Much like the featureless gold statues they iconize, Oscar websites are hard to tell apart. So picking the site with the best 72nd annual Academy Awards special — be it Reel.com, Mr. Showbiz, E! Online, Variety, EW.com (sorry, coworkers), or even the official Oscar.com — is mostly a matter of who has the best design and worst-dressed photo gallery (we win, thanks to that pic of Kristy McNichol in a tux). Otherwise, it’s a yawn-fest of nominee lists, recycled interviews, and trivia.
So instead of filling out another Oscar-predictions poll, I suggest casting a vote for The Tossers (http://www.shockwave.com), an awards parody that is ”much like the Oscars but with categories that you actually give a dog’s bollocks about.” Hosted by two animated British knuckleheads who star in Mondo Media’s weekly series Thugs on Film, the Tossers include such categories as Best Performance by a Bodacious Rack in an Unsupported Role (Sigourney Weaver in Galaxy Quest), Most Pathetic Casting in a Major Motion Picture (the entire cast of Wild Wild West), and Best On-Screen Shagging (Jason Biggs and the pie in American Pie). Winners will be announced on March 23, along with a presentation of the Peter O’Toole Lifetime Thug Achievement Award to Robert Downey Jr.
If you prefer live-action blokes to cartoon ones, Wirebreak.com’s Backdoor Hollywood (http://www.wire break.com) — ”the only review show with its own bartender” — is another excellent Oscar alternative. Assuming your computer doesn’t explode while loading the site’s abusively graphical interface, you’ll end up in a tiki lounge with Jason McHugh and Glasgow Phillips, producers of Orgazmo and organizers of spoof film festivals Lapdance (craptv.com) and Cannes You Dig It? (http://www.cannesyoudigit.com/site/). Their nominations this year include a Best Picture nod for Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, which McHugh deems worthy because of its title, even though he’s never seen the film.
For a less quirky, more achingly sincere take on this year’s Oscar contenders — and films in general — browse the movie ”investigations” from the ChildCare Action Project’s Christian Analysis of American Culture (http://www.capalert.com/cap reports). Here, every film is rated using a unique W.I.S.D.O.M. quotient, which is based on the number of occurrences of Wanton violence/crime, Impudence/ hate, Sex/homosexuality, Drugs/ alcohol, Offense to God, and Murder/suicide. Each of those is accompanied by an amazingly thorough list: How else would you know that there are ”53 uses of nasty three- or four-letter words” in The Green Mile, or that The Sixth Sense includes a shot of ”adult underwear”? The reviews offer an equally intriguing perspective — according to CAP, Best Picture contender American Beauty portrays homosexuality even though it does ”nothing for the script, plot, or even the choreography.”
Such Oscar-related sites may not help you win the office pool, but at least they’ll provide you with a good joke to tell while all those presenters ruin Oscar writer Bruce Vilanch’s one-liners. Speaking of which, be sure to visit Vilanch’s official website (brucevilanch.com), where you can try different ugly T-shirts on the Muppet-headed Hollywood Squares star — which, after sitting through three hours of yuk-yuk jokes on the Oscar telecast, may be the closest to revenge you’re going to get.