Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Awardage: Breakthrough & Body of Work

We're not quite done with the films of 2009 yet. Soon. Very soon. Even if it doesn't seem like it, I'm working as fast as I can. Two more prizes now. The Body of Work prize is for multiple performances. This doesn't always work like a consolation "sorry, I didn't nominate you and congratulations on your Oscar success this year!" category but this year it works so much like that that I'm wondering if I should do away with the category? Thoughts?


Then there's Breakthrough for people that won deserved big(ger) attention this year. You've already guessed that this is mostly about Michael Fassbender. I can't help myself! Fassbender's "year" refused to be defined by the Gregorian calendar. Hunger's release was painfully stretched out and so was Fish Tank's. The gods of distribution have determined that he's the breakthrough of 2008, 2009 and 2010 depending on your zip code. It's very confusing... and global. And we hope he has many more years, however loosely defined, ahead of him.

The breakthrough category is always a bit blurry. Sometimes people have been around and I haven't noticed them. But since I do a fairly good job of noticing new actors, I don't abuse it as much as mainstream awards shows do. Of the five recipients: Sharlito Copley, Michael Fassbender, Tom Hardy, Catalina Saveedra and Sam Worthington only one is actually a "debut". That'd be Mr. Copley in District 9 but since it never felt anything like a debut, it's most definitely a breakthrough. How did he do that the first time out?

One odd but important note: I'm not even sure I liked Tom Hardy's performance in the experimental biopic Bronson. But I found it so committed to its own eccentricity and to the movie's balls out strangeness that I had to admire it even as I had no idea what it was or if it was too much of what it was. If you've seen it, maybe you'll understand.

Honors in this category come down to one question: "Do I want to see them in another movie?" and then a defining follow up "How quickly do i want to see said movie?" The answers must be "hell yes!" and "NOW".


TECHNICALITY: Before you ask, Carey Mulligan and Gabby Sidibe were ineligible for the FiLM BiTCH Award in the Breakthrough category since they were nominated in one of the big four categories. It's my way of spreading the wealth.

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38 comments:

Hardy said...

Shocked about one choice.

I'm sorry but why do studios keeps giving Sam Worthington movie roles? I get that he's easy on the eyes but . . . yeah, I can't think of anything good to say about his acting.

Ryan T. said...

And on the different note from the comment above, I'm thrilled you put Worthington in for Terminator Salvation. Like you said, he saved the movie from being outright bad.

Also YES YES YES on Sharlto Copley. I was so transfixed by him when I saw the film and was absolutely shocked that this was his debut role. I still can't shake his performance off my mind after all this time.

Your other nominees are spot on as well and I'll look for their movies when they come out on Netflix, especially those of Michael Fassbender.

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel, I've noticed you spell "Sharlto" as "Sharlito" every single time.

adam k. said...

Nary a mention for George Clooney's year? Up in the Air, Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Men Who Stare at Goats is quite a body of work, if you ask me. I was surprised enough when you didn't nominate him in lead, and now... : (

That said, I can't believe I'm on this side of a George Clooney debate. I don't even like him as an actor that much. But I did love the Up in the Air perf a LOT. I guess I just find it weird that you already had him at #10 of the decade even BEFORE the last five years (i.e. back when I thought he was fairly worthless as an actor), and now that he's all great you never give him any love.

I can only assume his overall rank for the whole decade will be higher than #10. Otherwise, I give up. ; )

Danny King said...

Was pretty disappointed with Fish Tank in terms of its story. Performance wise, Fassbender and Jarvis were both terrific.

Amir said...

i agree with anonymous.
i've noticed you spell sharlto copley's name differently everytime. is that just a coincidence?

Steven said...

Hugh Dancy just missing the podium... I loved him in Adam, so I'm glad he was mentioned at least. :)

And I loved Sharlto Copley's performance in District 9. He definitely should have gotten more buzz for it.

~Steven

adam k. said...

