Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Supporting Actor Ballot

The first thing you'll notice is the absence of Heath Ledger. I'm not being perverse. I've just placed him in the lead category instead. It's a gray area to be sure: Does The Dark Knight have three leads (Harvey Dent, Batman and The Joker), two leads (Harvey Dent and the Joker -- how weird is is that Batman feels like the least important character?), two leads (Batman and the Joker -- for historical accuracy's sake) or one (Batman, since it's his franchise even though he's reactive / sidelined this time). I recently watched the seventh Batman again and my problems with it remain (very jumbled plot, exciting yet hard to follow action sequences, faux profundities) but Ledger's work is explosive. He enjoys watching it burn.

This time around guess which performance it most reminded me of? Brad Pitt in Fight Club. It was the sick laughter that did it, that frighteningly unmistakable glee in being beaten to a pulp...
"You don't know where I've been. You don't know where I've been."
If you're talking Oscar nominations, I'm rooting for James Franco and Josh Brolin (Milk), Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), Robert Downey Jr (Tropic Thunder) and Eddie Marsan (Happy-Go-Lucky) to be the lucky five. I know that Marsan, the NSFC winner, is not at all likely but if there's a plausible surprise, that's what I'd be happiest with. I view Philip Seymour Hoffman's Father Flynn (Doubt) as a lead role... and I don't generally root for those default nominees anyway. You know who they are, the ones that end up in the race just so long as they show up to work.


Return, discuss, and tell me who landed on your ballot. The more the merrier.
*

64 comments:

OccidentalOrientals said...

Brolin is my favorite, I think Heath is my second.

I'd like to see Franco nominated but knowing that Philip Seymour Hoffman is probably in (i'm indifferent, i haven't even seen doubt, but he got nominated last year, didn't he?), I'd rather see a lineup of
J Brolin, Milk; H Ledger, Milk; PS Hoffman, Doubt; M Shannon, Revolutionary Road; R Feinnes, The Reader.

I primarily want to see Shannon in because I love Sam Mendes' work and I want to see it get as many accolades as possible.

I want Franco in because more than Emile Hirsch or Jake Gyllenhall or Peter Sargasaard or John Rhys-Meyers, I like him the best of all the up-and-comers. He's humble, he's clearly hard working (he's going for a master's degree, how admirable is that), he has a great sense of humor, he paid his dues by playing a supporting role in Spiderman, and he said all the right things wehn people kept probing him about how disgusting it must have been to kiss Penn. He also made an additional supporting turn in Pineapple Express which was the only good thing about the movie.

Ralph Feinnes should just get a 3rd Oscar nom already. I haven't seen the Reader yet, but I just saw him in In Bruges and he was great in that, and he's consistently good, so why wouldn't I expect the best of him from In Bruges.

As for Dev Patel, that's the biggest case of category fraud I've ever seen.

As for Rob Downey Jr., someitmes people get the wrong oscar nom to make up for a past mistake, this is the only known instance in which we're giving him an unnecessary nomination to make up for a FUTURE MISTAKE: The Soloist. We basically all decided Downey Jr deserved a nod this year for his great year in The Soloist, Iron Man, and Tropic Thunder BEFORE the Soloist got pushed back to 2009. That's probably going to be his best of the three, so reward him then.

On a related note, I'm tired of hearing about how great of a year Rob Downey Jr. has like this was all highly improbable. It's not like he was unemployable before now. Lots of Hollywood stars have been to prison and in rehab and have emerged to do fine. Besides, he was in Good Night and Good Luck and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, so it's not like it's been years since he was employed in a movie. Besides, Iron Man wasn't great because of him: Iron Man was great because of the special effects and art direction, as well as the supporting cast. Just my opinion

John T said...

RDJ in The Soloist...well, that preview looks awful, and if he was going to be decent in it, it would have come out this year.

Nick M. said...

I wish I didn't find "A Girl Cut In Two" such a tiresome bore, because the performances would have been so much less suffocated and more enjoyable.

