Tag Archives: Robert Duvall

[Review] – Jack Reacher

5 Jan

Jack Reacher

Title: Jack Reacher
Year: 2012
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writer: Christopher McQuarrie, based on the novel by Lee Child
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, Werner Herzog, David Oyelowo, Robert Duvall, Jai Courtney
MPAA Rating: PG-13, violence, language and some drug material
Runtime: 130 min
IMDb Rating: 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
Metacritic: 49

Tom Cruise is staging a comeback as of late. Sure, he’s never really been away for that long, but it seems now that he’s just seriously trying to retake the title of world’s biggest action star that once so certainly belonged to him. That started, of course, with last year’s stellar Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the fourth entry in that franchise and also the best one in the series which I ranked as the 21st best film of 2011. He was then seen in the disappointing Rock of Ages this year, but that wasn’t his movie so I don’t count that towards his comeback track record.

Continue reading

[Trailer] – Jack Reacher

17 Oct

Watch the new trailer for the upcoming December release Jack Reacher below.

Continue reading

[Trailer] – Jack Reacher

3 Jul

The trailer for Jack Reacher, the December offering starring Tom Cruise, has just been released and you can watch it after the cut.

Continue reading

Seven Days in Utopia

8 Oct

Title: Seven Days in Utopia
Year: 
2011
Director: 
Matt Russell
Writers: David Cook, Rob Levine, Matt Russell and Sandra Thrift, based on the book by Mr. Cook
Starring: 
Robert Duvall, Lucas Black, Melissa Leo, Deborah Ann Woll
MPAA Rating: 
G
Runtime: 
99 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
5.9
Rotten Tomatoes: 
12%

 

Robert Duvall is one of the greatest actors to have ever lived, that’s pretty much a widely accepted fact, you look at some of the characters he’s played, those in films like The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, his Oscar-winning turn in Tender Mercies, what for me was his career-best work in The Apostle and last year’s Get Low (which I gave an A- to), the guy is just ridiculously good pretty much every single time he gets a second of screen time. And yet you look at the film he signed up for here and the performance he gives in it and you can’t help but feel kind of dumbfounded, this is just a really bad movie, and it’s as though only an actor of the caliber of Mr. Duvall could have given a performance as horribly mediocre as the one he gives here. It’s one of those cases in which you think that you can only play a character so bad because you’re actually really good. I don’t know, I’m just trying to still say that Mr. Duvall is the greatest, I just really disliked Seven Days in Utopia.

It’s this sort of fable tale kind of film, about a professional golfer who suffered abuses from his father and then suffers a huge breakdown at a championship and finds his way in the tiny town of Utopia, where he meets an old man who promises that after seven days there he will once again be playing awesome golf. Because, you know, Utopia is the sort of place in which you’ll learn about yourself and faith and life and everything in between. Yeah, that’s the kind of film Seven Days in Utopia is, it’s even rated G for God’s sake, and I’m not one for gratuitous swearing or anything, but an f-word or two would have certainly helped this film get the sort of attitude it would have needed to coming close to succeeding.

It’s the old wise man that Mr. Duvall is in charge of playing here. Again, this is a man who’s pretty much as perfect a thespian as anyone can be, and yet his performance here sucks, not because he sucks but because this character is just horrible. You know the character he plays from that brief description of the film I gave you above, he’s the old wise man that will impart some of his hard-earned life wisdom on the lost soul and make him a better man who truly knows how to embrace his inner-self and yadda yadda. And you know what, even though the vast majority of times I dislike these storylines, I get that this is supposed to be an inspirational film and inspirational films need them, but you look at how some of the best sport-related inspirational films like Seabiscuit or Rudy or Miracle got the inspiring part across and it was always done in some very neat way that really touched you, this film comes across as some cheap DVD of a third-class motivational speaker who does scarcely-attended talks at rundown motels.

Oh, and yes, like I said in the paragraph above, Seven Days in Utopia is an inspirational film about a sport, more specifically, one that uses golf as its G-rated metaphor for all things family, faith and morality. And it just really doesn’t work, I didn’t hate it like I hated the last film I saw (A Good Old Fashioned Orgy) but I’m just really pissed off about the two films I have seen today, I wanted something that worked and instead I got a lazy and clumsy R-rated raunchy comedy and a very unconvincing G-rated inspirational sports drama that was just the least compelling thing ever, but hey, at least you can’t blame me for not trying out a wide range of films today.

