ZoNotes Goes to the Movies
Before I start my Oscar picks section, some of you may be wondering -- what authority have I to make such predictions? What do I know about film? Seriously, I am no film scholar. I'm not big into arthouse stuff, I like to be entertained. The class I took at GU was one of the 5 free electives allowed to me in my 4 years there. During the furious add-drop period of the Spring 2000 Semester, I latched on to a course taught by Prof. Stern -- Film in the 20th Century. I got to watch a bunch of classic films for free. My interest in cinema, especially the older stuff, increased from there. This has been a subpar year for the Oscars, especially because last year "was made of sterner stuff" -- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the Roman epic Gladiator. MAXIMUS!!
Here are the picks, and I'm focusing only on the ones that we all care about:
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Otherwise known as the career-killer, 1992 winner Marisa Tomei is nominated yet again. From what I can figure, take Helen Mirren of Gosford Park with the win here.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Ben Kingsley in A Sexy Beast. I understand that Kingsley did some yeoman work on this film.
BEST ACTRESS: I'm tempted to take Sissy Spacek, but Halle Berry turned a lot of people's eyes with her portrayal of a convict's wife in Monster's Ball.
BEST ACTOR: Does the Academy love the black man? Being that Russell Crowe won last year for his portrayal of MAXIMUS!!! in Gladiator, the Academy might reward Denzel Washington for his gritty performance in Training Day. The 1989 Best Supporting Actor adds another Oscar to his shelf.
BEST DIRECTOR: Ron Howard had this in the bag for his work on A Beautiful Mind, but the revelation that he exculpted references to John Nash's homosexuality and apparent anti-Semitism came at a particularly crucial time in the Oscar voting. So, I think that the Academy will go with Gosford Park director Robert Altman.
BEST PICTURE: Tough to gauge, but I'm going to go ahead and lock in A Beautiful Mind here. I'm operating on the assumption that the excellent Lord of The Rings will not get the recognition it deserves. Academy voters are an interesting lot, but they only go with the big epic if it has to do with the Bible (see the superb Ben-Hur. I get goosebumpy during the chariot race) or the Romans (see Gladiator or Spartacus, when Peter Ustinov won Best Supporting Actor), or, guys with British accents (Lawrence of Arabia).
After last night's Sweet 16 games, let me take my South regional bracket and light it on fire. Indiana's LL Cool J-ish "don't call it a comeback" against Duke set bedlam through my brackets, as I had the dookies in the Final Four. However, Oklahoma knows the way to San Jose, as the Sooners continue to be my hot team to win it all. After an up-and-down game, OU resorted to its stifling team defense and clutch shooting to overwhelm the excellent Arizona Wildcats 88-67. Like I said earlier, ride the OU train, baby!
Just a note, yesterday on John Thompson's radio show on Sports Talk 980, Hoya immortal Patrick Ewing took part in an interview. It's amazing that it's been 20 years since the Manichean struggle between the Hoyas and the UNC Tar Heels in the Louisiana Superdome for the NCAA title. Think of all the future pros, coaches, and Hall of Famers that took part in that showdown for the ages -- for GU -- Coach Thompson, Sleepy Floyd, Ewing, and for UNC, Coach Dean Smith, James Worthy, current UNC coach Matt Dougherty, and a young freshman named Michael Jordan. Alas, what would have happened if the sweet kiss of lady victory had touched upon Patrick instead of Jordan in that moment of no return? If Fred Brown had not thrown the ball away to Worthy in the game's climactic moment? Ah, but it is all speculation, the stuff of wishful thinking, empty beer mugs, and night long forgotten at the Tombs.
The War And Its Malcontents
I like reading Charles Krauthammer. He is one of the two or three best op-ed writers with a regular column, the token realist in the Washington Post's hall of idealists. In today's column, Krauthammer dissects the dirty strain of indignant anti-Americanism that greases the antiwar movement. This is great Friday morning reading, by the way.
Twilight of the Hawk...?
Simon Torres (F'00) and I are having a great discussion re Israel and its intriguing domestic politics. The coming of Ariel Sharon to the office of Prime Minister was supposed to help Israel blunt the corrosive effects of the second intifada. At times, he has been frustrated and things have backfired. However, the Labor opposition in Israel is in a worse position, regardless of Sharon's high stakes war of national survival. I will post excerpts from the emails Simon and I are exchanging. Some great stuff, especially because he presided over one of the most demanding and unforgiving political simulations in college -- the Knesset.
"Whoever said "more money, more problems" had problems to begin with."