Saturday, 29 December 2018

Best Supporting Actor 2016: Lucas Hedges - Manchester by the Sea

Manchester by the Sea is a very solid Oscar-baity film, that works mostly because of strong performances involved. Lucas Hedges plays a young cousin of Casey Affleck‘s character, who lost his father.
Hedges very believabl
y portrays the grief after such loss. He doesn‘t overact it anyhow and at the right moment he keeps revealing small parts of the grief. Actually, the best thing about this performance is the fact how ordinary his character is. It is just a normal boy, who has got his own problems at school, or with girls. The scenes, in which he is trying to deal with the problems with girls in fact bring some needed humour to the film.
Very important thing about the performance is the chemistry between him and a leading actor Casey Affleck. These two have great chemistry and I suppose it might have been difficult to have a good chemistry with Affleck.
Even though this performance is great at his own, there are a few moments that mirror the inexperience in Hedges portrayal and sometimes you feel a slight uncertainty from his presence.
On the other hand I must say this performance has grown on me after a rewatch.
His best scene would be his emotional outburst in the middle of the night because of the freezer.
The chances of winning an Oscar: I guess he was the fourth slightly in front of Shannon, but both are of those ‘happy-to-be-nominated‘ cases.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Best Supporting Actor 2016: Jeff Bridges - Hell or High Water

Hell or High Water is a great, yet quite forgettable film about a relationship between two brothers – robbers and a sheriff, who does everything to catch them. Bridges plays the sheriff. Because of the story envolving around these three character, one might argue that the role is in fact leading. It‘s actually on the line between leading and supporting and I personally don‘t mind putting him into supporting cateogory, as the film mostly centers around Chris Pine‘s character.
Bridges, as usual, has got a great screen presence throughout the film. His characterization of an old sarcastic sassy sheriff is great and very enjoyable to watch. Bridges uses accent in the role and a strange hummy way of speaking. I was distracted by it at first, yet after a short time I got used to it and I was able to fully appreciate the performance.
Bridges is very fine and enjoyable throughout the film, but the real showcase for him comes later in the film (SPOILER ALERT) when his partner is killed by Ben Foster's character. The urge to revenge for such act is wonderfully portrayed by Bridges. We completely understand him and sympathize with him. On the other hand he is able to bring some amount of shabbiness to the role. We sympathize with him, though we see a desperate man, though we realize that his actions are motivated by the revenge, despair and amok. (END OF SPOILER)
The best scene of his performance is the most subtle one at the very end of the film, when he talks to Chris Pine's character and it is their first confrontation. They talk after all of the things had already happened. Bridges (but Pine as well) brings a lot of tension to the scene.
The chances of winning an Oscar: Though the performance itself doesn‘t belong to the most memeorable ones, Bridges is a respectable persona, so I think he was the second, or the third, fighting for the second spot with Patel.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Best Supporting Actor 2016: Michael Shannon - Nocturnal Animals

Nocturnal Animals is a very divisive film, but I really loved it – the atmosphere, directing and editing of it are all perfect and they create one very enjoyable film experience. Though the line with Amy Adams is less interesting, the subplot involving Aaron Taylor-Johnson is very entertaining. Michael Shannon is a part of this subplot, luckily.
Unlike his performance in 99 Homes, he uses his on-screen charisma that this time actually works. The fact that he wasn‘t nominated for that is considered a snub and I think the mementum after the snub helped him to gain this nomination, so it was for the best. This is a better role and a better performance given by Shannon.
From the first moment we see Bobby Andes, he gets our attention and we can‘t take our eyes of him. It‘s the way he stands, or speaks, even the way he smokes his cigarette – so much charismatic Shannon is. Andes seems like a flegmatic cop, but once he comes to confronte a suspect, he won‘t give him anything for granted. Shannon portrays this ambousness with ease and even though we don‘t understand it at first, as the film goes on we are able to discover more and more layers underneath this character. So the character is full of twists and surprises, which could be an acting mess. Not in Shannon‘s hands.
A great example of this is a scene in a restaurant, where Bobby confesses to Gyllenhaal‘s character Tony that his health is not very good and that he might die soon – the paradox of the fact is that he really wants to punish the murderers.
One might wonder, why would he want to do it, without having any evidance about them doing it, except from Tony‘s word (that‘s especially the case of Aaron Taylor-Johnson‘s character). Shannon solves this problem rather greatly. In his portrayal of the cop he creates something twisted about him and so we assume that he would be able to do it just for the pure joy of trying to suffocate somebody. It‘s his entire on-screen persona that created this and by that he was able to cover up for the holes in the script.
The best scene of Shannon‘s performance would be one of his latter scenes in the cabin, in which he really violently questions the suspects – he is a delight to watch. In fact he brings to the role some enjoyable effect that reminded me of Christoph Waltz‘s Oscar-winning performance in Inglourious Basterds.
The chances of winning an Oscar: Happy to be nominated.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Next Year: Best Supporting Actor 2016

