Saturday, 7 January 2017

Alternate Best Actor 1993: Jesse Bradford in King of the Hill

Jesse Bradford did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Aaron Kurlander in King of the Hill.

King of the Hill is an interesting film, when Steven Soderberg had a lighter more effective touch as a director besides a montage near the end of the film, about a boy living by himself in a motel just before the summer begins during the great depression.

A funny thing about King of the Hill is for me it almost came off as a companion piece, well we'll say a much darker cousin to A Christmas story, to explain. Well both films are based on the semi autobiographical writings of a man recounting their childhood who were both born in the early twenties. A major difference though is A Christmas Story's basis was written by a humorist while King of the Hill's was based on a memoir. Either way though both focus upon a boy in the 30's and the various events going around his life. This film though technically demands more from its child lead, as there is no adult narrator to buttress the character a bit. It is all on Bradford. The idea of focusing on a child actor actually in itself is a bit of a gamble as it is easy enough to get the two typical sorts of bad child actors. The bland type that just kind of is there and recites their lines with no meaning behind them, or the chronic overacting type that seeks to be cute rather than convincing. Bradford is neither of these thankfully, but this performance is even a bit atypical from of the few other child performances I've praised in the past.

The film opens simply enough with the young Aaron reciting his story about Charles Lindberg though he has written in a way as though he is a personal friend of the man. This just seems to be a method to frame the story though. Now what Bradford does so well is that he makes this like any other kid just delivery a homework assignment, though with just a bit of apprehension as he gives the details to notice most of the other students are bored by his story. Bradford is equally natural, and endearing in a very naturalistic way as Aaron takes his seat and receives more than just a glance from one of the girls in class. Bradford realizes such an honest confusion as he looks around rather sure that he's not the one he's admiring. Now after that point we get the essential set up for the film where the boy is first separated from his younger brother, then his mother due to her illness, and eventually his father while he goes on the road as a salesman. This eventually leaves him all alone at a hotel with some strange characters in and around it. From here on in the film we get more of scenes and moments then a plot line, which actually something I rather like about the film.

This structure works particularly well in tandem with Bradford's unassuming but not underwhelming approach to the part. Bradford is careful to show that Aaron isn't this deeply troubled boy really as a person, and in a way is not quite aware of just what his situation might be given the time and place. Bradford is careful to still have a general undercurrent of childhood enthusiasm within his performance, very utilized by him. In that Bradford conveys a definite sense of fear with the unknown at times yet he links it well to suggest a certain interest in the various new people he's discovering and getting to know. Bradford doesn't inflict Aaron with an inherent damage still exemplifying that he is still a kid in this situation, and importantly interacts with his situation as a kid not an adult. This can even be in rather simple, yet very effective ways, such as his relationship with a girl, Ella, also in the hotel who suffers from seizures. It isn't a romance that Bradford depicts, as he so well shows a shyness in Aaron of a boy who just wouldn't quite know how to react even when it obvious a girl likes him. What Bradford instead gives a warmth of a real friend instead, and brings such a delicate sweetness in these scenes suggesting the right gentle concern as her condition worsens.

That is one of his experiences though as Aaron attempts to find some other source of income, all the while trying to avoid a sinister bellboy attempting to change the locks on his room. Bradford is again incredibly good at portraying this so honestly as a boy attempting to gain money, whether it is hatching bird eggs or attempting to be a golf caddy. In both circumstances his attempts do no go particularly well. Again Bradford does not portray any sort of emotional collapse in Aaron in these failures, portraying instead a resilience within the boy to keep going. It is not to say Bradford doesn't portray anything though instead he very subtly wears these defeats in his performance, very quiet yet very moving all the same. This method of Bradford's alludes well to Aaron's nature, which is to try to take things in stride since that's really the only way he can take them given his situation. Bradford by doing this no seems underwhelming by internalizing every moment so well, whether is the genuine happiness at seeing his mother again, or the horror at discovering one of his neighbors has committed suicide. That is all except one aspect of his life that comes back to Aaron's story of Charles Lindberg at the beginning of the film. The first person perspective of the story ends up connecting to the frequent lies that Aaron tells his classmates and even his teacher in order to avoid revealing the truth about his difficult circumstances at home. Bradford portrays these lies as something that come so easily from him, yet within his words there is an unease not of the lie but rather for his peers to learn the truth about his home life. This nervousness about his situation grows until he attends a party where he finally hears that so many of the students are well aware of what he has been trying to hide. Bradford is rather heartbreaking by so effectively realizing Aaron's pain. He perhaps loses his composure most at this scene, yet Bradford still wears much of it within his work to show the anguish in his silence. Aaron never gives up despite his hardship and that is the key of Bradford's performance. His work is poignant as it conveys the experiences of this boy, as it makes it through his life. Bradford is convincing in showing the difficulty of it as well as the joys that can be found, and most importantly the ability to keep going.

