Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Halfway Point: Supporting Actor (So Far)

2007 is (almost) halfway over. Time to recalibrate those Oscar predictions... But first, a few thoughts on where we've been and the supporting men we've noticed in our travels. If I voted today on my film bitch awards, the five Supporting Actors would be drawn from this group o' eight...

And if the Oscar voters themselves had to pick five men for the supporting actor category from the first half of this year, I think they'd go like so....
  • Don Cheadle -Reign Over Me (they love a co-lead)
  • Hugh Dancy -Evening (alcholic)
  • Michael Murphy -Away From Her (mental impairment = Oscar crack)
  • Gordon Pinsent -Away From Her (another lead)
  • Paul Rudd -Knocked Up (comedic spot & hit film)
If Zodiac had done better with audiences you might have seen that intricate and populated film heading for a revival in the winter with various elements in tow for an Oscar campaign, but I doubt it. Of the candidates so far I suspect that Hugh Dancy will win fans amongst Evening's viewers and could have even had campaign hopes if his movie were any good (it's not). He's quite easily 'best in show.' But at this point only Gordon Pinsent poses any sort of threat for end of year accolades in this category. It'd be fraudulent (he has the most screentime) but if Julie Christie's Actress bid heats up in the winter, he could be swept into a nomination. Which wouldn't be terrible (apart from the category) since it's a fine performance.

Do you have a favorite 2007 supporting actor yet? Make a case for someone in the comments --or help determine who was strongest in Zodiac.... that movie I swear [My updated Oscar predix]


rural juror said...

I must see Away From Her, but I'm A Robert Downey Jr. pusher. Mark Ruffalo, in my mind, is leading, and he's probably the best leading I've seen so far.

Sam said...

Irfan Khan was really very good. Actually, I would rank his as the best performance in the film. It was almost painful to watch him, at times, and I mean that in a good way.

He's my pick if the awards were given out today, but of course, A Mighty Heart will be long forgotten by awards time.

Chinese Odyssey said...

I agree with all of your choices, would add Alfred Molina of The Hoax though.

Robert Downey Jr. has a showy role in Zodiac, so Mark Ruffalo is my pick.

Scott said...

Pinsent as supporting? He's got the biggest role in the film.

Out of the Zodiac men I liked (and was most impressed by) Downey - though I could see a Ruffalo campaign making sense.

amir_uk said...

You have Glenn Close, Meryl Streep, Vanessa Redgrave, Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Eileen Atkins, Natasha Richardson and Patrick Wilson in a movie...and Hugh Dancy is 'best in show'? Wow! I'm looking forward to seeing this.

And don't blame Danes for Evening's alleged rubbishness. It's f-ing Lajlos Koltai's fault - he who cannot even light a film properly was chosen to direct this? As his debut? Whose bright idea was that?!

The material/cast deserved better...

amir_uk said...

And Zodiac - best film of the year so far that I've seen. All the actors were stellar, but none screamed Oscar to me. Too straight roles.


scott --exactly.

that's never stopped Oscar before.

Julia said...

My favorite so far would be Irfan Khan in "The Mighty Heart." I really did not like the film, but I found his performance unexpectedly moving and very powerful.

I also enjoyed Alfred Molina's performance in "The Hoax."

I (sadly) missed out on Zodiac, and will have to wait until the DVD comes out.

adam k. said...

Oh, come on. Even Oscar couldn't possibly rationalize putting Pinsent in supporting. It would be worse than anything that's happened before.

He's got the real lead role (Christie if anyone could be argued as supporting if you wanted to argue it, though they're really both leads), and it's not a passive lead role either. He's the protagonist, period. It's a love story and he's the male lead, and his role is bigger than the other lead's role. Plus, there's another baity supporting turn in the film to occupy this category.

It would be like putting Tom Wilkinson (In The Bedroom) in supporting, and we all know that didn't happen. Things haven't changed THAT much in 6 years.

Have they???

I will shoot someone if he's campaigned in supporting. If he got nommed there, he should refuse the nomination.

adam k. said...

Jesus Christ, it'd be like nominating Kate Winslet in supporting for Titanic.

Sorry, this just made my head spin. They COULDN'T. DO IT.

steve said...

Really, Adam?

- 2001 - Ethan Hawke - Training Day
- 2004 - Jamie Foxx - Collateral
- 2005 - Jake Gyllenhaal - Brokeback Mountain
- 2006 - Cate Blanchett - Notes on a Scandal

Plus a gaggle of others that could arguably go either way.

The first two (Hawke and Foxx) are totally ridiculous, since they have more screen time than the supposed "leads" of their respective films.

Gyllenhaal and Blanchett have roughly equal screen time and importance to plot, but were still somehow "demoted".

