Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Alternate Best Actor 2005: Daniel Auteuil in Caché

Daniel Auteuil did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Georges Laurent in Caché.

Caché though is not subtle in its allegory is effective through its literal drama, about a family receiving surveillance tapes of their own home.

Daniel Auteuil plays the patriarch of the family who also is a successful talk show host. He and his wife Anne (Juliette Binoche) begin to receive tapes on their front door step. The tape records the front of their house, but nothing else. Auteuil's work is very natural in these early scenes as the two attempt to decipher what exactly is being presented to them. Auteuil initially makes Georges more or less just as any normal man would react to the situation. He conveys the sense of confusion in the circumstances as well as the understandable undercurrent of fear that stems from being observed. Auteuil throughout the rest of the film, well except for his very brief scenes where we see him doing his job, at the very least has a small sense of discomfort in his portrayal of George, as Auteuil finds the right type of paranoia of a man who knows he's always being watched. He does not overplay this as he rather keeps it understated and natural to a man trying to still live his life as normally as possible.

Auteuil only occasionally strikes harder in these early scenes, and effectively so, as the frustration of  the ongoing tapes puts him on an edge in part due to his inability to explain them. Eventually the videos themselves seem to indicate something when one of them is of Georges's old childhood home instead. This brings Georges to visit his mother. It's a great scene for Auteuil as he finds the right warmth of a son speaking with his mother yet captures that nagging thought in the back of his mind the whole time. Georges never can quite speak directly to his mother about what is going on, but begins to allude to what he believes is the cause. Auteuil finds that thought as though it is a wound that only seems to fester in his mind, as the man cannot stop himself from trying to comprehend the past. Though the details are sketchy at first, Georges comes to believe the tapes are coming from Majid (Maurice Bénichou) an orphan boy his family took in until the six year old Georges told a lie about that got the boy sent back to an orphanage.

Auteuil's work illustrates the conflict within Georges when dealing with this matter, which he takes some time to admit to his wife or even himself. Auteuil does not portray Georges as having a direct guilt nor does he portray him as indifferent to the past. Auteuil finds instead the detail of situation in his performance. There is a sense of guilt, though a worn and measured guilt. Auteuil has it present enough that it wears on Georges but it never overwhelms him. Auteuil reflects even a shield of sorts by this as though there are moments where Georges fights against the idea of guilt given his age when he made the lie and the amount of time that has passed by. Auteuil shows how troubling it is though as Georges never deals with completely yet cannot rid himself of it either. Georges though does take action by confronting Majid over the tapes, though the man denies them. Auteuil's work again excels being so realistically defining the interaction as he depicts the frustrations of a man who just wants the strange form of terrorism to end.

The tapes only continue and things appear to escalate as Georges's son goes missing. Auteuil carefully never has Georges break at any point instead portrays Georges attempt to repress it all best he can, and appear as together as he can. Auteuil never falters in this, and never seems vague. His work is astute as he builds the intensity of the situation with minor outburst, never an explosion, and impressively expresses every moment within the confines of this man trying to keep it together. Auteuil becomes quietly powerful as every moment is felt in his performance through his subtle presentation of it. There is one particularly disconcerting scene where something rather extreme happens in an instant, and Auteuil adds so much to the moment by making his reaction feel absolutely real. What is perhaps Auteuil's strongest scene though is when Georges is confronted by Majid's son. Auteuil reveals the entirety of Georges struggle, the fear, the dread, the anger, and even the sadness in the conversation. He barely raises his voice but he doesn't have to you know exactly what the man is going through at every point of it. Auteuil never vilifies Georges nor does he make him an innocent victim. He grants the complexity he deserves by presenting him truthfully as a man in a terrible situation with a troubling past.

75 comments:

Robert MacFarlane said...

Out of curiosity, how do you interpret the ending? I'm of the opinion that their son was in on it out of spite.

Calvin Law said...

An actor who I really, really need to check out more of him from. I've only seen him in Girl on the Bridge, which he was pretty good in, and 36th Precinct where he was solid too (though the scene-stealer in that one is Gerard Depardieu and Roschdy Zem).

Louis Morgan said...

Robert:

I interpreted it as the two sons being behind the tapes though with different motivations. Majid's son for his father's treatment and Pierrot for his mother's infidelity.

Giuseppe Fadda said...

Rating and thoughts on Binoche?

94dfk1 said...

