, now that we have 10 years’ retrospect at our avail, perhaps those of us who remember Rocky and Bullwinkle should be reluctant to go back and encourage him any more…

Jon: After reading your comments in the previous category, I was afraid you were going to use your space to write a love letter to Stiller. At least you picked a real actor. Look, Meet the Parents was all about the writing and the chemistry between the cast. I really don’t think anybody did anything special in the movie. Clooney, on the other hand, absolutely killed it! His sarcastic style and believable delivery made the movie!

Casey: You’re right, George Clooney playing George Clooney in the same way he does in every film did make the movie. It was really funny. Maybe we should make a movie about an arrogant, delirious sportscaster and we’ll give you best actor because you nailed the part! I still stand by DeNiro because this role represents a seamless transition from drama to comedy for him. By the way, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone use ‘chemistry’ as evidence against acting performances before…

Jon: ...and that’s exactly why I’ve been called upon (by me) to fix what the Academy has broken! By the way, I totally forgot about Snatch! We’re gonna have to get the nominees done before throwing out comments next time because you’re making me look bad! Maybe Clooney kinda does the same thing in every film, but it doesn’t make it any less funny. I’d quote a line from the movie here, but I’m pretty sure he swears in all of them. Wouldn’t want to ruin the blog for the kids! As a side note: I strongly considered switching to Brad Pitt for his off the wall character, but Clooney was just too amazing! Also, Casey is probably just mad because Clooney ditched ER and ruined the show for him...

Score: Jon 2 Casey 0

Best Supporting Actor

Nominations:     Benicio Del Toro (Traffic)
                           Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator)
                           Willem Dafoe (Shadow of the Vampire)
                           Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous)
                           Haley Joel Osment (Pay It Forward)

Actual Winner: Benicio Del Toro (Traffic)
Jon: Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator)
Casey: Benicio Del Toro (Traffic)

Jon: I’m so happy I get to go first on this one! I was afraid you would steal my thunder. The Best Supporting Actor goes to......WILSON THE VOLLEYBALL! Wait, he’s not eligible? Crap. OK, fine, I’ll pick Joaquin Phoenix. Look, Benicio Del Toro was pretty good in Traffic, but I wasn’t terribly wild about the movie or his performance. Phoenix, however, was easily the best performance in Gladiator. He creeped me out the entire time!

Casey: “He knew they were busy little bees…” SERIOUSLY?! Easily the best performance? Um, have you perhaps heard of this guy, I’m trying to think of his name, what was it again? Oh yeah, RUSSELL CROWE! Look closely in Phoenix’s “AM I NOT MERCIFUL?!” scene, and you can actually see him lip-syncing a line from “Walk the Line”. Forget what you think of Traffic, Del Toro is a terrific actor. P.S. Did anyone actually see Shadow of the Vampire??!

Jon: Oh come on! We’ve talked about this before! Russell Crowe doesn’t do anything special in this movie. And really, what’s wrong with the busy little bees line! We aren’t picking awards for writing now are we? Anyways, you’re right, I’m probably underrating Del Toro because I don’t like Traffic, but I’d still pick Phoenix. He delivers an incredible depiction of what was, historically, a crazed psychopath of an emperor. The movie simply isn’t the same without that strong of a character.

Casey: I’m sorry; did I pick Russell Crowe to win this? No, that’s right, I picked Benicio Del Toro. Okay, so let’s forget about Russell and his fightin’ ‘round the world for now. Del Toro takes home the prize. Let’s just pray that if we keep giving him Oscars he’ll take the hint and cancel production of “Wolfman 2: You Thought I Couldn’t Get Any Hairier!”

Score: Jon 2 Casey 1 (Even I have to give props for that last response in what is obviously a completely rigged scoring system where only I decide the points)

Best Actress

Nominations:     Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich)
                           Sandra Bullock (Miss Congeniality)
                           Juliette Binoche (Chocolat)
                           Jennifer Connelly (Requiem for a Dream)
                           Michelle Pfeiffer (What Lies Beneath)

Actual Winner: Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich)

Jon: Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich)
Casey: Juliette Binoche (Chocolat)

Casey: Figures that I end up with this category! Should I go into my rant about female acting now, or should I wait until it gets really bad in one of the later years? Oh heck, as much as it hurts me to acknowledge a French film, we have to give it to Juliette Binoche. She was good in Chocolat. What am I going to do, give it to Julia Roberts for playing a whore – again?!

Jon: Wait, did you say when it gets really bad one year? Umm….did you read the list of nominees? Seriously, we have a nominee from Miss Congeniality up there!
So, I haven’t seen Chocolat, as you can probably imagine, so I have no idea who this Juliette Binoche character is. Hold on, I’m going to Google her really quick……and, done. Definitely not hot. I’ll take Julia Roberts. She may play a whore yet again, but at least she sticks to what she knows.

