Welcome back, movie lovers! Award season is upon us and you know what that means: an endless parade of award shows. From the Golden Globes to the People's Choice to the Screen Actor's Guild Awards to the Oscar's, we'll all soon be drowning a sea of red carpets.
However, in my humble opinion, the best acting performances of the year did not take place on the silver screen, but in real life. As talented as Streep and DeNiro are, they couldn't possibly compete with the scene stealer's who had us coughing up our pop corn with their nutty theatrics. And the nominees are...
Tiger Woods--Just like the tortured protagonist in Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde, the golfing great proved he could morph into two completely different characters: the "good Tiger" a soft spoken, mild mannered duffer with a lovely wife and two cute kids and the "bad Tiger" who conveniently forgets about his lovely wife and two cute kids to indulge in an endless round of Bed The Floozy.
Because Tiger's meticulously managed public image seemed so refreshingly honorable, the public was stunned to learn Woods was capable of such heartless lechery--as were his sponsors, who either dropped him like a hot potato or were nervously waiting for the other shoe to drop.
With Tiger's mistress count now hovering steady at 14, Woods' two-faced double act (complete with naughty text messages, rumored pay-offs and an alleged sex tape floating around) falls firmly under the heading "We Never Saw That One Coming".
Glenn Beck--The Fox Channel's latest ratings grabber is a crew-cut sporter who sheds more tears than the most bedeviled soap opera heroine. On Monday through Friday, viewers can watch Glenn rant and rave about President Obama's "deep seated hatred" of white people, sputter about how health care reform is "unconstitutional" and declare that science czar John Holdren suggested forced abortions and sterilants in the drinking water would be a great way to curb population growth (I won't go into his snit fit about "fascist art").
As he's leveling his charges, Beck proceeds to whip himself into an emotional frenzy usually reserved for the diva's mad scene in countless grand operas. Then, just when you think the guy is about to pop a blood vessel or perhaps at least wet himself, Beck breaks into floods of tears, claiming he's only doing so because he loves his country "so much".
Viewed from beginning to end, Beck's performance is an awesome (and exhausting) display of half-baked accusations, paranoid conspiracy theories even the John Birch Society would snicker at and sheer hucksterism (Glenn's side gig of hawking gold to avoid the coming economic apocalypse even got him into hot water with Fox). While Beck's supporters will not doubt defend his teary theatrics as honest emotion, it's an acquired taste (like tapioca). However, it's a sure bet that if any dreaded "liberal " or "progressive" indulged in such behavior, they (and Beck) would be less forgiving.
Mark Sandford--Conservative family values South Carolina Gov. Mark Sandford
went hiking up the Appalachian Trail and somehow wound up in Argentina, the home of his "soul mate" Maria. This little detour not only left his staff in the lurch (they had no way to contact him), but it enraged his wife Jenny, who had previously ordered her spouse to end the affair.
When Sandford's behavior became public knowledge, Mark was obliged to give a press conference and in doing so cemented his Best Actor nomination. With tears in his eyes, Sandford claimed the whole business had started out "so innocently" and, after confessing his sins, he planned to rededicate himself to the cumbersome task of "falling back in love" with his wife. Throughout his ordeal, Mark, once a GOP rising star who came within a hair's breath of getting impeached, wore the pained expression of an acid reflux sufferer who couldn't figure out why people were saying such mean things about him. From beginning to end, he was utterly clueless.
That cannot be said of Mrs. Sandford, who, in short order, packed up the kids, moved out of the governor's mansion, filed for divorced, was profiled in Vogue and has an autobiography coming out. You go, girl!
Levi Johston--Once upon a time, there was a slightly thuggish high school drop-out who got his teenage girlfriend pregnant. This sad tale might have remained just another private family disappointment except for the fact that the pregnant girlfriend, Bristol, was the daughter of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin who, in turn, was plucked from obscurity to be GOP nominee John McCain's running mate.
Like Cinderella before the grand ball, Levi was spiffed up for the GOP nominating convention in an Armani suit (and ordered to chop off his mullet) so he could hold Bristol's hand for the cameras and thus appear every inch the supportive fiance.
Then daylight was let in on the magic. The McCain/Palin ticket tanked with voters, Bristol gave birth to a bouncing baby boy, the teens started fighting and the wedding was off. Rather than retire quietly to Alaska, Levi instead got himself an agent (named Tank) and decided he wanted to be an actor/model. He also began giving a series of slightly sinister interviews, accusing the Palins of keeping him from his baby son and hinting that he knew lots of nasty stuff about his would-be mother-in-law Sarah that, if it ever came out, would be really damaging to the GOP/Fox News It Girl...but Levi, a gentleman, would never go that far...