190 comments:

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Ratings and thoughts on the rest of the cast.

Charles Heiston said...

Certainly seems you didn't like this as much as you did Day-Lewis, It'll be interesting to see what you think of Cheung and Hopkins. Day-Lewis will be extremely strong to beat.

Robert MacFarlane said...

So I just watched Beautiful Creatures. On paper it sounds like Southern Fried Twilight in terms of plot. I was extremely pleasantly surprised to find it to be infinitely more fun, adorable, and enjoyable than I ever would have guessed. Even when the inevitable fantasy plot silliness takes over, the scenes find a way to make them tongue-in-cheek enough to be entertaining. Louis, keep Alden Ehrenreich in mind for 2013 Best Actor. I'm not exaggerating, he's totally great.

Robert MacFarlane said...

(Okay, maybe the last fifteen minutes weren't that good, but the rest of it exceeded my expectations by a good margin.)

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Henry Silva as Bane, Adrienne Barbeau as Catwoman, Diane Pershing as Poison Ivy and Jeffrey Combs as Scarecrow.

RatedRStar said...

Golden Globes tonight, what does everybody think of Jimmy Fallon hosting?

Deiner said...

Crap! For some reason I thought you'd like him less. So my predictions right now:
1 - Day-Lewis
2 - Hopkins
3 - Bradford
4 - Cheung
5 - Wong

Michael McCarthy said...

I finally saw Silence. I thought it was excellent and for the most part I agree with what everyone on the blog is saying, with the exception of Tsukamoto who I actually found to be kind of awkward in the role. I don't think it detracted from the film at all though.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Krabbe - 3(He can cut a good piece of ham now and again, but I thought he toned that down to a reasonable level here. Instead portraying just the right haplessness within a genuine warmth of a father who is struggling to do his best.)

Eichhorn - 3(Brief but rather moving in portraying both the concern for her family and her physical condition.)

Allen - 2.5(Fine but a fairly limited role as the somewhat supportive teacher.)

McGovern - 3(Strange seeing her in such a acerbic role, but she does a pretty good job at playing the intense cynicism of her prostitute.)

Brody - 3(An enjoyably work being rather endearing in portraying a guy whose trying to always find some sort of angle for better or worse.)

Benson - 3(Really liked her unassuming chemistry with Bradford, and also portrayed the seizure scenes very effectively.)

Gray - 3.5(A bit hard to watch that ending given what happened to him in his own personal life. Gray however was always an interesting presence onscreen. In this film I like how he deconstructs basically the normal friendly neighbor type. He is that, but within his smile you can see a man basically falling apart.)

Robert:

I'll keep it mind.

Anonymous:

Silva - (That whole Bane I have to admit came off as more goofy than menacing, and I don't feel Silva's performance helped it. The design of him in the first season though felt particularly weak, especially compared to all the other characters. He's one of the few I felt improved actually with the redesign. Nevertheless I still did not find the character ever that compelling, and felt Silva's approach only reinforced him as almost an evil Luchador.)

