It’s close. It’s so close. I can taste it. And it tastes awesome. The 84th annual Academy Awards is less than two weeks away. Take my birthday. Take Christmas. Give me the Oscars and remain silent during the show. I must not be disturbed. If you want to know my thoughts, follow me on Twitter (@suddenlydog), as I’ll be live tweeting for my third year.
There’s always plenty to get excited about each year, but here are my top five reasons the Oscars are worth watching this year:
5. A Pig and a Frog Walk into a Bar …
Though nothing has been confirmed, the prospects of Muppets appearing at the Oscars is enough to get me excited. “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets is nominated for Best Original Song. It would be a hugely missed opportunity if the Jim Henson creations of my youth didn’t appear on stage for the number (that is, assuming the songs are performed on stage this year—there’s only two, so why not?). And don’t forget—Miss Piggy is a fashionista. Could she be strolling the red carpet? Joan Rivers did leave some shoes to fill. I think our porcine friend could cram her hooves in them with little effort.
4. Watch History Happen (Because You Surely Won’t Hear It)
I’m not sure anyone is doubting that The Artist will win Best Picture. When it wins, the mostly silent black-and-white movie will be only the second silent film to win Best Picture and the first since Wings (1927), the very first film to receive the honor. It will also be the first entirely black-and-white film to win the award since the great Billy Wilder’s The Apartment (1960). (Sure, 1993’s Schindler’s List is in black-and-white, but not entirely. That said, The Artist is not entirely silent. Asterisks all around.) One thing that is certain is that The Artist will be the first black-and-white-French-silent-film-that-was-shot-in-color-on-a-Hollywood-lot to win Best Picture.
3. 2011: The Year of the Dog
Babies and puppy dogs. How can you resist? Babies aside, 2011 was a great year for canine actors. I’d be surprised if the Academy doesn’t honor these guys in some way. When was the last time so many movies featured dogs in such prominent roles in the same year? Take a look above for some of the year’s finest supporting performers. (L to R: Hummer from Young Adult, Blackie from Hugo, Cosmo from Beginners, Uggie from The Artist)
2. The Host with the Most
I was sorely bummed when I heard that Eddie Murphy was going to host the Oscars. I was really hoping that Billy Crystal would be asked to make his return. Well, I guess it all works out in the end, because after some much-publicized controversy, Oscar producer Brett Ratner left the show, and his host of choice soon followed, leaving the door open for the perennial Oscar performer to step on stage for the ninth time. It’s just about impossible for Crystal to not host the Oscars well. And after last year’s disaster with James Franco and Anne Hathaway (at least she tried), the Oscars is in desperate need of a classic host to keep the show on track.
1. Meryl and Viola and Michelle, Oh My!
It’s common that each year’s SAG Award winners will go on to win the Oscars. And that will almost certainly be the case with three of this year’s winners. You can place your bets that Jean Dujardin, Christopher Plummer, and Octavia Spencer will walk away with big smiles on their faces come Oscar night, but one race that isn’t so clear is for Best Actress. Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams won the Golden Globes for drama and comedy/musical actress, respectively, all but certainly solidifying them as the front-runners in this year’s race. The only question was which of those two would win the SAG Award, because that actress would certainly be a lock for the Oscar. So the SAG Awards came, and the winner was …
Didn’t see that coming. So now the race has been blown wide open, making for one of the most exciting and unpredictable Best Actress races in recent memory. Streep holds the record for the most Oscar nominations of any actor or actress (17 nominations), but she hasn’t won in 29 years. (Her last win came for 1982’s Sophie’s Choice.) With three nominations in recent years, Williams is quickly becoming one of the Academy’s favorite younger talents, and for my money, she’s the finest actress of her generation. Davis is no slouch with two nominations for rock-solid performances, and she could easily turn her second nomination into a win for a sympathetic portrayal of a maid in oppressive 1960s Mississippi. (I don’t mean to totally discount Glenn Close or Rooney Mara for their terrific performances, but this year’s Best Actress race has turned into a three-woman race.)
Whatever reason you decide to watch the Oscars, it’s a good one. February 26 is quickly approaching. Who’s excited?