Back in college, I briefly had the editorial reins of the entertainment section in an alternative (read: unpopular) campus paper. One of my few accomplishments was an Oscar prediction article pitting our resident film critics up against Wrestlemania 2000, the old then-WWF game for Nintendo 64. It was supposed to be a stupid gimmick, something I have built a reputation on over the years. But then Wrestlemania 2000 went 5-for-5 and blew our “experts” out of the water. Ever since, I’ve blown the dust off the N64 every February to get new insight into the upcoming Academy Awards.
1. For each of the categories (Lead Actor/Actress, Supporting Actor/Actress, Director, Picture and one wildcard choice), I automatically eliminate one nominee. To do this in a fair and even fashion (as opposed to the old way when I picked someone whose name or face I didn’t like), we consult Vegas odds. The nominee with the least-favorable odds gets cut. Odds were provided via Bodog as of 2/18.
2. The remaining four nominees per category are matched up with a character from WM2K’s extensive circa-1997 WWF roster. No wrestlers are repeated during the contest.
3. Those four wrestlers per category are placed in a four-man elimination Royal Rumble match, with the rules tweaked to reflect a “Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match” by WWF/E rules – aka, the last man standing is the Oscar winner.
Read on to see the results.
The first category is a damned crying shame, because Philip Seymour Hoffman, who practically drove Charlie Wilson’s War by himself as the ultimate Aaron-Sorkin-secondary-male-lead character (aka the Jeremy Goodwin, the Sam Seaborn, etc.), is the longshot at 16/1 odds. The man deserves a statue…but rules are rules, so he gets bounced.
Talented sibling who will probably always deal with the shadow of his more conventionally-successful (but less critically-acclaimed) brother.
Takes a pounding but keeps coming back to dish out more; almost seems to thrive on the violence he creates. Wears nice cowboy boots.
Past his prime but still kicking around and good for a short appearance here and there. Used to kick a lot of ass, now he’s just doing what he can.
Prone to going nuts at inconvenient times.
It’s bedlam from the start as all four men brawl it out. As Holbrook and Bardem get into it, Affleck uses his speed to wear Wilkinson down. After a pair of top-rope legdrops, he finds an opening and rolls Tom up with a cradle for the elimination at 7:21. Affleck and Holbrook team up on Bardem, who retreats and grabs a foreign object from outside the ring to even things up, bloodying Holbrook in the process. Eventually, Holbrook turns on Affleck and Bardem picks the spoils, pinning Casey at 10:10 after a short lariat. After the fall, Holbrook continues the assault, locking Affleck in a figure four and chasing him out of the ring. As Bardem comes out to join them, it turns out to be a trap, as Holbrook jumps Bardem and beats him down. He rolls Javier back in the ring and locks in another figure four, getting the tap-out at 11:34 to score a huge upset.
Your Oscar winner for best Supporting Actor, Hal Holbrook!
The little girl from Atonement had a whopping 35/1 odds, way behind virtually every other candidate. According to Vegas, she’s the only one who has no conceivable shot at this trophy, so she is eliminated early.
A woman trapped in a man’s body.
This is a pretty circular relation, because neither Ruby Dee, nor her character are pimps per se, but the movie The Godfather is about gangsters and Ruby is nominated for a movie about gangsters. Also, we shouldn’t discount the possibility that she’d come aboard the ho train.
More positive aspects of the character are discounted by a tendency for foul language.
Despite numerous attempts to appear otherwise, her obvious talents will always be counterbalanced by an occasionally startling lack of femininity.
Battle lines are drawn early as Dee and Ryan duke it out while Swinton and Blanchett hook up. While the former is a back-and-forth affair, the latter is more of a woodshed beating. Swinton barely gets any offense in as Blanchett takes her to task, finishing with a figure-four leglock for the submission elimination at 4:13. For the next eight minutes, the remaining three trade double teams and double crosses, with no woman gaining a clear advantage. Finally Swinton gets her revenge, pulling Blanchett out of the ring for an outside brawl. Left alone, Dee crushes Ryan with an avalanche and collects an easy elimination at 12:38. Blanchett comes back in with a vengeance, but Dee powers back. Dee hits a flying elbow, a lariat and a backdrop driver, but Blanchett refuses to go quietly, fighting back as best she can. A second lariat is too much, though, and Ruby Dee pins her for the win at 14:10.