Casey: Okay, first of all, she is an attractive lady when she has hair, and, well, I guess when she wasn’t in her 40’s! And if you’re going to bring looks into this anyway, then why don’t we talk about that giant thing on Julia’s face… what that called? Oh yes, her mouth! Oh but I guess you’re into giant mouths with your obsession with Anne Hathaway, too. You know, neither of us really cares who wins, and this inevitably turns into an argument that has nothing to do with the category!

Jon: That’s fine! I’ll argue! And I’ll bring my good friend Russell Crowe in here to beat the busy little bees out of you! (Dear Readers: As you can probably guess, I’m basically going to be picking this award based on who’s hottest. If you are offended by that.......well, I don’t really care.) By the way, Casey, I find it odd that you would be critical of what others view as “hot” in a woman when you are find crazy/lazy eyes and sloth like appearances to be hot. Just thought I’d point it out because I’d hate to allow Academy like hypocrisy to sneak into our pure, unblemished awards.

Score: Jon 3 Casey 1

Best Actor

Nominations:     Russell Crowe (Gladiator)
                           Tom Hanks (Cast Away)
                           George Clooney (O Brother, Where Art Thou?)
                           Gael Garcia Bernal (Amores Perros)
                           Christian Bale (American Psycho)

Actual Winner: Russell Crowe (Gladiator)

Jon: Tom Hanks (Cast Away)
Casey: Tom Hanks (Cast Away)

Jon: OK, so I was only kidding with the Wilson thing (sorta) but I’m dead serious about this one. I know Gladiator was awesome and everything, but seriously, what did Russell Crowe do to deserve Best Actor? He stood sullenly quiet for most of the movie, killed a bunch of people, and queried a moderately sized crowd as to whether or not they were entertained. Great. People tend to forget this though; TOM HANKS DID A 2 HOUR MOVIE WITH NOTHING BUT HIM AND A VOLLEYBALL! AND IT WAS GOOD! Seriously, name me 3 other actors who could pull Cast Away off? Go ahead...

Casey: Okay, so I already gave a brief version of my Russell Crowe speech, and there’s no denying it – he’s sort of my boy. But you’re spot on with Hanks. It was a bit of a shocker for many of us when the Academy actually looked in the envelope instead of just tossing Tom the Oscar whilst he juggled his others. But let’s not forget about Russell’s performance here. I still think it was better than you think… and I’m REALLY fighting the urge to bring up the following year… arrrgggghhh!!!

 Jon: Yes, Russell Crowe was fantastic at looking huge and stabbing people. Yay for him. I think, perhaps, you might have missed what I said earlier. Just in case, I’ll go ahead and tell you again. TOM HANKS DID A 2 HOUR MOVIE WITH NOTHING BUT HIM AND A VOLLEYBALL! AND IT WAS GOOD! -----------BYAH!!!!!!!!

Casey: Perhaps you missed who I listen as the winner – I GAVE TOM THE FREAKING OSCAR DUDE!!!  Settle down! I for one am glad Russell took it home, because he needed it for the following year when they snubbed him… aw dang it I went and mentioned it. Oh well. You know Tom would have just thrown this Oscar behind all the other ones on his Oscar shelf, and he probably doesn’t even care.

Score: Jon 4 Casey 1

Best Director

Nominations:     Ridley Scott (Gladiator)
                           Steven Soderbergh (Traffic)
                           Joel and Ethan Coen (O Brother, Where Art Thou?)
                           Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Amores Perros)
                           Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream)

Actual Winner: Steven Soderbergh (Traffic)

Jon: Ridley Scott (Gladiator)
Casey: Ridley Scott (Gladiator)

Casey: There’s no doubt Soderbergh is a great director, even often overlooked. But the real question this year was, where would Gladiator have been without Ridley? We’ve taken our turns ripping acting in the film. The story of the hero standing for honor above self is no new concept. Ridley pretty much invented a new type of action sequence for this film (watch the scenes in the arena again), and everything visual in this movie was absolutely stunning.

Jon: So...uh…am I supposed to try to argue on this one? Well, I guess I could try to make another argument for OBWAT. Eh, I’ll skip it. You’re right about everything you said. To me, the criticism of the acting shows just how impressive Ridley’s work is. Everything about this movie was excellent; from the amazing score down to the spot on casting. Well done Ridley Scott! Almost makes up for the next 10 years of disappointing garbage…

Casey: The real question here is, how did the Academy not manage to somehow rope in a nomination for Spielberg this year?!? Maybe he was too busy promoting the 8th Director’s Cut of Indiana Jones that year. Or maybe he was still crying over losing Saving Private Ryan to a British chick flick!!

Jon: I feel it is appropriate to let everyone know of your incredible (and unwarranted) hatred of Steven Spielberg. Never mind that he has directed some of the most iconic movies of our lifetime. Don’t even worry about that; means nothing.