Hacksaw Rodge is excellent. My new favorite of the year! Seems like the last two months of the year have a couple more surprises in store.

94dfk1 said...

*Ridge

RatedRStar said...

Robert and Louis: I agree I always felt it was done for revenge, the tone of the movie I felt suggested that.

Oh and my predictions have failed now lol

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis : Are Radcliffe and Dano still saved for Swiss Army Man for Lead?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your rating for Catherine Burns in Last Summer.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: You forgot about Lewis and Skarsgard in Our Kind Of Traitor.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: And Jack Reynor in Sing Street.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Can you give ratings and thoughts on those that you're not saving. e.g. Michael Shannon - Midnight Special

Giuseppe Fadda said...

@Luke: He gave Burns a 4. You can find his brief thoughts on her performance in the results for Alternate Best Actor 1969.

Luke Higham said...

I've been watching The Crown lately and I feel that Jared Harris would've given a far greater performance than Colin Firth in The King's Speech.

94dfk1 said...

For the record, I could live without a full review of Michael Shannon in Midnight Special, Julian Dennison in Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Gyllenhall in Demolition and Yelchin in Green Room. Though they might replaced by Gyllenhall in Nocturnal Animals, and Garfield in Driver in Silence.

Calvin Law said...

I agree that Shannon doesn't need a full review (since he's far more impressive in NA), and as much as I loved Yelchin and Dennison I do agree that it's easy to describe what they nail in their performances by just a few sentences. I do think Gyllenhall in Demolition is more worthy of a review than in NA, though he's great in both.

Michael McCarthy said...

Gyllenhaal's performance in Demolition has barely stayed with me any more than the film itself did.

RatedRStar said...

Keep in mind all the snubs that are gonna happen this year potentially Jake Gyllenhaal for Nocturnal Animals, Joel Edgerton for Loving and Andrew Garfield for Silence so half of the current performances that are being saved probably wont be there.

RatedRStar said...

Another thing is that 2016 will have official, the alternate and then the bonus rounds so the chances of you seeing your performance reviewed are quite high, Louis I recommend leaving the ones that get snubbed from the official and alternates stay off your overall rankings so that when you come to bonus rounds 2016 you will have a guaranteed set of nominees.

Alex Marqués said...

Just saw Two Lovers... Phoenix is brilliant.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Saw Hacksaw Ridge. You were wrong Louis, I liked it. Also, why is Weaving only a 4?

Louis Morgan said...

Giuseppe:

Binoche - 4.5(She has less to do than Auteuil given her more restrictive perspective, we don't know if she's guilty or not. Binoche is effective aspect in that side in that she alludes to the truth but never gives it away. In the rest of her performance though she matches Auteuil and is very affecting in portraying someone living through the situation.)

Tahmeed & Luke:

Yes they are also being saved.

Robert:

I'm glad I was wrong. I could easily go higher on Weaving.

Anonymous said...

Louis: What are your thoughts on Tara Strong as Batgirl?

Robert MacFarlane said...

I mean, I had some glaring issues with it, but I ended up liking it a lot more by the end. Also, it's hard for me to hate a movie about that sort of hero.

Calvin Law said...

Having not seen the film (have to wait till January, my word), I've been reading a lot about Doss and there really doesn't seem to be a single flaw about the man, what a hero.

Anonymous said...

Louis: What are your thoughts on Jeff Bridges, Jeff Daniels, Josh Brolin, Joaquin Phoenix and Viggo Mortensen as actors?

Luke Higham said...

R.I.P. Robert Vaughn

Anonymous said...

R.I.P. Robert Vaughn

Calvin Law said...

RIP Robert Vaughn.

94dfk1 said...

Anonymous: He gave his thoughts on Bridges recently. I'll look them up for you.

94dfk1 said...

"Jeff Bridges - (Bridges is an actor I find works best in roles which play to his naturalistic qualities as a performer. In roles that either force him to reduce his normal presence or go too broad I don't usually find him all that engaging. In the right roles though he's a compelling performer as he offers a unique charisma and effortless humor.)"

-From the post about Jake Gyllenhall in Source Code

Calvin Law said...

Watched this, Auteil is very good and he'd make my lineup if the year wasn't so packed. He reminded me a bit of Jason Bateman in The Gift (or vice versa).

Varun Neermul said...

Louis, your though and ratings on samantha morton's performances that are "In America" and "Sweet And Lowdown"

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Watched anything new lately.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Arrival.