My line-up is pretty conventional:

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Josh Brolin, Milk
Emile Hirsch, Milk
Bill Irwin, Rachel Getting Married
John Malkovich, Burn After Reading
Eddie Marsan, Happy-Go-Lucky

Keelay! said...

Josh Brolin in Milk
Robert Downey, Jr. in Tropic Thunder
James Franco in Milk
Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight
Brad Pitt in Burn After Reading

I'd like to throw out "Honorable Mentions" to Ralph Fiennes in In Bruges, Emile Hirsch in Milk, and Haaz Sleiman in The Visitor.

Alright Nat, we got along in this category. ;)

Arkaan said...

My line-up at this early state

Heath Ledger, Baki Davrak (Edge of Heaven), Bill Irwin, Ralph Feinnes (In Bruges), and Gary Oldman

I haven't seen Milk or a lot of others.

Dom said...

I am all about Bill Irwin in RGM. The dishwasher scene was pure genius on all fronts (directing, writing) and came together because of the acting.

I am also shocked that Shannon isn't getting more recognition for RR. He was phenomenal, and made him an actor I will be on the lookout for in the future.

Anyhow, love the list Nathaniel. Why did everyone say Pitt was miscast in BAR? Didn't they notice how hilarious he was? I haven't seen A Girl Cut In Two yet, but I am looking forward to it. (P.S. As a French Canadian, I can't stop myself from adding that it should be spelled "Benoît" not "Benôit".)

Anonymous said...

From your top 5 I've only seen Tropic Thunder and I agree on Downey.

But Mathieu Amalric??? I didn't like him at all. He just chose a face and he wore it for the whole movie. He could have showed something different for once. This man was irritating because he was hurt.
He showed only the irritating self. IMO anyway.



Jim

Casey Fiore said...

1. Heath Ledger
2. Robert Downey Jr.
3. Brad Pitt
4. Josh Brolin
5. Aaron Eckhart

I don't think I can consider Heath a lead because, true he is as important to the film as both Bruce/Batman and Harvey, but The Joker has essentially no character arc. he comes in, causes havoc, leaves comes back, does it all again. I think you can go either way with Dent

Amanda said...

What'd you think of Michael Shannon, Sir Rogers?

The Jack said...

If you actually watch "The Dark Knight" again and think about it, The Joker is really only in five or six scenes, they're just absolutely major ones. I understand that you could say it's a Hannibal Lecter situation (not "lead" screen time, but "lead" impact) but I'd still comfortably say that he is a supporting character and not feel bad about it. Otherwise you could say that Robert Downey Jr is a lead in "Tropic Thunder" (since you could argue that there is three leads - Stiller, Downey and Black) if we're going down that route.

Unless I see Ledger on your lead actor ballot, I'm not very happy with this decision.

JorgeRodrigues said...

I completely agree with your opinion on Ledger being a lead in The Dark Knight...

And I really believe that it is a lead performance that can match Rourke's or Penn's. One of the best lead performances of this year.

And btw I think you should call The Dark Knight the second Batman, take two, because well it is a sequel to Batman:Begins which supposedly is the first of the new series ;)

I agree with your ballot. Pitt, Brolin, Downey Jr. and Irwin were all great in their films. It's Magimel I don't get. For me Eddie Marsan was better. But ok I can live with that :D

Nat, do you think we can witness a surprise victory for other than Ledger at the GG?

Arkaan said...

Yeah, The Joker is the equivalent of Anton Chigurh, but more interesting.

Bernardo said...

I just lost my almost-perfect FilmBitch predictions...scoring 2/5...

I thought you really liked Michael Shannon...

Here in Mexico we haven't gotten most films, but of the ones I've seen these are my favourites... (Tropic Thunder did open in Mexico, but I missed it)

1. Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
2. Brad Pitt (Burn after Reading)
3. Ben Kingsley (The Wackness)
4 and 5. Brandon Walters (Australia) and Robert Downey, Jr. (Charlie Bartlett)

I've also liked Don McKellar (Blindness), Ralph Fiennes (The Duchess), Gael García (Blindness), Charlie McDermott (Frozen River) and Martín Piroyansky (XXY)

Kent said...