Lucas Black, who actually also starred with Mr. Duvall in the aforementioned Get Low as well as in Sling Blade (though they shared no scenes in that one), is the one in charge of playing the pro golfer, Luke Chisholm. Now, Luke was beaten by his father who was intent on him going pro, and then, as he blows the championship on the final hole, he, and the whole audience watching there and at home, sees his father walk away from him. Trying to blow some steam off he goes out for a drive but, oh sweet fate, his car breaks down in this small town where he meets Mr. Duvall’s old wise man, Johnny Crawford, who just so happens to own a golf resort in town. It’ll take seven days for his car to be repaired, and just as long for Johnny to do some real repairing in a far more important aspect. If that last line sounded cheesy you can blame it on this movie.

I wanted to like something here, Johnny’s past is briefly alluded to here and it sounds dark and abusive, and if Mr. Duvall had been given the slightest of chances to draw from that I’m sure something totally worthwhile would have come out of it, but no, his character is kept super straight-forward and we must buy that. We must buy a film about an abused golf pro learning life lessons from a former rising star who lost it all to booze that’s set in a Southern ranch and in which some pretty bad things happen and yet everything is kept super clean, not a single curse word, and just the total sense that everything is going to turn out fine. Again, I didn’t hate this film, I just thought it was really really bad because you can’t buy a second of it, and when you have a cast that includes Mr. Duvall, to say nothing of the great Melissa Leo and True Blood‘s Deborah Ann Woll, who I seriously love, and you see them being this wasted, you can’t help but get a bit mad.

Grade: C-

Oscar Nominations: My Reactions

25 Jan

The Oscar nominations were announced bright and early this morning. And while most of the nominees were predictable, there were still quite a bit of storylines to take out of the morning’s announcements.

Firstly, of course, the outrageous snub of Christopher Nolan in the Best Director category, Inception might have made the Best Picture ballot and Mr. Nolan himself got his second career Screenplay nod, but the Academy yet again failed to mention him for Best Director to make room for the Coen brothers. Another snub was The Town, which ended up with a sole Oscar nomination and got snubbed in the Best Picture as well as Director and Screenplay races, the films nominated instead were still quite deserving, but still, too little love bestowed on such a great film.

Then, on a far more positive note, this was also the year in which films that came out of Sundance came out strong at the Oscars, which is terrific news for the independent film business, The Kids Are All Right and Winter’s Bone both got 4 nominations in major races, Animal Kingdom got a Best Supporting Actress bid, and four out of the five Best Documentary nominees were shown in Park City a year ago.

As for what the nominations will mean come the big night on February 27th, well, The King’s Speech certainly got a huge boost today, scoring an even dozen nominations, the most out of any film this year. That has some people jumping from The Social Network‘s bandwagon into the one driven by Harvey Weinstein, since for the last several decades the movie with the most nominations has won the Best Picture race 75% of the time. Now, let’s play statistics for a while here, I actually still think The Social Network will still win this for now, but the stock on The King’s Speech has certainly risen in the last few weeks. First, of course, was Saturday’s PGA win, and considering that association has bestowed its award to the eventual Best Picture winner 13 out of the last 20 years it means it has the odds going for it.

But then again, lets not forget just how much The Social Network has going for itself, it pretty much swooped the Critic’s groups awards, including big wins at the Globes and the National Board of Review. Not to mention that David Fincher is the clear front-runner to win not only the Best Director Oscar, but the DGA honors that will be announced on Saturday. And really, the Best Director winner is always considered the likely victor of the big race and, in fact, the winner of the DGA award has actually went on to have their film win the Best Picture Oscar 33 times in the last 40 years.

So, who really has the advantage? I honestly don’t know, this really is one seriously tough race to call, and I won’t call it until all the remained precursors are done with. Yes, the DGA will most likely go to The Social Network, but then the BAFTAs will presumably be all over The King’s Speech considering it’s a home-grown film. The PGA win by Tom Hooper’s film was big, yes, but so were the many Critic’s Associations and Globes wins by David Fincher’s movie. So, if I may interject, I think that the one awards show that may be a big indicator as to what will happen on Oscar night will be the SAGs, taking place this coming Sunday.