In other news, I just realized that Kathryn Bigelow looks eerily like Vanessa Redgrave.

Matt T said...

I was about to comment on the exclusion of George Clooney from the body of work award, but Adam beat me to it. You seem to love Fantastic Fox, and you mentioned him as a finalist for Actor for Up in the Air, so why no mention of him in this award?

Bing147 said...

Nice to see Fassbender getting attention. His best work yet for my money is in Fish Tank, though you won't consider that until next year.

Still not sure how its possible to love Hunger as much as you do and not nominate him for lead actor though... he's the best part of the film.

JoFo said...

Surely you must include Christopher Plummers voice work in Up as well as his voice work in 9 for his body of work!

NATHANIEL R said...

Matt T & Adam -- i still love George Clooney. That's really about me not having seen THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS. Because if all someone has is one voice performance and one live action performance i usually forget that they had more than one.

JoFo -- OOPS. that was a simple mistake. I shall amend.

Anon & Amir -- this is me being obtuse. There's a few names it's taken me years to spell correctly : saoirse ronan, viggo mortensen and now sharlito... excuse me sharlto copley.

Glenn said...

My breakthrough actors were Marissa Gibson (Samson & Delilah), Jessica Haines (Disgrace), Sophie Lowe (Beautiful Kate/Blessed), Carey Mulligan (An Education, hey I don't remember he from Pride & Prejudice!) and Gracie Otto (Three Blind Mice).

I seem to be the only one not bowled over by Sharlto Copley. Didn't see anything revelatory there I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

my breakthrough for this year: Worthington, Mulligan, Sibide, Tahar Rahim (a prophet), Renner, Melanie Laurent and Lina Leandersson (let the right one in opened in my country just in 2009...)

Iim sorry I haven't watched BRONSON, THE MAID or chinese biopic FOREVER ENTHRALLED so I couldn't admire Hardy, Savedra and young Shaoqun Yu perfs that earned them stellar reviews

Besides in a film festival I watched James Ivory's THE CITY OF YOUR FINAL DESTINATION...and I think it boasts a perf by Omar Metwally which it could be considered a "better breakthrough" than the one he gave in RENDITION...obviously the movie destiny is so unclear that we can't possibly consider Metwally one of the newcomer of the year...

mirko

Anonymous said...

where is melanie laurent???

Kyle said...

I'm with Hardy on this one.

Sam Worthington is the newest incarnation of Gerard Butler, with about half of the talent (which is sad). It'd hard to make me not want to see a movie like "Clash of the Titans" but he'll keep me away for sure.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about Off-topic, but Nicole Kidman will be in Adam Sandler movie with Jennifer Aniston! Refreshing.

Adam M. said...

I'm not a fan of "body of work" categories, simply because too much of a potential contender's inclusion relies on the whims and wills of distribution studios and their constantly changing release date schedules. Why should a performer be recognized simply because they (successfully) appeared in multiple projects during the same calendar year? Their films could have just as easily been unfurled over two or even three years, and their contributions would not have changed-- except that they would no longer be eligible for a "body of work" award.

Michael C. said...

Breakthrough:

Patton Oswalt - Big Fan - He's in the top tier of stand-ups working today, but he proved himself as an equally able actor by nailing this schlubby Travis Bickle.

Melanie Laurent - Basterds - A starmaking performance. A dozen of my friends are currently nursing crushes on her.

Peter Capaldi - In the Loop - My new acting hero. He deserves a place in the Vulgarity Hall of Fame between Alec Baldwin in Glengary and Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast.

Nel said...

I like the Body of work category as sometimes a performer is that good, they gets over looked come awards time because the focus is split. Take Gandalfini, he showed some real comical chops in ITL and I ain't saying anything WTWTA or I will cry!!! Also the pure underrated genius of Fassbender - given I am in the UK, 2009 was Fish Tank and IB for me and I am still scratching my head that he did not receive a BAFTA nod. The man is such a chameleon

Break through wise, I have to echo the sentiment about Sam Worthington, does he only have two facial experessions? 'Pained' and 'Really Pained'? I loved Catalina Saaverda but fear that we may not be hearing much from her again. Brosnon, the more I think of it the less I liked it, I prefer is performance in a Kleenex commercial. So it would either be Fassbender or Copley with Copley with the edge imho as I think the best from Fassbender is yet to come.

