Let’s face it, most viewers really only care about the big six — picture, director and the four acting categories — at tonight’s 85th Annual Academy Awards (5:30 p.m., KTNV-TV, Channel 13).
Sure, the screenplay honors can spice things up, especially if that rambling live-wire Quentin Tarantino takes the stage. Adele fans can look forward to her “Skyfall” performance. And you may have a rooting interest in the animated short film race for once, thanks to the inclusion of “Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare.’ ”
But that still only accounts for roughly 40 percent of the 24 categories stretched out over a ceremony that makes the pacing of “Amour” feel downright frenetic.
If having spent the equivalent of more than a week of 2012 in a movie theater — much of that just for “Cloud Atlas” — teaches you anything, it’s that a) the Oscar categories aren’t enough to fully honor the past year in filmmaking, and b) the most important part of the moviegoing experience, unless you have buns of either steel or Silly Putty, is a nice, comfortable chair.
With that in mind, welcome to the first Silver Seat Cushion awards.
Because calling them the Purple Posteriors just felt too crass.
BEST USE OF SOUTHERN NEVADA: “Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away”
Whatever it lacked in terms of story or coherence, this 3-D extravaganza saluting the Strip’s Cirque shows made up for in promotional value for the city.
WORST USE OF SOUTHERN NEVADA: “Paranormal Activity 4”
For its latest installment, the found-footage franchise moved to Henderson, where all sorts of supernatural beasties ran amok. Just what our ruined housing market needed.
BEST SILVER STATE TIE-IN TO A BEST PICTURE NOMINEE: “Zero Dark Thirty”
In preparation for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the members of Seal Team 6 stopped by Area 51 to pick up helicopters that “technically don’t exist.” Runner-up: “Argo,” whose hero, Tony Mendez, was born in Eureka.
BEST FIGHT: “The Raid: Redemption”
Granted, this Indonesian import was basically a wall-to-wall brawl. But the climactic battle went on for so long, you could have slipped out to the lobby for some popcorn, met a nice girl, settled down, had a child, updated that child on everything he’d missed so far, and the two of you still could have made it back in time for the conclusion.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN INANIMATE OBJECT: Whatever that was that Naomi Watts coughed up in “The Impossible”
Seaweed? Tree branch? Blood vessel? Who knows? If seeing part of her leg peeled off and bleeding into the rancid brown muck didn’t properly convey the horrors of post-tsunami Thailand, watching her expel that little guy certainly did.
BEST ACCESSORY: Bow and arrows
From Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games” to Hawkeye in “The Avengers” to Princess Merida in “Brave,” movie heroes partied like it was 999 .
BEST ACCESSORY (CLOTHING): Bradley Cooper’s trash bag from “Silver Linings Playbook”
It may not have helped this bipolar Eagles fan make the transition from hefty to glad — garbage humor! — but the fashion choice spoke volumes about the character’s mental state.
MOVIE YOU WISH YOU’D SEEN JUST SO YOU COULD HAVE PARTICIPATED IN THE HISTORY-MAKING LUNACY OF IT ALL: “The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure”
Built around the nefarious idea that children should sing and dance in the aisles, this family adventure followed an acid-trip menagerie of costumed characters — including a shy vacuum cleaner who was in love with a window (which, come to think of it, sounds like a latter-day Beatles lyric) — as they searched for the last five magical balloons in Lovelyloveville. It set a box office record for futility, opening with a three-day average of $206 per screen — $45,851 less than “The Avengers.” At least the kids who showed up had plenty of room to dance.
BEST SOUNDTRACK: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
Fittingly, for this ode to the all-encompassing power of the mixtape, the throwback soundtrack — featuring the likes of The Smiths, The Samples, New Order and Cocteau Twins — felt like more of a living, breathing character than anyone in “That’s My Boy.”
BEST FACIAL HAIR: “Lincoln”
Fellow best picture nominees “Argo” and “Django Unchained” were worthy challengers in the whisker war. “The Dictator” and “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” put up a good fight. But “Lincoln’s” sheer volume of facial fuzz — beards, mustaches, goatees, sideburns, muttonchops, after a while you half-expected Mary Todd Lincoln to turn up with a soul patch — put it over the top. By a hair.