Hear me out for a while, the SAG obviously doesn’t have a Best Picture award, but rather a Best Ensemble one, meaning it will honor the combined acting performances of the cast in a film. And while I still think that the front-runner for that one is The Fighter (which has four seriously spectacular performances), I can see an upset happening courtesy of The King’s Speech. The Social Network won’t win that one, it has some great performances but it can’t compete acting-wise with those two other films, so that race will be the one to prove just how much support The King’s Speech has. And if it wins that one, then I probably will update my predictions and consider it the front-runner for the Oscar, because, remember, the SAGs have many times served as indicators of Oscar upsets, I’m obviously referring to 1998, when the SAG went to Shakespeare in Love, the same film that went on to win the Best Picture Oscar over the clear favorite, Saving Private Ryan, and most recently in 2005, when Crash ended up with the SAG win and ended up upsetting Brokeback Mountain for the Academy’s top honor.

So yes, this will be a Best Picture race for the ages, one I’m really excited for and one that will come down to the very end. Will The King’s Speech end up with the win? Consolidating itself as the biggest Oscar bait there ever was in 2010, a biopic about British monarchy counting with excellent performances all around and a spectacular director working form a brilliant script. Or, will The Social Network prevail? The film with very young up-and-coming actors, directed by a director that started out working on music videos and then went on to create some of the most masterful and popular films of the last decade and a half, one about a modern phenomenon and full of quick-witted, very fast and talkative scenes. It will be a New School vs. Old School battle to the very end, the historical dramas have fared very well in the past, I’m thinking Gandhi or The English Patient, but as of late, with winners like The Hurt Locker and No Country for Old Men, it feels as though the Academy is skewing more towards films oriented to younger audiences with a more gritty sort of feel. We’re in for one very entertaining race to the finish line.

But enough about the big race, I’m sure we’ll talk much more about that in the near future, but for now let us revise all the nominations announced by the Academy today.

BEST PICTURE

  • 127 Hours
  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network
  • Toy Story 3
  • True Grit
  • Winter’s Bone

All the usual suspects here. I went 9 for 10 as far as my predictions go, considering Winter’s Bone felt the love from the Academy big time today and crept into the big party, throwing out my original prediction for the tenth slot: The Town. Again, as for who will actually win it, I have no idea, it’s a big split between The Social Network and The King’s Speech, and we’ll have a clearer idea of the state of the race once the remaining precursors are all said and done.

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Darren Aronofsky (for Black Swan)
  • Ethan Coen and Joel Coen (for True Grit)
  • David Fincher (for The Social Network)
  • Tom Hooper (for The King’s Speech)
  • David O. Russell (for The Fighter)

I went 4 for 5 in this one, considering I predicted the horribly snubbed Christopher Nolan to be invited to the party instead of the Coen brothers. However, True Grit got a massive ten nominations and the love went to the genius brothers instead. Which was well deserved, but it’s ridiculous that Nolan doesn’t have a Best Director nomination to his name yet. However, massive kudos to Darren Aronofsky for finally getting his first career nomination for helming what to me was the best film of 2010.

BEST LEAD ACTOR

  • Javier Bardem (for Biutiful)
  • Jeff Bridges (for True Grit)
  • Jesse Eisenberg (for The Social Network)
  • Colin Firth (for The King’s Speech)
  • James Franco (for 127 Hours)

Went a perfect 5-for-5 in this race, correctly predicting Javier Bardem’s nomination over Get Low‘s Robert Duvall. Still, Bardem’s nomination was much deserved, and it was awesome to see a foreign language performance getting a nod here. However, this has never been a race, the golden man probably has Colin Firth’s name engraved from this very moment.

BEST LEAD ACTRESS

  • Annette Bening (for The Kids Are All Right)
  • Nicole Kidman (for Rabbit Hole)
  • Jennifer Lawrence (for Winter’s Bone)
  • Natalie Portman (for Black Swan)
  • Michelle Williams (for Blue Valentine)

Another category in which I went 5-for-5 in my predictions. And it really is a lovely bunch of ladies getting nominated here, Michelle Williams got her extremely deserved nomination for her beautiful work in Blue Valentine and Jennifer Lawrence capped off her breakthrough year with an invite to Hollywood’s biggest party. This is, though, still a Portman vs. Bening battle, and even though I think Portman has the edge because hers was the better performance in the better film, I’ll wait until the SAGs are done on Sunday to call her a lock.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Christian Bale (for The Fighter)
  • John Hawkes (for Winter’s Bone)
  • Jeremy Renner (for The Town)
  • Mark Ruffalo (for The Kids Are All Right)
  • Geoffrey Rush (for The King’s Speech)

