Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Getting Back in the Oscar Mood

Usually round about this time I do a halfway mark / Oscar article. I'm not sure I'm ready for that just yet. I mean, what has happened really? But stirred on by the fun (?) discussion about the Actress from Hell Oscar list ... let's do the penile version.

Best Actor Shortlist From Hell
or: Nathaniel's least favorite nominations for lead actor (2000-2005)

Michael Caine The Quiet American (2002)
I remain blind to his apparently obvious brilliance. Obvious to Oscar at least.
Russell Crowe A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Too mannered for me. Plus he'd just won so it's even more of an overkill.
Johnny Depp Finding Neverland (2004)
So muted that everything that's special about him is lost. Plus, the film sucks.
Sean Penn I Am Sam (2001)
This will be the least controversial choice. I'm so glad he has an Oscar now so they don't feel compelled to nominate him on the rare occassions when he specifically takes a role because he wants them to love him. And now, maybe he won't take another role like this. Unless he wants to be as well respected as Hilary Swank. Then we're all in trouble.
Geoffrey Rush Quills (2000)
See also: Michael Caine. Only moreso.

And the winner is I dunno... Geoffrey Rush in Quills. Damnit he still gets a prize. I guess it's unavoidable. Some thespians are magnets that way. Of this bunch I guess I don't know for sure who I'd say is worse. Depends on which peeve is my current pet.

Now, in the comments: Which five of the past 30 nominees make up your shortlist from Oscar hell?


adam k. said...

See, I don't really hate any of these... they're just kind of "blah". Only Sean Penn is really particularly obnoxious... but how else would you wanted him to have played the character?

And see how much better they always are with the actor category? In '03 and '05 they basically got it right, and in '02 they were damn close. In '01 their only real crime was that they fell for the baity drama over musical/comedy brilliance, but that was a given. I guess 2004 is the only really bad year, cause when given a whole mess of greats to choose from, they of course chose the slightly less great ones, totally ignoring Carrey, Bridges, Bernal, Neeson, and even Giamatti who was all over the precursors.

adam k. said...

And Nathaniel, you really do have an irrational and enduring hatred of Finding Neverland. Let it go, man, let it go.

Yaseen Ali said...

YES. So agree on Caine, who was criminally overrated in the Noyce film; I know his character is supposed to be an opium addict, but it felt like he was sleep-walking through the part. Reading the book earlier this year just underlined for me how poorly he interpreted Fowler.

My ballot:

Michael Caine, The Quiet American: See above
Russell Crowe, A Beautiful Mind: Already covered. Very gimmicky, baity... plus, just a horrible movie overall.
Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby: Grunt, growl, raspy voice, shifty eyes, repeat.
Sean Penn, I Am Sam: This one should be on everyone's list.
Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line: Not a bad effort in the least, but way too method for me. Oppressively so. Thank god Reese was there to bring some light into the film.

I'm also not a fan of Bill Murray in Lost in Translation - what has he done there that hasn't been covered before? It felt like Bill Murray doing Bill Murray to me. Jamie Foxx's win also bothers me, but he was fantastic in Collateral that year (and that's the film I pretend he won for).

Johnny Depp was indeed muted in Neverland, but it's his Globe nomination for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that really pisses me off. I liked Geoffrey Rush in Quills; yeah, he's overkill, but also disgusting, creepy and full of life (all the things Sade should be in a film).

Anonymous said...

1. CAINE. The bastard stole Law's Oscar in 99, plus beat out 4 far more deserving men in the richest Supporting Actor field of the 90's. Then in 2002 he receives an automatic nomination. UGH. I'd rather of seen Gere take is spot as a career acknowledgment.

2. DEPP. Finding Neverland was mediocre at best. And of course the American Academy doesn’t even both to nod the best thing about it (Winslet). Anyway, Depp is a fascinating actor but I really felt like he was somewhere else during the movie- completely detached. There was nothing in this performance. Thank god the Globes lauded DiCaprio over him.

3. PENN. I don’t think this is a bad performance per say. It’s just animosity derived from a combo of things; I Am Sam (really bad movie) + traditional Oscar bait + took slot that McGregor richly deserved. I worship Sean Penn, one of my fav actors of all time but this was not nomination worthy work.

4. SMITH. I found this performance to be excellent but when you consider the field that year MCGREGOR!!!!, Thornton, Hackman, Thornton (MS), Osment etc… It just irritates. Had it been a weaker year I be find with his nod but to make it in over those mentioned his NOT cool.

5. EASTWOOD. Solid work. But my God; 2 nominations- producing and directing- and they still be obligated to nod him here. Even SAG felt giving him a nod was overkill. And I truly believe he is the reason for that inexcusable Giamatti snub.

