Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hump Day Hottie: Ralph Fiennes

JA from MNPP here, adopting the HDH authorship reins from Nat for a moment to give a little appreciation to (slash rant over) a man I've come to feel defensive over lately in what appears to me to be an endless onslaught of oversights. Basically what I'm getting at is...

Where the heck
is the Ralph Fiennes love?

Granted I'm starting to seem obnoxious with my praise-singing for the man so perhaps nothing short of a Presidential bid would sate my thirst, but I think Meryl knew well enough at the SAGs when she planted a big wet one on him - what better way to celebrate? I wish the world would follow suit. Ralph should be positively drowning in sloppy-tongued accolades, yet it's as if a giant cricket croaks its weary tune whenever it comes to an enthusiastic reception of his consistently admirable work.

And I don't get it. From where I'm standing the man gave two fine performances this year: oh sure, his work in The Reader is the sort of understated stuff that awards bodies hardly ever go anywhere near (what clip could they possibly show when he never screams or cries or bleeds out?), but what really saddens me is the lack of love for his delightfully profane comic performance in In Bruges, which was one of the funniest things I've seen all year. Just imagine a clip of his "Inanimate Object" speech smacking up against Phillip Seymour Hoffman's beatific glow in Doubt! That's what magic is made from.

And that Ralph can swing so effortlessly from that bared-teeth f-bomb snarl in Bruges to that quiet bruised stare in The Reader... I haven't seen it but he appears to have made powerful work of the part of Doris Duke's swishy butler in the TV movie Bernard and Doris opposite Susan Sarandon... then earlier this year he was seducing and destroying Keira Knightly in The Duchess... and then there's his recurring gig as the Evilest Evil To Ever Evil called Voldemort He Who Shall Not Be Named...

Well I ask you, where does Ralph's never-ending parade of talent slam into the critical praise that he so richly deserves, that's what I want to know. Somebody tell me where that place is, cuz I'm booking a room. Me and Ralph and a medieval f@$%ing bowling alley for two!



Dominique said...

Yes! Thank you!

Now why wasn't he nominated for the Body of Work FB Award? He wasn't even a finalist! For shame! He was great in The Reader, In Bruges and The Duchess!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be totally off topic but I just saw this on IN CONTENTION in an article posted by John Foote:

“Somehow Harvey got “The Reader” five Oscar nods, including Best Picture, and he managed to sway the Academy to vote for Kate Winslet as a lead actress rather than supporting. Her performance in “Revolutionary Road” might be the best of her career; it is certainly the best performance by an actress I have seen this year. How did the Academy make this blunder? What’s more, the actress has slid from a cake-walk win in supporting to a much more contested category in lead. Might she miss altogether?

The SAG Awards may be a better harbinger of things to come than we realize this year. Meryl Streep is beloved by the film world for her acting genius, her humility and for keeping her life in order far from the madness of Hollywood. They have not honored her since “Sophie’s Choice” back in 1982, though she has been nominated more than any other actor in the history of the Academy.

Streep is splendid in “Doubt” and having won the SAG award, seems a wee bit closer to the Oscar than Kate. The Academy is acutely aware of the years between Streep’s last Oscar win, and has certainly been looking for a chance to honor the greatest living actress once more. Good old Harvey, he might have just given them that chance. Perhaps if she does win she should thank Harvey in her speech.”

Ask me if I'm smiling?

Anonymous said...

I'm so with you, JA. Seriously. Sometimes I wonder if Ralph Fiennes is overlooked BECAUSE he can so seamlessly move from Voldemort to Harry Waters to Spider. He's even charming in Maid in Manhattan, for crying out loud. (And really, should I really have anything good to say about that movie?)

He's TOO good, and that's why everyone forgets about him.

So sad.


and to think, I FORGOT him too. I am deeply ashamed. I meant to have him in the FB awards and when it came time to draft he vanished from my mind. ARGH

Deborah said...

Me likey the brother.

Anonymous said...

He is one of my all time favorites… not to mention one of the best in the business.

Consider the range… Schindler’s List, The English Patient, Quiz Show, The Constant Gardener, Harry Potter… I also gave him a nod this year for THE READER.

And talk about sex appeal… yumyyyyy.

How do those Brits do it?

Anonymous said...

I believe this is the second time he has contributed to three different films achieving Oscar nominations in a single year. The man is good at choosing projects. And thank god he gets them, but I'd really like to see him in some meaty lead roles soon.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why Ralph seems to be so forgettable. His work is always great, he has star qualities, and hes a really good looking guy. At the end of the day I will always forget to throw him into the conversations i know he belongs in

Anonymous said...

Don't forget amazing overlooked performances in The End of the Affair and The White Countess!!

Moasey said...

And he was awesomely creepy in Red

Great rant! And great choice for the this week's HOTTIE!!!!


gabrieloak said...

He was particularly sexy in The End of an Affair.

Simone said...

I don't understand how such an actor who is as beautiful as he is talented has not won an Oscar yet. It's so unfair.