I predicted four out of the five here, the one I got wrong was Andrew Garfield who I thought would firmly land a nod but was bumped off by John Hawkes who was riding on the huge love given to Winter’s Bone here. Still, this is no contest, it’s Bale’s to lose, and he just won’t.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Amy Adams (for The Fighter)
  • Helena Bonham Carter (for The King’s Speech)
  • Melissa Leo (for The Fighter)
  • Hailee Steinfeld (for True Grit)
  • Jacki Weaver (for Animal Kingdom)

I’ve always said this was my favorite race of the year, and even though my personal #2 pick, Mila Kunis, was left out, it really still is. I said that if Hailee Steinfeld remained here and wasn’t voted as Lead, then either Ms. Kunis or Jacki Weaver would get the boot, I picked Kunis in my predictions but apparently the Academy really loved the Australian crime saga and wanted to give it a nod, as they should have, really. Still, this is the best race there can be this year, considering I could see any of these ladies potentially winning. Amy Adams was my personal favorite of the year, and she gives her best performance yet, and considering it’s her third nomination they may (and hopefully will!) give it to her. Helena Bonham Carter may find herself winning if The King’s Speech sweeps. Melissa Leo is the current favorite, and if she wins the SAG on Sunday then this will be hers. Hailee Steinfeld carries True Grit and the voters may like to reward a young one. And Jacki Weaver created one seriously compelling character here, though considering she missed out at the SAG I think she’s the less likely to end up winning.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Another Year (written by Mike Leigh)
  • The Fighter (written by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson)
  • Inception (written by Christopher Nolan)
  • The Kids Are All Right (written by Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg)
  • The King’s Speech (written by David Seidler)

I went 4 for 5 in this one, and the one I missed was the one that pains me the most not to see here which was the beautiful Black Swan screenplay, which I had in favor of Another Year, but I guess you can never count Mike Leigh out of this race, he’s just that good. As for who will win it, I would very much like to see The Kids Are All Right pick this one up, or if not then Christopher Nolan as a sort of apology from the Academy for not even nominating him for Best Director. But, most likely, this one will end up firmly in the hands of David Seidler.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • 127 Hours (written by Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, based on the book by Aron Ralston)
  • The Social Network (written by Aaron Sorkin, based on the book by Ben Mezrich)
  • Toy Story 3 (written by Michael Arndt, based on the story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich)
  • True Grit (written by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, based on the novel by Charles Portis)
  • Winter’s Bone (written by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini, based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell)

As I said in my predictions, Winter’s Bone was going to put up a fight to be honored in this category. In my predictions I had The Town listed instead of Debra Granik’s film, but, as I’ve already said, the Academy shout-out the Ben Affleck film outside of Jeremy Renner’s nod, so no love here either. I like Debra Granik’s script better though (had it 6th in my Best Screenplays of 2010 list, while The Town was 15th), so I’m happy about it. Still, there’s no way Aaron Sorkin is losing this one, but then again I said the same thing about Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner’s script for Up in the Air last year.

BEST ART DIRECTION

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
  • Inception
  • True Grit
  • The King’s Speech

Very very good bunch of nominees here, the only film I could have seen making the cut and still be happy about it would have been Shutter Island, but nevertheless, this will be a very cool race. I’m hoping Inception will prevail here, though Alice in Wonderland may have something to say about that and, if it turns out to be a sweep, so may The King’s Speech.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Black Swan
  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit

If I would have to guess, I’d say True Grit will win this one. However, it was amazing to see Black Swan get listed here, though I would have liked to see The King’s Speech miss out on this race in favor of the wonderful job by the 127 Hours guys.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Io Sono l’Amore
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Tempest
  • True Grit

As I said in my review for The Tempest, you can never count any Julie Taymor film out of the Best Costume Design race (all four of her films have now been nominated), but still, this one will most likely go to Alice in Wonderland. Cool to see Io Sono l’Amore get a nod here, too.

BEST EDITING

  • 127 Hours
  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network

Out of the technical categories, Best Editing is the one that foretells the Best Picture winner the most, so this one is one we should pay close attention to. Since the award was introduced nearly eight decades ago, only nine films have won Best Picture without being nominated here. Which I guess also goes to explain why Crash trumped over Brokeback Mountain. But still, the two Best Picture front-runners are here, so seeing who wins may be decisive as to who takes Best Picture. My vote goes to The Social Network here, and I still can’t fathom why Inception wasn’t named.

