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Doogan's Views at The Digital Bits!
page added: 3/22/02

Conversations with Drew and Doogan:
The Oscars!

Hello and welcome to Conversations with Drew and Doogan, an all-new regular feature here at The Digital Bits. Every once in a while, or whenever we want actually, Drew Feinberg of Drew's Script-O-Rama (a new contributing writer here) and I discuss... well, stuff over Instant Messenger. Who knows what we talk about - it could be late-breaking news, it could be a DVD we both saw. It could be anything really. And we have so much fun, that we figured it would be nice to let you guys in on the conversations every once in a while. Be ready for anything with these chats, because you never know. At some point in the near future, we might even include celebrities, DVD producers, Bill or even YOU in our discussions.

This week, to kick off the concept (and to see how it goes over), we're going to discuss The Oscars. So ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce my partner-in-crime Drew...

d009an: Drew, you there?

scriptorama: Hey Todd! It took some coaxing from my probation officer to let me back on the Internet after my... incident with the pit bull and my attempt to obtain Jack Valenti's scent... So, you want to talk Oscar, eh? I'm game.

d009an: Well, as you pointed out to me yesterday, the Oscars are really made up of 8 big categories, two for Actors, two for Actresses, Picture, two Scripts and Director. I figured we should leave it at those eight and call it a day. You wanna start with the scripts? I hear it's a private passion of yours.

scriptorama: Scripts? Why would that be MY passion? Oh... never mind. So, are we talking Best Original Screenplay or Best Adapted Screenplay?

d009an: I think it'd be best if we talk both, but how's about we start with Writing (Adapted Screenplay). The nominees are: A Beautiful Mind, Ghost World, In The Bedroom, LOTR: FOTR and Shrek. I'm pretty sure we can drop Shrek. It was cute, but does it deserve an Oscar?

scriptorama: Shrek's got no chance at all, if the Academy thought it was worth a heck, Dreamworks would have squeezed out a Best Picture nom, and as we know, they failed miserably. Unfortunately, we also have to immediately toss out Ghost World as well. Love it as I do, I can't see the Ernest Borginines of the Academy voting for it, can you?

d009an: Truth be told, sometimes a script can be better than the Best Picture nominees. Ghost World is a brilliant piece of writing, and it's a shame Academy voters probably won't recognize that. I have to say you're probably right.

scriptorama: The Academy loves to nominate the Elections and Ghost Worlds of the world in order to get street cred, but they never have an actual chance of winning. It's sad, really.

d009an: In the Bedroom? It just doesn't have enough buzz... it's like that was nom'ed because the film was.

scriptorama: Yeah, In The Bedroom got nominated, and then the screenplay came along, sort of like how toilet paper sticks on your shoe. Okay, that's a bit harsh, but nobody's going to vote Bedroom for screenplay. The strength of Bedroom is solely the performances, and to a lesser extent, the direction.

d009an: That just leaves it as a battle between Mind and Rings. That saddens me. As much as I love Rings and Jackson's body of work, the film is all spectacle. And Minds, I'm sorry to be the one that has to breaks it to people, but it sucked.

scriptorama: Yeah, it's sort of a miniature version of the Best Picture race, Rings vs. Mind, sort of a left-brain vs. the right brain battle of the ages. And, as we know, the Academy votes with the right side of its brain (I'll give the members the benefit of the doubt on actually having said organ), so I think Mind is going to take it. Isn't it hilarious that the oh-so-talented writer who brought us Batman and Robin is going to take home an Oscar? I just don't think people respect the Rings script at all...

d009an: And when it all boils down, the best nominated script in this whole category is Ghost World. I hate the Oscars.

scriptorama: Oh, for me, it's In The Bedroom all the way. That lobster speech was so subtle and moving that I get a bit verklempt thinking about it. Just kidding, of course. I'm with you all the way, in my Dream World, Ghost World would take it.

d009an: And the nominees for Writing (Original Screenplay) are: Amelie, Gosford Park, Memento, Monster's Ball and The Royal Tenenbaums.

scriptorama: Original Screenplay usually winds up being my favorite winner of the night, in the 90's alone movies like Fargo, Usual Suspects, The Crying Game, Pulp Fiction... it seems like more often than not, the smaller film that SHOULD have won Best Picture winds up snagging the original screenplay award at least.

