With tomorrow’s Academy Awards on everyone’s minds in the entertainment industry right now, maybe it’s time for writers and producers to start thinking about securing their tables for future ceremonies. What would it take to make the ultimate Oscar winner?
So, what makes an Oscar-ready movie? Well, past experience would suggest that a lead actor displaying sensitive portrayal of disability is something that resonates well with the people making the decisions (See Ray, Forrest Gump, My Left Foot et al), as does triumphing over adversity (Milk, The Pianist, Life Is Beautiful). Meanwhile, history suggests that leading ladies should be… well, playing real-life figures, preferrably (Only three of the last eleven Best Actress awards have gone to fictional roles). Clearly, we need a real life story about an able-bodied woman – caring, take-charge and preferably still hot enough to wear a stunning dress on the red carpet – helping a tortured, disabled man come to terms with some problem or another. Scriptwriters, start checking those history books right now!
Meanwhile, we need to look at some other award categories. Who should direct this movie? That’s a tough one, to be honest; looking at the last few winners, there doesn’t seem to be a consensus as to what makes a winner there other than “Not who you expected, and not for the movie you would’ve wanted them to get the Oscar for.” My suggestion? Go for someone who really should’ve won for the movie they were nominated for a couple of ceremonies ago, but isn’t really a massively known name in the mainstream – Gus Van Sant or Jason Reitman, perhaps. Reitman’s got to be owed something after two losses in a row (Juno and Up In The Air), right?
Every movie needs music, and every Oscar Juggernaut needs a Best Original Song. And sure, there’s always the comfortable, safe option of a Randy Newman number, but the award for this one has been kind of crazy since “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp” won from Hustle and Flow in 2005 – Melissa Etheridge the following year? Really? – with only last year’s win for T-Bone Burnett bringing sanity back to the proceedings. There’s something to be said for going out on a populist limb, so I just want to put this out there: Cee-Lo. Academy favorite Gwyneth Paltrow. They showed their chemistry at the Grammys the other week, so why not get them to work right now on a touching yet funky duet where Gwyneth can sing to Cee-Lo about how much she’ll take care of him because he’s disabled? You know it makes sense.
So now that we have an idea for a plot, a possibility for director and music choice, there’s only two things left to get settled before you can go forth and make the ideal Oscar movie. Firstly: Don’t forget that the Oscar doesn’t like too much SFX action, so make sure that you keep things grounded in everything other than emotional fireworks – That Return of The King thing from a few years back was really just about trying to get the fans to shut up, trust me – and secondly and most importantly, I want a cut in the profits of this movie. Or, failing that (because some Oscar movies don’t really make a lot of money), I’ll take an invite to the ceremony and an introduction to Anne Hathaway. It’s not much, when you think about how much I’ve given here.