Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Halfway Mark: Best Performances (Thus Far)

Hey there 2010. You'd best step it up. Time's a wastin'.

The talk of the 'net right now is Inception but that's not open yet, nor have I seen it. In Contention's Kris Tapley has written a lengthy piece about its Oscar prospects that I'm sure you'll want to read/have already read. You'll recall that I gave Inception a major vote of prediction approval back in April and I shan't be altering that much when I update the rest of the Oscar predictions, since my suspicion was correct that people would love it. Nevertheless, I am confused by some of the buzz for its actors. No matter how good DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard may well be, effects pictures only very very rarely lead to acting nominations (Sigourney Weaver, Jeff Bridges and Ian McKellen are rarities, not the norm) so I haven't suddenly pretended it will move into the Acting categories.

Speaking of acting...

Though the year's films have been somewhat lacking, the following performances did something for this moviegoer so I wanted to give them a glance. They're the performances I'll personally be contemplating from the year's first half when it comes time to whip up awardage for the full year. It goes without saying that most won't be in the Oscar hunt. Oscar has a limited range of flavors they like and a minimum amount of fame that they require but I hope some more adventurous voters will try to see everything that people say... hey there, this performance is good. Since some of these aren't yet released, I've allowed myself 7 contenders in each category. How many of them will be handily trounced by [ominous music] That Which is To Come?

FAVORITE PERFORMANCES THUS FAR
Click on the links to go to the Oscar predix which is an ENTIRELY different conversation.

Best Actor

  • Jay Baruchel, The Trotsky
  • Anthony Deptula, One Too Many Mornings *not yet released*
  • Leonardo DiCaprio Shutter Island
    Robert Duvall, Get Low *not yet released*
  • Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine *not yet released*
  • James Rolleston, Boy *not yet released*
  • Andy Serkis, sex & drugs & rock & roll
There's not much of note so far in theatrical release for the leading men. John C Reilly and Jonah Hill were fun in Cyrus but "Best"? RDJ was his usual charming self but how much of a challenge was a second round with Iron Man? Leo barely held on to the edge of this list. I liked him a lot in certain Shutter Island scenes but that gothic gaullimaufry left me wanting in nearly every way, including within the cast. It's dangerous to assume one's own reaction to a movie is shared by Oscar voters, but combined with the early release date and the lack of true and enduring "this movie is awesome!" hoopla, I sincerely doubt we'll see Shutter Island anywhere near the Oscar competition in the winter.

Unless of course, 2010 keeps offering up blah movies. Then it's anyone's game and some crazy things might start happening.

Best Actress

  • Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
  • Annette Bening, Mother & Child
  • Min-Seo Chae, Vegetarian *not yet released*
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
  • Paprika Steen, Applaus *not yet released*
  • Tilda Swinton, I Am Love
  • Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine *not yet released*
While nothing of note has yet happened in the Best Actor category, we may already have three or four of our acting nominees. Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone (if she's lucky), Mark Ruffalo (if he's lucky) and both women from The Kids Are All Right (though one will surely be demoted to supporting). Julianne Moore just missed this top 7. She's fun and endearing in The Kids but it's The Bening who delivers in a career best way or something in the general vicinity -- one of her best at any rate.)

Haven't Yet Seen: Hye-ja Kim in Mother and sex goddesses Amanda & Julianne in Chloe.

Best Supporting Actor
  • Joel Edgerton, The Square
  • <--- John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
  • Shanti Roney, Applaus *not yet released*
  • Mickey Rourke, Iron Man 2
  • Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
  • Michael Shannon, The Runaways
  • Jimmy Smits, Mother & Child
I'm already dreading the Oscar campaign / possible make-up win for Bill Murray in Get Low. He's been great before and he's fine if anachronistically modern in this old-timey picture as a funeral director, but I fail to get why anyone thinks it's a career best for him. Seems more like an enjoyable but nothing particularly special star turn. Of course the Supporting Actor category is almost by eight decades of ballot practices the Nothing Particularly Special category (the last few winners excepted).