Score: Jon 5 Casey 1

Best Picture

Nominations:     Gladiator
                           O Brother, Where Art Thou?
                           Amores Perros
                           Cast Away

Actual Winner: Gladiator

Jon: Gladiator
Casey: Gladiator

Jon: What? Did you expect me to pick Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon? This was a crappy year for movies anyways. I mean, Erin Brockovich got nominated for Best Picture! Erin Freaking Brockovich! Regardless, Gladiator is an all-time movie. It absolutely has to be Best Picture. I dare you to pick something else Casey!

Casey: Well, fortunately even I am not quite that dumb. I mean, this category could be a basketball team and I would still know that Gladiator is the MVP. Traffic has to be the best argument against Gladiator, but we all know it won’t stand the greatest test of all – the test of time. Wait, this just in – it DIDN’T stand the test of time!  Gotta love that retrospect.

Jon: Did you steal that joke from an episode of Family Matters?

Casey: Perhaps this wasn’t clear, but I was alluding to my complete lack of basketball knowledge – you should listen to your podcast sometime! You WOULD recognize a family matters quote!!! Okay so there’s really nothing to argue here except the usual reversion to a name-calling geek fest. And we both know which of us is the bigger geek (hint: the one who still does sabermetrics by hand with his abacus), so I’ll just shut up.

Score: Wait, do I get the point since Casey got crushed or does Casey get the point since HE crushed himself? Ah, screw it, I have a comfortable lead.
Jon 5 Casey 2

Best Movie

Nominations:     Gladiator
                           O Brother, Where Art Thou?
                           The Patriot
                           Cast Away

Jon: Gladiator
Casey: Gladiator

Casey: Welcome to our other newly invented category – this is the part where we get completely subjective! So… did I mention that he kills lots of people in Gladiator? Okay seriously though, I normally hate action as a genre, but you’d have to be nuts not to love Gladiator, and at least for me, it’s not related to a sadistic urge to see people getting mutilated. Of course, I can’t speak for Jon…

Jon: You’re talking to the guy who can’t even watch the phony surgery scenes from House because of how big a girl I am.
I think it’s going to be interesting to see how each of us picks this category as we go along. I plan on picking a movie that has a good balance of entertainment and quality. I can definitely see how it will be difficult to pick most of the time, but that isn’t the case with this year. Gladiator has more than enough quality to appease “movie people” and more than enough entertainment to please the everyman (not talking about Brett Favre). Also, it ranks as one of the great “guy movies” of all time. That never hurts.

Casey: I think for me it will come down to which movie made me cry – which you know will often result in a field of several movies to pick from. So then I’ll just employ the Cowherd method: Which movie would Colin Cowherd pick? Eliminate that movie, and repeat, until there’s one left standing!

Jon: Ah, the tried and true Cowherd method! Never fails! By the way, embarrassingly enough, I forgot The Patriot too! Not that it made any difference in anything, just thought I’d mention how big a failure I am as a movie enthusiast. Also, I deleted your Unbreakable nomination. It was the 6th one on the list and the worst one on the list...GONE! BYAH!!!

Score: Jon 5 Casey 3 (Gotta give props for ripping on Cowherd)

 Closing Comments:
Jon: Casey, while this has certainly been fun, there really aren’t any horrible oversights by the Academy this year. I suppose picking Russell Crowe over Tom Hanks wasn’t really a savvy decision, but I wouldn’t rank that among the all-time worst picks. Regardless, we definitely had some good debates didn’t we?

Casey: Well, so much for taking it easy. After revealing that I am a geek, I cry during movies, and I apparently still have a thing for Juliette Binoche, who is about twice my age, I really didn’t leave you much room to attack me! Perhaps that will be my strategy from here on out. Seriously though, I am just thankful that there were no serious oversights, and that Spielberg was only mentioned once, voluntarily by me, to rip on him!

Jon: Here’s another great benefit of being in charge of this thing; I get the last comment! Unfortunately, as Casey mentioned, he didn’t really leave me a lot of room to attack since he did most of the damage himself. At least he’s being pro-active. Despite Casey’s excellent work and clear insights (not to mention the fact that he knows infinitely more about movies than I do), I managed to pull out a solid win in our first battle. It was a good comeback attempt my friend, but you dug a hole that was just too deep to get out of. You know, I wouldn’t be too shocked if I won the next battle by an even larger margin...

Remember, this is only part one of our Oscars Reset series. We will be re-picking each and every year until we run out. We are aiming to complete one every 2-4 days, but that may not always happen so just stick with us and we promise we'll make it through by next years Oscars! As always, if you have any comments or criticisms, you can post a comment on the web site or email them to us at Again, we promise to respond to each and every one of your comments. You can also follow us both on twitter -- @borisdiawtime and @caseyrichey. Thanks for reading and please pass this on to your friends!

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