Anonymous:

Strong - (Her work is good and manages to do her very best to make up for the flaws involved with the writing of the character. I never felt the batgirl aspect of the series was its strongest point, particularly later on when Bruce Timm revealed his bizarre wish to have Batman and Batgirl hook up. Strong's work is consistent and makes her more than the character really who could have been extremely grating with the writing in mind.)

Calviin:

Doss was a righteous dude.

Anonymous:

I'm pretty sure I covered Mortensen and Phoenix before.

Brolin - (Brolin ever since his 07 mainstream breakout has offered consistent work, aside from True Grit, with just about every single one of his performances. It's a curious thing in that he's been successful as a leading man and a supporting player though curiously all his films where he was leading, past No Country that is, have faltered to some degree, by no fault of Brolin's, while his supporting performances tend to be in far more successful films. Now as an actor Brolin has almost filled in for the Tommy Lee Jones type, and not just because of Men in Black. Brolin so naturally fills the roles of the hardened man of that sort, but I would argue that he has more range than his predecessor. Brolin has excelled as the hero, and the villain in the comedic and dramatic role. When he's leaned out of a perceived comfort zone slightly, he's been successful. I'd say he's one of the best working actors around, despite kind of flying under the radar a bit.)

Daniels - (There's kind of a group of actors from the 80's/90's where one might ponder how they became leading man for a bit. Bill Pullman, Matthew Modine, perhaps Jeff Daniels. They all seem a bit more average joeish than the usual leading man type since they did star in mainstream films. Daniels is the least questionable though in terms of talent as he fit the average joe by giving honest and effective work throughout his career.
Daniels eventually lost that place after it was determined they were no longer allowed I suppose, but Daniels still remained consistent as he became a primarily supporting player. Daniels is in many ways an unassuming actor, but that is not a criticism. He goes about just simply giving a strong performance rarely making a fuss about it.)

Varun:

I believe I've covered those performances before.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the film and ratings & thoughts on the cast.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

I will say this the film is a technical marvel and Villeneuve's direction is the highlight of the film. His work is quite often extraordinary. I will say go see it for yourself, it deserves to be seen on the big screen. It is captivating film, but I did have reservations. The only one I will mention now is the government aspect of it just felt too simplistic personified through a character I will get to below. I have other reservations but I would prefer that everyone gets a chance to see the film first. The same goes for discussing Adams and Renner's performances fully.

Adams - 4

Renner - 3

Whitaker - 3(He only has exposition to really work with, but he handles it fairly well. He's good but he does not exactly pull a Charles Durning in Dog Day Afternoon.)

Stuhlbarg - 2(A black hole of a character related directly to the government plot line, and I really don't think Stuhlbarg helps things here. He's very one note, and after Dr. Strange I hope he does not get stuck in jerk parts from now on.)

Robert MacFarlane said...

I saw Moonlight. Found it to be pretty compelling. Mahershala Ali and André Holland were my favorites of the cast.

omar said...

Robert: Ali was my favorite of the cast too, what do you think of Harris? I think she overacted too much. Also thoughts on the three Chiron who interpreted Chiron?

omar said...

*three actors

Robert MacFarlane said...

I found Harris inconsistent, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't find her last scene affecting.

As for the three Chirons, I admit I found the first two adequate at best. Chiron was something of a canvas for Jenkins to paint his portrait on until Rhodes took the reins. Rhodes made Chiron's melancholy and sullen demeanor pretty touching, and ultimately felt like a true character at that point instead of a cipher.

I actually think Holland is my favorite of the cast over Ali, but both are great.

Deiner said...

@Louis: This is off topic, but what were your ratings of Keira Knightley in A Dangerous Method and Isabelle Huppert in Amour?

Robert MacFarlane said...

Unpopular opinion: I think Huppert is better than Riva in Amour.

94dfk1 said...

Anyone here see Snowden? I'm curious yto hear someone else's thoughts. I thought JGL was effective as the title role. He's a 4 for me. The film was, unsurprisingly, meh. Biopics don't seem to be Oliver Stones thing (also recently saw The Doors, which you could compare it to Snowden in a way.)

Robert MacFarlane said...

I did, but I forgot about it a week after I saw it. I did like JGL a good deal.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Question to everyone: How often do you all get to see older movies in a theater? A local chain near me started doing it twice a week ever since the Summer. Since then I've seen 7 older movies (Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, Sixteen Candles, The Big Lebowski, North by Northwest, Halloween, and The Princess Bride).

