Thursday, January 15, 2015

In Character: 2015 Oscar Nominees Edition

With this morning’s release of the Oscar nominations, I thought it’d be fun to dive into the careers of every acting nominee. Below is an expansion of my usual In Character column, highlighting the best roles of the 20 actors vying for film’s top prize.

BEST ACTRESS
Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night
Notable Roles: La Vie en Rose, Public Enemies, Nine, Inception, The Immigrant

Best Role: Holy hell I’m so happy she’s nominated this year. Marion Cotillard is my favorite living actress, so this is no easy choice. Ultimately, I have to go with her Stéphanie from Rust and Bone, my favorite female film character since I don’t know when.

Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
Notable Roles: The Diary of Anne Frank, The Tempest, Breathe In, The Invisible Woman, Girls

Best Role: I’ve loved few film characters more in recent years than Jones’ Anna from Like Crazy.

Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Notable Roles: Short Cuts, The End of the Affair, Boogie Nights, Far From Heaven, The Hours, A Single Man

Best Role: Impossible to decide, so I’m going with two. As the horribly depressed Linda Partridge in Magnolia, and the vile Hollywood goddess, Havana Segrand, in Maps to the Stars.

Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
Notable Roles: Die Another Day, Pride & Prejudice, Fracture, An Education, The World’s End

Best Role: Amazing Amy. No question.

Reese Witherspoon – Wild
Notable Roles: Fear, Pleasantville, Cruel Intentions, Legally Blonde, Walk the Line, Mud

Best Role: “They think they can just, all of a sudden, one day out of the blue, waltz right in with no qualifications whatsoever and try to take away what other people have worked for very, VERY hard for their entire lives! No, didn’t bother me at all!”

BEST ACTOR
Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
Notable Roles: Bruce Almighty, Anchorman, The Office, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Little Miss Sunshine

Best Role: I had no idea Steve Carell had Foxcatcher’s John du Pont in him. Easily my pick for his best role.

Bradley Cooper – American Sniper
Notable Roles: Alias, Wedding Crashers, The Hangover, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, The Place Beyond the Pines

Best Role: I love Cooper’s work in The Place Beyond the Pines, but his American Sniper performance was completely revelatory.

Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
Notable Roles: Hawking, Atonement, The Fifth Estate, 12 Years a Slave, Star Trek Into Darkness

Best Role: It must be Sherlock. Though what he did in 12 Years a Slave (including perfecting a deep Southern accent) should not be overlooked.

Michael Keaton – Birdman
Notable Roles: Night Shift, Mr. Mom, Beetlejuice, Clean and Sober, Batman, Jackie Brown

Best Role: Michael Keaton is one of my all-time favorite actors, so I don’t say this lightly, but his Riggan Thomson from Birdman is hands down the best performance of his career. I’m ecstatic that he could likely win the Oscar this year.

Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
Notable Roles: The Good Shepherd, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, My Week with Marilyn, Les Misérables

Best Role: Stephen Hawking. No brainer.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Notable Roles: True Romance, Ed Wood, Fliting with Disaster, Bringing out the Dead, Medium, Boardwalk Empire

Best Role: I love Arquette’s Alabama from True Romance, but it has to be Boyhood for me.

Laura Dern – Wild
Notable Roles: Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Jurassic Park, Citizen Ruth, We Don’t Live Here Anymore, Enlightened

Best Role: Watching Dern’s work in David Lynch’s Inland Empire, you become acutely aware that she is the only actress who could do that performance that way.

Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
Notable Roles: Bend It Like Beckham, Love Actually, Pride & Prejudice, Never Let Me Go, Last Night, Begin Again

Best Role: I actually adore her emotive turn in Last Night, but Cecilia from Atonement wins out for me.

Emma Stone – Birdman
Notable Roles: Superbad, Zombieland, Easy A, Crazy Stupid Love, The Help

Best Role: That would be Birdman.