BEST MAKEUP

  • Barney’s Version
  • The Way Back
  • The Wolfman

They failed to recognize Alice in Wonderland in this one somehow, so I’m guessing this one’s definitely The Wolfman‘s.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

  • 127 Hours (composed by A.R. Rahman)
  • Inception (composed by Hans Zimmer)
  • The Social Network (composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross)
  • The King’s Speech (composed by Alexandre Desplat)
  • How to Train Your Dragon (composed by John Powell)

Usual suspects in this one. Awesome to see Reznor and Ross up for this one, and they’re definitely my favorites to end up picking the award. However, Alexandre Desplat gets his fourth nomination with this one and still hasn’t won, so if The King’s Speech ends up owning the show he could win. However, Hans Zimmer’s score for Inception, which is all sorts of mind-blowing, may end up getting the win if the Academy feels it didn’t bestow enough nominations love towards the film, he hasn’t won an Oscar since The Lion King in 1995, despite being nominated 6 additional times since.

BEST SONG

  • If I Rise (from 127 Hours)
  • Coming Home (from Country Strong)
  • I See the Light (from Tangled)
  • We Belong Together (from Toy Story 3)

I honestly don’t know who will end up with the win here. All I know is that I’m happy no songs from Burlesque were named here.

BEST SOUND

  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • Salt
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit

This is the one category that had most prediction experts baffled. Everyone predicted a maximum of 11 nominations for The King’s Speech, and this is the one nobody imagined, and the one that showed us just how much the Academy loved the film. As strange as it may sound, a Sound nomination is what really let us know that it was the front-runner.

BEST SOUND EDITING

  • Inception
  • Toy Story 3
  • TRON: Legacy
  • True Grit
  • Unstoppable

I really liked seeing TRON: Legacy here, and I was sure that The Social Network would get a nod here, but out of nowhere came Unstoppable and made the cut. Still, a cool and eclectic bunch.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
  • Hereafter
  • Inception
  • Iron Man 2

I expected TRON: Legacy to make the cut here, but at least it got a Sound Editing nod so it didn’t go unmentioned. Still, if Inception loses this race the Oscars will have lost all credibility to me.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • Biutiful (from Mexico)
  • Dogtooth (from Greece)
  • In a Better World (from Denmark)
  • Incendies (from Canada)
  • Outside the Law (from Algeria)

This one’s always very tough to predict. But hopefully Biutiful will end up with the trophy.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • L’Illusionniste
  • Toy Story 3

This one isn’t a race at all, Toy Story 3 will win this one hands down.

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
  • Inside Job
  • Gasland
  • Waste Land
  • Restrepo

No Waiting for Superman? Yeah, very very weird. Same with the lack of Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer. Still Inside Job would be a very cool winner, as would be Exit Through the Gift Shop, especially if we somehow get a Banksy appearance.

OscarWatch: Best Lead Actor

21 Jan

Since the Academy Award nominations will be announced bright and early Tuesday morning (!) I thought I’d do seven OscarWatch posts for the main races: Screenplay (encompassing both Original and Adapted), Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Lead Actor, Lead Actress, Director and Picture.

In them I’ll detail my thoughts on the given race and how I think things are starting to shape up considering we have now seen most of the precursor awards and count with BAFTA and SAG nominations. I’ll give my personal Top 20, with a brief paragraph on each, for any given race and detail which I think will be the nominees for the Oscars come Tuesday. In this post I’ll tackle…

Best Lead Actor

I’ll give my Top 20 performances given by actors in a leading role in 2010, my brief thoughts on each and then I’ll say how I think the Oscar nominations for the category will look once they’re announced on Tuesday.

As for the state of the race, it’s all said and done already. There’s really no way in hell Colin Firth isn’t leaving the Kodak Theater without that trophy firmly in his hand, his performance in The King’s Speech is unbeatable, and every other actor who did good stuff in a 2010 film will have to settle for a nomination on Tuesday.

