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.
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.
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?