You're very right about Heath Ledger being the lead in THE DARK KNIGHT. Much of the story revolves around him. Batman and Harvey Dent are essentially going after him in the film and are changed because of him. The Joker is what all of the characters are concern about.

But I also think the film is more of an ensemble with no real distinguished lead storywise. The supposed leads seem to have a somewhat equal standing in the film.

My nominees:
JOSH BROLIN, Milk
ROBERT DOWNEY JR, Tropic Thunder
BILL IRWIN, Rachel Getting Married
HEATH LEDGER, The Dark Knight
BRAD PITT, Burn After Reading

I forgot to mention my supporting actresses in the last post. Good year for supporting performances.

My nominees:
PATRICIA CLARKSON, Elegy
PENELOPE CRUZ, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
VIOLA DAVIS, Doubt
ROSEMARIE DEWITT, Rachel Getting Married
MARISA TOMEI, The Wrestler

J.L said...

My Ballot:
1. Ralph Fiennes - The Duchess
2. Josh Brolin - Milk
3. Kevin Bacon - Frost/Nixon
4. Jason Flemyng - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
5. Jamie Bell - Defiance

I Know somewhat difference than many others.

Catherine said...

I'm hampered by my location and haven't seen a lot of the major players, but here's my ballot for what its worth:

Brad Pitt - Burn After Reading
Brandon Walters - Australia
Haaz Sleiman - The Visitor
Stephen Dillane - Savage Grace
Thomas Haden Church - Smart People

I'm literally just back from Slundog Millionaire and I actually quite enjoyed Anil Kapoor's smarmy presenter. Or maybe I'm just focusing on it because the rest of that film made me physically ill. Never have I been so disgusted at a film, or had such a visceral reaction upon leaving the theatre (uncontrolable shaking, blinding headache, tears in the car on the way home). Ugh.

Iggy said...

I've decided I refuse to discuss the category thing further after learning a bit more about the Winslet case this year. So if Ledger is campaigned as supporting, so be it.

- Ledger, TDK
- Pitt, BAR
- Fiennes, In Bruges
- Hirsch, Milk
- Chris Messina, VCB

The (awful) truth is that no one has a remote possibility against Ledger and if any award show wants to surprise the audience by picking up another one, I pity the (unlikely) chosen one. He'll the target of every single possible criticism.

Scott said...

As far as your top 5 goes I'm an RDJ guy, and when it came to Dark Knight, I thought Eckhart gave the best supporting turn. But I wanted to note that I'm pleased to see Dillane on your long list. I guess given the film that performance was never going to get much attention. But I thought it was excellent work.

Anonymous said...

Delightful and kind of surprising shortlist ;) I expected Shannon to show up (though I hated the role and didn't like the performance as the result)
I'm really happy that you decided to put Ledger in leading category (Bale's, Eckhart's and his are leading roles for me), although Downey Jr is in my opinion leading man as well (Stiller being the other lead) - and a brilliant one. With all my respect and love for Ledger's performance (in my actor shortlist it's gold for Ledger, silver for Downey Jr, bronze for Penn, and Rourke and Farrell in the shortlist) I'd be thrilled to see Downey Jr winning anything. His Kirk Lazaurus reminds me of Johnny Depp's crazy and brilliant take on Jack Sparrow.
Howler

Robert said...

Not sure if I'd personally consider Joker a lead in TDK (for my money Comish Gordon could also be considered a lead).

But I love erring on the side of lead and tossing a potential supporting into the lead category, instead of the other way around.

Honestly, originally Best Actor meant, lead or supporting. Naturally only lead actors got nominated so they added Best Supporting Actor. And now they're nominating lead performances in that too? It drives me nuts. So I may not agree with you N, but I applaud you.

Anonymous said...

As of supporting actor ballot, I'd go MILKy: Brolin & Hirsch & Franco. Franco's performance is the one I love the most, Brolin's is the one I respect the most and Hirsch's is the one that improves the most. Two last spots: Pitt (I don't love him but I love him in this one) and Marsan.
Howler

Shawn said...