Personal Top 20

  1. Colin Firth (for The King’s Speech) – There really is no other #1 pick in any capacity that isn’t Colin Firth. The stuff on display from him here is just astounding, and considering he’s coming off another Oscar-nominated brilliant performance from A Single Man last year his chances only get bigger, he’s just the best.
  2. James Franco (for 127 Hours) – The buzz surrounding this film seems to have been dying down as of late, but James Franco will still no doubt get a much-deserved nomination for his work as Aron Ralston. His 2010 was amongst the best any actor had, and how he carries the film by himself, delivering a tour de force performance is amazing.
  3. Ryan Gosling (for Blue Valentine) – The film was full of raw emotion and power and honesty, and it’s all because of its two leads. Ryan Gosling is superb here, doing the finest work of his career to date, and if the world was fair then he’d get a nomination.
  4. Jesse Eisenberg (for The Social Network) – Jesse Eisenberg is still the Jesse Eisenberg we all know and love in The Social Network, but reigned in by David Fincher he delivers a fantastic performance, transforming himself into the version of Mark Zuckerberg the movie needed, and helping the film earn its “the movie of a generation” title.
  5. Javier Bardem (for Biutiful) – Much like Ryan Gosling, Javier Bardem sheds every inch of actor vanity for his role in Biutiful, and gives a very open and honest performance in it that has people speaking raves of him. The sheer amount of power and emotional punch he gives here is just unbelievable.
  6. Jeff Bridges (for True Grit) – Last year’s winner will likely be a repeat nominee this year. He tackles a role that won John Wayne his Oscar, and complete does a 180 with it, pitching his own singularities into the character, and making him instantly memorable.
  7. Aaron Eckhart (for Rabbit Hole) – Put him alongside Mr. Gosling and Mr. Bardem, this is the third performance that’s just emotionally sincere, in a film that’s raw and powerful. This is a guy who has been doing stellar work for a number of years now, and he doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon.
  8. Leonardo DiCaprio (for Inception) – Casting Leonardo DiCaprio was the smartest thing Christopher Nolan did for his film. He grounds the film with his emotional storyline, not letting us get lost in the mind-bending plot structure, while not taking anything away from it either.
  9. Andrew Garfield (for Never Let Me Go) – Andrew Garfield had an amazing 2010, I had him as my third favorite supporting actor performance for The Social Network, which will likely get him an Oscar nomination, and he’s in my Top 10 here, for his work on what I’ll forever call the most under-appreciated film of all last year, he’s just amazing in it.
  10. Mark Wahlberg (for The Fighter) – Christian Bale, when accepting his Golden Globe for this film, said that in order for a loud performance like his to be effective, one needed an incredibly solid and quiet anchor. And Mark Wahlberg is that anchor, taking the leading role in his passion project, and delivering like crazy.
  11. Ben Stiller (for Greenberg) – Probably the best thing Ben Stiller has done in his career, his turn here is unbelievable, as he makes us feel about Roger Greenberg, feel bad for him, feel angry at him, it’s all just incredibly solid stuff from him.
  12. Robert Duvall (for Get Low) – Robert Duvall can do no wrong. He’s always amazing in anything he’s in, and he’s delivered some of the best acting work probably ever in some of his films. In Get Low he’s at it again, giving one seriously fine work, that only an actor of his caliber and experience would have been able to provide.
  13. Stephen Dorff (for Somewhere) – If this film had gotten more attention and love then we would all be calling Stephen Dorff’s career completely revived and be throwing nominations at him. The movie, however, wasn’t universally embraced. I still loved it though, and thought Mr. Dorff was amazing in it, creating in Johnny Marco a subdued and patient performance which I loved.
  14. Ben Affleck (for The Town) – I gave The Town three shout-outs in my Top 20 for Best Supporting Actor, then gave Rebecca Hall a nod in the Best Supporting Actress rankings, so this here makes it five mentions for that film. Ben Affleck not only directed and co-wrote this amazing heist movie, but also delivered a triumphant performance as the lead character who battles morals and emotions.
  15. Michael Douglas (for Solitary Man) – When people talk Michael Douglas and this awards season they talk about his supporting turn in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, and while he’s seriously good in that one, I’d rather have more people notice him in this one, a lesser-seen film in which he gives one of the strongest performances of his career, and definitely the best one since Wonder Boys.
  16. James Franco (for Howl) – Yes, a second mention for my #2 pick. And, even though 127 Hours is of course a much much different film, in this one he also carries the film by himself with a terrific performance. He plays Allen Ginsberg, and his line-readings of the titular poem are a thing of wonder.
  17. Paul Giamatti (for Barney’s Version) – I saw this one this year and will count towards my 2011 rankings, but it classifies for this awards season, so here it goes. Paul Giamatti has already won a Golden Globe for his performance here, and rightfully so, he’s amazing, and even though an Oscar nomination is pretty unlikely it would be awesome to see.
  18. Matt Damon (for Hereafter) – I also named him for Best Supporting Actor in True Grit, and here he is again. I’ve met a lot of people saying they were underwhelmed by Hereafter, but I thought it was a pretty masterful effort by Clint Eastwood, and Mr. Damon was just sensation in it.
  19. Leonardo DiCaprio (for Shutter Island) – Another double-honoree in this category. Leonardo DiCaprio always does wonders when working under the direction of Martin Scorsese, and in Shutter Island he really is amazing. A very different sort of role in a very different sort of movie for him, but he rocks it nevertheless, providing the perfect emotions to his character.
  20. Jake Gyllenhaal (for Love and Other Drugs) – I know there were other picks I could have made for the last spot, but I always give this one to a sentimental favorite. And I thought Love and Other Drugs was underrated, and I thought Jake Gyllenhaal was amazing in it, kudos kudos kudos to him.

