Jude Law did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Jerome Eugene Morrow in Gattaca.
Ethan Hawke plays the man, Vincent, who usurps a genetically "perfect" man's position who is played by Jude Law. Hawke and Law seem to make sense for this type of arrangement. Not only because they do bear some physical similarities but also rather strangely, I feel, both are, in the general public sense, somewhat undervalued as actors. Jude Law is an interesting actor to me in that despite being a leading man, and I do like him just fine as a leading man, his best performances come from more character actor type roles like in A.I., The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Road to Perdition. This is once again a supporting role for Jude Law as he plays the genetically "pure" man who allows his identity to be taken since he has suffered an injury which leaves him crippled from the waist down. Jerome gives his name to Vincent as well as various samples needed for various tests in exchange simply for the cash to allow him to live a similar lifestyle to the one that he had been accustom to before his accident.
Law effectively makes a fierce impact the moment we see him in onscreen. Law's creates a palatable sense of bitterness in his performance as Jerome is forced to give up his own "perfect" status for another. Law does not simply leave this as the only reason for Jerome's overall state as Jerome explain that even in his seemingly perfect state of health he was unable to be the best at his own chosen goal. Law does not simply suggest the emotions as something simple but brings the complexity they deserve. Law has a cynicism in his manner fitting for a man who seems to have been betrayed by fate as well as the whole promise of his existence. Along with that though Law as well conveys the depression of Jerome, as he seems to be pained by the simple fact that he is living a life that is anything but perfection. Law gives the state of the man and brilliantly gives us the past life of the man without ever having to show a single scene of Jerome before his accident.
Once they begin their ruse Law and Hawke share many scenes together discussing the various success and problems that arise from their arrangement. Law almost supersedes Hawke in portraying the main character arc of the film because Hawke perhaps plays the role with a little too much confidence from the beginning. He plays his character as almost completely ready from the beginning and there is not all that much change. Law on the other hand is extremely effective in showing how the real Jerome is changed by the exploits of the fake Jerome. Law makes Jerome extremely easy to invest into despite the fact that Jerome simply is becoming invested into the exploits of fake Jerome. Law is convincing in creating this odd form of empathy as Law in a way becomes the one who shows a growing intensity due to the growing intensity of the situation. Law as well is the one who shows Jerome grow as they seem closer to the goal, and brings an honest poignancy to showing basically life come back to this man simply by seeing another man fulfill his inspiration.
Most of the problems in the film actually come from the fact that the film fails to completely give Law his due. Every scene with Law is compelling because Law makes Jerome such a compelling person all on his own, when he very easily could have simply been a plot device. I wanted more of him and of the odd relationship between the two men playing the same men, but the film unfortunately too often decides against this approach. This only becomes more problematic though by the ending which I think completely undervalues what Law does in the role. The film ends with Hawke's Vincent managing, against all the odds, to make it out into space finally, but at the same time Jerome decides to suddenly commit suicide at the same time. I can only feel that this was the writer trying for too much symbolism as the imperfect man makes it to the stars, and the perfect one burns alive. The ending was not deserving for the character and certainly not the life Law managed to give him. It might have made sense for the Jerome we met at the beginning, but not in the way Law grew the character as the film progressed. Technically Law, I suppose, should have given a lesser performance that just kept Jerome as constant to make the ending make more sense, but no I prefer the great performance he gave instead, and really it's the ending that should have changed not Law's performance.