Once more on Sunday evening, Billy Crystal will take to the stage in L.A. to emcee the Academy Award ceremony. Unlike the Super Bowl, I’ve always enjoyed the Oscars. Many years in the past, I saw most, if not all, of the nominated films in advance. This adds immeasurably to the excitement, as you can imagine.
This year, I realized, to my dismay, that I have not seen a single picture that is in the running for an Oscar. I haven’t even really paid attention to the reviews, so the honored movies are just names to me. I’m a pretty good guesser, however, so herewith I offer my description of the Best Picture roster. Armed with this, you can tune in to the show assured that you are “in the know.”
The Descendants: George Clooney plays lead guitar, and the son of Grace Slick, in a band of 40-somethings, each of whom is descended from a different rock legend. Band members include Brad Pitt as Ringo Starr’s wisecracking drummer son Groucho.
The Tree of Life: Brad Pitt plays Adam in this imaginative retelling of Genesis. Pitt’s ex, Jennifer Aniston, is a convincing Eve. Meryl Streep is expected to get a Best Actress nod as God. Watch for a star turn by Danny DeVito as the serpent.
Money Ball: A story about debutante dances among New York’s elite. Two wealthy families vie for the same designer dress for their daughters. Starrring Brad Pitt as the father of Dakota Fanning and George Clooney as Emma Watson’s dad.
Hugo: Two Hugos, Chavez and Victor, take center stage in this stirring time-travel saga of modern-day Venezuela and 19th century France. George Clooney and Brad Pitt co-star. John Williams provided the score.
The Artist: Brad Pitt shines as a struggling sculptor who works exclusively with butter. His first solo exhibit is destroyed when the gallery heat is turned on. Meryl Streep plays the jealous saboteur. Watch for a Clooney cameo as the opportunistic pastry chef who comes in to “clean up.”
The Help: A madcap comedy set in the Dell customer service center in Cairo, Egypt. Thanks to a language barrier, one million American callers are instructed to soak their malfunctioning laptops in a warm bath. Pitt and Clooney are in fine form as computer executives assigned to damage control.
War Horse: A musical tale of ancient Troy, told in flashback by 2,500 year old Helen (a tour de force by Meryl Streep). Oscar-nominated score by John Williams.
Midnight in Paris: Wisecracking Woody Allen strolls around Paris with his movie star buddies, Clooney and Pitt, trying to pick up Dakota Fanning, Emma Watson and Jennifer Aniston. He is shot down. That’s the entire plot.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A Michael Moore documentary on the life of Danny DeVito.
So fire up that TV on the 26th, and see who wins the Academy's vote! In entertainment, as in politics, an informed electorate makes all the difference, don’t you think?