With the broadcast of the 2012 Academy Awards set for Sunday evening, we still have a couple of days remaining to make bold predictions and debate winners and losers in each of the major categories. In my previous post I took a look at the various nominees for Best Picture, with The Artist coming out on top as the very best film of 2011. Surely, the wise readers of this blog will agree with my foregone conclusion.
With the grand prize out of the way, the plan is to make my way through as many of the other categories as possible between now and Sunday. So let’s get to cracking with those individual acting awards!
Best Supporting Actor
And, the nominees are…
Kenneth Branagh — My Week With Marilyn
Jonah Hill — Moneyball (didn’t see it)
Nick Nolte — Warrior (didn’t see it)
Christopher Plummer — Beginners (didn’t see it)
Max von Sydow — Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (didn’t see it)
Well now… Apparently, I was not a big fan of films that featured “award calibre” supporting actor performances. One might think that I would have no choice but to give the nod to Kenneth Branagh for his turn on Laurence Olivier in My Week With Marilyn, but I really can’t do that as Branagh was really terrible in this role! No doubt, if the real Sir Laurence was buried with a Blu-Ray player (which seems unlikely, seeing as how he passed many years before the technology was invented) he is now spinning in his grave after watching Branagh’s ham-fisted, spittle-laden performance. So…
Kenneth Branagh — My Week With Marilyn (not worthy of consideration)
We should also put a double line through Jonah Hill. At first, when I learned of the nominees for Best Supporting Actor and saw Jonah Hill’s name on the list I was quite puzzled. I then realized that the Academy was using the list of nominees as a teaching aid for future generations, and plans to donate the list to the fine folks at Sesame Street for a movie themed installment of “One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other.”
That leaves us with only three choices.
Until I typed up the nominees for this category I’d never even heard of Warrior, so I have no opinion there, and isn’t this whole post about opinions? Sorry Nick. Love your mug shot and countless excellent films, but you are disqualified from consideration.
Christopher Plummer? I heard he was very good in this role, but can he possibly compete with Max von Sydow? I mean, von Sydow once played chess against Death and—though he ultimately lost—basically outwitted the Grim Reaper at his own game. Let’s see that sissy Captain Von Trapp do that!
Still, I don’t see a clear winner, and since we double-lined Jonah Hill, I feel completely justified in replacing him with a much more worthy performance that was inexplicably left off the Academy’s list of nominees:
Albert Brooks — Drive (saw it!)
Drive has made all kinds of critics lists for one of the top 5 or 10 best films of the year. I really wasn’t all that high on the film. It seemed to want to be a Michael Mann film, but wasn’t. As I sat in the theater, I kept putting Michael Mann in the director’s chair, and anticipated Michael Mann-ish tension surely building in the next scene. No, I was constantly disappointed. You don’t build tension by slapping a pretty boy onto the screen (the character of Driver, played by Ryan Golling) and asking him to do little more than stare off into space and act glum for three quarters of the movie. It was as if his constantly brooding demeanor would magically convey to the viewer a complex unimagined backstory. Eh. Didn’t do it for me. That said, Christine Hendricks from Mad Men was good in her all too brief role.
But the real showcase star of Drive was Albert Brooks, stepping out of his usual lighthearted comfort zone and delivering a detestably nasty performance as crooked businessman Bernie Rose. Brooks comes across as a guy who is forcefully “nice” in a way that says, “I’m being nice because it’s what polite people do. But you and I both know I’ll mess you up very badly if you don’t do exactly as I want.” It’s a controlled and effective performance, and Brooks dominates every scene in which he appears. It really is a shame that the Academy did not grace his excellent work with a nomination. But what do they know?
And the winner is… Albert Brooks!
There. Take that Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences!
Next, we’ll take on the nominees for Best Supporting Actress. Coming soon…