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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

2016 Oscar Preview: Best Actor


- Bryan Cranston (Trumbo)
- Matt Damon (The Martian)
- Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
- Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
- Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)

WHO SHOULD BE HERE: Johnny Depp (Black Mass)

If Creed had campaign properly then Michael B. Jordan would be here as well, but I want to spend this section discussing Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Whitey Bulger in Black MassDespite the film being a huge disappointed and a wasted opportunity, Depp does a phenomenal job playing the menace that Whitey Bulger was.  Bulger terrorized Boston, and basically under the FBI’s blessing as well, and Depp just oozed evil. He was able to be charming when he needed to be, but Whitey Bulger ran Boston with an Iron First, and the guy who previously was nominated for an Oscar while dressing up like a flamboyant Keith Richards was able to effective turn around and be the bad guy.


BRYAN CRANSTON: Cranston already has an Emmy for his work on Breaking Bad and he has a Tony for his work for playing Lyndon B. Johnson in the play All The Way. He is clearly trying to earn his Oscar for his work as Black Listed Writer Dalton Trumbo. Truthfully, this is the type of performance (and film in general) that The Academy loves, so I’m surprised Cranston and the film itself didn’t gain bigger traction. My guess is the TV Movie feel, Jay Roach-ness of it all brought everything down. Anyways, I am rooting for Cranston to win for the sole reason of getting to listen to the album he creates in order to complete his EGOT.

MATT DAMON: The Martian needed a leading A-list actor with a great sense of humor for the role of astronaut Mark Watney. Damon fit the bill perfectly, he’s great in it, and the film works because of him, but I also think you could have plugged in a number of A-listers like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, or Tom Hanks and the film would have been just as effective. This role makes me think of Ben Affleck in 2014’s Gone Girl. That was another performance that seemingly could have been played by any other leading actor, but when I sat down to think of it, no other actor worked as well as Affleck did because of the baggage Affleck brought to the role. That being said, I think Damon is worthy of a nomination, but in the grand scheme of things, I don’t think this performance was all that and a bag of chips either.

Also, basically I just want Affleck and Damon to do another film as good as Good Will Hunting.

LEONARDO DiCAPRIO: Leo is probably my favorite working actor and I could not be more excited that he will finally earn his first Academy Award. But at the same time, he’s going to earn his first award for this?! I thought DiCaprio’s performance as Hugh Glass was one of his worst performances of his career. I could only take him wincing in pain and grunting for so long. That is why Leo’s eventual Best Actor win will be bittersweet for me. At least when Martin Scorsese won his first Best Director Academy Award it was for an excellent film (The Departed).

MICHAEL FASSBENDER: I love Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs as the eponymous title character. Famously, Steve Jobs had a lot of people drop out, including Leo and Christian Bale who were both at one point scheduled to play Jobs, and normally when that happens you wouldn't expect the third guy off of the bench to knock it out of the park, Yet, that's exactly what Michael Fassbender did. The screen character is such a fucking asshole, yet you not only care about what happens to this character despite his inherent unlikeability, you're rooting for him to succeed. Even in the third act when Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) is asking for Steve Jobs to be decent and is asking for a favor and Jobs refuses, you still can't help but side with the asshole thanks to Fassbender's portrayal. Michael Fassbender was so good in this movie that I'm glad that Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale dropped out. 

EDDIE REDMAYNE: I hated Eddie Redmayne. I despised him for his portrayal of Stephen Hawkings in The Theory of Everything. I despised the fact that he could walk a little funny and speak with a slur and automatically win an Academy Award. You see someone like Michael Keaton give this incredible and nuanced performance in Birdman and then see Eddie Redmayne sweep up the award circuit for giving a showy performance for dumb people and you can’t help but not get mad.

But then I saw The Danish Girl. This seems like another performance where Redmayne is attempting to earn back-to-back Best Actor nominations (and he is), until you realize that a) Redmayne is actually quite likeable and charming in every role he plays- including in The Danish Girl and The Theory of Everything and b) he was the perfect person for this role. Not only does Redmayne have the physical skills to pull this transgendered role, but he has a soft charm and way about him that brings across this sincerity that this role requires. 


- Matt Damon (The Martian)
- Johnny Depp (Black Mass)
- Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
- Michael B. Jordan (Creed)
- Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)

WHO SHOULD WIN: Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
WHO WILL WIN: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) 



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