Friday, 23 October 2009

2008: The Leading Gents

I wasn’t too on point with the Oscar nominations in this category as per usual. But here’s a looksee at who were turning up at precursors and who should have been. It was quite a strong year for men. I didn't see The Visitor, so no word on Jenkins.
The Semi Finalists
Adrien Brodey in Cadillac Records
The movie kind of sunk him, and he’s not the most talented actor; but at least he’s doing work and broadening his range.
Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man
He was something special here, and I’m anxiously awaiting the sequel and Sherlock Holmes.
Brendan Gleason in In Bruges
I’m sure I’ve seen him more, but the last potent memory I have of him was as Renee Zellweger’s father in Cold Mountain, where he was not half bad. I can’t see him becoming a big thing, his time is already gone. But he was good in this.
Dustin Hoffman in Last Chance Harvey
Generally he was upstaged by Emma but it was a nice and easy performance, showing that he still has a modicum of talent left. It would have been nice to see him win the Golden Globe, even if it would not have been deserved.
James McAvoy in Wanted
As a non American I will say that his accent convinced me. Sure, Wanted was not exactly an actors’ flick but he did a good job holding his own and he was especially believable as an average joe. Kind of.
The Finalists
Javier Bardem in Vicky Cristina Barcelona
This was probably more of a strong supporting, but oh well. Yeah he does have some wicked chemistry with Penelope Cruz, but he’s pretty good throughout the movie and seeing that Woody’s male roles are usually underwritten he does a good job.
George Clooney in  Burn After Reading
This is my favourite George Clooney performance. As someone who cannot stand this guy, the Coen’s did something special making me believe him in this ridiculous role.
Sean Penn in Milk
Love him or hate him, the man can act. I didn’t mind the win. In fact I was happy, I pretended it was comeuppance for Dead Man Walking. But I don’t feel it was anything particularly special. He could have done this role in his sleep.
Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
I wouldn’t have nominated him either, but I was glad to see him there. He’ll never get nominated for stuff like Fight Club, Se7en or Burn After Reading or even more baity stuff like Babel, so let him take the nods wherever he gets them. And it’s not like he was bad or anything; at least I didn’t think so. Competition was just tough.
Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler
It was gut wrenching and heart wrenching. It’s like watching a horrible smash up or a train wreck…but oh what a train wreak!
The Nominees

Leonardo DiCaprio in Revolutionary Road
Forget him being overdue and all that. What matters is that one of the best male performances was ignored by the majority of award ceremonies. I get it, Oscar gets it wrong but SAG, BAFTA, NBR, Satellite, FFC, Critics Circle…what the f***?
Collin Farrell in In Bruges
Confession: I like Phone Booth, and I thought Collin Farrell was excellent in it. Moving on, the Golden Globe win made me particularly happy; especially since I knew it was the only place he’d ever get any recognition. I hope this marks the end of him doing crap like SWAT and Daredevil [vomit].
David Kross in The Reader
I hope he becomes the next big thing or whatever you call it, because this guy can act. Maybe hatred of The Reader blinded everyone to it, or maybe me liking the reader disillusioned me but I sincerely believed he deserved a much more substantial amount of attention than he received.
Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon
I thought, or rather I was hoping that he’d pull an upset. Look where that got me. Sure I’ll always be a little partial to Hopkins’ Nixon [flaws and all] but this was exceptional.
Michael Sheen in Frost/Nixon
Did they even try to campaign for this guy? Even if they had put him in supporting or something. If I hadn’t seen the movie I’d have thought that Frost/Nixon was just one long monologue from Langella because there was no buzz for anyone else in the cast. Even for this good performance.


Univarn said...

I think Penn's win for Mystic River was his sort of "we should have given this to you sooner" award. Even though I wasn't a fan of Lost in Translation (not to the degree of everyone else at least, I gave it a 6.5), I was cheering for the Murray steal!

This past year though I really wanted Rourke to win. I know I know, hard to disconnect the man with the character, but hey the oscars gave John Wayne one over Peter O'Toole & Dustin Hoffman, so I think it's safe to say they're not batting 100 in this department. As you said though, watching Rourke in this role was so gut-wrenching, it was hard not to be absolutely absorbed into his character.

joe burns said...

I felt Penn deserved his oscar, although Rourke was great too.

Alex in Movieland said...

auch :)
Langella didn't do it for me. I thought the performance was wrong & looked gimmicky (definitely not how u spell it right). David Kross was fine, but mostly eye candy and hard to pass that aspect. Anyway, it's Stephen Daldry's "fault" for using him just to turn us on and feed Kate Winslet's appetite.

Checking the list from a couple of months ago, I see this:

1. Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler
2. Sean Penn – Milk
3. Colin Farrell – In Bruges
4. Brendan Gleeson – In Bruges
5. Philip Seymour Hoffman – Synecdoche, New York
with Leo as runner-up.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

DiCaprio was probably the best thing about Revolutionary Road, the only performance (for me) that didn't ring false.

But I just re-watched Milk yesterday, and I definitely DON'T think Penn could have done this in his sleep. It's a beautiful performance, complicated (more so than people gave credit for), lovable, and he nails what James Franco's Scotty calls his "want to belong as much as anybody".

My picks:

1. Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
2. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Synecdoche, NY
3. Sean Penn, Milk
4. Colin Farrell, In Bruges
5. Jean-Claude Van Damme, JCVD