The Umpteenth Annual Carly Awards

Carly at the Movies column by Carl Larsen

So you think those Oscar statuettes are pretty classy-lookin’, huh? Well, from what I hear, they ain’t even real gold – just a hunk of tin that looks like Bette Davis’s Uncle Oscar, sprayed with yellow paint and polished up real good by some flunky Executive Producer at Paramount.

Nope, if you’re in the movie industry, the award you REALLY want is a “Carly.” Now, there’s a fancy statuette, one you’ll want to display in your trophy case right next to your Captain Midnight Secret Decoder. It’s a foot tall, made out of solid, pure cubic zirconium in the shape of an old-timey outdoor toilet (with a cute little moon carved on the door), and awarded at random each year to honor the REAL best performances, movies, and technical fiddle-faddle.

Let’s get the ceremony started. (By the way, howja like my fancy tux and bow tie? Like my wife always says, “Carly, you’re a walkin’ fashion statement!”)

Unlike all those other stupid award rituals, the Carly Awards start right at the top – Best Movie of the Year (just in case you get bored and skip out). Now, I’ve seen all those grey, depressing movies nominated for Oscars – “No Country for Old Men,” “There Will Be Blood,” “American Gangster” and on and on, and it seems to me it would be kind of nice to end the year on an upbeat note for a change. So the Carly for the Best Movie of 2007 goes to “Juno,” which was simply the most fun I had all year (in a movie theater, of course).

While giggling all through “Juno,” I naturally fell totally in love with Ellen Page’s interpretation of that whip-smart, sassy young gal, so let’s give her the Best Actress Carly, even though Julie Christie was devastatingly terrific in “Away From Her,” the brilliant, ultra-morbid take on a woman sinking into Alzheimer’s.

Sarah Polley, the writer/director of “Away From Her,” is probably going to lose the Adapted Screenplay Oscar to one of the Bigger, Depressinger flicks, so let’s slip her a Carly under the table and call it even.

Also, I’d have to give the Original Screenplay Carly to the author of “Juno,” not because it’s so clever (it is) but because anyone named Diablo Cody simply deserves everything she can get. Even if she was a stripper before she started writing.

Now, for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, there’s really no contest for the Academy Award this year. Daniel Day-Lewis and Javier Bardem are both going to walk away with Oscars because they were, in their respective movies, terrific. So I’ll concede Day-Lewis – “There Will Be Blood” magnetized the audience mostly because of his great (as usual) performance. And even though Bardem was scary as all get-out in “No Country for Old Men,” and is a foreigner and everything, my sentimental old heart would simply dissolve if a Carly wasn’t bestowed upon the wondrous Hal Holbrook. Just call it his Lifetime Achievement award. He’s been fabulous ever since he started performing his one-man show, “Mark Twain Tonight!” just before the end of the last Ice Age.

For our longtime readers, it will come as no surprise that the Best Supporting Actress Carly goes to Julia (sigh) Roberts and her hokey Texas accent in “Charlie Wilson’s War.” As you may know, Julia (sigh) Roberts wins a Carly every year, whether she is in a movie or not.

Best documentary? “Sicko” by a landslide. Whether you hate Michael Moore or love Michael Moore, his elegant exposure of the gross shortcomings of the American health-insurance fiasco is masterful work. Bravo, Michael!

Animation, computerized or otherwise, is very big nowadays, and the charming “Ratatouille” is a top-notch example of how a Carly award can be won by changing “Cooking Rats” from a recipe to a job description.

Now for the special awards. The “Hey Don’t Forget This Film Just Because It Was Released Last May” Carly award goes to “Waitress,” an absolutely charming little movie starring Keri Russell and pie.

And finally – have you ever seen a coming attraction that was so vile, disgusting and tasteless that you just couldn’t bring yourself to actually watch the movie? It happened to me this year, so we’re building a special Anti-Carly statuette to go to Eddie Murphy for writing and starring in “Norbit.” Sorry, Eddie, the Anti-Carly ain’t made of precious cubic zirconium like the real ones. It’s shaped like a tiny outhouse, all right but – well, wait’ll you get a whiff of it.

Meanwhile, Back at the Dixie:

To end on a more pleasant note, tonight’s a great night to take a trip back through Academy Award history, and it’s free! Yes, at 8 p.m. tonight, Feb. 4, the moguls who run the Dixie Theater in Downtown Staunton will be airing “Wings,” the winner of the very first Academy Award. It’s a great one, and you’ll even catch a glimpse of a young Gary Cooper. Also playing at the little-theater-that-could this week are award-hopefuls “Atonement” and “Michael Clayton.” Hey, pass the popcorn, willya?

Carl Larsen is a regular contributor to The Augusta Free Press. Look for his At the Movies column on Mondays.


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