Steven A. Taylor's Academy Awards Brouhaha (There Will Be No Country For Juno).

It's nigh on to the end of January and that can mean only one thing. Movies are starting to get shittier. But here's a look at the ones from the past month that didn't suck so bad.

I did pretty good this year; saw 3/5 of the Best Picture nominees. Indeed, 'Michael Clayton' even looks like a solid rental in a few months, so that would make four. I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to see Atonement and if it repeats its Golden Globes feat of winning best picture (ostensibly to appease the same piles of rotting douche who thought 'Titanic' and 'Shakespeare In Love' were the bee's knees and who are tired of films that make people THINK winning quality awards), I will personally move the Academy to the top of my Skull-Fuck List. It's LIKE the Bucket List, only it's a list of skulls I want to fuck before I die. A real tearjerker if you ask me.

So, of the 3 I HAVE saw - No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Juno - who do I give it to and who does it GO to? Since Juno is this year's Little Miss Sunshine, it's out. Sorry, but you're going to need more heft than George Michael Bluth to nab Oscar (could it be, two AD references in the same sentence ...). I'd have to say for 70% of the movie, I'd give it to No Country For Old Men, but that scene where it cuts to all the action having already happened off screen really took me out of the movie. I mean, I'm enthralled for 90 minutes, then it's over, then I'm forced to sit and watch the coda. It'd be like if your sibling pulled his pants down and farted on your mashed potatoes at the dinner table ... and then your parents made you sit there until everyone else finished eating. Ergo, I have to give the 100% movie - There Will Be Blood - 100% of the Academy Award. I think voters will see it otherwise, though, and give it to No Country.

Let's get the actresses out of the way because - like they are most years - they're overshadowed by the performances of the male actors. Not sexist! Realist. In fact, the performances of a specific duo of male actors have managed to overwhelm the entire female field. Julie Christie already won the Globe for her performance in 'Away From Her', so there's your obvious choice. The girl from Juno I already knocked out because they haven't given a child an Oscar in decades. Laura Linney is a personal favorite of mine, and I'm certain she gave a stirring performance in 'The Savages'. Cate Blanchett is always a solid cast; and you never want to count out the foreigner. So, I'll root for Laura Linney, but I'll pencil in the Globe Winner just to be safe.

Give the supporting actress prize to Cate Blanchett for playing Bob Dylan, please!

Now, to the fellas. Boy, did George Clooney (Michael Clayton), Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd), Tommy Lee Jones (In the Valley of Elah), and Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises) pick the WRONG year to star in a film! I have seen or want to see ALL of those movies, but there's just no contest here. They might as well have just nominated Daniel Day-Lewis for 'There Will Be Blood' and left the other fields blank. There is NO way he loses; I'll stake my reputation as a prognosticator on this.

Likewise did Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson's War), Hal Holbrook (Into The Wild), and Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton) pick the wrong year to support stars in a film! And it's too bad too, because before I saw Javier Bardem's portrayal in No Country For Old Men, I had Casey Affleck in the driver's seat for this award. But again, there's no contest. Again, it should've been Bardem and four black boxes.

Director. See, this is where I would've liked to have seen Tim Burton get a nom. Instead, we get Juno's guy, some random movie's guy, and the usual gang of idiots (Michael Clayton, No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood). If this thing doesn't turn out to be a complete rout by There Will Be Blood, I'd say the winner of Best Director will be whoever gets shafted out of the Best Picture. But, if the rout is on, watch out for the Eff You Oscar.

Sicko's up for best Documentary, but it probably won't win. I have no prudent information to base that on. Just my gut feeling.

Writing (Adaptation), and the Big Guns are going head to head once again! It's Upton Sinclair vs. Cormac McCarthy, I abstain. Here's to hoping for a huge Oscar Dogfight between these two behemoths.

Writing (Original), and it's Juno vs. Michael Clayton. If these two movies don't score a surprise before, look for a win here. Otherwise, keep your eyes on 'Lars and The Real Girl' which I absolutely SHOULD HAVE seen, but failed to. My guess? Juno in a squeaker.

Finally, the omissions: American Gangster and 3:10 to Yuma come immediately to mind. I have a problem with Viggo Mortensen getting a nom over Denzel Washington, I really do. I also have a HUGE problem for these fucking insipid chick flicks (Atonement) getting nominations over quality films (3:10 to Yuma). Into The Wild probably should've seen a better fate, but I'm not going to be picky. Just glad that Brad Pitt didn't get nominated for Jesse James. I'm sorry, but you were hindering that film and holding Casey Affleck back.

In short, The List (My Picks followed by My Predictions):

Best Film

There Will Be Blood / No Country For Old Men

Best Actress

Laura Linney (The Savages) / Julie Christie (Away From Her)

Best Supporting Actress

Cate Blanchett (I'm Not There)

Best Actor

Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)

Best Supporting Actor

Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men)

Best Director

Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood)

Best Writing (Adaptation)

No Country For Old Men (Cormac McCarthy)

Best Writing (Original)


Best Documentary

Not Sicko