Wednesday, 22 December 2010

British Birthday

As long as I live I’ll always think of Colin Firth as the polar opposite of Ralph Fiennes. I’m perfectly aware that it dates back to me putting way too much credence in the duo they played over a decade ago in The English Patient– but when I weigh Fiennes’ austere cinematic countenance as against Firth’s easy joviality I can’t help it, which makes me just a little bit annoyed that Firth seems headed to that Oscar podium when such a future seems dubious for Fiennes. For, if there’s any British actor under 50 who should have been laurelled by now it’s Fiennes. Today’s his birthday, and watching over his credits I realise that he’s not done that many films – it just feels as if he has, but there’s ubiquity for you – and here are my top 5 performances of his.

Charles Van Doren in Quiz Show (1994)
I've been swarmed by stockbrokers lately; I feel like a girl with a bad reputation.
                                      
Maurice Bendrix in The End of the Affair (1999)
I hate you, God. I hate you as though you existed
                              
Justin Quayle in The Constant Gardener (2005)
I can't go home. Tessa was my home.
                         
Amon Goeth in Schindler’s List (1993)
The truth, Helen, is always the right answer.
                      
Count Lazlo de Almasy in The English Patient (1996)
 
Every night I cut out my heart. But in the morning it was full again.
                      
I’d have give him an Oscar for the top two, easily and at least nominated him for the others – but you know when I’m nepotistic towards someone how it gets. I’m still waiting for his adaptation of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus to be – the fact that he’s in a leading role and helming a film that just happens to star the absolutely luminous Vanessa Redgrave just makes me thrilled.
         
(I haven’t seen his acclaimed performances in either Spider or Land of the Blind, unfortunately.)

9 comments:

Ryan T. said...

I've actually never seen the top two. Will have to check them out some time! It's just crazy to me he didn't win for Schindler's List. Insanity abounds.

Joanna said...

Nice list! Just rewatched The Constant Gardener. I had forgotten how good Fiennes is in that. It is probably time I watched The English Patient again too.

MovieNut14 said...

Damn you AMPAS and your crappy decisions. You just had to give that Oscar to Tommy Lee Jones that year. Shame. On. YOU.

Jose said...

Fuck Oscar. We all know Fiennes > Firth and always will.
G-d he's amazing even in those awful Harry potter movies!

Runs Like A Gay said...

He's had a few films this year but I get what you mean.

I'm not sure about Coriolanus, it's a bit talky as Shakespeare goes. Lots of Greek tragedy influences and talking about battles that we, as an audience, have just missed.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

ryan the top two are actually the two at the bottom (i think the end of the affair is especially underrated - julianne is marvelous. and yes: insanity abounds, indeed.

joana that's the sad thing about fiennes' justin quayle; he's playing in such a low-key register it's easy to forget him in the loudness (albeit, brilliance) of weisz.

anna no, anna it's not damn oscar as jose said - it's fuck them. i still can't appreciate jones because i've been carrying that grudge against him for winning over fiennes AND dicaprio AND postlewaite.

and jose i just love how you throw in a harry potter jibe every-where (but god, don't you want to see HIM and hbc in a movie?)

runs like a gay he's had a lot of films this year, but nothing significant. i'm not a fan of the actual coriolanus play (shakespeare's histories are not my favourite), but fiennes builds my enthusiasm.

MovieNut14 said...

I'm just trying to be civil, that's all. I might also add I hold a grudge against AMPAS for so many other things.

Andy from fandango groovers said...

Although I would have given him the Oscar for The English Patient I can see why Geoffrey Rush got it, but Schindler’s List is another matter entirely, I have repeatedly described it as the biggest Oscar tragedy ever.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

anna but of course, those lists would be sort of infinite.

andy precisely. i have no big feeling of injustice over his loss in 1996, even though i love the performance. but the 1993 one is just ridiculous.