Oscar Uglies and Habits

Dear Vinny and Jay,

Oh, the Academy and human suffering. Sometimes, you’ll wonder if these filmmakers and actors are doing these films with heavy themes such as the Holocaust, genocides or wars, because they actually care about the subject or because these are 100% Oscar material. But that’s just overreading or too much watching of this clip of Kate Winslet in Extras.

Oscar Habits #09: "I noticed that if you do a film about the Holocaust, you’re guaranteed an Oscar"

I noticed that most of the actresses nominated in the lead acting category underwent a lot of uglifying in their roles. The obvious contender in the uglification category obvuiously Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs. Rooney Mara did some serious jewelry and piercing overhaul in her role as Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Meryl Streep also did a bit tweaking in The Iron Lady. Did Viola Davis get some work done for The Help?

But out of all these roles, only Salander fall under the Dark Underbelly of the Human Race category, something that already garnered an Oscar buzz when her casting was announced late last year because these Oscar bitches love it when an actress sinks into the uglification process. But if that trend still proves true, then Close will be taking home the Oscar for this year. And we all know that ain’t gonna happen.

It seems that this year, the Academy didn’t go through with their usual routine of offering up one acting slot for Actress in a Small/Relatively Obscure Indie film. Last year’s indie darling was Jennifer Lawrence from Winter’s Bone. And the past years have seen nominations for smaller films like Frozen River (Melissa Leo), Precious (Gabourey Sidibe), and Monster (Charlize Theron). 2011 had other strong female characters from smaller films like Anna Paquin in Margaret, Olivia Coleman in Tyrranosaur, Juliet Binoche in Certified Copy (a role for which she won as Best Actress in the 2010 Cannes Film Festival) and Adepero Oduye in Pariah, as pointed out by Meryl Streep in her acceptance speech in the Golden Globes.

Oscar Habits #103: A strong black, female character from a small independent film centered on triumph of the human spirit.

It’s a bit of a shame really that they skipped this Oscar Habit this year because these films deserve more attention than most of the Best Picture nominees. But at the end of the day, what most people will remember is the films that resonate with them, not the awards, like what George Clooney said in this year’s Oscars Roundtable. And he’s right on the money.

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