by Susan Cohen
It's no surprise that we would have a column about the 83rd Academy Awards the week before the 83rd Academy Awards. What was surprising was how painstakingly difficult it was to write a column about the 83rd Academy Awards the week before the 83rd Academy Awards. I suppose I could have written an 800-word ode to James Franco and what a dreamboat (and, I suppose, a talented actor) he is. But who wants to read that?
Ultimately, I don't really care about the Oscars. That's not to say that I don't enjoy watching the award show. I'll cross my fingers for my favorites to win, and I get a morbid kick out of the deceased Hollywood montage. I like looking at the dresses, both good and bad. And I'm real excited to have an excuse to watch something with James Franco, who's co-hosting the ceremony with Anne Hathaway, for three to four hours, depending on how long people take with their speeches.
Yet whenever Oscar season rolls around, I always end up having to Google the previous year's winners. Just because a film gets these top recognitions doesn't mean it's going to be memorable. Think about it. Are The Social Network and Inception really going to be as relevant in 50 years as they are in this one? If you say yes, I have a few words for you: Letters from Iwo Jima. I haven't seen Letters from Iwo Jima. Have you seen Letters from Iwo Jima?
Maybe it's not The Social Network or Inception's fault, now that the Academy has boosted the Best Picture category up to 10 films instead of five. But they certainly don't have the stamina of a Casablanca or a Gone with the Wind or even a Titanic for that matter. I'll never let go Jack.
The same could be said for the acting accolades. Constant Best Actor, Supporting Actress, Magician, Rodeo Clown, and Tap Dancer winners precede and follow their wins with mediocre careers. Last year's Oscars are a perfect example of this. Sandra Bullock could have been perfectly content making romantic comedies until she truly ceased to be attractive, but instead she decided to do a somewhat schmaltzy based-on-a-true-story film (The Blind Side) and got some serious attention for it, eventually getting the Big Kahuna itself. Same thing with Mo'Nique. I haven't seen Precious, because I try to avoid movies that will put me in a depressed stupor for days, but good for you girl. Except guess what? Nothing Mo'Nique can do will upstage The Parkers or Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School (which, by the way, was awesome).
Though I bet if James Franco wins the Best Actor trophy this year for his work in 127 Hours — even though I'm sure he won't, since despite my obsession I'm rooting for Colin Firth in The King's Speech — he'll go on to make even more artistically credible films that'll keep him in the limelight for years to come.
Directors aren't innocent either. Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky's next big picture is The Wolverine, which he's reassuring the media isn't a sequel to the wonderfully fantastic X-Men Origins: Wolverine. That was sarcasm right there in case you couldn't tell. The Coen Brothers are basically guaranteed a nomination if they put something out, but let's not forget The Ladykillers and Intolerable Cruelty.
When it comes down to it, I'm going to watch the show. I'm going to revel in all the Hollywood glitz and glamour. I'm going to root for Trent Reznor and, more seriously, Dogtooth. And at the end of the evening, when all the statuettes have been passed out, we'll all move on with our lives and go out and try to catch the nominated films before we forget about them, or else start seeing the movies that will maybe be nominated in 2012.