Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2013: James Gandolfini in Enough Said

James Gandolfini did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite receiving a posthumous SAG nomination, for portraying Albert in Enough Said. 
Enough Said is a good enough film about a divorcee Eva (Julia Louis Dreyfus) who begins a romance with another divorcee although complications ensue when she finds out her other new friend is the man's ex-wife.

The late James Gandolfini plays the other divorcee Albert, and although he has the largest male role in the film I would not put him in lead. Where Daniel Bruhl shared importance and perspective as Niki Lauda in Rush, Gandolfini's character never is given any perspective and he does not have a single scene that is not through Dreyfus's view so I can pretty easily put him in supporting. Anyway Gandolfini's Albert meets Eva at a part where they begin dating each other, although both being people who have been around for quite awhile they proceed with the whole thing in a fairly casual and particularly understated fashion. This is definitely not the usual romantic comedy style romance.

Gandolfini, who is probably best known for his tough guy roles, plays a particularly average guy here. Part of the film really is about just how average Albert has, and there is not anything that makes him a particularly notable individual. Gandolfini though pretty much goes with this idea, and tries to make Albert just a pretty average guy who has lived a pretty average life. That does not sound like an especially compelling character when you like right at it, but Gandolfini makes the most of it by just realizing fully exactly who Albert is. Gandolfini goes about making Albert interesting by simply being the best Albert he can be. Sure Albert's a normal guy but Gandolfini makes him a very real normal guy.

Gandolfini has an unassuming charm about himself here through just showing that Albert is a pretty gentle sort. Most importantly though he has great chemistry with Julia Louis Dreyfus in the film and you can always believe their relationship in the film. Gandolfini handles himself particularly well in his portrayal of Albert's various little quirks that we discover that he has. The whole idea of the quirks seems primed for Albert to become a wacky character who is more about his quirks than himself. Gandolfini never allows this to happen though making his slightly slovenly behavior completely natural to the man himself. There does not in fact seem anything odd about because Gandolfini shows it to be entirely who Albert is.

Gandolfini is very effective with Dreyfus as they both show the certain awkwardness of their whole situation with the underlying affection that slowly grows between the two. They honestly create a quiet romance that builds up to be quite winning through various small moments, rather than any broad gestures. Gandolfini's performance is enjoyable one to watch because it honestly feels like you are watching someone just be themselves. It is a nice sweet performance, that never feels though he is trying too hard. Albert does have some problems because of his wife and daughter, and Gandolfini is very subtle in showing that these problems press on Albert in the quiet sadness he shows, but never shows him to be a man overwhelmed by his problems.

A major problem arises though when Eva starts becoming critical of Albert because of what she hears about him from his ex-wife. In the scene where she offers endless criticism Gandolfini is great in portraying Albert's reaction. He does not loud or extremely confrontational in the scene. Gandolfini instead is far more moving by conveying the just how disheartened Albert is to hear the exact same things that ruined his original marriage with his wife. Above else Gandolfini's work here is based on sheer honesty, and by that he gives a endearing portrait of a man just making his way through life. This is a very good performance and it is a shame that the academy felt they had to give Jonah Hill and Bradley Cooper their second nominations rather then honor Gandolfini with one.

53 comments:

Matt Mustin said...

I haven't seen this. What did you think of Julia Louis-Dreyfus overall, and are you a fan of Seinfeld and/or Veep?

luke higham said...

Rest In Peace James Gandolfini, I was majorly pissed off when Cooper stole the nomination away from him.
So that's another F*** You as usual.

Louis: What were your thoughts on Gandolfini in The Sopranos.

Also, your hopes & expectations for Grand Budapest Hotel, Calvary, The Hobbit III & Inherent Vice.

Michael Patison: what were your thoughts on Season One, Episode 9 ' Baelor' of Game of Thrones.

luke higham said...

Louis: also your Rating for Dreyfus.

Louis Morgan said...

Matt: I like Dreyfus as Seinfeld is one of my favorite shows. I have not watched Veep though.

Luke: I have not actually watched the Sopranos. I hope all those films will be good of course, the one I'm most looking forward to is Calvary as it might hold the potential for Gleeson to top his performance in In Bruges.

I would give Dreyfus a four.

Michael Patison said...

Matt: I know you didn't ask me, but I liked the film. It's not in my top 10, but I did enjoy it. It's main issue, I think, is that it just didn't feel important, which was also part of its charm, I must admit. I'd give Louis-Dreyfus a 4.5.