Great post, and great pictures.

I ♥ Ralph

Anonymous said...

I hardly think of Fiennes as a hottie but some of those pics make me think otherwise... Anyway, thanks for your clever posts. Best Oscar site i know.

Kelsy said...

I think I just imagine him in all his terrifying roles, which doesn't exactly make me love him, but he is quite good at being creepy.

Anonymous said...

Somebody tell me where that place is

It's in my heart.

And there must be something about Ralph that make even those impressed by him forget him, indeed. I mean, I loved English Patient on first viewing and yet I only extended that love to its main actor retroactively years later, after being moved to tears by his turn in Constant Gardener...

And yes, that range: from romantic lead, through flawed (to various degrees) but relatable, to totally scary. Incredible.

Kamila said...

I love Ralph Fiennes! And I can't understand why he wasn't nominated for the Oscars. He had a great 2008!

Anonymous said...

I thought Fiennes was great in "In Bruges" and I don't usually like him. I don't find him good-looking (personal taste - too cold and white and lizardy) and too often he comes across as the worst boyfriend/husband in the world in his movies. If a female character is hooked up with Ralph Fiennes, she's dying before the end of the movie.

Anonymous said...

Nat, I demand a recount on the "Body of Work" FB Award! ;)

Anonymous said...

I think the fact that he doesn't come across as being particularly desperate to get these nods count against him somewhat. I don't actually know how much campaigning he does, but I would imagine it isn't a whole lot.

And why should he. He's got a great reputation and has no problem finding interesting parts. No reason to care much about anything beyond that really - as long as we regularly get to see him perform well.

jahs34 said...

I saw In Bruges yesterday, and i was wondering why he wasn't getting any award love? he was terrific.

rosengje said...

Ah, Ralph Fiennes is my favorite actor. I loved him in Schindler's List, Quiz Show, The End of the Affair, The English Patient, and he gave my all-time favorite Broadway performance in The Seagull. The Academy clearly hates him. What other actor would go unrewarded for the trio of diverse performances he gave in The Duchess, The Reader and In Bruges? He also always brings out the best in his female co-stars. Kristin Scott Thomas, Julianne Moore, Rachel Weisz, and Keira Knightley all gave some of my favorite performances in their ouevre opposite Ralph.

Glenn Dunks said...

I must say, I really like Fiennes but I tend to find his "subtle" work more "boring" than anything else. Take The Duchess for example. He felt like a wet blanket in that movie (i know his character was, but he didn't help the film) and then In Bruges in which he was so animated and it was great to watch.

He is incredibly handsome though, isn't he?

Neel Mehta said...

Dude can act and look good without a nose. Let me repeat that: NO NOSE.

Janice said...

i first became aware of him in Schindler's List of course but I have fond memories of Oscar and Lucinda (speaking of bringing out the best in his female costars, Cate Blanchett was never warmer or more engaging than in that film) and he seemed to be doing quite well career-wise and then the flop that was The Untouchables remake - he seemed to disappear altogether for a few years. (Did he wisely withdraw from Hollywood to go back to the theater?) In any case, I'm glad to see him back.

It seems that awards love goes to those who campaign for it - is it that Ralph truly doesn't give a damn about awards and doesn't campaign for him? (Aside from the supporting nod for Schindler? Perhaps he's as turned off by the whole campaigning thing as he was by big-budget Hollywood. It's not about objective assessments of quality after all - it's about politics.)

Anonymous said...

"Untouchables"? If you mean "The Avengers", then no, he didn't disappear after that. He had three big parts the very next year, including one of his most acclaimed ones in End of the Affair.

In fact, since then he has tended to appear in several juicy roles every three years (1999, 2002, 2005, 2008) and mostly stay out of the spotlight in between. Whether it's his conscious decision or coincidence I don't know -- but it does show he had at no point really withdrawn from the movies.

(So I guess Ralph's next shot at Oscar will be in 2011?)

Anonymous said...

I loved, loved, LOVED The English Patient! Oh how I wept! And he was so appealing in such a tortured way in that film.

And of course he was marvelous in Schindler's - so lizardy! (Oh Adri - I LOVE it!!)

And you're right, CT, I couldn't believe it when I saw Maid in Manhattan and it was Ralph Fiennes!

What was that movie he did fairly recently that was really dark and British and violent and ugly and stuff? Someone got killed and buried in the garden by the canal/river? Does anyone know what I'm talking about? He was so wonderfully introspective and creepy in that!

I hate his Voldemort but that's not his fault. I think the makeup gets in his way! He doesn't need that much makeup to play that role.

Now I'll have to rent The End of the Affair - I missed that one entirely.

And I can't wait to rent IN BRUGES! What a cast of men! Ooo ah!!

It seems to me Ralph Fiennes is the sort of actor who always carries around a lot of subtext on the screen.

Jason Adams said...

