Sunday, October 26, 2008

Prediction Revamps: Best Actor & Supporting Actor

With release dates recently shifting (The Soloist to 2009 and The Road probably headed that way ...among others) it's time for a major Oscar overhaul. I'm starting with the actors. I think it's safe to say --or as safe as it can be to say at this point -- that we can narrow our Lead Actor candidates to nine or ten. [Everyone together now: "But there can be only five"] I hope the campaign battle gets bloody and stays at least nine-wide (it's more fun that way) but recent years have seen the true candidates narrowed to 6 or 7 quickly by the abundant precursor organizations. Those early awards bodies (SAG, BFCA, Critics, NBR, Globes) agree far too often considering how subjective the whole idea of "Best" is, don't they? How did it all become so conformist?

Not "maverick" at all, these Oscar competitions. But then, that word doesn't seem to mean what it used to mean, now does it?

Meanwhile: Supporting Actor continues to remain more of a mystery ...outside of Heath Ledger's ghostly Joker. But then, the Supporting categories always are. It's so much easier to suss out Oscar appeal lead performances early on. The supporting players are always better at hiding within the plot synopsis and editing decisions. The supporting players need "best in show" citations, good campaigns, strong "clip" scenes, and enough screen time to make a case for themselves, and usually love for the film itself --none of which get really clear until the films open.

And finally... is Last Chance Harvey (trying that age old and eternally annoying 'day after Christmas' limited release to Oscar qualify) starring Dustin Hoffman & Emma Thompson an American President type of charmer (i.e. well liked but too lightweight for real Oscar attention ~ that's the vibe I get from the trailer at least) or something more. The trailer for your consideration:


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35 comments:

Hayden said...

How refreshing is it to finally see Emma Thompson back into a real leading role?

Casey f said...

i have to think that brolin and del toro are more likely than fiennes

NATHANIEL R said...

CASEY F --- why Brolin when his film is not doing Oscar style reviews?

Del Toro does seem likely until you consider how hard it will be for IFC (never really an Oscar player) to get any traction for a 4 1/2 hour film that they're waiting until December to show...

i don't know. it just seems unlikely to me (especially with mixed reviews for the film as a whole)

whereas who knows... THE READER might get great reviews.

HAYDEN -very.

Casey F said...

that is a good point on IFC and Del Toro. with W., it's true the film isnt getting oscar-like reviews, but Brolin kinda is. almost everything ive heard about the reader thus far is bout weinstien v. rudin or kate winslet. i would kinda be shocked if fiennes got a nom at this point whereas i would not be really surprised if brolin did

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't count out Brandon Walters of Australia - I've talked to a couple of early screeners and he is getting amazing reviews. The kid is going to come out big - especially since Kodi Smit-McPhee is out of the race.

Eastwood's trailer looks horrible... and people say Bale's Batman voice is horrid. If he gets another nomination for a movie that screams "Give me an Oscar nomination!" I think I'll puke. Granted, I still have to see the movie... but Jackman, Jenkins, DiCaprio, etc. should be given more dues before him.

mrripley said...

i think a gg globe nod will help both esp thompson,hoffman will def be in as the comedy role race is weak,no actress is a lock just yet so emma thompson could get in,there HAS TO BE a reason they are releaseing it to theatres when it was going to go to dvd,i think it will play well with the older academy crown itl ooks different to everything out there and sin't hoffman due 1 more nod before he retires.

NATHANIEL R said...

i would never argue with anyone claiming other people are more due than Eastwood ... but alas, this isn't how AMPAS plays. They love love love love love love him and it's easy to see a scenario where they decide he needs a 5th Oscar since he hasn't won for acting.

James Hansen said...

I dunno. After seeing the GRAND TORINO trailer, I'm pretty convinced that film is going nowhere. It looks like Clint is playing a caricature of his good ole days. I don't think it will fly. If REVOLUTIONARY ROAD is half as good as people expect, then DiCaprio has to be a lock. I agree with most everything else (although you have to remember they would only submit one half of CHE for consideration, which would make it easier for a Del Toro vote...I still don't think he will get a nom...its too unclassical of a biopic performance for the Academy.)

Glad you're back from DC alive and well!

NATHANIEL R said...

ooh one more thing on FIENNES casey... i think the reason we only hear about weinstein/rudin and winslet is clearly because nobody has seen the film. So we're hearing about release and strategy wars and Winslet is involved due to the two film problem.

Fiennes star light been on dim for a while now but all it would take would be another great performance in a film that was well positioned... i doubt that THE READER is it (given the trouble and the rushed production) but ya never know

Anonymous said...

Are we sure Fiennes will go lead? I've read the book, and I believe he's in less than half the movie. It's sort of like a Briony scenario - though his character is the main one, it's played by two different actors.

rosengje said...

Hate to repeat everyone's sentiments, but I think that both Benicio del Toro and Philip Seymour Hoffman should be elevated in the Best Actor race at the expense of Ralph Fiennes and maybe Dustin Hoffman.

