Best year in ages for acting

February. Two things. School is back, so summer leaps from the dark cupboard under the stairs and romps on empty beaches. And the Oscars.

Well, the Oscars are in March, but the list is out by February and the movies are in town, so prestigious dinner parties ring with the psychobabble of self-proclaimed cinema experts keen to show they know a whole lot more than the Academy.

Which of course they often do, because the Academy has this wan belief it is the world's social conscience, and invariably hands out awards to people or causes they feel are worthy, rather than just better.

12 Years A Slave is the leading contender this year for social conscience to triumph over pure entertainment, or, if you like, genius.

The Academy also sees itself as a moral compass, which can be the only reason Woody Allen's magnificent Blue Jasmine wasn't named for Best Film.

Woody, clearly, is still in disgrace.

Was it a coincidence his stepdaughter Dylan Farrow chose February to write an open letter to the New York Times detailing what Woody allegedly did in 1992?

But then again, Woody doesn't go to award shows, especially the Oscars.

He sent Diane Keaton along to last month's Golden Globes to accept a Lifetime Achievement award, and she responded by singing an unaccompanied American Girl Guide song.

Was she drunk, they all wondered.

Possibly.

But everyone agreed Jacqueline Bisset was MUCH drunker.

The gorgeously spreadeagled Jacqueline even stopped at the bar on the way to the stage! Brilliant.

Many of these people are bonkers. We know this.

And this year as I move from one theatre to another checking out what must be the best year in ages for superb acting, and a very good one for films, I am forced to ask the question everyone asks in February - who of these famous people would you actually like to have living next door?

Call me old-fashioned, but I reckon Meryl Streep would be the perfect next door neighbour.

I just think she's a good person, a funny person.

You pop over there unannounced to watch some trash TV and eat potato chips and she would answer the door in track pants with a piece of poached egg on the thigh.

Her hair would be all over the place.

And she'd be pleased to see you, her arms would be out.

No matter that she has irritated me senseless for years, being almost unwatchably perfect, her accents flawless, even when Australian.

I hope she wins for August: Osage County because she is absolutely stunning.

Only Cate Blanchett in the aforementioned Blue Jasmine could surely beat her.

Cate would be great next door too.

George Clooney said as much on Letterman last Thursday night.

It's really the opening of the door that tells you who you want as a neighbour.

I seriously doubt if a Kardashian can open a door.

Do you really want a Kardashian as a neighbour?

I have never seen them open a door on the telly.

Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe Kardashian are limited people, that's why they marry basketballers to do the physical stuff.

I don't want to be standing on a front doormat calling out to a Kardashian how to place two hands around the handle and turn it towards the left foot, the foot that has a big toe at the right-hand end.

Christian Bale would be outstanding living over the fence, simply because he is outrageously good.

His dogs could defecate all over my lawn and I would never complain.

He has a fine chance for American Hustle.

Jennifer Lawrence is in the same category.

Talent over-rides unruly domestic pet defecation every time.

Will she win Best Supporting Actress for American Hustle?

Possibly.

But that means Julia Roberts (August: Osage County) and Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), both superb, will miss out. A tough year.

I think Best Next Door Neighbour should be on every voting form.

Then 20 Feet From Stardom would win Best Documentary.

It would be just perfect having all those breath-taking singers living next door.

Roy Colbert is a Dunedin writer.

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