Thursday, July 5, 2012

What Oscar-Worthy Performances Have We Seen So Far?


Earlier today, I posted on Twitter that, unless I was gravely mistaken, the only Oscar-worthy performance I have seen so far in 2012 is Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike. Several followers fired back a few picks, which I’ll get to in a minute, but permit me to gush over ol’ McConaughey for a few paragraphs.

I spent most of my Magic Mike review discussing how enamored I am with Steven Soderbergh’s craft. His multifaceted, seemingly limitless, continually boundary-pushing craft. But let me reiterate that his latest film is a very good one, and Matthew McConaughey is very good in it.

In the film, McConaughey plays Dallas, the owner of a Tampa male strip club who dreams of taking his show to Miami. He’s old(er), impeccably toned, wildly charismatic and full of delusions of grandeur. For the majority of the film, he’s brimming with effortless swagger, spitting words of encouragement like the finest corner pimp you’ve ever come across (I mean that as a compliment). But there’s a scene late in Magic Mike where Dallas confronts his golden boy, Mike (Channing Tatum) about Mike’s recent poor behavior. I’m not going to go into the full extent of what happens, but that is McConaughey’s potential Oscar scene.

(There’s also another less showy but no less thrilling scene during a party Dallas throws in his home while a hurricane rages outside. Again, no need to go into details, but McConaughey is simply brilliant here.)

So, if I had to choose one, Matthew McConaughey's Dallas is the best acting performance I’ve seen so far this year. And, yes, I am as dumbfounded as you might be that I’m actually saying that.

What Others Chose
The most frequent and immediate response to my tweet was Michael Fassbender in Prometheus, a choice I not only agree with, but am hoping for wholeheartedly. Fassbender was (by far) my favorite part of Prometheus. Loved him in it. And while we’re talking about Ridley Scott’s excellent science fiction film, throw Noomi Rapace into the mix for stellar 2012 performances thus far. That C-section? Jesus Christ.

Jason Segel in Jeff Who Lives at Home got a few votes. I have trouble with Duplass brothers films, and the reviews I glanced over for their latest movie were mediocre at best, but a few people I trust say they dig it, so check it out I will.

Brit Marling in The Sound of My Voice. Couldn’t agree more. Great movie, great performance. Sadly, neither her nor her movie will be remembered come January.

Liam Neeson in The Grey. I admired his dedication in the movie, but Joe Carnahan’s lost in the wilderness action flick wasn’t for me. Interesting choice though.

Rachel Weisz in The Deep Blue Sea. This came to theaters as quickly and as unannounced as it left. It completely fell off my radar, but I definitely need to see this one as soon as possible.

Michelle Williams in Take This Waltz. Another one I could not agree more with. Williams was, per usual, superb in Sarah Polley’s unique dramedy. And I mean seriously, when the hell is Michelle Williams going to win an Oscar already?

Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe AND Mud cooked a few responses. Both are films that haven’t hit a wide release in the US yet, but, basically, McConaughey is going to have a hell of a year. I really hope we see his name come awards time. All right all right all right.

Upcoming
It’s early, but I think we’re gonna have a damn fine fall. The possibilities are seriously endless. I could rattle off dozens of possible contenders (oh what the hell: Day-Lewis, Lincoln; Hoffman and Phoenix, The Master; Foxx, Django Unchained; every casted actor, Twelve Years a Slave) but I refer you to the excellent site Never Too Early Movie Predictions. Here are NTEMP’s potential picks for Best Actor and Supporting Actor, and here’s Best Actress and Supporting Actress.

But, for now, which ones did I miss? What are some Oscar-worthy performances you’ve seen so far in 2012?

24 comments:

  1. I totally forget about Fassbender in Prometheus. Certainly a deserving Oscar contender.

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  2. You think Jennifer Lawrence has any chance with "The Hunger Games"?

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    1. Nah I doubt it. But who knows, right?

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  3. I'm taking over this comments section, sorry (didn't read through the post fully). Yes, that C-section is intense! Noomi Rapace is just as good as Fassbender.

    With regards to Jason Segel, I feel like his performance seems strong simply because it's different to what we are used to seeing from him. On its own, it's not something I'll likely remember at the end of the year.

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    1. haha it's cool, that's pretty much what I was thinking about Segel's performance, but, again, I haven't seen it yet, so it's not really fair for me to say either way!