Just when it looked like the Johnston/Palin feud couldn't get any nuttier, it went nuclear. While Bristol was out stumping for abstinence as a "Teen Ambassador" for the Candies Foundation, Levi's agents proudly announced their client would be posing nude for "Playgirl" magazine, a publication supposedly aimed at sexually liberated women, but actually enjoyed quite a following with gay men. Johnston, however, seemed unconcerned with such details. With an infant son to support, a mom in jail and a nasty custody hearing in the future, a guy's gotta eat. Or as Johnston memorably told the press, "I just get nude. That's what I do."
AND THE WINNER IS...TIGER WOODS!
In a tight, tight race Tiger wins the Best Actor (dis)honors because his about face from gentleman sportsman to unfaithful skirt chaser with an endless supply of mistresses was just so unexpected. This type of caddish behavior one might expect from the likes of, say, Warren Beatty or Wilt Chamberlin, but not the dedicated, disciplined Tiger. The fact that he had managed to keep a lid on his antics for so long adds another dimension to Woods' over-all performance. In the final analysis, Mark Sandford is just another philandering politician, Glenn Beck is just another right-wing wind machine and Levi Johnston is just another dumb kid out to make a quick buck. But we expected more from Tiger Woods because he always seemed to expect more from himself.
His Award: His lucky putter bent into a gigantic slip knot and engraved with the following words, "Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water" (from "Henry VIII").
Tiger Woods' Mistresses--Not since the all-star, ill-fated remake of "The Women" have a collection of females so publicly debased themselves. Although Meg Ryan, Annette Bening et. al. had demonstrated talent and charm in previous incarnations, the gals linked to Tiger have not. In fact, this dubious assortment of cocktail waitresses, would-be actresses, "Trashy Lingerie" models and porn starlets could have come directly from B-movie central casting with their big hair, tacky clothes and cheesey rhinestones glued to their faces. To paraphrase Gillette, one of the many sponsors that have dumped Tiger since the whole sorry mess began, is this the best this man could get?
Sartorial sins, however, are not their only problems. These gals are also rock stupid. How else could they explain not knowing that Tiger was married with children? Or that they were shocked, shocked, to learn that they weren't the "only one" in the golfer's hectic life? Worse, these doxies chose a real cheapskate for their sugar daddy. Sure, he'd fly them to heck and gone for a tryst, but Tiger wouldn't pay for their liposuction. The heartless cad! As one mistress sobbed in her regulation TV interview, "All I got out of this relationship was a broken heart."
Better luck next time, sweetie.
The Kardashian Sisters--They can't sing, they can't dance, they can't act, they dress in dubious taste, they show profound decision making impairment and they may not even have opposable thumbs. But Kim, Kourney and Khole Kardashian are media darlings.
Chances are you'd be better off deciphering the mysteries of the pyramids or fomulating a coherent explination of how Humming Birds stay afloat than explaining the appeal of these less-then-likable sisters.
As the stars of two "E!" reality shows (produced by "American Idol's" Ryan Seacrest, the luckiest man in show business next to Ringo Starr), viewers can watch these "celebutaunts" attend parties, premieres, get drunk, pose in various states of undress, fight among themselves, get pregnant out of wedlock and get married. Meanwhile, their proud mother (and manager) Kris furiously spins their latest excesses to their advantage as their befuddled stepdad Bruce Jenner merely observes in passive dispair.
The fact that these gals have no problem with TV cameras recording even the most intimate of their encounters (like visits to the Ob/Gyn) shows a profoundly disturbing lack of personal boundries. Even worse, wittnessing the sister's K obvious sense of entitlement and firm belief that they deserve their dubious "fame" is to experience a collective parting from reality. This is one sister act the world could definately live without.
Nadya Suleman--If you were going to select a canadate for a round of IVF treatments, would you choose a happily married couple with a stable income or a loopy single gal living off student loans and disability payments who already had six kids shoehorned into her mom's house, which was in foreclosure?
Believe it or not, Nadya Suleman was the recipient of this medical miracle treatment and thus became one of 2009's most compelling train wrecks.
