We’re not going to waste your time and make a case for anyone but Helen Mirren in this category, or discuss the snowball of media hype that’s avalanching its way toward Oscar night in the actress’s favor. Instead, let us turn to Dave Karger, who in the last issue of Entertainment Weekly states that this year’s acting nominees include “five blacks, two Latinas, and one Asian.” I only counted one Latina (Adriana Barraza) this year, so I’m thinking Karger is putting the Spanish Penélope Cruz on a plane and asking her to go hang out with Mexicans and Cubans. Karger has obviously never had to struggle over what box to fill out on a college application, so we understand why he might not be intimately familiar with the labels that exist to lump my father, Alejandro González, and the director of Babel, Alejandro González Iñárritu, into the same category, but work to separate him from the director of Volver, Pedro Almodóvar. Some of our closest friends make the same mistake all the time, but this sort of innocent blunder becomes inexcusable when it’s circulated to an audience as large as Entertainment Weekly’s. Given their inability to hire so much as one person to edit and fact-check their work, most bloggers can be forgiven for these sorts of things, but how does this mistake slip through the chain of editorial command at a Time Warner media property? There was no masthead in the last issue of Entertainment Weekly, but I’m guessing the magazine doesn’t have enough Gonzalezes, Rodriguezes, Garcias, or Cruzes coloring the higher rungs of its editorial ladder. So, when the results of this year’s entirely-white Best Actress race fail to surprise you, give thought to the possibility of Karger’s mistake possibly ushering Entertainment Weekly into a new era of cultural thinking. After all, if Oscar won’t change, there’s always hope that the people kissing his ass will.
Will Win: Helen Mirren, The Queen
Should Win: Penélope Cruz, Volver