Oscars 2012 – Best Actor

In just one days time, Billy Crystal and the 84th Annual Academy Awards will arrive, and in honor of Oscar Week I’ve be breaking down all of the major categories. Let’s take a closer look and examine all 5 of this year’s nominees for Best Actor:

 

The Nominees for Best Actor

  • George Clooney, The Descendants
  • Brad Pitt, Moneyball
  • Gary Oldman, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
  • Jean Dujardin, The Artist
  • Demian Bichir, A Better Life

 1) Why George Clooney Should Win: I can’t remember a recent performance that was so relatable but so original in its own right. I mean, it’s not like I have a wife in a coma that cheated on me, but Clooney was so spot on in his awkwardness and honesty that he embodied a family man we could all relate to. From scenes that made you laugh out loud (such as when Clooney mouths off against his daughter’s laidback boyfriend) to scenes that went straight to your heart (Clooney’s final goodbye to his wife is tragically simple and excellently played), Clooney did so much more than the somewhat straightforward plot suggested – that’s why Clooney deserves to win: he gave a range far beyond the restrictions of a screenplay to create a real life expierence that was true to all of life’s emotions.

 

2) Why Brad Pitt Should Win: In a movie focused around baseball, Pitt knew that in order to reach a wide audience he had to portray a man that anyone – sports lover or not – could relate to and Pitt delivered a home-run. By drawing out Billy Beane’s vulnerabilities and insecurities as not only a general manager but also as an advisor, friend, and father, Pitt managed to elevate the movie into a thrilling study of human interaction, understanding, and desire. There’s also baseball, too.

 

3) Why Gary Oldman Should Win: In a film as mentally confusing and strenuous asTinker, Tailor, you would hope that the main character would be a guide to easily assist you through the many plot twists and espionage-specific events; however, Oldman shatters this perception and, instead, he pulls you into the mind of George Smiley, making the film even more polarizing but all the more effective. If Oldman allowed his character, Smiley, to give us all the answers, I’m not sure the film would’ve been as dazzlingly maddening. Instead, Oldman nailed every aged facial glance and worrisome smirk – his George Smiley was someone we couldn’t truly figure out but wanted too so desperately – what more could you want from a thriller?

 

4) Why Jean Dujardin Should Win: Has there been a performance this year that has left you more satisfied than Dujardin’s role as struggling actor George Valentin? There’s something so fantastically charming about Dujardin, maybe it’s his stellar physical acting – from his exuberant tap dancing to his personality-filled eyebrows (yes, you heard me!) – or maybe it’s just his camera ready smile that, honestly, makes you smile too. No matter the scene or the moment, Dujardin always let you in on how his character was feeling, and it’s that reason that the film, although black and white and silent, worked so well and was so universally appealing. By the time the credits started to role, you honestly thought that Dujardin could’ve been the silent film star that he was portraying, and what other compliment could you give for an actor playing a silent movie star?

 

5) Why Damian Bichir Should Win: In the little indie A Better Life, Bichir does something that is pretty incredible – he takes a stereotype – an immigrant – and doesn’t stuff him with sentimental attributes that would indirectly force the viewer to sympathize with his character. Instead, Bichir paints a genuine portrait of a struggling immigrant who only wants to give his son a better a life than the one that he had lived. The film is one of those great indies that nobody really saw this year (much like Winter’s Bone) and Bichir’s performance is by far the emotional soul of the film.

 

And the award goes to… Jean Dujardin! I would’ve said Clooney without a doubt about a month ago, but after Dujardin’s SAG and BAFTA win, plus his charming speeches and brilliant Funny or Die and SNL appearences, Dujardin seems like the perfect choice for the Academy – a man who gave a sensationally pleasing performance and is just as joyous off the screen; who could resist?

If I got to vote my ballot ranking would look like…

  1. George Clooney
  2. Brad Pitt
  3. Jean Dujardin
  4. Gary Oldman
  5. Demian Bichir

Most painful snub in the category: While in a majority of categories I have felt there has been one major snub, the Academy definitely snubbed two deserving actors this year, Michael Fassbender for Shame and Ryan Gosling for Drive. While Shame got loads of attention for its blatant sex scenes, nudity, and NC-17 rating, it’s hard to deny that Fassbender was nothing short of electrifying as a struggling New York sex addict. Fassbender never gave up his characters emotional unrest and none of his many sex scenes were at all enjoyable or passionate, they were more of like a drug fix for his character than an act of pleasure. Then there was also Gosling, who in Drive finally proved he was ready for the A-list, more of which you can read about here

Who I’d Swap Out: While I give props to the Academy for recognizing Oldman and Bichir, two actors who gave award worthy performances but who I thought would never be acknowledged, I’d probably swap them out to give Gosling and Fassbender nominations since their performances were not only just as award worthy but were also two of the most daring ones of the year.

What do you guys think? Is Jean Dujardin the definite winner at this point? Who do you think should win?

 

 

Article by Zack Sharf

Syndicated from www.sharfatthemovies.wordpress.com

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