Monday, February 17, 2014

Supporting Actor

I can't even begin to say how disappointed I am in this year's supporting actor nominees. Last year was a quite solid year with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones and Christoph Waltz and a couple other good nominees. Two years prior to that Christian Bale and Geoffrey Rush delivered amazing performances.

And here we go again nominating Jonah Hill again. Ugh. Stop it.

  • Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips
  • Bradley Cooper in American Hustle
  • Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave
  • Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club 

There's something to be said about your first film role landing you an Oscar nomination. The same can probably be said of Barkhad Abdi as could be said about Quvenzhané Wallis: good enough actor with the perfect part. Wallis was clearly good enough for the big screen with a role that was clearly very well suited to her. It felt almost like a kid being great at being a kid rather than being an actress. If you want to know who should have been the child nominated go watch Rachel Mwanza in War Witch. Just as Wallis was perhaps given a role in which she just had to draw on some material from very close to home, so I wonder about Abdi. He never seemed phenomenal at acting, but more being a Somali that escaped civil war when he was seven years old.

I'm really tired of talking about American Hustle. How many more ways can I say I didn't like it? To think, I only have to do this seven more times. Here, Bradley Cooper plays a guy who really wants to be important and who really wants to have sex with Amy Adams. Now, remember, this is not a documentary. All he really does is convince me that his range can oscillate unpredictably and unconvincingly and that he's pretty good at playing creepy, sleazy, entitled, white, dudes. I'm sure he ramped it up, but I hope you don't mind as I proceed to ignore him until he plays someone I might care about.

Ahh, Michael Fassbender. Thank you for being wonderful in your vile, atrocious role. Can you be more disgusting and deplorable? Can I love to hate you any more? Can you be creepier to Patsy, any more dehumanizing to your slaves, any less husbandly to your wife? No. No. No. Fassbender is spot on here and it's a huge reason why I love 12 Years a Slave.

Can we stop nominating Jonah Hill for Academy Awards? Please? How about we even go so far as to stop letting him act? If I never see his smarmy grin again, I'll consider the rest of my life better that the hours I spent watching films starring him. I loathed The Wolf of Wall Street; I loathed no role more than that of Donnie Azoff, and I loathed no acting more than Jonah Hill's.

Dear Jared Leto,
Do you even know what a transwoman is? Have you ever met one? Or did you just make up the character of Rayon based on an amalgamation of interactions and your own preconceived prejudices of what we are like? Oh? The latter you say? Rayon is no character but a clear tool to round out a white guy. Why doesn't she correct anyone as she is misgendered every time she is gendered at all? As a member of a group with huge levels of violence (especially from homophobic male queers like Ron), why isn't she affected when Ron levels a gun at her genitals and threatens to shoot her? It's clear you have no idea as you crack wise about crossdressers and the struggle of waxing your body. It's clear you don't know the struggles of being trans despite lauding the fact that you, oh my gosh, stayed in in character to get groceries and got stared at. No shit. Like that doesn't happen to me every day. You, though, were attempting to play a character thirty years out of circulation and doing your makeup like a drag queen - which, heads up, they don't wear to get groceries. We aren't creatures. You can defend the right of straight people to play trans people, but you're just playing to your privilege that you get to do what you want and your ignorance of what being trans is. You know what being straight or not being straight has to do with being trans? Nothing. Gender does not equal sexuality. I know a straight girl who could play Rayon - because she's trans. What's next? A call to remove women and people of color from film because cisgender, heterosexual, white men are more than capable? There is nothing good here. Your role is deplorable.

I suppose it's pretty obvious how I feel: Fassbender is my pick. With a BAFTA win on his shelf, Abdi is a solid choice for the win. Leto scored a Golden Globe, though, and cis people just love to give cis people accolades for playing trans people - especially trans women because it must be so awful for a guy to lose all that privilege and undergo the terrible fate of being a woman - even temporarily. I think after his absence from acting, Leto will take home the statue, and I will scream bloody murder.

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