BEST USE OF 3-D: “Life of Pi”
Director Ang Lee’s first foray into the third dimension was a visual feast from start to finish: the horrifying shipwreck, the flying fish, the algae island, even the scenes with just the tiger in the boat.
BEST USE OF A TIGER IN A BOAT: “Life of Pi”
BEST SCENE STEALER: John Goodman
His Hollywood makeup artist helped bring some much needed levity to “Argo.” Three weeks later, his dude-ish drug dealer in “Flight” upstaged both best actor nominee Denzel Washington and a very naked Nadine Velazquez.
CREEPIEST MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY PERFORMANCE: “Killer Joe”
The body-glittered shenanigans of his over-the-hill stripper in “Magic Mike” were formidable. Whatever dark kinkiness his reporter was into in “The Paperboy” should have taken the cake — and then had Nicole Kidman pee on it. But his twisted assassin in “Killer Joe” left a greasy stain on the frontal lobe of anyone who saw it. In a good way.
BEST ENSEMBLE (ACTING): “Moonrise Kingdom”
It takes a lot to overshadow the combined talents of Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton. But, as the awkward runaway lovers in the Wes Anderson hit, Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward managed to do just that in their first paid acting gig.
BEST ENSEMBLE (CLOTHING): “Django Unchained”
Jamie Foxx’s bounty hunter spent most of the movie dressed like Little Joe Cartwright. But the scene after he’s allowed to choose his own clothes, when the proud Django rides out of town duded-up like Gainsborough’s “Blue Boy,” was, like the outfit, a thing of beauty.
WORST PARENTS: Anyone who took their young children to see “Ted”
There should be an “America’s Most Wanted”-style show dedicated to shaming those of you who subjected your little bundles of joy to Oscar host Seth MacFarlane’s degenerate, foul-mouthed, beer-swilling, hooker-loving, weed-smoking, cashier-banging, coke-snorting stuffed bear.
BEST TITLE FOR A BAD MOVIE: “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”
Instead of embracing its inherent lunacy, this buzzkill took itself more seriously than Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln.”
WORST TITLE FOR A GREAT MOVIE: “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
No matter how good it was — and it was superb — this beautiful, dreamlike best picture nominee still sounded like a nature documentary. And not a particularly good one.
LEAST ACCURATE TITLE: “The Amazing Spider-Man”
“The OK Spider-Man”? Perhaps. “The Fun But Largely Forgettable Spider-Man”? Sure. “The We’re Redoing ‘Spider-Man’ From Scratch, Whether You Like It or Not, Even Though It Seems Like ‘Spider-Man 3’ Was Just In Theaters Spider-Man”? Absolutely.
BEST ONSCREEN DUO: Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand in “Rock of Ages”
As the hirsute owner of the Sunset Strip’s Bourbon Room and his daft assistant, these two were a match made in hair-metal heaven. Generally speaking, a movie’s comic relief should never have better chemistry than its young romantic leads. Here, though, it didn’t seem all that out of place.
BEST ADVERTISEMENT FOR GREYHOUND: “Flight”
Ridiculous fees. Security checks. Routine delays without the possibility of even a tiny bag of peanuts. As if there weren’t enough reasons to dread flying, now you have to contend with the nagging suspicion that your pilot is a coked-up drunk asleep in the cockpit.
BEST SURPRISE: “Magic Mike”
It looked like little more than an excuse for a drunken girls’ night out. Or a vanity project for Channing Tatum to shake what his mama — and countless hours of crunches — gave him. But Steven Soderbergh turned in a genuinely entertaining drama with heart and emotion. And a penis pump. But mostly heart and emotion.
WORST SURPRISE: “Les Miserables”
Some of you knew it was a “sung-through” musical. For others, though, that revelation — that instead of characters who occasionally burst into song, virtually every word was being sung, with varying degrees of success — was often terrifying.
BEST REASON TO STICK AROUND TILL THE VERY END: The shawarma scene in “The Avengers”
Marvel movies have become famous for their post-credits sequences that bridge the gap to the next installment. But more than six minutes after just such a scene, persistent viewers were treated to a wordless few seconds celebrating Earth’s hungriest heroes. In a movie full of writer-director Joss Whedon’s signature touches, that may have been the Whedoniest.
Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@
reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567.