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…]