Here are my supporting ballots. Yes, I included both Ledger and WInslet in their "maybe or maybe not" lead roles. Though to be honest even if I moved them to my lead ballots, they would still win.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
JAMES FRANCO, Milk
BILL IRWIN, Rachel Getting Married
AYUSH MAHESH KHEDEKAR, Slumdog Millionaire
HEATH LEDGER, The Dark Knight
HAAZ SLEIMAN, The Visitor

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
HIAM ABBASS, The Visitor
AMY ADAMS, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
PENELOPE CRUZ, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
CANTICA UNTARU, The Fall
KATE WINSLET, The Reader

Anonymous said...

Ummm... I didn't see the reader but Cantica Untaru in "The Fall" -supporting? She has the leading role and she is great in it.

James Hansen said...

Ledger is in THE DARK KNIGHT more than, say, Anthony Hopkins was in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, but I think DARK KNIGHT is a movie of supporting performances. Too much stuff going on other than the Joker to call him a lead, methinks. But I didn't like the movie anyways, so who am I...

Pablete said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kurtis O said...

While I don't necessarily agree, I like the Heath-in-lead move. He certainly carries the film. Magimel is an interesting choice indeed. I very much enjoyed "Girl Cut in Two" and he was a highlight. I'm thinking Bill Irwin takes your Film Bitch gold.
My five:
- Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight"
- Eddie Marsan, "Happy-Go-Lucky"
- Haaz Sleiman, "The Visitor"
- Josh Brolin, "Milk"
- James Franco, "Pineapple Express"
(again, HFPA, not a lead, but I suppose I should just be happy for the nom)
*Honorable Mention:
- Jason Butler Harner, "Changeling"
(He whoops Jolie's butt with just a few scenes)

Pablete said...

Brandon Walters would be at the top of my ballot. There are many remarkable young actors nowadays, but he is as captivating as Maculay Culkin or Elizabeth Taylor were. Walters' is a performance for the ages; it is a song for the little child we all are deep inside our hearts. Not nominating him for an Academy Award is going to be a crime in upper cases.

The Academy showed a great deal of respect for Osment ("The Sixth sense") and Breslin ("Little Miss Sunshine")? They did not treat Mr. Culkin very nicely, so it is terribly sad to see another great lack of justice coming all the way.

mrripely said...

i think these noms and actress supp reek of laziness or awards fatigue but you don't seem to inc anyone outside the box bar 1 or 2,your awards are a joy usually but seeing downey jnr in there and ledger in lead the dark knight was the title not the joker,sorry nay i just lost a bit of respect!!!!
i know it must be ime consuming but i make it my job to see everything and try to do a real comprehaensive lsit my supp actors are wildly different

1 -haaz sleiman - the visitor
2 -heath ledger - the dark knight
3 -jason butler harner - changeling
4 -emile hirsh - milk
5 -ralph fiennes - the reader

mrripley said...

brad pitt was too manared as if he was over directed as if he's read a manual on how to be dunb none of it was natural just his 12 monkeys performance turned up to 11.

nice to see epople singling out haaz slaimn wo has not got enough love anywhere far better than half the supp nominees inc bolin,marsan,downey jnr,franco and hoffman.

are you losing faith nat all this swapping and changing categories when you feel like it is very unfair,i suppose winslet will be in lead for the reader when she is far better in r/rd,she is supp it's clear films not about her,not told from her view point not a co lead perf either it's not lead in the book either.

The Jack said...

Uh, Kurtis O, James Franco is SO a lead in "Pineapple Express". He may not have the character arc or be in the film as much as Seth Rogen, but the film is about the two of them. Just because Jake Gyllenhaal doesn't have as much screen time as Heath Ledger in "Brokeback Mountain" or Susan Sarandon doesn't have as much screen time in "Thelma & Louise" as Geena Davis doesn't make them supporting characters.

Pablete said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pablete said...

Mr. Ripley, I adored Kate Winslet in "Revolutionary Road".

