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Best Supporting Actor Oscars 2009
Does My Hair Distract You?
In My Humble Opinion
Every year, I attempt to see as many Oscar-nominated films as possible before the big night. Looking at the ballot for the 2009 Academy Awards, I have covered every film in one category so far: Best Supporting Actor. Now, I watch a lot of television programs and read a lot of magazines that make predictions about who is going to take home the golden man. I disagree with most of the so-called insiders' opinions. I've decided that this is the year I fight back! I'm going to present my own opinions based on my reactions to each film and performance. Keep in mind, I have never won an Oscar pool in my life, so the following drivel should probably be used for entertainment purposes only. What the hell do I know? I'm just a girl with a computer and too much time on her hands.
I must preface this senseless babble with a resounding SPOILER ALERT! It is difficult to point out what I think without giving away some of the plot of each movie. Besides, I hate when I read other people's reviews and then pay way too much attention to the details they have deemed important. I don't want to be at fault for anyone being distracted by Josh Brolin's hair in Milk, or staringat the color of Michael Shannon's shoes in Revolutionary Road just because that's the stupid stuff I pay attention to. So, here we go.
Josh Brolin, whose hair didn't really distract me during this film but I needed an example, was obviously pretty good in the role of the politician, Dan White. He fit the description of the good-looking family man who can't quite handle the prospect of failing. However, I expected him to have a much larger part. He logged hardly any screen time, and was thus (to me) over-shadowed by many of the other supporting actors. Even though the little time Brolin was onscreen was great, I don't think it's enough to beat out the other contenders.
Robert Downey Jr. is one of the best actors working in Hollywood today. He is a legend in the making. I am a huge supporter of the comedy genre getting taken seriously enough to garner an Oscar nomination in any category. His turn as the guy-playing-a-guy-playing-a-guy, etc. was pretty hilarious. However, that was a true comedy ensemble, with all of his costars contributing to the hilarity. I think RDJ is deserving of an Oscar, but not for this role. This would have been a lock for best comedy ensemble-if the Oscars ever offered that!
Philip Seymour Hoffman is another great actor definitely deserving of recognition. He showcased the perfect balance of charisma with an undercurrent of potential temper as the questionable priest in Doubt. I was on his side throughout the movie, as if I had been sucked in like all the characters around him except Sister Aloysius. At the same time, there was just enough depth to his character that I did "doubt" his innocence. I think he'd be a real contender if it weren't for this next guy...
Heath Ledger should not win the Academy's sympathy vote. Instead, he should take home the trophy for his ability to be completely engulfed by the incredibly complex villain, The Joker. Heath was able to take a role that had been brought to life by the legendary Jack Nicholson (one of my all-time faves), and put his own spin on it. He was also able to take a character that embodies the worst parts of the human condition and kinda make you root for him. The only thing working against him is the genre of the movie, and the fact that the Academy is full of pretentious snobs.
Michael Shannon was the bright spot in an otherwise dismal film known as Revolutionary Road. He not only provided a much-needed break from the overly depressing tone, but I completely bought his portrayal of a man who lost everything because he got frustrated with his own mundane life. He personified the era that if you rebelled against the accepted norm, then you must be crazy. He did a great job, but again, his time onscreen was short. Plus, his character was slightly diminished by his overly-preachy moments.
My pick: Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight