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Mutants On Parade 2/26/09
by Lance Norris

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Does Oscar Make You Stupid?

Let us consider the facts for one moment:

Way back in 1929 Janet Gaynor won the first Oscar for Best Actress, she ended her career playing Violet Hooper on THE LOVE BOAT. Sure, she managed to sneak in A STAR IS BORN and STATE FAIR, but let's face it; she ended her career playing Violet Hooper on THE LOVE BOAT.

Of course, no one really gives a rat's ass about old movie stars anymore, so let's look at just the past ten years, shant we?

Last year Javier Bardem won Best Actor honors for NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, he followed that up with LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA, a romantic 'drama' that was so boring it had you rooting for Cholera to win half way through, and then the vapid Woody Allen travelogue VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA. However, English is not Javier's first language, so maybe whomever read him the scripts tricked him into thinking they were good.

Tilda Swinton gets the Best Actress award last year and then goes on to make THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON or FORREST GRAMPS as I like to call it. Of course, she also made BURN AFTER READING, so that one is a wash.

But let's look at 2007: Forest Whitaker got jobbed out of an Oscar for 1988's BIRD, so he gets his make good Oscar for THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND and then disappears up his own ass with THE AIR I BREATHE, RIPPLE EFFECT and THE GREAT DEBATERS in 2007, VANTAGE POINT, STREET KINGS and WINGED CREATURES in 2008 and by 2009 he's reduced to doing a voice on AMERICAN DAD.

2007 was also the year Helen Merrin won the Best Actress award for THE QUEEN and makes NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS as her Oscar turn follow up.

In 2006 Philip Seymour Hoffman follows his Oscar win for CAPOTE with MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III. Sure, it's the best of the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE movies, but it's still a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE movie!

2006 sees Reese Witherspoon 'Minnie Pearl' her way into an Oscar with WALK THE LINE and follow that up in short order with JUST LIKE HEAVEN, PENELOPE and RENDITION. Of course Witherspoon has had a lot of practice making bad choices after showing so much promise in ELECTION, so it came as no shock; but how do you explain Jamie Foxx?

2005 Foxx shocks the world by actually being pretty good in RAY and picking up an Academy Award for his own bad self. Then, as quick as you can say 'Tookie Williams', Foxx goes out and makes STEALTH, MIAMI VICE, THE KINGDOM and who can't say THE SOLOIST doesn't look like a huge pile of self-congratulatory crap?

Hillary Swank, 2005's Best Actress for MILLION DOLLAR BABY, almost escaped unharmed, but THE BLACK DAHLIA should have been a lot better and did anyone actually see P.S. I LOVE YOU?

2004 Sean Penn climbs on my shoulders for an Oscar win MYSTIC RIVER. 2009, he wins again and now he's playing Larry Fine in THE THREE STOOGES movie. 2004 was also the year Charlize Theron is honored for looking like the before picture in a ProActive commercial in MONSTER and then pounded out THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PETER SELLERS, HEAD IN THE CLOUDS, AEON FLUX, IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH, BATTLE IN SEATTLE and HANCOCK.

Had the lessons of Adrien Brody and Nicole Kidman been lost on all of them? 2003: Brody wins for THE PIANIST and Kidman wins for THE HOURS. Brody follows up with THE SINGING DETECTIVE, THE VILLAGE, THE JACKET and KING KONG. Not to be out done, Kidman answers with DOGVILLE, COLD MOUNTAIN, THE STEPFORD WIVES, BEWITCHED and AUSTRALIA (there's more, but I feel sorry for Nicole because her marriage is sham, so I won't rub them in).

2002: Denzel Washington makes an Oscar with TRAINING DAY. Perhaps they should have had an extra couple hours of training where they taught him how to read a script before say 'yes', then we might have spared JOHN Q, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, INSIDE MAN I & II, DÉJÀ VU and AMERICAN GANGSTER.

It was also the year Halle Berry got the pity Oscar for having to have sex with Billy Bob Thornton in MONSTER'S BALL. What did she follow up with? GOTHIKA and CATWOMAN. Shocking that she didn't repeat the win.

It goes on and on. Kevin "K-PAX" Spacey, Susan "THE BANGER SISTERS" Sarandon, Helen "PAY IT FORWARD" Hunt, CUBA "EVERYTHING ELSE HE'S EVER MADE" Gooding Jr. (to be fair, Gooding was only a Supporting Actor winner, but he has made so many bad movies since the win I just had to bring him up here).

We are really left with just two possible conclusions: the people who vote on the Academy Awards really have no idea what they are doing, or winning an Oscar makes you stupid. I prefer to think the later. We've all got phony baloney jobs to protect after all.

By the way, Kate Winslet hasn't signed on for any new films yet. Maybe she's learned and will retire before she makes ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND II: WITH A VENGANCE.

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Ask a Bitter Man
Every Thursday

Lance Norris gives us his opinions on the state of film, vents about Hollywood, and generally lets his thoughts fly.

Other Columns
Other columns by Lance Norris:

Later On Croutons

Mutants On Parade 11/12/09

Mutants On Parade 11/5/09

Mutants On Parade 10/29/09

Mutants On Parade 10/21/09

All Columns

Lance Norris
Lance Norris, dubbed "Boston's only straight Film Critic" reviews movies for WZLX in Boston.

He has two books entitled Ask A Bitter Man: The Best of 1984 - 1999 Vol. 1 and I've Seen Better Film On The Teeth of Wolverines. which you can buy here

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Lance Norris by clicking here.

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