I disagree on Brad Pitt's performance in "Burn After Reading". Just like Mrs. Winslet, Mr. Pitt should be a double nominee this year.

Anonymous said...

To mrripley:
Jeez... this is Nathaniel's list, so why the f*** should we lose respect because of his decision to put anyone in lead instead of supporting or whatever. These are his favourites, so why are you throwing "better" so carelessly? Please, try using "favourite" or "in my opinion" - I love this blog because people who write here respect each other (on the contrary to many film forums) and I hate comments of this kind.

By the way, I also think Ledger is supporting and I loved Pitt in "Burn After Reading".

Paul

Anonymous said...

I meant "Ledger is leading"
Paul

Trent said...

My Supporting Actor:

Haaz Sleiman, the Visitor
Emile Hirsh, Milk
Eddie Marsan, Happy-Go-Lucky
Brad Pitt, Burn After Reading
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

(Hirsh was definitely my favorite of the Milkies. I liked Brolin, though, and thought that Franco's character and relationship with Harvey were too underdeveloped for me to separate from what might have been a strong performance--kind of like Jennifer Connelly in A Beautiful Mind and Rebecca Hall in Frost/Nixon)


Supporting Actress:

Rosemarie DeWitt, RGM
Kate Winslet, the Reader
Penelope Cruz, VCB
Viola Davis, Doubt
Kathy Bates, Revolutionary Road

mrripley said...

at least my name is clearly stated unlike yours i have been frequenting this forum for 5 years and i am sure nay won't fall out over a difference of opinion,so go away.

Derek said...

How exactly is Ledger leading but Downey Jr. is supporting?

Sally Belle said...

I have to say, I believe Heath Ledger is properly placed as a supporting actor. if anyone would go to the top, I would put Eckhart there over Ledger.

My ballot would look like this...

Bill Irwin - Rachel Getting Married
Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
Josh Brolin - Milk
Haaz Sleiman - The Visitor
David Kross - The Reader

I absolutely loved The Reader. After a second viewing, I came to the conclusion that Winslet being placed in Supporting was appropriate. It could have gone either way, but the Michael character is really the lead if there is one. It's tougher to place Kross as supporting, but, because there are two actors playing the same character...it makes sense to say there is no clear lead.
Kross was fantastic and deserves more mention for this break through performance. I do think the nudity probably freaked some American critics out,and it's not an easy film...but a brilliant one.

Dev Patel, while good, has over shadowed Kross entirely. Something I don't personally agree with.
At any rate...let's hope for some surprises tonight to shake things up a bit!

The Jack said...

Anonymous, no one is losing respect for Nathaniel. It's just a discussion. Jesus. The only way I'd lose respect for him is if he takes this as personally as you think he will.

Anonymous said...

Woo! Go Robert!

Kurtis O said...

I don't get the Brandon Walters love. Since when does cuteness qualify as greatness? Pablete, your passion is admirable, but you just offered an exorbitant amount of praise for a kiddie turn that was adequate at best. It's baffling to me why people are so desperate for a great child performance that whenever someone under 12 gets a major part in a major film, they act like it's the second coming of Shirley Temple. Case in point: Jaden Smith in "The Pursuit of Happyness," perhaps the most overpraised turn by a youth ever. Of course he was natural -- he was playing dress-up with his daddy! As for Walters, he's definitely a good find with a bright future but, Oscar nomination?!? Give me a break. (Sorry, I'm not trying to pick a fight, this topic is just - clearly - a pet peeve.)

The Jack -
Good points. But I'm sticking with Supporting.

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel, I am in Love with you.

mrripley said...

my point was i feel nat's lisy reeks of fatigue and we all hang on all yr for the fb awards and when they seem hurried we get miffed,i just got the sense nat had not seen enough films and was not as enthused over these perfs and films as previous years like shortbus or far from heaven or a certain performance like jamie lee in 2003 or meryl in the devil wears prada.

nat i really hope you are not offended just sad to see you losing faith or i could be totally wrong.

Movie King said...