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Robert: Never. In the theatres of Bangladesh, the only films that come are usually superhero films, horror films and animated films, and only recent ones at that.
Louis: Your thoughts on South Park's latest episode.

RatedRStar said...

Tahmeed: How do you usually get to see films if only a limited amount are released, are they always online?

Robert Macfarlane: Here in the UK (South Yorkshire for me) not really if I am honest, unless it is a special occasion like with Back To The Future and Jurassic Park then yes but then there are re releases like Napoleon and The Innocents which make no impact and get very little advertisement.

RatedRStar said...

RIP Robert Vaughn

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

RatedRStar: I stream online, and pirate as a last resort.
RIP Robert Vaughn

RatedRStar said...

=D Tahmeed: Ok cool =D


Does anybody have any performances that they really want to see Oscar Nominated this year, you know ones that if they dont get recognised you might be a bit upset by?

Deiner said...

@Louis: Forgot to ask, what are your ratings of Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson in The Kids are All Right and what are your ratings of The Artist, Midnight in Paris and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (US version)?

Luke Higham said...

Daniel: I just want the academy, not to make a single fuck up for a change.

Giuseppe Fadda said...

@RatedRStar: I honestly would love to see Fanning, Malone and Abbey Lee nominated for The Neon Demon but it's definitely not going to happen. I've yet to see any of the movies that could get nominated this year. Even if I've yet to see Lion though I'm thrilled by the fact that Kidman is in contention for another nomination.

Alex Marqués said...

I haven't seen their films yet, but judging by the reviews, I really hope Affleck, Williams and Shannon receive some award recognition. I'd love to see Viggo nominated, but I doubt that's going to happen.

Calvin Law said...

I'd love to see Lee or Malone get in.

RatedRStar: Well at this point from what I've seen, none of my nominations for Lead are getting in; Damp and Accounts are in too weird a film, Cheadle too small a film, Gyllenhaal maybe but unlikely, and Downey Jr, absolutely no chance. And for lead actress I'd love to see Beckinsale get in you never know. For supporting I actually think Foster could get in if they choose to campaign Bridges in lead. I'd love that to happen.

Calvin Law said...

Also would not be averse to Hugh Grant getting his first nom. I generally quite dislike him as an actor, so I'm happy he's getting awards attention for a performance he actually nails.

omar said...

RatedRStar: Michelle Williams in Manchester By The Sea, I'm a big fan of her, but i think the Academy could snub her since she's in the movie for only 2/3 scenes.
I hope they nominate Shannon in Nocturnal Animals too, he's fantastic in it.

Michael McCarthy said...

Robert: I believe the only older films I've gotten to see on the big screen have been Grand Illusion, The African Queen, and Chinatown. All in DC.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: In your personal opinion with The Harry Potter films, which is the best in direction, writing, technical categories, emotional resonance and so on.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I just saw Arrival. I have no clue what quibbles you had, Louis, because this might be my favorite of the year.

Louis Morgan said...

Deiner:

Knightley - 1(She does not have chemistry with Fassbender and she fails in bringing the sort of captivating allure needed for the role while infusing the character with genuine intelligence. Now that's just the second half. She's downright terrible in the first. Knightley makes that jaw movement look entirely unconvincing that she's just doing that naturally, leave that type of thing to a Daniel Day-Lewis I'd say. She just can't pull it off. I'll admit she does try something many actors probably would fail at, but she fails at it as well.)

Huppert - 3(She did not leave that much of an impression on me when I last saw it, though I found that she more than fulfilled the needs of the role.)

2 for Hutcherson and Moore. Maybe a 2.5 for Wasikowska.

The Artist - 5
Midnight in Paris - 4.5
TGWTDT - 4

Tahmeed:

A failure I have to say. I only laughed at the rick roll. It seems like they made a purposefully vague episode to cover things either way, yet the episode still seemed like it was heavily rewritten in the last second.

Luke:

So the Harry Potter awards?

Best Performance By a Male Actor: David O'Hara - The Deathly Hallows
Best Performances by a Female Actor: Imelda Staunton - Order of the Phoenix
Direction: Cuaron (Even with Black's intro scene)
Cinematography: Azkaban
Visuals: Deathly Hallows Part II
Writing: Order of Phoenix
Emotional: Deathly Hallows Part II (I mean come on, Snape's last scene)

Robert:

Well again with an initial reaction I might have sounded more negative than I am. The film would be in my top ten, and I'd probably say Villenueve's my director win since almost all of my reservations stem from the writing, and just a tiny bit of the casting.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I'm surprised Adams is only a 4 for you. She's my favorite performance this year.