I like Seinfeld but I sometimes feel like it wants you to notice how smart it is sometimes, like "Look at us. We just talked about sex or masturbation or etc. without ever actually saying the word. Aren't we just the smartest?" That being said I do like it and will watch it if it's on TV.

As for Veep, I think it's terrific. Louis-Dreyfus is absolutely hysterical, and Tony Hale matches her every episode. The rest of the cast, especially Anna Chlumsky, is likewise very funny. I must admit to only having seen the first season, though.

Luke: I thought it was terrific. I am consistently impressed by how they (Benioff and Weiss) adapt the book so brilliantly and how their departures and changes from the books' events never seem out of place or like they're doing the books injustice.

luke higham said...

Michael Patison: What were your thoughts on Ned Stark's Execution scene.

luke higham said...

Louis: what are your ratings for the casts of Iron Man 3, Star Trek: Into Darkness & Man of Steel.

luke higham said...

Louis: also ratings for the casts of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire & The World's End.

Louis Morgan said...

Iron Man 3:

Downey - 4
Paltrow - 2.5
Cheadle - 2.5(given far too little to do)
Pearce - 2
Kingsley - 3.5
Hall - 2.5 (what a pointless character)
Simpkins - 2.5

Star Trek Into Darkness:

Pine - 3
Quinto - 3
Cumberbatch - 3.5
Urban - 3
Pegg - 3
Cho - 2
Saldana - 2.5
Yelchin - 1
Eve - 2.5
Weller - 3

Man of Steel:

Cavill - 3.5
Adams - 2.5
Shannon - 3
Costner - 3
Crowe - 3

Hunger Games Catching Fire:

Lawrence - 4
Hutcherson - 3
Hemsworth - 2
Harrelson - 3.5
Banks - 2.5
Hoffman - 3
Wright - 3
Tucci - 3.5
Sutherland - 4
Claflin - 2.5

The World's End:

Pegg - 4
Frost - 3.5
Pike - 2.5
Considine - 3.5
Freeman - 2.5
Marsan - 4
Brosnan - 2

luke higham said...

Louis: what were your thoughts on Downey, Cumberbatch, Cavill, Lawrence, Harrelson, Tucci, Sutherland, Frost, Considine, Marsan & Pegg - (The World's End).

Matt Mustin said...

I thought Cheadle was given much more to do in Iron Man 3 than in Iron Man 2.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis, do you think Quinto is lead or supporting?

Louis Morgan said...

Downey (Does his sarcasm well here but the film did not over rely on him like it did in the second one. There is a nicer balance with some weighter moments and even does his anxiety well even though that is poorly set up.)

Cumberbatch (All about the evil delivery which Cumberbatch of course does well. He does not match Montalban in this regard, but he’s not a bad replacement)

Cavill (He’s not as charming as Christopher Reeve but I’ll give him credit for doing his own thing. He is the genuine super hero Superman should be and even does well to try to give the death of Zod more weight than Zack Snyder thought it deserved apparently.)

Lawrence (Strong performance which relies on her natural acting abilities. It is kind of bizarre that her more honest performance of the year came from the future set film about a game to the death. I would say the film’s structure does not quite let her soar though.)

Harrelson (No time wasted with the drunk who does not care act, and is effective at being troubled mentor who is often the bearer of bad news)

Tucci (Pretty great at being the overly enthusiastic announcer and has some strong moment this time around when the contestants are less interested in the games)

Sutherland (Gets his chance this time and he really goes with it. Brings a palatable menace in his scenes as you can always see the murderer underneath the old man)

Frost (Interesting to see him get the more mature role this time and he does well with it, although I do feel he was slightly overshadowed by the others)

Considine (Brings a natural likability and earnestness, and I loved it when it turned out he was okay at the end)

Marsan (Rather amusing and surprisingly moving performance in his depiction of the sad sack who clearly has never gotten over his days of being bullied)

Pegg (A risky performance as he does not want you to like him. Pegg pulls it off effectively in his amusing and very genuine feeling portrayal of a man who refuses to forget the good old days)

Matt: I'd put Quinto in lead.

luke higham said...

Louis: what are your ratings for the cast of Avatar.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis, what are your thoughts on George Clooney as a director?

Louis Morgan said...

Luke: Lang might be a 3 everyone else would be less, I'd have to watch it again to get more specific.

Matt: I think he's pretty solid director with a strong visual sense shown in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Good Night and Good Luck.

Matt Mustin said...

I thought pretty much everyone in Avatar was terrible, including Lang.

Louis Morgan said...