Pershing - (Pershing good in given the right sultry seductiveness to her part while having the same coldness behind it of someone who does not care for any one other than her plants. At the same time though in the moments with plants she delivers the right single minded passion to reflect the character's strong motivation.)

Combs - (Another actual upgrade for the redesign and upgrade with the vocal performance. Combs takes kind of the basis what Polic did but takes it further. He just oozes creepiness all the more, and makes it a bit more penetrating. His voice with Scarecrow really gets under the skin.)

Didn't I cover Barbeau before?

Anonymous said...

Louis: You actually covered DeLisle's performance, not Barbeau's.

Louis Morgan said...

Michael:

Well I'm happy to hear you took to it.

Anonymous:

Alright then.

Barbeau - (Her performance importantly finds the essence for the complex version of Catwoman. In that her work has a definite heart and life to it that you sense both the ability for good in her as well as how she would appeal to Bruce. Barbeau however does bring the right twinge of mischievousness to the role as well to show her less savory side, while never making her evil in nature either.)

Charles Heiston said...

RatedRStar: I love Jimmy Fallon hosting, He'll be better then that terrible T.J Miller at the Critic's Choice.

Giuseppe Fadda said...

@RatedRStar: I actually like Fallon quite a bit in general so I have no problem with him hosting (even if I can totally see why someond would find him grating). I only hope he won't bring up again his past encounters with Nicole Kidman - the first time she was on his show and they talked about it, it was very funny and cute, but the second time it was a bit phony and at times a bit awkward.

Anonymous said...

Louis, Your 16-20 favorite supporting roles you've seen.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

16. Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
17. Sean Connery - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
18. Claude Rains - Notorious
19. Tom Courtenay - Doctor Zhivago
20. Robert Duvall - Apocalypse Now

Robert MacFarlane said...

@RatedRStar: Let me put it this way: Joss Whedon hit like of a tweet I made when I called Fallon the Peter Pettigrew of comedians.

RatedRStar said...

Robert: Does that mean you think he is basically a kiss ass/toady?

Robert MacFarlane said...

@RatedRStar: The man ruffled Donald Trump's hair and giggled like a school boy. Mark my words, Fallon would have named names in the 50's.

Luke Higham said...

Michael McCarthy: Your ratings and thoughts on Garfield, Ogata and Neeson.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Marion Cotillard could get nominated for a Razzie this year for Allied, as well as Assassin's Creed.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Yep that's the Razzies as usual, doing their gossip rag level garbage.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your Batman Animated film ranking. And quick thoughts on them, if you haven't given them yet.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Jude Law, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Simon Pegg, Patrick Stewart and Andrew Garfield. (Though you'll likely save thoughts on him until you review both of his performances)

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Lastly, Mark Strong and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

Luke Higham said...

Everyone: Are there any other child performances that could possibly get a five from Louis. For example, Kirsten Dunst in Interview With The Vampire.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Could Christian Bale get an upgrade for Empire Of The Sun.

Alex Marqués said...

Luke: I still haven't seen it, but I've heard very good things about Ivan Drobronrarov in The Return (2003).

Luke Higham said...

Alex: Nikolai Burlyayev in Ivan's Childhood (I've read some Letterboxd reviews, comparing his performance as a precursor to Kravchenko's in Come And See)

Calvin Law said...

Right, I think I'd like to nominate Simon Quaterman for worst performance of 2016 unless he suddenly pulls a 180-degree turn at any point. Louis, you were right that he's gradually disappearing into the background, but its testament to his awful performance that he still manages to make quite the exacerbatingly annoying impact every time onscreen.

On a seperate note everyone, who are some respected but still relatively unknown television/film/theatre actors you want to see break out? Because Jimmi Simpson is really making a big case for me as one of the character actors I really want to see being given a big role. Those eyes of his are just so expressive.

Giuseppe Fadda said...

@Calvin: Almost the whole cast of Orange is the New Black. Honestly they are all perfect, and I find particularly puzzling that Danielle Brooks got almost no recognition for her amazing performance in the 2nd and 4nd season. Same for Laura Prepon who has been consistently excellent throughout the four seasons yet got nothing but a Satellite Award.