Meryl Streep – Into the Woods
Notable Roles: Manhattan, Kramer vs. Kramer, Sophie’s Choice, Silkwood, Adaptation, The Hours, Angels in America, The Devil Wears Prada

Best Role: Then, now, and forever, Linda from The Deer Hunter.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Robert Duvall – The Judge
Notable Roles: The Godfather Parts I-II, Apocalypse Now, Tender Mercies, Sling Blade, A Civil Action, Get Low

Best Role: All told, I’d honestly go with his towering work in The Apostle. Duvall also wrote and directed the film, and you can tell that passion is injected into every frame of it.

Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Notable Roles: Dead Poets Society, Alive, Before Sunrise, Tape, Training Day, Before Sunset, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

Best Role: Close call, but I’m going with Before Midnight. I could just feel Jesse’s faults, regrets, fears, and, most importantly, his aching desire to hold on to what he values most.

Edward Norton – Birdman
Notable Roles: Primal Fear, Rounders, American History X, Fight Club, The Illusionist, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Role: Montgomery Brogan from 25th Hour is one of my favorite film characters. So conflicted and scared.

Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
Notable Roles: You Can Count On Me, We Don’t Live Here Anymore, Zodiac, Shutter Island, The Kids Are All Right, The Avengers

Best Role: Dave Schultz, Foxcatcher. The way he moved, the way he spoke, the way he constantly had his hands on people. I really knew this guy.

J.K. Simmons – Whiplash
Notable Roles: Oz, Spider-Man 1-3, The Ladykillers, Juno, Burn After Reading, The Music Never Stopped

Best Role: Few characters are more despicable than Vern Schillinger from Oz, but it’s gotta be Terence Fletcher from Whiplash. That work is definitely my tempo.

48 comments:

  1. OK...

    Best Actress

    Marion Cotillard-Rust & Bone (honorable mention for Love Me If You Dare)
    Felicity Jones-Like Crazy
    Julianne Moore-Safe
    Rosamund Pike-Gone Girl
    Reese Witherspoon-Freeway

    Best Actor

    Steve Carell-Foxcatcher
    Bradley Cooper-The Place Beyond the Pines
    Benedict Cumberbatch-12 Years a Slave
    Michael Keaton-Birdman
    Eddie Redmayne-Les Miserables (haven't seen a lot of films he's in)

    Best Supporting Actress

    Patricia Arquette-Boyhood
    Laura Dern-Inland Empire
    Keira Knightley-Pride & Prejudice
    Emma Stone-Birdman
    Meryl Streep-The Devil Wears Prada

    Best Supporting Actor

    Robert Duvall-Apocalypse Now
    Ethan Hawke-Before Midnight
    Edward Norton-Primal Fear
    Mark Ruffalo-Foxcatcher
    J.K. Simmons-Whiplash (which I'm watching right now on my laptop at the moment I'm writing this)

    I'm disappointed that several people like Jake Gyllenhaal, Carrie Coon, Jessica Chastain, and Kim Dickens aren't nominated. I am happy though that Marion got nominated instead of Jennifer Aniston who should just stick to comedies though she was great in The Good Girl and Friends with Money but should never do the kind of performances that screams Oscar-bait.

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    1. Great stuff man. Love that Freeway is your pick for Reese. What a twisted little flick. I’m really bummed by some of the snubs too, particularly the zero love for A Most Violent Year. I mean really, what the hell does Jessica Chastain have to do?

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  2. Marion Cotillard - The Immigrant
    Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything
    Julianne Moore - Boogie Nights (or Safe or Far from Heaven or The Big Lebowski or...ask me on a different day, I'll give a different answer)
    Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl
    Reese Witherspoon - Election

    Steve Carell - Foxcatcher
    Bradley Cooper - The Place Beyond the Pines
    Benedict Cumberbatch - Sherlock
    Michael Keaton - Beetlejuice (Birdman a close second)
    Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything

    Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
    Laura Dern - Enlightened
    Keira Knightley - Atonement
    Emma Stone - Easy A
    Meryl Streep - Adaptation.