StinkyLulu said...

Golly. I can barely figure out my favorite five out of these...

Anonymous said...

Without any doubt or hesitation-- and in no particular order because they all suck regardless -- I pick the following:

1. Sean Penn for EITHER 'I Am Sam' OR 'Mystic River,' the first of which was cloying, the second just over-the-top annoying. (I didn't buy it for a second, but I think his grumpy and dour public persona may color my opinion somewhat.) Bill Murray, Johnny Depp, and even Penn in '21 Grams' were so much better in 2003.

2. Michael Caine for 'The Quiet American,' which was dull with a capital "d" and, thanks to the demonic Miramax marketing machine, yet still managed to get the nod that Hugh Grant deserved for his career-best performance in 'About a Boy.' For shame.

3. Johnny Depp for 'Finding Neverland,' which lost me to boredom and ambivalence less than a quarter of the way through. (Very un-Depp like incidentally.) Paul Giamatti's performance in 'Sideways' was infinitely better and more nuanced as opposed to this manipulative tripe. Jeff Bridges and Jim Carrey easily deserved the slot over Depp that year too.

5. Jamie Foxx for for 'Ray,' because I. JUST. DON'T. GET. IT. AT. ALL. What's so special about merely competent mimickry of a person as well known and beloved as Ray Charles? At least with Charlize Theron in 'Monster,' she had the benefit of portraying a real-life character who was not exactly a household name. This one irks me still, especially in light of his WIN and the derivative nature of the film itself. Plus, the fact that he seems like such a conceited prick in public and is SO overexsposed nowadays doesn't help. (Note: I actually quite like his performance in 'Ali' and thought he deserved a nom for that so I'm not a total hater.)

6. Phillip Seymour Hoffman for 'Capote,' because I. JUST. DON'T. GET. IT. PART. TWO. While he's slightly less obnoxious than Jamie Foxx, his performance screams shamelss mimickry too. Heath Ledger took a character and brilliantly created it from scratch. Hoffman already had a real-life counterpart to model after. Plus, he always looks rode hard and put away wet at events and awards shows. (Although it probably shouldn't matter, I always think, "God, he's such a schlub" whenever I see him onscreen now," which, for an actor, makes it difficult to disappear into a role.)

I still have a lingering bad feeling about the snubs that befell Ewan McGregor for 'Moulin Rouge' and, hell, even Michael Douglas for 'Wonder Boys,' and now I remember why.



adam -i should let it go but this topic was requested ;) but i agree that they're closing to getting it right here than they are elsewhere annually.

ryan -i'm still confused by Caine's win in 99.

ali -even if murray is doing murray to some extent most movie stars do their best (or at least most signature) work when they incorporate their own screen persona.

stinky - i know. best actor is always less exciting.

Anonymous said...

Geoffrey Rush (Quills) - A big fat piece of Oscar Mayer ham. Just unbearable.

Johnny Depp (Finding Neverland) - Love him to pieces, but this was surprisingly unremarkable and uninspired work, especially coming from him.

Sean Penn (I Am Sam) - My bias against disabled roles might cloud my judgment, but it was still annoying and cloying work from an usually great actor.

Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind) - Like Nat said, so mannered and calculated. It's really a shame Penn and Crowe got nominated and McGregor was snubbed for his beautiful work in Moulin.

Will Smith (Ali) - Moreso than Hoffman and Foxx, Smith's work was blatant imitation. I just felt he phoned it in. As you can see, 2001 is like, my least favorite year of the decade in Best Actor.

And I must be the only one who dug Michael Caine in The Quiet American. I'm in total agreement that he inexplicably stole Jude Law's Oscar in 1999.

Anonymous said...

I love Michael Caine, so I probably wouldn't agree with you on the 'Quiet American' one.
I read an interview once where he said he felt that that was his best performance. I don't really have an opinion on whether it is or not, but I thought y'all might be interested to know that.

To people that I most wish had been nominated are Hugh Grant for 'About a Boy' and Jim Carrey for 'Eternal Sunshine'. I mean, Grant really deserved to get regonition for the role of his lifetime.

Anonymous said...

That is, "Two people who..."

NicksFlickPicks said...

My list:

Michael Caine, The Quiet American
Johnny Depp, Finding Neverland
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Aviator
Sean Penn, I Am Sam
Geoffrey Rush, Quills
Will Smith, Ali

Caine because he didn't dig deeply enough for me. Depp because it was such a washout role as written (though I agree with Ali that his Wonka was even more excruciating). DiCaprio because, even though he was okay in a few scenes, he was very awkward in others, in very typical ways ("They do not rule the sky!" or whatever.) Penn because even I can see that he is fallible, even though I think Adam's correct that there wasn't much room to play the character otherwise. Smith I thought was fine, but not especially memorable, nor as richly detailed as the surrounding film.