Justin Timberlake- The Love Guru
Rob Schneider- The Love Guru
Eddie Izzard- Valkyrie
Shawn Ashmore- The Ruins
Bill Irwin- RGM

Charlie Tyson said...

i also liked charlie mcdermott in frozen river. i thought he worked wonderfully matching melissa leo and really helped the film come together. i dont know if he'd make my personal shortlist but he'd def be a finalist for me.

Ryan (rms) said...

Nooooooooooooooo!

Was so looking forward to Ledger taking his 2nd Film Bitch gold metal. Grrrrrrrr. I mean DARK KNIGHT’s Ledger vs. MILK’s Penn? Talk about a “Sophie’s Choice.

Although I’m psyched to see Pitt made it in here.

Ryan (rms) said...

My ballot…

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Josh Brolin- MILK
Stephen Dillane- SAVAGE GRACE
James Franco- MILK
Heath Ledger- THE DARK KNIGHT
Brad Pitt- BURN AFTER READING

YH said...

I'm only counting six "Batman" films. "Batman", "Batman Returns", "Batman Forever", "Batman & Robin", "Batman Begins", "The Dark Knight". What am I missing?

I thought that Philip Seymour Hoffman was excellent in "Doubt" and I don't think that he is a "default" nominee at all. He's more deserving of recognition than Robert Downey Jr. is. I'd have placed Heath in supporting, and Dev Patel would have made my roster. Eddie Marsan would replace RDJ. None of the "Milk" guys would be there, but James Franco came the closest. I'd also pick the completely forgotten Bill Irwin.

My list:

Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Doubt"
Bill Irwin, "Rachel Getting Married"
Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight"
Eddie Marsan, "Happy-Go-Lucky"
Dev Patel, "Slumdog Millionaire"

RC said...

i'm interested to see what role happy-go-lucky plays when nominations come out...it certainly seems like the critics have given there blessing...but not so much the guilds.

NATHANIEL R said...

mr ripley -- i'm not offended but i do think it's a little weird to say i'm rushing. I basically have one month to get these all out and i'm only 5 awards in (with 35 to go!)

If anything i'm moving too slowly.

and, hey, sometimes i agree with Oscar. Doesn't mean i'm lazy. Like, take my best actor 2003. It's 5/5 with Oscar but that's exactly how I felt that year.

derek -- as far as lead/supporting goes. like i've always said gray areas I don't really care. I guess this is where I'm tired! ;) it doesn't make sense to me either but i'm so tired of trying to parse who is lead and who is support that the ones in the gray areas I just make a call and try to stick with it.

anyway... i watched The Dark Knight again and it seems completely equal to me between batman / twoface / joker. so I finally just decided we were talking a three lead film... Others will claim different.

charlie -- agreed on the young actor from Frozen River. He was just outside these top 12. I thought he was quite good.

YH i just meant number of actual Batman feature films. There was one in the 60s too.

Glenn said...

Ralph Fiennes - In Bruges
David Gulpilil - Australia
Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
Steve Le Marquand - Men's Group
Brad Pitt - Burn After Reading

I'm only really attached to one of those (Ledger) so the other four could easily fall out (and at least two definitely will, I'm certain) when I finally get around to seeing some of the more Oscary movies that haven't been released here.

mrripley said...

i just sensed fatigue,sometimes we all feel it 2008 for me is underwhelming with people i geberally love not delivering jolie,streep,dicaprio,pitt,blanchett and winslet in the reader.

J.J. said...

Thank you for including Irwin. The way he surrounded his character's spinelessness with a tangle of jittery, puppydog emotion was so tricky, and so successful.

SheQuon said...

I humbly submit Eddie Marsan from the film "Happy-Go-Lucky". Anyone who saw that film undoubtedly would remember his seething, bitter driver instructor, who at first made for great comic relief and then became rather tragic. (He also made a great vengeful bank robber in Hancock, making great use of his small screen time in the fluff film.)

adam k. said...

I disagree with Heath being lead. If Javier Bardem was supporting last year, then I don't see why Heath wouldn't be this year. It's basically the same character: plot-moving antagonist with no arc. And I agree that there IS too much going on that doesn't involve Heath to call him a lead.