    Robert Duvall - The Godfather
    Ethan Hawke - Gattaca
    Edward Norton - 25th Hour
    Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher (Very close. I also love You Can Count on Me and Zodiac)
    J.K. Simmons - Oz

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    1. Love your pick for Moore. So true, could be different every day. Love that we have so many in common. Norton in 25th Hour, man.

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  3. Marion Cotillard- Rust & Bone
    Felicity Jones- still need to see more of her work
    Julianne Moore- Magnolia & Safe (tie)
    Rosamund Pike- Gone Girl
    Reese Witherspoon- Election. Tracy Flick, man.

    Steve Carell- Foxcatcher
    Bradley Cooper- Silver Linings Playbook
    Benedict Cumberbatch-12 Years a Slave
    Michael Keaton- Birdman
    Eddie Redmayne- Haven't seen enough of his work

    Patricia Arquette- Boyhood (but I do have a special place in my heart for Alabama Worley)
    Laura Dern- Inland Empire (one of my favorite performances of the 2000's)
    Keira Knightley- Never Let Me Go
    Emma Stone- Birdman (Just beats out Beetlejuice by a hair)
    Meryl Streep-The Deer Hunter & Adaptation

    Robert Duvall- "Charlie don't surf."
    Ethan Hawke- Boyhood
    Edward Norton- 25th Hour (American History X comes in 2nd)
    Mark Ruffalo- Zodiac
    J.K. Simmons- Whiplash (Though Vern Schillinger is very close.)

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    1. Rust and Bone – yes! Gotta love Reese in Election. I rewatched that the other day and was thrilled to see how well it holds up. It’s ingenious. So great to see The Deer Hunter get mentioned for Meryl.

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  4. I hope Gone Girl propels Rosamund Pike into an A-lister. As we saw with her work as Amy, she has the talent.
    Tracy Flick is an unforgettable character, good call.

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    1. Pike definitely deserves many more prominent roles, no doubt. I love Tracy Flick. So good.

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  5. I was expecting Brendan Gleeson and Nicolas Cage to get snubbed, but Jake Gyllenhaal as well? I would have gone with him over Eddie Redmayne. That was a good performance, but it felt extremely Oscar baity. It was like an SNL parody of an Oscar bait movie at times. But anyway, here are my choices.

    Marion Cotillard - Rust and Bone
    Felicity Jones - Cemetery Junction (an underrated movie from Ricky Gervais of all people)
    Julianne Moore - Boogie Nights
    Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl (or Die Another Day... No. I can't even joke about that)
    Reese Witherspoon - Walk the Line

    Steve Carell - Foxcatcher (i'm still not convinced that actually was Steve Carell)
    Bradley Cooper - The Place Beyond the Pines
    Benedict Cumberbatch -Sherlock
    Michael Keaton - Beetlejuce (yeah, he was amazing in Birdman, but he will always be Beetlejuce to me.)
    Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything (i have not really seen much else from him)

    Patricia Arquette - True Romance (still my favorite Tarantino movie even though he didn't direct it)
    Laura Dern - Wild at Heart
    Keira Knightley - A Dangerous Method
    Emma Stone - Birdman
    Meryl Streep-The Deer Hunter

    Robert Duvall - Apocalypse Now
    Ethan Hawke - Training Day
    Edward Norton - American History X (he really should have already won the gold for this one)
    Mark Ruffalo - Zodiac
    J.K. Simmons - Whiplash

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    1. Yeah, I agree with you regarding Redmayne. That film was definitely well intentioned (as were all of its performances), but it didn’t do anything for me. Same with The Imitation Game. About five minutes in, I said, “Okay, I’ve seen this before.” But oh well.

      I need to track down Cemetery Junction asap. Love The Deer Hunter mention! She breaks my heart in that movie.

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    2. You haven't seen Cemetery Junction? It's definitely worth checking out then. It's not a typical Ricky Gervais comedy at all. Still really funny though.

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    3. No I haven't, but it sounds really good. And that cast.

