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Sunday, September 21, 2008
Wide Angle 37 (spiked): The Malaysian Political Oscars!Published with permission
WIDE ANGLE – Huzir Sulaiman
The Malaysian Political Oscars!
Our political situation is like something out of a movie – so here are the awards. The envelope, please…
The Wide Angle Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, headquartered for no particular reason in Skudai, presents this year's Malaysian Political Oscars.
The most widely watched television event in Malaysia, the Political Oscar telecast reaches over 1 billion viewers, some of whom are dead, some of whom are 130 years old, and most of whom are registered at the same address.
How does it work? Members of the academy (all Malaysian taxi drivers who despite being allegedly the worst in the world at driving taxis are remarkably good at political analysis) vote on these awards, and the results are tabulated by the auditors of some large accounting firm who would rather do this sort of thing than real accounting work, which might explain the state of the economy.
Here are the nominees and winners.
Best Supporting Actor
It is a crowded field this year, with many stellar performances from both veterans and newcomers.
The nominees include private investigator P. Balasubramaniam in Missing; Pusrawi's Dr. Mohd Osman in Rear Window; Zaid Ibrahim in Gone in Sixty Seconds; and Raja Petra Kamaruddin in An Inconvenient Truth.
But the Best Supporting Actor Oscar goes to Penang Umno leader Ahmad Ismail for his controversial performance in Pride and Prejudice.
Despite his recent success, which led to him being cast in Under Siege and Raging Bull, Ahmad has flatly refused roles in the films Anger Management and Atonement.
Best Supporting Actress
For her critically-acclaimed performance in Minority Report, this year's Best Supporting Actress Oscar goes to Sinchew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng.
Interestingly, immediately after that film completed principal photography, Tan was the unwitting star of Catch and Release, a film that may or may not have been directed by Syed Hamid Albar, depending on which version of the studio press kit you read.
Tan spent just 18 hours on location, before quitting, citing creative differences.
For his impactful camera work in the V.K. Lingam vehicle The Conversation, the Oscar for Cinematography goes to Gwo Loh Burne.
(Although The Conversation was shot some time ago, due to his refusal to be credited for many months, Gwo Loh Burne could not be given the award earlier. When he finally came forward, this legal thriller was re-released in some markets as The Burne Identity.)
The Conversation beat out Entrapment, starring Chua Soi Lek, which also features an anonymous cinematographer.
Best Foreign-Language Film
Agricultural Study Tour, a Taiwanese sleeper hit, was shot entirely by coincidence, supposedly with no director and no funding.
Nonetheless, a sequel, Exile on My Taiwanese Farm: Peeling my Taugeh might be filmed next year with some of the original cast.
Best Original Screenplay
Jumper, written by Anwar Ibrahim, wins this year's award. Although the film suffers from a cast of unknowns, whose number seems to fluctuate from scene to scene (though always at least 31), the script is undeniably original and exciting. It also has the potential for numerous sequels, which will prove profitable for the actors.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Written by a team of in-house screenwriters from the Attorney-General's Studios, The Accused, starring Anwar Ibrahim, is allegedly adapted from instructions given by political superiors. A remake of the 1998 flop, but with many of the same actors and production team.
Seputeh Member of Parliament Teresa Kok was competing against herself this year with sterling performances in a slew of releases: Election; Woman on Top; Supergirl; and, in cinemas until last Friday, the black comedy Enemy of the State.
She wins the Best Actress Oscar, however, for her most famous role, Miss Congeniality, which has earned her praise from audiences and critics alike.
The big stars of yesteryear dominated the Best Actor category this year.
Nominees include S. Samy Vellu in Gone With The Wind; Dr. Mahathir Mohamed in V for Vendetta; and both Najib Tun Razak and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in the comedy Trading Places.
The winner, however, of the Malaysian Political Oscar for Best Actor is Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for his flawless, nuanced, masterful performance in Eyes Wide Shut.
The nominees for Best Picture in the Malaysian Political Oscars are all gripping epics.
They include the moving story of the many members of Parti Sosialis Malaysia, The Magnificent Seven; the Khairy Jamaluddin biopic Million Dollar Baby; the Hindraf saga, Out for Justice; and the tale of Gerakan in the Barisan Nasional, The End of the Affair.
The winner for Best Picture, however, is the story of the MCA's struggle against the Internal Security Act, Look Who's Talking Now.
Lifetime Achievement Award
For his astonishing film career spanning many decades, and including both commercial hits and small but critically-acclaimed art-house movies, Anwar Ibrahim wins the Lifetime Achievement Award.
His roles, in chronological order, include: Wild at Heart; The Young Guns; The Great Debaters; Sleeping With The Enemy; The Insider; The Sweet Smell of Success; Reversal of Fortune; Cast Away; The Accused; The Cell; Cry Freedom!; Into the Wild; Back to the Future; Mission: Impossible; The Perfect Storm; and, most recently, Eastern Promises.
Depending on the outcome of contract negotiations, Anwar's next movies may include The King and I; Top Gun; and Great Expectations.
Alternatively, he may take roles in Crash; The Departed; and The Forgotten. That's the thing about show business – you never know what the big stars will do next!
That's all for this year's edition of the Malaysian Political Oscars. See you on the red carpet next year!
Copyright © Huzir Sulaiman 2008. All rights reserved.