Monday, 3 March 2014
The Supporting Actor Project: 2013
The Supporting Actor Project and my embarrassing track record with it is as good a stand-in as any for my blogging ideology. If I say I’ll do something I will get to it, I’ll just get to it way later than I promised. (I still haven’t addressed 1961 which I promised to do two years ago).
Some background for the unfamiliar, though, was borne out of the simple observation that of the six “major” Oscar categories, in any given year the supporting actors are almost always the ones who get paid the least of attention. I’m not sure if it’s a representation of quality, pure coincidence or a larger indication of weirdness. More personally, though, of the major Oscar categories I’ve seen the least of the Supporting actors. For example, reigning supporting actor king Walter Brennan has three statues and I’ve not seen a single of his Oscar winning performance. So this venture is as much a distant public service to the men of this category as it is a chance for me to fill some blindspots.
Winner: Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club
The Nominees: Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper in American Hustle
Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street
Evaluating the field: So, 2013. Jared Leto’s place as Oscar, for a few months now, was assured which is unsurprising and still surprising considering each of the other nominees had viable “narratives” as potential victory stories to justify each winning the prize. Last year the nominees were all former winners, this year the nominees are all from Best Picture nominees – you decide if that was indicative of voter-laziness or pure happenstance. I’m inclined to believe the legitimacy of the former if only because the non-nominated performers who seemed most eager for a place (Daniel Brühl in Rush and James Gandolfini in Enough Said) were working from films with significantly low amounts of buzz heading into the award season. Brühl’s attention pulling, heavy makeup transformation and Gandolfini’s every-man charm mixed with his unfortunate death couldn’t overpower the luck of being in a picture nominee. It’s a good thing that the slate of nominees is fairly good so the omissions of those two (who’d top the actual nominees) doesn’t hurt too much. Each time I find myself feeling slightly ambivalent, for whatever reason, with this category this year I remember my absolute loathing for last year’s slate and I realise my least favourite performance of the nominees is still as good as 4/5 of last year’s slate.
The race narrowed down to a seven horse race fairly quickly and apart from Daniel and James, of the films Oscar seemed focus on only Will Forte (Nebraska) seemed like a spoiler. If Saving MR Banks had endured more Hanks seemed to be a legitimate option. Because, let’s be real, no one ever really though James Franco in Spring Breakers was an option here, did they?
My Ballot: Forthcoming, with a couple of the nominees here battling with about 7 others for a space in my personal top 5
The Field of Nominees: B
I was sure of who I preferred here a month ago until reconsidering after much thought me realise what a neck-and-neck battle this was. Even though my #1's film did not endear me any more to it second time around a rewatch made me fairly certain of my choice even though that top 2 is still so close for me.
Bradley Cooper in American Hustle ★ ★ ★ ★
How I’d Rank Them from there....
Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips ★ ★ ★ ★
Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street ★ ★ ★
Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club ★ ★ ★
Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave ★ ★
Previously: 2010, 2011, 2012
Upcoming: 1961, 1996, 1941,1954
I'm curious, though, Leto seemed crowned from the inception but who were you rooting for? Someone sell me on Fassbender's performance, or anyone colder on Cooper and Abdi than I?