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  6. Love your choices! It really saddens me that the Academy snubbed so many great movies (I'm still mourning for Nightcrawler, Gone Girl, Selma and A Most Violent Year), sometimes in favor of lesser ones (but that's just my opinion). Still, I look forward to Phase 2 of awards season. Here are my choices:

    Best Actress

    Marion Cotillard - La Vie en Rose (though all of her performances are magnificent).
    Felicity Jones - Like Crazy
    Julianne Moore - Far From Heaven
    Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl
    Reese Witherspoon - Election. Slanderous accusations! I'm so happy she's going to work with Alexander Payne again in Downsizing.

    Best Actor

    Steve Carell - The Office
    Bradley Cooper - My dislike for American Sniper has grown over the past few days, but Bradley Cooper was great, though I found other performances in the Best Actor category much more deserving.
    Benedict Cumberbatch - Sherlock
    Michael Keaton - He is fantastic in Birdman, but his Beetlejuice to me is on a different level. Iconic comedic work.
    Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything

    Best Supporting Actress

    Patricia Arquette - Boyhood. Her final scene kills me.
    Laura Dern - Inland Empire
    Keira Knightley - Anna Karenina
    Emma Stone - Like I said for Keaton, she is great in Birdman, but she was absolutely effortless in Easy A.
    Meryl Streep - Where to begin? It'll have to be Sophie's Choice.

    Best Supporting Actor

    Robert Duvall - Apocalypse Now, but love the shoutout to The Apostle!
    Ethan Hawke - Before Midnight
    Edward Norton - American History X
    Mark Ruffalo - The Kids Are All Right
    J.K. Simmons - Whiplash

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    1. Thanks! I can’t wait to see Reese’s work with Payne as well. What a welcoming reunion. I liked Cooper a lot in American Sniper, but no, I wouldn’t have nominated him for the Oscar this year. I’m stunned he made it through.

      Great picks all around!

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  7. Wow. Linda from The Deer Hunter? Bold take. I like it. Respect. And you're my friend forever for saying nice things about Keira in Last Night.

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    1. Ha, thanks man, love Linda. Last Night deserved so much more recognition than it received. I really like that film.

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  8. Agree that Michael Keaton could win this year.
    Agree that Emma Stone's best in Birdman.
    Agree that Ethan Hawke is better in Before.. trilogy
    Agree that Arquette's best in Boyhood

    What do you think about Cotillard in La vie en rose? Stephanie (Rust and Bone) is more likeable though.

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    1. I LOVE Cotillard in La Vie en Rose. In fact, a few years ago, I called it one of my top 10 favorite female performances of all time. But I honestly would amend that today for her work in Rust and Bone. It's just perfect to me.

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  9. I'm not overly cross over whom was nominated or whom wasn't. I'm merely grateful that I saw most of them before the nominations were announced. Anyway, my choices are more along the line of favorites than what I think is their best work.

    Cotillard - Rust and Bone
    Jones - The Invisible Woman
    Moore - Far From Heaven
    Pike - Gone Girl
    Witherspoon - Election

    Carell - Foxcatcher
    Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook
    Cumberbatch - Parade's End
    Keaton - Birdman (Beetlejuice a close second)
    Redmayne - Birdsong (Les Miserables a close second)

    Arquette - Boyhood
    Dern - Citizen Ruth
    Knightley - Last Night
    Stone - Birdman
    Streep - The Devil Wears Prada

    Duvall - Apocalypse Now
    Hawke - the Before trilogy
    Norton - Primal Fear
    Ruffalo - You Can Count on Me
    Simmons - Whiplash (his lone scene in Up in the Air is also great)

    Huh. Somewhat fitting that the two nominees of Wild have performances from Alexander Payne films.

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    1. Love the Citizen Ruth praise for Dern. She’s so good in that film. I mean… that ending. I should watch The Invisible Woman again as well. Only saw it once. I adore Felicity Jones.

