Monday 18 January 2016

Best Supporting Actress 2015: Rachel McAdams - Spotlight

Some performances get rewarded and I will never understand why. You all know I'm not a fan of too natural performance (e.g. Paul Newman in Nobody's Fool or Marion Cotillard in Two Days One Night), but I can give some credit to them (both of the performances received four points from me), so that I'd stay objective. But there is something that I can't reward. It's the roles that give an actor nothing to play and when an actor is lazy to do something about it. Unfortunately, that is the case of this Oscar-nominated performance.
Rachel McAdams plays her character exactly, as it written. This might have been a compliment, if the character hasn't been written blandly. There is really nothing to this role. It's a woman. That's all I can say about it. The role of Sacha Pfeiffer has only got some lines that reveal simply nothing about the character. (It's not the only such character in the film. In fact, all of them are so.) But the biggest blame against McAdams is that she doesn't add anything to her character. She reads her lines (and she reads them just fine, to make that clear), but we don't find out anything about her character's character.
She has got some better moments, for example in the scene Sacha comes to the priest. She shows just the right amount of energy and eagerness as a young reporter, who wants to squeeze everything out of the story she's working on. But that's probably it. On the private matter, we don't find anything out about her.
I'm thinking, why she even got recognized is that she's the only woman in an ensemble full of men. It's not a bad performance. It's just a weak one.
The chances of winning an Oscar: Let's just hope the best picture heat is not going to push her to the win. I guess, it won't. She's the last one in the game. 

Friday 15 January 2016

Best Supporting Actress 2015: Alicia Vikander - The Danish Girl

The Danish Girl is a fine film, though it's my least favourite Tom Hooper film. He's somehow underusing his usual techniques that I enjoyed in his previous films. This way it's only a well told biopic that is not special by almost anything.
This performance has been nominated for Golden Globe and for Bafta in a leading category and I think that's the right place to put her in. Though argument could be made, since it is role of a supportive wife and the true lead is Redmayne. But I guess nobody could make any complaint, if she was nominated in lead.
Vikander in fact is very good as a supportive wife. It's clear that she love Einar (played by Redmayne) and that she cares about him. She only wants the best for him and even though the situation is very difficult for her, she is willing to sacrifice it for Einar's good.
Unfortunately, she didn't get enough space to show her inner confusion. There are few such scenes in the film and in these Vikander uses everything that is given to her, but the final thoughts were a bit inconsistent.
The beginning of the film is a little bit silly. The film was a contender for my personal Razzie nominaees – so crazy and improbable it all was. Luckily, it change later on, but what I have to mention is that Vikander wasn't able to overcome the silliness of the film.
If I was to choose the best scene of this performance I would point out one short moment, in which Vikander desperately comes to Hiddlestone's character and she's waiting for his to come. When he appears, Vikander's excellent in her reaction. The pure despair and confusion of what's happening to her in life right now is simply excellent. I wish there were more such scenes for Vikander to show off her talents.
Do you remember last year, when I was disappointed by the fact that Marion Cotillard was nominated for Two Day, One Night, rather than The Immigrant? This is a similar case. Vikander gave a very good performance in The Danish Girl. But there were two performance she gave this year that were better. In Testament of Youth and especially Ex Machina. Though all three performances are lead, the one closest to this category is in Ex Machina and apart from that, it's the best one. So I would prefer her to be nominated for that performance...
The chances of winning an Oscar: I guess they are not so great. Category confusion also doesn't help. I think Vikander is going to be Oscar-nominated many times in the future and this time she'll have to be satisfied with the fourth place...

Thursday 14 January 2016

Next Year: Best Supporting Actress 2015

The Nominees:
Alicia Vikander - The Danish Girl
Jennifer Jason Leigh - The Hateful Eight
Kate Winslet - Steve Jobs
Rachel McAdams - Spotlight
Rooney Mara - Carol (predicted winner)

What do you think about the nominees? Who are your nominees? Who are you rooting for? What are your predictions for my ranking? Tell us in comments! 

