Friday, February 8, 2019

In Character: 2018 Oscar Nominees

With the 91st Oscars only a few weeks away, here’s a breakdown of my favorite performances by each nominated performer. Please feel free to share your favorite roles from all of the nominees as well!

Christian Bale – Vice
Notable Roles: The Dark Knight Trilogy, The New World, Rescue Dawn, The Fighter
Best Role: In the past, I’ve highlighted Bale’s work in Rescue Dawn as his best, but I have to circle back to Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. It’s perfect.

Bradley Cooper – A Star is Born
Notable Roles: The Hangover, The Place Beyond the Pines, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle
Best Role: Jackson Maine from A Star is Born. Please give us more of that.

Willem Dafoe – At Eternity’s Gate
Notable Roles: Platoon, Light Sleeper, Shadow of the Vampire, Antichrist, The Florida Project
Best Role: It’s a toss-up between Platoon and The Last Temptation of Christ, but his complicated portrayal of Jesus wins out for me.

Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody
Notable Roles: The Pacific, The Master, Short Term 12, Papillon
Best Role: I try to give film roles credence in my selections, but I have to go with Malek’s frenzied turn in Mr. Robot as his best.

Viggo Mortensen – Green Book
Notable Roles: The Indian Runner, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Eastern Promises, Captain Fantastic
Best Role: Tom Stall from A History of Violence. Love the film, love Mortensen in it.

Yalitza Aparicio – Roma
Notable Roles: Aside from Roma, none.
Best Role: Easy choice, as Roma is Aparicio’s first and only role. I really hope she continues to act.

Glenn Close – The Wife
Notable Roles: The Big Chill, The Natural, Dangerous Liaisons, The Shield, Damages
Best Role: It must be Alex from Fatal Attraction, one of the most terrifying portrayals of a psychopath on film.

Olivia Colman – The Favourite
Notable Roles: Hot Fuzz, Tyrannosaur, The Iron Lady, The Lobster, The Night Manager
Best Role: Queen Anne, The Favourite. Though I admittedly need to see more of Colman’s British work.

Lady Gaga – A Star is Born
Notable Roles: American Horror Story
Best Role: Ally in A Star Is Born. I had no idea Gaga had that performance in her. More, please.

Melissa McCarthy – Can You Every Forgive Me?
Notable Roles: Gilmore Girls, Mike & Molly, St. Vincent, Spy
Best Role: I’m really enjoying watching McCarthy dive into more dramatic work, but the standout for me is still Megan from Bridesmaids.

Mahershala Ali – Green Book
Notable Roles: The Place Beyond the Pines, Treme, House of Cards, Luke Cage, True Detective
Best Role: I actually think Ali is killing it in Season 3 of True Detective, but, for now, I’ll go with Juan from Moonlight.

Adam Driver – BlacKkKlansman
Notable Roles: Frances Ha, While We’re Young, Star Wars, Paterson, Logan Lucky
Best Role: For film: Garupe from Martin Scorsese’s Silence; for TV: Adam from Girls.

Sam Elliott – A Star is Born
Notable Roles: Mask, Rush, Tombstone, The Big Lebowski, Off the Map, The Hero
Best Role: How to decide? I really wish more people would see his work in Off the Map and The Hero, but I have to go with his turn as White House Chief of Staff, Kermit Newman, in The Contender.

Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Notable Roles: The Player, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Gosford Park, Logan
Best Role: Grant has had a fantastic and prolific career, but I’m going with his film debut, as Withnail in Withnail & I. There’s no “acting” to be found in that performance.

Sam Rockwell – Vice
Notable Roles: Matchstick Men, The Assassination of Jesse James…, Moon, Three Billboards...
Best Role: Today, it’s Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. But it could be any number of roles.

Amy Adams – Vice
Notable Roles: Doubt, The Fighter, American Hustle, Big Eyes, Arrival, Sharp Objects
Best Role: Peggy Dodd, The Master. Every time.

Marina da Tavira – Roma
Notable Roles: Efectos secundarios, La zona, Ana y Bruno, Falco
Best Role: I’m ashamed to admit that Roma is the first and only performance I’ve seen from Marina da Tavira, but I certainly hope to change that soon.

Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
Notable Roles: Boyz n the Hood, Friday, Ray, The Leftovers, American Crime
Best Role: Right now, it’s an even split between Marcee from Jerry Maguire and Sharon from If Beale Street Could Talk.