d009an: I'm going to run through my views one by one, let's see what you think: Amelie is a great little movie, but I think it ends up being about the visuals and atmosphere. It's nice that it was nom'ed but, it doesn't have a chance. Nor should it.

scriptorama: I totally agree, I was shocked the script even got nominated. Amelie is all Jeunet. Memento... it's kooky that it even got nominated for best original. He adapted his brother's short story, people! It's about as logical as when O Brother got nominated for Adapted because it was loosely based on the Odyssey. If 10 Things I Hate About You doesn't count as an adaptation of Taming Of The Shrew, then O Brother is an original screenplay.

d009an: Memento is a great idea, wonderful in fact. The writers found a hook (a film told backwards) and made it work, seemingly easy. But there were just too many logic holes. It's a good screenplay and all, but not one I'd want to see showered with that much praise.

scriptorama: I thought Memento was a solid script, myself. We've debated this loophole thing to death, you picky, picky man! At least you have to give it that it was creative and new... if you haven't seen that backwards Seinfeld episode. Really though, it was a great neo-noir, which is probably my favorite genre.

d009an: Monster's Ball, I feel is like In The Bedroom, meaning it's all about the performances. There's no buzz on the script what so ever.

scriptorama: Monster's Ball? Eh. That's another one like In The Bedroom, all performances, average script. I wonder if in the script they wrote "Insert pretentious shot of hand in birdcage during passionate sex scene." Pretentious birdcage shots during lovemaking should be banned altogether after this film; I think I'll start a petition.

d009an: For my money, and using Dream World logic, the best script of the year was Tenenbaums. What a well-crafted piece of writing.

scriptorama: Tenenbaums, written by perhaps the most talented and creative new duo on the scene, Wilson and Anderson, is simply brilliant. One minute you're cracking up, the other moment, you're melancholy. Royal himself was easily one of my favorite characters on screen in 2001... Hackman wuz robbed! And then there's Gosford, which will, of course, win. How utterly original. Geriatric poop, I tell ya. Bah.

d009an: Yeah, Gosford Park seems to be the one to beat. It's got all the awards that point towards it pulling the statue. I guess it's a great script. It was a good film with great performances and great direction. It just wasn't for me. Quick, before I get depressed; what do you think of Best Supporting Actress? Jennifer Connelly, Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith, Marisa Tomei and Kate Winslet? Tomei, what the fuck? Is she really THAT good in Bedroom?

scriptorama: Tomei used to be the anti-Christ to me for winning in '93, but I think was good in Bedroom, not incredibly, but certainly decent.

d009an: Anti-Christ, how so?

scriptorama: Because she stole what was rightfully Judy Davis' for Husbands and Wives. When Sissy slapped her in Bedroom, I wanted to shout, "THAT'S for your lame-ass biological clock speech!"

d009an: But she's so cute.

scriptorama: So's Katie Holmes, we can't be giving out the Oscars for cuteness, or people like Russell Crowe will... never mind.

d009an: I think the Oscars should be determined by Celebrity Boxing Matches. Connelly vs Winslet, Mirren vs. Tomei. Winner vs. Winner and Winner vs. Maggie "The Brusier" Smith

scriptorama: Oh, after what Connelly went through in Requiem for A Dream, I think she'd be able to take anybody in the gang. And I don't mean ass-to-ass.

d009an: So who do you think will take it and why?

d009an: And if you say Connelly...

scriptorama: Okay, I won't say Connelly.

d009an: But you want to, don't you?

scriptorama: That girl who provocatively rode a mechanical horse in Career Opportunities to many a young boys delight shall take it.

scriptorama: C'mon, she WAS really good in Mind... you won't even give her that?

d009an: She was so friggin' wasted in that film. I think her whole job was to cry, ask questions and save the baby. Oh and put play-doh on her face at the end and pretend to be happy and old.

d009an: She's been so much better. I believe she deserves an award, but Jesus, someone should destroy the Oscars and start over giving awards only when they are deserved, not because they'd deserved one a few years back.

