Only Oscar surprise is new level of tedium

If there is anything to be said about this year’s Oscars, it is that they were even more predictable than usual.

Normally, there is at least one surprise in the dreadfully long evening, but no such luck this year.

Out of the 24 awards presented on Sunday, I guessed 23, my best poll performance ever. This divine power for prediction won me a VHS copy of Gigli at an ironic Oscar party.

Keeping in mind that the Oscars are just a chance for the American movie industry to pat itself on the back for all the wrong films, while ignoring the best of foreign cinema, let’s take a look at how they went wrong on the biggest categories of the night.

The first award of the evening set up the tone for the Oscars yet again this year: we knew who was going to win, and we also knew he did not deserve it. Tim Robbins’ performance in Mystic River was so over the top it almost turned the film into a comedy.

The award should have gone to Djimon Hounsou for In America. Hounsou was snubbed by the Academy for his amazing performance in Amistad back in 1997, and this was their chance to make up for that mistake but, once again, they went for the obvious choice.

The same could be said for Robbins’ Mystic River co-star Sean Penn, who was more deserving of a nomination for 21 Grams. Either way, the lead actor award should have gone to Bill Murray for Lost in Translation, the performance of his career.

Luckily, the Academy was finally able to recognize Renee Zellweger’s talent for her tour-de-force performance in Cold Mountain.

Zellweger has proven to be one of the most polyvalent actresses in recent years, showing that she could handle drama as well as comedy.

Charlize Theron was also deserving of her win for Monster, demonstrating that she could actually act if given a good role.

Sadly for Sofia Coppola, it was the year of Lord of the Rings, one of the most overrated films ever made. Had the Academy resisted handing out all the awards to The Return of the King simply because it was the last chance they had to do so, they might have recognized that Lost in Translation was the only film that deserved to be nominated this year and given Coppola the award for best motion picture and director.

One of the few consolations of the night is Denys Arcand’s win with his third nomination for best foreign language film. The only downside is that Les Invasions Barbares is the weakest of the three entries that he has been nominated for.

We can only hope that next year’s Oscar presentation will be different.

At least we know that there will not be any Lord of the Rings film in the run.

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