I love Oscar season. Every year, I make a point to see all of the Best Picture nominees so I can be ready to fill out my Oscar pool. And I actually do pretty well, because I have a secret strategy.
The theory is this: The Muppets represent the best the film industry has to offer. The Academy Awards will go to the best actors, films, and filmmakers. Therefore and ergo: The Oscars will go to whoever has the best Muppet connections.
I mean, you can’t deny that logic.
Okay, so we only got one right last year (thanks to Julianne Moore for not making it a shut-out for us), but we feel pretty confident about this year’s picks.
So without further ado, let’s get started! And the nominees are…
Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale for The Big Short
Tom Hardy for The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo for Spotlight
Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone for Creed
Mark Ruffalo was our pick last year, thanks to that time he danced with Elmo on Sesame Street. And Christian Bale was our pick the year before, mostly due to his resemblance to Kermit the Frog. But this year, the Oscar goes to Sylvester Stallone, who wrestled a lion, sparred with a Muppet punching bag, and cried manly tears while singing a ballad in a British drinking hall on his very own episode of The Muppet Show. Plus, he let Kermit make a cameo in Rocky III. Beat that, Mark Rylance.
Actress in a Supporting Role
Jennifer Jason Leigh for The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara for Carol
Rachel McAdams for Spotlight
Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet for Steve Jobs
In 2004, The Jim Henson Company worked on a BBC film I’d never heard of called Pride, in which Kate Winslet provided the voice of one of the lead characters, a lion named Suki. So I guess that would be enough to clinch the win for her, although it doesn’t hurt her chances having a Muppet Titanic spoof poster with Miss Piggy as the groan-worthy “Fate Swing-set”.
Actor in a Leading Role
Bryan Cranston for Trumbo
Matt Damon for The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant
Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne for The Danish Girl
A few years back, Miss Piggy met Michael Fassbender at the BAFTA Awards, and she told him that she loved his work in the film Shame. And if you’ve ever seen Shame, you’d know the big… ahem… reason Miss Piggy loved his performance.
Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchette for Carol
Brie Larson for Room
Jennifer Lawrence for Joy
Charlotte Rampling for 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn
Did Charlotte Rampling appear in Muppets Most Wanted?? Did Brie Larson get to don a tutu and dance with the Mutations?? Heck no, that honor went to Saoirse Ronan! Queen of the jackhammers!
Animated Feature Film
Boy and the World
Shaun the Sheep: The Movie
When Marnie Was There
As much as I’d like to give Shaun the Sheep this award for the Colambo connection, only one of these films feature a poster reading “I think it’s perfectly easy being green.” Oh, and it also featured the reunited duo of Frank Oz and Dave Goelz, giving us the best Muppet-connected film of the year. Congrats to the obvious winner, Inside Out!
Best Original Song
“Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey
“Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction
“Simple Song #3” from Youth
“Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Grounds
“Writing’s On the Wall” from Spectre
“‘Til It Happens to You” was performed and co-written by Lady Gaga, who made a very brief cameo in Muppets Most Wanted and she took Kermit the Frog as her date to the MTV Music Video Awards in 2009. She was also responsible for the train wreck Lady Gaga & The Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular, but we won’t hold that against her. (Yes we will.)
Lenny Abrahamson for Room
Alejandro G. Iñárritu for The Revenant
Tom McCarthy for Spotlight
Adam McKay for The Big Short
George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road
Did you know that George Miller was one of the producers for the Jim Henson Creature Shop movie Babe? Well, he was! But despite that relatively strong Muppet connection, I’m going with my heart and giving this award to Alejandro G. Iñárritu, who saw the Sesame Street spoof of his film Birdman (which I co-wrote!) and said “It’s fantastic. It means we made it. That’s the Oscar. It’s the best.” We agree, Alejandro. You’re the best too.
The Look of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom
I was all ready to make a joke here about Amy Winehouse singing “Rehab” with the Electric Mayhem, or an episode of Fraggle Rock using the radish trade as a metaphor for the war in Ukraine, but then I discovered that Nina Simone (the subject of What Happened, Miss Simone?) appeared on Sesame Street in 1972 to sing a song called “Young, Gifted and Black”. Now my humor is meaningless, because I’m floored at the existence of this video. Thanks, Miss Simone.
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
This is always the toughest category to predict. If you dig deep enough, just about every movie has a pretty strong Muppet connection. Brooklyn tells the story of a multicultural cast in an inner city New York neighborhood, much like Sesame Street, while Mad Max inspired one of our favorite pieces of Muppet fan art from the past year. On the flip side, The Martian was sorely lacking in Yip-Yips, and The Big Short didn’t have one talking house. But the Academy Awards have a bad habit of sorely under-representing the role of bears in cinema today, so we’re giving this one to The Revenant.
Chris Rock is guaranteed to do a fantastic job hosting the Academy Awards for his second time. Not only is he an incredibly smart comedian, but he’s been making a new name for himself in recent years as an indie filmmaker. But let’s never forget where he started: Elmopalooza, in which he offers to host the show, but gives up when he’s told he’s not allowed to tell any dirty jokes (“They would’ve loved my mud jokes!”). Hey, if he can handle Prairie Dawn, the Oscars should be a breeze.
And that’s it for our Oscar predictions! Watch the Academy Awards this Sunday, February 28th at 7pm ET (4pm PT) on ABC! And you’re welcome for giving you a list of the winners beforehand.
Thanks to Matt Wilkie for the above Oscar graphic!
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by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com