scriptorama: Hey, her age makeup was light years better than Ryder's in Scissorhands. She gave an understated performance in Mind, when it would have been REALLY easy for her to ham it up.

d009an: Ryder stole that make-up fair and square!

scriptorama: Hey, how come CNN can see Ryder's security tape but I can't? I wonder if they'll start selling it on the net pretty soon for $19.99. Gotta start saving up for that one...

d009an: Hehehe, but back to business: Connelly's a great actress, no doubt. But Mind sucked for what it was.

scriptorama: Mind was mediocre, but not the death of humanity as we know it as you like to put it.

d009an: Neither was Freddy Got Fingered, but we're not talking about science here, we're talking film.

d009an: I put things?

scriptorama: Actually, I think a congressional panel DID decide that Freddy Got Fingered is the death of humanity as we know it. If you rent Freddy Got Fingered, then the terrorists have won.

d009an: Did "they" flag Freddy? Like in Se7en?

scriptorama: Oh, if they make a "list" from things that people rent, then I think my owning Happiness probably has me on that really, really bad list.

d009an: So shall we move on and discuss Supporting Actor. The nominees are Jim Broadbent for Iris, Ethan Hawke in Training Day Part 1, your buddy Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast, Sir Ian McKellen in the Rings Trilogy and finally Angelina's dad: Jon Voight for Ali: The Early Years a film by Michael "No Special Edition DVDs for me please" Mann.

scriptorama: Okay, let's talk the ones that have no chance first. Ethan "I'm over 30 and still can't play an adult" Hawke? It was a ridiculous nomination, the Academy oughta have their "asses tapped" to paraphrase Denzel for nominating him, don't you think?

d009an: Hawke is a fine actor, and a nomination like that reflects something from his past they want to honor him for. But what? Gattaca? I don't buy it. I don't buy the whole movie. I didn't even buy Denzel. Love the guy, but that wasn't his best performance and he shouldn't want an award for that role. It was supposed to be a paycheck role, and look what happened.

scriptorama: Hawke is a fine actor?!? You get a little teary eyed when you watch Before Sunrise, don't you? Come clean, it'll save your soul! He doesn't even deserve a nomination for his body, Explorers and The Newton Boys does not a body make.

d009an: I like Hawke as an actor. he's watchable. I wouldn't cast him in an epic or anything, but he's a fine actor. I didn't say great, mind you.

scriptorama: He's... adequate, I guess. In things like Great Expectations or Reality Bites. But there's too many deserving actors who have never been nominated, like Tony Shaloub, so that makes Hawke's nom even more of a travesty.

d009an: I fully agree. Hackman should have gotten it, really.

scriptorama: I think Hackman would have gotten it if they hyped him in the correct category, which was this one. There was no Best Actors or Actresses in that Tenenbaums bunch, it was ensemble piece through and through, you know? All supporting.

d009an: I second that.

scriptorama: But then I would have had the conflict of who to root for between Kingsley and Hackman, and that would be a King Solomon type decision to make. But anyway, back to the nominees, Voight was only in Ali for less than 10 minutes, I don't see him doing a Judi Dench here, do you?

d009an: Voight won't pull it. He's full of that an honor to simply be nominated. I mean, he did give us Jolie. He deserves a nomination for that alone.

scriptorama: I couldn't agree more. "Best use of celebrity sperm to create a talented/hottie actress" goes to Jon Voight. Sorry Mr. Hudson, Kate will have to remain an also-ran once again... Voight WAS good as Cosell, though. Wish he had more onscreen time, it would have made the agony that was Ali a tad more tolerable.

d009an: I'm just about over Voight. I like him, but c'mon. FDR and Cosell in one year? Does he own stock in some latex company?

scriptorama: Hey, he'll have a great twilight of his career taking roles as famous 20th century figures. Watch him play Joycelyn Elders in 2004!

d009an: If Voight and Hawke are out, then that just leaves Broadbent who is a great actor, but like I said before, was better in Moulin Rouge. Iris is a good flick, but I don't think it's getting any attention. Kingsley was in a flick no one but you saw. I think McKellen will get it because we need to award Rings something, and he is the rightful holder of that honor.

scriptorama: Rightfully holder of the honor of nominee or winner?

d009an: Winner.