Your Oscar winner for best Supporting Actress, Ruby Dee!
Best Original Screenplay
There are no published odds on this category, so this one goes by personal choice, and I bumped Tamara Jenkins and The Savages because it was the hardest one to find an equivalent for. If The Headshrinkers were in WM2K, it’d be a different story, but them’s the breaks.
Appeals to the youths and struggles with some dangerous and potentially destructive decisions.
Seemingly stable guy who talks to a doll.
Guy tries to police his community via unconventional methods. There’s also a Guardian Angel joke to be made here.
It’s a movie about a rat.
Right from the start, Michael Clayton asserts control, taking all three of the other movies outside the ring for a beating, one-by-one. Ratatouille takes a pounding from all three others, but manages to hold its own until Lars lays into it with a chair. The other two join in to gang up on the animated feature, with Michael Clayton securing the elimination at 9:22 via pin. The Clayton vs. The World battle continues for the next two minutes as he squares off with both Juno and Lars. Juno misses a high-risk flying legdrop and Clayton quickly hops on top for the pinfall at 11:25. For the next eight minutes, the brawl went on, marked by Lars And The Real Girl’s inability to finish. After Clayton reaches the ropes on a camel clutch, Lars comes back with a powerbomb outside the ring and a big German suplex inside. A schoolboy rollup and a backslide yield only two-counts for Lars. Finally, he manages to drop Michael Clayton with his trademark brainbuster finishing move, then ties him up in a cradle for the win at 19:23.
Your Oscar winner for Best Original Screenplay, Lars And The Real Girl!
Viggo Mortensen and Tommy Lee Jones were each tied at 25/1 odds, so it was a coin flip. A lot of people would argue that TL’s performance in No Country For Old Men helped secure him this nomination, and pretty much no one saw In The Valley Of Elah, so it is with a heavy heart that I remove him from the list.
Anti-big-business = environmentalists = tree-huggers = hippies = free love.
A tycoon who steps over or through anyone or anything who stands in his way of monopolization.
A perennial also-ran whose entertainment value and strong performances rarely (if ever) resulted in winning the big one. Took a brief foray into music to get the creative juices flowing.
Enforcer-type who is ready to throw down at any time, but there’s quite a bit more going on behind the curtain.
Day-Lewis gets saved from early elimination as Clooney’s mandibleclaw was applied too close to the ropes. The assault continues, though, and the heavy favorite is shockingly eliminated at 3:18 after a schoolboy rollup from George. Mortensen’s pounding of Depp is interrupted by Clooney, and Depp regains some control with Clooney’s help. Viggo fights back and gives George a taste of his own medicine with the mandible. Clooney bloodies Depp with a headbutt, and Depp responds by hitting a reverse suplex on Clooney, dazing him long enough for Mortensen to get the elimination pin at 11:23. Now uninterrupted, the Depp/Mortensen brawl continues, ending only when Depp hits Viggo with a package piledriver. He locks in his patented elevated Boston crab for the submission and the win at 13:44.
Your Oscar winner for Best Actor, Johnny Depp!
Truthfully, Laura Linney’s got the longest odds in this one, at 40/1. But it just isn’t fair to shut her out, especially when Blanchett’s got another nomination on the table and because she’s already HAD a Best Actress nomination for playing Queen Elizabeth I in a movie named Elizabeth. Cate’s odds were a hefty 30/1, so it’s not like we’re giving her a Montreal treatment here or anything.
Unfortunate events (Alzheimers/The Nation of Domination) led them to forget who they once were.
Did a pretty good job of pretending to be a singer.
Alternately a sharp talker and a weak spirit; family always seems to come up.
Known on the surface for sexual transgressions, but brings a lot more to the table and has remarkable staying power. Doesn’t have a problem getting down for the sake of getting down.
