Monday, February 18, 2013

Best Actor Brawl

Perhaps one of the least interesting Best Actor fivesome in recent memory. Daniel Day-Lewis is as much a sure bet as he was in 2007 for There Will Be Blood. Except, in 2007, there was a bit more talent. If only John Hawkes (The Sessions) had received a much-deserved nomination. I am not very interested in the outcome of this category. Day-Lewis offered a great performance as Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, but the film itself was lacking for me.

Once again, I offer my thoughts in chronological order:

Joaquin Phoenix as Freddie Quell
The Master
First Viewing: September 
Joaquin Phoenix's nomination seemed unlikely after the early-frontrunner called the Oscars bullshit. Phoenix is a good actor and he is very compelling in Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master. He is not the first or the only actor to criticize the Academy Awards, but his persona is somewhat alarming. Remember when he retired from acting in I'm Still Here (2010)? I just think he is a joke. Read my review of the film here

Bradley Cooper as Pat Solitano
Silver Linings Playbook
First Viewing: November
Bradley Cooper will always be Alias' Will Tippin to me. He has become kind of one-note with his appearances in The Hangover (2009), its 2011 sequel, Limitless (2011) and The Words (2012). All of a sudden he appears in a decent film and he is being awarded an Oscar nomination. I think he works a little too hard in Silver Linings Playbook and his character becomes grating rather than sympathetic. If it were not for Jennifer Lawrence, I probably would not have cared about the film at all. Read my review here

Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln
First Viewing: November
Daniel Day-Lewis is one of the finest actors working in English-language films. He has already won two Academy Awards (the first for My Left Foot in 1989), and if it were not for his performance in the abominable Nine (2009), he would have an fairly successful acting record. He is about the only decent part of Steven Spielberg's often unwatchable (and far too long) Lincoln. Day-Lewis has a habit of delving so deep into his characters, and it is clearly visible in this film. Lincoln has received far too many accolades for my liking, but Daniel Day-Lewis' performance is brilliant. Read my review here

Denzel Washington as Captain William 'Whip' Whitaker
Flight
First Viewing: December
It is not a secret that I dislike Denzel Washington. I find his acting to be conceited and over the top. Flight is a perfect example of this. It is exactly the kind of performance from a minority actor that would be lauded by the Academy. I disliked the film so much that I wanted to stop watching it as soon as it started. Captain Whitaker is as irredeemable a character as I have seen in a long time. If you were in the majority and thought that Denzel Washington did not deserve his trophy for Training Day (2000), why did he earn a nomination here? Flight is the only top category-nominated film that I did not review. 

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean
Les Misérables
First Viewing: December
I am left to assume that Hugh Jackson was nominated for his underwhelming performance as Jean Valjean only because Russell Crowe was just so pitiful as Javert that it made Jackman look like Daniel Day-Lewis in comparison. I have already voiced my displeasure over Tom Hooper's ridiculous adaptation of the stage musical, and I wish that stage-trained actors had been cast instead of Hollywood A-listers. In a very weak category, in a year with lackluster performances from actors, Hugh Jackman earned a nomination. 

Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis should pull a Kanye if another actor's name is read aloud. 

Should Win: The only other man who could have contended with Day-Lewis is John Hawkes in The Sessions

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