NicksFlickPicks said...

Oops - I put six. Smith shouldn't be there, since I found Rush so thoroughly and hammily annoying in Quills.

Anonymous said...

Best to Worst:

1. Law, Cold Mountain (somebody so hot shouldn't allowed to be so talented)

2. Wilkinson, Bedroom (amazing)

3. Cage, Adaptation (Not a Cage fan, but he creates two completely different characterizations here ... and he's funny)

4. Depp, Pirates (I don't think I'll find any argument here other than why isn't he higher)

5. Hoffman, Capote (I do not see any holes in this performance)

6. Ledger, Brokeback (One of the most unique portrayals in recent memory)

7. Kingsley, Sand & Fog (Like Wilkinson, he does intensity really well)

8. Murray, Translation
9. Nicholson, Schmidt
10. Washington, Training Day
11. Bardem, Before Night
12. Penn, Mystic River
13. Penn, I Am Sam
14. Howard, Hustle & Flow
15. DiCaprio, Aviator
16. Crowe, Beautiful Mind

Bottom Five: (haven't seen nine (!) of the nominees)
17. Caine, Quiet American
18. Fox, Ray
19. Hanks, Castaway
20. Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby
21. Depp, Neverland

Anonymous said...

1. Will Smith for Ali in 2001. I like Will Smith - when he was on Fresh Prince, but not in a movie. Although, I will say his performance is nice, but not worthy of a nom. I'm glad Denzel won that year, but I still think even his win was a make-up award for Malcolm X.

2. Philip S. Hoffman for Capote in 2005. I just think his win was given in poor taste. I don't understand how the Academy would give him the win when there was two others in his category who put in wonderful performances as people THEY HAD TO CREATE - not impersonate. If I wanted an impersonation, I would go to the club and see Cher or Elvis. I thought this award should have gone to Heath Ledger for Brokeback Mountain, with Terrence Howard in a close second for Hustle & Flow.

3. Leonardo DiCaprio for The Aviator in 2004. I just thought this whole movie was bad, and his performance was average, at best. I thought this year's win should have gone to Cheadle for Hotel Rwanda.

4. Sean Penn for Mystic River in 2003. I just didn't like him in this movie, and I actually thought his performance in I Am Sam was much more deserving, even though he did the role to impress people. I thought Johnny Depp should have won for Pirates of the Carribean.

5. Daniel Day-Lewis for Gangs of New York in 2002. I thought his performance was ok, but nothing special. Others in the movie did just as well. This is one of the few times my favorite performance won, which was Adrien Brody for The Pianist.

Anonymous said...

1. Will Smith for Ali in 2001. I like Will Smith - when he was on Fresh Prince, but not in a movie. Although, I will say his performance is nice, but not worthy of a nom. I'm glad Denzel won that year, but I still think even his win was a make-up award for Malcolm X.

2. Philip S. Hoffman for Capote in 2005. I just think his win was given in poor taste. I don't understand how the Academy would give him the win when there was two others in his category who put in wonderful performances as people THEY HAD TO CREATE - not impersonate. If I wanted an impersonation, I would go to the club and see Cher or Elvis. I thought this award should have gone to Heath Ledger for Brokeback Mountain, with Terrence Howard in a close second for Hustle & Flow.

3. Leonardo DiCaprio for The Aviator in 2004. I just thought this whole movie was bad, and his performance was average, at best. I thought this year's win should have gone to Cheadle for Hotel Rwanda.

4. Sean Penn for Mystic River in 2003. I just didn't like him in this movie, and I actually thought his performance in I Am Sam was much more deserving, even though he did the role to impress people. I thought Johnny Depp should have won for Pirates of the Carribean.

5. Daniel Day-Lewis for Gangs of New York in 2002. I thought his performance was ok, but nothing special. Others in the movie did just as well. This is one of the few times my favorite performance won, which was Adrien Brody for The Pianist.

DL said...

1. Tom Hanks in Cast Away - Overrated actor in and overrated role in an overrated film.

2. Sean Penn in I Am Sam - An actor I really really like, but here I just found him annoying.

3. and 4. Jamie Foxx in Ray/Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote - Maybe it's just the fact that they actually won that pisses me off.

5. Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind/Gladiator - see: Tom Hanks in Cast Away.

Anonymous said...

