Up in the Air is a perfect movie. George Clooney is perfect in it. But if this year's Oscars telecast is to be perfect, then neither can win.
Understand, we're not concerned today with who or what deserves to claim statuettes; we're concerned with which stars and movies will give us the TV show that we, the viewers, deserve.
And sorry, former winners who've recently won (see: Clooney) and winners that everybody expects to win (see: Up in the Air—and really, you should) don't cut it.
Here's how we'd cast the show:
Unless Carey Mulligan (An Education) has been practicing one-armed push-ups, we're not keen on chancing her award-night entertainment value. So, we say let Bullock go all Julia Roberts-y. Or turn the saucy Streep loose—despite her reputation as an Oscar perennial, she hasn't won an Oscar in 26 years.
• Best Actor: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
We know, we know...But the list of this year's potential nominees leaves us cold. We like Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)—who doesn't?—but we're not convinced we'd like him taking up podium time. So for sheer showtime value, we're willing to waive eligibility requirements and let Rourke deliver the rambling acceptance speech we were girded for last year.
• Best Supporting Actress: Mariah Carey, Precious
The songbird's a long shot to snag a nomination, but we're not going to stop pulling for one—not after her performance at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
• Best Supporting Actor: Woody Harrelson, The Messenger, or Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Our dream is that the underappreciated Harrelson rocks a hemp tuxedo. Our other dream is that Captain Von Trapp defeats the Nazis—again. (Sorry, Inglourious Basterds' Christoph Waltz.)
• Best Director: Kathyrn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker, and James Cameron, Avatar (tie)
Sure, they're both deserving, and sure, Bigelow's win would be historic, but better than all that, they're exes! Now to see about enlisting Nancy Meyers (It's Complicated) to write their acceptance speeches...
• Best Picture: District 9
Can jaws drop that low? We'd love to find out.
Catch up on all the awards season action in our Red Carpet HQ.