Giuseppe Fadda said...

4th*

Luke Higham said...

Liam Cunningham
Jared Harris

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Maybe, Mark Strong as well.

Charles Heiston said...

Ryan Gosling will finally get his overdue Golden Globe.

Alex Marqués said...

Calvin: Ian McShane. He got a lot of (deserved) recognition for his role in Deadwood, but I don't feel his talent is on par with most of his output.

Calvin Law said...

Final Golden Globe Predictions:

Best Picture (Drama): Moonlight
Best Picture (Musical/Comedy): La La Land
Best Director: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Best Actor (Film, Drama): Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Best Actress (Film, Drama): Natalie Portman, Jackie
Best Actor (Film, Musical/Comedy): Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
Best Actress (Film, Musical/Comedy): Emma Stone, La La Land
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Fences
Best Screenplay: Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Best Score: Justin Hurwitz, La La Land
Best Animated Film: Zootopia

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

1. Batman Mask of the Phantasm - (Very good movie in both in terms of its creation of its central mystery, some good use of the Joker, great animation of course, excellent music as well giving a very emotional detailing of a Batman's origin story.)

2. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker - (The uncut version anyways is dark and effective film that features some of Hamill's best work as the Joker. The reveals in the film are surprisingly twisted yet very effective. Not to mention it makes good use of the concept of that series through the interplay between Bruce, Terry and the Joker.)

3. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - (This is better than the one below but not by much. The film needed more adapting. Too much of the dialogue is extremely awkward when spoken, and it is not helped by a few uninspired performances. The animation itself has no real approach to the story either making it fall flat too often.)

4. Batman Year One - (Poor casting for Batman, good for Gordon, but the film is intolerable. Again needed actual adaptation. Word for word does not work since the constant narration reads fine, but spoken aloud it eventually just sounds silly. Its loyalty to the comic book only hinders it never coming to life as it should.)

5. Batman Subzero - (The shame is that the episode "Deep Freeze" should have been a movie, where this plot could have been handled in an episode. The whole thing just feels stretched and it is not helped out by some rather awkward animation that poorly combines traditional with CGI.)

Law - (An interesting actor in the way he is kind of a bland leading man a times, not really a terrible leading man by any mean yet doesn't exactly stand out like you need to. As a supporting player though he's so effortlessly compelling and often stands out more than as a leading man. Perhaps it's the nature of the characters, but there is something special there. He makes much more of an impact, and he's so often rather daring in his approach in those roles. On a whole though he's an underrated actor since he gets a strange degree of hate as an actor, which is wholly undeserved.)

Louis Morgan said...

Considine - (Quite the actor and judging by his debut quite the director. Considine basically has done his career in smaller roles, and the occasional lead. He's quite fascinating in the ease he brings to his performances no matter the challenge whether it is the violent intensity of Dead Man's Shoes or the comedic intensity of Hot Fuzz. Seriously though he's a striking one of a kind performer, and an actor that basically always adds to the films in which he appears.)

Freeman - (His comedic work definitely has a certain shtick to it, which I could see potentially could become grating though I haven't experienced that myself. Freeman though has proven his ability to transport that to such sheer likability in the Hobbit films, while maintaining a real dramatic undercurrent. Then his work Fargo has proven his ability to subvert that to even darker ends. All of his performances I've seen of his are in the same canvas essentially, but he's proven that it is quite the wide canvas.)

Pegg - (His general comedic work is consistent, charming and most importantly funny. His work though with Edgar Wright, though most often hilarious, suggests he has real potential as a dramatic actor. In all three roles in the Cornetto trilogy he plays three wildly different characters all equally well, and each with a surprising degree of emotional range. I'd love to see him play a juicy dramatic role because I think he could pull it off.)

Stewart - (Stewart I think technically might be a greater presence than a great actor at times. Stewart as himself is worth something all in himself from his voice, to his one of kind manner. Don't get me wrong though either he's had some good performances throughout his career both in the dramatic and the comedic, his Extras appearance is comic gold. He can make strange choices though, go watch his take on Ebenezer Scrooge for evidence. All the same Stewart does seem to do things his way, which is notable even if it doesn't always work out entirely.)

