Cliff Robertson’s Ben Parker, beloved uncle to Peter Parker, was perhaps the best-judged performance in the entirety of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. The actor, who passed away in 2011 aged 88, was not familiar to younger audiences for anything other than this iconic role. So it will surprise some to learn that Robertson was the proud owner of an Academy Award for Best Actor, won in 1969 for his role in the film Charly.
Yep, that’ll win you an Oscar: Cliff Robertson in Charly
The disappointing flipside to this, however, is that the current Uncle Ben, Martin Sheen, has never won an Oscar. Mull on that for a moment, and then let’s move on.
2. This guy
I know that guy from something…
More like THAT guy! That guy is Fisher Stevens. A character actor known for his snide antagonists and sidekicks, he will be most familiar to viewers of the 1990s magic newspaper TV series Early Edition, and more surprisingly familiar to fans of the Short Circuit movies, in which he donned brown-face to play Steve Guttenberg’s Indian business partner Ben, taking the lead role in the sequel.
Well that’s just unfortunate
He also played an obnoxious boyfriend of Monica in an early episode of Friends, and played the villain in the ridiculous 1995 computer caper Hackers.
But when he’s not acting, Stevens is a director and producer, who notably (and not widely known-ly) produced the 2009 documentary The Cove, the film which people claimed they were seeing out of support for dolphins, but actually just wanted to catch a glimpse of Hayden Panettiere in a wetsuit. The Cove won Best Documentary, and Stevens was there to pick up the statue.
Lucky for some
3. Walton Goggins
Walton Goggins in TV’s Justified
Like Fisher Stevens’s Early Edition co-star Kyle Chandler (Zero Dark Thirty, Argo), The Shield actor Walton Goggins can be proud to have appeared in two Best Picture-nominated films this year – Django Unchained and Lincoln. In Django he played Billy Crash, all too comfortable with a burning-hot poker. In Lincoln he played nervous Democratic Congressman Clay Hawkins, whose backing-and-forthing on the subject of abolition much of the plot rests on. That’s some range right there.
But before any of this Goggins starred in and co-produced a short film called The Accountant, way back in 2001. That took home the Best Live Action Short Oscar, which he shared with director Ray McKinnon and producer Lisa Blount. Yet another person on the set of Django to have more Oscars than Leonardo DiCaprio.
4. Malcolm Tucker
Peter Capaldi in The Thick of It
Peter Capaldi is best known for playing Malcolm Tucker, the terror-striking Director of Communications for the British Government in satirical BBC comedy The Thick of It, and its spin-off movie In the Loop. Malcolm is one of TV’s greatest monsters, whose abuse-filled tirades make symphonies with profanities. On the flipside of that, some film fans will recognise him as the timid Danny Oldsen in the wonderful 1983 dramedy Local Hero, in which he falls in love with a girl with webbed-toes, believing she’s a mermaid.
But back in 1993 he directed the gloriously titled short film Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life, which tied for Best Live Action Short with the film Trevor in 1995. You can watch the whole demented film here.
5. Keith Carradine
Keith Carradine, back in the day
The Carradine name has been tainted in recent years by rambling speeches about Superman, and autoerotic asphyxiation. But David’s half-brother Keith has kept up the good work begun in The Duellists and Southern Comfort with roles in TV’s Deadwood and Dexter. If any Carradine was going to have an Oscar under his belt, it was going to be him. And he does!
But what’s strangest about this is that he won his gong for Best Song. ‘I’m Easy’, from Robert Altman’s dramedic masterpiece Nashville, was not just performed by Carradine, but written by him as well. It’s a pretty damn good tune too, I’ll have you know.
6. Dean Pelton
Jim Rash has yet to win an Oscar for playing Dean Pelton
While audience’s expect to see Community’s Jim Rash dressed as Carmen Miranda before they’d imagine him in a tuxedo, Rash has a lot more to him than the gloriously flamboyantly clown he appears as on TV. Last year Rash took home a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for his work on Alexander Payne’s The Descendants.
While Payne gave the speech, Rash unwisely spent his time on stage impersonating a meme-worthy pose of Angelina Jolie, ensuring the speech would forever be incomprehensible to future generations.
