A College Football Fan’s Guide to the Oscars

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By Karen Howell — the most consistently funny commenter in OKTC history

It’s that time of year again. You’re coming off of your post-holiday high. Winter grinds on with no end in sight and the football season begins to wind down with nothing but NBA highlights to entertain you until March Madness kicks in. It’s easy to sink into those February blues. But fear not, my friends. An entirely new season is upon us that offers all of the drama, action and comedy of SEC media days. That’s right, it’s Oscar season. The Oscars are Sunday. (If you forget this ask your wife or girlfriend. We always know the Oscar date. Always). 

In today’s society, perhaps the only group idolized more than our athletes is our Hollywood actors. The similarities don’t end there. Oscar season has it all for the college football fan headed into the long winter of withdrawal. There will be upsets, there will be snubs, there will be victory speeches that make Courtney Upshaw look like Bill Shakespeare. I know what you’re thinking, you’ve been parked in front of the TV every weekend since the season kicked off and are clueless about this year’s Oscar contenders. Well, consider this your own Oscar contenders cheat sheet. I’ve taken the liberty of organizing it in a manner best suited to your attention span, and have linked each Oscar contender to a college football storyline you’ll be familiar with. I’ve also identified the nominations (or lack thereof), at least with regard to the major categories.  Unless specifically stated otherwise, assume James Franco played every role in every movie.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Best Actress)

Summary: A girl with a dragon tattoo is sexually assaulted by an overweight, bearded man who is nuts (completely unrealistic).  Out for vengeance, she’s more than willing to help when a controversial, abrasive man hoping to return to his past glory asks that she use her skills to solve a mystery that’s baffled a small community since the 1960s. 

CFB Equivalent: AJ McCarron wasn’t sexually assaulted, probably, the Teabagger isn’t overweight, and Nick Saban doesn’t really have anything to prove.  But, McCarron has a tattoo, so that’s kind of like the movie. (If it works better for you, you can also picture a sweater-vested Jim Tressel and a tattooed Terrell Pryor.) 

Spoiler alert: As far as the Alabama mystery goes, it’s 9, not 14 titles.  And no, that’s not a crying Bama fan inked into his chest.  (Who am I kidding?  Of course Jesus is a Bama fan.)

The Artist (Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, Screenplay)

Summary: It’s a silent film. (And I mean really a silent film. Lots of people keep expecting there to be talking even when they hear it’s a silent film).

CFB Equivalent: Penn State.

Spoiler Alert: No one talks.

My Week with Marilyn (Best Actress, Supporting Actor)

Summary: A young director’s assistant falls in love with Marilyn Monroe after spending a week with her during production of The Prince and the Showgirl.

CFB Equivalent: Les Miles, a boy-of-a-man, spent a week hoping to win over an elusive, sparkling creature. 

Spoiler alert: Neither man scored.  
Drive (Snubbed in the major categories)

Summary:  A guy who performs stunts in Hollywood by day and is a wheelman by night (played by Ryan Gosling) finds himself in a bind when he learns that a contract has been put on his head after a heist gone wrong.

CFB Equivalent: Trent Richardson, capable of amazing feats on the football field, was spotted in several different expensive cars and found himself in a pickle (Sandlot reference) when people started asking questions.

Spoiler alert: Trent Richardson has more kids to support than Ryan (because Ryan hasn’t met me yet) and, unlike Ryan, wouldn’t be caught dead in a ratty ole t-shirt.  He prefers suits.
The Ides of March (Best Adapted Screenplay)

Summary:  An idealistic staffer (Ryan Gosling again) gets a crash course on dirty politics from a presidential candidate (George Clooney).

CFB Equivalent:  In the CFB version, the staffer was Bruce Feldman and the dirty politics were orchestrated by ESPN and Craig James.  James used his position at ESPN to force Mike Leach out at Texas Tech, claiming that Leach hazed his son Adam.  When the folks at ESPN decided they didn’t like the fact that Feldman was working on a book with Leach, they suspended him, sparking the #FreeBruce and #FireCraigJames movements.  Craig is now running for the US Senate and looks to be as popular as unemployment.

Spoiler alert: In this scenario, the role of Adam James is played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, aka the closest thing to being trapped inside a hot storage shed.  Adam can’t play himself, because he’s not used to that much PT.  #HeyOoo  (Side note: Craig, please don’t spin this as an endorsement by Clooney.)
Moneyball (Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay)

Summary: The film focuses on a manager’s (Brad Pitt) attempt to put together a winning team based on the concept (formulated by Fat Jonah Hill) that the organization should pay the players who give the team the best chance to score. 

CFB Equivalent: Cam Newton. See above, and make Fat Jonah Hill the bag man.  (Skinny Jonah Hill isn’t the result of weight loss. He’s just FJH minus all of the cash.) 