Lang could be lower too I have not seen it in awhile.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I knew Gandolfini was capable of sensitive characters just by his shockingly complex voice work in Where the Wild Things Are. I actually have major issues with the movie itself, but GODAMN he managed to create such a complex character that could have been a Baloo knockoff.

Matt Mustin said...

According to those who knew Gandolfini, he was one of the absolute nicest people on the face of the planet.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis, what are your thoughts on Ben Kingsley in Shutter Island?

Louis Morgan said...

I thought he was great in playing the seemingly kind doctor with the hidden motive that slowly turns him into a full blown villain. I particularly enjoyed his villain speech about maintaining his organization. I find he actually managed to make the twist work as well as he made his character honestly the kind doctor who was trying to help the man as best he could.

Michael Patison said...

Luke: I just saw your follow-up question to Baelor. I would have hoped you wouldn't have ruined the end of the first season like that, but that's beside the point.

I thought that particular scene was quite well-done even if it was almost nothing like what I imagined it while reading, but it was actually better the way they did it. It was not long and drawn out but instead short and choppy making it all the more devastating and painful to watch, even though you knew exactly what was going to happen by at least midway through the episode.

I just cannot express how much I love Sean Bean, though. Ned Stark is such a simple character, concerned only with his family and with honor, but Bean makes so much out of him.

Matt Mustin said...

Michael: Look, if Sean Bean is cast in something, it's understood that he's gonna die at some point.

Michael Patison said...

I am well aware of that fact, and it's terrible. (That's still no excuse as they still probably would've cast him if He had lived.) Couldn't they just kill somebody less well-acted? Is guess the upside is that you know never to get too attached to him when watching something.

dinasztie said...

Louis, if you are not aware, Nebraska is online. :)

luke higham said...

Dinasztie: At last, it's online, I was able to find the file on Putlocker.bz.

luke higham said...

Louis: Can you do Bruce Dern after, you finish Alternative Supporting.

luke higham said...

Louis: Also, can you tell me your ranking & thoughts on Tim Burton films.

luke higham said...

Louis: Lastly, your rating & thoughts on Christian Bale in Empire of the Sun.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke: Yes I'm going to wrap up supporting before I review Dern.

As for Buton:

1.Ed Wood (Without a doubt his best film for me. Great visual style of aping Ed Wood's look but in a more refined way, and his clear enthusiasm for Wood comes across the screen at all times. Plus Landau and Depp giving his best performance in a Burton film)

2.Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (Perhaps more of a Herman film, although there are definitely some Burton moments, it's really just a fun movie)

3.Big Fish (A sweet film by Burton and although it has his usual flamboyant visual style this one does not seem to be copying his other films)

4. Beetlejuice (I don't love it as much as some but it is an entertaining film which Burton's usual style works well for)

5. Edward Scissorhands (One I have not seen since the mid 90's where they seemed to show it on TV every so often. I recall at least not disliking it.)

6. Sweeney Todd (Problematic and its all Burton's fault. Although the songs are good the film should have been a black comedy, but Burton keeps its relentlessly dour tone throughout making it quite tiresome after awhile.)

7. Batman (I'll start with the good, the score just is truly Batman. Even that is soured by its absurdly dated use of the Prince music. Also Batman being seemingly so unimportant in his own film is just wrong, just like his murdering of the bad guys. Batman's inability to move in the suit makes for some bizarre and often terrible looking action scenes)

8. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (This is lesser chocolate, and the really Willy Wonka should send this one down the egg shoot on the wrong day)

9. Batman Returns (More of a freak show than a Batman movie, its really excessively Burton and not at all in a good way)

10. Mars Attacks! (Tries to be Dr. Strangelove but its neither clever nor funny)

11. Planet of the Apes (I almost forget he made this terrible remake, that's really just bad with the awful callbacks to the original peppered throughout)

Bale gives a very solid and assured child performance, and its easy to see why he went on to the career he has now.

luke higham said...

Louis: What were your thoughts on Burton's Sleepy Hollow.

Louis Morgan said...

Forgot about that one. I'd rank just below Todd. I think it's entertaining enough, but also pretty dumb. I greatly prefer the Disney version.

luke higham said...

Louis: would you ever think of watching Alice in Wonderland & Dark Shadows.

Louis Morgan said...

I saw parts of Alice in Wonderland, that was more than enough for me, but I don't think I'll be watching Dark Shadows any time soon.

Clarence Rocky Horror said...

LOUIS (and anyone else if they'd like) Could you name your top 10 favourite performances in Star Wars (including prequels if you like, but I'd doubt it :) though I've always had a soft spot for Ewan McGregor's portrayal of Obi Wan), ratings included? Thanks

(sorry accidentally commented this on the MM feature)

luke higham said...

