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It’s Hard Out There For a Pimp. Yes it is, Yes it is.

Last year’s Oscar win for this song means Three 6 Mafia has one Oscar, and Martin Scorsese has none.

Raging Bull. Taxi Driver. (You talkin’ to me?) Good Fellas. The Age of Innocence. He deserved an Oscar for any one of these films. Instead, he’ll probably win this year for The Departed. A good film, but not in the same class as Taxi Driver. Personally, I can’t wait to see his acceptance speech. Scorsese’s rapid fire delivery ought to make for good TV, and that rarity in Oscar-land, a short acceptance speech. Plus, it will be a nice break from Helen Mirren and the Dreamgirls juggernaut.

Helen Mirren is such a lock for The Queen, bookies in England have stopped taking bets already. The Academy does love a good British accent, after all. Judi Dench was brilliant in Notes on a Scandal, and Meryl was marvelous in Devil Wears Prada, but they get nominated every year. I understand Dame Judy isn’t even attending this year’s Oscar ceremony, pleading a heavy shooting schedule. Penelope Cruz and Kate Winslet will look beautiful on the red carpet, as usual, but both of them are long shots to take the golden boy home. And besides, Angelina’s already had his baby.

Lawrence of Arabia. The Lion in Winter. My Favorite Year. Venus. In short, the sublime Peter O’Toole. In his youth, a serious contender for most beautiful man on the planet, and a fabulous actor. As well as a talented drinker. Unfortunately, due to his previous scorn of the Academy, his win this year is dubious. Even his British accent won’t save him. On the other hand, everyone loves Will Smith, but I doubt he stands a chance for Pursuit of Happyness. He and Jada will look great on the red carpet though, as well as providing a few cute sound bites. Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson? He must be having sex with half the academy voters, since that film sucked so royally, it was damn near unwatchable. If Leo had been nominated for The Departed instead of Blood Diamond, he might’ve stood a fighting chance. Leo was good in Blood Diamond (Afrikaans accent notwithstanding), but Forest Whitaker is pretty much a lock for The Last King of Scotland, his violent and brilliant portrayal of Idi Amin. And if the last two years are any indication, the Academy loves a biopic, and Africa is the current cause celebre. It will be nice to see a chubby Oscar winner.

Speaking of chubby, Jennifer Hudson was ordered to gain weight for her role as Effie White in Dreamgirls. She was so good in that film, she stole the show from Beyonce. I hope she’s hired a speechwriter since she won the Golden Globe. Other nominees: Cate Blanchett - won too recently. Was great in Notes on a Scandal, but suffers from Academy overexposure. The two babes from Babel didn’t have enough screen time to merit their nominations, and Abigail Breslin from Little Miss Sunshine is just too young.

Which brings me to Alan Arkin. He made Little Miss Sunshine more than just a good independent film, playing a heroin snorting, f-bomb dropping septuagenarian, who tells his granddaughter he loves her not for her brains or for her personality, but for her looks. He was funnier than Steve Carrell and Greg Kinnear combined, and altogether lovable. Eddie Murphy was FABULOUS in Dreamgirls, but hurt his chances by releasing Norbit during Academy season. If he wins, I hope he wears his dress from Norbit to the awards. Djimon Hounsou and his pecs were compelling in Blood Diamond, Marky Mark doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in Hell, and I didn’t see Little Children. Who is Jackie Earle Haley? Jackie? What man above the age of 8, and not a member of the Jackson clan allows himself to be called Jackie? Unless he’s a pimp.