In penance to Focus Features, and to Mr. Plummer, for slangily referring to his eminent maturity, I’m posting this video of him singing Edelweiss in his own voice for the beloved classic The Sound of Music, one of the first movies I ever saw as a child in Bombay.
Woke up to be e-scolded by a publicist who I’ve known for years, and respect, about the use of the word “geezer,” in a column referencing Christopher Plummer.
After recovering from my bitter hurt — sip of coffee — raging anger — throw the coffee cup — milder reflection — lapping coffee off floor — I reflected on the fact that while I will continue to write in large, full sentences, and without emoticons, I will also return to a style that I’ve always embraced: the vernacular.
If I can call myself a chick, or even, tongue in cheek, an Oscar’s Angel, then I suppose I could use the term geezer in reference to Plummer, who at 81 has certainly heard worse. It’s a slang word, for sure, defined by dictionary.com as an odd or eccentric man: the old geezer who sells shoelaces on the corner. OK, he must be really old to be selling shoelaces on the corner in this Velcro era, and calling him and old geezer is redundant, oxymoronic.
In the same Oscar’s Angels roundtable on best supporting actor contenders that irked the publicist — reading glasses on — we gave Plummer more positive ink, with USA Today‘s Susan Wloszczyna saying:
Next to Clint Eastwood, Capt. Von Trapp is just about the sexiest octogenarian still making movies. He was great in The Insider and fine in The Last Station, but there is a reason he has gone Oscar-less this long: His career in movies pales next to his stage work. True, they gave Helen Hayes a gold guy late in life. But it isn’t the same as Glenn Close never winning. But he does have an ace in the hole beyond his terrific role in Beginners: What can be a killer role as the family elder haunted by his long missing daughter in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Is he a shoo-in to win, though? Not necessarily.
Plummer is not the oldest man in the field, either. Odds are he will contend with the 82-year-old Swede, Max von Sydow, who has a pivotal role in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
The real damage control that Focus Features faces is that Plummer is up against a slew of male supporting talent in the Focus stable, including the Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy crew led by Tom Hardy and including a brilliant Mark Strong, John Hurt, and a foxy Colin Firth. Ultimately, who will they back in this heated supporting actor contest? Possibly a knottier issue than an adjective as tame as geezer.
This field remains WIDE OPEN. Here are the first five front-runners:
Christopher Plummer, Beginners; Albert Brooks, Drive; Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method; Nick Nolte, Warrior; and David Thewlis, Warhorse
There’s a big push for Plummer to get that lifetime achievement Oscar. Makes me wanna sing: “How do you solve a problem like Maria?”
So Plummer has a lock on the deserving geezer slot. Brooks may be hurt that there is no Drive juggernaut, same with Nolte and Warrior. In the first case, it’s Brooks playing against type, in the second it’s an actor humanizing a type he’s played before. I like both performances. And then there’s Viggo: we’ve yet to see the general reaction to Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, but Mortensen’s is a wily performance and he keeps his clothes on and cravat tied. (Does one tie a cravat?). I’ve yet to see Thewlis in Warhorse, and there’s no reason to rush to judgment. He was good in Harry Potter — a movie that’s bursting with supporting actor roles. Say, hey, didn’t we all want more Alan Rickman? But it’s almost like you’d have to string his performance end to end to get the meat of it.
What about throwing out some new names: Vincent Cassel, short but sweetest in A Dangerous Method; Jonah Hill, Moneyball; will see Kenneth Branagh with My Week with Marilyn; hearing great buzz on Hugo, which makes Sir Ben Kingsley rise and yet and yet; freakish hope for Rob Brydon in The Trip, and his endlessly supporting role to Steve Coogan. And, let’s see, Jim Broadbent, Potter alum, playing Mr. Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.
What does our brain trust think? C’mon down, gf’s.
Susan Wloszczyna: Next to Clint Eastwood, Capt. Von Trapp is just about the sexiest octogenarian still making movies. He was great in The Insider and fine in The Last Station, but there is a reason he has gone Oscar-less this long: His career in movies pales next to his stage work. True, they gave Helen Hayes a gold guy late in life. But it isn’t the same as Glenn Close never winning.
But he does have an ace in the hole beyond his terrific role in Beginners: What can be a killer role as the family elder haunted by his long missing daughter in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Is he a shoo-in to win, though? Not necessarily.
One could argue that Albert Brooks should have won for Broadcast News — Sean Connery won because he acted his age minus the rug. So this could be a makeup to him, even if the movie is less than loved by the general public.
I would have given it to Viggo for A History of Violence, but he wasn’t even nominated. He makes for a wily Freud and love how he fondles his cigars, but I don’t think it is strong enough for a win. A nom? Perhaps.
I can’t see anyone from the Potter film making the cut. But Branagh getting back in the awards game would be sweet to see — especially since he was supposed to be the new Olivier long ago.
Nick Nolte? Another nice comeback and a nearly subtle performance for him, but first someone has to watch the film.
But without having seen J. Edgar, Tattoo, War Horse, Extremely Loud, Hugo, etc., it is hard to guess at such a ill-informed stage.
Sasha Stone: Supposedly Max Von Sydow is great in Loud and Close and if so, he’ll walk away with it. Albert Brooks has made it known on Twitter that he wants to win (he was probably joking). There is probably a reason Christopher Plummer hasn’t yet won on screen, like there was a reason Lauren Bacall never did. He’s such a good actor. If he’s ever going to win one, though, he’ll win for Beginners, don’t you think?
Max Von Sydow
Von Sydow wins. Best guess right now.
SUSAN: I would give it to Max, too, performance unseen. He should have gotten one for Hannah and The Exorcist let alone his Bergman classics.
Oh, and Mr. Brooks wants to win. He even stuck a fork in it.
THELMA: Sasha’s right: in this category, we still have too many gaps in knowledge, although I think we’ve covered pretty much what we’ve seen so far in 2011. Is there a problem when an actor wants the Oscar so badly — you should look like you want it, and shake every old Academy member’s hand, and yet be humble, and praise every body else. It’s such an act — and Colin Firth nailed it last year. [Read more…]
This is a field that remains WIDE OPEN. I’ll toss out five of the usual suspects and then I’m going to dig around for some more names to bring them into the race. The oddball, the esoteric, the sexy: he’s the man outside the mold.
L.A. artist Oliver (a moody Ewan McGregor) grapples with his 75-year-old father’s belated coming-out. Christopher Plummer delights as the late-blooming parent embracing a gay lifestyle, while Melanie Laurent charms as the free-spirited actress Oliver meets at a party. The film’s romantic ending is a bit forced, but the exploration of the father-son dynamic makes this a touching drama.