How I Think the Oscar Nominations Will Look Like (in alphabetical order)

  • Javier Bardem (for Biutiful)
  • Jeff Bridges (for True Grit)
  • Jesse Eisenberg (for The Social Network)
  • Colin Firth (for The King’s Speech)
  • James Franco (for 127 Hours)

I think Bridges, Eisenberg, Firth and Franco are all locks by now, and I really can’t see any of them not being there picking up nominations. The fifth slot is more of a wildcard, and I think it’s a four-man race between Robert Duvall, Mark Wahlberg, Javier Bardem and Ryan Gosling. Odds-on favorite I would guess is Duvall, Wahlberg may get in because I think The Fighter will get some nice amount of love and Ryan Gosling gives a raw performance the Academy may want to reward. However, I think Javier Bardem has what he needs to pull this one off and be a foreign film competitor in a major race, he has peaked with the BAFTA nod and all the actors love his performance. So yes, I’m going with him for that final slot on Tuesday.

OscarWatch: Best Supporting Actor

21 Jan

Since the Academy Award nominations will be announced bright and early Tuesday morning (!) I thought I’d do seven OscarWatch posts for the main races: Screenplay (encompassing both Original and Adapted), Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Lead Actor, Lead Actress, Director and Picture.

In them I’ll detail my thoughts on the given race and how I think things are starting to shape up considering we have now seen most of the precursor awards and count with BAFTA and SAG nominations. I’ll give my personal Top 20, with a brief paragraph on each, for any given race and detail which I think will be the nominees for the Oscars come Tuesday. In this post we’ll tackle…

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

I’ll give my Top 20 performances given by supporting actors in 2010, my brief thoughts on each and then I’ll say how I think the Oscar nominations for the category will look once they’re announced on Tuesday.

As for the state of this specific race, I think it’s all but over now. Christian Bale will get his first Oscar here, there’s no other way of seeing this one playing out. There will be some competition from Geoffrey Rush, but it’ll all amount to nothing in the end.

Personal Top 20:

