It’s boring to win. Winners cry, which is also boring. Then they thank God, which is the worst, because if God hasn’t bothered to cure the world of blood diamonds or child slavery, he sure as shit isn’t concerned with who wins Best Supporting Actor.
Losing is where it’s at. And to lose big is to lose stylishly; so few people understand that, especially at the Academy Awards, where everyone on camera seems to have been coached by Bill Murray for maximum game face. That guy has it down.
Obviously it’d be most enjoyable if, while watching the Oscar telecast at home, one of the Not Winners had a total conniption shit-fit, their heads melting down Raiders of The Lost Ark-style while squirting out molten rage-tears. This, alas, never happens.
But every now and then the mask slips. We rounded-up some of the best slips and present them here now as award-winners examples of the best ways to lose an Oscar.
Best Genuine or Impeccably Faked Happiness For The Winner: Cate Blanchett
Are Marion Cotillard and Cate Blanchett super-pals cheering on each other’s every life accomplishment? That’s what we want to believe. It would make Blanchett’s Trilogy of Excitement Faces in this clip — 1) Shock, 2) Freezy-O, and 3) Wild Happiness with Hands-in-the-Air clapping – easier to explain. Alternate explanation: Blanchett is showing everyone that she really is the world’s greatest actress.
Best Intentional Oversell: Minnie Driver
Driver takes “Wow!” to the next level while losing to Kim Basinger, delivering a fluid serve that salvages incredulity by layering it with showy sportsmanship.
Best Nervous Wreck: Sally Kirkland
Kirkland — nominated in the same year Cher won for Moonstruck — looks like she might collapse from the stress. Until Cher wins. Then it’s all, “FUCK CHER.” Then, “Oh, shit, cameras.”
Sally Kirkland is all of us.
Best “Go Fuck Yourself” Slow-Clap: Burt Reynolds
The late Robin Williams wins for Good Will Hunting over Reynolds in Boogie Nights. Burt has very little invested in pretending to be happy. Can you blame him? The man gives the world Gator and White Lightning and this is how we repay him. Shame on us.
Best Shit: Samuel L. Jackson
Martin Landau wins. Samuel Jackson says “Shit.” This is why life sucked before YouTube and DVR rewind capability. See also: Jackson’s pointed eye-rolling after Mo’Nique’s acceptance speech for Precious (below).
Best Confusion Over a Winner’s Name That’s Also Your Name: Kathy Bates
Listening to Sean Connery speak English words isn’t an ear-challenge when he’s bringing his best elocution to the table. But when he’s not – for example, when he must differentiate between a woman named Kathy and a woman named Catherine, and one of them is about to win a major award – it can all turn baffling.
So Kathy Bates’ reaction above seems less “disgruntled” than “confused” when Connery mutters “Cathermmph,” not even bothering to give anyone another hint by saying the winner’s last name. Next, Bates cranes her neck to the left to see if it, indeed, is Zeta-Jones jumping out of her chair to collect the statue. It is. Bates serves poker for the rest of the moment.
Best One You Didn’t See: Eddie Murphy
That’s what aired. Look at Eddie Murphy. All smiles. It’s chill. He didn’t win. No pouts. A grown man. Gracious and accepting of everything life hands him. Then he walked out. Because there’s no rule that says you have to sit there for another two hours while everybody else in your movie who isn’t Jennifer Hudson gets shut down. Time to hit the bar.