Spoiler Alert: I know this angle is overplayed, but Cam’s head just fit so nicely on Brad’s body. And goodness knows Cecil would’ve let Angelina adopt him if she’d bid higher. (Side note: Cam looks like Smash Williams in this picture. #TexasForever)
The Help (Best Picture, Actress, Supporting Actress (x2))

Summary: An Ole Miss grad seeks to right wrongs in early 1960s Mississippi by giving African-American maids a chance to tell their stories.  But that won’t happen if another lady in town has anything to say about it.

CFB Equivalent: Archie Manning isn’t a woman and no one would accuse Dan Mullen of being a lady.  However, in the CFB version, Archie is trying to return Ole Miss to the national powerhouse that it once was, allegedly, and Dan is standing in his way.

Spoiler Alert: How cute is Archie?
The Tree of Life (Best Picture, Director)

Summary:* This film chronicles the origins and meaning of life by way of a middle-aged man’s (Sean Penn) childhood memories of his family living in 1950s Texas, interspersed with imagery of the origins of the universe and the inception of life on Earth.  Words are few and far between.

CFB Equivalent: There is a little-covered story out there about a man named Harvey Updyke who poisoned some trees on Auburn’s campus.  Like the film, the event has featured little intelligible dialogue.  Also like the film, the lesson is that everything dies eventually anyway, so just be cool about it. 

Spoiler Alert: Brad Pitt played Sean Penn’s father in the movie.  Finebaum is the natural choice to play Harvey’s father-figure. (Side note: This is not the first time Finebaum has been compared to Pitt, probably. #BenjaminButton)

* I saw this one, but it was so strange that I still had to go to Wikipedia to find a legitimate summary. #StopSOPA
Bridesmaids (Best Supporting Actress, Screenplay)

Summary: Kristen Wiig’s best friend gets engaged and, though Kristen is happy to be a bridesmaid, she feels like she has nothing to show for her life and sets out to prove that she is at least the best bridesmaid.

CFB Equivalent:  Though initially thrilled just to be a part of the national championship discussion this season, resentment and insecurity built up among the Oklahoma State team over the fact that they were not a part of the happy couple in the end.

Spoiler alert: OSU may always be a bridesmaid, but at least the team proved it was the best bridesmaid. (Side note: Pink is T. Boone’s color and Brandon Weedon got back.)
Midnight in Paris (Best Picture, Director, Screenplay)

Summary: This Woody Allen movie is about an engaged couple from Los Angeles who travel to Paris for business. A screenwriter (Owen Wilson) is forced to confront the shortcomings of his relationship with his fiancée and their divergent goals due to his magical experiences in the city beginning each night at midnight (for example, he hangs out with F. Scott Fitzgerald and other literary and artistic figures from that period).

CFB Equivalent: San Diego State and Boise State join the Big East.

Spoiler Alert: The odds of the Big East keeping its automatic BCS bid are about as good as the odds that every woman in Paris will start shaving her armpits.(Side note: But they got nude beaches? Not in the winter.)
The Descendants (Best Picture, Actor, Director, Screenplay)

Summary: George Clooney plays a father who is trying to re-connect with his two daughters after his wife suffers a boating accident.

CFB Equivalent: The Big 12 lost two daughters this year, Texas A&M and Missouri, but quickly rebounded by adopting two more.

Spoiler alert: Clooney was great in this film, but Dan Beebe looks better in board shorts.
War Horse (Best Picture)

Summary: Not long after a boy trains and falls in love with a horse, Joey, World War I starts, and Joey is sold to the army to make ends meet.  The film follows Joey and the boy, who is eventually forced to fight, as they travel, separately, wherever the war takes them.

CFB Equivalent: Todd Graham drags his ass all over the country.

Spoiler alert: That’s a picture of Todd Graham.  I didn’t know what he looked like either.  
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Best Picture, Supporting Actor)

Summary: A boy grieves over the loss of his father, who died in one of the towers on September 11th.


CFB Equivalent:  There is no CFB equivalent. However, there were extremely loud fashion choices (Maryland’s and Oregon’s uniforms, Notre Dame’s helmets, Bama bangs) and incredibly close moments (mainly, Jesse Palmer and Chris Berman at Applebee’s). 

Hugo (Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay)

I have no clue what that movie is about, but I like to think it’s the story of this big guy’s life.

Summary: This NC-17 love story is the odds-on favorite to win best worst picture. 

CFB Equivalent: Mark and Katharyn Richt.Spoiler alert: If he bites her, we’re all going to regret it.(Side note: I don’t have a 7 year old daughter, but if I did, I’d show her all 8 seasons of Entourage before I’d show her the video of the Richts after the Kentucky game.)

You can follow Karen on Twitter here.

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.