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Entries in Best Actor (175)

Tuesday
Jan262016

Best Acting, Male Division: Personal Ballots & Oscar Charts

In the war of scene-stealing antagonists this year, Oscar Isaac's Nathan (Ex Machina) > Tom Hardy's Fitzgerald (The Revenant). We love both actors here at TFE and loved them before the rest of the web did (brag brag) but when it comes down to awards season you have to make tough choices.

That's just a handy way of saying Oscar and I go our separate ways more often than not in the acting categories but now both lists are available for your (hopeful) entertainment... 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
On the subject of category placement antagonists are often tricky. They definitely move the plot -- neither The Revenant or Ex Machina can function without these devious men, but often you can see either argument for lead or supporting. While Ex Machina arguably has three leads being such a chamber drama I occasionally relax the soapbox for performances that straddle the divide. A recent rewatch of Ex Machina confirmed that Oscar Isaac would make whichever shortlist we put him in (and I'd switched him back and forth during the year in drafts). It's such an inventive approach to a thoroughly imagined character so I tossed the dice and supporting he went. Now watch him tear up this fucking dance floor...

Only one of Oscar's men makes my own personal ballot (just posted) with apologies to Mark Rylance who I thought would place but he fell in the dread sixth spot! It happens. I've completed the Oscar chart as well and included trivia for this golden sausage party. Speaking of sausage parties... I think this is the first male Oscar lineup ever in which ALL the men have gone full frontal in other movies. Weird, right? It's an exhibitionist group this year. This only occurred to me to check because I was a big fan of Intimacy (2001) back in the day which starred Mark Rylance and everyone knows that Sly starred in a porno before Rocky (1976)

The charts also include our "How'd they get nominated" fun. So here's a sample -- the Tom Hardy in The Revenant edition: 

25% Leo's bro power pulls his main men in w/ him
21% Spicy Bait: Villains prioritized in this category 
20% Timing. 'The Revenant' was the shiniest new toy
15% Everyone wishes they could have punched Iñárritu in the face
10% Performance - they like 'em BIG to shake up slow epics (see also: The Zeéeeee in 'Cold Mountain')
9% 'Mad Max Fury Rd'

P.S. I should not that though Hardy didn't make my top 12 in supporting I appreciate his go for broke attempts to save The Revenant from its own grandiose self-importance with a little cured ham.

Matt Damon a nominee at both the Oscars & the Film Bitch AwardsBEST LEADING ACTOR 
Given the weirdly unanimous "meh" factor that Oscar's shortlist has produced in audiences, at least on the web, it's hard to imagine it coming to be at all. But then you remember the media complicity in producing these sorts of safe groupings of all-stars whether or not people were actually hugely impressed with their work. Oscar produced a list of five major players who unfortunately could have been nominated based on the roles themselves before anyone saw the work (always a problem!). You've got your reigning Best Actor (Eddie Redmayne), your mega stars (Leonardo DiCaprio & Matt Damon), and your highly-revered thespians (Bryan Cranston & Michael Fassbender) with all but one of them (Damon) playing real life people. That's the baitiest of bait to awards types -- not just Oscar! --  though after 15 years of covering movies and awards seasons I still can't fathom why playing someone who really exists/existed is so much more likely to be lauded than creating a character from scratch with only the screenplay, director and your imagination to guide you. 

But anyway that's Oscar's list. Only two of them survive to make my personal ballot and I had to correct some category campaign problems too to put Jacob Tremblay (Room) and Paul Dano (Love & Mercy) where they belonged. Since DiCaprio's fans can be quite touchy I should note that he's solid, as ever, in The Revenant. He's locked up to win the Oscar finally but sadly the film just isn't asking very much of him, emotionally, beyond grief and anguish which he's been playing with minor variations for at a dozen years now. Sorry Oscar campaign narrative but tough physical working conditions and weird diets ≠ acting triumph. 

Saturday
Jan232016

Links: Dolls, Dancers, Disney, and Agent Scully

Some links as we hole watching movies and writing future articles during the blizzard...

John August on torrenting the Oscars
MNPP remembers 5 great experiences at New York City's historic Ziegfeld Theater (about to close). Oh the memories
Boy Culture a documentary about the dancers from Madonna's classic Truth or Dare film / Blonde Ambition tour to premiere at Berlinale
Deadline new projects for JC Chandor (A Most Violent Year) including a remake of that extremely tense Austrian film The Robber - good luck topping the adrenaline of the original

Awards Daily Lady Gaga will perform "Til It Happens to You" at the Producers Guild gala
Pajiba Charlie Cox has not yet been invited to Marvel's Infinity Wars. He is waiting impatiently
Fandor breaks down the Best Actor race
Salon talks up Tori Amos's "Boys for Pele" (my favorite of her records) on its 20th anniversary
Interview Magazine talks to the "unusually busy" Gillian Anderson about her recent roles
Vanity Fair on Gillian Anderson fighting for wage equality on X-Files reunion
• Deadline a list of hot actors everyone wants for pilot season. Whenever I read about pilot season I realize how little I understand about the strange flickering alien world of television. Where people can even have whole careers without anyone seeing their work (with the amount of pilots that don't make it to series) How can the same actors be wanted for every drama? No actor is right for every role.