Haven't yet seen: Michael Fassbender in Fish Tank (long story. I'm still dying too)

Best Supporting Actress
  • <--- Marisa Berenson, I Am Love
  • Dale Dickey, Winter's Bone
  • Ann Guilbert, Please Give
  • Rebecca Hall, Please Give
  • Anne Marie-Duff, Nowhere Boy
  • Kristin Scott Thomas, Nowhere Boy
  • Mia Wasikowska, The Kids Are All Right
A small note of gratitude to Helena Bonham-Carter who singlehandedly got me through Alice in Wonderland. Apologies to Amanda Peet and Ari Graynor who I enjoyed in Please Give and Holy Rollers, respectively. Finally, please don't ask me where Chloe Moretz is for Kick-Ass. She seems to be able to act approximately one thing: smartass. See also (500) Days of Summer. I'll wait for more range before I join the growing chorus of praise.

Haven't yet seen: Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom

Are you excited about any of these performances or do you have your own pets from January to June screenings? And how are you feeling about the Acting Oscar races -- my predictions are updated? Do you think we're on our way or we haven't yet begun?
*

60 comments:

sheila king said...

Fascinating, Nat. However, I gotta say that I absolutely, completely disagree with you on the performances in Shutter Island. One of the best ensemble groups I've seen in a long time. Great work in small roles from several actors. Leo at his best, imo. But we can't all agree, can we? Also doubt it will appear on the oscar list, but who knows -- maybe Leo will conquer enough in Inception that this will help. I'm thinking this will be an interesting year, though.

Mike said...

Robert Duvall and Colin Firth's descriptions are mixed up on the predictions page, and it made me laugh thinking about each in the other's role.
Glad you're loving John Hawkes, he's such a great character actor. And I had no idea Marisa Berenson is still working! One more reason to check out I Am Love whenever it comes to town.

OtherRobert said...

I'm real big on The Book of Eli. I could see making room for Morgan Freeman in Leading Actor and Mila Kunis in Supporting Actress when the time comes. Mind you, I also managed to keep Kunis in my line-up for Forgetting Sarah Marshall, so I'm horribly biased.

I'd toss in Emily Mortimer and Patricia Clarkson in Supporting Actress for Shutter Island, though I'm sure the former won't make my final line-up. Shoot, toss in Michelle Williams, too. They were all great. I'd debate Jackie Earle Haley, as well. The problem is all of the best performances have very little screen time. They get one good scene and then disappear or act as window dressing.

Otherwise, I'm waiting for someone (other than Clarkson) to really blow me away.

Slayton said...

I'm a terrible Kiwi for not having seen Boy yet, but I just might sometime soon!

And kudos on the Vegetarian mention! A friend of a good friend of mine directed it.

Wallace McKelvey said...

I'm totally with you on Shutter Island. Some sporadic sparks of brilliance from DiCaprio and interesting cameos from Patricia Clarkson, Elias Koteas and Emily Mortimer, but a wretched movie overall. One of Scorsese's worst films and thoroughly undeserving of the raves its received.

My faves (among the slim pickings) so far:

Kyoko Koizumi and Teruyuki Kagawa, from Tokyo Sonata, come across as such a realistic couple. They ground a melodramatic script and kept it human.

Patricia Clarkson and Alexander Siddig, from Cairo Time, turn in natural, low-key performances. *spoiler* The last scene of Siddig watching Clarkson exit his life, stage left, kills. No fireworks, but a lot of small, powerful moments.

Sarah Polley is the closest thing to an villain in Splice, and she plays it well. A passionate scientist, blinded to reason.

Casey Affleck skirts the edge in The Killer Inside Me. He's entertaining and intense, a fairly accurate portrayal of Jim Thompson's character, but after playing Robert Ford, this didn't seem as much of a challenge.

John O'Neil said...

Sigh, this year needs to pick up soon. The only films I've completely enjoyed is "Please Give" and maybe "Shutter Island." The former has almost zero chance of getting any nominations, even though Rebecca Hall is outstanding. Unfortunately, I think her performance is a little too subtle for the Academy's tastes. So is the movie for that matter.

Danielle said...

Really dull year so far, but I have faith it will revive (and I haven't seen that many films either). I have to disagree about the Shutter Island cast - I thought DiCaprio and Williams were particularly outstanding.