But it's interesting in that now neither the lead nor supporting categories have clear frontrunners. I can only assume your medals will be divvied up somehow among Ledger, Rourke and Penn. And in supporting, who knows.

Notluke said...

To each his own, of course, but your putting Ledger in lead sort of undermines all your past rants against category frauds. I can see Dent being gray area, perhaps even Gordon like Robert said, but The Joker? "And I thought my jokes were bad." :P

I mean, really: the screentime he's given, his clear-cut antagonist status in the story, no character evolution to speak of, the way the script disposes of him quietly just before the big final scene -- from where I am standing everything about him screams supporting. Where's the "grayness" in that? (Kent may be right that "the story revolves around him", but that's only true in a sense it is for any non-superfluous bad guy in any story ever. So surely it's not an acceptable criterion to determine lead-ness.)

As for my own ballot - I am still way behind thanks to the wacky release dates Oscarrable films get around here but Ledger, Pitt and Marsan are locks. Loved every moment of each of them on screen.

Assuming no one else impresses me, Ralph Fiennes (In Bruges) gets the fourth spot. And, sadly, so far I am drawing blank for number five... Which needs two disclaimers.

1. I thought Oldman is absolutely terrific in TDK, but I would have already awarded him for playing this very character in 2005 and I can't see any added value to the part. (That's because he was already pitch-perfect the first time around, but that's beside the point.) So no soup for him.

2. A year ago my love for RDJ was unconditional but neither of his two performances everybody went gaga about this year did much for me, I am afraid. Dear AMPAS, if he must get a second nom after none for his much worthier turns in KKBB, A Scanner Darkly and Zodiac -- could it at least be for Charlie Bartlett, please? Thanks. :)

Rebecca said...

My list (both Ledger & Gleeson are arguably leads):

Robert Downey Jr, Tropic Thunder
Brendan Gleeson, In Bruges
Emile Hirsch, Milk
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Eddie Marsan, Happy-go-Lucky

Closely followed by Brad Pitt for Burn After Reading. I also liked Haaz Sleiman in 'The Visitor', John Malkovich, Richard Jenkins, & JK Simmons in 'Burn After Reading,' and James Franco in 'Milk.'

I don't include Josh Brolin because the character didn't make sense, but I couldn't tell if that was the character or the performance - and I felt that a great performance would have made it clear that it was the character.

Rebecca said...

Also, I haven't seen Rachel Getting Married yet, so that's why Bill Irwin isn't on there.

I also enjoyed Anil Kapoor in Slumdog Millionaire.

NATHANIEL R said...

notluke i realize i've been talking about "category fraud" too long to not disappoint people every year. I accept that.

but i also think it's not really fair that promoting someone, as you may see it, is the same as making very pointed statements about the abuse of the system when people like Jamie Foxx in Collateral are nominated as supporting players, you know?

ah, well. the lead/supporting thing will be the death of me.

it also unfortunately seems to negate conversations of merits of performances which is more what i'm interested in anyway...

Stephen said...

My own list:

- Josh Brolin - Milk
- Stephen Dillane - Savage Grace
- James Franco - Milk
- Bill Irwin - Rachel Getting Married
- Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight

Marshall said...

I get what you're saying, but I actually think DOUBT is a career best for PSH.

Notluke said...

Nat: I guess I would simply like to read some kind of explanation why you interpret Heath's role as lead (more convincing than "I've rewatched it recently and that's what I think" or "because he puts the story in motion") is all. Oh well, I imagine there is an explanation pending with your nominations for Lead Actor, right?

And maybe I'd let go if I was the only one having him so firmly and unarguably in supporting, but as evidenced by the comments here, the majority seems to agree with me.

Joel said...

It's disappeared!

Matt Mazur said...

My ballot:

Mathieu Amalric … A Christmas Tale
Josh Brolin … Milk
Emile Hirsch … Milk
Heath Ledger … The Dark Knight
Eddie Marsan … Happy-Go-Lucky