Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Best Supporting Actor

The two guys that are definitely in already that I agree with:

Josh Brolin, Milk:
My favorite supporting actor performance. I think he's pretty set for a nomination considering he's suddenly risen as a Hollywood name with his last 3 movies.

Heath Ledger, Dark Knight:
Ledger is my 2nd favorite and will easily get a nomination. I thought the film was disturbing but it's fun to see a pop culture comic book character that's been played so many times finally get a nom.

3 guys I'd like to see:
James Franco, Milk-I want Franco in because more than Emile Hirsch or Jake Gyllenhall or Peter Sargasaard or John Rhys-Meyers, I like him the best of all the up-and-comers. He's humble, he's clearly hard working (he's going for a master's degree, how admirable is that), he has a great sense of humor, he paid his dues by playing a supporting role in Spiderman, and he said all the right things wehn people kept probing him about how disgusting it must have been to kiss Penn. He also made an additional supporting turn in Pineapple Express which was the only good thing about the movie.

Ralph Feinnes, The Reader-He should just get a 3rd Oscar nom already. I haven't seen the Reader yet, but I just saw him in In Bruges and he was great in that, and he's consistently good, so why wouldn't I expect the best of him from In Bruges. He's overshadowed by Gleason and Farrell in In Bruges and he doesn't have a lot of screen time in In Bruges so I hope people don't vote for that and I worry voters will split too many Ralph Feinnes votes if they split The Reader with In Bruges and The Duchess. The Reader has a far more visible profile than The Duchess which only grossed $13 million domestically.

Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road-I primarily want to see Shannon in this film because I love Sam Mendes' work and I want to see it get as many accolades as possible. The more I think about it, the more I want Shannon to get a nom.

Someone who I'm not rooting for but who will probably get a nom:
Phillip Seymour Hoffman-Doubt
He is probably in, but I'd like to see Feinnes, Shannon, and Franco get nominated first. I'm indifferent to Phillip Seymour Hoffman but he just got two nominations in the last three years and that's enough for now.

People who I'm rooting against:
Eddie Marsden, Happy-Go-Lucky-Never gotten any sort of buzz before. He's been in a lot of movies and in 21 Grams he was slightly memorable, but definitely needs to earn his dues. Besides, I already have my 5.

People who I'm rooting against with a passion:
Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire
-Dev Patel isn't awful by any stretch of the imagination. He makes the far-fetched love story work, but at the same time, outside of his chemistry to Freida Pinto, he's not particularly memorable. Besides, this is the most blatant case of category fraud I've seen. It stretches the definition of supporting actor to the point where it's a meaningless category designed as a consolation prize for those who couldn't compete with Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Frank Langella, Mickey, and Clint Eastwood. Award the supporting actors to people who played supporting roles.

Rob Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder-Since it's just a popcorn comedy and the Academy has their unconventional film bases covered with Dark Knight, leave him behind. I have two main issues with Rob Downey Jrs' nom. First, the Academy sometimes awards an Oscar nom to make up for a past mistake but this is the first known instance in which we're giving him an unnecessary nomination to make up for a FUTURE PERFORMANCE in The Soloist. Oscar buzzers and the academy basically all decided Downey Jr. deserved a nod this year for his great year in The Soloist, Iron Man, and Tropic Thunder BEFORE the Soloist got pushed back to 2009. That's probably going to be his best of the three, so reward him then. The second reason I'm against rewarding Downey Jr. is we already have a number of actors this year joining the two-nomination club: Amy Adams (possibly), Brad Pitt (definitely), Angelina Jolie (probably), and Penelope Cruz (definitely). This is a big milestone because it means you weren't a one-hit wonder. Let's not overdo it.

Reason #3? I'm tired of hearing about how great of a year Rob Downey Jr. has like this was all highly improbably. The pundits are acting like Downey was unemployable before now, when in fact he was recently in Good Night and Good Luck and starred in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. It's irrelevant if Hollywood selects you for a $50 million dollar film or a mega blockbuster, the fact is you've already been let back in. Mega blockbusters don't rest as much on star power as they do special effects, the cast, and the quality of the story. One would be misguided to tell me that Tobey Maguire was a bankable star anytime he steps outside of spandex. When was the last time he did that and had a success? A supporting role in The Good German was his last non-Spiderman film. That didn't do very well at the box office and it doesn't speak well for him that he got relegated to a supporting part. Similarly, does anyone even know the name of the actors who play Dr. Richard Reed or Ben Strom in the respectably grossing Fantastic Four or Hellboy in the Hellboy film and is anyone putting money on them in non-superhero films? Besides, lots of Hollywood stars have been to prison and in rehab and have emerged to do fine.

Please let me know your thoughts!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I took you up on your suggestion to read your comments on Robert Downey, Jr.

You're right that Downey was never truly out of work. He continued to get supporting roles in movies like Zodiac, lead roles in arthouse fare like Restoration, and was in more than a few flops, too.

In that sense, he didn't really have a "comeback," because he never really went away. (The same can be said of Mickey Rourke. I sort of thought of Sin City as his "comeback.")

But I think what constitutes a "comeback" is largely a matter of public perception. Iron Man was a huge hit - in no small part due to Downey's great performance. (I'll come back to that later.) With the one-two punch of Iron Man and Tropic Thunder, Downey showed the world at large (including many people who knew him only as a tabloid punchline) that he'd overcome his personal problems and could sell movie tickets. He established himself as a bankable star. That's where I think the idea of Downey having a "comeback" came from.

You make a good point about movies like Spider-Man and Fantastic Four selling themselves without any star power.

But I think you'd have to agree that a lot of what made Iron Man truly great was Downey's performance. Would the movie have made money without him? Probably. But I don't think it would've been as big a hit, or as well-received, were it not for his performance.

And I'm not just basing that on the critics (many of whom praised Downey's work). In my own observations, the movie had a lot of positive word-of-mouth. I know people who generally have no interest in superhero movies or action movies, but who saw Iron Man because they'd heard about Downey's performance - and loved it.

Without Downey, Iron Man probably would've been a pretty good superhero movie. With him, it crossed the genre boundaries and became something more.

At least, that's how I see it.

Anyway, I'm going to set up a blog roll over on Atomic Gadfly later this week (after I post this week's column, on the G.I. Joe movie), and I'll be adding you to it.

Thanks for reading!