7. Christine Lahti
Nowadays more famous for not actually being Allison Janney, Christine Lahti was one of the biggest stars of ’90s hospital drama Chicago Hope, and was a Best Supporting Actress nominee at the Oscars for Swing Shift back in 1984. But like so many on this list, her biggest achievement came as a Best Live Action Short Film award, which she won for directing 1995’s Lieberman in Love (in which she also co-starred with Danny Aiello). That tops Allison Janney’s two Emmys any day!
Not Christine Lahti
8. Homer Simpson
No, Homer Simpson has never actually won an Oscar. In fact 2007’s The Simpsons Movie wasn’t even nominated for Best Animated Feature. There is no Academy Award for best voice-acting (there should be), so Dan Castellaneta has never won an Oscar either. In fact, if any member of the Simpson family is likely to win an Oscar, it’s little Maggie Simpson, whose short adventure The Longest Daycare is nominated for Best Animated Short this Sunday.
But while Homer has never won an Oscar, he does have an Oscar, as revealed in the season 7 episode of The Simpsons ‘Team Homer’. Displaying his trophy collection, Homer is shown to have come into possession of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar won by Dr. Haing S. Ngor for The Killing Fields in 1985.
Haing S. Ngor
Which is a nice way of segueing into Ngor’s win. The physician was a first-time actor when he took the pivotal role of Dith Pran in The Killing Fields. He starred in a dozen lesser-known films before he was murdered by a street gang outside his Los Angeles home in 1996, only a month after ‘Team Homer’ aired. Out of sensitivity, for subsequent syndication and DVD release Homer’s Oscar was shown to be that of Don Ameche, won for 1985’s Cocoon.
9. Lionel Richie
The epitome of ’80s cool
Here’s a strange one. Not content with having No.1 songs with ‘Hello’ and ‘All Night Long (All Night)’, the ’80s R&B icon also has an Oscar to go with his Grammys. He won the little gold man for ‘Say You, Say Me’, which he composed for the now much-forgotten Cold War ballet drama White Nights (1985). More troubling is that the music video for ‘Hello’ wasn’t nominated for Best Picture. That thing is amazing.
10. This goat
Well no, obviously this bronze goat sculpture has never won an Oscar, but, and bear with me here, it does share a home with one. Pablo Picasso’s ‘She-Goat’, cast in 1952, is one of the most recognisable works in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York. MoMA has one of the oldest film departments of any museum in the world, and in 1978 had an Honorary Award bestowed upon it by the Academy, “for the contribution it has made to the public’s perception of movies as an art form”.
MoMA’s Oscar has an interesting history of its own, being the subject of a theft some years back. When it was recovered, a small patch of the figure’s crown had been scratched away by crooks eager to see just how much gold the statue contains (note: not very much, it’s a very thin coating). After the recovered Oscar returned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences fully restored, it was locked away in a drawer for its own protection for several years. However, in happy news, MoMA’s Oscar was only this month returned to the Museum, where he now greets visitors at the film entrance on 53rd Street. Hooray!
My return to the blogosphere has been nicely timed to coincide with this year’s Oscars. As I did last year, I will be keeping my thoughts rolled out here as the night develops. Hopefully it will be a fun one, there’s definitely more room for controversy than last year. The double hosting act of Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin is an interesting one; Baldwin is at the top of his comedic game right now and Martin has managed to stay away from bad comedies sufficiently of late to be forgiven his trespasses. Although one can’t help but feel they may have missed a big chance to win a larger audience for their modestly received It’s Complicated, released a few months back.
My money is unfortunately on Avatar to take Best Picture, although there is still hope that The Hurt Locker might unseat it. Other worthy contenders such as Up, A Serious Man and Up in the Air, and indeed District 9 (hardly amazing but certainly a more worthy winner than Avatar) seem to have hardly any hope at all of winning the top award. That said, if Kathryn Bigelow can at least take Best Director the night will not be a complete disaster should Avatar win Best Picture and prove you can just fire as much money as possible at the screen and eventually people will give you prizes.
Indeed, a contest of similar intrigue has emerged in the Best Foreign Language category, where the frankly haunting The White Ribbon goes up against the outstanding A Prophet. While Hollywood may not care, it will be the big one for cinéastes to watch, aside from the battle of the mainstream behemoth and the indie upstart waged by exes James Cameron and Bigelow.
