What would you do for an Oscar?

Sunday night, millions of viewers tuned into the Academy Awards and witnessed one of the biggest surprises in award show history. “Brokeback Mountain” was considered a shoe-in for picture of the year. Heath Ledger, the film’s lead actor, was also forecasted to take home gold. Even the films co-star, Jake Gyllenhaal was expected to capture an award.

But to everyone’s surprise, the film’s director, star and co-star all went home empty handed. It was a huge upset. Of course, no one was more upset than Ledger, who humped poor little Jake Gyllenhaal with all his might on that now famous mountain, all for nothing.

What would you do for an Oscar nomination? Have sex with Heath Ledger? Jake Gyllenhaal did. That’s not fair. It’s possible he may have been attracted to the film’s undeniably bad script. Yes, I said it. “Brokeback Mountain” sucked. And by saying that I am admitting two things:

1. I have seen “Brokeback Mountain”

2. I am not ashamed

To be honest, it is easy to see how the story of two gay cowboys could conceivably sweep the Academy Awards. It is a weird tale.

And you do not have to be a genius to know that Hollywood rewards the weird.

Often times, it is not how well an actor plays a role but how strange of a role an actor plays.

“I’ve got a script for you Jake. It’s not that good, but you might get an Oscar.”

“What do I have to do?”

“Let Heath Ledger hump you.”

“That’s worth an Oscar. I’m in.”

When did shock value become more appealing than great performances? Take an actress like Halle Berry, whose best role to date was that of a crack-addicted mother in the 1995 film, “Losing Isaiah.” It was a great performance. But instead of getting an Oscar for that film, she was given it for “Monster’s Ball,” a role which required her to take several awkward, unprotected backshots from Slingblade.

I took my little brother to see “Monster’s Ball.” He was six. I thought it was the sequel to “Monster’s Inc.” When we got home, Child Protective Services was at my door and I almost went to jail. I almost caught a case.After all of that, I’d still like to say “Monster’s Ball” was a good film, but it wasn’t. Perhaps Halle figured the only way she’d ever get an Oscar was if she had sex with an old white man. Perhaps she was right.

“You deserve an Oscar, Halle.”

“Why didn’t I get one for Losing Isiah?”

“Nah…but bang Billy Bob and we’ll see.”

“That’s worth an Oscar. I’m in.”

It is not a black-or-white thing; many actors have had to play extreme roles to earn an Academy Award. Anthony Hopkins starred in over 50 films before he was even nominated for an Oscar. What changed his luck? He started eating people (“Silence of the Lambs”), Hillary Swank became a man for her Oscar (“Boy’s Don’t Cry”), Tom Hanks dated Antonio Banderas and got AIDS for his (“Philadelphia”).

Coincidentally, I have just finished writing my first script, which I have entitled “Your Dog, My Dog.” If Hollywood wants a film that breaks the mold, this is it. A poignant tale of a lonely shut-in who has a love affair with his neighbors pet; “Your Dog, My Dog” is one of those movies that teaches us true love blossoms from a strong and growing friendship; which in this case, just happens to be between a 30-year-old man and a basset hound.

A perfect blend of man-animal romance and drama; “Your Dog, My Dog” is the kind of story the Academy eats up. The script is a little weak, but I’m hoping that Kevin Bacon, who I specifically had in mind for the leading role, will carry the film.

My next script will be the story of two male Internet hackers that meet online and fall in love. I’m hoping to cast Tom Hanks and Samuel L. Jackson as the star-crossed lovers.

I’m calling it “You’ve Got Male.”

–Jamaal Bachelor

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