I think Michael Caine is perfect in The Quiet American. He is not cold, he is English. And Greene-ish. I would love to see him as Maurice Bendrix, if he were still young. Or some understated Henry James-adapted character. Absolutely perfect.

Another mentioned performances I like very much: Hoffmann in Capote, Eastwood in Million Dollar Baby, Penn in Mystic River, Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York.

The worst ones: Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland, Russel Crowe in A Beautiful Mind.

Overrated: ok, it's not overrated, but you love him so much. Heath Ledger. I get the power of his work, the movie is magnificent, but the way Ledger builds his understatement performance is slightly obvious; it is easy to get the tricks - the voice, the accent, his lost eyes...
Gyllenhaal, however, is perfect. No false notes, a natural.

The 5 best

1 - Washington, Training Day
2 - Penn, Mystic River
3 - Murray, Lost in Translation
4 - Daniel Day-Lewis, Gangs of New York
5 - Philip Seymour Hoffmann, Capote

- cal roth

Beau said...

Never saw Caine. Didn't have a desire to. (how did he win for Hannah and Her Sisters, by the way? I mean, am I alone here? At least Weist had some classy moments, Caine I just felt was *snore*. Also robbed Osment and Cruise of the Golden Boy (haven't seen Talented Mr. Ripley in some time, it's on my to do list. Michael Clarke Duncan was even better in my eyes.)

Russell Crowe - Gladiator
-No. No. No. No. No. Harris was spectacular, and Hanks was brilliant. Never saw Bardem, but heard a lot of good things. How can you give Crowe an award for such a blah turn? And I am one who dug his perf in ABM. Sue me.

Sean Penn - Mystic River/
Gloriously overrated. Nathaniel, if there is any moment in a film in the past five years that I can relate to you on being horribly overdone a la Watts in 21 Grams, it's Penn's screaming after losing his daughter. I realize some people called that moment 'genius', i saw it as being greatly overracted. And how dare you steal that Oscar from Depp or Murray. Boo.

Jamie Foxx - Ray
Horrible. This isn't a performance, this is an IMITATION. Look it up: it requires very little acting. All you need is countless videos and sessions and then basically mimic them as best you can. That last scene when he took his glasses off was singlehandedly the worst moment of the film. Any possibility of believing that this WAS Ray Charles just went to shit. I just... wow, did i HATE that he won that Oscar. The voters really need to study the art of acting as opposed to just giving the award to the flashiest performer.

Philip Seymour Hoffman - Capote
WHERE THE FUCK WERE YOU PEOPLE WHEN I RANTED ON ABOUT HATING THIS PERFORMANCE?!?! I've felt like one of barely anybody on the face of the planet who despised this film. It's not that Hoffman does a bad job, per se, it's just that the script leaves him stranded, in air, over a large body of water, with an anvil tied to his ankle. Not even a great actor like him can save the film. As a result, I'm just astounded by the fact that he won. Disappointed as well.

Johnny Depp - Finding Neverland.
-I found it to be perfectly servicable. I would've loved to have seen a nom for Paul Giamatti or Jim Carrey in his place, but I don't despise his nom as much as I did the other four (and they all won Oscars. Tells you how much I disagree with the Academy on a number of things.)

yeah. so i said it. the academy got it wrong four out of five times and gave the golden boy to the worst performer of that year. bring on the haters.

Anonymous said...

More about Ledger:
I like the performance. But the Brando comparision is perfect in a way people don't perceive. Brando was exactly the kind of actor that showed off his engines and still could make you believe in his parts. But sometimes Ledger lets his acting engines be too distracting.

About: Penn. He kinds of overacts in Mystic River, but if you get Jimmy, it is just like James Cagney in White Heat, scream included. The intensity is overwhelming.

- cal roth

Anonymous said...


Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland. that role was just too too dull to be recognized that much...

Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote. Mimicry at its finest.

Jamie Foxx in Ray. Another mime here....

Michael Caine in The Quiet American. Weh, i don;t get it.

Russell Crowe in Gladiator. He's just to damn famous and loved.

the best in my list would be Hoffman, i Think and it dreads me to say that because i really hate him. And my friggin head would explode if i hear that damn voice again!

Anonymous said...

