Friday, November 30, 2012

Oscar Bits and Pieces - Best Supporting Actor

I've tackled my favorite Oscar category, Best Actress, first. Now it's time to tackle my least favorite acting category, Best Supporting Actor. Sometimes I just don't understand the nominations in this category. A particularly egregious year was 2 years ago when a bland Matt Damon in Invitcus and Stanley Tucci for a hammy villain in The Lovely Bones (same year he was so wonderful in Julie and Julia) were nominated. It is also a category that has managed to snub one of my favorite actors, Peter Sarsgaard 3 times (Shattered Glass, Kinsey and An Education). But it had produced a few excellent winners recently; can't complain about Plummer, Waltz and Ledger.

Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln 

This year more than ever this category is confusing me. There are very few performances that I really like, what's being bandied about as potential nominees doesn't seem substantial or particularly interesting to me. The one I whole heartedly endorse without a doubt is Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln. While he is doing Tommy Lee, he does it so well. He gets a lot of funny grandstanding speeches, gets to make fun of his rivals but above all he is the one character in the movie whose personal emotional connection to the historical events felt vital and real.

In the past I did not particularly like many of Philip Seymour Hoffman's performances. He was so obviously a child molester in Doubt; when we were not supposed to really know. Too over the top in Charlie Wilson's War. However I was pleasantly surprised at how understated he was in The Master. He was my favorite thing in what I thought was an over-wrought pretentious film. Won't be on my ballot but I can see why he will be nominated.

Goodman and Arkin in Argo

Alan Arkin is very funny in Argo. He has a few very funny lines and gets to deliver that movie's catch phrase - Argo fuck yourself. But that's what is considered best of year? It's a tiny role and he wasn't in the movie enough. A tinier role in Argo is John Goodman's. He has another tiny role in Flight. He is very good, funny and liekable in both. Maybe combined they'd make one substantial role. Will he get in or split his votes?

Everyone is over the moon for Robert DeNiro in Silver Linings Playbook. Look the man is a legend and I'm happy he is getting all this acclaim and awards buzz after years of unremarkable movies. What seals the nomination for him is a very emotional moment where makes a connection with his son and even gets to tear up. So obviously an Oscar clip and he nails it and assures his name will be called.

No one knows anything yet about Leo DiCaprio's performance in Django Unchained. But we know that Quentin Tarantino writes delicious villians and has a particularly good history in this category - Sam Jackson, Robert Forrester and Christoph Waltz nominated and Waltz won. Could he produce two nominees from Django? Jackson's in it too.

Eddie Redmayne in Les Miserables

And what about Les Miserables? Early word is that Russell Crowe acquits himself well, Sacha Baron Cohen is funny and Eddie Redmayne is a revelation. Of these I'd give Redmayne the edge because "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" is such an emotional song, comes almost the end of the movie so it will be fresh in memories. But then again he's playing the romantic lead and this category usually favors oddballs and villains.

A couple of excellent performances are quickly losing steam. Michael Fassbender was very good in the uneven Prometheus but it seems the summer release has been forgotten. Dwight Henry is excellent in his debut in Beasts of the Southern Wild. He also has an excellent backstory; he was a baker discovered and given this big chance. But he missed on a Spirit Award nomination.

Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike

I haven't seen The Impossible yet but love Ewan McGregor. Could he finally get his first nomination? He has a lot of famous backers; Angelina Jolie hosted a screening in his honor. Also hoping for his first nomination is Matthew McConaughey after a landmark year in which he starred in three critically acclaimed roles in Bernie, Magic Mike and Bernie. Those 3 movies completely changed public perception of him and he could get nominated for Magic Mike.

Jude Law as Karenin

The performance that I truly loved and hope it gets noticed is Jude Law in Anna Karenina.This Joe Wright version really loves Karenin and Jude Law, in a warm quiet and introspective performance, shows the dull pull of duty and the unrelenting dogged pursuit of what's right. It's a great turn and so different than anything he has done before. The film's divisive reviews and so-so box office work against him though and he's unlikely to get mentioned.

For my final predictions I think Jones, Hoffman and DeNiro are definitely in. I'm struggling wit the last 2. I just don't see Goodman or Arkin getting nominated because their roles are tiny. McConaughey is campaigning hard and could benefit from an assured Globe nom. Redmayne is sounding stronger and stronger as people leave Les Miz discovering him. I reserve the right to change my mind as I/m still puzzled by this category.

Predicted Five : Tommy Lee Jones, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robert DeNiro, Matthew McConaughey and Eddie Redmayne.

No comments: