Tuesday, September 12, 2006

2006 (So Far): Best Supporting Actor

Toronto's Film Fest is almost over. The Fall Cinema arrives like thunder thereafter. So we're quickly touring what the year has brought us up 'til now... If the Film Bitch Awards were held today, your nominees for Supporting Actor would be:

Ben Affleck as "George Reeves" in Hollywoodland I would argue that the casting is the true brilliance here but that is not to say that Ben doesn't acquit himself very well nonetheless. I loved his easy charm laced with troubling self awareness. And I must say that I bought him in the period, too. That's tougher to get right for actors than people think. Chances are strong that Ben will figure into the competition for the Oscar shortlist. This won't win him the Oscar but even being in the race for a nomination is a comeback, is it not?

Steve Carell as "Frank" and Greg Kinnear as "Richard" in Little Miss Sunshine One of the terrible things about awarding actors for their troubles is that, particularly in the case of ensembles, you're ignoring that it's a collaborative artform. Lots of different people contribute to any given performance. So I'm happy to have space for them both and would like to just say that Paul Dano, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, and Abigail Breslin pitched in. Kinnear has an off-putting tricky role that he totally makes work without losing the audience and Carell is Carell: he makes everything he's in better. Bonus points for that voice work in Over the Hedge, too.

Woody Harrelson as "Dusty" in A Prairie Home Companion It's not much of a role but it's early in the year still. He's here because he wiped off the stench left from his one note work in in last year's Prize Winner... and reminded us of what a superb light comedian he is. Kevin Kline is huffing and puffing for laughs in this comedy but Woody just gently coaxes them into life --such beautiful ease. Well done.

Stanley Tucci as "Nigel" in The Devil Wears Prada He has been cast in a lot of thankless and rather stock roles in comedies but this time he's risen above the role and added fulfilling dimension. It's the best thing he's done since Big Night.

Who would you choose?

Tags: Steve Carell, Ben Affleck, Oscars, films, Academy Awards, movies

16 comments:

vince said...

I would like to see Alan Arkin recognized. Carrel was wisely understated. As was Kinnear. Arkin had some really good comic timing. So did Carrel, though.

Anonymous said...

I hope this doesn't offend anybody, because I don't mean to, but...

...the only male supporting performance I've seen so far this year that really stayed with me was Ben Sliney in United 93.

This is potentially problematic on 2 levels; firstly he's playing himself (and bearing in mind the subject matter he'd prefer not to be), and secondly he's not an actor.

But that's the reality that the movie gave me; it was a performance, and I thought he did a remarkable, believable job at reinterpreting what he went through.

I'm yet to see another supporting turn this year from an actor that impressed me more, so I apologise for a controversial pick.

Rob

StinkyLulu said...

I love Rob's argument. It's a kicker & spot on. Thanks.

Now back to me:
I'd opt for Paul Dano from the Sunshine ensemble. And, lo, there's the rub of ensemble work: Nat, Vince & Lulu have cancelled each other's votes. But, strategically, it'd be smart for Carrell to campaign for this. It could do for him what As Good As It Gets did for Kinnear, deservedly escalating his stature as a "serious" actor.

vince said...

I haven't seen Prada yet, but I'm still dismayed that they changed the Nigel to a short Italian American.

adam k. said...

I'd probably just swap Arkin for Affleck, only because I have yet to see the latter.

For some reason I thought of Kinnear as the closest thing to the film's lead, but if you call him supporting, I agree that he deserves to be here over Arkin. Arkin's role, while great, was less challenging. Kinnear really had to walk a tightrope here. Not that Paul Dano was bad either (and SO different from in L.I.E.). But my favorite of the men has to be Carrell. LOVE him.

And Tucci's spot is also well-deserved.

I'm curious, how much do you really love these perfs? Do you think any of them will last all year in the FBs? And who's your winner right now? I have a hard time deciding between Carrell and Tucci, and I'm sure Affleck's great, too.

NATHANIEL R said...

in regards to if any of them will survive. Tough to say. This is almost always my least favorite category --especially at the Oscars. so I never know if people are going to last or not.

my winner right now might even be Affleck though.

Rob, very interesting thoughts on Ben Sliney!

douglas said...