The Nominees:
Dev Patel - Lion
Jeff Bridges - Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges - Manchester by the Sea
Mahershala Ali - Moonlight
Michael Shannon - Nocturnal Animals

What are your picks? What is your prediction for my ranking? What are your nominees? Write in comments! 

Monday, 28 August 2017

Best Leading Actress 2016

5. Ruth Negga - Loving
Negga is perfectly fine to watch, she has got some nice on-screen charisma, yet her performance is so understated, I forgot it a few days after watching the film. She gives a believable portrayal of a desparate woman, yet there's nothing more to it...

4. Isabelle Huppert - Elle
This is a very brave performance considering her age, but Huppert nails it. In most of the years she would be a frontrunner. But this was such a strong year that even such a first-class performance is ranked the fourth. Another subtle performance, yet this time it fits the tone of the film perfectly. She handled the ambivalency of her character flawlessly and I just have to agree with her nomination...

3. Meryl Streep - Florence Foster Jenkins
I know it's not a popular opinion, but I just loved Streep's portrayal here. She managed to be funny, without actually humiliating the actual Florence, as she was able to find the vulnerable tones of Jenkins' soul. It is a very sensitive performance and the one that is extremely difficult to execute.

2. Emma Stone - La La Land
I definitely understand her winning. She carries the film on her shoulders and she is the heart and soul of it. Charming, pretty, charismatic, talented. She makes everything she does in the film seem so effortless, you can easily take this performance for granted. She is even able to overcome the occasional pathos of the film.

1. Natalie Portman - Jackie
One of the best portrayals of a real life person ever. Portman disappeared into Jackie Kennedy in front of our very eyes and to top it of, she brings depth and humanity into her performance. This performance earned her the second win on my blog in a very strong year, with only Negga had been replaced, it would have been the best lineup of all times.

My Nominees:
1. Natalie Portman - Jackie
2. Emma Stone - La La Land
3. Meryl Streep - Florence Foster Jenkins
4. Isabelle Huppert - Elle
5. Jessica Chastain - Miss Sloane

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Best Leading Actress 2016: Natalie Portman - Jackie

