Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Incoherent Oscar: Dream Duos

I did this very random entry last year, and I think I’ll make it a tradition because it’s quite fun. Chances are your twitter timeline exploded yesterday when the Oscar nominations were announced. I haven’t posted an official response on the blog (yes, I know you’re just salivating waiting for that), I shall get to that later in the day – it is necessary. For, now, I’m looking at the slate of 20 nominated actors from the youngest (Rooney Mara at 26) to the oldest (Max Von Sydow at 82) and I picked out five pairs of the 20 that I’d like to headline a film together. To make things more interesting, for me, I’ve decided to add one of the five nominated directors to each pairing (some work, some don’t – you decide).
Potential movie pairs ahead…
Gary Oldman and Christopher Plummer (d. Michel Hazanavicius)
Naturally, since I know painfully little of Hazanavicius’ work outside of The Artist (thoughts on that forthcoming soon…ish) I’m not sure what would be a departure from the norm for him, or right up his alley. I do love the very British pairing of Plummer and Oldman, although I’m a bit more stumped on what their movie should be about. I would not be averse to Oldman reprising his role as Smiley (or a Smiley-esque figure) for a movie with Plummer as the stand-in for Control. Because, even though John Hurt is fabulous and even though it’s been nice seeing Plummer being gregariously nice in Beginners recently I’d love to see him get dark and dubious again opposite Oldman.

If I could glean anything from Hazanacicius work in The Artist it's that he's good with actors, and true I don't want Plummer and Oldman in a silent film, nor do I want them in a whimsical look back at Old Hollywood, but we do know that both men glower with distinction, and neither need words to penetrate your soul, so maybe it's a bit like a silent movie.

Demián Bichir and Brad Pitt (d. Terrence Malick)
I want Bichir and Pitt to star in a crime drama where they’re allies, but then I think what would Malick do with a crime drama? Transpose to some war, make a film about the battle-field? Replace them with dinosaurs? I’m just being silly. He’s not opposed to visceral crime (see Badlands) and sure he has his proclivities - but who doesn't right? Regardless of what might be his preference, Malick is obviously a fine director which I like to think means he could tackle anything he wishes to. And, Brad’s better performance this year was under him so why not have the two of them teamed up again?

Then, even if I didn’t love A Better Life Bichir is a fine actor. He has this quiet intensity going for him which I think makes him work excellent both as a the larger than life father he plays in that, as well as a still-waters-run-deep antihero. Cast him in a morally ambiguous role opposite Pitt and I’m sold. 

Kenneth Branagh and Viola Davis (d. Woody Allen)
I dare you resist this. Viola Davis is a veteran of the theatre, and I love theatre people being gloriously theatrical on screen (see Annette Bening in Being Julia) for every theatrical avenue Viola could hit you just know that Shakespearean thespian Branagh would be right there matching her on every beat. Add that to the idea of Woody who did fine work with the theatre backdrop in Bullets Over Broadway and I think, my friends, we’ve got gold.

I can't validate why Branagh has sort of bee missing in action recently, and more than a few persons have intimated that they'd love for Viola, and black actresses in general, to find some key roles that don't focus explicitly on their race, I think a Woody comedy would be a nice way to both bring Branagh back to the fold, and give Viola a nice key role to sink her dramatic chops into.  

Jean Dujardin and Meryl Streep (d. Martin Scorsese)
I want Scorsese to make another lady-picture. And, no this is not a deprecating comment, I want another The Age of Innoncence or Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Scorsese is brilliant with the ladies (see Liza Minnelli give her finest performance under him). Why not have him team up with Streep for a film about an older woman and her young lover, played by Jean Dujardin. Will it be a tragedy? A comedy? A melodrama? Who knows? More importantly, who cares?

Sure, I am never completely on board the Meryl train, but the woman is lovely and I want to see her create a role from scratch. One of the reasons I loved 80s Meryl so much was because of her lovely work with introspective characters created from scratch and I'd love too see her create another role like that (it's not incidental that since the eighties my favourite performance from her was the excellent creation of Clarissa Vaughan). And, more importantly...who say no to Meryl and Jean AND Martin?

 Jessica Chastain and Glenn Close d. (Alexander Payne)
If I want Scorsese to make a lady-picture, Alexander Payne NEEDS to make on. His sharpest critics tend to zero in on his boorish male leads and he has admittedly has issues with his women. So, what to do? Get Glenn Close and future world-ruler Jessica Chastain. At first, I was thinking a mother daughter duo, but then I thought boot Rose Byrne (who I like, have no fear) and create a faux-Damages affair for the cinema. Glenn in all her powerful, majesty and budding chameleon Jessica Chastain as a would be contender as heiress to Glenn’s throne.

I'm very curious to see what becomes of Chastain, she's lovely and even her more gritty characterisation in The Debt was still a bit sweet, so it'd be nice to see her attempting to come against someone with Close's general strength of projection. And, who doesn't love a good female/female showdown when done tastefully?

Mix and match the Oscar nominees....which pairs would you like to see emerge? Which actors need to work with which directors? Make your choices in the comments.


Ryan T. said...

How inspired. I'm actually weeping that the team of Branagh-Davis-Allen and Dujardin-Streep-Scorsese will never actually be realized. Though I'd settle for a Davis-Dujardin flick as random as it may be.

I'd love to see what Woody Allen could do with Michelle Williams. But if not Allen, then Payne. Just a smart comedy with maybe McCarthy, Spencer, and/or Chastain. Now I realize it's probably too similar to you Chastain/Close duo... hell, I'd include Close too. All the ladies!

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

ryan they WILL, if i have to come to hollywood myself and do some blackmailing. i'm with you, though. ALL THE LADIES, in everything. that would be some movie.

Runs Like A Gay said...

Do you think you could persuade Payne to change the gender in Nebraska, admittedly you wouldn't get the showdown vibe you want but imagine how determined Close could be in her cross-state trek.