Monday, February 22, 2010

One Category at a Time: Best Supporting Actor

It's a disappointing lineup for Supporting Actor this year, with uninspired autopilot nominations stealing away attention that could have gone to Alfred Molina or Anthony Mackie.

The most frustrating is Matt Damon's nomination for Invictus, in which he runs around a rugby field and says his lines in a South African accent, thus convincing voters that he has just given an awards-worthy performance. Gimme a break. I've got nothing against Damon (who should have been nominated for his outstanding turn in The Informant!), but there's just nothing substantial about his performance in this film. At least nothing substantial enough for an Oscar nomination.

I can make a similar case against the nomination of Christopher Plummer in The Last Station. Criminally overdue? Of course he is, but it still vexes me to see old-timers receive mentions for films nobody's seen yet. Sony Picture Classics knows better than to release this wide and let people see just how "great" Plummer's performance is (forgive my conjecture).

Stanley Tucci's nomination is the sort we see at least once every year; deserving actor nominated for the wrong movie. I ponder whether the actors branch voted for his work in The Lovely Bones because they honestly thought his bad comb-over and creepy voice equals great acting, or because they thought they were supposed to vote for that movie instead of Julie & Julia, in which he gives a wonderful career-best performance.

The two nominees I take no issue with are Woody Harrelson for The Messenger and Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds, two highly effective but radically different performances; Harrelson subtly peels away one layer at a time to reveal an emotionally fragile man psychologically wounded by war. Waltz's menacing charisma is immediately apparent, made all the more threatening by his oily charm and suspiciously good humour. The latter will win, as he has all season. A possible upset could come courtesy of a sentimental vote for Plummer, but don't read too much into that.

Will win: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Should win: Woody Harrelson, The Messenger

Should have won: Alfred Molina, An Education

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just one correction: it's Cristoph Waltz, not Christopher Waltz. I think he deserves to win.

The Oscar Nazi said...

Duly noted. I'm sure he'll forgive me.

Anonymous said...

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