Welp folks, it’s that time of year again, when the birdies emerge from their amniotic sacs and the wind howls like a stabbed monkey and all over the world semifamous starlets are squeezing artificial breasts into snug, pricey dresses made out of the sheerest of sheer materials and praying, praying, prost(r)ating themselves before our nude, gold friend: Oscar.
Careful and diligent readers of this space will recall that I have a lifelong kinda-obsession with the Oscars that peaked in ‘96 and came a-tumblin’ back down to a reasonable level with the disappointing ‘97 show. But even though last year’s program caused a notable increase in full-blown narcolepsy in fourteen Western nations, that hasn’t deterred me from getting all “amped” and “really psyched” for this year’s. There’s a lot of potential for excitement, shock, danger, and love with 1998’s nominees, and I think the fact that the Academy chose Stephen Hawking to host the ceremony displays a remarkable and unprecedented insight into what makes an awards show tick. I strongly believe that we will all switch off our TVs after the fourth magical hour with a sense of serenity, satisfaction, and, above all, a greater understanding of black holes.
And, as always, I’d like to offer my picks for who will win in the major categories. Mind you that this is not something I undertake lightly; ever since the morning they announced the nominees I’ve been sitting almost motionless in the darkness of my closet, processing, analyzing, diving deeper and deeper within myself to find The Answers. Now, for your enjoyment, I present to you the fruits of this pursuit. Please keep in mind that although I am close friends, some would call it “more than friends,” with some of the more lascivious members of the Academy, these predictions are based solely on what my heart has told me, as well as a compulsive, intense reading of Entertainment Weekly.
Best Supporting Actor
This category is full of stellar and startling performances, and is probably the most hotly-contested battle this year. But there was one standout who deserves to be recognized for his reckless, inspirational acting, as well as his rock-solid support of the lead, Robert Hays. Of course I’m talking about the sexy young upstart, David Schwimmer, whose puppy-dog good looks and mellifluous voice brought charm and sass to Martin Scorsese’s powerful Moons Over Milwaukee. Schwimmer somehow managed to pull off the impossible. He made an oft-violent and profane child molester into someone you not only want to be friends with, but even wanted to cuddle and hold to your bosom. Amazing, amazing work from this young man, and I’m excited to see what projects he tackles next.
Best Supporting Actress
To be honest, I’ve only seen two of the five nominated performances in this category. Call me racist, but I refuse to see any film with “Dis” in the title, so I just totally skipped John Malkovich’s directorial debut, Cold Hard Dissin’, as well as Rosie O’Donnell’s supposedly “breakout” performance in Don’t Dis My Sis and Mia Farrow as a winsome rapper wannabe in Dis. I did, however, manage to catch Margot Kidder’s triumphant comeback in Unbreak My Heart, and any performance that leaves a packed house with both furrowed brows and teary eyes deserves the Oscar.
Although I was surprised and moved by Michael Caine’s tour-de-force in the semi-autobiographical Raising Caine, I have to put my money down on Michael Caine as Bigger Thomas in the superb adaptation of Richard Wright’s Native Son. Caine’s seething fury erupted off the screen with undeniable passion, and no one is more eligible this year to take home Oscar.
This was a toughie. For a long time I was torn between Anna Paquin in the remake of The Empire Strikes Back and Helena Bonham Carter in Pistol Packin’ Bitch, but in the end I went with veteran actress Jessica Tandy, whose performance, created entirely by the wizards at Industrial Light and Magic (as well as some clever animatronics by the same team that did Babe), was nothing less than an audiovisual delight. I never wanted to leave the world of Gramma Tell Me A Story, which is why I recently purchased the letterboxed version on DVD, which I now have running on an endless, orgasmic loop.