Sunday, February 20, 2011

Best Supporting Actor

Today, I'm going to tackle the Oscar nominees for best supporting actor. This is the first category I completed out of the ones I tasked myself to finish. I had originally meant to publish last night, but I watched True Grit instead, and finished three other categories in one fell swoop (picture, actor and supporting actress), so hopefully I can get some work in on those posts early to make sure I keep on schedule.

First, though, a little housekeeping. Really? I've barely moved in, and there are already cobwebs? No, just the little things I didn't realize came with the house. Like stats. I figured at this point, they'd almost all be me. I'm just going to make the bold assumption that all the Firefox pageviews are from me, but still that's only 14 of 31 views, so I'm glad you're coming out to read my brainsplatter. I'm hardly surprised some of you are on Macs or using Chrome, or even using Linux (OtherJon?). I'm a little surprised I got three views from Canada. What really surprised me, though, was the lone view from Israel.

I also have my first follower who I have to believe is of Andy-CONDA. If you're into anime and reviews of it's obscure corners, I suggest checking him out. And if you're someone else, sorry, but you gave a plug to Andy.

This isn't what you came here for: for me to giddily proclaim the Promised Land is reading my blog. No, it's for these fellows:
  • Mark Ruffalo - The Kids Are All Right
  • Jeremy Renner - The Town
  • Geoffry Rush - The King's Speech
  • John Hawkes - Winter's Bone
  • Christian Bale - The Fighter
I will preface any reviews here, with the fact that I'm listening to an album I abhorred with conviction upon its release. An album I heard live at the worst concert I've ever been to. An album, that, upon further recommendation and the remembrance of a few bright spots I've come back to over time. I've come to find that there are some things I missed, some things I didn't understand, some things I wasn't ready for, and some things that, yeah, are terrible. My opinions will change. My perspectives will broaden. In the end though, they will grow out of what we start with here. So, as I said before, please engage me in the comments.

The actors are listed, as best I can remember, in the order I saw them. This race comes down to two horses, if you ask me, and you are. Let's dispose of the other actors first.

Mark Ruffalo was enjoyable in The Kids Are Alright. He did a good job with what he had, but this movie is really getting a lot more credit than I think it deserves. Like Ruffalo, a lot of pieces worked well, but nothing was outstanding. I almost feel like this is Brokeback Mountain all over again.

Jeremy Renner is what he is. He does what he does well. He's the consummate tough guy which is why he is constantly being cast as one. The problem is, he's always being cast as the consummate tough guy. His roles don't have the breadth of character I seek when I'm thinking of a best acting award. His characters are strong, and they are strong as supporting roles. They just aren't that strong.

John Hawkes had the fortune of being cast in Winter's Bone which has the fortune of getting a lot of attention. I watched this movie just over a week ago, and honestly, I couldn't remember his character. This movie did very little for me, and what little was done was by Jennifer Lawrence. I have trouble with accents, I'll admit it. I also have trouble with mumbling. That didn't help Hawkes' chances of taking the first ever prestigious A Critical Life Best Supporting Actor award. I will say, that like the aforementioned album, I feel like I could come back to Winter's Bone some time from now with a greater appreciation of it and the actor's roles, especially Hawkes. For now, though I left with next to nothing.

And then there were two. Geoffry Rush in The Kings Speech and Christian Bale in The Fighter. Really, these are the only two actors in the field that I feel are worthy of the award; they simply stand head, shoulders and probably midsection above the other nominees' and their performances. Rush performed stellarly easing Colin Firth's character to success. He was up and down, charming and flawed. In his own way, Bale performed similarly with Mark Wahlberg. Both characters showed great promise and yet had their own foibles. They had depth and breadth of character - enough that they were strong enough to stand on their own. Neither one was more than a shift in perspective from being the lead character in their films. It could have almost been tales of a speech therapist helping the King and the down-on-his-luck boxer helping his brother to fame.

My problem in deciding this is that Rush did a better job helping Firth along to glory. Bale did a better job being an actor than Wahlberg. I think on pure acting, I have to give Bale the nod here. I think he simply carried a movie that wasn't otherwise nearly as great as people are crediting it for. I am leery about that decision, though, as Rush did a better job supporting the rest of his cast. Do I award for being the best "supporting actor" or the best "supporting actor" here? I think I go with Bale and his acting ability, but I'm not entirely confident I'm going to stand by that rubric.

That said, I don't think there is a question of who will win the Oscar. Rush will, and I won't feel contentious about it in the slightest.


  1. Not to burst your bubble of having international readership, but those Canadian hits are probably mine. All Blackberries have a Canadian IP address, and I was checking out your blog from my phone.

    But, with that out of the way, I agree with you on all of your points. And the Sufjan concert was not THAT bad.

  2. I agree with you. Its a tough call between these two. I would give the nod to bale like you said becuase watching footage of teh original guy I was amazed at how well he got him. And I would say that fighter was a less movie than kings sppech and he had to carry the damn thing. Marky Marky was very non desprict on that thing. My two cents.

  3. Glad to get some support Aaron. Thanks! I wasn't really comfortable making that choice, but I felt that was the way the coin had to flip.

  4. Hey Mr. Moore, this is Brian LaBenne, I've been reading this for a while, and thought I'd put my two cents in, if that's aiiight wit u!

    So, I've been trying to see all the nominated movies also, and I only have to see Biutiful, Animal Kingdom, and Blue Valentine to get to where you're at! I think it's been a great year for movies, and I am excited for the Oscars.

    So, in this category, I pretty much agree with you on all counts, except for two:
    1. I am almost 100% sure that Christian Bale is going to win this award, and, I also think he really deserves it.
    2. I absolutely loved Winter's Bone, and thought that John Hawkes was incredible ... obviously, films are super Subjective and all, but, I thought Winter's Bone was great .... I wish they could nominate Locations in the Supporting Acting category, because the location was the best character in the film .... if that makes sense!

    I'm gonna comment on the other ones as well, if that's ok, but since I'm going to anyway, I guess I won't wait to hear if you say it's ok or not.

  5. Thanks for stopping by LaBenne!

    I think I went on to say it in another post, but I'm sure I'll appreciate Winter's Bone a lot more in a couple years. It feels like there's definitely something I'm missing, and after letting the film sit for a while I'll be able to come back to it and appreciate it. I definitely agree with you on the shooting locations in that film; they added so much to the overall vibe.