"What was that movie he did fairly recently that was really dark and British and violent and ugly and stuff? Someone got killed and buried in the garden by the canal/river?"

billybil I think you're talking about Cronenberg's Spider maybe? Which I need to watch again, I haven't seen it since it came out, but I wasn't that big a fan of it... except for Miranda Richardson, who was AMAZING. Speaking of underrated actors! Ugh.

Anonymous said...

SPIDER - that was it! Thanks JA!

Yes! Miranda Richardson - have you seen DANCE WITH A STRANGER? I can still vividly recall her in that movie. She is underrated, for sure!!

You're right, SPIDER the movie wasn't so good although it had its shocking moments. I remember being kinda bored in parts. But I still think Fiennes was wonderfully internalized in it.

Janice said...

//"Untouchables"? If you mean "The Avengers", then no, he didn't disappear after that. He had three big parts the very next year, including one of his most acclaimed ones in End of the Affair.//

*cringing with embarrassment* Thank you for that correction, notluke (if you're not luke, does that make you Han Solo?) That's what I get for being to lazy to double check myself on imbd, at least.

Unknown said...

So true.

I hate it when people "forget" to give those awards to the right person. And even more when it is someone so talented as Ralph.

On the other hand, if they were to award Ralph for each single awesome performance of him, it wouldn't be fair cuz the other actors would go home always awardless.

Not that I would complain :p

Anonymous said...

Oh Yes! YES! YES!

The fact that he has been so consistently magnificent and as consistently overlooked is a disgrace. What a fine actor, and so so yummy.
Thanks for putting your Ralph Fiennes love out there.


Billybil --by all means, she The End of the Affair. I'd definitely put that performance way up there in the ranks of Fiennes best.

And as for Miranda Richardson in Spider. one of the best performances of the Aughts (though oddly i didn't care for Fiennes in that movie and I usually love him)

Anonymous said...

For a little while this past year, I was on a website devoted to Ralph Fiennes. I do think he's a decent actor, but he's not great. He does have a tendency to play the roles he does a little too subtle for the Hollywood set, and when you put his performances against the others each and every year, he gets lost in the sauce. On the site there was a discussion about why he doesn't get awards... and when I brought up the fact that most people find him too subtle and boring in his roles against the others that were nominated (the Academy wants you all believe that they are the intelligent elite-- but if you statistically look at the last 20 years of winners, you'll see very obvious trends... and they NEVER award a subtle performance), I was pounced on (remember, I told you this was a site devoted to him). He also has a tendency to gravitate to roles that he can deeply research... which can be a good thing, but we never see anything of the man underneath and that leaves most critics and audiences cold. The Admin of the site (the only other person who saw my point) pointed out that you can place almost every part he's played into two types- the sad dupe and the nasty bastard.
The "ralphies" (as I've just started calling them) were livid... as you can guess I'm no longer there at that site. Those women scared me. Granted, I still like him, I do like some of the stuff he's done..and he is nice eye candy... but he's really not going be a big thing in award voters eyes, unless he breaks out of the little box he put himself in, role wise.

Unknown said...

Yay! I've just been called a "Ralphie", and love it!!!
*sends Mndy a hug*

On another note, I think you're right Mndy; I don't find anything offensive in what you said, it's a shame if someone was rude at you on that site you mentioned. Perhaps they didn't understand your idea, and I think your point of view is valid imho.

I love Ralph very much, and as long as he's happy with the roles he chooses (I like them, btw, that's why I'm his fan) I will be happy too, whether those "Keepers-of-the-absolute-truth" at the Academy award him or not. <.<

zsuzsanna said...

He's the most amazing actor of our age, I think so. He unites the qualities of a character-actor and of a hero. His acting tools are really subtle not because he hasn't enough, he has a lot! but he simply transforms himself into the actual role. He has all the qualities what a great actor needs: the clear analysis the possibility to perform the deepest thoughts and feelings with a look or movement of his hands beautiful very expressive voice and he's really good-looking and has - if the part needs - the sexual emanation which is essential for a star. One can't identify him in the different parts, his tools are so different and multilayered. He can be angel or devil but in the subtypes he produces so fine variations that two of them never are the same.
And besides he's an extraordinary stage-actor too.
Oscar will reach him, I hope so.

Unknown said...


"On another note, I think you're right Mndy; I don't find anything offensive in what you said, it's a shame if someone was rude at you on that site you mentioned. Perhaps they didn't understand your idea, and I think your point of view is valid imho."

When I left this comment, I DIDN'T know which site you were talking about; by now I have figured which site it is, and I take my words back, since people at that site are great and they would never treat a member in a bad way.

I regret I didn't realized this before :(

pcful said...

I am not a Ralphie neither a Ralphite. I am not in love, with him. I admire his ability to portray a part as if he becomes that part physically and spiritually. I am amazed at his talent and I'm in awe of it! Would I faint, if I met him? Probably yes!
Its wonderful that we get to observe possibly a legend during our time. Keep doing what you do, so well Mr. Fiennes and we'll keep watching. ps I will say that I am very glad that Mr. Fiennes is a red hot blooded male who loves women and romance!