Louis: what are your top 5 voice acting performances.

Kevin said...

Hey Louis, what are your thoughts on the main cast of Breaking Bad?

luke higham said...

Clarence: This is too difficult, although I can give you my top 5, which are:

1. Harrison Ford - Empire (4.5)
2. Alec Guinness - A New Hope (4.5)
3. Peter Cushing - A New Hope (4)
4. James Earl Jones - Empire (4)
5. Harrison Ford - A New Hope (3.5 to 4)

luke higham said...

Louis: What are your ratings for the casts in all six star wars films.

Louis Morgan said...

Clarence Rocky Horror:

1. Alec Guinness
2. Ford (Empire)
3. Ford (New Hope)
4. Fischer (Empire)
5. Jones (Empire)
6. Shaw (Jedi)
7. Hamill (Empire)
8. Hamill (Jedi)
9. Jones (Hope)
10. Jones (Jedi)

Kevin:

Bryan Cranston (Amazing performance and one of the greatest portrayal of moral descents ever given. He was particularly effective by the way he believably pulled into and out of the darkness throughout the series)

Aaron Paul (Also amazing in just showing one man's misery who is unable to live with the path they take, and is an excellent counterpoint to Cranston's performance)

Dean Norris (He is endearing throughout, but, particularly in the last half of the season, he managed to carry a real weight through his portrayal of the character most driven by his morality)

Anna Gunn (Took her time, but once she found her place in the series she became very effective in her depiction of her character's own different sort of corruption)

Bob Odenkirk (Hilarious whenever he needed to be, but surprisingly good at showing pretty much the gut reaction of being caught in too many cross fires.)

Jonathan Banks (A truly brilliant deadpan performance that could both be funny without trying to be but deadly chilling as well)

Giancarlo Esposito (Who knew Buggin' Out had this in him. Esposito portrayal of a restrained evil is remarkable, and every time he lets an emotion go it makes a tremendous impact.)


Luke:

Top Five Vocal performances in films:

1. Mel Blanc (various)
2. Tony Jay (Hunchback of Notre Dame)
3. Elizabeth Hartman (Secret of NIMH)
4. Vincent Price (The Great Mouse Detective)
5. Luis van Rooten (Cinderella)

I'm sure I'm forgetting someone so the top five is definitely subject to change.

Phantom Menace:

Liam Neeson - 2
Jake Lloyd - 1
McGregro - 2
Portman - 1
Ahmed Best - 1

Attack of the Clones:

McGregor - 2
Christensen - 1
Portman - 1
McDiarmid - 2
Christopher Lee - 3

Revenge of the Sith:

McGregor - 2.5
Christensen - 1
Portman - 1
McDiarmid - 1.5

New Hope:

Ford - 4
Guinness - 4.5
Fisher - 3
Jones - 3.5

Empire :

Ford - 4.5
Jones - 3.5
Dee Williams - 3.5
Fisher - 4
Hamill - 3.5
Oz - 3

Jedi:

Hamill - 3.5
Ford - 3.5
Fisher - 3
Dee Williams - 3
Jones - 3.5
Sebastian Shaw - 3.5

I should note I left the few performances I might be reviewing.

luke higham said...

Louis: what is your rating & thoughts on Tony Jay, as well as your thoughts on the 3.5 + performances in the Original Trilogy.

Excepted
Ford - Empire
Guinness - A New Hope

Louis Morgan said...

Tony Jay - 4(Great voice work with the right vicious command and self-righteous needed. He though is very good in suggesting the weakness in the man particularly in his highlight moment which is the song "Hellfire".)

Ford (Does his bad ass routine well here although without quite as much to do as he had later in Empire. In Jedi he simply had less to do, and getting captured by Ewoks and wandering around blind just does not suit Solo.)

Jones (His voice work is always dark and efficient. Pretty much every line becomes something special because of the way he says it)

Dee Williams(Always enjoyed him as kind of a lesser Solo.)

Fisher in Empire (Somewhat limited in the first and third, but she has some strong moments in this one particularly the freezing scene at the end)

Hamill (Hamill is a good hero and does the maturation pretty well throughout the final two films. His portrayal of the final confrontation with Vader is particularly strong.)

Shaw (A very well handled one scene wonder and his performance as the face is worthy of Vader, unlike two other actors who shows the human side of the role. In his only scene Shaw honestly shows the regrets and sadness in Vader, and is properly moving)

luke higham said...

