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« Oscar's FX Finalists: From Bucky to Bilbo | Main | Interview: Liv Ullmann on 'Miss Julie', Jessica Chastain ...and Carrie Bradshaw? »
Friday
Dec052014

Team FYC: Tom Hardy in Locke for Best Actor

Editor's Note: We're featuring individually chosen FYC's for various longshots in the Oscar race. We'll never repeat a film or a category so we hope you enjoy the variety of picks. And if you're lucky enough to be an AMPAS, HFPA, or Critics Group voter, take note! Here's David on Tom Hardy in Locke.

You hear Tom Hardy’s Ivan Locke before you see his face. Hardy has spoken about the mistaken origins of his attempt at a Richard Burton-esque Welsh brogue, but the dialect is the least important aspect of how the choice functions in acting. Locke’s accent makes his voice measured and plaintive, remaining a calmly placating force across his telephone conversations as he journeys across the British Isles one fateful night.

Steven Knight’s surprisingly tense script sets the groundwork for the surprising tension of Locke, but it’s Hardy’s performance that creates the compelling emotional drama out of events as mundane as a concrete pour. Any singular character piece like this inevitably relies heavily on its sole performer, and Hardy proves himself both actor and star, contorting his charisma so that Locke’s passion for his abandoned job and his complex dedication to both his wife and the other woman he is travelling to see are clear just by the way Hardy’s eyes shine. 

Knight’s chamber play doesn’t even allow Hardy the luxury of standing up once he enters the car at the beginning, limiting the actor even further. It’s a remarkable acting challenge, but the emotional delicacy Hardy is able to develop from just his voice, face and hands is an incredibly graceful experience. Locke is a character defined through his relationships to the people on the end of the phone (and a ghost in the backseat), and the way Hardy softly modulates his voice across the course of seismic emotional shifts creates an intimacy that Knight’s script might otherwise have precluded through its decisive audio choreography. Simply watching the contours of his face and how different they have become by the film’s end is more compelling than the majority of films released this year.

Other FYCs 
Original Screenplay, The Babadook
Original Score, The Immigrant
Supporting Actress, Gone Girl
Visual FX, Under the Skin
Cinematography, The Homesman
Outstanding Ensembles

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Reader Comments (6)

Fully agree. Tom Hardy is due for an Oscar nod, and this performance is incredible. Hope the Academy takes note!

December 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

This is by far my personal favourite Best Actor performance of the year. I would be ecstatic if he were to get an Oscar nomination, and I'd probably faint dead away were he to win.

December 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBill_the_Bear

YES. YES. YES.

December 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

I agree with hardy he was fabulous!!! But I have 2 FYC there from a small indie film
Jeanette Mae Steiner 'The Toy Soldiers'
Najarra Townsend 'The Toy Soldiers

December 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdavid

Yes Tom Hardy's performance in Locke is a 'tour de force' as noted by many film reviewers. But I also think his work in The Drop is equally sublime. He quite literally becomes someone else seemingly effortlessly and holds you enthralled and glued to the screen, unable to look at anyone else sharing a scene with him. In Locke we didn't have to. Hell, in The Drop I couldn't even take my eyes off him to check out that darling little pitbull pup!

This actor has redefined the meaning of 'mesmerizing' and I now use him as my yardstick when watching other actors work.

He deserves at least a nomination for either film. If not this year, then next year when we'll see him play twin gangsters in Legend. A double dose of this actor on screen at the same time is bound to be a powerhouse one-two punch that'll knock critics (and AMPAS voters) off their feet.

December 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBelle

LAFCA win! Awesome!

December 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

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