Strong - (A great heavy actor, as like a Robert Ryan, he usually finds ways to differentiate his villains from one to another even when the writing behind them can be quite thin. Strong though in more recent years has proven that when asked to go out of this comfort zone he's more than up to the task, having not only some comedic chops, but also quite the emotional range. I wish he'd get more substantial roles more often since he pretty much always delivers.)

Waldau - (Nothing to really add to my review in Headhunters and what I've said about his Jamie since I've only seen his minor roles in Ridley Scott's films otherwise.)

Maybe in regards to Bale since it has been a very long time since I've seen the film.

Calvin:

He doesn't get better.

Anyways I'll co-sign on Jimmi Simpson, great actor.

Luke Higham said...

Louis:
Shia LaBeouf
Jack O'Connell
Miles Teller
John Boyega
Taron Egerton
Tom Holland

and Hollander & Capaldi

Alex Marqués said...

Jimmi Simpson is hilarious in It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis, what are your thoughts on Patrick Stewart's Scrooge?

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Come on Luke, give me a little space between such long lists.

Matt:

The film itself is basically done as an inferior remake to the Scott version, in that most of the choices very similair to that film just not as well done. That is except the strangeness that is Stewart's portrayal of Scrooge. Now in the early scenes he is technically mean, taking the approach though as though Scrooge is going to have a rage induced heart attack very soon. That's not the problem with his performance though. Once the story gets going he makes so many bizarre choices such as playing his scene with Jacob Marley as though he's talking to a friend over a casual drink, or when he shows that Scrooge is still stressed out about being generous even after his redemption. He keeps the anger almost throughout his performance, and suggests no real arc in him. He keeps a very one note portrayal which one can't do to play Scrooge, when him changing is the whole point of the story. Every step he takes is certainly original, I guess, but so very wrong for the story and the character.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: I'm sorry, I'll ask again on the next review.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Seen anything new.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

The Girl on the Train, because sometimes you have to fill out your worst of the year list.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Thoughts on the film & Ratings and thoughts on the cast.

Can I have an analysis of the Globes later on.

Louis Morgan said...

The film is abysmal. Tate Taylor directs it as though he has some vague recollections of how other thrillers are done. The editing, his framing of scenes, the use of music, are almost laughable at times by how far they miss the mark, but the funny thing is you can see the effort, unfortunately it is the effort of an incompetent. As bad as Taylor's direction is nothing else helps the film. The mystery I found not to be much of a mystery at all, despite some rather ridiculous plot contrivances in order to create the revelation. It still amounted to nothing. Honestly it reminded me a bit of The Morning After, that's not a good thing, but without even a Raul Julia to help things just a tad.

Blunt - 2(I actually watched just to see Blunt's performance. This is the worst performance I've seen from her and it would be a shame for it to be her first Oscar nomination. I found her to be rather awful in her early scenes as she overacted them like a cartoon version of a wino, kind of like Fonda in Morning After actually but worse. After those early scenes I found she at least pulled it back a bit, but not to anything good. She played it terribly one note not really realizing any nuance within the character's trauma, just instead keeping this same "I'm troubled" face throughout the film. I'm sure she was terribly directed, since I know Blunt can do better, but this was not good.)

Bennett - 2(Found her performance more bland than anything else. Her character should have been a fascinating enigma, but she was the worst thing possible by just kind of being a bit bland.)

Ferguson - 2(Her inconsistent accent aside this too I found to be a terrible underwhelming performance. She just kind of says her lines, and you get no real sense of any real history between her and Theroux's character or even Blunt's beyond just the most basic "I'm concerned".)

Theroux - 1.5(Bizarre the way he made no real impact until his last scene where he finally decided to show up and ham it up just to end on a sour note. Could have potentially been a real worm, but is more forgettable than anything.)