Disney & Girls
• Bloomberg Business how Hasbro snatched Disney's all powerful Princess line of dolls away from Mattel. They also got facial adjustments. Terrifyingly Hasbro promises to make the Disney Princesses even more ubiquitous than they already are. This article even has the story reenacted by dolls (with Avengers cameos naturally) in a video
• Sweatpants and Coffee Ooh i knew Disney was throwing up smokescreensto distract us. Turns out toymakers were 'specifically directed' to exclude Rey from toylines due to her gender! It wasn't from "secrecy" as they tried to peddle earlier. #WheresRey
Comics Alliance ...but Black Widow will be part of the toyline from Captain America: Civil War (with a new costume)
i09 has an interesting piece on the story work behind Zootopia and how the secondary female character, a bunny named Judy Hopps, took over the leading role from the male fox who was originally its protagonist.

Friday
Jan222016

Michael Caine Just Like All of Us: Assumes Leo Will Win Oscar

Dancin' Dan here with your latest Best Actor Oscar news.

In an interview with with Britain's Radio 4, the venerable two-time Oscar winner dared to step in the #OscarsSoWhite quagmire (let's just not go there, shall we?), asking people to be patient "Of course it will come. It took me years to get an Oscar."

More importantly, he reminded everyone about the best part of not being nominated: You don't have to attend the ceremony.

24 hours on an aeroplane and I've got to sit there clapping Leonardo DiCaprio. I love Leonardo, he played my son in a movie, but I'm too old to travel that far and sit in an audience and clap someone else.

And even more importantly, he said aloud what everyone else knows but have mostly refrained from saying out loud: Leonardo DiCaprio is winning the Best Actor Oscar this year. Not that he's voting for Leo, or that this feels like Leo's year, but that he IS winning.

And certainly it seems like Leo's to lose. Who could pose a serious threat to the raw bison liver-eater?

 

Thursday
Jan212016

Oscar in Panic Mode. This Rarely Ends Well...

Readers I'm getting nervous. I love the Oscars. Ever since I saw the shiny gold man on a TV guide cover as a little boy and was all "what is that?" I've been hooked. So their history means a lot to me.

It's actually because of that history that it's fun as well as uplifting to chart their progress over the years in dealing with diversity -- and there has been a lot of progress no matter what the current cultural rage would imply. It's been a thrill to see the "first this" and "first that" over the years. 

But this year things are getting ugly. The Academy often makes terrible mistakes when they're criticized (note all the 'we can't make up our minds' volatility with the rules following The Dark Knight year) and now they'll be meeting on possible rules changes including returning to 10 Picture nominees. President Cheryl Boone Isaacs promises "big changes". Some people are even floating acting fields as big as 10 nominees. This is probably the worst idea I've ever heard in relation to the Oscars. [More...]

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Wednesday
Jan132016

Jacob Tremblay is frighteningly good at being a celebrity already. But will he be Oscar nominated?

Recently Scott Feinberg added Jacob Tremblay to his actual predictions for Best Actor nominations. Yes, Best Actor. While Tremblay is obviously the leading man of Room (he co-leads the first half and essentially takes over in the second) he's been campaigned as supporting because he is a kid and that's how kids are campaigned invariably -- remember when they tried to pretend that Keisha Castle Hughes (Whale Rider) was supporting even though her movie had no other leads. LOL. Not so good times.

Tremblay in Best Actor would be a surprise but it maybe isn't a bad call given the seemingly passion-free zone that is the presumed leaders in that particular race. Though I think we'll only see that "promotion" happening if Room is strong enough to nab a Best Picture nomination (I think it is --see the updated Best Picture chart). On the other hand the actors branch, like most organizations, is subject to the whims of the patriachy and as such little boys have a much harder time nabbing Oscar nominations than little girls probably because no one feels comfortable, subconciously that is, making grown accomplished men step aside for children (but accomplished grown women? "Get out of the way for that little cutie, you old hag!"). The most recent valid comparison point in terms of acclaim and size of role might be Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense (1999) who co-led that picture with Bruce Willis and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor. In that case though the co-lead was of the same gender and Oscar is generally pretty forgiving of category fraud in those cases. At least since 1991's Thelma & Louise, the last film to be nominated for two leading players of the same gender.)

If Jacob Tremblay were to be nominated in Best Actor (and we hope he is) he'd be the second youngest of all time. His exact age is the subject of question; Wikipedia says he was born in October 5th, 2006, which would make him 9 years old right now but IMDb has no birthdate and recent reporting at Entertainment Weekly refers to him as an 11 year old boy. But regardless of where he is between 9 and 11, if he is nominated tomorrow he will not become the youngest Oscar nominee in either male acting category. The record in Best Actor will continue to be held by Jackie Cooper who was nominated for Skippy (1931) when he had just barely turned 9 and he enjoyed a very lengthy showbiz career thereafter (he passed away in 2011). The record in Supporting Actor will continue to be held by Justin Henry from Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) who was nominated at 8 years of age. Unlike Cooper, though, he did not become a showbiz fixture. 