Jackie is a wonderful biopic that really flawlessly shows the depth and inner feelings of the wife of one of the most powerful men in the world back then. Before the film, I wasn‘t familiar with Jackie Kennedy, so right after watching this film I found some footage of an actual Jackie. It was fascinating to realize how excellent Portman was at capturing Jackie‘s gestures, body language or the way she speaks.
I‘ve heard many people‘s opinions, who tend to say it‘s a very cold portrayal, without Portman getting into the character. That is something I absolutely disagree with. It‘s all in her eyes – the moment she tells the reporter how it all happened is a showcase of bravura acting. She‘s great in subtle moments, as well as in the emotionally outbursted scenes.
The portrayal belongs to the likes of Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line, Charlize Theron in Monster, or Michael Douglas in Behind the Candelabra – all excellent portrayals of a real life people – in any other year she would be a clear frontrunner, with almost no competition.
Portman is also great at creating the chemistry with her colleagues. What I really appreciate about this performance is her chemistry with children. She was able to create a believable relationship with children – it‘s obvious that Jackie does all but to help them and make it as easy for them, as possible.
The chances of winning an Oscar: I guess she was right behing Stone, fighting for the spot with Huppert. 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Best Leading Actress 2016: Meryl Streep - Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence Foster Jenkins is a very nice film. It‘s definitely not a masterpiece in terms of biopics, but I definitely had a good time watching it. It is supported by an excellent leading turn by Hugh Grant (the fact that he was campaigned in supporting category is blasphemious, it‘s as bad case of a category fraud, as was Rooney Mara last year) and another cast member. This cast member could be nobody else, but Meryl Streep.
Streep portrays a person who cannnot sing, but she doesn‘t realize it and still wants to spread it to the world. A person like this is definitely not very smart in mind and doesn't have a self-reflection. Streep is wonderful at executing the simpleness of Florence. Personally, I have not seen such a good and respectable portrayal of a simple-minded person in years.
Streep is also masterful in showing the devotion, which Florence sings with. Her entire body language supports it, as well as the line delivery. The way she responds to the question if she wants to do another take of a song is hysterical: ‚It seemed perfect to me.‘
This performance and the nomiantion itself wasn‘t very popular. Many people blame the hype around it being caused by that great Golden Globes‘ speech, but I don‘t agree with that. I think we all take Meryl for granted. She is so magnificent, we don't forgive her anything simply because we‘ve got used to her being flawless. But the truth is, not everyone would be able to handle this role with such charm and wit.
Streep doesn't even do the overacting that has been typical for her in recent years – she has got many subtle moments and those are a proof of the layers Streep found within the character (the example is the scene, in which Grant finds her in the audience room of Carneggie Hall and she tells him that she booked the hall. Streep doesn't overdo the joy of Florence and I can imagine any other actress doing it. She stays subtle and there is a rather bitter feeling under her line readings and expressions).
Let‘s take a look at her Oscar clip, for example, that reminded me how exceptional this performance is. She was able to express the full scale of emotions through tones, which alone is not easy to achieve. But the tones were not supposed to be right. This is what you call acting. On the other hand she‘s excellent at showing the tenderness and vulnerability of Florence Jenkins.
Let alone the singing scenes must have been very difficult, as she had to consciously sing bad. Meryl Streep makes it look incredibly effortless and it‘s charmingly funny. She delivery the comic parts, as well as the heartbreaking ones.
The chances of winning an Oscar: She was fighting for the fourth spot with Negga.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Best Leading Actress 2016: Ruth Negga - Loving

Loving is a very slow and a bit overlonged film about an interracial couple that is being persecuted for marrying each other. Rather than really digging into the problem, the film coldly watches how it affects the relationship, so you get to watch a four-minute-long sequence, in which you only see a routine of two people being quite.
The most important thing about this film has to be the relationship of the main leads and the chemistry between two actors portraying them.
Unfortunately, the film lets us see the working relationship for a very short time, so the contrast that should appear can never work. Now all we get to see is a non-working relationship. The actors are trying to solve it somehow, but they are unable (though the film doesn’t help them very much).
At first I have to mention that Negga’s performance is very subtle. So subtle, that one might say it’s underacted.
It is, but if you look closer, you can see the emotions underneath. It’s all in her eyes. She does well enough to show us the sorrow, the despair, yet the love she feels. I guess the bore and flatness of the performance is not entirely her fault, since Edgerton is underplaying as well (though not that much) and the entire film is having this slow and subtle atmosphere. So probably the director wanted it this way, which is not the best way to express this story, to be honest. She and Edgerton are at least trying, unlike the supporting cast of lawyer and the family members, who seems to be bored throughout every second they spend on the screen.
So here’s the thing. Negga is a lovely actress and I liked watching her. She’s nice and enjoyable to watch at (presence-wise). But I think this is not enough for an actual nomination.
There is every technical aspect done right, even the accent. Yet she misses something that would elevate this performance between the bests of the year.
The chances of winning an Oscar: She was a fill-in nominee. The last one and happy to be there…