Ryan T. said...

Peter Capaldi! How did I forget about him?! I mean he's been acting forever, but this year with In the Loop and his TV role in Torchwood: Children of Earth he really broke through for me.

arthur said...

If she wasn't Ineligible, Marion Cotillard should be in "body of work", such a great post-oscar career!!! sublime in NINE and the best part in Public Enemies!

NATHANIEL R said...

@Adam M -- good point. it's all about distribution. but then there's what @Nel said.

hmmm. i shall think on it. i have too many categories though. it takes forever.

Seattle said...

No Woody Harrelson? :(

Casey said...
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Casey said...
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Casey said...

Im a big fan of the body of work category. I think it says a lot about the state of an actors career. its worth mentioning when someone had an exceptional year because it displays versatility and thus is more than likely a good indication of where there career is also heading.

I bet if you look back at your body of work nominees from the decade quite a few of them are here to stay. I think we all knew Brolin was in 2007 and we all know Fassbender is this year.

But I also don't think its entirely unfair to keep people out just because you've actually nominated. I think the category loses some legitimacy if there are exclusions made on that basis. Robert Downey Jr. and Josh Brolin last year for instance.

also i agree with seattle. no love for Woody?

Casey said...

**dont think its entirely fair***

eduardo said...

no Woody Harrelson in body of work? =( i hope that's because you haven't seen Zombieland because he's so awesome in that one

and Gabby not being in breakthrough is a huge WTF, especially considering you loved Precious

NATHANIEL R said...

eduardo -- that's because i don't allow the actors from teh nominated caetgories itno the "breakthrough" category -- they've already reached the pinnacle "best________" but maybe Casey has a point there with the more representative if double noms allowed.

i shall think on it

Agustin said...

another name you usually misspell: Charlotte Gainsbourg

Howler said...

I don't care or Fassbender's work in "Inglourious Basterds", but he's spectacular in "Fish Tank" and definitely deserves more credit for his performance in "Hunger" in spite of it being even more of a challenge for make-up people. Just listen to Vera Farmiga.
I love Tom Hardy's inclusion, but I noticed him waaay back in 2006 with "Scenes of a Sexual Nature" and cameos in "Sweeney Todd" and "Marie-Antoinette".

Glenn Dunks said...

Yet again, people shouldn't be complaining about Sam Worthington not being able to act if they haven't even bothered to watch movies like Somersault or Gettin' Square or the TV series Love My Way. He's a very good actor.

Anonymous said...

While I tend to agree that what we've seen from Worthington in American film so far isn't that great, Glenn has a point. And we have to keep in mind that Avatar was directed by Jim Cameron (not a very good actors' director) and Terminator 4 was directed by McG (an all-around terrible director). So perhaps Worthington will give us something good once he's paired up with more quality filmmakers.

Unfortunately, I don't think Clash of the Titans will be the start of that. Leterrier is just OK.

Nel said...

Then given that some are upset at the exclusion of some, why not change it to rising star, i.e. the best is yet to come?

On the Worthington point, Cameron has also directed Winslet and DiCapario. He also directed Zoe Saldana in the same movie. All actors were able to show more emotional range or maybe Worthington just sees these movies as paychecks, I don't know.

Maciej said...

Fassbender was also seemed to be having lots of fun this year in Joel Schumacher's mostly terrible Blood Creek.

Not particularly worth seeing if you haven't, but I figure we might have some Fassbender completists around here.

Nico G said...

i was surprised not to see Tahar Rahim up for breakthrough over pretty much everyone else there. His performance in A Prophet was mesmerising.