scriptorama: Unfortunately, I'll have to agree with you. McKellen's a great actor, and he really was the heart of the movie. And the Academy was way too uptight to give him the Oscar for playing a gay man, so this is a way for them to make amends. But it's wrong, wrong, wrong, I tell ya. Don Logan would whup Merlin's punk ass. Kingsley's much stronger in a much more memorable role.

d009an: That may be true, but who could argue with you? No one has seen the film?

scriptorama: I'm sure as many people saw Sexy Beast as Pollock, and Marcia Gay snagged the gold!

d009an: Pollock had buzz, it had a lot of buzz. Who's talking Beast right now?

scriptorama: Hey, don't get me wrong; I'm not saying Kingsley will win, I'm agreeing with ya. I'm just saying Kingsley oughta, that's all.

d009an: Oughta, smoughta. Best Actresses are: Halle Berry, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Sissy Spacek and Renee "Don't forget the dash over the first E" Zellweger. I think, just because, Kidman is going to walk from this clutching an award. Berry got the SAG and that's all well and good, but Academy wise, Kidman had a bad year personally, but came through with two great performances. Sure, I can see Berry getting it with all the African Americans nomination stuff floating around. The Academy might feel like they have to give it to someone. Of the three actors nominated that just happen to be African America, Berry would most easily get it. Denzel and Smith don't really have a chance. In fact, they might just cancel each other out.

scriptorama: I'm going to disagree on the Berry thing. This year, everybody's making a big deal out of the whole black thing, and I think it's a non-issue. I'm no Pollyanna, don't get me wrong, I know racism exists. I'm a liberal! But here's my take on it, I think that there's going to be a certain percentage of people who won't vote for Halle because she's black. Which sucks, but hey, it's true. But there's also a percentage that'll vote for her BECAUSE she's black, which also sucks in the other way, of course. But I think the two factions wind up canceling each other, and she winds up with as much of a chance as if she were just a Caucasian actress. How do you like THEM apples?

d009an: I don't think I like them apples at all, Will. Seriously, I think Spacek deserves the award for her role. By all accounts she makes that movie what it is. But I still think Kidman is going to walk with the gold guy.

scriptorama: Sissy has won almost every award there is to win, and she's going to win the big one as well. Acting-wise, Kidman was better in The Others than Rouge, I think people are getting swept up in the spectacle that is Moulin Rouge and confusing a "Hey, that's a ballsy role" with "Hey, that's an Academy Award-deserving role". But they'll put their fools heads back on and give it to Sissy.

d009an: I want to think you're right, but something's telling me otherwise.

scriptorama: That something is probably Kidman's agent. Don't believe the hype! Actually, the real shame is that Tilda Swinton, who truly gave the Best Actress performance of 2001 and didn't even get nominated. Julia Roberts, they give an Oscar to, Tilda Swinton, they don't even nominate. The Oscars are more and more earning as much respect as a Paula Jones/Tonya Harding bout on Fox.

d009an: Fine.

d009an: We'll just leave it that Dench is always nominated, but she was good in Iris and Zellweger should be happy to be there as far as I'm concerned. So, the Best Actor nominees are: Penn, Denzel, Crowe, Smith and Wilkinson.

scriptorama: In a perfect world, Wilkinson would take it. Terrific performance, totally overshadowed by Spacek's, which is sad.

d009an: There's no one talking about him though. I know nothing about him or the role.

scriptorama: I know, that's why it was my Perfect World pick. Poem, schmoem, Crowe's still walking away with it. He was good, too. A little too "schticky" for my tastes, you?

d009an: I like Crowe, think he's a great actor, but there were some moments in that film where I just didn't believe he was "not acting". And those teeth. Jez, they shoulda been thrown out.

scriptorama: Put some bags under a fellas eyes, and he's destined for Oscar. By the way, I was really surprised that Denzel even got nominated. I like Denzel a lot, he's a fine actor, perhaps robbed for Hurricane, but Training Day is a fluff movie. It would be like nominating Gary Oldman in The Professional. Fun role, not Oscar worthy.

d009an: True. I hated that flick and didn't care much for Denzel's acting in it. Maybe he's not tough to me when he's being overly macho. He's great when he's good but when he's not great; he's not good at all.