Louis Morgan said...

Robert:

Hmm I seemed to have forgotten the .5.

Anonymous said...

Louis and Robert what did you think of its Oscar chances?

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

I think Cinematography, Sound Editing, Score and maybe visuals.

Matt Mustin said...

I saw Doctor Strange, and I have to say, I pretty much loved it. It has a singularly unique style that separates it from the other Marvel films and feels like completely it's own thing. This could easily be watched as a standalone film without any prior knowledge of Marvel.

Cumberbatch-4.5 (I have to say this performance actually kind of surprised me. The surprise wasn't that Benedict Cumberbatch gave a great performance, that's expected at this point, but instead I was surprised by how damn funny he was. His comedic timing is absolutely superb here, and makes every bit of humour work wonderfully, even some of the lamer gags. Beyond that though, this is a compelling portrayal of the Hero's Journey as he portrays Strange's transformation from an arrogant jerk to a genuine hero. He absolutely brings the utmost gravitas to every scene and makes the transition believable. Quick note on the accent; I found it effective and Cumberbatch managed to keep it consistent, but I can't help but wonder why he couldn't just be British?)

Ejiofor-3.5/4 (Alright, this is a hard one for me to rate, for a very odd reason. For the majority of the film, I found him completely rock solid, hitting every mark and delivering the needed passion for this particular kind of role. And then something funny happened. The post-credits scene came along, and for my money that's the best scene of Ejiofor's performance. He's great in that scene. Now, if I were to consider that scene part of the film proper, he would be a 4. If that scene's just extra and not part of the film itself, he's a 3.5. I'm really kinda conflicted on this one.)

Swinton-4 (Great as the Morpheus-like mysterious mentor, but her best scene is her final one where she shows a more emotional side to The Ancient One)

McAdams-3 (Offers some fine support. Not much to say, really.)

Mikkelsen-3 (Another weak Marvel villain, and this one coming right after the best one they've ever had (Daniel Bruhl as Zemo). Anyway, Mikkelsen definitely has some significant screen presence and manages to be fairly menacing, although I don't think he's particularly memorable either.)

Wong-3.5 (He's there to be the deadpan comic relief and sometime exposition deliverer, and he's really good at both.)

Alex Marqués said...

Louis: which are your updated lists for best picture, best director, best actress and best supporting actress so far?

Louis Morgan said...

Alex:

Picture:

1. Hell or High Water
2. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
3. Hacksaw Ridge
4. Green Room
5. Arrival

Director:

1. Denis Villeneuve - Arrival
2. Mel Gibson - Hacksaw Ridge
3. Taika Waititi - Hunt for the Wilderpeople
4. David MacKenzie - Hell or High Water
5. Jeremy Saulnier - Green Room

Actress:

1. Amy Adams - Arrival
2. Mary Elizabeth Winstead - 10 Cloverfield Lane
3. Elle Fanning - The Neon Demon
4. Kate Beckinsale - Love and Friendship (She'd probably go up when I watch it properly.)
5. Meryl Streep - Florence Foster Jenkins

Supporting Actress:

1. Imogen Poots - Green Room
2. Jena Malone - The Neon Demon
3. Abbey Lee - The Neon Demon
4. Angourie Rice - The Nice Guys
5. Tilda Swinton - Dr. Strange

Luke Higham said...

Louis: What's your top 5 Lead and Supporting actor ranking so far with saved performances exempted.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Lead:

1. Ryan Reynolds - Deadpool
2. Chris Evans - Captain America: Civil War
3. Benedict Cumberbatch - Dr. Strange
4. Mel Gibson - Blood Father
5. Bryan Cranston - The Infiltrator

Supporting:

1. Hugo Weaving - Hacksaw Ridge
2. Macon Blair - Green Room
3. Alan Rickman - Eye in the Sky
4. Patrick Stewart - Green Room
5. Daniel Bruhl - Captain America: Civil War

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Who's performance are you anticipating more. Natalie Portman in Jackie or Emma Stone in La La Land.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Stone since I prefer her in general and am anticipating La La Land more as film. I am certainly looking forward to see Jackie and Portman's performance as well though.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Lastly, have you watched any other films from 2005 yet.

Louis Morgan said...

Yes, which will be revealed in the future.