High in the Hollywood hills, where the company you keep is paramount (or Paramount), ensuring the right circles of sycophants never stop swirling around, reminding you of your own fabulousness, they hand out awards for merely breathing long enough. Hence: The Lifetime Achievement Award.
If you have revolutionized “the procedural modeling and animation components” of a computer animation program, as one filmmaking crew recently did, please stand in the line for the Scientific & Technical Academy Awards, a.k.a. The Egghead Open. If shameless publicity mongering is your bag, the MTV Movie Awards will swoon accordingly; and the Christian Oscars hand out trophies for “most inspirational movie acting.” (Pierce Brosnan for Evelyn, anyone?)
There is an award for every season, profession, and ideology. For 23 years, the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation has even held its nose and dispensed honors to the worst of the worst; Madonna sits at the very bottom with four wins, the Meryl of the Razzies.
What we lack is an Emotional Oscar that ventures beyond time-sucking professional dedication and honors what we talk about when we talk movies: bad titles, hot chemistry, cold careers. Tonight the film industry squeezes into highbrow couture and pretends like it didn't actually make Death to Smoochy or The Time Machine. So here are the Bleary-Eyed Awards, or the Blearys, to honor those categories Hollywood forgot.
Winners are in boldface:
Worst Casting: Jennifer Lopez as humble in Maid in Manhattan; Kate Hudson as a Brit in Four Feathers; Eddie Murphy as charming in The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Harrison Ford as Russian in K-19: The Widowmaker; Kevin Costner as conscious in Dragonfly.
Sexiest Chemistry: Matt Damon and Franka Potente in The Bourne Identity; Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader in Secretary; Diane Lane and the cast of Unfaithful; the cast of Y Tu Mama Tambien; Frodo and Sam in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
Best Comeback: Robin Williams in Insomnia and One-Hour Photo; Dennis Quaid in Far from Heaven and The Rookie; Disney animation with Lilo & Stitch; Diane Lane in Unfaithful; Richard Gere in Unfaithful and Chicago; Brian DePalma with Femme Fatale.
The Madonna Award for Complete Lack of Chemistry: Britney Spears and everyone else in Crossroads; Madonna and Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day; Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men In Black II; Madonna and her romantic lead in Swept Away; the real actors and the digital actors in Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
Dumbest Blurb on a Movie Ad: “The funniest holiday movie of all time!” (Fox-TV on Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights); “Ecks-cellent!” (Maxim magazine on Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever); “You will feel compelled to see it over and over again!” (Wireless magazine on Four Feathers); “One of the smartest and funniest comedies ever!” (Cineman on National Lampoon's Van Wilder); “The Country Bears is fun, fun, fun!” (Movieguide).
Most Obnoxious Product Placement: The magical Nikes in Like Mike; the mini-McDonald's franchise onboard the submarine in Spy Kids 2; The Country Bears itself, made to drum up interest in the Walt Disney World attraction; Vin Diesel speaks highly of Sony PlayStation2 in XXX, a film made by Sony; upon release from a North Korean prison in Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnan immediately asks for a bottle of Bollinger's.
The Gods and Generals Award for Achievement in Celluloid Anesthesia: White Oleander; Windtalkers, Mr. Deeds, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Rollerball.
Most Underrated Film: 25th Hour, The Count of Monte Cristo, Barbershop, Sunshine State, The Bourne Identity.
Best Picture That Skipped Toledo: Rabbit-Proof Fence, Morvern Callar, The Quiet American, Sunshine State, 24-Hour Party People.
Best Opening Credit Sequence: Panic Room, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Catch Me If You Can, Spider-Man, Punch-Drunk Love.
Achievement in Stereotyping: Kevin Kline as an uptight prep school teacher in The Emperor's Club; the entire cast of My Big Fat Greek Wedding; the southern belles of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; the HMO bureaucrats of John Q; the small town folk of Sweet Home Alabama.
Most Underrated Performance: Viola Davis (Solaris and Far From Heaven); Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher); Kieran Culkin (Igby Goes Down); Alison Lohman (White Oleander); Maggie Gyllenhaal (Secretary).
Most Unintentionally Scary Non-Human Character: Dobby in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Scooby Doo in Scooby Doo, all of the bears in The Country Bears, Ellen Burstyn in Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
Best Performance by an Inanimate Object: the killer videotape in The Ring, the Matchbox car in jackass: the movie, Salma Hayek's unibrow in Frida, Natalie Portman in Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones; the time machine in The Time Machine.
Worst Title: K-19: The Widowmaker, Half Past Dead, Analyze That, The Banger Sisters, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever.