So officially I stopped caring about the Oscars somewhere between 2000 – 2001. Something about Russell Crowe winning for Gladiator and the next year being denied for A Beautiful Mind annoyed me, because compared to what he did in A Beautiful Mind, Gladiator was nothing, and I felt like the wrong performance was awarded – all because he got into a fight with the paparazzi. And then, Erin Brockovich. Julia Roberts snagging every lead actor award under the sun also rubbed me the wrong way. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll watch that movie every time it plays on basic cable, but come on. That’s Julia Roberts in every Julia Roberts movie (FINE two exceptions – Sleeping with the Enemy and Mary Shelly, but I think I’m the only person who ever saw the latter). It was around 2000-2001 that I realised the more hype, attention, press, whatever, a movie or actor got, the greater their chance was to win. In short, I realised that Hollywood was a political and ultimately disappointing place.
You mean, actors and directors and producers aren’t awarded solely on their merit? oh no, my innocence
So, yes – officially, I couldn’t give a heck about the Oscars. Unofficially, I have an unrelenting supply of hecks for the the awards and I dole them out frequently. I keep tabs on all the big movies, how the warm up awards go (looking at you, Golden Globes), try to see as many of them as I can before the Oscars are announced, and then try to accurately predict who will end up nominated and who will end up the winner. It’s not hard to be good at this. Like, this isn’t something I would say is a “marketable skill”. But in a secrety, obsessivey, distractiony from real life kinda way, it’s fun.
This year, though, I’m more secretly looking forward to it than I secretly have been in the past. I’ve seen 4/7 best picture nominees in the actual movies, (which is a lot considering how expensive Australian cinemas are), and of the 4 I have seen, 2 immediately went on my MUST WATCH AGAIN list, and those 2 movies are all over the nominations: A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody. I’m excited, but I’m also torn – it’s like watching my kids play each other at sports.
I love Bradley Cooper and I love Rami Malek, and for a while I was undecided as to who should get Best Actor. Malek as Freddie Mercury was electrifying; and Cooper as Jack was haunting – an all too real portrayal of that broken but talented addict
who we all dated in our twenties. Side note: my third child, Christian Bale in Vice was unrecognisable and terrifying, so also worthy of recognition. But I’m focusing on the rock stars this year.
I felt torn because, what’s more deserving of an award: playing a role of a real person, where all the discovery and work is all done for you; or playing an original role that you have to create, nurture, and birth? Based on that, I was initially thinking Bradley Cooper’s performance was a shoe-in, even though I enjoyed Rami Malek’s way more. But that was just on a surface level, just watched each movie once initial reaction. But then, I talked to Joel about it, and he was there to remind me that they’re both playing established characters – A Star is Born is a remake, after all (4th edition, even). AH HA! A loop hole to release me from my self-imposed conundrum (producing loop holes and frying chicken are 2 of Joel’s biggest strengths beteedub).
I have since two days in bed with the flu, feverish, dehydrated, and watching Bohemian Rhapsody and Googling fun facts about the making of the film. I’ve been
obsessing studying Malek’s transformation, and there’s really no other way to describe it – a transformation. Even if the character was handed to him on a silver platter, he still had to become Freddie Mercury. From his mannerisms and posture to his voice to his frenetic energy on stage, Freddie Mercury is the opposite of Rami Malek. And yet – Malek is Freddie Mercury. If anyone knows what Freddie Mercury was like in real life, it’s me – I was 7 when he died and never saw him perform live, was raised on side A of Queen’s Greatest Hits, and authored a term paper on him in about 15 minutes before it was due, composed of facts copied from the liner notes of Queen’s Greatest Hits.
Don’t get me wrong – Bradley Cooper was great. Decaying Rockstar is a staple character, but he did bring a charm to it that makes us believe why Ally couldn’t leave him. He brought that cringey, self-destructive familiarity that sucks in people and spits them out. But it wasn’t enough to make me forget I was watching Bradley Cooper. I was moved more by Lady Gaga’s character, Ally, getting drawn in with her to this world. Her pain, her reality, took me to a different place where I wasn’t watching Lady Gaga. Ultimately, I was transported by Malek – not Cooper.
Audrey, you’re just saying that because Queen is 100% nostalgia and if you didn’t know any of the songs before hand you probably wouldn’t have been crying during the Live Aid performance and you would have just shucked it off as a typical rock star story with a limp script is what you’re all saying to me – and to that, I say: well, shut up. I’m not saying Bohemian Rhapsody was the best movie of the year – and I won’t. But I will say Rami Malek’s performance (along with Ben Hardy, Gwilym Lee and Joseph Mazzello) was out of this world. And it’s a good thing the performances were gold, because the writing and the extreme liberties they took with the actual story of Queen wasn’t strong enough to hold it all together. AND FOR YOUR INFORMATION – somehow I never put it together that Queen wrote Radio Gaga and I don’t remember hearing it before I saw the movie, and I loved it instantly. So there.
**ok, Full disclosure: I started this entry two weeks ago when I was bright, spritely, full of spit n vinegar. The next day, I got hecked over by the stomach flu, which evolved into full on flu, and then, full on sinus flu. When I’m not been gopped up on so much psuedophed and hot tea that my hands are vibrating, I’m asleep. So in the 5 minutes of clarity I’ve had in the last 12 days, I managed to cover exactly one category. So there you go. Audpodge Oscar pick.
Also, this is just for fun.