scriptorama: He needs to team back up with Spike, Spike always gets solid performances out of him. If Malcolm X had come out this in 2001, I'd vote for Denzel in a heartbeat. Between Training Day and John Q, I'd say Denzel ought to be seriously considering how he's wasting away his talent these days.

d009an: You know, my favorite performance of the year by an actor was Steve Buscemi in Ghost World. But after that, I really liked Penn in I Am Sam. It's not a great flick, but I thought he brought humanity to the role we don't usually see in the Hollywood version of the mentally challenged. Rain Man was a cartoon and Gump was even worse, yet both actors walk with awards, what do you say to that?

scriptorama: I loved Buscemi, too. I actually haven't dragged myself to see I Am Sam yet, because it just looks too sappy for my liking... the worst of Hollywood manipulation. And it looks like the role was just CREATED to get in the Oscar race, which is icky to me. But I do love Sean Penn... I just wish he would've won for something like Best Actor in Dead Man Walking or even Supporting in something like Carlito's Way. I'm the biggest hater of Gump alive; I've got a big dartboard with Hanks' face on it after that. Rain Man, I'm ashamed to admit... I liked. I mean, the guy was autistic, so the whole thing was that he wasn't going to be a fleshed out, "human" character. I mean, does Sean Penn have any major flaws in Sam, besides the obvious?

d009an: I think it's more the fact that he's fighting for something. The flaws are standard Hollywood. I mean; the film is as standard as you can get. But he was really, really good in it.

scriptorama: If it were up to me, there'd be a whole separate category for the mentally challenged, crazy, handicapped, etc. The showy "I have some deficiency" roles. It's really hard to compare a Sean aggressively playing retarded vs. Wilkinson subtlety playing grieving dad, you know?

d009an: That's the magic of acting. Did you believe both? It's all comparable, really. You and I are just torn on the whole Awards versus deserving Awards thing. Penn did a great role. Plus he deserves the Oscar for his body. I hate that thought, because I believe it should always go for the role, but in this case, it all comes together nicely.

scriptorama: Yeah, I'm definitely not a "body" sort of fella. I mean, I was rooting for Elisabeth Shue in Leaving Las Vegas, but her body prior to that consisted of weak-assed roles in Karate Kid, Cocktail and Back To The Future. I view the individual year in its own little microcosm, I don't let the other years sneak in and warp my brain.

d009an: And that's how I like to think, but that's not Academy thinking. Face it.

d009an: But here, I would seriously vote Penn.

d009an: Using Academy thinking that is.

scriptorama: Nah, the Academy thinketh "Sean Penn is a prick for hating us". Using their thinking, they're going Crowe all the way, he's crazy, he's loveable, AND he's starring in what's going to win Best Picture. It's a can't miss.

d009an: But he hates the Academy and he's a live nuclear weapon waiting to go off. Look at the BAFTAs.

scriptorama: He already apologized for being a big ole jerky, he's been forgiven. Besides, if assy, self-righteous actors were always snubbed, then Brando wouldn't have won two.

d009an: I guess. Didn't George C. Scott stomp around for Patton and say he wasn't going to accept and they gave it to him anyway?

scriptorama: Yup, the Academy can take a bitch-slap now and then.

scriptorama: And boy, they need one now and then.

d009an: What about Smith. He's lovable, the character he's playing is basically someone who's currently a walking coma victim, and he was good enough to get nom'ed.

scriptorama: There goes my pinky bet that Kool Moe Dee or Big Daddy Kane would be the first rapper to get nominated for an Oscar. I totally disagree about his deserving a nom, his performance really did nothing for me. I don't think he "became" Ali, I felt the whole way though that it was Smith doing an Ali impersonation. I think it's really bad when you make a movie about one of the most charismatic guys in sports, and the lead character is much less interesting than Jon Voight. Even Jamie Foxx was better as his trainer.

d009an: So you think he's totally out? Then what about Wilkenson. I heard an Oscar analyst confuse him with Broadbent. I do that all the time myself, he's nameless and faceless in a room full of huge stars.