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  10. These are my picks:

    BEST ACTRESS

    Marion Cotillard - La Vie En Rose
    Felicity Jones - Like Crazy
    Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl
    Reese Witherspoon - Election
    Julianne Moore - Safe

    BEST ACTOR

    Steve Carell - Foxcatcher
    Bradley Cooper-American Sniper
    Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
    Michael Keaton – Birdman
    Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

    Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
    Laura Dern – Inland Empire
    Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
    Emma Stone – Birdman
    Meryl Streep – Sophie's Choice

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

    Robert Duvall – The Apostle
    Ethan Hawke - Before The Devil Knows You're Dead
    Edward Norton – American History X
    Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
    J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

    Your post is terrific Alex. I think it's really fascinating that this year's Oscar nominations include a variety of performances that could be easily ranked as the career-best of many of them. It makes you even more excited for their future work (like what Bradley Cooper can do after what he did in Eastwood's film?) I seriously didn't believe for one second that Marion Cotillard could score a nomination for her incomparable performance in Two Days, One Night (though I was really hoping for a miracle) and I'm glad she did. She delivered one of the most soul-shredding turns I've seen all year and to me undoubtedly the best female performance of the year. Everyone knew Julianne Moore will finally win her much deserved Oscar for her astonishing performance in Still Alice and it's nice to see Cotillard deservedly sitting among the nominees and applauding her. I'm so fascinated by her work in Rust and bone but in my entire life, I've never seen an actress disappearing into a character so completely when it comes to her work in La Vie En Rose, personally. I strongly believe that she practically rewrote the rules of acting through her already legendary performace as Edith Piaf. I was sure Birdman would be your No.1 choice for Keaton. So much passion, so much madness, so much vulnerability, so much truth. Michael Keaton went all there and then some. This is what fearless acting really means.


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    1. So cool you called The Apostle Duvall’s best as well. There’s so much FIRE in that performance.

      I was absolutely stunned that Marion broke through as well. Did not expect that, but I’m so thrilled. Of course, she won’t win over Moore, but it’s great that she’s being recognized again. Also love that you called BtDKYD Hawke’s best performance. That’s a close second for me. I fuckin’ love that movie.

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  11. Love the list!!! I really hope Keaton wins. I still get emotional when I think of his GG speech. That was incredible, what a humble guy and his performance was so nuanced and so brilliant. Love your picks here though whenever I see lists like these and honorable mentions for Pike it just always reminds me how nobody seem to have seen Fugitive Pieces, which is such a shame. So glad Cotillard got her nomination, it's ridiculous how much they snubbed her in the past

    For me the list would go:

    Cotillard - Rust and Bone
    Jones - The Theory of Everything
    Moore - The Hours
    Pike - Gone Girl
    Witherspoon - Wild

    Carell - The Office
    Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook
    Cumberbatch - Sherlock
    Keaton - Birdman
    Redmayne - The Theory of Everything

    Arquette - True Romance
    Dern - Inland Empire
    Knightley - The Imitation Game
    Stone - Birdman
    Streep - The Devil Wears Prada

    Duvall - Apocalypse Now
    Hawke - the Before trilogy
    Norton - Birdman
    Ruffalo - Begin Again
    Simmons - Whiplash

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    1. I'll check out Fugitive Pieces asap, sounds very interesting. Love your picks. Reese was great in Wild, and it's awesome to see Inland Empire listed for Dern's top performance. Also, I rewatched Begin Again the other day, and it was so much better the second time. His fucking face when he and Keira depart. Jesus.

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    2. I hear Fugitive Pieces is really hard to find, which is crazy, I would have thought the involvement of Nina Dobrev's biggest asset would be that teenage crowd who watches CW makes it more available :) It's such a lovely film, I hope you manage to track it down.

      Oh yeah my expression was kinda the same although there was far more despair going on. Still cannot believe how they ended that movie.

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    3. I'll try to track it down right away!

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  12. Excellent post, Alex. I haven't seen most of the roles their currently nominated for so I'll refrain from naming my best for them.