Anyway remember that time in December that Oscar Isaac was talking about his face on Yoplait "go-gurt" and people went crazy for it? So that popped up again on Jimmy Kimmel with Jacob Tremblay as a guest and the child star handled the crowd with future leading man charm offensive... this is all very Dakota Fanning territory if you ask me. Definitely a kid but a kid with hyper-developed confidence who has eery instincts for sitting at the grown up table like he already belongs there and plans to stay.

Well, I do have a delicious face."

Let's hope Tremblay has great grounding at home and people on his professional team who care more about him than his earning potential. The child star path can be treacherous. Historically speaking child stars take one of these four roads after their first burst of fame 

  1. Become a Cautionary Tale: petty crime, drug arrests, self-destructive (too many names to mention)
  2. Enter the 'Where Are They Now' Lexicon Hall of Fame: a disappearing act either because showbiz wasn't for them or showbiz didn't want them after all... or some combo of the two.
  3. Become Showbiz Troupers: many child stars stay in the business when they grow up with wildly varying degrees of success but their initial child star fame remains a crucial part of why they're famous (Anna Paquin, Drew Barrymore, Roddy McDowall, Christina Ricci, Jackie Cooper, etc...)
  4. Ascend: Here's the rarest of outcomes. The actor or actress becomes so popular as an adult movie star once they're grown up that their childhood ascendance becomes an anecdotal part of their history but not anyone's chief focus (Jodie Foster, Christian Bale, Natalie Wood, Liz Taylor)

So best wishes to Tremblay and his team if they choose to pursue the long game of outcomes #3 or #4 or if they take a healthy #2 out if he doesn't stay interested in a few years time. 

OSCAR PREDICTIONS: ACTOR & SUPPORTING ACTOR (Supporting Actor is particularly difficult this year. It's possible to imagine virtually any combination of the top ten as long as Mark Rylance and Sylvester Stallone are accounted for)
NATHANIEL'S BALLOT: My votes in these two categories coming up shortly

Sunday
Jan102016

The Two Leonardo DiCaprios (and Weekend Box Office)

Leonardo DiCaprio is, as an actor, inarguably most attracted to roles where he is mentally or physically suffering often while mourning a dead wife (His infamous "Dead Wives' Club," already quite extensive, got another member this weekend with the spectral presence of his Native American love, never named, in The Revenant). But Leo DiCaprio, the celebrity and movie star, is more tied in the real world to the wildly wealthy playboys that occasionally dot the dramatic resume (Celebrity, The Great Gatsby, Wolf of Wall Street). This is not just because he commands an astronomical fee for acting and has been known to enjoy the fruits of his labor, but because his films in turn attract even deeper pools of money. In other words: he's worth what they pay him. Enter The Revenant, a brutal, arduous, and arguably very quiet drama with brief but intense flashes of excitement, making a mint in its first weekend. It's something virtually no other star could pull off. DiCaprio is just about the only movie star that can convince moviegoers en masse to show up for straight dramas these days -- superheroic powers, franchise branding, or stylized action not required.

More...

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Friday
Jan082016

Who Will Be This Year's Surprising Snub at the Oscars?

Coco here, ready to talk about the current Oscar race and the surprising snubs that wait around the corner.

Last week, I wrote about performances that might get nominated despite not having a lot of precursor support. This week, I'm writing about the opposite. If you're an actor and you're nominated for the Golden Globes, the SAG awards, and the BAFTAs, then you're widely assumed to be a lock for an Oscar nomination. This is true for the most part, but there are plenty of instances in which seemingly beloved performances that do great with precursors are nowhere to be found on Oscar morning. This has been especially true in recent years. We've seen at least one such performance be left off Oscar's list in each of the last four years.  

Here's a quick rundown... 

2014 - Jake Gyllenhaal's performance in Nightcrawler popped up at all the right places. What's more, the movie seemed to gain momentum consistently, scoring nominations from practically every awards-giving body throughout January. As you probably know, Jake didn't get the nomination. Maybe Oscar didn't like Nightcrawler as much as we were expecting. After all, the movie only got one nomination for Original Screenplay.  

2013 - This year was a bloodbath as far as snubs are concerned. The most surprising omission was Tom Hanks, who gave one of the best performances of his career in Captain Phillips. The movie scored six nominations including Best Picture, but Oscar couldn't make room for its lead star. Also ignored despite support from SAG, BAFTA, and the Globes were Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks and Daniel Brühl in Rush. Although neither of those films were as beloved as Phillips (Saving Mr. Banks only got one nomination for Original Score, Rush wasn't nominated at all). 

2012 and 2011 stats, as well as 2015 speculation after the jump. 

Click to read more ...