Never liked predicting the Oscars, and I have never obsessed over them the way some corners of filmfandom do.
But I do watch them, every year. I don’t watch them for the fashions, the dance numbers, the broken English best foreign language acceptance speeches. All I want out of an Oscar night are those little magical moments when great work is recognized and the winner says something gracious and delights us in other ways.
The gold standard? Adrien Brody’s win for “The Pianist.” Laying a big shock-smooch on Halle Berry (well-played), then delivering a speech that moved and put that little victory in a global context.
Kevin Costner had a nice line on his “Dances with Wolves” night — that the voters might forget that night, “But me, my family and nobody we know EVER will.”
Anna Paquin’s breathless shock, Martin Landau’s sentimental victory and botched speech (cut off by the orchestra, thanks Bill Conti!).
So here’s what I want out of tonight.
I want J.K. Simmons to wax on the character actor’s life, and NOT read a thank you list (the way he did at the Golden Globes).
I want Patricia Arquette to weep. I want Michael Keaton to get choked up, but I won’t weep myself if Eddie Redmayne wins. Bradley Cooper? I hope he wins for a better film.
Julianne Moore should be given a regal amount of time to reflect on a stunning career.
I want a standing ovation for Indie Cinema’s undisputed King, Richard Linklater.
He should get best director, “Birdman” should win best picture.
Give Wes Anderson a writing Oscar, laud “Grand Budapest” for design, costumes, etc.
The reason I never get too worked up about the Academy Awards is the fact that the winners don’t matter, that those are not the films that endure — typically. And too many actors and others stand up there and timidly run through a laundry list of people they want to thank. Bad form. Thank your spouse, thank everybody else later that night, personally and sincerely.
Drinking games? Backless dresses, “thank my agent” lines. You know the drill.
Let this Oscars be less disappointing than the norm. Please please.