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Notes from the back row.

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Shiny happy people

Once again it’s time for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to hand out their shiny gold statuettes. Not so much about movies as who’s wearing the latest ruby-encrusted, million-dollar, tracing paper gown, the Oscars are, in fact, a waste of time. It’s ridiculous that the average person will complain about the length of a three-hour movie yet happily watch four hours of famous people walking down a carpet and giving the same dumb speeches. It’s a fashion show.

But I held an Oscar once (they’re heavier than they look) and I can see how actually winning one would be sort of neat. Other than that I’d just as rather save myself four hours of sensationalist crap and read about it the next day.

Nevertheless, as a film critic it’s my duty to make Oscar predictions so here they are. Please bare in mind I’ve only seen about half the movies nominated and there’s a bunch of categories I either don’t know or care enough about to cover. Aside from that, the winners are…

The Lord of the Rings for Best Visual Effects, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Costume, Best Make-up, and Best Art Direction. Judge the whole trilogy as one movie and start heaping on the awards. No one pays much attention to these categories anyhow. Director Peter Jackson should also win Best Director, because really, can you imagine how much bloody work it must have been to be the one guy in charge of making an eight hour movie, set in a land that doesn’t exist, based on a three-thousand page book, with thousands of extras and nine main characters, three of whom are supposed to look two feet shorter than they actually are?

Finding Nemo — Best Animated Feature. If I found Nemo I’d make sushi. This movie sucked, except for the weed-smoking turtle.

City of God — Best Cinematography. If you haven’t heard of this one it’s because it’s two years old, was made in Brazil and totally rules. Director Fernando Meirelles crafted an amazingly beautiful yet savage film about Rio de Janeiro street youth killing each other, for lack of anything else to do. This one is out on DVD right now so go get it.

Ken Watanabe — Best Supporting Actor, The Last Samurai. Watanabe upstages Tom Cruise (admittedly not that hard to do) and brings a strong sense of honour and the samurai way to this film. It’s about time the Academy starts recognizing that the American film industry can benefit from fine actors of other nationalities. Samurai are so cool.

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