Glad to see those predictions coming around. I'm iffy about Penn and Watts' chances as well.. I don't see Fair Game being talked about much by the end of the year.

Why so hesitant about McAvoy's chances for The Conspirator? It's about time he's welcomed to the club, and many may still feel his Atonement snub.

Oh, and whatever happened to the tallying of the Actress Psychic predictions? =D

MD said...

I actually like quite a few of the performances in Shutter Island. Michelle Williams made the most impact, I think. She made the most of a role where she had almost nothing to do.

And I'm actually studying Boy in my film class next semester. Your citation here is kind of relieving, since I thought they were just tossing in a token Kiwi film.

Sheila King said...

I gotta say anyone who says Shutter Island is a wretched movie simply did not get it. That's it in a nutshell, but it's a polarizing flick to be sure. Anything that polarizes is at the very least interesting and that's what in many cases really good art is all about --- what pulls us to something while almost simultaneously pushing us away. It's that way with music, painting, anything in the arts. Not an insignificant amount of what begs controversy often turns out to have much more going for it than was at first surmised. True of so many great artists that I couldn't name them all.

The Pretentious Know it All said...

Nathaniel, you may have talked about this already, but I'm curious about what your thoughts are re: I Am Love and it's Oscar chances. I finally saw it today. Do you think it's a lost cause, or do you think having the ten-wide best picture field for the entire year rather than just part of the year will help a movie like this be in the conversation?

The Pretentious Know it All said...

And to answer the question for the board, I'm totally on the Tilda Swinton/Jennifer Lawrence bandwagon. I loved I Am Love and Winter's Bone. I'm kind of surprised about the latter...I watched that trailer and I was sure I was in for a Frozen River experience (impressive, but highly overpraised film containing a phenomenal lead actress). What a pleasant surprise.

Carl said...

I saw "Winter's Bone" last weekend and I am certainly on board for all three nominations you mentioned. I was really impressed by Dale Dickey playing Merab...the only thing stopping a Supporting nomination for her is no one seeing this exceptional film.

Who knew they lived Greek tragedy in the Ozarks?

/3rtfu11 said...

I will make one prediction for this year’s Oscar race – Marisa Tomei will receive her 4th Best Supporting Actress nomination.

I’m on team Bening for Lead Actress in The Kids Are All Right.

Focus would be wise to campaign the overdue Moore for Supporting Actress – who is her competition?

Tomei and Wiest already have 3 statuettes between them.

Leo is overdue and deserves the statuette for the last twenty minutes of Shutter Island – the movie overall is forgettable flotsam.

Bill Murray should get a makeup statuette -– he was robbed for one of Penn’s worst nominations.

filmjunkie25 said...

I'm also a terrible Kiwi who hasn't seen Boy yet, but I hope it gets a lot of praise overseas, because I hear it's the best thing to come out of NZ...and lets face it, we don't have that much to our name, do we?

Inception...I. Can. Not. Wait. Any. Longer.

Snowback said...

I am calling this now. Best supporting actor oscar goes to Zach Galifianakis for "It's Kind of a Funny Story." Everyone feel free to check back and give me credit or shame.

dbm said...

So far... ( performances I have seen )

Michael Douglas- Solitary Man ( at this point the best male performance this year- and should be in one of the 5 slots by end of the year for an Oscar nod )

Leonardo DiCaprio-Shutter Island Inception ( both or either one )

Michael Fassbender- Centurion ( better than Crowe was in Robin Hood, a great turn & see it when you can )

Edward Norton- Leaves Of Grass ( I don't care if the film got mixed, he is very good in this, especially as the redneck twin brother )

Jim Broadbent- Perrier's Bounty ( film got mixed but he's good in it )

Aaron Johnson- Nowhere Boy ( most likely will get a Spirit nod )

Dermot Mulroney- The Family Tree ( easily one of his best roles if not the best in this black comedy also might earn a Spirit nod )

Pierce Brosnan- The Ghost Writer ( either as a lead or support he was good )

Robert Duvall- Get Low ( I think it's safe to say he's a lock-but for a win ? )

Worthy mentions- RDJ, John C. Reilly, Ben Stiller, James Franco in Howl.