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  13. I'm curious about Bradley's American Sniper now because I've read that his pick over Gyllenhaal was injustice etc but I think Cooper has had great moments over the past few years. I do think that his role as a war veteran is more commercial for the Academy than Gyllenhaal's Bloom. Though I think Nightcrawler is still one of my favorites from last year... until I see Birdman - I think!

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    1. I would've nominated Gyllenhaal over Cooper, but I do think American Sniper contains Cooper's best work (by far). A very tough year for the Best Actor category.

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  14. BEST ACTRESS

    Marion Cotillard - Two Days, One Night (At least for me, completely realistic and true to how depression actually feels and impacts one's life - simply perfect)
    Felicity Jones - Like Crazy
    Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl
    Reese Witherspoon - Walk The Line (Can't help picking this one, LOVE Cash and Carter and I thought she was great in it)
    Julianne Moore - Boogie Nights (though I'm with everyone else that this would change pretty much any day you'd ask me lol)

    BEST ACTOR

    Steve Carell - Foxcatcher
    Bradley Cooper-American Sniper
    Benedict Cumberbatch – 12 Years A Slave
    Michael Keaton – Birdman
    Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything (This is an easy pic for me because I've always felt that Redmayne has been wooden in pretty much every movie I've seen him in beyond this)

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

    Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
    Laura Dern – Wild At Heart (Probably the Lynch film I return to the most and she is just radiant throughout)
    Keira Knightley – The Duchess (A gem of a film imo that I thought she was just fantastic in)
    Emma Stone – Birdman
    Meryl Streep – The Bridges of Madison County

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

    Robert Duvall – The Apostle
    Ethan Hawke - The Before Trilogy
    Edward Norton – 25th Hour (A film I will constantly thank you for turning me onto!)
    Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher (You are so right in picking this as his best - I'm still blown away at how completely Ruffalo became Dave Schultz)
    J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

    As much as I love some of these performances I still can't believe how the Academy overlooked so many great films and performances. Seriously, I love Bradley Cooper in American Sniper (a film which I actually much better than I thought it might be) but I still think putting him in over Gyllenhaal in top form (for either Enemy or Nightcrawler!) is just ludicrous! Also, no nods for Chastain or Isaac for their great work in A Most Violent Year (wtf!) or nominating Force Majeure or Winter Sleep (though to be fair, I think most people wouldn't have bet on that one being nominated anyway) for best Foreign picture. These are just the ones that are at the top of my head right now lol, let's cross our fingers for a nomination next year for Wait good sir!

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    1. Ha, thanks man! That would be the day, huh?

      Love your picks, cool that we have so many in common. Really dig your unexpected but great choices for Cumberbatch, Knightley and Duvall. Moore, man, she's just the best. I'm glad she'll finally win this year, but it is a mystery to me that it's such a lock. I mean, the movie is just so bland. Cotillard, Pike and Witherspoon all deserve it over her IMO.

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  15. Great work as always. Sorry I haven't been on your blog in a while, I've just been mad busy. I always like visiting your site as your work is always of a very high standard.

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    1. Thanks man! No worries about not stopping by in a while, I'm crazy busy too, so it's all good. I appreciate you stopping by anytime!

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  16. Great choices for these! I'm glad you picked Cecilia for Knightley. Loved that performance and her stunning green dress.

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    1. Thanks! She's so good in that film. Gal knows how to wear a dress.

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  17. Bradley Cooper is fantastic. I love him in nearly everything. I think he becomes better with the movie. First was Wedding Crashers where he stole every scene where he was in, then The Hangover which he showed some real talent, then Silver Linings Playbook where he went a little from comedy to drama, then the overrated American Hustle where he was still very good and The Place Beyond the Pines where he was the best, wonder why he was nominated for American Hustle and not for The Place Beyond the Pines. American Sniper come here in 23rd, so hell ya!.

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    1. I think American Hustle had more money and clout behind it than Pines. A shame, but that's the politics of Hollywood right there. I do agree that he's better in Pines than in Hustle. I hope you like American Sniper. It's a different kind of war film.