Evans - 2(Felt he was miscast more than anything. I actually thought his first speaking scenes were decent enough, but the more he stayed the more mediocre he became, I suppose to fit his surroundings a bit better.)

Yeah sure.

Louis Morgan said...

Supporting Actor, well that was a surprise. I guess Ali isn't invincible. To quote his Quicksilver "You didn't see that coming".

Robert MacFarlane said...

Holy shit. I mean, I do love ATJ in Nocturnal Animals, but now I'm worried Ali will end up screwed at the Oscars. Plus now I'm terrified NA might take more awards.

Louis Morgan said...

They must have really loved that cologne eh?

Robert MacFarlane said...

You think Ford got Pia Zadora to sing at a dinner, too?

Louis Morgan said...

If he pulled that one, I think we're looking at a clean sweep for Nocturnal Animals.

Robert MacFarlane said...

*shudder*

Anonymous said...

Louis do you think the Globes matter for the Oscars?

Charles Heiston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

They actually do matter, despite the complete lack of voting overlap, more than they should. For two reasons. One they can help to start a trend or highlight a performer. The other reason is they offer the first alternative viewpoint from the critics group despite being press themselves. Their taste can sometimes help illustrate a divide, for example this suggests that while Ali might be the only choice for most critics he's not the only choice outside that sphere. Not to mention, like the Academy, campaigns are more directly involved in the voting process.

Charles Heiston said...

Really hoping for Mortensen or Affleck for Lead Actor, Please Globes please!

94dfk1 said...

Thanks for The Girl on The Train review! I just found out to be mediocre. I love me some Emily Blunt as much as the next guy but 2016 wasn't the best year for her movie-wise.

RIP Everyone's Golden Globes predictions :/

Calvin Law said...

YES HUGH LAURIE

Louis Morgan said...

Song and Score: Well I like those wins, though I have to wonder does it count for both the solo and duet versions of "City of stars".

Charles Heiston said...

Awesome that La La Land got 2 in a row for score and song. And has i predicted Viola Davis for the win.

Calvin Law said...

Colman, and Laurie? Very pleased, Globes. Very, very pleased :)

Charles Heiston said...

Thank you so much Globes! Gosling's overdue victory.

Louis Morgan said...

Looks like La La Land will have at least five globe wins, six if they go for Chazelle (which it looks like they might at this point), and if that's the case it will be tied for the most wins for any film in their history.

Louis Morgan said...

Never mind it looks like it is going to break the record.

Louis Morgan said...

Elle wins foreign language film hmm......anyway at the very least it is hard not to smile to see how excited Huppert gets actually.

Charles Heiston said...

Chazelle wins again! Yay

Charles Heiston said...

Casey Affleck wins his overdue Golden Globe, Would have loved to see Mortensen win one too.

Louis Morgan said...

Huppert!

Matt Mustin said...

Louis: Wait, did I miss you give your thoughts on Elle? Cause I don't remember that.

Louis Morgan said...

Matt:

I haven't seen it, just surprised to see her win, and I have to say her enthusiasm is infectious.

Matt Mustin said...

Oh, fair enough.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Alright overall thoughts on the winners. Out of the ones I've seen I felt they were very deserving, except of course the male acting winners in which I have no opinion on until January 24th. Surprised La La Land took everything, I thought it would take six not seven, but I won't complain I love the film.

In terms of the overall implications. This helps Taylor-Johnson, he could be the first non-nominee since Richard Benjamin, but this does raise his profile to the point that I could see him making it in. Best Picture is static still. Actress that really was a miss for Portman, she can recover, but it shows that she was never the automatic winner some have been claiming. Supporting actress I'd say is over, which I don't really have a major problem with since Davis was good. Supporting actor though suggests maybe Ali isn't the given, though I can't imagine Taylor-Johnson would be the one to beat him. If Ali only wins SAG though it will be a close call no matter what. Actor I do think will be decided by SAG, I expected them to go for Affleck here since they preferred Manchester over Fences in overall nominations.

ruthiehenshallfan99 said...

