Culture | 8:07 pm | February 24, 2013 | By Karin Shedd

The Academy Awards for Dummies

1988_Academy_Awards
Photo by Alan Light/Creative Commons.

Tonight, the world of popular culture will be all aflutter and atwitter (a word which here means “inundated with tweets”) with the excitement of the Academy Awards. Movie buffs around the world will gather in front of their televisions to partake in such activities as cheering for their favorite films of 2012, debating the merits of a blond James Bond, theorizing how Django could possibly remain unchained after such a bloodbath, and — most importantly — playing Oscars-related drinking games.

But what about those of us who know relatively little about these movies? I, for one, recently earned the moniker “cinematic philistine” from my movie-aficionado roommate for my lack of movie knowledge – I saw “Lincoln” (spoiler alert: he dies in the end), I spiritedly (read: obnoxiously) sang along with “Les Misérables,” I cringed through the confusing emotional manipulation that is “Django Unchained,” and I once read “Life of Pi” when I was 11 (a traumatic, jimmy-rustling experience if I’ve ever had one). Other than these, I couldn’t tell you the first thing about this year’s Oscar movies. What are the beasts in “Beasts of the Southern Wild”? Are they actual beasts? Are they fictional or real? Or are they a metaphor for the beast-like racist behavior rampant in the antebellum U.S. South?

Clearly I needed to educate myself. So, in my infinite laziness, I decided that I could, rather than actually watch any of the movies beginning to end (ain’t nobody got time for that), get an approximate gauge of how the Oscars would play out by watching the trailers.

Move aside, Roger Ebert and Nate Silver: Here are the most accurate Oscars predictions for the Oscars people actually care about.

Best Picture

“Life of Pi.” In a mere two and a half minute trailer, this movie blasted my retinas with magnificent images such as a pretty lady’s face made of stars lighting up the cosmos, an ocean full of broken bits of boat and fantastic fauna, and a giant neon-green glow-in-the-dark whale. Because of this, and possibly due in part to my fondness for Indian men (I blame “Aladdin”), “Life of Pi” is the clear winner.

Best Actor

Wait, what? Did Morgan Freeman not do anything last year? Why isn’t he a nominee? Even if he just appeared in a Pepsi commercial or something, the winner for best actor should always be Morgan Freeman. In lieu of him, I suppose I’ll begrudgingly name Joaquin Phoenix the winner, because he went delightfully crazy there for a few years, all bearded and of questionable sanity and bent on a career as a rapper. Mental breakdown, or most brilliantly convincing acting stunt of his career?

Best Actress

Quvenzhané Wallis. Just try saying that out loud. I’m not even sure what sound the Q is supposed to make, and I like a phonetic challenge. Plus, she’s adorable. Cute kid + awesome name = guaranteed Oscar.

Best Supporting Actor

Christoph Waltz. Because beard.

Best Supporting Actress

Jacki Weaver. Some of you might expect, because of my “Les Mis” obsession to which I alluded earlier in this post, that Anne Hathaway would be my favorite for this Oscar. While I did appreciate Anne’s singing and feel a strong “short-haired female” solidarity with her, she’s touted as such a shoo-in for this award that I feel the need to be pettily contrary, and Weaver is the only nominee I didn’t previously know.

Best Director

Ang Lee, because how ballsy is it to wrangle a bunch of wild animals on a small boat and film it solely for entertainment purposes? Lee must have the animal know-how and wherewithal of Steve Irwin (too soon?), Cesar Millan and Nigel Thornberry combined, and for that he deserves this win.

So, cinematically challenged readers, go forth with this as your guide and place large bets on tonight’s Academy Awards. Or, at the very least, that Anne Hathaway will do that quivering bottom lip thing at least once.

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