“And the Oscar goes to…”
~William Shakespeare, probably
In 1929, Hollywood held the first, “Hey guys, aren’t we awesome?” party that eventually went on to be known as the “Academy Awards.” Ever since that point, the Oscars have become a yearly tradition meant to celebrate brilliant films, powerful performances, and weird dresses. And while the Academy Awards carry with them a lot of prestige and respect within the film circles, there is one little problem with them. They are not nearly American enough.
Every year, there are notable Oscar snubs, but worse than the snubs is fact that, throughout the past 82 years, some of the most quintessential American roles have never been recognized by the Academy. We at AFFotD are here to fix that. We’re giving out official Oscars to the four American actors who have been repeatedly screwed over (most of them are on staff) by the Academy, and for good measure we’re going to commit copious amounts of assault and rob the awards from other recipients who are not nearly American enough to deserve the honor.
While this isn’t a black-tie event, tuxes are recommended (it really classes up the part where we mercilessly beat other actors). We’ll wait for you to change.
That’s better. And now, to name our post-award recipients of Academy Awards. America style.
1. John Goodman (The Big Lebowski)
John “Maybe if I do enough Coen Brothers films people will forget I was in Rosanne” Goodman is a valued staff member, and food critic, of the America Fun Fact of the Day offices, so we might be a little biased here. We’re really big fans of John. He’s fat, he’s jolly in that cranky old man kind of way, and he always sounds like he’s chewing on a slab of ribs. Always. And he’s got quite an impressively American resume. He has played Babe Ruth, a character AFFotD appreciates, he randomly played a toll inspector father in Coyote Ugly, and he was the voice of the Robot Santa Claus in Futurama. Add in memorable roles in O Brother Where Art Thou!?, Barton Fink and he’s a bona fide star.
Plus, the first movie he ever did was called Jailbate Babysitter, which is the funniest thing our research department has shown us since they found that youtube video of a baby getting kicked by a breakdancer.
So when Goodman was set to play Walter Sobchak, we were reaching an apex in this thespian’s career. The year was 1998, and Goodman was wowing national audiences with his hilarious Linda Tripp impression (granted, the joke was essentially “She’s manly and fat” but still, Goodman nailed it). When Goodman was cast to play a Vietnam War veteran bowler of Polish decent who had converted to Judaism for his ex-wife, we figured we’d be in for a memorable character.
We just had no idea how memorable.
John Goodman gave us an intimate portrayal of America. Here was the passionate, articulate, gun owning, thinly-veiled-rage-possessing American figure that Hollywood so often ignores. For 13 years now, a generation of Donnys have been informed that they are out of their element, countless Larrys have been informed that they are killing their father, and Walters everywhere have been led to know that they are, in fact, a travesty. Yet Goodman shows a tender side to his tough demeanor as he copes with death and friendship by the end of the movie. Granted, we would have gotten rid of that “humanity behind the character” and just replaced it with a few scenes of him shotgunning a beer, but we can’t complain that they went that route. What we can complain about, however, is that this immortal character was never given its due deference from the Academy. So we’re going to fix that.
And the Oscar’s Stolen From…
Philip Seymour Hoffman won an Oscar in 2006 for his portrayal of Truman Capote in the inventively titled film, Capote. In it, he played the famous writer as he went through the process of writing his now famous book, In Cold Blood. Not only is this not an original character, the exact same movie plot came out just a year later. There’s a reason why no one was clamoring for Oscars to go to Armageddon or Deep Impact. Because there’s nothing creative about having the same movie come out twice. Well, that and…well, those movies were pretty shitty too.
Hoffman is a fine actor, who is deserving of an Oscar for his large body of work, but in this case he suffers from the company he keeps (mainly, unlike John Goodman, he does not work surrounded by American writers with lead pipes). But really, the main reason is that Hoffman was in The Big Lebowski as well, only he played such an unmemorable character half of you reading this right now just went, “oh right he was in that” while the other half of you waited until you clicked this link to say the same damn thing. Sorry, Phil. We’ll let The Dude keep his Oscar, but yours is going to John. We almost feel bad about using the billy clubs to get it. Almost.
2. Edward Norton (Rounders)
Ed’s been on our staff’s wait list for a while now. For a while it looked like he was a slam dunk to get in, but his career’s been slowing down lately (cough Incredible Hulk cough). Still, Norton’s a deserving American since everyone reading this would agree that its’ a travesty that he’s never won an Oscar, and most of you are shouting at your screen because Fight Club is not listed as the movie Norton should be honored for. Or American History X. Or 25th Hour. And that’s fine, but really, if we’re talking about deserving American performances, we’ll take a shifty con man whose good at poker ahead of a domestic terrorist with multiple personalities, a skinhead, or a drug dealer.
Seriously, that couch is like, the worst hiding place for all those drugs
Yes, Rounders was Matt Damon’s movie. Just like The Fighter was Mark Walberg’s movie. But guess what? In The Fighter, they gave an Oscar to the negative influence supporting character played by Batman, just like the Academy should have given an Oscar in Rounders to the negative influence supporting character played by Bruce Banner. We’re done explaining this.
And the Oscar’s Stolen From…
Timothy Hutton. No one remembers you got an Oscar in the early 80’s, so it’s safe to say no one is going to miss it when we sneak into your house as you sleep, tranquilize your dogs, and take the trophy from your mantle, replacing it with a bag of sand because Indiana Jones has completely misinformed us as to how Robbery is supposed to work.
Speaking of Indiana Jones… stay tuned tomorrow to see the third and forth awards we plan to give out.