scriptorama: I'd like overweight British character actors for $300 please, Alex. Wilkinson did play the role to perfection. I don't think there're many actors out there who would play a scene with a drunk, grieving father, and not overact the hell out of it. He has no chance at all. Because the Academy will only vote for a "nobody" if they do a showy role, like Rush in Shine. Subtlety gets you nowhere, unfortunately.

d009an: So for my money, I'd like Penn to walk. You're a Crowe man?

scriptorama: If we're talking like, I'm all over Wilkinson. If we're talking will, it's Russell "Rain Man" Crowe.

d009an: I refuse to acknowledge the wills, but yeah. Okay, next up is Best Director; we got Opie Howard for Mind, Scott for Black Hawk, Altman for Park, Jackson for Rings and the dark horse Lynch on Drive.

scriptorama: I was so ecstatic that they nominated Lynch! Mulholland got so screwed. But of course, Lynch and Scott immediately have no chance whatsoever since their movies weren't nominated, so no use in talking about them. I think it's a three-way race between Jackson, Howard, and Altman. Out of those 3, Jackson totally deserves it for making a movie that, even though I wasn't a big fan, was an incredibly well directed flick. Lesser directors would have mangled Rings, for sure. I think that in a normal year, Opie would have this one locked since it's paired with what they're going to vote for Best Picture, plus they can do a "whole body" thing. But Ron's going to lose because in terms of the "whole body" thing, Altman has decades of more snubs than Howard, and he definitely doesn't have that many more movies in him. So it's the quick, give it before he keels sort of thing. Altman's taking it.

d009an: I really don't have anything to say, because you summed it up nicely. My favorite director was Jackson. As a cult horror fan, it's like a local boy made good. But I don't think he can walk away with an award. If the Academy keeps showering praise on the Rings films over the next two years, then I could see the third film getting everything: director, script and picture -- just because it would be like honoring all three films at once. If they honor it too much this year, it's like having to give the Oscar to all three films for the next two years because by default, they're just going to get better. Howard is expecting it, but the Academy may simply HAVE to honor Altman. So, wow, this is winding down quicker than I thought it would. We can finally off this discussion with Best Picture. Moulin, Rings, Mind, Gosford and Bedroom. Who's got the best chance?

scriptorama: I can't believe we agree! I had my dukes up and everything. Well, as you can tell, I obviously think Mind, in a grand tradition of award feel-good fluff, is going to win Best Picture. It has everything the Academy loves. Gump 2. Rings is going to be the closest that a fantasy or sci-fi flick for that matter, will ever come to winning the big one. But I think there's a whole chunk of the Academy that really doesn't care for that sort of thing, so it'll come up short. Of course, if believe the hype these days, than Rouge is going to take it. Not gonna happen. Only way it could possibly happen is with some crazy assed split between Rings and Mind, but I don't see it going that way. And of course, Bedroom's just there because of the Miramax machine. Shame Miramax's Amelie didn't take this slot. Poor Amelie got dissed, big time.

d009an: I hate to admit it, but yeah, Mind is the flick. I hated the film so very, very much. But jeez, you can't fight logic can you? What a shitty year for movies.

scriptorama: Only in terms of the Academy Awards though. If it were up to me, it would be Mulholland Drive, Amelie, Royal Tenenbaums, Donnie Darko, and Ghost World for Best Picture, and I think all of those movies are going to hold up through the years as solid, solid flicks.

d009an: Yeah, I meant for Academy Award movies. There's always great movies coming out, but sadly, not enough people see them. I guess that's what I like about DVD. I get to go to a theater everyday in my own home. And the floors are only occasionally sticky.

scriptoram: And that's why I don't come over so much.

It's true, Drew doesn't come over much. But we talk all the time. We hope you enjoyed reading our thoughts on the Oscars, which are coming to you live this Sunday. Will Denzel get the award, or will his archenemy from Virtuosity steal it away like some mad serial killer computer virus? Will Mind be dubbed the best film ever (of 2001) or will Lord of the Rings sweep? Who knows? But you know that somewhere out there, Drew and I will be sitting in our separate living rooms cursing under our breath.

Watch for more Conversations with Drew and Doogan right here in the pages of The Digital Bits. And click here to let us know what you though of this one! Keep spinnin' those discs...

Todd Doogan

Drew Feinberg

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