Quickly dubbed "The Octomom" because she safely delivered octuplets, Suleman brought her kid count to a whopping 14, putting other multiple moms like Kate Gosselin (8) and Queen Victoria (9) in the dust. The only gal who tops Nadya in the Battle of the Births is Queen Charlotte, consort to King George III, who squeezed out 15 rugrats of her own (two of which became king).
At first praised as "the Miracle Mom", the well wishes of the public soured when the realities of Suleman's baby obsession became public. She, in turn, stoutly defended herself claiming all she ever really wanted in life was a big family--conviently ignoring that with six kids to begin with, she already had a big family. What's more, Nadya declared that she planned to practice celibacy in future and return to college to become a counselor. Meanwhile, the doc who handled her IVF treatment is facing censure from the state's medical board.
Unfortunately, Suleman's high minded goals for herself and her kids went out the window when she began cutting deals with various tabloid outlets, thus turning her vulnerable tykes into a combination side show/cash cow. Typical of Nadya's media dealings is the recent cover of "Star" magazine, where the mother of 14 flaunted her new "bikini body" and offered readers inside tips on "How I did it!" Although Suleman is clearly prepared to do anything for a much needed infusion of tabloid cash, she did turn down a request to do a porno movie.
However, since becoming a such a willing tabloid fixture, it's worth noting that Nadya has gone through a string of publicists and even tested the patience of TV's Dr. Phil. She's also publicly fought with her weary mom, who couldn't believe her divorced, unemployed daughter would want to add eight more kids on top of the six she already had--and she's not the only one. Nadya even had the nerve to snear at Kate Gosselin and tear up her photo.
All in all, the odyssey of the octomom is a sad reminder that just because you can give birth doesn't mean you should.
Carrie Prejean--They say the definition of insanity is holding two completely opposing thought in your head at the same time.
Case in point, dethroned beauty queen turned conservative It Girl Carrie Prejean.
In Carrie's hastily written bio "Still Standing", she laments the flourishing of unrealistic, highly sexualized images of females in the media, while at the same time ignoring her career as a fashion model and beauty pagent contestant--two industries which have historically provided boat loads of those unrealistic, highly sexualized images she so laments.
Besides double talking, Carrie also had a weird habit of blaming other people for her problems. When she failed to be crowned Miss USA, for example, she blamed it on her negative stance on gay marriage. Later, when the Miss California USA pagent people demanded their crown back, Prejean insisted it was because of her religious views and filed suit. The pagent people filed a counter suit, claiming that Carrie's religious views had nothing to do with it, but her skipping offical appearances did. And, what's more, they wanted the money back from her breast implants. Not giving a inch, Carrie insisted the Miss California USA people were the ones who told her to get the implants in the first place--and besides, she added, the Bible says nothing against gals having a great rack (after all, What-Would-Jesus-Do? Wear falsies?).
However, Carrie's house of cards came tumbling down when it was disclosed that she had starred in not one, not two, but EIGHT self-made sex tapes where she,uh, "pleasures" heself on camera. Even then Prejean insisted she was the wronged party in the matter, as she had selflessly made these tapes for her then-boyfriend and was shocked, shocked, that he would callously make her gift public. In light of these developments, both Carrie and the Miss California USA pagent people ended their legal fued. But Carrie wasn't done yet. Appearing on CNN's "Larry King Live" to promote her book, Prejean lectured King on how "inapprobriate" his questions were and she almost walked off the set in a huff. How rude.
Miss Prejean is clearly a gal who believes evrything she says, even though she has no idea what she's talking about. Porn is bad, but sex tapes make great gifts. Breast implants can be christian friendly. The main stream media supplies young girls with unrealistic images of female perfection, but beauty pagents don't. When waiving copies of your bio around on "Larry King Live", refuse to answer serious questions and threaten to walk off in a huff if the host persists. And when in doubt, blame a nasty "liberal media" for all your bad decisions.
Paging Dr. Phil!
AND THE WINNER IS...CARRIE PREJEAN!
Yes, in another tight, tight race, Carrie Prejean wins the coveted Best Actress honors because her performance was the nuttiest of the bunch.
Only a gal with an unchecked and untreated persecution complex could claim religious intolerence, boyfriend betryal, media bashing and Larry King's impertence were the reasons she had her Miss California USA crown taken away --it couldn't possibly be those topless photos and sex tapes. As some one who aspires to be a role model to vulnerable young girls, Miss Prejean is anything but. In fact, she just may be a living embodiment of the addage "Beauty is only skin deep".
Her Award: A cracked mirror inscribed "All that glitters is not gold" (from "The Merchant of Venice").