Friday, January 9, 2009

The Cranky Awards

It's awards season. Many of you probably could not care less, but I am a wee bit of an awards show fan. In fact, I have been known to take a personal day the day after the Oscars just so I can stay up and take in the whole show in all its overblown glory without worrying about an alarm clock the next day.

It probably classifies as some sort of mental illness. Award Show Addiction Syndrome.

With the Golden Globes on Sunday, it occurred to me that I have not done a year-end awards list this year. So without further adieu, I give you my own awards for the best (and worst) in movies, books, television, and music. I am not rolling out the red carpet, nor am I able to have the entire cast of Lost in all its unnatural beauty come to my house to accept their award (but oh that I could.) But I am giving each winner a toast. With my morning Coke, of course.

The Cranky Awards for Excellence (or not) in Television

Best Drama
Lost. With a series end date now part of the network's and creators' plans, it got its mojo back.

Best Comedy
30 Rock. I've watched the Oprah episode 3 times now, and each time it gets funnier as I discover a small moment or line I hadn't caught before. If you're not watching this show, please start.

Worst Fall From Grace From a Formerly Great Show
What happened to you, Heroes? How did you go from must-see to deleted from my DVR?

Best Actor, Drama
He wasn't a lead actor, but I would have to give a Cranky statue to Michael Emerson for his portrayal of Ben on Lost. Never has a "villain" so tugged at my heart as Ben did when he lost Alex. Never have I been so unsure as to whether to hate or love a character. Well played, sir. Well played.

Best Actor, Comedy
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother. I love it when a character in a comedy steps up and has a human, dramatic moment. Last season's finale had a great moment like that for Barney, and Harris made it heart-wrenching. But in a real, not over-done way. I used to be in love with him when we was Doogie, and darnit if he didn't stir all that right back up.

Best Actress, Drama
Dana Delaney, Desperate Housewives. Yeah, DH is probably a comedy. But Delaney had the most dramatic role in the series as the season wound down last year. I have loved her since China Beach and she made me start watching DH again.

Best Actress, Comedy
Tina Fey. Not for 30 Rock. For being Sarah Palin on SNL. C'mon, even my beloved Republican readers have to admit she was funny.

Best Reality Show
David vs. David on American Idol. I really can't believe I just wrote that.

The Cranky Choice Awards for Film
Let me preface this category by saying I wasn't a big filmgoer this year. So these are pretty narrow choices.

Best Picture
Wall-E. Yes, it's a "cartoon". But I think, decades from now, critics will look back on Wall-E as a representative film of this era. Technical innovation and a sense of "look what we can do"? Check. A dark undertone that highlights the current pessimism of the American people? Check. A word of warning and sense of hope for our fragile, endangered planet? Check. An unconventional love story? Check. I almost gave this award to the stunning The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but I can't get past the beauty and awe of the first half hour of Wall-E. I think, as far as Oscars go, this movie will be underrated; another film will win, but Wall-E will be the picture most of us remember from this year.

Best Actor
After we watched The Dark Knight on DVD, Heath Ledger's performance was all Jason and I could talk about. I don't think I think this just because we lost him too soon; I think it's one of the gutsiest, most original performances I have ever seen.

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I really love her and think she can do no wrong. Could I be her for, like, a day?

Biggest Disappointment
The X-Files. There. I said it. It's not that I thought it's just that I wanted it to be outstanding. Though it was nice to learn that Mulder and Scully have been knocking boots on a regular basis.

Best Surprise
I really liked High School Musical 3. It was a solid 90 minutes of escapist entertainment. For Ainsley, I mean.

Best Theater Experience
It wasn't even really a movie. But the night that I took Ainsley to see the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus Best of Both Worlds concert in 3-D at the movies...magical. When Ainsley reached her hand out to try to catch the 3-D confetti, I could have died from cute overload.

Cranky's Best in Books (Plus Stephenie Meyer)

Not all of these were published in 2008. I just read them this year. So there.

Best Short Story
"The Things They Left Behind" by Stephen King from his new collection of stories, Just After Sunset. It's a tale of survivor guilt from a man who was not in one of the towers on September 11, but should have been. It's Uncle Stevie at his best.