Actress

Annette Bening- Mother and Child/The Kids Are Alright ( either or )

Jennifer Lawrence- Winter's Bone ( she IS The movie )

Hope Davis- The Family Tree ( is she one of the more solid actresses out there or what-she can do everything )

Rebbeca Hall- Please Give

Tilda Swinton- I Am Love

Let m see...who is coming to mind... Bill Murray was just fine, as was Spacek in Get Low. John Hawkes is always solid. What category does Hall and Keener belong in? Fine suporting cast in Soliatry Man as well as Leaves Of Grass.

I'll have to go find my notebook because I know I'm forgetting some perfromances off the top of my head.

Glenn said...

Actor:
Joel Edgerton, The Waiting City - it's saying a lot when I say that Edgerton hasn't been this good since The Secret Life of Us in the early '00s. And never more doable.
Andy Garcia, City Island
Vincent Lindon, Welcome
Ben Mendelsohn, Animal Kingdom

Actress:
Annette Bening, Mother & Child - Kids is not out yet.
Greta Gerwig, Greenberg
Katie Jarvis, Fish Tank
Hya-ja Kim, Mother
Tilda Swinton, I Am Love

Although I have also liked Radha Mitchell in The Waiting City and Juliana Margulies, much to my surprise, in City Island.

Supporting Actor:
Orlando Bloom, New York, I Love You
Ernie Dingo, Bran Nue Dae
Joel Edgerton, Animal Kingdom
Michael Fassbender, Fish Tank
Guy Pearce, Animal Kingdom

Supporting Actress
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

No?

Oh, okay.

Supporting Actress:
Marisa Berenson, I Am Love
Emily Mortimer, City Island and Shutter Island - ...how odd
Maggie Q, New York, I Love You
Kierston Wareing, Fish Tank
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Although I'm also on board for Maria Paiato in I Am Love, Essie Davis in South Solitary and Patricia Clarkson for Shutter Island.

I can see a bunch of those remaining in my end of the year list, especially Weaver who is gonna be so hard to beat in her character. She needs to build a new mantle in her living room for all the awards she's going to be winning.

Alex in Movieland said...

On the Foreign Language Film predictions:


Romania's submission is probably gonna be decided in August.

you've mentioned Tuesday, Before Christmas but I didn't see it as a contender. It could happen, but maybe these 2 are more likely:

- If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle (a Berlin favorite)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1590024/

- Aurora (by and with Cristi Puiu, the same guy who made Death of Mr. Lazarescu)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1403047/

NATHANIEL R said...

Glenn - your list makes me wish i had seen a bunch of those. I have seen Bran Nue Dae though. Who was Ernie Dingo?

Guy Lodge said...

This is a really helpful roundup -- though I hope you're listing Duvall on the basis of likelihood, not because you actually think he's "best" material. (I think he's actually the least interesting of the principals in "Get Low" -- Lucas Black was best in show for me, but it's not much of a show.)

I still completely disagree with you about Julianne in "Kids" -- her best, rangiest work since 2002, and her most relaxed foray into comedy yet.

NATHANIEL R said...

Guy -- are you talking about my best list or my predictions? 2 ENTIRELY different conversations.

I do think Duvall is a likely (if not sure thing) nominee. I would be very surprised if he ended up in my top 5 of the year... but he's in the top 7 now because I've seen a limited amount of things thus far. But he was good. Just not gobsmackingly great like the early adopters claimed.

and we don't disagree as much as you think on The Kids Are All Right. I liked the performance MUCH more the second time and agree that she's looser and rangier than i originally thought. So she'd be in 8th place for me right now in lead actress.

I could imagine an oscar scenario where both Bening and Moore win though if the film becomes popular with Oscar types. and wouldn't that be sweet (in a way, category fraud arguments aside)?

Glenn said...

Ernie Dingo was the drunk elder that the lead character finds homeless under the bridge. He was so good and he has a great singing voice.

Kurtis O said...

I'm digging the mentions of John Hawkes and the fabulous Marisa Berenson.