The best ones:
01º Adrien Brody, “The Pianist”
02º Javier Bardem, “Before Night Falls”
03º Jack Nicholson, “About Schmidt”
04º Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Capote”
05º Heath Ledger, “Brokeback Mountain”
06º Bill Murray, “Lost In Translation”
07º Johnny Depp, “Pirates Of The Caribbean”
08º Daniel Day-Lewis, “Gangs Of N.Y.”
09º Nicolas Cage, “Adaptation”
10º David Strathairn, “Good Night, And Good Luck”
11º Russell Crowe, “A Beautiful Mind”
12º Tom Wilkinson, “In The Bedroom”
13º Sean Penn, “Mystic River”
14º Ben Kingsley, “House Of Sand & Fog”
15º Geoffrey Rush, “Quills”
16º Joaquin Phoenix, “Walk The Line”
17º Tom Hanks, “Cast Away”
18º Jamie Foxx, “Ray”
19º Jude Law, “Cold Mountain”
20º Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Aviator”
21º Ed Harris, “Pollock”
22º Terrence Howard, “Hustle & Flow”
23º Clint Eastwood, “Million Dollar Baby”
24º Denzel Washington, “Training Day”
...And the worst ones:
25º Russell Crowe, “Gladiator”
26º Michael Caine, “The Quiet American”
27º Johnny Depp, “Finding Neverland”
28º Will Smith, “Ali”
29º Sean Penn, “I Am Sam”

(Haven´t seen "Hotel Rwanda")

Anonymous said...

Why Rush? I think he's one of the best...

My worse top5:

Clint in Million $ baby
Dan in Gangs of New York
Will in Ali
Tom in Cast away
Sean in I am Sam

Although neither of them were actually "real" bad, just in terms of Oscar nominations, these are the ones I liked the least of the last 5 years of nominated leading men.
I'm also not a fan of the nominations for Heath Ledger or David Strathaim last year. I think the smaller and foreign films don't get enough attention in the big categories. They usually have at least 1 or 2 actors who should be much better candidates for Oscar.

Glenn Dunks said...

I haven't seen Pollack, The Quiet American, About Schmidt, Ali

My worst five would be:

Russell Crowe - A Beautiful Mind
Johnny Depp - Finding Neverland
Jamie Foxx - Ray
Sean Penn - I Am Sam
Denzel Washington - Training Day

Crowe - Just felt quite bland to me and then when he started to go insane it felt like GIMME AN OSCAR pandering. And I absolutely LOVE Crowe usually.

Depp - How did they go from nominating Depp's best and most outrageous perf to then nominating one of his worst and dullest perfs ever. Doesn't make sense. Made me wanna go to sleep. You'd think the man who wrote "Peter Pan" would've been a bit more of a nut.

Foxx - Because I don't understand where all the love came from. Like, all these critics were saying he "transcended mimickry"... WTF? He didn't transcend anything! He just copied and he didn't even sing (and he actually can sing and has done for years). The win was revolting more than anything.

Penn - Because it irritated me to know end. Hell, that whole movie gave me the irrits. Especially devil spawn Dakota. God, I hate this movie.

Washington - His quote may well have been "BRANDO GOT NOTHING ON ME" because he's obviously trying to act the living daylights out of everyone living and dead. But my god, how did this win Best Actor? It's so ordinary. He plays a villain? WOW, ya know what! He's an actor. Sheesh.

Having said that, other performances that people have mentioned:

Rush - I LOVE Geoffrey. Maybe it's the Australian patriotism or whatever, I legitimately enjoy watching Rush act (and act his pants off no less) and while I admit I don't always like that (see the last four bad nominees above) I think the role of the Marquis de Sade is exactly suited to it.

Eastwood - Gave my favourite performance from M$B and I gave him my silver for that year. I just really liked him in this movie.

DiCaprio - I like this performance. The right sort of boy-in-a-mans-body perf for the movie. I rate it highly because I didn't get annoyed at all during the 3 hours.

Hoffman - His best perf, but I don't generally like him. Still, this win doesn't piss me off like Best Picture does.

And yeah, I haven't seen Caine (i should've since it's a Phillip Noyce movie) or Smith so I can't comment on them.

Glenn Dunks said...

"I'm also not a fan of the nominations for Heath Ledger or David Strathaim last year."

Sorry mate, but that ain't gonna fly round here. :P

Anonymous said...

I don't see how a cadre of pained Marlon Brando imitators are any less guilty of 'mimicry' than Hoffman or Foxx.

Anonymous said...

The train wreck among Best Actor lists was undoubtedly 2001. Ewen McGregor and Billy Bob Thornton should have been in. Sean Penn's nomination was an abomination. The voters were recognizing Will Smith's strenuous efforts, not the results. In Ali, Smith's persona did battle with Ali's and both lost. I agree that Crowe's performance is mannered and uneven (He never does get the accent down). He should have won in '99. And while I think Crowe's performance in Gladiator shouldn't have even been nominated, let alone awarded, we should be glad his previous year's win, plus his BAFTA antics, took him out of the running in '01, or he probably would have won for Beautiful Mind.

