Thursday, 27 February 2014

Best Leading Actor 2013: Bruce Dern - Nebraska

Bruce Dern doesn't give a leading performance in Nebraska. I usually don't care about category frauds, but this one really pisses me off. Not the one with Dern (he actually is a co-lead), but the one with Will Forte, who was pushed into the supporting category. which he certainly doesn't belong to. I think Dern would fulfill the meaning of collocation 'supporting actor', because he really rather supports the leading Forte's character, than is the leading character himself. And if my opinion here counts, I think that if he had been classified as supporting, he would be the one to beat Leto this year. But that is just my speculation that isn't important here.
What is important here, is the quality of Dern's performance. From the beginning it's clear that his character is going to be a little nuts. He wants to walk through the entire country, just because he got a letter that says that he has won a million dollars. You might say he's pretty naive, but we can't say that. Because we never get to see what's happening inside Woody's head.
In fact, we never get the answer to the question: Why does Woody behave like this? We never know, if it's because he's old, or becuase he's just stupid, or naive, or insane, or alcoholic. We never see behind what we see on the screen. Woody's character is a kind of mystery.
There is a particular scene in the film, in which Forte's character tells Woody not to tell anyone in a bar about the money. But Woody tells it everyone. He's childishly defiant.
It must be a big challenge for an actor to play such character. Because not having a reason for some behaviour and nevertheless play it realisticly is really hard. But Dern succeeded in this with such ease, that it almost seems that this character was a piece of cake to portray.
I really love how he uses his eyes. He keeps having a glazed look and that makes you think of what is going through his head. But there are some scenes, in which he expresses his emotions, as well. And they're equally good. What I especially appreciate about Dern's performance is that it never seems forced. Even though he has got seems that could have been overacted, or stand out of his performance (in a bad way), he always stays equally subtle and great.
The only blame I'd have is that because his performance is equally great, it lacks some memorable scenes, or the moments that I would think about a long time after watching the film. This way it's just a great performance that disappears from your mind a month after watching the film. And that's a pity...
The chances of winning an Oscar: I think he's the third. But he is a dark horse of the race, so he might upset...


  1. I say they are both lead as the film follows both of them through the story. It never stops about being Dern's quest for the lottery ticket. He may be a meek character but he is not supporting forte's story.

    Also I don't think it is a complete mystery to why he acts the way he does. They don't say but I think it can be inferred from Dern's performance that he probably has some dementia, but as well has become meek from his years being constantly harassed by his wife.

    1. Dern is the administrator of the story, but it is seen through Forte's point of view. The scene, in which Forte goes to the toilet and tells Dern not to tell anyone about the money prove it. We don't see Dern doing anything.
      And the dementia is someting Dern ha created, but it might not be the truth. It wasn't written as a character with dementia. And I wouldn't say he's got dementia. He's very clever, actually. He knows what he is doing. But is rather being senile, in my opinion.