I'd go for:
- Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada)
- Steve Carrell (Little Miss Sunshine)
- Ben Affleck (Hollywoodland)
- Woody Harrelson (A Scanner Darkly)
- Michael Cote (C.R.A.Z.Y.)

tough to pick which one is going to win for now but i'd pick WOODY HARRELSON here. I just love him in A Scanner Darkly plus in A Prairie Home Companion. My second would go to Affleck for giving a career saving performance thank god. Third would be Cote though I'm not sure if that's lead or supporting...

adam k. said...

Wow, Affleck would win? That's a far cry from your saying before, "I think I'd nominate him as of now".

I'm actually kind of annoyed that Affleck has managed to save his career with this perf. In the past few years, he's turned out so much crap that it looked like he might actually go down. And for all the right reasons.

Beau said...

I thought Rory Cochrane was phenomenal in "A Scanner Darkly". Better than any of the leads, in my opinion, and far more entertaining.

...and honestly, I really dug Bettany in "Da Vinci Code". only part of that film I couldn't take my eyes off of, (not only for that aspect, either.)

...well, McKellen was great, and Audrey Tautou charming. Film was ehh though.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I'm glad Affleck is having this lil comeback because I've always liked him doing supporting stuff. Shakespeare in Love, Good Will Hunting and a couple of others.

"...the only male supporting performance I've seen so far this year that really stayed with me was Ben Sliney in United 93."

I was going to say the same thing! I felt weird thinking of him as a candidate but it really makes sense. He and Richard Birrinbirrin for Ten Canoes are the only ones I'd see being in my Top 5 at the end of the year.

Vertigo's Psycho said...

Thought Affleck was the best thing in Hollywoodland- he seems completely comfortable in the role, and he matches up very well with Diane Lane, who exudes sensuality and class until she is forced to take on a more shrewish countenance. Don't think the movie gels, though. The script keeps throwing subplots in (especially in regards to the Adrien Brody character) that seemed to belong to another movie. In the lead, Brody has an interesting, low-keyed screen presence, but his talents aren't being utilized (I'd like to see him do more offbeat character parts). Affleck is good enough to warrant a nomination (it's hard to hold the screen so effortlessly, and do the "charming, handsome" routine while remaining likable, as opposed to becoming obnoxious). However, I wonder if voters will deem his work too understated (it is, but beautifully so- Affleck resists the temptation to "act" up in his scenes).

A side note: in one of the more memorable sequences, the film suggests George Reeves' performance was cut out of From Here to Eternity due to the audience identifying with him only as "Superman"- not true. Reeves played a minor role in the film as Sgt. Maylon Stark and, as recreated in Hollywoodland, Reeves will forever be seen in Eternity, strolling along with Burt Lancaster before telling him he once spent time with Karen Holmes.

Anonymous said...

The thing is Kinnear is the lead in LMS in my view. I will put him in the top 5 of movies out so far Carrell and Dano for supporting.

Beau said...

Affleck was good, there's no disagreement there. I just wonder if there couldn't have been more scenes to add to the character. After the film, I felt like we spent more time on Brody than we did on Reeves, when instead the attention should've been more focused on the latter. It's his death, it's his picture.
I think I just wanted more. Good perf, just not enough of it.

NATHANIEL R said...

agreed on the "not enough" but that's one way the "supporting" meme will have no trouble happening, even with the Venice "Best Actor" prize.

vince said...

Okay, I blathered on in the sup. actress post, so I'm going to keep this brief. LMS rules all right now. P.S. I have only seen FIVE (!) films in contention

1. Steve Carrel (LMS). He did the best. He had the story arc, he got the laughs without pushing for them. Very understated, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah. I can't believe this, but I would totally hit that. But, why am I saying this?

2. Alan Arkin (LMS). I really want to put him #1, but I'd be lying to myself if I did. All in all, he's hilarious, and comedy is not easy, but I don't think he was trying that hard, not that he needed to be trying. He did the job that he was supposed to. ARGH! I hate ranking! And his presence is so FELT and brings a smile to my face at strategic places in the film (nod, nod, wink, wink). Kind of like Miranda in the Prada NOVEL.

2. Greg Kinnear (LMS). Good job, Kinnear. He took a very unlikeable character (hello? Tony Robbins) and made his transition to likeable believable (Tony Robbins with a real heart).

4. Chiwetel Ejiofor (IM). Nothing special about his perf, other than he's super sexy and I love to drool over him. And I think he's really cool.

5. Stephen Frye (VFV). Nothing special either, but I liked him in it.

5. Kevin Spacey (SR) He was also okay as Lex Luther. Love him in that opening scene.

Wow, two of my five are gay and another plays gay. How about that?

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