Up has Animated Feature in the bag, and will hopefully at the very least take home Best Score. The beautiful and charming film’s five nominations very much speak for themselves.
As for actors, Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock, Mo’Nique and Christoph Waltz seem to have their four categories all cornered. Only a surprise upset in Best Actress looks at all probable, and not very at that.
Proper commentary will resume later this evening, in the meantime I must feed and prepare for the all-night event.
In the meantime, bask in the glory of this wonderful pisstake trailer for every Oscar-winning film ever from Cracked.com…
The following takes place between 3.30pm and 9pm
Events occur in real Pacific Standard Time.
3.38pm – James Cameron is selling his wife’s dress as “Na’vi blue”. Wonder what colour Kathryn Bigelow is wearing…?
3.39pm – Vera Farminga looks amazing, although her dress looks like it might come alive an devour her.
3.44pm – E! Entertainment TV are carrying considerably less obnoxious coverage of the red carpet than Sky, so looks like I’ll be following them for the next 90 minutes or so. Just in case you needed a point of reference.
3.49pm – Is Sigourney Weaver wearing a blood-red toga?
3.51pm – Lots of nice dresses, nothing mind-blowingly stunning or godawful yet though. And no outlandish variations on the tux either. The next hour could well be hell. Why am I even live-blogging the red carpet at all?
3.57pm – For the record, the following films are the main contenders tonight that, for a number reasons (including at least one that has yet to come out in Ireland) I have yet to see: Precious…, The Blind Side, An Education, The Last Station, A Single Man, Julie and Julia, Invictus. Just so that we’re on the level here.
4.01pm – A part of me is hopeful for Sandra Bullock, as she’s one of those actresses who has always been likeable but you just assumed she would never win an Oscar. I mean The Net, Two Weeks Notice, All About Steve. She’s so feisty that no matter what trash she makes you can’t quite bring yourself to hate her.
4.03pm – Amanda Seyfried is still the perfect woman. I know I said it last year, but seriously, who in the last year has challenged her crown?
4.05pm – So what, Crazy Heart gets a few nominations and suddenly every country/western singer gets an Oscar invite?
4.06pm – Miley Cyrus’s dress appears to be made out of bra.
4.08pm – Antonio Banderas appears to be preparing for his role as Saddam Hussein. In… a film I just made up?
4.13pm – Who the hell is Elizabeth Banks? Why am I only discovering Elizabeth Banks this evening? And by this evening, I mean it’s long after midnight…
4.15pm – Sarah Jessica Parker is wearing a beautiful silk… sack. It’s a sack.
4.17pm – How tall is Kathryn Bigelow? As a talentless male I like to think that an Oscar-nominated director would be as unattractive as she is talented. But nope, she’s just a bit yummy. There, I said it.
4.19pm – Charlize Theron looks like a delicious frosted cake. Her dress invites far too many suggestive jokes. I’ll keep quiet.
4.25pm – I wonder was Nelson Mandela invited… and what did he RSVP?
4.28pm – Damn you Colin Firth, so darn charming!
4.29pm – Can someone clear this up for me, is George Clooney grey or not? He looks like he’s half-dyed his hair sandy.
4.31pm – Meryl Streep’s dress looks like it’s made out of cream, smoothly flowing cream. It’s good.
4.39pm – Poor Keanu Reeves, he’ll never win an Oscar. Tonight Sandra Bullock leaves him behind.
4.43pm – Robert Downey Jr is the first major black-tie breaker, wearing a teal bowtie. Yes, that’s right, I know the colour teal!
4.52pm – As ever, Kate Winslet looks enchanting. Nothing I say here can add to how wonderful she looks in that dress.
4.58pm – Ha! Remember Cameron Diaz.
5.09pm – Anna Kendrick looks like a pink Grecian goddess. Where did she come from this past year? And how our lives have been made better. Well, not counting that Twilight nonsense.
5.12pm – Zoe Saldana’s dress looks like someone ate a Na’vi then threw it back up on her.
5.27pm – Good lord who let Nicole Richie in?
5.30pm – And we’re off! So the last two hours were pointless then?
