Only a jack­ass would deny Bad Grandpa an Os­car nod

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Steven Zeitchik

LOS AN­GE­LES — In Jack­ass Presents: Bad Grandpa, Johnny Knoxville gets bucked head­first through a plate-glass win­dow by a coin-op­er­ated ride, sticks his gen­i­tals into the busi­ness end of a vend­ing ma­chine and gen­er­ally puts his body through a se­ries of eye-shield­ing, Rrated stunts. Nat­u­rally, he thinks the film should be nom­i­nated for an Os­car. The crazy part? Vot­ers may well agree. Grandpa, the movie that has the Jack­ass star tricked out as oc­to­ge­nar­ian Irv­ing Zis­man for a se­ries of cross­coun­try pranks, is on the six-film short­list for the makeup and hairstyling Os­car. Artists from each of the films will present their work to the ap­prox­i­mately 150-strong branch of makeup artists and hair­styl­ists Satur­day. Mem­bers will then vote to nom­i­nate three films for the Os­car, with their se­lec­tions un­veiled as part of the Os­car nom­i­na­tions Thurs­day morn­ing. Knoxville says he thinks there’s only one way vot­ers should mark their bal­lots. “Not only do I think our movie de­serves to be in the mix in the cat­e­gory, but it de­serves to win,” he told the Los An­ge­les Times in an of sil­i­cone and other ap­pa­ra­tuses — along with sweat ducts to keep Knoxville’s se­cre­tions from ru­in­ing the getup — were af­fixed to the ac­tor. Knoxville also had to wear an ear wig so he could com­mu­ni­cate about his un­der­cover pranks with di­rec­tor Jeff Tre­maine, who kept a dis­tance. And since ev­ery good makeup prob­lem begets another one, ear hair had to be lain in by hand ev­ery day to cover up the ear wig. Be­cause of the Para­mount film’s real-world set­ting, there was also noth­ing as bour­geois as makeup trail­ers: Knoxville’s face and body were ad­justed be­tween takes in a mini­van that waited around the cor­ner, guer­rilla style. Os­car vot­ers have typ­i­cally hon­oured hard-core genre movies in the hair and makeup cat­e­gory — win­ners in re­cent years have in­cluded The Wolf­man and Pan’s Labyrinth. But those who worked on Grandpa say their film presents a tougher chal­lenge. “With a lot of mon­ster movies you have a lot of lat­i­tude be­cause no­body knows what those mon­sters look like. We had to make Johnny re­ally look like an 86-year-old man. Ev­ery­one knows what that looks like,” said Steven Prouty, one of the artists who helped cre­ate Knoxville’s getup. None of the prank­ing vic­tims, he noted, ever saw through Knoxville’s dis­guise. The rib­ald na­ture of the film may jolt more staid academy mem­bers, and some of the other short­listed films — such as Dal­las Buy­ers Club and Hansel and Gre­tel — fit more neatly into the wheel­house of the academy and its hair and makeup branch. But Prouty and the other Grandpa artists could be in luck — the branch may al­ready be think­ing out­side the box this year. One of the cat­e­gory front-run­ners is Amer­i­can Hus­tle, which rev­els in all man­ner of ’70s hair­styles and, like Bad Grandpa, has plenty of over-the-top comedic mo­ments. (The branch is, it should be said, also par­tial to movies, such as last year’s win­ner The Iron Lady, that have sim­i­lar age-up qual­i­ties to Grandpa.) To con­vince these vot­ers, Prouty has been busy cut­ting a minute-long clip of Grandpa makeup that high­lights the most ad­ven­tur­ous mo­ments from the film. Well, some of those mo­ments. “I got some ad­vice to maybe leave things out, like the vend­ing ma­chine scene or a strip club scene, be­cause it may not play that well in the room,” he said, then dead­panned: “I lis­tened to that ad­vice.” Knoxville said he hadn’t been think­ing much about the Os­cars, but when he re­ceived word Grandpa was among the fi­nal­ists, it be­gan to creep into his brain. “I got an email one day that said, ‘You’re on the short­list for best makeup,’ and I said, ‘Let’s go for this be­cause no one is more de­serv­ing than our guys.’” He added the idea of a youth-skew­ing com­edy get­ting an Os­car wasn’t as hard to be­lieve as it once was. “Times are chang­ing. I hope the academy sees and re­spects that.” So though a nom­i­na­tion would go to Prouty and his team, would Knoxville pull a Sacha Baron Co­hen and head to the Dolby come March 2? Per­haps even in char­ac­ter? “If they wanted to in­vite Irv­ing Zis­man, I’m sure he could make time,” the ac­tor said. “Irv­ing would be wide open to at­tend the Os­cars. He is tan, rested and ready.” And what would the char­ac­ter’s am­bi­tion be once there? “I’m sure Irv­ing would love to hook up with He­len Mir­ren,” he said. (Mir­ren, it should be noted, is not at present ex­pected to be nom­i­nated for an Os­car or at­tend the event.) “I know,” Knoxville said when this was pointed out. “But come on. It’s He­len Mir­ren. She could turn a shrimp into a blimp.”


Roll me to the Os­cars, kid. Johnny Knoxville, left, as 86-year-old Irv­ing Zis­man.

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