Louis: Lastly, what is your ranking & thoughts of the Star Wars films in general.

Louis Morgan said...

1. Empire(The best one with its dark intensity, and solid performance throughout. End on quite the high note to be sure)
2. New Hope(A good start, well aided by Alec Guinness who sets everything up with such elegance)
3. Jedi(Has some very big high points such as the final confrontation with Vader and The Emperor, but everything with the Ewoks seems weak in comparison. Although the Ewoks seem brilliant compared to anything in the prequels.)









4. Sith(A huge mess, and still with plenty of boring scenes, but at least far less boring than the other prequels)
5. Menace(The dual light saber is pretty cool and the fight with Darth Maul is okay, everything else particularly that pod race is lame)
6. Clones(Extremely boring, Christopher Lee is fine though)

luke higham said...

Louis: What is your ranking & thoughts on Steven Spielberg films.

Mark said...

These guys are just piling on the questions for you, Louis. You must feel pretty popular the past few days haha.

RatedRStar said...

This is like an exam lol =D hehe, question number 57 and 58 Louis, What did you make of Les Diaboliques, and out of all my winning requests, which are you looking forward to the most lol =D.

Michael McCarthy said...

What is your Best Picture pic for 2014 so far? What do you think will me Michael Fassbender's best performance in the year 2017? Also, what your deepest, most personal fears and doubts regarding both your own life and the universe as a whole?

Matt Mustin said...

Regarding Breaking Bad, I think that phone call at the end of Ozymandias is the best acting Bryan Cranston has ever done, and that is saying A LOT.

Louis Morgan said...

1. Jaws (You won't find a better thriller, and its also unlikely to find a better supporting performance than the one contained in this film)

2. The Last Crusade (My favorite of the Jones's films actually as I simply think it is the most fun)

3. Schindler's List (Extremely powerful and very effective depiction of the Holocaust)

4. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Pure entertainment)

5. Duel (Grand major entrance that boasts Spielberg's ability to build tension. Also really like Dennis Weaver in the main role, he'd make my line up if this had not debuted on TV)

6. Jurassic Park (Pure entertainment again, with some real sense of wonder along with some memorable turns and some extremely memorable lines)

7. Catch Me If You Can (A fun ride but with heart with DiCaprio is in prime form)

8. Lincoln (History made fun and interesting. It has unneeded scenes, but overall its a rich experience)

9. The Adventures of Tintin (Enjoyable adaptation of the fun Tintin stories)

10. Minority Report (Good sci-fi thriller like Inception technically could have gone further with the concept, but its fine as it is)

11. The Color Purple (Strong film with a strong central performance, although I never get that emotionally invested in the film)

12. Empire of the Sun (Solid enough film admirably anchored by Christian Bale.)

13. Munich (Perhaps tries to hard to be important, and Spielberg almost seems to try to be Oliver Stone at times. I still felt effective for the most part, although definitely a mixed bag)

14. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Probably he definition of a mixed bag especially with conflicting styles of Kubrick and Spielberg. Still an interesting film to be sure with two strong central performances.)

15. Saving Private Ryan (Bookends weaken the film as do too many speeches, but has some excellent battle scenes and the storming the beach scene is very memorable.)

16. Temple of Doom(Just sucks too much fun out of the proceedings with its overly dour tone, and lack of humor.)

17. Hook (A mess, but I kinda liked Dustin Hoffman in it.)

18. Amistad (Does not make history fun, and I love history to begin with.)

19. The Lost World (Lame sequel you'd think was made by somebody else. Should have been about Pete Postlethwaite's bad ass hunter instead)

20. War of the Worlds(I'm no fan of disaster films to begin with and this one is overbearing. Also I hate shields as a reason for Aliens being unstoppable)

21. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (CGI ridden mess, and any film must be condemns that wastes both Ray Winstone and John Hurt.)

22. War Horse (The most schmaltzy garbage imaginable. Everything seems to misfire here from the acting, to the score, and even the cinematography seems overdone.)

I've seen E.T. and Close Encounters, but its been too long since I've seen them for me to really rank them properly.

Michael: Fassbender's best work will obviously be a two way tie between Hunger 2: Even Hungrier, and Shame 2: Shame they made a sequel.

Michael Patison said...

I'm interested about the question as to which requested performance you're most looking forward to.

Also, I wanted to make sure you got my request change a while back from Donald Sutherland in Without Limits to Samuel West in Howards End.

RatedRStar said...

Seeing Louis review a horror film about a woman who makes Dumplings with a special recipe looks like an entertaining one to come =D