I don't really see how a Pinsent nomination in supporting is so much more appalling than those mentioned above.

I still hope it doesn't happen, though

Anonymous said...

What about Chiwetel Ejiofer in "Talk to Me"? I haven't seen it , but I've been hearing some good things about it.

Anonymous said...

I think the guy who played Arthur Leigh Allen from ZODIAC (one of the suspects) should be nominated. That interview scene with Ruffalo, Koteas and Anderson is exceptionally ambiguous acting.

Truly though, at the moment, I'd give ZODIAC most of the prizes. Among the three main contenders from that film, I'd probably go with Ruffalo... Downey Jnr and Anderson were very good though.

Catherine Cantieri said...

Man, I hope Zodiac gets some love come Oscar season. On a totally unrelated note, tag!

Anonymous said...

I would also add Irfan Khan in The Namesake. I haven't seen A Might Heart yet, but I was very impressed with him in The Namesake.

One other person was "best in show" was Andy Griffith in Waitress. I didn't like Russell in it, but Griffith was the best.

Finally, and I know that he's not eligible, but Ulrich Tukus in The Lives of Others.

Anonymous said...

Oops - meant Tukur instead of Tukus.


adam k. said...

Gordon Pinsent would be worse.

Mostly because his most direct parallel was Tom Wilkinson (not very well-known (at the time) older actor plays the REAL lead opposite very famous older actress in sad, troubling love story), and they had the good sense to nominate him in lead. I don't see why they wouldn't do the same for Gordon.

All the others I could at least see some reasoning in. In every one of the four you cite, they demoted one lead cause both leads were of the same sex. And while that's a stupid invalid reason, it's still a reason.

Plus, Hawke and Foxx were playing passive leads opposite much more charismatic plot-moving co-leads, so I see how they were at least overshadowed to the point of seeming "supporting."

And Gyllenhaal and Blanchett were at least the less leading of the two leads, since the films were more from the perspectives of Ledger and Dench. They were all leads, yes, but in each case, the MORE leading (the one the story HAPPENED TO) was the one that was placed in lead. That made sense.

Gordon Pinsent is MORE LEADING than Julie Christie, both dramaturgically and in screentime, and he's a different sex than her, too. There is no reason to lie and make him supporting except that he's not famous. And that is no kind of reason.

They are both leads and will both be campaigned as leads. If they aren't, no one would buy it. They didn't buy Johannson or Watts. When it's THAT egregious, there is inevitable confusion, and awards bodies don't bite.

I will eat my foot if he's nominated in supporting. It won't happen.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Anon Erik, who was that in The Lives of Others. The only name I have down for Supporting Actor at the moment is Hans-Uwe Bauer from The Lives of Others.

On the matter of Zodiac, I could see the cinematographers branch extending it some love, but other than that it's gone. I don't even think it could have worked in awards season if it a) was released September or later or b) it was a hit.

steve said...

Tom Wilkinson is really the only isolated case there, and that may have had more to do with the fact that he was never campaigned as supporting. He was always pushed for "Best Actor."

I'm not going to buy the Johansson and Watts snubs as examples of the Academy turning their noses up at the thought of nominating a lead performance in supporting. Johansson was snubbed, after all, in a year when the Academy decided to ignore fraudulent campaigns and nominate Castle-Hughes in lead. They were never going to nominate Watts, so it didn't matter where the hell she campaigned.

Besides, in In the Bedroom, neither Spacek nor Wilkinson stole the scenery from each other. In their one big histrionic scene (the plate!) they're evenly matched.

Not to mention that Wilkinson had a few prominent roles in major Oscar fare before Bedroom, something Pinsent lacks.

If anything, the Academy has demonstrated in the past few years a willingness to bend over backwards to nominate whoever they want, wherever they want.

Is it really so strange to imagine a supporting nod, given recent trends? Christie does have the showier role.

And besides, what about William H. Macy in Fargo?


thanks steve. you make my points for me.

the academy just doesn't care about the categorizations. the jamie foxx in collateral thing was the end... though there had been plenty of build up to the titles of the categories meaning absolutely nothing.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't too thrilled with "Away From Her" as a whole, but I wouldn't mind some early notices for Gordon Pinsent in supporting actor. Irfan Khan should be remembered for "A Mighty Heart", but he won't. Dan Futterman has a better chance of getting some critical mentions, and even that's a long shot.

Anonymous said...


I think you'd better start seriously considering Russell Crowe as a supporting actor contender for American Gangster. Yes. he's almost certainly co-lead. And it'll be blatant catergory fraud. But having seen that trailer, it looks like Denzel Washington's performance is going to easily dominate the film. Which means Crowe is going to be playing Cate Blanchett to Denzel's Judi Dench. Both co-leads, but the less impressive performance gets shunted to supporting to maximise the film's nominations.

