February 14, 2008

Viva La Viral: On the Oscars

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There really isn’t all that much to say about this year’s Oscar race, at least among the nominees for Best Picture: Atonement was good, Michael Clayton was good, No Country For Old Men was awesome, There Will Be Blood was also awesome, and Juno sucked.*
Strangely enough, I am almost completely ambivalent about which one should take home top honors.** I think this is because I actually liked so many movies this year that my innate sense of fairness balks at any one film being held above the others. And since I don’t see Transformers up for anything but the sound and visual effects awards, the whole affair seems kind of empty to me.
In lieu of trying to outguess the Academy, I wondered if those unsung heroes of the internet would ever get their big night on the red carpet — if anyone would ever think to honor their achievements in the visual arts.
And then I got an email from Carlos Rubicam, producer of the Academy for Streaming Online Video to take place at the Bob Hope International Airport Hilton from at 9:45 AM Pacific time to 10:30 AM Pacific time on Sunday, February 24th.
Here’s a breakdown of the best of the best of off YouTube. If you’re not up on your internet video you should probably just flip to Charlie’s food thing, or whatever. If you’re of a more inquisitive nature, please feel free to sit down at Libe Café, take out your PowerMac, open two Firefox tabs (one for YouTube, the other for Google) and play along.

Best Annoying Original Catchphrase/Meme in a Video: Don’t Taze Me Bro
Don’t Taze Me Bro takes top honors not because of its title line (screamed by a University of Florida student getting forcibly removed from a John Kerry speech) but because it came at the tipping point in a veritable flood of Taser-centered videos. These videos speak to some deep moral issues. Sure, living in a police state where pain-compliance techniques are used on relatively non-hostile citizens isn’t great — but there is something intensely satisfying in the crackling / grunting sound made by the belligerents who are filmed getting Tasered. Would I like to be Tasered? No. Do I think Don’t Taze Me Bro dude should have gotten Tasered? No. Did I enjoy watching it? Yes. Yes I did.

Best Repeated Use of the Phrase ‘Weiner Poopie’: Weiner Poopie Ransom Note for Jesus
After some stiff competition it seems fitting that Weiner Poopie Ransom Note for Jesus News would clinch the prize. It’s essentially a local news report about a woman — the proud owner of several dachshunds suffering from irritable bowel syndrome — whose concrete lawn-Jesus is stolen. Highlights include hearing a deadpan local news anchor reading the ransom note for the statue: “… please clean up all the wiener-poopie if you wish to see Jesus unharmed.” Brilliant.

Best Acting in a YouTube Video: Dramatic Hamster
(Note: This entry is composed entirely of the first paragraph from Daniel Day Lewis’s Wikipedia page, albeit with key pronouns changed to “Dramatic Hamster.”)
After studying at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Dramatic Hamster performed in numerous plays and films that gained him an Academy Award, three BAFTA awards, and a Golden Globe Award. Dramatic Hamster has become known as one of the most selective actors in the film industry, having starred in only three movies in the last ten years. Dramatic Hamster has also been acknowledged for his constant devotion to his roles and copious amounts of research he performs. Often Dramatic Hamster will remain in character and speak in the accents he has used on screen throughout the entire shooting schedule. Dramatic Hamster is widely considered to be one of the greatest actors of his generation.

* Plot synopsis: even though the main character is pregnant, she can still talk funny. As Juno herself might say, “…this movie, like, sucked a tater-tot McSkillet.”

**Except Juno.