And the Philadelphia Oscar Winners Are
Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Philadelphia Johnny Awards, where I will honor the greatest actors, actresses, directors and movies from Philadelphia. Today, the Academy of Johnny’s Opinions will decide who our all-time winners are. Nominees and winners are posted below. The comments section is now open for disputes.
Philadelphia’s Best Actor
• Lionel Barrymore won an Oscar for his performance in A Free Soul, but it was his turn 15 years later as D̶i̶c̶k̶ ̶C̶h̶e̶n̶e̶y̶ Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life for which he is now remembered. He is a member of that most famous of Philadelphia acting families, the Barrymores, and is Drew’s great-uncle.
• Will Smith has starred in several blockbuster hits, but most of them were pure garbage. (The Academy thinks that Independence Day is one of the stupidest films ever recorded.) But he did earn Oscar nominations for his excellent work in both Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness.
• Kevin Bacon. One word: Footloose.
And the winner is … Lionel Barrymore. Not a particularly strong category, but no surprise that Barrymore edges Bacon. His Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life is one of Hollywood’s iconic “bad guys.”
Philadelphia’s Best Actress
• Grace Kelly. It’s no secret who our heavy favorite is. She starred in Dial M for Murder and Rear Window, and won an Academy Award for her performance in The Country Girl.
• Maria Bello. She’s smoking hot, but let’s not kid ourselves … no star of Coyote Ugly is knocking off Grace Kelly.
• Blythe Danner. The mom of Gwyneth Paltrow! She also starred in all of those Meet the Parents movies.
And the winner is … you all know good and damn well who the winner is. Grace Kelly blows the other two out of the water.
Philadelphia’s Best Director
• M. Night Shyamalan. The most remarkable regression in Hollywood history. He directed Sixth Sense, which was great, then Unbreakable, which was pretty good, then Signs which was OK, then The Village, which wasn’t very good, to Lady in the Water, which was terrible. And the less said about The Happening, the better.
• David Lynch isn’t exactly from here, but he got his filmmaking start at the Academy of Fine Arts, so we’re claiming him. He’s directed such classics as Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, and Mulholland Drive, not to mention Twin Peaks.
• Irvin Kershner. Pretty much a one-hit wonder, but it was a fairly spectacular hit; Kershner directed The Empire Strikes Back.
And the winner is … another blowout, this time for David Lynch.
Philadelphia’s Best Picture
Finally a category with some competition.
• Rocky. Yes, it’s cliched and ubiquitous, but you can’t take away one simple fact: The first Rocky is a very, very good film.
• 12 Monkeys. A sleeper here, but what a terrific movie, much of it shot at the Eastern State Penitentiary.
• Philadelphia. This movie earned Tom Hanks his first Oscar, and even has the name of the city in the title.
• Sixth Sense. Say what you will about his subsequent films, you can’t take away this classic from Shyamalan. A win here could make up for his being blown out by Lynch in the director category.
• Trading Places. This classic, directed by John Landis, was an updated take on The Prince and the Pauper and was perhaps the best movie starring SNL alums ever made. A strong contender for the trophy.
And the winner is … 12 Monkeys in a shocking upset! An absolutely terrific, engaging film that I think is vastly underrated. The other three films are all very good, but 12 Monkeys stands out for its originality. Plus the Academy wants to hear Terry Gilliam’s acceptance speech.