On Friday The Black Dahlia opens, ushering in --we assume we hope we dream-- an onslaught of quality pics for the cooler months. So we're quickly touring what the year has brought us up until now...
But what exactly has the year brought us in regards to leading actors? Not too damn much. Nevertheless, if the FB Awards (my own) were held today, the shortlist would read:
Chen Chang in Three Times He's serenely watchable. His name doesn't have the marquee value of a Tony Leung or a Takeshi Kaneshiro, but maybe it will someday. You've seen him before even if you don't recognize his name. He played Zhang Ziyi's lover in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Tony Leung's coworker/friend in Happy Together among other quality imports.
Aaron Eckhard as "Nicky Naylor" in Thank You For Smoking He's been typecast to an extent as an amoral devil but can you blame Hollywood? He does it so well and with real bite. Bonus points: We went to the same college at the same time. So I've always felt a little proprietary.
Colin Farrell as "James 'Sonny' Crockett" in Miami Vice I belong to the small minority that thinks that Farrell is good in everything. Even when his performances don't quite work I can usually see him reaching for something (more than can be said for many stars). One day he'll give a great performance.
Ryan Gosling as "Dan Dunne" in Half Nelson This performance makes a great twin set with Gyllenhaal's in Sherrybaby: both shoot for naturalism but they also contain the unmistakable whiff of theatrical ego. Given that their characters are selfish and self-destructive the approach feels right.
Denzel Washington as "Detective Frazier" in Inside Man Denzel has such star magnetism that he could've phoned this one in and most people would be none the wiser. He didn't. This is the liveliest he's been onscreen for quite some time. The fun is infectious.
Still... As much as I like all five of these performances I would be shocked to see any last until my actual awards are handed out.
WHAT OF THE OSCAR RACE?
That contest is the slowest to get started this year, isn't it? There's not one real contender yet. Despite the sluggishness in theaters, the festival reports are telling us that the war for the actual statue is already narrowed down to two men: Forrest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) and Peter O'Toole (Venus). JJ sums it up nicely in this article.
Tags: Denzel Washington, Colin Farrell, Oscars, films, Academy Awards, movies