And then there is Silver Linings Playbook. A smaller, pretty steed, she gallops a bit behind her high-profile competitors, quietly running a well-disciplined race. Her cast—Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro—is no slouch. Her subject matter—mental illness, family loss—are handled deftly and skillfully. Granted, she won’t take the end-of-race risks required to win, but she’ll earn a slyly patronizing nomination from the stuffy Academy, and she’ll be satisfied with that.
But should we be satisfied? The Academy Awards has become the 10th most predictable television event of the year, behind the Times Square Ball Drop, the American Idol finale, the Rose Parade, and the last six episodes of Modern Family. It’s time for an overhaul. Waiting until February to announce a Best Picture winner everyone already knows is silly.
I propose the following awards to take the place of the old, predictable ones, with my nominations following [Editor's note: Ben insists all of these movies came out in 2012.]:
1. Best film in which everything is screwed up with five minutes left, and then suddenly everything is fine with four minutes left (Silver Linings Playbook)
2. Best film where the movie screeches to a halt and one or more actors describe the already-simple plot for a third time (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol)
3. Best film to actually make no sense, but everyone pretends it makes perfect sense. The “Emperor’s New Clothes” Award. (No Country for Old Men)
4. Best film to employ one or more of the following in order to seem profound, when it’s really just sort of profound: Foreign Languages, Black-and-White Visuals, Silence (The Artist [Editor's Note: Ben hasn't seen The Artist.]) [Mid-2013 edit: Ben has now seen The Artist. He's happy to report that the film is indeed a perfect candidate for this award.]
5. Best (otherwise excellent) action film ruined by an extremely shaky camera during fight sequences (The Bourne ______)
6. Best film a half hour too long (The Dark Knight Rises)
7. Best film an hour too long (All Peter Jackson movies)
8. Best film 117 minutes too long (Twilight)
[Editor's note: Ben was hesitant to provide his personal phone number online and asks that representatives from the Academy post any clarifying questions in the comments below.]