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Matt's 2005 Oscar Gambling & Awards Summary

Created on Tuesday, 01 March 2005 21:00
Written by Matthew Toomey


I just love one of the comments from www.oscarwatch.com – “the second most boring Oscar year to date, second only to last year's. If it continues this way, predicting the Oscars isn't going to be fun anymore, folks. It will be like the Grammys.”


I have to agree. For my quick rant – there’s a huge flaw in the Academy voting system which cannot be overcome. Only specialists in the field select the nominees and yet all members get to pick the winner. Why? For example, only musician members of the Academy select the 5 nominees – and hence they choose the very best (as you’d expects from experts). Ah, but all 6,000 odd members then pick the winner. Do these members really know the intricacies of a movie score? Or the difference between sound effects and sound mixing? It was for this reason that we had the big The Return Of The King sweep last year – members liked the film so they voted for it in every category. I found it hard to believe that King was the best in every single category.


This year’s major gripe comes in the supporting categories – actor and actress. These were won by Morgan Freeman and Cate Blanchett respectively.


Let’s first talk about Freeman. In the lead up to the Oscars, we have the critic awards – where leading critic groups around the U.S. bestow their praise. I know we don’t always love them but critics do know what they are talking about. They’d see over 200 films a year and they can identify a truly great performance. Thomas Haden Church won 19 critic prizes. The great Clive Owen won 6. How many did Freeman win? Just one – at that was late in the season from the Vegas film critics when everyone was jumping on board.


How is it then that Freeman wins? Because he’s had a great career. If he was a nobody, he wouldn’t have even been nominated. As much as I love Million Dollar Baby, Freeman’s role is small and insignificant when you compare it against that of Church and Owen. Academy members have awarded the Oscar to Freeman as part of making up for past performances – the most noticeable being in The Shawshank Redemption.


The same goes for Cate Blanchett. I know she’s an Aussie and I’d have her in my top 5 nominees but did she deserve to win for The Aviator? No. She should have won 6 years ago for Elizabeth (when beaten out by Gwyneth Paltrow). Virginia Madsen should have won this year – she claimed no less than 14 critic awards. Blanchett was helped over the line because she mimics a famous person, Katharine Hepburn, and people remarked how great she was. Madsen was incredible but she played a more normal person and so people think she’s not acting.


It feels like I say this every year. I’m sorry but I can’t help it. The four winners of the SAG Awards go on to win the Oscars for the second straight year. Again, I find it hard to believe that both these leading groups selected the identical awards. The marketing machine does work.


That said, there were a few small surprises. The best for me being the wins of Clint Eastwood for best director and the film for best picture. I selected The Aviator to win in my Oscars guide but you could sense Baby was well out in front come Sunday – everyone in the know on the net had selected it. I was a fool to stick with The Aviator. Bookies were fooled also by having The Aviator at such a short favourite. Fans of Martin Scorsese though will be livid. That’s 5 nominations now without a win. I don’t think he deserved it but I better not say that too loud.


Other surprises of the night would have to be the best song win by The Motorcycle Diaries (somehow 3 people picked this in my Oscars comp) and the best sound win for Ray.


I know they weren’t surprises but I praise everyone for the screenplay winners. Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor made one of my favourite films, Election, and now they have an Oscar for Sideways. And my favourite of all writers, Charlie Kaufman, finally picked up an Oscar for Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind after being tragically beaten for Being John Malkovich and Adaptation. Michele Gondry picked up a screenplay Oscar also.


A quick list of the major winners…


Best Picture – Million Dollar Baby

Best Director – Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby)

Best Actor – Jamie Foxx (Ray)

Best Actress – Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby)

Best Supporting Actor – Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby)

Best Supporting ActressCate Blanchett (The Aviator)

Best Original Screenplay – Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

Best Adapted Screenplay – Sideways


In terms of the ceremony, I expected more from Chris Rock. He was funny but I’ve seen better – particularly from my favourite Steve Martin. The show was pretty short and I didn’t mind the way that some were presented their awards in the audience and others were brought up on stage. At least it gave them a chance to be seen.


Now for those interested in my Oscars comp, thanks to all those who took the time to enter. A few categories tricked people up this year – best song (The Motorcycle Diaries) and best documentary (Born Into Brothels).


Previous winners have been…

2001 – Matt Gordon

2002 – Matt McDonough

2003 – Sam Dagan

2004 – Craig Rogers


This year we had a clear winner – Craig England was the only person to pick 5 out of 6. He missed out on best documentary (picking Super Size Me). Those who picked 4 out of 6 were Kent Stone, Corday Sturgess and last year’s winner, Craig Rogers.


The age of the best picture presented caught a few out. There were two – Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand who have an average age of 64.5. All but a very small number went for a younger age than this. Ironically, it was Streisand who presented Eastwood his first Oscar in 1993.


To business with me and while all my speculator bets got rolled (including a last minute $50 on Clive Owen), I still came out ahead thanks to my “baby”, Hilary Swank. I finished the year up $213.80. I know a few other people backed Swank (and Madsen too sadly) so I hope most of ya’s had a win.


My total Oscar winnings are now as follows. I’ve managed wins over the last 4 years so I guess you’d could say I’m on a roll. Total profit for the 10 year period has exceeded the $2,000 mark (at a profit margin of 54%).


1996 – profit of $750 – won on Susan Saranadon

1997 – profit of $300 (cumulative profit $1,050) – won on Frances McDormand

1998 – loss of $250 (cumulative profit $800)

1999 – loss of $250 (cumulative profit $550)

2000 – profit of $620 (cumulative profit $1,170) – won on Kevin Spacey and Michael Caine

2001 – loss of $190 (cumulative profit $980) – won on director Steven Soderbergh

2002 – profit of $480 (cumulative profit $1,460) – won on Halle Berry

2003 – profit of $275 (cumulative profit $1,735) – won on Catherine Zeta-Jones and Adrian Brody

2004 – profit of $150 (cumulative profit $1,875) – won on Sean Penn

2005 – profit of $214 (cumulative profit $2,089) – won on Hilary Swank


How did I do personally with my selections? Well not my best year with a score of 13/24. A few tips went my way and a few didn’t. Can’t complain.


Outshining the Oscars this year would have to be the Razzies – the award show which honours the worst of the year. Here were the major winners…


Worst Film Catwoman

Worst Actor – George Bush (Fahrenheit 9/11)

Worst Actress Halle Berry (Catwoman)

Worst Supporting Actor – Donald Rumsfeld (Fahrenheit 9/11)

Worst Supporting Actress – Britney Spears (Fahrenheit 9/11)


What made this year’s Razzies so amazing is that Halle Berry turned up to accept! I have though less of her so often (especially after taking $500k to bare her breasts in Swordfish) but I now have amazing respect for her. At least she can admit when she’s made a shit film (which is more than the other 99% in Hollywood can manage).


Here are some of Berry’s quotes from the ceremony:


"They can't take this away from me, it's got my name on it!"


"I want to thank Warner Brothers for casting me in this piece of shit," she said as she dragged her agent on stage and warned him "next time read the script first"


"When I was a kid, my mother told me that if you could not be a good loser, then there's no way you could be a good winner."


Halle Berry, you are a super star.