The celebration of excellence is a joyful occasion. In the world of film, this yearly celebration comes with a gathering of rich people, a hearty serving of jokes and the scattering of gold statues.
These statues—or Oscars—honor the elite. They signify the spectacular, a significant bump in pay and a pretty neat thing to tape to your car hood and drive around with if you were so inclined. (Seriously, why aren’t more people so inclined?)
College football doesn’t have its own Academy Awards but rather a run of banquets at the end of the season that culminates with the Heisman. There’s no gold involved, but the bronze typically works for us just fine despite the quirks that come with the award.
To celebrate this year’s Oscars, however, we’re adding one last stop to our banquet tour. We’re handing out gold statues, although our “Oscars” aren’t gold statues at all.
We’ll get to that. For now, here are our Oscars from the 2013 season.
Best Costume Design: Oregon (For the 1,279th Consecutive Year)
It wasn’t one specific wardrobe, but rather an enormous collection of bright colors grouped together with tremendous symmetry. Oregon delivered such consistent neon excellence once again in 2013, somewhat seamlessly so.
Just because such excellence is assumed, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be appreciated. We have this conversation every year, while others try to mimic the blueprint.
Often imitated but never duplicated, the Ducks have a room full of Academy Awards at this point. And this room comes equipped with 17 flat screens, 13 hot tubs, a ping-pong-playing robot and, of course, a lot of Oscars wearing custom Nike gear.
Best Visual Effects: Arizona’s Interception Against Oregon
CGI is a powerful tool. In fact, it’s so powerful that it has made its way from blockbuster films to college football and—more specifically—the Pac-12.
That is the only way you can possibly explain this interception by Arizona’s Shaquille Richardson and Scooby Wright. Someone—perhaps an intern who worked on Michael Bay’s last movie—decided it was time for Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota to throw an interception.
But a simple “whoops” interception wouldn’t suffice. No, this intern wanted more. So he gave us the closest thing to a football explosion, and now we're giving him an award.
(Note: College Football Oscars are actually made of Natty Light cans and Les Miles’ saliva to keep them structurally sound.)
Best Original Song: Ohio State Band
Technically, it’s not “original.” Well, unless you count all the familiar songs tied together as one distinct song. If that’s the case, you’ll enjoy this original piece.
The Ohio State band has a knack for originality, though, which is why selecting the winner for this particular category really wasn’t all that challenging.
This ensemble constantly pushes the creative halftime envelope, and it succeeded with such efforts this year. While the Michael Jackson halftime tribute was a riveting runner-up, it was the Hollywood-blockbuster show that was deemed Oscar-worthy.
How does making a T-Rex out of people count in a category dedicated to sound? I’m sorry; I can’t hear you over THIS AMAZING DISPLAY OF HUMAN T-REX COORDINATION.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Davante Adams, WR (Fresno State)
You heard plenty about Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr, who finished the season with 52 combined touchdowns and eight interceptions. But you heard less about his favorite target, Davante Adams, which is remarkable given his ridiculous season.
In fact, saying Adams delivered video-game numbers is giving your video-game skills far too much credit. No, these deserve something more, something Oscar-related.
Adams finished with 131 catches, 1,718 yards and 24 (!!!) touchdowns. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s eight more receiving touchdowns—not one, or two, or four—but eight more scores than any other player had in the country.
Just give him the Natty Light lambasted in spit and let’s move on. Let’s recognize the man.
Best Director: Gus Malzahn (Auburn)
Duke head coach David Cutcliffe would have been a deserving winner in this category, although the Oscar goes to Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, the only one not standing and applauding this selection is Bret Bielema.
Malzahn delivered the film of his life. That’s not to say he can’t take such accomplishments one step further going forward, but the surprise element will no longer be possible. Expectations will change.
From winless in the SEC to 7-1 in the nation’s toughest conference in one season, Malzahn’s turnaround in his first season is basically unprecedented in this top-heavy sport.
He moves fast, so expect his speech to last somewhere aro—no, wait, it’s already over. Well, congrats.
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Aaron Donald (DT, Pittsburgh)
Unlike other awards that will remain nameless, we invite more than just quarterbacks to our award ceremony. Heck, we’d invite a long snapper if he fit the profile (and we really hope one eventually does).
But for this year’s honor, it was rather simple, really. Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald was the most dominant force in college football this season, and that’s why he’s our winner.
He didn’t touch the ball on every play, he didn’t run for 2,000 yards and his team was pretty “meh” overall, but his overall play—and production—was remarkable. Speaking a language closer to home, his efforts were Suh-ian.
Tale of the tape: Pitt's Aaron Donald in 2013 vs. Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh in 2009. pic.twitter.com/NS0ZYapIzT— Pitt Football (@GoPittFootball) November 24, 2013
While other awards will lean on variables like conferences and records, sometimes you need to appreciate individual greatness in its most basic form. Donald epitomized that, and it’s why he’s walking home with a trophy that will look far too small in his hands.
Best Original Screenplay: Auburn’s 2013 Season
And so the award takeover begins. In the College Football Oscar world—a world we’ve constructed with glue, foam fingers and colored pencils—we call that a teaser.
It’s a script so remarkable and surreal that it would likely be turned down by most sensible people. There’s no way that team could go from a complete dumpster fire to the national championship game. You’re better off selling that script to Disney and seeing if they bite.
But it happened. In a year loaded with surprises and great stories—Missouri, Duke and Florida State for starters—Auburn’s path to the final game of the season was far and away the most extraordinary. And it wasn’t just the wins, either. It was how those wins transpired.
It was meant to be. That’s the only conceivable way you can explain how this 4th-and-18 pass ended up as a touchdown for Ricardo Louis. That, or maybe that CGI dude from earlier decided to get extra weird.
There’s more to this award, too, which leads us to our final Oscar.
Did you drink all the cheap champagne at each table yet? If not, now is the time. I have no doubt that you will honor such requests with the utmost effort.
Best Picture: The Iron Bowl
Years from now, we will look back on the 2013 version of the Alabama-Auburn grudge match and share how that game made us feel with complete strangers. We will bore people with stories about where we were, what we were doing and the horrible things we said to our television sets out of complete and utter shock when the final second ticked off the clock.
The Iron Bowl wins the Oscar for Best Picture, because anything else would have to be a bribe. We’re not above bribes, of course, but not for this category. Not for a film so perfect.
It wasn’t planned, scripted or perfectly played, but rather a journey culminating in the wildest, most unpredictable finish you will ever see as a football fan.
The only negative about this game is it will be the standard to which all future Best Pictures are held. Next year’s deserving winner will be talked about and celebrated, but it won’t be the Iron Bowl.
Thank you for attending this year’s College Football Oscars. Don't forget to take your goody bag on the way out.
(Spoiler: It's more champagne and Les Miles' debut Christmas album.)
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