Throw in Tahar Rahim in "Un Prophete," Katie Jarvis in "Fish Tank," Noomi Rapace in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and, above all, Giovanna Mezzogiorno in "Vincere." Have you seen that? She is absolutely mesmerizing.

notanotherblog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
okinawaassault said...

Pulling for Ted Levine in Shutter Island, since Clarkson's great work inn the movie's been said so many time (don't mistake me, she was awesome it in.)

And I'm really bitchy on Helena Bonham Carter in her Tim Burton roles (not on Sweeney though). She couldn't save Alice.

And damn you Nathaniel. :'(.

Reason 1: Replacing Natalie Portman with Naomi Watts. I think Portman's gonna be a double threat (she can act and dance!) and the Academy should one day wake up and stop ignoring great roles (potentially) like that. And I hate to say this, but you're probably right in replacing her.

Reason 2: I was gonna have a modern classic movie week (TWBB, Office Space), but seeing those list of performances makes me wanna see them i.e. Winter's Bone, Please Give, The Trotsky, Iron Man 2.

NicksFlickPicks said...

I love that someone stumped for Morgan Freeman in The Book of Eli. Come on, everyone, get it together...

N, The Kids Are All Right doesn't open here until Friday, but based on the trailer, is it horrendous category fraud to put Moore in Supporting? I know you're arguing that it's likely, not that it "should" happen, but I say stick to your guns and beat the drum to honor people where they belong.

NATHANIEL R said...

@Nick -- yes, it's HORRENDOUS category fraud. She actually has the most screen time of all of the ensemble. And it's very much about the marriage between her and Bening.

(you could even argue that Ruffalo is a lead but that's one of those fights that's not really worth having I don't think)

But Moore is definitely a Lead Actress.

@Okinawa -- I would never suggeest that people NOT have a classic movie week. You should definitely see WINTER'S BONE though as it will probably continue being in the film conversation this year. Pretty strong movie.

NATHANIEL R said...

@Sheila -- perhaps i will watch Shutter Island again. I'm curious as to why so many loved Patty Clarkson in it, too (one of my favorite actresses fo sure but she basically only had exposition to do. zzz)

@Slayton -- i actually met the director of Vegetarian and he'd already read my review. oops. That's the only time that's happened to me. Well my review was positive but there were some big reservations.

@Wallace -- i definitely need to see Cairo Time. Thanks for the vote of support re: Shutter Island.

@Danielle -- it's really just that he keeps playing the secondary lead to women (or in Scotland's case a big man). And I think they'll want him in a full no holds barred manly LEAD I AM THE ONLY LEAD type of thing before they honor him. Just a hunch.

Volvagia said...

In regards to your response: You really don't think the Academy isn't going to note the movie somewhere if it's a critical hit? Maybe Director, over Noland's over-complicated Inception, instead of Acting?

Volvagia said...

That is Scott Pilgrim I'm talking about.

Stefano said...

So do you really think Lesley Manville is going to be considered "supporting actress" for her performance in "Another Year"? I didn't expect that but I haven't seen the film... so, is there a "lead actress" in it?
Talking about Julianne Moore, I wonder if she'll be campaigned as lead (where the best she can get is a Golden Globe nomination) or as supporting, although the category fraud (but I think it's her only way to get another Oscar nomination).

NATHANIEL R said...

Volvagia -- i can't imagine them recognizing Scott Pilgrim, no. I mean... what about it would interest them? It's not their cup of tea in ANY WAY.

they aren't crazy about youth flicks
they aren't crazy about f/x flicks (that aren't also big dramas or massive blockbusters)
they aren't crazy about superpowered flicks
they have no history with any of the cast or the creative team, really.

i just don't understand why it would be in the conversation

but yes. I am totally excited to see it.

Volvagia said...

Well, 1. everyone has to be new sometime, otherwise there's no future and 2. I can see it more than freaking Rabbit Hole as a Best Picture nominee.

Andrew R. said...

Ugh...there's just so LITTLE.

Fine, as of now:

Best Actor-DiCaprio, Shutter Island

Best Actress-I haven't seen Winter's Bone, argh. I'll say Bening even though I have not seen Kids Are All Right.

