Thursday, March 04, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks: Best Actor and Best Actress Winners (Oscars Edition)


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:

Best Actor

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.

Best Actress

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


Ruth said...

I'm so with you about Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything. SO heartbreaking and genuinely emotional. I like Bullock but I can see how people didn't like her winning for the Blind Side, I feel like she should've won for Gravity instead.

Haven't seen Bohemian Rhapsody even though I LOVE Queen and Freddie Mercury's voice, but they made Freddie boring??! Well I won't bother then.

Sonia Cerca said...

I was so happy when Sandra won because I love her since I was very young, but I have to agree with you, she didn't deserve to win for that performance. The biggest rob of them all was Malek winning with that dreadful performance in that horrific film. What a disgrace! And what pisses me off even more is that because of it they completely ignored Edgerton's brilliant performance as Elton John as well as the film.

Katy said...

Great list! I almost made a similar list with different picks. But Mickey Rourke losing for The Wrestler is such a sore spot for me as well. That performance was all-encompassing for him, and is one of Darren's most overlooked films. I'm not sure Sandra should've won for The Blind Spot, but she shouldn't have won for The Blind Side. I think it's an example of the Academy rewarding an actor who can switch from comedy to 'drama' as if both genres don't take as much as skill. I'm still dying to see someone make a biopic of Freddy Mercury that's worthy of him. Rami wasn't given good advantages to do his best with that movie.

SJHoneywell said...

2008--Penn is my #2, O'Rourke is my #1. We agree.

2014--Redmayne is my #4, Keaton is my #1, although I would have accepted Carrell. We agree.

2018--Malek is my #5, Dafoe is my #1 of the nominees, but I'd have really gone with Lakeith Stanfield in Sorry to Bother You. We essentially agree.

1994--Lange is my winner in a weak field, but my real choice is Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction or Toni Collette in Muriel's Wedding. We kind of agree.

2009--Bullock is my #5. My winners are either Sidibe or Meryl Streep for the pitch-perfect version of Julia Child. We kind of agree.

2012--JLaw is my #2 behind Riva, who was perfect. Again, we kind of agree.

Sara said...

I sooooooo agree about Rami. And Sandra! I love Sandy Bullock and I think she's given better performances. Like you pointed out, some of these performances are nothing more than Oscar bait with very little going on beneath the surface.

joel65913 said...

I agree with all of these except Sean Penn in Milk. Jessica Lange is very good in Blue Sky but I would have rather seen Winona get it for Little Women.

I tied my three together though my pick for Best Actress.

Mrs. Miniver (Greer Garson-Best Actress) (1942)-Kay Miniver (Greer), her architect husband Clem (Walter Pidgeon-also Oscar nominated) and their three children are living a comfortable life in a small village outside of London until war is declared. Eldest son Vin (Richard Ney-who shortly after the film’s completion married Greer!) leaves college to join the Royal Air Force while also falling for and marrying local girl Carol Beldon (Teresa Wright-winner for Best Supporting Actress). As the war arrives on their doorstep they must endure bombing raids and many other hardships and tragedies meeting them with perseverance and fortitude.

Goodbye, Mr. Chips (Robert Donat-Best Actor) (1939)-1n 1870 schoolteacher Charles Chipping “Mr. Chips” (Donat) fresh from university is a strict disciplinarian to his young students at his new public-school post making him unpopular. However, on holiday he meets and impulsively marries the feisty suffragette Katherine Ellis (Greer Garson-Oscar nominated) whose love softens and humanizes Chips until he becomes a beloved institution on campus and a source of inspiration through the tough years of World War I onward into the 20th Century.

A Double Life (Ronald Colman-Best Actor) (1947)-Legendary stage star Anthony John’s (Colman) method is to totally immerse himself in the parts he plays. This is fine when he appears in comedic roles but with more serious roles, he becomes unpredictably volatile as his real-life self slowly ebbs away leading to the end of his marriage to Brita (Signe Hasso) his frequent costar. Now despite all warning signs he has undertaken Othello partnered again with Brita, though having a young mistress, Pat Kroll (an incredibly young, very thin Shelley Winters in her first important role), and as the part overtakes him, he descends into madness. Though Greer isn’t in this film she and Colman costarred (the year she won for Mrs. Miniver) in another big success for both “Random Harvest” where Colman was again nominated for Best Actor.

Often Off Topic said...

I think it's such a shame how Jennifer Lawrence become so unpopular. She rose to fame so quickly and she was so instantly likeable for how normal she seemed on the red carpet, but then it got to a point where it felt completely put on.

Birgit said...

Mickey Roarke was excellent but I have not seen Milk yet so I can't say. Don't get me started on Redemayne and his performance in this film. I was constantly seeing Austin Powers when Austin was in school with Dr. Evil. Michael Keaton deserved the win for sure. I love Sandra Bullock who looked superb at the Oscars and it makes me cringe knowing that, a few short hours after her acceptance speech praising her husband, she finds out he was/is a two-timing a-hole. This film was lacklustre and predictable and her performance was nothing special. I will say I hate...hate, hate, hate Gravity and was glad she did not win for that role. I am not sure who should have won the year she did..I have to check it out. I saw Bohemian Rhapsody and remember nothing but I remember so much from The Elton John film(except the title..hahahaaa). The fake teeth Malik wore seemed to overshadow his performance. Jennifer was good in Silver Linings but she was much better in Winter's Bone.

ThePunkTheory said...

I found Silver Linings to be an overrated movie in general. Decent, but not Oscar-worthy in my opinion.
While Bohemian Rhapsody was visually great and Malek did give a solid performance, the overall movie disappointed me a lot. Story-wise it was confusing and lacked so much depth.

thevoid99 said...

@Ruth-If you love Queen and Freddie Mercury, do not see that abomination of that film as I fucking hated it. All of the inaccuracies and dramatic liberties and the lack of attention to detail and the editing.

@Sonia-I haven't seen Rocketman yet but I'm sure it was better than what Malek had to do.

@Katy-I'm glad someone else here has love for The Wrestler as that's my favorite Darren Aronofsky film. Sacha Baron Cohen had some amazing ideas for the Freddie Mercury bio-pic that he was going to star and he really wanted to show more of Mercury's humanity and faults but Brian May and Roger Taylor got scared.

@SJHoneywell-Wow, we're in total agreement. Good.

@Sara-Exactly. I hated The Blind Side as it was such an Oscar-bait bullshit film and not worthy of Bullock's strengths as an actress.

@joel65913-I definitely agree with you on Winona.

@Often Off Topic-I think fame made her into a very selfish and egotistical actress as I was also put off by her love for the fucking Kartrashians.

@Birgit-I'm glad someone else here hates Eddie Redmayne as much as my dad did. He had a field day over The Danish Girl as he said things that today's generation would be offended by yet he would spout back words that would make them cry like little bitches. That's my old man!

@ThePunkTheory-It has become a bit overrated in the coming years while Bohemian Rhapsody I felt were very bland on the visuals.