I am really excited for Fiennes to once again figure into the Oscar derby, but I think it is much more likely in the supporting actor category. With the good will engendered by his turns in In Bruges and The Duchess, I think The Weinstein Company will eventually make the switch. Having read the script, the case could easily be made that his is the supporting role, and would be a much less obvious case of category fraud than that of his co-star, the lovely Kate Winslet. Anon is correct that it is a Briony scenario, but his character is even more in line with Vanessa Redgrave and Romola Garai's than Saiorse Ronan's.

NATHANIEL R said...

but do you all really think that they would dare campaign BOTH of their leads as supporting?

which is to say it's primarily a story about the relationship between two people (Fiennes and Winslet)... and that would mean a two character epic would be billing itself as a film without any leads (since they're currently intending to push winslet supporting to avoid REV. ROAD)

very strange.

NATHANIEL R said...

rosengje --i can't imagine the academy will be into SYNECDOCHE but maybe i'm wrong. I mean I often love cerebral stuff that others might deem "pretentious" and i thought it was a very difficult sit without much by way of audience enjoyment. i can't imagine anyone with middlebrow-leaning taste would enjoy it at all.

Anonymous said...

Well, Weinsten as the awards pig he is, will probably want to to campaign them in their most-likely-to-get-nominations category.

NATHANIEL R said...

true but i bet even the academy would laugh at a non-ensemble movie claiming it has no leads.

could you imagine AUSTRALIA, for a random example, trying to campaign both Jackman and Kidman as "supporting" --- Hee

i mean it's so absurd as to be laughed out of any nominations. So maybe i hope a studio dares go there someday -- perhaps it'd help the academy realize how foolish they are constantly allowing the supporting categories to be corrupted instead of doing what they were created to do: honor character actors and non-lead talent.

Anonymous said...

I'm agree for most of the predictions (With the exception of Clint Eastwood) but... What about Michael Fassbergen for Hunger? I didn't say he gets an Oscar Nomination per se, but I think he could be in the running. Fantastic performance and should be in consideration, especially for the release date in December 5. Maybe is just ME, but I think Fassbergen has better chances instead Hugh Jackman (I don't know why, but I think he'll be out even if Australia is a hit).

Don't count out Dustin Hoffman (VEteran nominee + Likely character + "Comedy" spot + Respect from Hollywood comunity)

rosengje said...

I agree that it sounds ridiculous but it is actually much more accurate than most category tampering that we see. Fiennes is probably only in 1/3 of the movie. His scenes (where the actual reading comes in) are probably the most emotionally affecting, but they make up a very small portion of the run time. The book centers around his character at three different stages in his life, and I believe the younger actor is used for the first two, when the crux of the narrative happens.

Winslet is much closer to a lead than he is, but has the obvious complicating factors. Anyway, this is certainly not as bad as Dev Patel for Slumdog Millionaire or Casey Affleck last year. Maybe they can campaign the kid as lead actor...

I do believe you are right about Philip Seymour Hoffman though. Mostly I want more people to pay attention to Benicio del Toro's immense performance in Che. The Cannes prize has to count for something, no?

Pivo said...

Speaking of Brolin, Nathaniel, don't you see him as the frontrunner of GG comedy/musical race, deserving at least the Top10 at the Oscars? ["W." a comedy??? Yeah, just like "Charlie Wilson's war".] By the way, this is soooo far the weakest sub-category of the year: J.Brolin+D.Hoffman+....+....+....??? Maybe Downey Jr. for "Iron man"?

NATHANIEL R said...

anon and various peoples --

i suspect a lot of release date stuff will clear up soon. I've noticed on IMDB that they rarely change the release dates even when the plan for the film changes so basically everything says 'December'. And some movies even say December when they have no distributor... as if it's a goal rather than a schedule.

as for Fassbender... even if that new December release pans out (just a week or two ago it was spring 2009) he's not going to get any Oscar play. the film is way too harsh for AMPAS and it's not a typically baity performance. Furthermore I'm not sure why IFC thinks it should schedule multiple releases for December --if you're previously unsuccessful at getting nominations what's with the shotgun multiple film December approach rather than a careful release / plan / strategy?]

as for GG COMEDY it all depends on how they categorize things. some possibilities...

(seems likely if they're so categorized)
HOFFMAN -Synecdoche
BROLIN - W.
DOWNEY JR -iron man
HOFFMAN -last chance harvey

(and there's always...)
ROCKWELL -choke
SMITH -hancock
STILLER -tropic thunder
CARELL -get smart
FRANCO/ROGEN -pineapple express
CERA -nick and norah's...
BARDEM -vicky christina

Pivo said...

It'll be funny to see Philip Seymour Hoffman nominated as Best Comedy Actor for a movie in which he cries ALL THE TIME.

Victor S said...

About "The Reader" and the "they're both supporting" thing: Dont be surprised if Harvey put the kid who plays the young Ralph Fiennes as lead and both top billing stars as supporting. I know, its ridiculous, but its Harvey...

Alex in Movieland said...

Supporting Actor:
Jeffrey Wright - Cadillac Records
[first to predict nom].