Best S. Actor-I have to go with either Rourke or Cage in Kickass? Yeah...this is a shitty year.

Best S. Actress-Mo'niq-oh, right. Bonham-Carter for Alice in Wonderland.

James T said...

I'm so glad you liked Wasikowska's perf that much. She impressed me quite a lot when I saw the Kids trailer. Can't wait to see the movie though I'll have to wait a lot.

Kurtis O said...

Ahem. Excuse me, I brought up Giovanna Mezzogiorno in "Vincere" and nobody batted an eye. Has anyone seen this movie? I can't believe she's not even in the discussion.

Josh said...

My favorite performance of the year was from a made for tv movie. That was Al Pacino as Jack Kevorkian. It was his best performance since Roy Cohn in Angels in America. Though i am a little biased because Pacino is my all time favorite actor. What is your opinion on him Nathaniel. I'm interested because i never hear you talk about him.

Volvagia said...

He doesn't talk about Al Pacino because he hasn't been in a good theatrical release for 11 years now. That hampers the interest needed for a chat.

Josh said...

Thats true. 88 minutes was one of the worst movies ive ever seen and righteous kill was crap too, but his performances in the seventies and the nineties are phenomenal. But he was great in Merchant of Venice, which was theatrically released. I do think his performances in his television roles deserve notice too. His Jack Kevorkian in my opinion was spot on and wasn't just an impersonation. He made the character very complex. His performance as Roy Cohn was phenomenal. Being a jew, Al Pacino was spot on with the dialogue in angels in america. He delivered it so well. I really believed he was a jew. But i think he disserves a retrospective because a lot of people forget how good he was and can be. Both Michael Corleone from The Godfather and Sonny from Dog Day Afternoon were two of the best most complicated performances ive ever seen. I also think his performance in Donnie Brasco is vastly underrated. But that is only my opinion.

Josh said...

Your right. 88 minutes was one of the worst films I've ever seen and Righteous Kill was crap too, but I do think his television performances deserve attention too. I thought he was spot on as Jack Kevorkian and it wasn't just an imitation. He made the complex and sympathetic. His performance as Roy Cohn was powerful. He delivered the dialogue so well in that film. His performances in the seventies and the nineties are some of the best I've ever seen. Both Michael Corleone and Sonny from Dog Day Afternoon are two of my favorite performances ever. I also think his performance in Donnie Brasco is vastly underrated. I can't believe he wasn't nominated that year.

josh said...

Sorry I wrote twice by mistake. I thought my first comment wasn't published.

No Bad Movies said...

I know they are well known, mainstream actors but both films are actually indie's, and I'll give shout outs to Edward Norton and Michael Douglas. Performances are better than the actual film they are in. I really feel stabd out performances.

I liked Winter's Bone but didn't feel it's a great as all the praise that been bestowed upon it and Jennifer Lawrence but the film is just filled with so many undesirables, it makes you want to take a shower after. I just kept wanting Ree to give it up and move on. Who cares about these people ? Methhead losers, who only have doing the wrong things on their mind. That's what kept me from fully embracing that film. It's two hours of people I find zero interest in because they aren't interesting. There is no reason to care for them because they don't even care about themself. But I guess I'm in the minority and I say it again, Jennifer Lawrence is very good in it.

Brett said...

Performances I Can't Wait To See! :D
Carey Mulligan - Never Let Me Go
Natalie Portman - Black Swan
Frieda Pinto - Miral
Julianne Moore and Annette Bening -The Kids Are All Right
Anne Hathaway - Love And Other Drugs
Rinko Kikuchi - Norweigen Wood

Before I make a massive list off performances i'm looking for; i will stop here lol. The reason I have chosen to select these actress though is because I really do love thses actress and find them incredible.

Favourite Performance I've Seen From Them! :D
Carey Mulligan - An Education
Natalie Portman - Leon
Frida Pinto - Slumdog Millionnaire
Julianna Moore - A Single Man
Annette Bening - American Beauty
Anne Hathaway - Racheal Getting Married
Rinko Kikuchi - Babel

1st - Carey Mulligan
2nd - Anne Hathaway
3rd - Natalie Portman
4th - Rinko Kikuchi
5th - Julianne Moore
6th - Annette Bening
7th - Frieda Pinto

Now that I have finished lol, other ppl tell me what you think; Do you agree or disagree? If you diagree please give a valid reason :)

Volvagia said...

