For the ninth week of 2021 as part of Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. We return to the subject of the Oscar winners in the form of Best Actor and Best Actress. It is a moment where film stars strive to reach that moment as it could be this accomplishment many had been waiting for or something that happened at the right time or it could be a case of too early and too soon. There’s also moments where the wrong winners come in and just ruin everything. Here are my three picks for each category:
1. Sean Penn-Milk There’s no question that Sean Penn is a great actor as his performance as the openly-gay politician Harvey Milk is one of his best performances. Yet, it’s a performance that doesn’t really deserve the Oscar as it just bears a lot of the elements that is typical of Oscar-bait but Penn does manage to at least Milk a great character. The reason Penn doesn’t deserve the Oscar is 2 words: Mickey Rourke. Rourke’s performance in The Wrestler isn’t just this great comeback performance but one that is eons away from what Penn is doing. The only other performance that should’ve been considered but wasn’t nominated that year is Benicio del Toro in Che.
2. Eddie Redmayne-The Theory of Everything Eddie Redmayne’s performance as Dr. Stephen Hawking is an excellent performance that showcases the life of the famed astrophysicist yet it is a performance that is really showy in which Redmayne does a lot of mouth twitching and playing disabled as it is the kind of shit that wins awards. Yet, the Oscar really should’ve gone to Michael Keaton for Birdman as not only was that a major comeback performance but also a study of a man trying to understand his worth as an actor and his own faults. My father really liked what Keaton did as he also saw Redmayne’s performance and hated it. The moment Redmayne won the Oscar and Keaton putting his speech back in his pocket is heartbreaking to watch for myself and my dad as he loved Keaton. Till the moment he passed, my father never got over that and will always hate Eddie Redmayne for all eternity.
3. Rami Malek-Bohemian Rhapsody I do like Rami Malek and I do think he’s an amazing actor but his performance as Freddie Mercury is really uninspired largely due to the fact that it played into too many dramatic liberties and made Mercury to be boring which is further from who the man really was. The script and Bryan Singer really did a disservice to Malek who ends up giving a very typical performance that doesn’t do anything new nor does it make Mercury interesting. The performance that should’ve won the Oscar that year is Willem Dafoe as Vincent Van Gogh in At Eternity’s Gate which has this air of anguish and mystique that feels true to who Van Gogh is.
1. Jessica Lange-Blue Sky Jessica Lange is a great actress and her performance in Tony Richardson’s final film is amazing yet it came out three years after it was finished but languished due to Orion Pictures’ bankruptcy. It is a fine film but nothing really great except for Lange as this troubled, mentally-ill woman who has an affair with an officer only to be used as a way to get rid of her husband. Lange is excellent yet she only won because the Best Actress race was kind of weak as the only person who was her true competition is Winona Ryder for Little Women yet actresses who weren’t nominated and could’ve made the Best Actress more interesting are Mia Kirshner for Exotica, Irene Jacob for Three Colors: Red, Juliette Lewis for Natural Born Killers, and Toni Collette for Muriel’s Wedding.
2. Sandra Bullock-The Blind Side Sandra Bullock is a national treasure as she is someone that is constantly a joy to watch and always delivered and if there was a performance that should’ve gotten her the Oscar, it would’ve been for Gravity. Yet, her performance in this film is just so typical of the white savior trope where Bullock had this exaggerated Southern accent and a bad blonde hair look as it was grating to watch and never felt authentic at all as it just added a lot to a bad movie. Bullock’s other nominees had better roles and performances as Carey Mulligan or Gabourey Sidibe should’ve won while other performances that should’ve been nominated are Charlotte Gainsbourg for Antichrist, Katie Jarvis for Fish Tank, Kim Hye-ja for Mother, Abbie Cornish for Bright Star, and Penelope Cruz for Broken Embraces.
3. Jennifer Lawrence-Silver Linings Playbook I do think Jennifer Lawrence is a brilliant actress though I can understand the criticism she’s received as she has managed to rub people the wrong way with her personality as well as playing roles that are meant for people than her. Her performance in this film is an excellent one and filled with a lot of charisma and weight yet the performances from her fellow nominees including Naomi Watts, Jessica Chastain, and late Emmanuelle Riva were better while Marion Cotillard is one performance for the film Rust and Bone is probably the best performance that year that wasn't even nominated.
© thevoid99 2021