I disagree with Nathaniel on Michael Caine. He is an indominable presence in The Quiet American. It's the best role he's had in years. His '99 Oscar was undeserved, but the winner should have been Osment, whose performance truly is unforgettable. I completely agree about Depp in '04.
Regarding the crowded field that year, I knew Eastwood would be nominated for a performance that is one of his best, and I thought (hoped) Depp, the weak link of the field, would be dropped. It's hard to fault his performance in Finding Neverland; there's just nothing terribly special about it. In a perfect world, Depp would have been recognized back in the '90s for Ed Wood and Edward Scissorhands and his J.N. Barrie would have looked minor. But the Oscars aren't perfect. Gee, did you know that?

Anonymous said...

The worst ones:
1 Johnny Depp “Finding Neverland”
2 Russel Crowe "Gladiator"
3 Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Capote"
4 Clint Eastwood "Million Dollar Baby"
5 Tom Hanks "Cast Away"
(Haven´t seen "I am Sam", "Quills", "Hustle & Flow" and "Before Night Falls")

Anonymous said...

haven't seen Quiet American, Quills or I Am Sam, but:

1) Eastwood
2) Depp, Finding Neverland
3) Crowe, Gladiator (really?)
4) PS Hoffman (annoying)
5) Denzel (just being over-the-top)

HM: Smith, DiCaprio, Cheadle, Strathairn.

Anonymous said...

now I have more time, full ranking best to worst:

1. Brody
2. Nicholson
3. Ledger
4. Wilkinson
5. Penn (Mystic River)
6. Depp (Pirates)
7. Day-Lewis
8. Cage
9. Law
10. Crowe (ABM)
11. Murray
12. Hanks
13. Phoenix
14. Kingsley
15. DiCaprio
16. Cheadle
17. Strathairn
18. Smith
19. Washington
20. Hoffman
21. Crowe (Gladiator)
22. Depp (Finding Neverland)
23. Eastwood

Not seen: Caine, Rush, Howard, Foxx, Penn (I am Sam), Harris, Bardem

2002 and 2003 were so much better than the other years it's absurd.

Anonymous said...

So good to hear I'm not alone in my distaste for the performances of Sean Penn ('Mystic River'), Jamie Foxx ('Ray'), and Phillip Seymour Hoffman ('Capote'). Seriously, the last three years have been a nightmare, especially since three of the best performances in those years -- Jim Carrey ('The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'), Jeff Bridges ('The Door in the Floor'), and Paul Giamatti ('Sideways') -- didn't even get NOMINATED when they were FAR superior and MUCH more difficult to pull off than the aforementioned three WINS for Best (gag) Actor (barf). I'm sorry, I just get a little riled up by AMPAS' ineptness and tunnel vision. What a bloody bunch of sheep.


Anonymous said...

My worst 5:

5 Ed Harris (Pollock)
It seems too overly laboured, mannered and baity for my liking. That movie is a-a-a-all about Marcia for me.

4 Will Smith (Ali)
Sorry, but I don't get it. I don't think he captured Ali for even a split second.

3 Jude Law (Cold Mountain)
The accent. An abomination. I swear during the "Aaaahl maaaareh yeeeu, aaaahl maaaareh yeeeu" speech I felt I was going to spontaneously combust in an amusement/anger combo.

2 Clint Eastwood (Million $ Baby)
Ironically, I think it's his best work as an actor, but as much as it works in context as a performance, it's still utterly faxed in at times. And a waste of a slot which could have gone to Bernal, Giamatti, Neeson, Bardem...

1 Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind)
Ham. Pure HAM.


Anonymous said...

michael Cain was great in QUIET AMERICAN.

CLINT EASTWOOD has never made a good movie. His actors almost always are awful.

Anonymous said...

I've seen all 30, so I'm celebrating (in 66% of cases):

1 Daniel Day-Lewis, “Gangs Of New York”
2 Javier Bardem, “Before Night Falls”
3 Geoffrey Rush, “Quills”
4 Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Aviator”
5 Heath Ledger, “Brokeback Mountain”
6 David Strathairn, “Good Night, And Good Luck”
7 Adrien Brody, “The Pianist”
8 Michael Caine, “The Quiet American”
9 Bill Murray, “Lost In Translation”
10 Jack Nicholson, “About Schmidt”
11 Don Cheadle, “Hotel Rwanda”
12 Johnny Depp, “Pirates Of The Caribbean”
13 Russell Crowe, “Gladiator”
14 Tom Wilkinson, “In The Bedroom”
15 Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Capote”
16 Ben Kingsley, “House Of Sand & Fog”
17 Denzel Washington, “Training Day”
18 Joaquin Phoenix, “Walk The Line”
19 Tom Hanks, “Cast Away”
20 Terrence Howard, “Hustle & Flow”
21 Jamie Foxx, “Ray”
22 Sean Penn, “Mystic River”
23 Johnny Depp, “Finding Neverland”
24 Nicolas Cage, “Adaptation”
25 Sean Penn, “I Am Sam”
26 Ed Harris, “Pollock”
27 Will Smith, “Ali”
28 Jude Law, “Cold Mountain”
29 Clint Eastwood, “Million Dollar Baby”
30 Russell Crowe, “A Beautiful Mind”


Anonymous said...