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Best Leading Actor 1994

5. Tom Hanks - Forrest Gump
This is not a very favourite performance of mine. Hanks' acting choices are rather strange, as he tries to deliver jokes as jokes and he doesn't identify with them. He has got some fine moments, we care about Forrest and easily sympathize with him, but I simply missed the dedication to the character from Hanks...

4. Paul Newman - Nobody's Fool
This is another one of those technically flawless, but boring as fuck performances. Newman is realistic (he was probably playing himself), but in the bad, boring way. There is nothing wrong with this performance, but then nothing particularly memorable...

3. Nigel Hawthorne - The Madness of King George
This is more of a caricature than a realistic portrayal of a human being, but it's working this way. Even though over-the-top, he's still very charming and some of the scenes are so emotional that you pity the character. It is a very well done performance, with a few easily forgivable flaws (such as occasional overacting, or dullness).

2. John Travolta - Pulp Fiction
So much has been said and written about it performance that it seems useless now. Travolta is wonderful in this iconic character. Sometimes he is too realistic for such crazy character, but it's just a small complaint. He makes a great lead of fantastic cast...

1. Morgan Freeman - The Shawshank Redemption
A few years ago I wouldn't have believed that Freeman would win this year. He's got a brilliant chamistry with Robbins and create a believable and great friends with him. Freeman is also a believable and respectable leader of the co-prisoners, which I found a bit surprising, but Freeman was able to achieve this.

My Nominees:
1. Tim Robbins - The Shawshank Redemption
2. Morgan Freeman - The Shawshank Redemption
3. Jean Reno - Leon: The Professional
4. Johnny Depp - Ed Wood
5. Kenneth Branagh - Frankenstein

Best Leading Actor 1994: Morgan Freeman - The Shawshank Redemption

Morgan Freeman received his third Oscar nomination for playing Red, the narrator of The Shawshank Redemption. The first thing I must mention is that I'm surprised he was placed into the leading category. Not because he isn't lead, he's a co-lead along with Tim Robbins. But today the studio would have probably put him in the supporting category, so that he would make room for Robbins to be nominated in the leading category.
Freeman really makes a great narrator. It's not only his deep iconic voice that fits the film. It's also the charm he gives into the narration. He always stays within the character, so he doesn't become a boring documentary-style narrator.
Red is a very respected man among the prisoners. He's known for being able to get you anything you need in prison and is some kind of a leader between some group of prisoners. To be honest, I had never thought of Freeman as a type for playing such leader-types. Can't really explain why, it's simply the way I view Freeman. Surprisingly, Freeman was very believable at this. Somehow he was able to endure respect, just through his screen presence. The way he walks and uses his voice, or mimicry made him a very natural leader.
The fact is, Freeman doesn't have many emotional moments to really shine. And yet he still manages to create a wonderful character. He brings so much charm into his role that there is no way you won't sympathize with him. Along Andy, he is probably the most likable character of the film. And that was not easy to achieve, according to the fact that he doesn't get many opportunities to do so.
Freeman also creates a fantastic screen chemistry with Tim Robbins. These two create true friends and they are the standouts of their films. I'd have a hard time deciding, which one do I prefer. A great example for this is a scene, in which Red reveals that he's already institutionalized by the prison. If I had to choose Freeman's Oscar clip, it would be from this scene.
The following section contains spoiler. So if you haven't seen the film (you must live on another planet), I recommend not to read it.
At the end of the film, when Red gets out of the prison, Freeman is particularly excellent in showing the frustrasion Red is going through. He'd spent the majority of his life in prison and now he can't figure out what to do with the freedom.
To sum it up, I must say that I watched The Shawshank Redemption for the third time to write this review. Every time I have watched the film, this performance has grown on me. After the first time, I found him just fine. The second some I called this performance great and this time I'd have a hard time not saying this performance is flawless. Wonderfully fitting to the character and the tone of the film.
The chances of winning an Oscar: I think he was the fourth, according to the fact that the film wasn't so huge among the Academy voters.