That was a moving tribute to Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds earlier.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I don't want to get too political (not that I've hidden it before), but Streep's speech really hit home with me.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Also, can we please strap Fallon to a rocket and shoot it into the sun?

Giuseppe Fadda said...

Aaron Taylor-Johnson's win was so unexpected, loved that!

94dfk1 said...

Robert: Him actually petting you-know-who on his show was the last straw.

Alex Marqués said...

I'm very happy for Huppert, and I was surprised to see ATJ winning, didn't expect it at all. I can't wait to see the rest of the winners.

Calvin Law said...

Saw Fences. Have to admit I was impressed. Essentially a filmed play, but I'm glad Washington directed it that way, and performances were all very good to great. I'd say it's my favourite Washington performance, and possibly my favourite Davis one too.

Washington - 5
Davis - 4.5/5
Henderson - 3.5
Adepo - 3.5
Hornsby - 3
Williamson - 4

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

I'm really glad about La La Land sweeping, it completely deserves it. I guess PGA will decide the real frontrunner.
And I have no problem with Taylor-Johnson being nominated, as long as he's given a performance worthy of at least a 4.5 from Louis.

ruthiehenshallfan99 said...

Robert: I can agree with you on Fallon. I found (find) him very unfunny.

Giuseppe Fadda said...

The Girl on the Train has not really aged well with me and it's indeed pretty bad. That said, I still liked Blunt's performance and to a lesser extent even Bennett's (she was quite bland in the beginning but some of her later scenes were effective) and Ferguson's. I agree Evans was more miscast than actually bad, while Theroux was really quite weak.

Luke Higham said...

SAG Predictions
Lead Actor: Washington
Lead Actress: Stone
Supporting Actor: Ali
Supporting Actress: Davis
Ensemble: Moonlight

Robert MacFarlane said...

If Washington wins the SAG, he wins the Oscar. That's the rule with Best Actor; SAG has a matched up with that category from 2004 on. It's how to call close races in that category.

Calvin Law said...

I would certainly be very pleased with a Washington win, he's my #2 at this point.

Varun Neermul said...

I love Meryl Streep, that speech was amazing.

Charles Heiston said...

Calvin: I certainly would not be pleased if Denzel wins his 3rd Oscar, Over the overdue Mortensen, Affleck, and Gosling.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: Would it still bother you if Denzel hadn't won his previous two oscars.

Charles Heiston said...

Robert: I thought Fallon was an ok host for Golden Globes, But he could have added more humor.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: Kind of, But no.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: I'm not really bothered who ends up winning, though Affleck would probably please me the most, since it would be nice to see both siblings have academy awards to their names.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: Affleck would be my pick, But Mortensen is not too far behind.

Alex Marqués said...

I personally don't care about the term "overdue" anymore. In my opinion, the fact that an actor deserves recognition for a performance but he doesn't get it doesn't mean that in a different year he should take an award away from a more deserving actor, otherwise it becomes a never-ending circle.

Calvin Law said...

I'm one of those who think that both Washington's wins were very deserving, so that might be why I wouldn't begrudge a third win. But I quite like how all the main contenders this year aren't really showboating performances. Mortensen, Hanks and Edgerton all gave very restrained performances, Affleck's by all accounts is too, Garfield actually achieves a lot of nuance with his very Oscar-y sort of role, I was impressed with the generosity of Washington's performance even though his character is a domineering, showy sort, and I've read that Gosling gives a performance that amplifies Stone's beautifully.

Alex Marqués said...

Calvin: While I like Denzel, I was worried about the possibility of him going a bit overboard. Good to know it's not the case.

Calvin Law said...

Alex: Washington can go too far sometimes, but I actually think this performance is impressively restrained in some ways, especially given that he had to translate a character he'd played countless of times onstage to the silver screen. There's moments of earnt showboating that's for sure, but a lot of depth and subtlety beneath that.

Charles Heiston said...