I thought Jude Law was the only performer in Cold Mountain who actually pulled off the accent.

John T said...

The five worst:

Penn-It's already been discussed above, but I figured he needed another shout-out.

Cheadle-Was I the only one who thought this was incredibly gimicky and totally pandering to the Academy? I saw absolutely nothing special here, and I've been a fan of his in the past.

Crowe (Gladiator)-I didn't mind A Beautiful Mind as much (I remain one of the few who enjoyed Jennifer Connelly-can't wait to see if she makes the Supporting Actress worst lists), but his win for Gladiator was disgusting in the light of Harris's revelation and Hanks's introverted loveliness. This was a bad action movie star performance in a bad action movie.

Foxx & Hoffman-The exact same reason-both are doing impersonations. Sure, they're impressive impersonations, but if Oscars were given for mimickry, Rich Little would have won a lot more. See Ed Harris, Reese Witherspoon, Cate Blanchett, and a host of others for how to play a known commodity with some character depth and investment.

Out of these five, picking a winner I'd probably go with Cheadle (cause I think he should win eventually). By the way, I was one of the people who thoroughly enjoyed Michael Caine and would have nominated him.

Oh, and my five faves would be: Murray, Depp, Wilkinson, Ledger, and Brody (with Ledger taking it)

John T said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Clint is the worst. All these are medicre/bad:

Russell Crowe, “Gladiator”
Denzel Washington, “Training Day”
Tom Hanks, “Cast Away”
Jamie Foxx, “Ray”
Sean Penn, “I Am Sam”
Clint Eastwood, “Million Dollar Baby”
Russell Crowe, “A Beautiful Mind”

Anonymous said...

It's easier to list the performances I think are truly astonishing.

1. Daniel Day-Lewis in GANGS OF NEW YORK
2. Daniel Day-Lewis in GANGS OF NEW YORK

Guess I'm in the minority, but I thought Heath Ledger in BROKEBACK was only slightly less annoying than Jaime Foxx in RAY. I mean, talk about aping a performance. He moved and sounded just like Billy Bob Thornton in SLINGBLADE!!! I agree with the person who thinks Jake G. gives THE performance in BROKEBACK.

Least of the Least Favorites:

Nic Cage, ADAPTATION. A smarmy, self-regarding performance in another overrated film.

Adrien Brody, THE PIANIST. I was gobsmacked by this win. Nothing special. Soulful looks and elegant fingers. Yawn.

Russell Crowe, A BEAUTIFUL MIND. Well, Russell Crowe in just about anything other than L.A. CONFIDENTIAL. And Phillip Seymour Hoffman is the new Russell Crowe for me. Can't stand to watch him in anything other than BOOGIE NIGHTS.

The aforementioned Jaime Foxx in RAY. Charles was blind, not a deaf mute. Why was Foxx screaming all the time like no one could hear him? This performance made me laugh, and not for the right reasons.

Sean Penn. I AM SAM. Because he lost the Oscar the year he should have won, I think, for DEAD MAN WALKING (maybe the Academy thought the nun in lipliner that is Susan Sarandon was the leading "actor?"), I can't be too nasty about him. But this performance just stinks like rotten eggs.

Michael Caine's best performance was in MISS CONGENIALITY!!!

Anonymous said...

To John T:

You are not alone. I don't understand the fascination with his performance in HOTEL RWANDA. Distinctly ordinary, by the numbers. But that was a distinctly ordinary film hyped to the skies, so what could we expect? I hope he doesn't become the new Phillip Seymour Hoffman........ (Cheadle's Buck in BOOGIE NIGHTS should have been nominated. Exquisite work.)

Anonymous said...

Jamie Foxx -- good impersonation, and not that it was "bad", but one of the most overpraised perfomances in a long time.

Clint Eastwood -- Clint plays Clint well, but we've seen it all before.

Will Smith -- this was an "A" for effort after all he is a movie star.

Russel Crowe (A Beautiful Mind) - too much showing, much better elsewhere.