Emma Stone – The Favourite
Notable Roles: Superbad, Easy A, Birdman, Battle of the Sexes, Maniac
Best Role: I’m sticking with Mia from La La Land, but I loved her deceitfulness in The Favourite.

Rachel Weisz – The Favourite
Notable Roles: Confidence, The Constant Gardner, The Fountain, The Lobster, Disobedience
Best Role: I’ve always been a huge admirer of Weisz’s work, and I think her turn as Lady Sarah in The Favourite is the best performance she’s delivered yet. She’d get my Oscar vote this year.

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  1. Great choices. I finally got around to watching The Favourite as well, and i'm glad i did because it quickly became one of my favorite movies from last year. A lot of great performances in it.

    Christian Bale - American Psycho (I completely agree with you here. He was perfect for that role.)
    Bradley Cooper - A Star is Born (It used to be The Place Beyond the Pines, but his performance here was fantastic.)
    Willem Dafoe - Platoon
    Rami Malek - Mr. Robot (I only watched season 1 back when it first started, but i really enjoyed it. I don't know why i never got around to watching the rest of it.)
    Viggo Mortensen - A History of Violence

    Yalitza Aparicio – Roma
    Glenn Close - The Shield
    Olivia Colman - The Favourite (But i could have also easily gone with either Broadchurch or Peep Show. I love her and i love that she is finally getting the attention she deserves.)
    Lady Gaga – A Star is Born
    Melissa McCarthy - Bridesmaids (I'm not a huge fan of most of her comedies, but in the right one like this or Spy, she nails it.)

    Mahershala Ali - Moonlight (But i also think he is killing it in True Detective. It will probably be my favorite if the season continues like this.)
    Adam Driver - Silence
    Sam Elliott - Tombstone (But i also loved his guest spot on the final season of Justified.)
    Richard E. Grant - Bram Stoker's Dracula
    Sam Rockwell - Moon

    Amy Adams - Sharp Objects (I was absolutely blown away by this show. It's still haunting me.)
    Marina da Tavira – Roma
    Regina King - Jerry Maguire (I still need to check out If Beale Street Could Talk.)
    Emma Stone – The Favourite (I never thought Emma Stone would be able to make me go from loving a character to hating her so flawlessly.)
    Rachel Weisz – The Favourite

    But if i were to pick my favorites to win in each category it would go:
    Best Actor: Bradley Cooper
    Best Actress: Olivia Colman
    Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali
    Best Supporting Actress: Rachel Weisz (This was an almost impossible choice between her and Emma Stone.)

    1. These are excellent picks. I really need to rewatch Tombstone, because I'm on a huge Elliott kick and haven't seen that movie in a long time. And I also thought Sharp Objects was haunting. That was just a damn good show. I really hope they don't bring it back. Leave it where it is.

      And it is always great to find another fan of The Shield. That show isn't talked about enough. It broke so many barriers, and Close was excellent in her season.

  2. Sam Elliott in The Hero!!!! It's a disgrace he didn't get more attention for that role

    1. Damn right! He was So. Good. in it. Love that guy.

  3. For me so far...

    Best Actor

    Christian Bale-American Psycho
    Bradley Cooper-Silver Linings Playbook
    Willem Dafoe-Antichrist (he's my pick)
    Rami Malek-Short Term 12 (haven't seen much from him)
    Viggo Mortensen-A History of Violence/Captain Fantastic (tie)

    Best Actress

    Yalitza Aparcio-Roma
    Glenn Close-Fatal Attraction
    Olivia Colman-The Favourite (she's my choice to win)
    Lady Gaga-I haven't seen her in a film other than that awful Sin City sequel and that brief appearance in The Sopranos so I can't say anything
    Melissa McCarthy-Spy

    Best Supporting Actor

    Mahershala Ali-Moonlight
    Adam Driver-Paterson (he's my pick)
    Sam Elliott-The Big Lebowski
    Richard E. Grant-Withnail & I (alternate pick)
    Sam Rockwell-The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

    Best Supporting Actress

    Amy Adams-The Master
    Marina de Taivira-Roma
    Regina King-If Beale Street Could Talk (I pick her to win)
    Emma Stone-The Favourite
    Rachel Weisz-The Brothers Bloom

    1. Excellent picks. And I appreciate you highlighting your Oscar picks as well. I really hope BlacKkKlansman wins something at the Oscars. Editing would be great, because it's Barry Alexander Brown first editing nomination (which is crazy). Shame they won't be airing that award live, but don't even get me started on that bullshit.

