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In five days a little golden man is about to win over the hearts and minds of Hollywood and the movie-going world.
The Academy Awards are almost upon us again and that means another night of wardrobe nitpicking, bitter sound bites from the overlooked who have to explain through gritted, veneered teeth how it was “just great to be nominated.” They’ll be tucked in behind those never-ending winners’ speeches thanking their agents, God and the small legion of lawyers who kept them out of jail for yet another year.
Oh, and expect the show to run overtime — it almost always does and for good reason. Would you want to be the guy who pulls the plug on some A-lister’s acceptance speech? I didn’t think so.
Oscar season also offers A Guy Thing the chance to investigate the overlooked films that appeal specifically (but not exclusively, lest I get a barrage of irate e-mails from female readers tomorrow morning!!) to men, feature men in prime roles (in other words, most of Hollywood’s mainstream fare) or are simply fun flicks that guys loved in 2006, but which don’t merit much artistic recognition (in some cases for good reason).
Personally, if I were doling out Oscars in the major male categories on Sunday night, I would be handing them over to big-screen legend Peter O’Toole for his performance as an aging actor who has his inspirational juices churned by a much younger woman in Venus, and Jackie Earle Haley for his stunning turn as a troubled sex offender in Little Children.
And in the completely male-dominated best director category (perhaps that gender imbalance needs to be addressed at some point?), I’d finally give the Oscar to Martin Scorsese for The Departed, also my choice for top guy film of the year.
After eight nominations over the course of his career, Marty deserves his due and The Departed would be a fitting salute.
But if we were going to hand out parallel awards that give a tip of the cap to the guy-friendliest films of the year, we would have to design a few new categories.
Peter O’Toole would tie with Sly Stallone in the A-Guy-Thing-Film-Award-That-Doesn’t-Include-The-Name-Oscar-Because-It’s-Heavily-Copyrighted-And-We-Could-Get-Sued Male Longevity award category for their respective performances in Venus and Rocky Balboa (a.k.a. Without Special “Supplements” I’d Never Be Able To Take My Shirt Off In Public Because I’m 60!).
Alfonso Cuarón’s Children Of Men, starring a perfectly cast and suitably morose Clive Owen, would take the award in the Thinking Man’s Action Film category, while the action of the Jason Statham-led, non-stop adrenaline rush Crank would take the trophy for Best Mindless Action Film. It would also be nominated in the Most Fun You Can Have In A Dark Room For An Hour And A Half Without Risking A Jail Term category.
For men who need a good Kennedy-era film every now and then, Emilio Estevez would have to be awarded the trophy for Most Enthusiastic Male Filmmaker in 2006 for Bobby. It wasn’t nearly the tour de force some had expected, but Estevez’s excitement in promoting the film was infectious — just not enough to change critics’ minds about the final product.
In the Man Who Can Make A PowerPoint Presentation Interesting category, former U.S. vice-president Al Gore deserves recognition for his performance in the environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth.
And lastly, Canada’s own Ryan Gosling gets the nod in the Best Actor In A Film That Might Make You Reconsider Getting High This Weekend category for his performance in Half Nelson. While Gosling probably won’t win the best actor Oscar he’s been nominated for, his take on life at the end of a deep drug spiral was enough to kill my buzz for at least a couple of hours.