Best Novel
No Country For Old Men. Having read The Road, and having given myself ample recovery time from it, I decided to pick up this grueling tale during award season last year when the film was getting so much buzz. It was perfect winter reading as it chilled me to the bone.

Best Nonfiction
The Water Is Wide by Pat Conroy. It's an oldie but goodie, especially if you are a teacher. The perfect read while driving home from Conroy's native South Carolina.

Best Memoir
Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking. I knew Carrie was funny, but I had no idea she was that funny. It's that dark, bone-dry humor that I do so love. One of the few books I read this year where I got to the end and thought, "I wish this were about 100 pages longer."

Best Personal Essay
"The Youth" by David Sedaris from his book Me Talk Pretty One Day. Most of you have probably already discovered David Sedaris; I just discovered him this year. That one essay in particular, which discusses the pets he's had in his lifetime first in a humorous way and then in a somber way as he describes putting his aged cat to sleep, made me both laugh and get teary. And as we all know, things that are simultaneously hilarious and moving are my favorite things.

Worst Book Of The Year
So disappointing. Breaking Dawn. I previously had found myself recommending Twilight to anyone who would listen. And I even enjoyed Breaking Dawn as a mindless summer read. Until I started really thinking about it. And grew angry that an author would end a beloved series on such a dank note.

Please Don't Stop The Music...Unless it's Rihanna

Best Album
I would love to be all hip and cool and tell you I think it's Weezer's red album. (Do you capitalize it when they don't give it a name, and people just refer to it by the color? Discuss.) But I think I have to go the road more travelled and say Coldplay's Viva La Vida. I know. I am so not cool.

Best Song--The One I Easily Admit To
"Violet Hill"--Coldplay.

Best Song--The One I Don't Like To Talk About
"If I Were a Boy"--Beyonce. I love to sing along to this one. In the car. When all by myself. Now my secret is out; I am a closet Beyonce fan.

The Song That Most Gets Stuck In Your Head And Eats Your Brain
"Disturbia" by Rihanna. This is the one I blogged about Ainsley really liking a few months ago. I don't really like it, but somehow or other it gets stuck in my head and likes to rattle around in there for days.

Most Overplayed Song of 2008
"Womanizer" by that Britney Spears person. Perhaps you've heard of her?

Most Played Album At Casa De Cranky
I bet you can predict it...the High School Musical 3 soundtrack.

Our Summer Soundtrack
The Barenaked Ladies--Snacktime. Never has kid music been so tolerable.

Best Concert
And only concert--the Barenaked Ladies playing at that casino in that one town in Indiana. You know the one.

The Song That Made Me Want To Bust My Own Eardrums
Actually, a tie. These were the two songs of 2008 that, without fail, made me scream and change the channel. The second of these might have been an okay song had I not heard it every time I turned on the radio this summer.

"No Air" by my least favorite American Idol winner ever and some guy; and
"Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis.

That's it. Feel free to agree or disagree and chime in with your own stuff.

I will check your responses between interesting awards on Golden Globes Sunday.


Becky said...

Surely that doesn't mean you prefer Taylor Hicks to Jordin Sparks?

Karen said...

I know that Heather Ledger will probably steal the awards for The Dark Knight with his awesome performance, but you can't ignore Gary Oldman and Aaron Eckhart. Both of them did superb jobs with their characters as well. I just watched the film again for the third time (on Blu Ray no less) and they were pretty awesome. And Maggie Gyllenhaal should win an award for wiping out my memory of Katie Holmes's whiny Rachel. ;)

Karen said...

Oops...I meant for that to say HEATH Ledger. ;)

Library Lady said...

First of all--how did you two miss that I called that Rihanna song "Suburbia" instead of its real title, "Disturbia"? I am really embarrassed by that little Freudian slip of the typing fingers. I have since made the correction.

And as for Taylor Hicks...since he hasn't been invading the radio as much, I'd pretty much forgotten about him. I do think I prefer him to Jordin (gasp!) simply because he's more harmless. Had I heard him perform mindless drivel on the radio as I much as I have Jordin...well, that would change things!