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  4. Fassbender was really good, though I have more faith in Weisz getting awards recognition. (Tom Hiddleston was also very good in The Deep Blue Sea.)

    Also, I love the immense amount of faith you have for Twelve Years a Slave, even though it's not getting released until next year. (Just saying.)

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    1. Dude, shit, I jumped the gun on Twelve Years, can't wait for that damn movie.

      Really need to see Deep Blue Sea now.

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  5. Awesome list. I'm really hoping for some love for Fass and Rapace in Oscar season. MConaughey is basically the main reason I want to see Magic Mike. I don't know about any others, since I haven't seen this many good movies in 2012. I really liked The Cabin in The Woods but those performances won't get any recognition in the Oscar season.

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    1. I really dug Cabin Fever too, but you're right, that'll never be remembered come awards time. Fass, Rapace and McConaughey would be awesome.

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  6. My favorite performance this year so far is Bruce Willis in Moonrise Kingdom. He was the last thing I expected to give out a performance that is touching but also real. He's not playing the usual Willis characters but rather someone who is lost in an affair and grows to care about a boy who might not have a home. I was quite touched by it.

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    1. That was definitely my favorite performance from that film. Wouldn't it be great if he (somehow) pulled out an Oscar nom? Probably never happen, but old Willis, an Oscar nominee. Fancy that.

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    2. That would be hella-awesome!

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  7. Thanks for the link love my friend! Great list of the contenders so far.

    McConaughey was just invited to join the Academy last week, and with 3 films in contention you're right that we shouldn't rule him out.

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    1. My pleasure buddy! McConaughey is just killing it this year. Pretty damn cool.

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  8. Great list! Your praise for McConaughey has me really excited for Magic Mike. As for Oscar worthy performances I would have to say that Fassbender is the only one I've seen so far that seemed good enough, and by good I mean utterly brilliant. As for the upcoming releases this year I am really hoping to see Dicaprio snag best actor for The Great Gatsby which he should be able to do considering how excellent the character is. I also would love to see Joaquin win best supporting actor for The Master, Kiera Knightley get best leading actress (Anna Karenina), and see Carey Mulligan get best supporting actress. The problem with this year is that I want every actor that could be nominated to win. Phoenix, Dicaprio, Seymour Hoffman, Day-Lewis. I really wouldn't mind seeing any of them take home the gold.

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    1. All excellent potential choices from you. You're right, Best Actor is shaping up to be a crazy good competition. Really excited for the last four months of this year. I'm hoping Gatsby's style doesn't outweigh the story. We shall see.

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  9. I also really enjoyed McConaughey's work in Magic Mike. I didn't know what to expect going into the movie, but found it to be pretty damned enjoyable as a whole, and his performance was easily the stand-out.

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    1. Nice... so glad that flick, and his performance, are getting some seriously positive attention. My friends are all stunned that I liked the movie and I'm like, "Did you see it?"

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  10. Please PLEASE see The Deep Blue Sea when it gets to DVD in a few weeks. The fact that it made, I think, only just below a million dollars at the American box-office doesn't shock me but it is unfortunate. It's possible you might not love it, but Weisz (and Hiddleston, and Beale to some extent) gives a fantastic performance. I only which Music Box was a studio a bit more surer in making their films well advertised.

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    1. Okay nice, thanks for the push, I'll definitely be checking that one out. Rachel Weisz is one of my favorite contemporary actresses, so I'm excited to see her in it. Thanks buddy!

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  11. It's great to see McConaughey having a career resurgence. Still need to see Magic Mike, but I'm looking forward to it.

    Awesome to see Michelle Williams getting some props. Not sure if Take This Waltz could have worked without her, honestly.

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    1. I agree that Williams was the anchor of Take This Waltz; she made it work. Can't speak highly enough of Magic Mike!

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  12. This list is great. I've only seen Fassbender's performance so far...but it certainly could get a nod.

    Despite people bashing him for years, I would be thrilled if MM took home a statue this year. I thought Magic Mike was throwaway (despite being Soderbergh), but you've got me interested.

    The wife will dig it.

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    1. Hey man, gotta make the wife happy, right? I actually really enjoyed Magic Mike, and was stunned that virtually no woman in my theater seemed to like it in the least.

      I'm totally game for some McConaughey awards love.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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