Editor’s note: Welcome to the twenty-first of a multi-part series (just two more remain!) dissecting the 2008 Academy Awards, brought to you by the Large Association of Movie Blogs and its assorted members. Every weekday leading up to the Oscars, a new post written by a different LAMB will be published, each covering a different category (or more) of the Oscars (there are 24 in all). To read any other posts regarding this event, please just click on the tag following the post. Thank you, and enjoy!
By DJ Heinlen of Matte Havoc.
In collaboration with my fellow LAMBs I have been assigned a special Oscar’s themed category in which I will be basing this entire article upon. As explained by the prompt listed on the LAMB blog site I have been assigned to review the list of 2008 Oscar nominees for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. The task may be interesting and challenging since I haven’t seen the entire list of films in which the nominated actresses have starred in. But I am up for the challenge. Now, here is a list of nominees for this respective category:
- Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There.
- Ruby Dee, American Gangster.
- Saoirse Ronan, Atonement.
- Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone.
- Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton.
Now for the guts of the whole article rests upon my lack of talent for predicting the future. Who will win the 2008 Oscar award for best actress in a supporting role? The nominated films that are on that list that I have seen are Michael Clayton, Atonement, and American Gangster (click on the links to read my review for those films).
This film is receiving a large amount of positive reviews from around the world, and Cate Blanchett has received a lot of recognition for her contribution. It’s interesting to hear about her nomination, because the last time a woman has been nominated for playing a man was back in 1983 when Linda Hunt won the Oscar award for the exact same category when she portrayed Billy Kwan in the 1982 film The Year of Living Dangerously. I should mention that I have every intention of seeing this film at my earliest convenience (most likely when it is released on to DVD), and I’m sure that ever cast member has done a superb job at portraying any one particular character trait of the famous singer and songwriter Bob Dylan. I did happen to stumble across a video clip from the film starring Cate Blanchett in the role from this film. Click here to watch the clip. And to those who have their curiosity running wild I should confirm that you’re eyes and ears don’t deceive you when you see comedian David Cross pull up in a golf cart with a full head of hair and a lengthy beard as he converses with a woman (Cate) who is dressed up as a man. Oh, the amazing world of movie wardrobe. I have mixed feelings about the idea of her winning the award for this film. She’s also nominated for her portrayal as Queen Elizabeth in the period film Elizabeth: The Golden Age. In fact she’s the winner of the Oscar award for portraying the same character in the first installment in the film franchise about the historical queen. It would be interesting to see if she wins two separate Oscar awards for portraying the exact same character. For the nomination as supporting actress I would say that she should be passed over this year.
I thought Ruby Dee has accomplished a terrific performance in this film as the lovable mother of criminal mob boss Frank Lucas (played by Denzel Washington). The film is an intense ride through the Frank’s life, but his mother is the shining sigh of relief that makes you wonder how a sweet old woman ever went wrong with raising her children. My concern about her nomination resides the amount of screen time that she gets. Her role isn’t a prominent enough to take a lengthy period of screen time, but she does have a strong effect on the story itself. Watching her relationship with her son sway back and forth with the ocean’s tide is intriguing and emotionally moving. This is the first Oscar nomination for Ruby Dee, and the fact that it is a rare occurrence for an 80+ year old veteran actor (or actress) to receive an Oscar nomination or an award. Don’t believe me? Check out the “age statistics” that have been posted on the Academy’s website by visiting this page here. I must admit that if she does win this award there will be quite a few people who may experience the warm, fuzzy feeling of sentiment upon seeing her give an acceptance speech.
You might want to definitely check out my review for this film, found here, because I do spend a little bit of time questioning how this movie was nominated for the Oscar awards. I am concerned why the Academy keeps allowing nominations to go through for people who are so young in age. I keep thinking about the hard working Joe Smoe adults who never earn the respective employee of the month award at their work and the sad “rub it in your face” feeling the person would experience if the recognition would go to a thirteen year old co-worker. I’m irked by the idea of hearing another name of a person who’s too young to drive and yet has been nominated to receive such a high honor in the respective profession. I say this because I view it as a curse to the person’s career. It would be long before the actor is confronted with taking the wrong turn by making a bad career move such as appearing in the a comic book movie (ahem, Anna Paquin) or dropping out the film business entirely due to a personal disaster (ahem, Tatum O’Neal). I don’t want to see Saoirse win the Oscar this year, because I don’t want to see her be subjected to the Juvenile Oscar Curse. I wish her the best of luck with her future career, but hopefully she’ll be able to move on in life without winning the coveted award so early in her life.
There’s not much I could say for Amy Ryan. The movie itself was a huge hit and the box office (despite the fact that my parents walked out of the theater before the film even finished) and it promoted a lot of talk at the water cooler. You might want to check on an article that I wrote a couple of months ago about this film’s odd correlation with the Madeline McCann story. You can read the article here and see the comparisons that I am talking about. As I had mentioned earlier I have seen this movie yet, but I did track down a video clip of the film, found here, and took a peak at her intense performance. I must admit that she was able to turn out such a detailed performance that I completely bought the ugly reality of the character’s identity as a believable persona. I wouldn’t be surprised if she did win the award for this film, because over the last few years there have been several Oscar wins for ugly performances. Take a look at Charlize Theron’s win for Monster (2003) and Halle Berry’s work for Monster’s Ball (2001). If only this film was titled “Gone Monster Gone” then Amy’s chances of winning will have been backed up by the “monster” good luck charm.
As I clearly mentioned in my review for Michael Clayton this happens to be one my favorite films for 2007. I had originally seen a preview screening for the film a few days before it’s public release and I was blown away by the lethal combination of the acting and the clever storyline. I have read a couple of other reviews that have been written against the quality of the film’s final cut because of the way the time line of the story is projected on the screen. The film begins three quarters of the way into story, then jumps back to the beginning to allow the audience to catch up with everything that has proceeded beforehand. Tilda Swinton’s character, Karen Crowder, is the villainous character of the film who is a professional businesswoman who was just promoted to a powerful executive position at the high profile company in which she works for. The sad twist in her character’s professional career is the inheritance of a massive environmental disaster in which the company has attempted to cover up for several years. It is up to her to continue the covert operations to prevent the company from falling apart financially, but it comes with a heavy price. The company’s key litigating lawyer, played wonderfully by Tom Wilkinson who was also nominated for his performance, completely falls apart after he stops ingesting medication that suppresses the symptoms of his manic depressive behavior. I believe Tilda exceeded expectations with her low-key performance. It wasn’t over the top, but remained cool and study just as her character would want to project as a consummate professional. I would like to see Tilda win the Oscar award for this category, but I’m not sure she has a strong enough support from the Academy voters who may be tempted by the box office success of Gone Baby Gone. I guess I will have to wait until Oscar night to find out the results. Sigh.