David Strathairn -- I know people love this but I didn't get it. One note.

Emma said...

The worst: Bill Murray (Lit), Sean Penn (I am Sam), Johnny Depp (Finding Neverland), and so on.

Anonymous said...

I calculated the ones mentioned before this post, and it appears, that the top bottom of the nominations are:

1. Sean Penn in I am Sam
2. Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland
3.-4. Clint Eastwood in Million Dollar baby
3.-4. Jamie Foxx in Ray
5. Russell Crowe in Beautiful mind

The ones nobody has mentioned as one of his/her worse top 5:
Javier Bardem in Before night falls
Tom Wilkinson in In the bedroom
Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt
Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean
Ben Kingsley in House of sand and fog and
Terrence Howard in Hustle & flow
at least I didn't notice anybody mocking them...

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's some excellent vote tabulating, anon 5:17. The reason no one chose those elite 6 as worst nominated perfs of the aughts is because they are all fab, and the folks on this board, despite conflicting opinions/favs, know better than to single them out for such dubious recognition. Hooray for good taste!


Anonymous said...

Well, someone mentioned that NO ONE has placed Terrence Howard in there bottom 5 (or six)...I'm here to change that.

2005 - Terrence Howard!!! I was so pissed when the nominations were announced and the rightful nominee (RUSSELL CROWE) was replaced by someone who didn't even deserve an MTV award. Terrence Howard gave an okay performance that has become horrid to me because of all the undue attention! Just plain yuck!

2004 - Jamie Foxx & Clint Eastwood...Jamie just annoys the crap out of me. I hate the fact that he won, and well the fact that he was nominated. I actually wouldn't have nominated ANY of the five the acadamy did. Jamie and Clint should have been dropped and Giammati and Carry should have been in!

2003 - Jude Law or Sean Penn...Both were good but nothing brilliant. My favorite performance that year came from Colin Farel in 'Phone Booth' but thats my opinion. I also would have nominated Crowe for Master and Commander but the acadamy has a history of failing me.

2002 - I'll go with Caine just because he wasn't brilliant. I still feel that Derek Luke not only should have been nominated but should have won for his performance in 'Antwone Fisher'...Oh well.

2001 - Sean Penn for I Am Sam, although I'm still bitter that Denzell won the Oscar. Russell Crowe should have, and I'm pretty pissed that all you bloggers keep dissing his performance when none of you have even half the talent Crowe has in one finger! Crowe should have won...NO CONTEST!!!

2000 - Geoffrey Rush...Quills I thought was a decent movie, mostly because Kate WInslet was brilliant (as always) and the acadamy passed right over her! Such a shame that Rush was nominated when George Clooney or Christian Bale should have been!

Anonymous said...

My favorite best actor performance wasn't even nommed: Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine.

Ones that I loved that were nommed: Adrien, Heath, Nicholas, Jude.

Ones I haven't seen: Ben, Don, Javier, Terrance, David.

Ones that I think were overrated: Russell, Geoffrey.

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Anonymous said...

1. Terrence Howard, hustle and Flow: I don't get, one simple and OK performance in a Bad Film... That place should get for Ralph Fiennes, Russell Crowe, Viggo Mortensen and my wishful thinking Tony Leung for "2046".

2. Russell Crowe, Gladiator: I though he was fine in A Beautiful mind (But also I think he should won for "The Insider"), why he won instead Ed Harris and my fave Javier Bardem

3. Johnny Depp, Finding Neverland: Generally I love him and I think he should win in 2003 for his great Jack sparrow, but this was his worst and most pathetic performance in his career.

4. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote: It's not a worse performance per se but it was the most overrated. Hoffman should get an Oscar for happiness and maybe other nomiantion for Magnolia or Boogie Nights. Hoffman has Heath Ledger's Oscar.

And a TIE

5. Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby: Eastwood is a great director but his perforamnce in MDB is by far inferior instead Carrey, garcia Bernal and neeson...

5. Tom hanks, Cast Away: Overrated Actor played overrated role in overrated film. That place should have jamie Bell and even Michael Douglas or george Clooney...

Underrated Performances:

1. Ewan McGregor, Moulin Rouge!: I hate the film but he's outstading and Kidman maybe she didn't get the same performance without the gorgeous scottish actor
2. Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain: He's by far one of the best performances in the history of cinema. The aussie actor creates a complex and outstading character (Ennis Del Mar)
3. Javier Bardem, Before Night Falls: He should get that 2000 Oscar.
4. Tony Leung, 2046: One of the best actors of his generation and a eminence in Asia
5. Gael garcia Bernal, The Motorcycle Diaries: The movie is OK but he's fantastic