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  18. With Ethan Hawke I disagree a lot. Ethan Hawke was GREAT in Before Midnight, but in Gattaca and Training Day was more fantastic and in Before Sunrise is doing a really good job but really in Before Sunset he makes that ending work. Sorry but Before Midnight isn't even his fifth best performance. I'd rank his performance like this: Before Sunset, Training Day, Before Sunrise, Gattaca, Boyhood, Before Midnight, Lord of War (just my favorite films him).

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    1. But the thing is, I don't disagree with you at all. He's often so good, no matter what he's in. So, depending on the day, I could easily call Before Sunset his best work. And he is so damn good in Training Day. You really believe that character and his struggle. I love him in that film. Gattaca is great too. I actually need to watch that again.

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  19. Awesome post man! Here are my picks:

    Marion Cotillard - Two Days, One Night (Honestly, this approaches some of my favorite work ever, like Binoche in Blue.)
    Felicity Jones - Like Crazy
    Julianne Moore - Boogie Nights
    Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl
    Reese Witherspoon - Freeway

    Steve Carell - Little Miss Sunshine (VERY tempted to go with something like The Way Way Back.)
    Bradley Cooper - The Place Beyond the Pines
    Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game
    Michael Keaton - Birdman
    Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything (I really like him in Les Miserables, though.)

    Patricia Arquette - True Romance
    Laura Dern - Wild at Heart
    Keira Knightley - Pride and Prejudice (Love that Last Night mention, by the way.)
    Emma Stone - Birdman
    Meryl Streep - Sophie's Choice (The Deer Hunter is a very close second.)

    Robert Duvall - The Apostle
    Ethan Hawke - Before Sunset (Before Midnight could easily be here too.)
    Edward Norton - American History X
    Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher
    J.K. Simmons - Whiplash

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    1. GREAT picks. Really cool that we have so many in common. I mean... The Apostle, wow. So good. And man, the more I think about Marion in that film, the more I am floored. I'm so pleased they nominated her for it.

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  20. My picks:

    Best Actor:

    Steve Carell- Foxcatcher
    Bradley Cooper - American Sniper
    Benedict Cumberbatch- The Imitation Game
    Michael Keaton - Birdman
    Eddie Redmayne- Theory of Everything

    Best Actress:

    Marion Cotillard- Inception
    Felicity Jones- Theory of Everything
    Julianne Moore- Far From Heaven
    Rosamund Pike- Gone Girl
    Reese Witherspoon- Election

    Best Supporting Actor:
    Robert Duvall- Godfather I & II
    Ethan Hawke- Boyhood
    Edward Norton- American History X
    Mark Ruffalo- Foxcatcher
    J.K. Simmons- Whiplash

    Best Supporting Actress:
    Patricia Arquette- Boyhood
    Laura Dern- Blue Velvet
    Keira Knightley- The Imitation Game
    Emma Stone- Birdman
    Meryl Streep- Kramer vs. Kramer

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    1. Pretty cool how all your Best Actor picks are the roles they were nominated for this year. Love that you dig Election as well. She's SO good in that film.

      Great picks all around!

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    2. Thank you, and I like how you also love Election. That's one of my favorite movies. So smartly written and Tracy Flick might just be one of my favorite movie characters.

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    3. Nice! Molly Hagan, who plays Broderick's wife in that film, is a good friend of mine. She is So. Cool.

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  21. Marion Cotillard - Two Days, One Night
    Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything
    Julianne Moore - Boogie Nights
    Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl
    Reese Witherspoon - Election

    Steve Carell - Little Miss Sunshine
    Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook
    Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game
    Michael Keaton - The Other Guys!!!
    Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything

    Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
    Laura Dern - Wild
    Keira Knightley - Atonement
    Emma Stone - Easy A
    Meryl Streep - Kramer vs Kramer

    Robert Duvall -
    Ethan Hawke - Before Sunset
    Edward Norton - Birdman
    Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher
    J.K. Simmons - Whiplash

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    Replies
    1. Love the picks. Marion fucking killed it in Two Days. Still floors me. Love the spirited choice for Keaton!

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