GG Comedy:
we shouldn't leave out Brad Pitt & George Clooney (if the year is weak, and it is in this category, they'll remember Leatherheads)

Arkaan said...

1. Gran Torino looks horrible.

2. Small Films + December = crap idea. Why don't distributors realize this? This is why The Visitor still has a shot (and the fact that a lot of films are being pushed back helps)

3. Che? Not gonna happen. Basically, what IFC is doing is releasing it for one week (qualifier) AND then splitting it into two films in the new year. So, if they send out DVD screeners (no guarantee), they're relying on voters to sit down and watch a four and a half hour structuralist epic. And then they're relying on them to LIKE IT. Soderbergh's a longshot directorial candidate if only because I think he's got admirers who are really impressed that he's got the creativity to try anything and the clout to get funding.

4. I think we're underrating Hugh Jackman's chances. Yes, romantic leads don't always get the nomination (see Ewan McGregor and Leonardo Dicpario). But they do sometimes (Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law) and I think if Australia makes a strong showing (and I don't mean overwhelming, I mean strong - 6-8 nods), he's in. He's a respected star who knows how to work a crowd (so he'll be excellent on the campaign circuit). Frankly, I think I'd rate him higher than Brad Pitt or Clint Eastwood.

NATHANIEL R said...

1. The Clint Factor negates that.
2. preaching to the choir.
3. exactly
4. i hope you're right. i'd love to see him in play.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Fiennes has also been getting very good write-ups for The Duchess where he is a supporting player so it's like Winslet again but, ya know, far less likely.

Last Chance Harvey just looks like one of those movies that gets shoehorned into the race every race and people clamour to be the first to predict it and then it debuts and people realise that it's nothing special.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised Fincher is your number one... last month's predictions didn't even include Benjamin Button in the best picture top five.

James said...

I sort of imagine Christopher Nolan as the front-runner for Directing at this point, though sight unseen, Fincher (not really Van Sant) could be a threat.

NATHANIEL R said...

anon 7:58 (people please make up a name so it's easier to talk) the Fincher thing was just a momentary loss of faith. If you notice the "previous" history, last month was the only month I didn't have BENJAMIN BUTTON and Fincher predicted. I recovered my faith in the Oscar potential of the movie ;)

Anonymous said...

Gran Torino looks like a recycled The Brave One, but with a male lead, Eastwood nonetheless, maybe it can make some shortlists. Although I'm not impressed by the trailer.

Not impressed with Hoffman's trailer either. The dude rocks, but this film looks completely ignorable.

Anonymous said...

Clint won't stop until he has a best actor Oscar to add to his ton of Oscars he's won already. That "Dirty Harry" meets "M$B" meets "Crash" meets "Mystic River" trailer has me convinced. He's winning best actor. I'm calling it already. He'll be the late-surge establishment (re: old vet that the Academy membership can feel more than comfortable in picking) choice that'll beat out the critics favs (Penn or Rourke or Langella) and the popular choice (LEO!). And my beloved Viggo won't even be in this lineup this year, which I'm still fuming over.

Rick said...

I have not seen any of the movies for Actors... except Richard Jenkins ... whom I hope with all that is in me gets a nomination. I would probably take Eastwood out of your five choices and keep the rest.

Anonymous said...

When did PSH go supporting?

Anna said...

Victor S said:

"About "The Reader" and the "they're both supporting" thing: Dont be surprised if Harvey put the kid who plays the young Ralph Fiennes as lead and both top billing stars as supporting. I know, its ridiculous, but its Harvey..."
----------------

I wouldn't even say it's ridiculous. Just judging from the book, Winslet's role could very well be considered supporting and David Kross might actually get the most screen time. He's a good actor, too (seen him in two films so far).

Anonymous said...

i think this is the year of the clint backlash. changeling so-so recieved, although jolie still strong contender for actress. torino looks bad, but i dont think it necessarily will be terrible. that said, i do not think clint has this locked away by any stretch. he pulled off the two oscar worthy films in one year with flags of fathers and iwo jima, but the backlash has already begun with the negative reception of changeling. jolie has a solid chance with the nom, but if clint puts out another mixed review film (which definetely seems possible, did you see the trailer?) revoking his acting nomination will be the perfect payback.
even if torino does well, i predict the year of the pretty boys, meaning pitt and dicaprio make it in. that would make my predictions list penn, rourke, dicaprio, pitt, and langella.
langella, pitt and dicaprio are in danger of getting replaced, but i would give the edge to richard jenkins, not clint. jenkins has stayed relevant in everyones mind all year, whereas last year i think people forgot about tommy lee jones and he scored a nomination anyways.
ps. that magic emporium movie is too fresh in everyones mind for hoffman to pull this one off.

Tina said...

What do you all think about Heath Ledger's performance in Dark Knight? I think he's really worthy of the Oscar...your thoughts?

I found a post on Peterman's Eye about supporting actors in general. Thought I'd share since it seems to come into play here.

http://www.petermanseye.com/anthologies/why-i-like/360-quite-the-character

Cheers!