What if this year's Oscar nominees were a baseball team? We fill out an All-Star lineup
What if this year's Oscar noms were a baseball team?
An earlier version of this post was published on Jan. 15, 2015, when the Oscar nominations were first announced.
On Sunday evening, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will hand out its golden statues and the best in film -- according to Oscar voters, at least -- will be crowned for another year. May your thoughts be with this year's Oscar nominees, as they wait out the time until their fates are decided.
But before we do some last-minute analyzing of the nominees' respective chances at the top prize, there's a pressing matter to attend to: If the 2015 Oscar nominees were a gym class, who would get picked first for baseball?
Or, imagine there's a softball tournament every year with Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and Grammy nominees facing off against each other. Who should AMPAS send to represent movies on the diamond? (And, on another note: Whose cap would Whoopie Goldberg wear in the EGOT Softball Hall of Fame?)
To answer those questions, we used a scientific and unimpeachable process to select the individuals from this year's crop of acting nominees (and one director) who we'd want to see play ball: instinct.
Here are the Oscar nominees that give us the best chance to win now, even if they don't take home the trophy Sunday.
Manager: Richard Linklater, Director, Boyhood
Linklater made Boyhood over the course of 12 years with an estimated budget of $4 million. His star, Ellar Coltrane, was a virtual no-name before this year. Linklater had his own daughter play a major character. It was a Moneyball project that would impress even Billy Beane.
Pitcher: Julianne Moore, Actress, Still Alice
I have this (admittedly half-baked) theory that bowlers would make phenomenal submarine pitchers, simply by virtue that a bowling ball weighs between six and 16 pounds and a baseball weighs roughly five ounces. It's a different arm motion, sure, but it's the same principle behind hitters swinging around multiple bats in the on-deck circle. Moore isn't a professional bowler, but there is that dream sequence in The Big Lebowski in which she swings a bowling ball around a few times and then tosses Jeff Bridges down a lane. Put her on the mound.
Catcher: Meryl Streep, Supporting Actress, Into the Woods
Imagine you're a pitcher struggling through the middle innings in a tight game. There are two on with one out and you just threw two wild pitches in a row. Is there anyone in the world more calming than Meryl Streep? No, no there isn't.
First base: Ed Norton, Supporting Actor, Birdman
Norton is a noted Cal Ripken enthusiast so he might want to play shortstop, but we're going to stick him at first base. This right here is a power swing:
Second Base: Laura Dern, Supporting Actress, Wild
Look, we can't not pick someone who's fled velociraptors before and lived. Dern even did it on a hobbled ankle in Jurassic Park, proving she has the exact sort of durability and perseverance we need at second base. Doubt Dern's ability to turn two at your own peril.
Third base: J.K. Simmons, Supporting Actor, Whiplash
Simmons plays a manager in For Love of the Game, but after seeing his sinewy, testosterone-overdose of a performance in Whiplash, there's no way we're keeping him cooped up in the dugout. We're placing him at the hot corner -- the way he whips a music stand at his students makes us confident he'd be able to fire a baseball across the diamond to first.
Shortstop: Reese Witherspoon, Actress, Wild
In How Do You Know, Witherspoon plays a recently cut player on the Team USA softball team. To prepare, she trained with actual Team USA players and coaches to get in top form. Former softball player/coach Sue Enquist told ESPN that during preparations, Reese was "doing awesome stuff out there on the field, diving, getting ground balls." That sounds like our star shortstop.
Left field: Steve Carell, Actor, Foxcatcher
Carell is a baseball aficionado and has a perhaps-overstated confidence in his fielding abilities (I'm protecting everyone in this area," Carell says, referring to a stray foul ball). In Foxcatcher, he plays a brooding, terrifying wrestling coach with a penchant for intensity. Left field seems like a good fit.
Center field: Rosamund Pike, Actress, Gone Girl
If you've seen that scene in Gone Girl, you know Pike is capable of going all out when she sets her mind to something. That's the kind of attitude we want chasing down fly balls in center.
Right field: Michael Keaton, Actor, Birdman
Keaton, a Pirates diehard, certainly has pitching experience -- he threw out the first pitch at PNC Park in 2006, didn't like his first throw, and asked for a second. But we're going to put Keaton in right. Because if there's one MLB player who would ask for a mulligan on a bad throw and have it granted, it is right fielder Yasiel Puig. Now we just want to see a Beetlejuice reboot with Puig in the title role.