The trailer was the first real indication that Denzel will be pushed as lead, and Crowe as supporting, imho.

adam k. said...

Yes, but there's not even any MOTIVE to put Pinsent in supporting, is my point.

Every other case is when both leads are the same sex. This is a fairly simple heterosexual story. There's another supporting actor. He's clearly the lead of the film. He'll probably get critics' notices in lead. I just don't see how they would do it.

And like people have been saying, the supporting positioning starts early, in order to maximize/ingrain the fraud in people's minds (i.e. Crowe this year). And I haven't seen that happening with Pinsent.

I think you're all paranoid, is all I'm saying.

Anonymous said...

- 2001 - Ethan Hawke - Training Day
- 2004 - Jamie Foxx - Collateral
- 2005 - Jake Gyllenhaal - Brokeback Mountain
- 2006 - Cate Blanchett - Notes on a Scandal

Don't the studios choose the category for submission? In each of these case, they were aiming for both leads to get nominations and, if that were to happen, then they wouldn't be competing against one another. With the exception of Cruise in Collateral, the gambit paid off.

Pinsent has no co-male-lead to compete against.

Stephen said...

I think that Dancy could make a play for a nod with Evening at the end of the year. He's got at least one more release before the year's out, and it's impressive that he still registers amongst so many faces that we expect to steal the show.

And on another note, nathaniel, regarding your review of Evening, I couldn't stand Toni Collette, and she's certainly a standard fav. of mine. I'd watch anything she does, and I thought she was lost in a terribly unlikeable character who was supposed to become the film's connection point. Too bad she was so irritating from the outset that it made such a change impossible.

Sam said...

2001 - Ethan Hawke - Training Day
- 2004 - Jamie Foxx - Collateral
- 2005 - Jake Gyllenhaal - Brokeback Mountain
- 2006 - Cate Blanchett - Notes on a Scandal

For me the most egregious example will always be Gina Davis' win for her leading role in Accidental Tourist. She wasn't best supporting actress, she was more like best breakthrough performance.

steve said...

Again, Adam, what about Macy in Fargo? Different sex, shoved into supporting.

I'm not saying it will happen, just that it's clear that the Academy wouldn't have any problem doing it. I don't get why it's I mean, nominating Foxx twice in 2004 was so over the top ridiculous that Pinsent in supporting is no worse.

I mean, honestly, Pinsent as a supporting actor makes your head spin more than Foxx? Is it really that inconceivable?

steve said...

Really, the studio'll campaign him wherever they think they can get a nomination. And the Academy will nominate him, or they won't. The Academy works in mysterious ways.

Edward Copeland said...

Pinsent truly does merit consideration as lead. Rudd in Knocked Up is really the only supporting actor possibility I feel strongly about (personally) at this point.

Anonymous said...

Glenn - While it's been a while since I've seen the film, I believe that Ulrich Tukur is Muhe's immediate supervisor. Many of the reviews that I read don't refer to this character, but I distinctly remember him from the movie. Perhaps, though, that I've remember the right character but mismatched the actor's name. Which role did Bauer play?

Anonymous said...

Glenn - While it's been a while since I've seen the film, Tukur played Muhe's immediate supervisor in the movie. I've read a number of reviews on the movie, but hardly any of them mention this character. The character made quite an impression on me, so perhaps I've mixed up the name of the actor. What role did Bauer play?



to anonymous --the studios do not choose the category (well... they do at the SAG but that's it) but they do chooose the campaign itself.

the oscar voters can vote however they like either following the fraud (in the case we're discussing) or rejecting it.

Eric said...

All this talk of possible award- worthy performances in "Zodiac" and no mention of Mr. Gyllenhaal?
Is it becuase he's lead?
Will anyone who supports him for this film be accused of a "Gyllenhaalic" and/or "Brokeback" bias?

- Personally I thought he gave the best performance in the film,with Downey Jr. a close second.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Erik, Bauer played one of Dreyman's writing friends.

The one of the right.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Warner Brothers ridiculous decision to campaign DiCaprio for Supporting with the rest of them for THE DEPARTED. Damon being there was insulting enough, but it was truly Leo's picture. Thank God at least Wahlberg got a nomination out of that campaign.

Anonymous said...

Javier Bradem MUST get nominated this year otherwise the Academy will loose all their credibility.


so you've seen No Country For Old Men anonymous?

Kamikaze Camel said...

While I'm sure Anon hasn't seen it, I was thinking that Bardem is getting huge buzz. Could he be one of the steamrollers this year? It's not like he's this foreign newcomer, he's very respected and in a Coen Bros film. Plus, he has the physical thing going. I know it's only his hair, but how off their rockers did people get about that piece of putty Nicole Kidman had on her nose in The Hours.