5.32pm – Eugh, the stars are a bit pointlessly on display here. Why are the Oscars always looking for new means to make sales pitches?
5.33pm – Yay! Neil Patrick Harris!
5.34pm – Singing a solo number about the need for duets. Irony!
5.35pm – Jeff Bridges does not look impressed.
5.35pm – Here come the boys…
5.36pm – A few light stabs at Hollywood now. Fun times.
5.38pm – Meryl Streep threesome gag, they’re totally going for an It’s Complicated DVD push.
5.39pm – Alec Baldwin’s delivery is way off. Not a good start.
5.40pm – Martin and Baldwin are harassed by Avatar forest creatures. What is this, Family Guy?
5.44pm – Penelope Cruz presents the first award. My those two were quite embarrassing. Penelope’s dress looks like fire. In all the best ways.
5.46pm – Christoph Waltz came from nowhere this year with knowing but a broad knowledge of languages and a knife and fork with which to devour scenery. If he doesn’t win, then this whole night could go in any direction.
5.48pm – Phew. Thought we were going to have a night of surprises there.
5.49pm – That’s an über-bingo.
5.52pm – Wow, ads already? We’ve only had one award. Have I missed something, what’s will all this (fake?) animosity between the hosts and George Clooney?
5.56pm – Cameron Diaz and Steve Carrell, make a mess of it all. Ouch. Animated characters talk about being nominated. Fun stuff!
5.58pm – Yay! Dug is licking the camera. I love the Oscars!
5.59pm – Up wins! Thank goodness. My word that film was sheer delight.
6.00pm – Pete Docter makes a very quick but pleasant speech. Is it just me or is his head tiny?
6.01pm – Seyfried and Cyrus present the nominees for Best Original Song and slip over their lines again. A lot of teething pains this year.
6.03pm – Could a Colin Farrell-sung song win the prize?
6.04pm – Yes, ‘The Weary Kind’ takes it – first win for Crazy Heart.
6.06pm – Ouch, Chris Pine has to introduce District 9, which essentially nabbed the nomination from Star Trek. Who on earth thought that was a fair idea?!
6.11pm – Best Original Screenplay could call the rest of the night. Hurt Locker seems a lock, but Inglourious Basterds is a contender.
6.12pm – “Great movies begin with great writing,” says Tina Fey. So why is Avatar not in this category again…?
6.15pm – The Hurt Locker takes it. Interesting…
6.17pm – Mark Boal’s speech was simple but to the point. Molly Ringwald and Matthew Broderick talk about John Hughes. Don’t they usually do all the obituaries en masse?
6.19pm – This seems like an odd way to make the Oscars seem more mainstream. He made some fun films though.
6.22pm – And the stars of his films all come out. I wonder who else will get an homage like this?
6.23pm – Samuel L Jackson presents Up – no, don’t show the sad bits, I’ll cry!
6.28pm – Zoe Saldana and Carey Mulligan to present Best Animated Short Film.
6.31pm – No Pixar this year, though the fun Irish short Granny O’Grimm is worth a mention.
6.32pm – French short Logorama wins. Looks fun. Hope it’s up on YouTube…
6.33pm – Documentary Short now. I said it last year, I’ll say it again: where the hell can one see these?!
6.35pm – Music By Prudence get shuffled off stage by the orchestra pit. Poor them.
6.37pm – Danish short The new Tennants wins Best Short. That’s those three knocked down swiftly…
6.38pm – Ben Stiller as a Na’vi. Better idea than last year.
6.39pm – Best Makeup; here’s hoping for Il Divo. And Ben Stiller is rapidly becoming unfunny.
6.41pm – Na’vi tail joke = win! Win for Star Trek too. Guess it was deserved.
6.43pm – Jeff Bridges introduces A Serious Man. It is oddly under-represented at this year’s awards.
6.47pm – Best Adapted Screenplay. Lot of options. Up in the Air is the likely winner. In the Loop would be fun though.
6.48pm – Thank god they keep calling Precious just Precious. That is one exhausting title.
6.50pm – Precious (which I believe is based on the novel Push by Sapphire) wins.
6.52pm – Queen Latifah and Steve Martin have a bit of a flirt.