    2. I'm with you on this news about not showing the editing/cinematography awards bullshit. If I was the filmmaker who is nominated along with my collaborators and to see they might get their moment to shine. I'd be like... "Fuck this shit! Come on everyone, let's just stay home and tell the Oscars to fuck off."

      Then again, I wouldn't go to the Oscars if I was nominated and likely to win. It's just not my thing.

  4. You should do the next In Character feature on Sam Elliot.

    1. Hell yeah I should! Been thinking about it since I first saw A Star Is Born. I love his work so much, so it should come together pretty quickly. Stay tuned!

  5. I'm with you on a lot of these for your favorites. Emma Stone slightly edges out The Favourite with La La Land for me, she's good in both. Definitely agree with Mr. Robot for Rami by a long shot.

    Viggo's Best for me is always Eastern Promises. I love that movie. And for Amy Adams, it's probably Junebug but you make me want to watch The Master again. Especially after I just saw God's Pocket which was a horrible waste of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

    1. You know, after writing this post, I rewatched Eastern Promises, and that is just a damn good movie. That's an A+ for me. I forgot how sparse the narrative is; how you really have to pay attention to what's said to fully understand everything that has happened (and is happening). And it contains such a huge plot twist, but that twist is given such little attention, which is incredible. In terms of Viggo's work, A History of Violence still wins out for me, but it's a nit-picky choice. Both performances are perfect.

  6. Best Actor

    Bale - I'm with you. I love Easton Ellis as much as you do and loved the adaptation. But he's also one of my favorite actors because of Harsh Times. And liked him a lot, recently, in Out of the Furnace.
    Cooper - Jackson was really cool and brave of him, but my favorite still is Pat in Silver Linings, I was sold on the story because of him.
    Dafoe - Haven't seen him as Van Gogh yet and I've seen every Van Gogh reincarnation so it's a must... has to be The Last Temptation of Christ, followed closely by Antichrist.
    Rami Malek – A few days ago Papillon was being broadcasted in a Spanish channel. Man, I missed Dustin Hoffman… Truth is I like Charlie Hunnam and he wasn't given much in that film either, but Malek was pretty bad. Need to see more of him.
    Mortensen - A History of Violence if only for the initial shooting scene.

    Best Actress

    Haven't seen Roma yet... sorry for Yalitza Aparicio.
    Glenn Close - Dangerous Liaisons.
    Olivia Colman - Tyrannosaur (Peter Mullan and her? Best of the best)
    Lady Gaga - I always thought she was really cool in her videos and I liked her as Ally. I love the fact that you've chosen that photo. That was my favorite moment, the whole bar interaction... I wished the rest of the film would have kept that atmosphere.
    Melissa McCarthy - I haven't seen anything she's done.

    Supporting Actor

    Mahershala Ali – Only seen him in The Place Beyond the Pines, liked him, but hopefully I'll see him soon in True Detective after I finish The Punisher's S2
    Adam Driver - Same as yours.
    Sam Elliott - As cliché as it sounds... Road House haha. The Hero was great too, need to watch The Contender!
    Richard E. Grant - Jack and Sarah.
    Sam Rockwell - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Well-deserved Oscar.

    Supporting Actress

    Amy Adams - Arrival
    Marina da Tavira - Can't talk about her either :(
    Regina King - Same as yours.
    Emma Stone - Gonna write the same I wrote the last time she was nominated: Birdman. Sam is one of my fave characters ever.
    Rachel Weisz – Have to admit I was never a big fan, and with The Constant Gardener (having read the novel) I felt she was miscast... and she won the Oscar, guess it was just me after all, haha. But I liked her a lot in The Deep Blue Sea. If you haven't seen that one I think you'll enjoy it. Story is not extraordinary (the play is better, Rattigan was quite a genius) but the cinematography and the acting are really good.

    1. Love these choices! Close is perfect in Dangerous Liaisons. It wasn't an easy choice between that and Fatal Attraction. I love '80s Glenn Close so much. And I need to see Jack and Sarah, because I'm always looking for more great Grant performances, and I haven't seen that one yet!

  7. Viggo was excellent in A History of Violence but I think his best turn is in Eastern Promises. I haven't seen Green Book, though.
    Olivia Colman was great in The Favourite and so different to her brilliant supporting performance in Tyrannosaur (2011)

    1. Viggo is perfect in both of those movies. I recently rewatched Eastern Promises and was in love with every second of it. Two damn fine movies. I wish they made more together.