Monday, 10 April 2017

Best Leading Actress 2016: Isabelle Huppert - Elle

During this year‘s Oscar race we witnessed this film and its leading performance slowly getting more and more atttention, which ended up in Huppert‘s performance being nominated. It got so much attention, that some predicted her to win against Emma Stone. Of course, it didn‘t happen. Yet, Elle is a very interesting film and it‘s one of those cases, which is just as good, as is its leading performance. Luckily, Huppert uses most of the given material.
This role is a very challenging one, especially for an actress her age, as it really takes a lot of courage to even accept this role, let alone to play it.
This is a very complicated character, I would call it a combination of Violet in August: Osage County (she always tells the truth) and Amy from Gone Girl (the twisted mind and (sexual) tastes) and just like these mentioned characters it‘s a very ambivalent one. We switch between sympathizing with her and hating her. To execute such a role one must really be experienced and skilled, but we all know Huppert was fit for this role.
Many people say it‘s a monstrious character, but I would not agree with that. Isabelle Huppert is trying to humanize this character of Elle and the fact is that she succeeded at this masterfully. The character is written the way you could just hate it and think she deserved all the nasty things that happened to her, but thanks to Huppert we really have moments that we pity her.
It must be said that it is a very subtle performance, but it works great for the film. For example in a scene, in which she is asked to go to the cellar with a man that we know is dangerous. Huppert‘s reaction to this is wonderful, as she takes a few seconds to answer and it‘s not clear until she says the final word. At first we think she‘ll agree, then that she won‘t and we keep switching between these two states until Huppert speaks. What‘s so masterful about this performance is that this keeps happening during a few seconds. And the same ambivalency she gives to the entire performance.
The chances of winning an Oscar: I guess she still wasn‘t being the second. Natalie Portman was slightly ahead of her, in my opinion.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Best Leading Actress 2016: Emma Stone - La La Land

Okay, I loved La La Land. It‘s a wonderful cinematic experience that is so real, that it will make most of the cynical people cry. Damien Chazelle has proved himself to be a director, whose next film will be highly anticipated.
I‘m not gonna be writting down bullshit, before exposing the truth. So here it is. One of the reasons La La Land was such a wonderful experience is Emma Stone. That‘s it. That being said, I have never been a huge fan of her. She has a speech defect, while she also doesn‘t have a perfect body holding. But after La La Land I understood, why people love her so much. Her on-screen charisma is beyond compare. Despite the flaws she might have, she is able to be so charming, charismatic and most of all an adorable woman. That is something beyond my understanding. During the film I was in a way attracted to her.
The best thing about it is that she is great at acting, too. All of her emotional moments seem so effortless, yet they never become boring. On the other hand she‘s able to elevate the moments that on the first sight don‘t offer her most of an acting opportunity. Yet, she never once is boring. She just is there on the screen and we believe her everything.
Emma was even able to overcome the occasional pathos of the screenplay. The way she delivers the singing line ‘Maybe this appeals to any girl, who feels there‘s some chance for romance‘ is wonderful, as she gives an overview to the whole situation and it seems as if she was making fun of the pathos under these words.
She also has a great chemistry with her co-star Ryan Gosling. This chemistry seems so effortless, one might take it for granted. That‘s a mistake. For example there is a scene of dinner, at which the two have an argument. It‘s as if they had known each other for a long time, as if they had really lived through this relationship. It‘s so heartbreaking and lovely at once. Never for a moment do we doubt about these two loving each other.
Stone is really the heart and the soul of the film. She dances well, sings great and acts flawlessly. This performance might be hated in the future as a weak winner (Gwyneth Paltrow, anyone?), but I don‘t give a shit. Because she does exactly what was required from her and she elevates the entire film (that even otherwise would have been great).