'And the Oscar goes to... who the faaaawk?'
Strictly in terms of the Oscars, dying is probably the best thing that could have happened to Heath Ledger. It gives him a definite leg up on the competition for Best Supporting Actor...
Okay, that was kind of a dick thing to say, but look at the history of the Oscars, the political nature of who wins and what pictures are up for consideration, and tell me it's not pretty accurate.
My AMPAS report card, having not seen about 80 percent of the films up for awards:
• Best Picture: Milk, Benjamin Button, Slumdog Millionaire, Frost/Nixon, The Reader
• Which ones have I seen: None.
What should win: Probably Slumdog Millionaire. This is just the kind of thing that Academy voters drool over. Ghetto kid does good, learns hard lessons from his past that somehow all come up in the course of a game show. Corny? Oh yeah. But I do like Danny Boyle's work.
What will win: Slumdog Millionaire.
• Best Actor: Richard Jenkins, The Visitor; Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon; Sean Penn, Milk; Brad Pitt, Benjamin Button; Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
• Which ones I have seen: None.
Who should win: Mickey Rourke. If him and Darren Aronofsky can somehow make professional wrestling interesting, they deserve a fucking Academy Award. We used to get together and watch "Raw" back in the day, but it was really just an excuse to order chicken wings from the Sunshine Inn and play video games and pool.
Who will win: Brad Pitt. Contrary to popular belief, Brad Pitt did not, in fact, lose weight and compress his body to play an old baby. They did that shit with CGI. This looks to me like a reverse, non-retarded Forrest Gump story.
• Best Supporting Actor: Josh Brolin, Milk; Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder; Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt; Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight; Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road
• Which ones I have seen: The Dark Knight, Tropic Thunder
• Who should win: I'm a little torn here. Ledger outdid Nicholson hands-down with his mad-bomber, Lord of the Flies Joker, and that should be enough to earn an Oscar. But Downey Jr.'s "dude disguised as a dude playin' another dude" was easily the funniest thing I saw at the theater all year, and if he's not going to get any props for Iron Man, I'd like to see him get them here. I'll tell you who should not win, and that's the dude from Revolutionary Road. Sorry, Sam Mendes, but you fucking already made American Beauty, like, ten years ago. Don't need another melodrama about how suburban life sucks and we're all really freaks.
• Who will win: Josh Brolin. Because leave it to the Academy voters to give an Oscar to a guy that kills a homo.
(also, re: Phillip Seymour Hoffman... isn't he the lead actor in Doubt? Are they shoe-horning him into Best Supporting Actor to give him the award. He might be my dark horse here...)
• Best Actress: Don't really care about this category, to be perfectly honest. I'll go with Angelina Jolie, for The Changeling. I base this on absolutely nothing. Haven't seen it, probably will put it at the bottom of a very long Netflix list.
• Best Supporting Actress: Marisa Tomei is bangin'... And she strips in The Wrestler. That's Oscar-worthy in my book. In fact, on that basis, I think Salma Hayek and Vanessa Ferlito should get post-dated Oscars, for their roles in From Dusk Till Dawn and Death Proof, respectively (to be fair, Ferlito didn't really strip, but she did do a stripper dance, and that's gotta count for something).
• Best Animated Film: WALL-E, Kung Fu Panda, Bolt
• Which ones I have seen: Kung Fu Panda
What should win: Downey Jr. was the funniest thing I saw in the theater in '08, but Kung Fu Panda was the funniest thing I rented. For animation, the kung fu sequences were pretty sweet, and Jack Black was hilarious.
What will win: WALL-E. That Short-Circuit-Johnny-5-lookin' motherfucker.