And this year, the Footy Oscar's go to ... Here's this year's top 5 performances in football. By Terri Leigh.
By Terri Leigh (@terrileigh_bein)
And the Oscar goes to ... me, for having the stamina to sit through last Sunday's Academy Awards!
Oh gosh ... I certainly wasn't expecting this! I didn't even prepare a speech, silly me. I didn't think I'd be bored to tears, not with super-crass, funny-man Seth MacFarlane in charge.
I've been watching the Oscars since I was a kid. Every year, I'd see Billy Crystal dazzle us with his opening act, cleverly incorporating all the front running nominees and their films into an opening musical montage. Year after year, you'd come to expect the same type of show starter, but you were never concerned with its ability to entertain and always knew it would be good for a few laughs.
But ever since Billy hung up his hosting hat, the Academy has doled out the responsibilities to random celebrities on a year-to-year basis. There have been no three-year contracts with an option for a fourth when it comes to hosting the biggest Hollywood gig of the year, oh no. Therefore, the Academy takes a chance each year on someone new. And there have been some utter (and awkward) disappointments (James Franco & Anne Hathaway) but there have also been some real successes. In my opinion, the best 'episode' was in 2009 when Hugh Jackman took to the stage, a place he is quite familiar with. His Broadway background helped him provide a presence unmatched by many of his predecessors and the people who would come to replace him in the years thereafter. His comedic timing was impeccable in his recession-themed musical opening complete with the type of props and backgrounds one would make in a Grade 2 arts & crafts class. You must see it for yourself (watch here). Brilliance!
When I found out that Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy and one of the most talented people in Hollywood today, would be this year's host, I just about did the Puyol Splits. I mean, did you SEE him host Saturday Night Live in the fall? Perfection.
MacFarlane's racy comedic history, pushing the creative envelope to the utter edge, combined with his unbelievable musical talents ... surely if anyone can revive the Academy Awards, it can be Seth!
I think he did a decent enough job, but dazzled I was unfortunately not. Perhaps my high hopes for what he could do with a show like this made my expectations unattainable. The guy was funny, he can sing, he can dance. All in all, that kind of formula leads to quality entertainment. But I think it lacked creativity and I was bored by it. And, is it me, or did he seem a little bored, too? Sure enough, in the days after the hullabaloo, MacFarlane did admit that 'no way' would he host the Oscars again.
The Awards weren't a total loss, don't get me wrong. It was still fun to scope out the red carpet glamour & style and who the big winners were and how profound or equally dumbfounding their speeches were. Or my favorite, guess who's sober and who's not! Kristin Stewart, not. Quentin Tarantino, not. Although the difference between the two is Tarantino is an unapologetic creative genius and I didn't have to shake my head in embarrassment when he was in front of the microphone.
But I digress.
What does this have to do with football, you ask? Football had their annual awards last month in Switzerland, the Ballon D'Or. But after this week, I feel like we need to blend the two ceremonies together and offer up some unique awards to some very deserving recipients in the wonderful world of soccer. The Footie Oscars, if you will.
Goodness knows, there has been a lot of drama to report this week.
So, without further ado ... the envelope, please...
#5 - Best Animated Feature ... Dimitar Berbatov!
His name is Dimitar. And he likes to draw! (Any Mike Myers fans reading this?)
The Bulgarian striker surprised me not once but twice this week. It appears Fulham's goal-man is not only creative with his feet, but with his hands as well.
Speaking of art classes, is seems Berbatov did all right in his. The Telegraph reported this week on Berbatov's talent for sketching his favorite musicians, actors and stars. See his gallery of artwork here
And just when we were all growing weary of Harlem Shake vids, Fulham went and created their own version which came at the very tail end of the viral fad, but was still creative enough to be redeemably funny. This was in large part to Berbatov taking centre stage wearing a shirt that pokes fun at the controversial one he revealed after scoring against Southhampton on Boxing Day (watch here).
#4 - Best Love Match ... Mario Balotelli and himself!
We know Mario Balotelli is the biggest fan of Mario Balotelli when it comes to playing football. He is a legend in his own eyes. He is the cream in his own coffee. Er ...