My Pacino Noms:

1. The Godfather - Lead (Silver, Brando Gold)
2. Serpico - Lead (Bronze, Redford Silver, Martin Sheen Gold)
3. The Godfather Part II - Lead (Gold)
4. Dog Day Afternoon - Lead (Silver, Gold is Nicholson for The Passenger, even though One Flew is a better film)
5. And Justice for All - Lead (5th Wheel if anything because of Sellers, Sheen, Scheider and Hoffman)
6. Scarface - Lead (Silver, Gold is Peter Capaldi for Local Hero)
7. Glengarry Glen Ross - Lead (Gold)
8. Carlito's Way - Lead (Bronze, Neeson is Silver and Bruce Campbell is Gold.)
9. Heat - Lead (Bronze, DeNiro is Silver and Spacey (Usual Suspects) is Gold.)

That's One More nom than the Academy gave him with Dick Tracy and Scent of a Woman cut, choosing his roles in three superior films instead.

NATHANIEL R said...

josh -- we've been having comment problems. it's quite all right. As for Pacino i just don't like his modern performances so i never have reason to talk about him. I do think he's EXCELLENT in Angels in America and The Godfather but his early stuff i need more time with (i barely remember the ones i saw and i didn't see all of them). I also think he's fun in Dick Tracy and good in Donnie Brasco (although i prefer Depp & Heche in that movie)

James T -- Wasikowska is the film's secret weapon actually because the entire story arc sort of spins from her tiny shifts of feeling.

volvagia -- what's your beef with rabbit hole? You do know that Oscar has a long history of taking award winning plays seriously once they transfer (if the movie is any good or gets any attention that is)

no bad -- i do agree that winter's bone is a touch overrated but i still thought it was skilfully deployed enough to keep me riveted throughout even though, like you, i found all of the characters highly undesirable.

Volvagia said...

It's just it has no commercial chance (too sad) in this current realm, where Scott Pilgrim could actually be a huge blockbuster, drawing everyone with discernment that weekend. It has seven competitors in close proximity, only one of which (All Capsed) seems like it could be classy (Cats & Dogs 2, Charlie St. Cloud, Dinner for Shmucks, The Other Guys, Step Up 3-D, EAT PRAY LOVE and The Expendables.) It looks like Scott Pilgrim is heading into a clearing house and possible Oscar buzz, huh?

Rick said...

JUst saw I Am Love .. thought it was awesome... To me the movie was and its story were told by the director and all the visuals... the actors were there, but less important... Swinson was great, as always... I do not see your love for Berenson... she did nothing... the lesbian daughter was as good or better.

cal roth said...

What about Samuel L. Jackson in Mother and Child? I haven't seen it, but I've heard very nice things about him.

brandz said...

The Kids Are Alright just got a savage review in this week's New Yorker (Anthony Lane).

NATHANIEL R said...

volvagia -- i don't believe it for a second but if you turn out to be right i will bow down. I've just watched the Oscars for a very long time and they've never gone anywhere near something like that.

but i'm excited to see it!

Drew said...

How are you seeing all of these unreleased films? Do film bloggers just get free reign on seeing these types of movies before the public now to build buzz? That's kind of fascinating.

No Bad Movies said...

The Other Guys looks so stale comedic wise. I can't believe there was a line in there where Ferrell says " he's flying " when I guy is falling off a roof.
I think I'm just burned out on Will Ferrell. It's kind of ironic my two favorite films of his are the two dramas he did.

Josh said...