This one is a slobberknocker from the start, as all four ladies take a licking. Linney is the first to go, tapping to a figure-four from Cotillard at 8:26. The match continues evenly with the other three, spilling outside momentarily to give Linney another taste of the action. Page fends of some double team attempts from Christie and Cotillard, but the former eventually turns on the latter to give Page an opening. She capitalizes with a super backdrop from the top rope. A Doomsday Device attempt from Page and Christie falls flat, and their tenuous alliance falls apart – Christie abruptly clocks Page from behind and pins her for a quick elimination at 14:52. Less than a minute later, Cotillard catches Christie off the ropes with a sleeperhold, knocking the favorite out and scoring the upset win at 15:51.
Your Oscar winner for Best Actress, Marion Cotillard!
Gilroy and Michael Clayton have the longest way to go, odds-wise. Plus, he’s a much higher favorite for Original Screenplay. So he’s out here.
The man becomes an oil giant (haha, puns!) and pretty much impossible to ignore by the latter half of the movie. Tended to move kinda slow.
Exposes the evil and ugly side of humanity and the modern world; more famous for the violent parts.
Favorite of the ladies and has a lot of personality. Slowed down and dropped off just after its peak, then made a strong comeback.
A man struggles to make the most of his life after suffering life-altering injuries. Also, one eye is jacked up.
Reitman, the smallest of the group, keeps his distance from the bigger men. He survives and early scare from Schanabel after a series of power moves. P.T. Anderson and the Coen Bros. go at it practically from the opening bell, seemingly intent on eliminating their stiffest competition early. Anderson succeeds, pinning the Coens after a gorilla press slam at 6:20. With his biggest threat eliminated, Anderson takes advantage of a mistake from Schanabel and practically chokeslams him through the mat, picking up an easy pin at 7:09. Reitman has some bright spots, but for the most part, Anderson manhandles him, throwing him around the ring for the better part of five minutes. After a massive fallway slam, the pinfall – and Anderson’s victory – are academic at 12:03.
Your Oscar winner for Best Director, Paul Thomas Anderson!
At 12/1, Atonement has the odds stacked against it and won’t make it to the ring, despite winning the Golden Globe and a few other awards. It’s a shame, because the whole “so-and-so lied about blah-blah-blah and now whatsherface is pissed and blah-blah-blah’s gotta fix it” is the kind of stuff that flies well in the world of pro wrestling.
Overflowing with charisma and keeping audiences hanging with a sharp tongue. Maybe got in bed with the wrong people, but it was the fierce independence that held up in the end.
It’s the industry favorite with a solid foundation and a lot of things going for it. Unfortunately, it probably only made it as far as it did because of who it knows, not what it did.
A grim reaper-type drives the story, which is less about the violence that follows and more about a man who’s too old for this shit trying to keep up with the punishment that the new kids go through.
He’s a bad man who does bad things, but you can’t help but root for him along the way, since it’s not like most of the people he’s beating up weren’t asking for it to begin with.
No Country and Michael Clayton start off wearing each other down while There Will Be Blood and Juno square off. At just about eight minutes in, No Country and There Will Be Blood square off for the first time, taking it to each other while Juno is eliminated at 8:39 after a Pedigree facebuster from Michael Clayton. There Will Be Blood busts No Country For Old Men wide open with a brazen chairshot, but it’s not enough to put it away. A double team weakens the favorite, but the alliance between Clayton and There Will Be Blood fades quickly. Michael Clayton uses some timely reversals to stay in the match. A Doomsday Device from Clayton and There Will Be Blood has No Country On the Topes, but it just keeps coming, chokeslamming Clayton to keep hope alive. Unfortunately, the comeback doesn’t last, as a Pedigree facebuster from Michael Clayton takes No Country For Old Men out at 15:58. The brawl spills outside the ring, where No Country wreaks havoc on everyone for its elimination. After receiving a Tombstone piledriver, There Will Be Blood stumbles back into the ring, where a reverse atomic drop from Michael Clayton seals the deal at 20:55.
Your Oscar winner for Best Picture, Michael Clayton!