Believe it or not, there are people who spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about the Academy Awards. I'm not one of them, but they're out there, and three or four times a year I'll check out their sites to see what they have to say. Today was one of those times. After recalling a conversation with assorted movie nerds in NY during which we decided there are no front-runners, I looked at one of those Oscar predix sites to see what the conventional wisdom is. Lo and behold, there's buzz building for Joel Schumacher! That's right. The most maligned name in the business. His new movie, the trashy-looking Phantom of the Opera, is tabbed by veteran Oscar watchers like Dave Poland as the odds-on fave. Might as well. If we can re-elect a complete fuck-up for POTUS, we can give the notorious auteur of Batman & Robin and A Time to Kill the golden boy.
Other possibilies, already out: Kinsey (the culture war redux); Fahrenheit 9/11 (Hollywood's revenge); Ray (I know, I know); Passion of the Christ (pandering to Red States?); Sideways (the critical fave); Finding Neverland (puts the bait in Oscar-bait); The Incredibles (finally Pixar's year?).
Other possibilities, mostly unseen: Scorsese's The Aviator (looks bad, but what do I know?); Brooks' Spanglish (looks bad, but Brooks is usually solid); Closer (can its artistic integrity recover from Natalie's sabatoge?); Million Dollar Baby (Clint's sixteenth picture in the last 3 years).
Yeah, right: Alexander.
In a universe just like this one, except populated by clear-thinking people rather than Bush voters: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind will at least stand a chance.