And he confirmed his Endless Love for himself when he commissioned a Brescian artist to create a life-sized statue of his likeness to place inside his home. You read correctly. He has not received the key to Brescia, he's not the Citizen of the Century, the mayor did not dedicate a park in his name and garnish it with a memorial to Balotelli. The Italian skipped all this ... and went right for the bronze himself.
Because, if you had all the money to blow in the world and wanted to give yourself a nice gift ... naturally you'd want to a replica of yourself with dead eyes staring back at you every time you wake up in the morning, right?
The artist who will be creating this great work of art has been given strict instructions from Balotelli. A very specific pose is what he is looking for here, one that showcases his muscles with a look of defiance on his face, such as directly after scoring a goal.
In that case, I'm glad it will stay within the privacy of his four walls ... no one wants to see that adorning a peaceful park in Brescia.
#3 Best Slapstick Comedy Routine ... Palermo & Gian Piero Gasperini!
The good news for Gian Piero Gasperini is that he didn't stay unemployed for too long The bad news is, he's stuck with Palermo for a little while longer on their doomsday train to the Serie B.
(Speculation, of course.)
But a club's performance really is reflected by how it is run. And Maurizio Zamparini's performance in February doesn't reflect well on a team who are desperately trying to grasp at top flight safety. It certainly does reek of desperation, I'll give you that.
The owner pulled the plug on Gasperini's contract earlier in February, with less than five months on the job. The team was floundering in relegation territory and Zamparini turned to Alberto Malesani instead. But Malesani lasted just 3 games (NO losses!) before Zamparini made another emotionally charged decision, perhaps fearing the club was running out of time before the end of the season.
The real laugh track here is that he didn't just find a new tactician to try out for a while ... he went BACK to Gasperini! (And the anvil fell out of the sky from out of nowhere and onto his head. Whoops!)
Zamparini justified his decision to the media, saying he had a number of fans (seriously?) and colleagues report to him that Palermo had indeed performed better under the previous coach than the new one. And he took their advice! (Then proceeds to step on a rake and get smacked in the face with its handle. Ouch!)
Just 20 days had passed since Palermo sacked Gasperini, Zamparini at the time saying he would never forgive the coach for the position he left them in. But it turns out, he only had a 20 day hold on forgiveness.
So, now in his 2nd stint in charge of Palermo, the former Genoa manager has 3 more months to find a solution to Palermo's problem. That is, if Zamperini doesn't find another poor sap to replace him with on a temporary basis. (And Fabricio Miccoli hits a practice shot wide of goal, on target with the passing by Zamparini who gets it square in the.... Yikes!)
#2 - Most Improved By Facial Reconstruction ... Kiko Casilla!
The one thing I notice in watching the Academy Awards as a child to watching them now ... my favorite actresses haven't seemed to age all that much. But they also can't crack a natural smile anymore, either. Sandra Bullock laughed during her award presentation and nearly scared me to death.
Kiko Casilla will need a good doctor to take a close look at his mug this week after an unfortunate collision between his face and Falcao's head. The Espanyol goalkeeper suffered a split lip that wouldn't stop hemorrhaging so the team medics did what anybody would do in a situation like that. They stapled the wound shut. On the pitch, in front of the gawking cameras. It was a pleasant sight! Kudos to Kiko for realizing that time was of the essence against Atletico Madrid and that the show must go on. Oh, and for playing the final 65 minutes with a staple in his lip.
#1 - Best Dramatic Monologue (Or Rant) ... Rafael Benitez!
Loathed by the fans, the drama surrounding Rafael Benitez and Chelsea came to a head this week when the interim manager was asked about being an interim manager. C'mon, you knew it was coming ... the inevitable 'Rafa Rant' rears its ugly head every so often and we were due for one.
The former Liverpool manager said he didn't agree with being 'interim', but blamed it on a translation error between his agents and Chelsea's hierarchy when the deal was being negotiated. He also places a big chunk of blame for Chelsea's struggles on the Blues' fans, suggesting they need to stop with the chanting and start getting behind the team, or be prepared to take some responsibility for the outcome of their season. Them's fighting words, Rafa. Not nearly as ranty as the 'Facts' speech of 2009 aimed at Sir Alex Ferguson, but worthy enough of a Footie Oscar.
If you can think of any other players, coaches, officials worthy of a Footie Oscar, send them my way! I'd love to hear them!