Volvagia. As much as i like Pacino and De Palma, I am not the biggest fan of Scarface. There is stuff that i think is interesting about it, but i much prefer "Carlito's Way", which i am glad you mentioned because that movie has a huge heart, which is a bit odd for De Palma. I think Pacino shines when he plays real people. I think Tony Montana is a little overboard. I think his performance in "Scent of a Woman" is great. At first one might think he is over the top, but his character is over the top. As the movie progresses his character gets a lot more complex and subtle. Its quite a site too see. I like him in "Heat", but that is a bit over the top too. I like his performance in the other Michael Mann movie, "The Insider". His performance wasn't showy at all, but completely believable. Its the type of performance one might not expect from Pacino. One that benifits the movie than himself. I liked Winter's Bone a lot, but i had a few problems with it. I just can't put my hand on what they actually were. Debra Granik actually came to my class to speak about the film because my teacher is her mentor. It was interesting to hear the stories of how it was made. All the performances were phenomenal. I especially love John Hawkes too. He gave a very complex performance, but not too showy. that is the type of performance i love. It reminded me at times a bit of a Sam Peckinpah film, which is awesome because he is one of my favorite directors, but i wish it went a little bit more in that root. I loved "Shutter Island", but I am biased again because Scorsese is the man that got me into film. The story is a little cliche, but i found the film to be a great metaphor of the 50's. From what i know of that time, i felt like it really captured that time period. It is in my opinion a flawed masterpiece, but i wouldn't put it up their with Scorsese's best, but their hardly any films that i would do that to. I still think he is a master no matter how flawed the screenplay was. Each frame seemed smart and i love Leo's performance along with the others. Its also just a joy to watch a Scorsese movie period because if he didn't direct the film it would be far worse. He gives his movies a special juice that no other director has.

NATHANIEL R said...

Drew -- it's simple: I've been to some festivals recently. and very very occasionally (not enough to count on by any stretch) i'll get a DVD of something that's not out.

NATHANIEL R said...

Josh -- multiple comments are no biggie. it happens (internet malfunctions, user error, blogger kinks). i can just delete them.

NicksFlickPicks said...

@Kurtis O: I saw Vincere and really disliked it. Mezzogiorno was okay, but I find her recycling similar forms of Intensity from perf to perf, and the film sometimes pushed her into shamelessness, like when she's weeping while watching The Kid. But, I know a lot of people love the performance, and I do think if IFC had taken a chance on an '09 release, she might easily have taken Mirren's spot last year.

NATHANIEL R said...

@Nicks -- i really don't think IFC cares about Oscars at all. They never seem to make an effort even when they have something Oscarable.

Volvagia said...

I follow the Academy rules, so even if I think it's great, I think he's a co-lead (the other being Jack Lemmon) in Glengarry and I can't see a performance switch. And as for Scarface, it's bold and intriguing satire that works on two levels. 1. He's just what he appears (dumb, vulgar and violent drug dealer). 2. He's a performer, acting like this to hide something big. Is Montana asexual? Now some say, "What about the sister." I say, "Does he really act like he wants to have sex with her? Yes, she wants him, but he doesn't have noticeable sexual interest in her or anyone, including a character played by Michelle Pfeiffer." All that can be inferred from killing his loyal thug is he wants her to date, and possibly have sex with, someone decent, which, at this point in the story, doesn't include him.

Nick Duval said...

Best Actress = Jennifer Lawrence, all the way

Best Supporting Actor = John Hawkes or Michael Fassbender

Best Actor = Ben Stiller... I'm a one man Oscar campaign for him

Was not feeling it with "The Square."

And "Mother's standout performance I'm not as impressed as others, although I was hit hard by it.

Sheila King said...

Thanks for the heads up on Shutter Island, Nat. I do think it deserves more than one viewing for real appreciation of what Scorsese and his crew did. It's fairly layered and some of the best acting -- Mark Ruffalo, cough, cough -- seems on the surface to be little more than window dressing. If so, it's rather wonderful, subtle dressing, as it's very obvious just watching his face what's going on when you have a second go-round. Similarly Kingsley is rather underrated. A very sly performance indeed. Also, Leo has a superb moment of physical acting at the very end when he rises from the porch and walks away. At times, he seems to be channeling the paranoia of Jimmy Stewart in, say, Vertigo. It's actually, if you allow yourself to pull away a bit from the obvious pulpiness -- which isn't just window dressing either, a movie that's rather subtly amusing in the darkest Hitchcock mode. As a bit of disagreement with some here, I'd have to say for me it's one of the best and most interesting things Scorsese's done in quite a long time.