  1. Christian Bale (for The Fighter) – There’s no way this wasn’t anyone’s favorite supporting actor performance of the year. Bale is unstoppable as ever in this one, and he’s finally getting the much deserved recognition that had eluded him in the past.
  2. Mark Ruffalo (for The Kids Are All Right) – I’m a sucker for this film, and Mr. Ruffalo probably won’t end up anywhere near this high on the actual Oscar ballots, but I thought he was amazing in this one.
  3. Andrew Garfield (for The Social Network) – He goes head to head against Jesse Eisenberg in this one, and he’s amazing every damn second he’s on screen. 2010 was his breakout year, but we’ll keep seeing a lot of good things of him in the future.
  4. Geoffrey Rush (for The King’s Speech) – The likely #2 is my #4, but that doesn’t mean I think lowly of Mr. Rush’s performance, The King’s Speech is, after all, a masterclass in acting, and he gives an amazing performance in it.
  5. Vincent Cassel (for Black Swan) – Vincent Cassel won’t sneak into the actual Oscar race, but considering Black Swan was my favorite film of 2010 by a mile I thought I’d give him the final slot in my hypothetical nominations. A great performance by a great actor.
  6. Jeremy Renner (for The Town) – Everyone in The Town gave a fantastic performance in my opinion (even Blake Lively!), and the best of them came from Jeremy Renner who, riding high on last year’s nomination for The Hurt Locker, should have no trouble scoring another one this year.
  7. John Hawkes (for Winter’s Bone) – This is one of the most chilling performances I saw all of last year in an amazing film, if the film gets a lot of love on Tuesday he may find himself getting in there.
  8. Matt Damon (for True Grit) – Matt Damon is a guy the Academy loves, he even got a nod for the sub-par Invictus last year, and this film is actually amazing and he’s very good in it.
  9. Bill Murray (for Get Low) – In my book, Bill Murray can do no wrong, and he’s given some of my favorite performances ever. Robert Duvall will no doubt be getting all the attention for Get Low, and deservedly so, but Mr. Murray should steal some of it away from him, in my opinion.
  10. Justin Timberlake (for The Social Network) – Say whatever you want to say about Justin Timberlake. I think the guy’s great, and he’s actually a very very good actor. Or, at the very least, a guy who certainly knows how to pick his projects. In The Social Network he’s sensational, a true scene-stealer.
  11. Jim Broadbent (for Another Year) – I guess Mr. Broadbent would classify here and not in Lead Actor. And there’s no way he’ll get nominated because he hasn’t campaigned for a second, and that’s quite okay because he’s still wonderful in Mike Leigh’s latest, as he always is.
  12. Michael Douglas (for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) – If he gets this nomination then, granted, it will have to do more with his personal problems of late and the Academy’s need to recognize him then with the quality of the work he did. But the work he did was still pretty amazing, reprising the role that got him an Oscar in the first place to amazing results.
  13. Pete Postlethwaite (for The Town) – As I said above on Jeremy Renner, The Town is full of exceptional performances. And yes, naming Postlethwaite here may be riding on the emotional wave because of his recent passing (a wave that just got him a BAFTA nomination) but still, every time he appears on screen in the film he just chews up the screen, stealing away the spotlight from whoever crosses his path.
  14. Sam Rockwell (for Conviction) – He’s being put up higher on prediction lists, and just as well because his performance is actually pretty damn effective in this one, I just have him lower because the film itself I didn’t love as much.
  15. Josh Brolin (for True Grit) – Josh Brolin is one of the more consistent actors around as far as picking good projects and delivering in them (and yes, by saying that I’m choosing to ignore the disaster that was Jonah Hex) and in the Coen’s latest he’s his usual great self.
  16. Sean Penn (for Fair Game) – When reviewing my 2010 rankings to see what films there were that had great performances in them I realized I had forgotten about Fair Game, which was a very good film and had Sean Penn being just terrific in it.
  17. Jon Hamm (for The Town) – Yes, yes, I know, third mention for The Town. But it’s not my fault this one had so many amazing performances. Plus, who here can tell it wouldn’t be awesome to see Don Draper one day pick up an Oscar, or at least a nomination?
  18. Dustin Hoffman (for Barney’s Version) – I saw this film a couple of days ago, and it will actually count towards my 2011 rankings, but it classifies for this awards season so I’m putting it here. Mr. Hoffman is always great, and the film is getting a bit of momentum thanks to Paul Giamatti’s win at the Globes.
  19. Chris Cooper (for The Company Men) – This really is so that I can avoid giving a fourth mention to The Town, in which Chris Cooper had just one scene (but one in which he totally owned the screen). And also, this mention is inter-changeable with any of his co-stars in The Company Men (Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones or Kevin Costner), all of whom were impeccable.
  20. Miles Teller (for Rabbit Hole) – Quite a lot of actors competing for this final slot in my hypothetical nominations, but I thought Miles Teller was polarizing in the best of ways in this tough-to-watch film.

How I Think the Oscar Nominations Will Look Like (in alphabetical order)

  • Christian Bale (for The Fighter)
  • Andrew Garfield (for The Social Network)
  • Jeremy Renner (for The Town)
  • Mark Ruffalo (for The Kids Are All Right)
  • Geoffrey Rush (for The King’s Speech)

I’m 90% sure this is how the nominations will look like, though I’m still considering John Hawkes may sneak in there, most likely at the expense of Mark Ruffalo. Let’s hope not, and we’ll see how it all goes down on Tuesday.