The crowds are slowly amassing; the cameramen, sorry camera-persons, are anxiously checking their lenses; the soundmen, sorry sound-persons, are making final alterations to their recording equpiment; and the presenters, sorry personters, are idly picking away at their mouth-kelp to clean their perfect set of gnashers.
For those celebrities who have been invited (and Jennifer Lopez), there’s just enough time for a few more gin-and-tonics and a quick call to the dress designer to be certain that they know the difference between ‘fashionable’ and ‘career-ending’. They could maybe even squeeze in a few more practices of the “I was beaten by who?! Oh, I’m on camera? I’m SOOO happy for them” expression.
Whoopi Goldberg will also be touching up her ad lib skills for the inevitable silence that exists between her last joke and the link she is supposed to read out.
That’s right, Oscar is back, and thankfully I don’t mean a re-run of Sylvestor Stallone’s naff attempt at a comedy movie. Hot tip in the ‘Best Leading Male in a disabled/dying/defiant warrior/slightly eccentric role’ is Lionel Messi of Barcelona FC for his reenactment, against Chelsea last week of Willem Dafoe’s death scene in Platoon. That’s if you ask Jose “mad as mud pitch” Mourinho. However, if you ask the Academy (no, nothing to with David Beckham or Fame), they have nominated Phillip Seymour Hoffman for his portrayal of Truman Capote in the imaginatively-titled Capote.
Having already won the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role at the Baftas and the Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture at the Golden Globes the ubiquitous PSPhoffman is shoo-in for a hatrick.
Capote was directed by Bennett Miller. Bennett who? Bennett Miller, you know, the guy who…err, um….yeh ok, I have no idea who he is either, but you should never trust a man with a last name as a first name anyway. This is why it’s Hoffman who, guided by an engaging script penned by the implausibly-named Dan Futterman, carries this movie through the Green Shawshank Mile of prison-movie mediocrity, making sure to wipe his feet on Tom Hanks’ aura on the way.
His appearance is acutely calm and gentle, like a loved-up Ghandi. Whilst his gait is as relaxed as it is confidently postured. The unrelenting vocal character Hoffman adopts for the role is borrowed from the secret love-child of Deputy Dawg and lesser-known Muppet, Gimpy the Unfortunate: a speech pattern that would no doubt make him hot favourite for the ‘Most Bullied’ Award at the end-of-year school prize-giving day. In fact ,Capote’s quick-wittedness, globalised ego, maternal disdain and gift for turning on the waterworks at any necessary moment, makes him the physical embodiment of a caricature – Stewie Griffin, the baby from the faultless Family Guy. Minus the nappies of course.
The story goes a little something like this:
Hello? Anybody home? Oh look they’re all dead, that cant be good. Meanwhile back in New York: Yes, I’m Truman and I’m the bestest writer ever and gosh I simply MUST write about those killings out West, so c’mon Nelle, get your coat, we’re off. Once there: Hello, you must be.., very nice to…, I’m.., fancy a chat…, so you fellas did…, that sounds interesting, more time please, ooh-ahh just a little bit, ooh-ahh just a little bit more, I am your friend but hurry up and die, crack, swing, boo-hoo I feel sad, the end.
With padding, it sniffs around the two-hour mark.
Alternatively: following the success of his book ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ (collective ‘oh, that’s what he wrote! I saw the movie. And heard the song’) Truman romantically engages the entire New York scene. Whilst caught in this heady adoring tornado, he clips his red slippers together and follows the yellow brick road all the way to Kansas in pursuit of, what he claimed as, ‘the first non-fiction novel’ – the story of the brutally-murdered mid-West Clutter family.
Truman is beguilled and arrogantly consumed by his own stardom. The whole experience of writing ‘In Cold Blood’, lasting 5 years, nutures his ego to Princely dimensions until he is almost T.A.F.K.A, the-artist-formerly-known-as, Truman Capote.
Behind every great writer there is an even greater woman (or so my better half keeps telling me), and Truman utilises his relationship with his childhood friend and research assisant, Nelle Harper Lee, to the fullest. Much like a cunning Goldfinger plan, however, the bond begins to faulter. Harper Lee suddenly surpasses her doyen’s popularity after the release of her own book, English A-Level favourite ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ (collective ‘oh, that’s what she wrote! I saw the movie. And was there a song?’). This then compounds his growing belief that he is becoming closely attached to one of the Kansas-killing culprits, even though in reality he refers to the Kansas-killing culprit as a ‘goldmine’.
Anxious to see his book complete, he realises that he is not a friend and wallows in his own self-pity, sorry only for himself and not the ‘friends’ he sees hanged. (*did I just spoil the ending?)
You know how the old joke goes: when is a biopic not a biopic? When it’s The Truman Show – a portrayal of a man’s obsession with himself and the methods he adopts to consummate this self-love. (Ah, it’s an oldie but a goodie, makes me chuckle every time that one)
On Sunday, Capote saddles up against Brokeback Mountain, Crash, Munich and Good Night and Good Luck. However, even though it might well be the best possible way to teach ‘Truman Capote module 101’ to your Year 10 class without them actually daring to read a book, my bet is that Big Phil and Oscar wont be the only Boy-Boy combo walking out of the awards together this year – hand on hip and “oh darling, gay cowboys are just so ‘in’ this season”. (And quite rightly so)
If it were an Oscar-winning speech it would be, “I’d like to thank ME for this award, and noone else. End of”. Otherwise 8 out of 10.