Next up for our Oscar roundtable, Sasha Stone of Awardsdaily.com, and USA Today film reporter Susan Wloszczyna and I jaw about the early Best Actor frontrunners. While I began by posting a list of the serious contenders, Stone dubs this the year of the Oscar Hottie:
Thelma: Let me throw out the first pitch on best actor: George Clooney in The Descendants is the frontrunner, but even Clooney admits that’s a position that takes incredible stamina. You’re just asking to be knocked off the block. Still, if any one can campaign for this award like a politician out of The Ides of March, it’s George. And then there’s his old pal Brad Pitt, with the one two punch of Moneyball and The Tree of Life, and he’s a star that every one wants to come to their party. And then there’s the bad boy: Michael Fassbender. I’ve yet to see Shame, and he’s definitely the year’s rising male star, but is that, or his repressed Jung in A Dangerous Method, Oscar-able?
Susan: Clooney in The Descendants is the safest bet for now. And Pitt could easily be in there for Moneyball.
A Dangerous Method is proving to be a divisive film as some dismiss it as a talky bore while others embrace how it reveals the rift between these two fascinating men of the mind as they have a tug of war over a patient who is a key to both their theories. Still, Shame feels like the one that will place Fassbender in the race.
However, the more time goes by, the less The Ides of March feels like a generator of nominations. It’s well made but its script feels like it is five years out of date and its revelations about politicians are few.
So where will the other candidates come from? I wish Paul Giamatti could sneak in with Win Win but that feels like an Independent Spirit Award type situation. More likely is Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris, if the academy decides to reward Woody Allen‘s return to form — as well as Wilson’s own reawakening as an actor.
Leo in J. Edgar could go either way. I would feel more sure if this were a Scorsese film than an Eastwood. Tom Hanks in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close? Daniel Craig in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo? Gary Oldman — in the overdue club big time — for Tinker Tailor? All possible but mostly unseen.
And oui to Jean Dujardin for The Artist. He seems more likely than Ryan Gosling at this point.
Sasha: Hanks will be too small a part in Extremely Loud so, if anything, he goes supporting. And trust me, if the movie is as good as the screenplay it will rip your heart out.
The actors I’m thinking of right now are: [Read more…]