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Rolling out the beige carpet

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It went largely unnoticed by most media outlets, but the 1st Annual Daynas were held recently in my tiny apartment. It was a rather casual affair --- no sequins or tuxes allowed, and the invitees and I dined on tuna sandwiches, nacho cheese Doritos, and Ovaltine (the chocolate malt kind).

I didn't have any swanky gift bags to hand out, but I made sure everyone got a brownie and I let the stars help themselves to some clothes and books I no longer needed. Happily, their bizarre senses of entitlement remained intact.

The Daynas aren't like other awards --- they're designed to champion those neglected by Oscar, and instead of a large voting body, I alone cast the ballot. I make up some categories, too. If it sounds megalomaniacal, well, isn't it always?

So without further ado, I bring you the categories, the winners, the questionable logic of the voter, and even highlights from a few of the acceptance speeches.

The Thrill Ride: Spider-man 2

I laughed, I cried, I caught my breath; I went home and waited patiently until it was released so I could see it again.

The Quirky Little Gem: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Smart and funny and sad and passionate and whimsical and truthful.

Director Michel Gondry: "Merci à Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, et le scenariste, Charlie Kaufman. Il est brilliant. J'aime les Doritos."

The Completely Overrated: Napoleon Dynamite

Writer-director Jared Hess: "Thank you, Wes Anderson, for allowing every hack to believe that they can make a movie about a barely tolerable nerd and people will love it. Sorry that my film made more than twice as much as Rushmore yet wasn't even half as good."

The Slightly Overrated: Sideways

Don't get me wrong --- Sideways is a decent, well-written flick. But I suspect the reason many critics are so high on this movie is because a number of them identify with the Paul Giamatti character: middle-aged, ordinary-looking white guys who moonlight as frustrated novelists. I'm sure if someone made a film about an indecisive yet impulsive curly-haired baker-writer in her mid-30s, I'd be on it like dog hair on a new suit.

The Thoroughly Underrated: The Village

Too agitated over what it should be, no one seemed to be able to appreciate this movie for what it was: a scary little story with a huge romantic heart, a great cast (William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody), and a line that keeps playing in my head ("Sometimes we don't do what we want so that others won't know we want to do it").

Best Actor: Jim Carrey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

If Oscar continues to screw Carrey like this, it should do the honorable thing and marry him. Blame the studio for not realizing what it had and not taking into account Hollywood's notoriously short attention span when it unspooled the film last spring. (Carrey was unable to attend the festivities as he was busy beating his head against the wall, so I accepted the award for him and then split his brownie with second-place Ethan Hawke.)

Best Actress: Anne Reid, The Mother

Ditto for poor Reid: an astounding performance in a movie that was in theaters for a few fleeting weeks over the summer and forgotten by Oscar time.

Reid: "This is lovely, but would it have killed someone to rerelease this film at the end of the year? I really would have preferred an Academy Award."

Best Supporting Actress: Jodie Foster, A Very Long Engagement

No one bats an eye when Monica Bellucci or Jackie Chan act in a foreign tongue, so why make a big deal about Foster's French twist? Because she was exceptional, and this is called the Daynas, not the Yous.

Best Supporting Actor: Peter Sarsgaard, Kinsey

He may have hoped to be a leading man, but Sarsgaard, who was denied an Oscar nod for Shattered Glass and stole Garden State from its stars, is quietly filling the niche of the indispensable young character actor.

Let Them Star in A Romantic Comedy Already: The Rock and Djimon Hounsou

Both of these men have charisma to burn and usually get saddled with their stock roles (blockhead and martyr, respectively).

The Rock: "Thanks. By the way, did you want to see us in separate romantic comedies or paired together in one?"

The Movie I Hope to be Watching Nine Years From Now: Before Lunch

I dug Before Sunrise, I absolutely adored Before Sunset, and lunch is one of my very favorite meals.

The You-Never-Call-or-Write Award: Chow Yun-Fat

Where have you gone, Chow Yun-Fat? Those rumors about you starring with Johnny Depp in next year's Pirates of the Caribbean sequel had better be true because that will make it THREE YEARS between movies.

The I-Don't-Miss-You Award: Helen Hunt

Not even Mira Sorvino and Marisa Tomei were less deserving of their Oscars. Perhaps Hunt should give hers back. Hunt: "No."

The Antonio Banderas Award for Overexposure: Jude Law

Law: "Dayna, what the hell is your problem? I think you secretly love me." (I consider this briefly after remembering how much I enjoyed Cold Mountain then resume fantasizing about a steel cage match to the death between Law and runner-up Naomi Watts in which I've slipped her a sock full of quarters and him a bag of marshmallows.)

The Please-Rescue-Me-From-This-Soul-Sucking-Drudgery Award: Benicio del Toro

Benicio del Toro has actually received this award before, even before the inception of the Daynas. Occasionally he wins it once or twice a day, depending on how things are going for me. Can't wait for Sin City this April.

Hey, maybe next year you could come to the Daynas! We'll need a bigger venue --- perhaps that posh McDonald's, the one with the ball crawl. I bet Jude Law would like that.

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