Calvin: Denzel is an overactor to me, He overdoes nearly all his performances including his 2 Oscar winning performances. He was great in Fences but the fact is if i were going by performance, i would not mind if Denzel won, but just knowing he has 2 Oscar's and the other actors have been robbed before in other years really bugs me.

Alex Marqués said...

That's cool Calvin, I'll check it out :D

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Are there any performances by Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender, that you could possibly upgrade.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Tom Hardy for the Drop.

Anonymous said...

So, I just saw Fences on Putlocker and wow, Washington really impressed me. I won't mind if he wins.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: I really hope you'll give him a five for that performance.

By the way, With possible upgrades, I don't necessarily mean just a 4.5 to a 5. I'm also interested in 3.5/4 and 4/4.5.

What about:
Cotillard
Mulligan
Watts
Streep
and Foster

Calvin Law said...

Tessa Thompson seems really miscast, but not overtly bad in Westworld. I mean, she's bland but at least she doesn't make eating grapes seem altogether unnatural. Out of the whole cast I think I'm most increasingly impressed by Thandie Newton.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your cast and director for a 1960's version of The Girl in the Train.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Maybe Public Enemies for Cotillard. If your asking about Foster of the Ben variety, then maybe the Messenger.

Calvin:

Newton's great to be sure. For me, Thompson I'd agree was miscast but I found it gets worse as she looks really out of element when acting against Hopkins on his A-game.

Anonymous:

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock:

Rachel: Maggie Smith
Anna: Shirley Jones
Megan: Diana Rigg
Tom: Cliff Robertson
Scott: Christopher Plummer

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Meant Ben. :)

Calvin Law said...

Louis: could you imagine Jeffrey Wright thriving in a Rudolf Abel-esque sort of role? Because I think that's all he really needs for a true cinematic breakthrough.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

I certainly could see that.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Did you re-watch Schindler's List.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I saw A Monster Calls and had a very long, cathartic cry.

Luke Higham said...

Robert: Your thoughts on A Monster Calls and the cast, plus ratings.

Luke Higham said...

Robert: Is Jones, Lead or Supporting.

Robert MacFarlane said...

McDougal: Perhaps a few awkward line readings when he's responding to the montser's stories, but mostly pretty damn impressive. He has the right look of a withdrawn, miserable little kid. His dynamics with Jones, Kebbell, and Weaver are all unique from each other and give a nice insight on unspoken histories. Some of his early scenes with the monster are a tad awkward (you can tell he was having a hard time getting used to the green screen), but his more emotional ones are complete dynamite.

Jones: She is definitely supporting, and totally wonderful. The warmth she brings never feels cloying or saccharine, and her chemistry with McDougal is outstanding. She goes further by making her less-focused-on interactions with Kebbell and Weaver convincingly strained, even if the moments are brief. Her final few scenes as her condition deteriorates are well-earned breakdowns, and goddammit I sobbed. Totally brilliant work.

Kebbell: A nice surprise, he's great again! The script gives him a nice, contradictory character and he reciprocates by finding the perfect time to play it. His expressions when he talks to McDougal are so filled with warmth that you never doubt that he loves his son, yet his line readings sometimes make you wonder how sincere his promises are. It creates a perfect balance of big on whether or not he's a true deadbeat. He goes even further than that by showing regret in some silent moments that make it known that the character, on some level, is aware of his failures. His final scene with McDougal is just as touching as the rest of it. His role might not be as baits as Jones, by I loved him just as much.

Weaver: Okay, her accent is admittedly pretty off, but she does a nice job nonetheless. She's convincingly cold in early scenes, but she never makes the grandmother a dragon lady in them.her reaction to a certain plot development is surprisingly wrenching, and her final moments in the film are still touching.

Neeson: Really nice voice work. Finds a great balance of ferocity, dry wit, and kindness.

Robert MacFarlane said...

(Sorry if I'm being redundant with some words, I'm typing this from my phone.)

Luke Higham said...

Robert: Do you think Louis will love Jones as much as you, because I had a feeling, a number of months ago, that if any Female Supporting performance will get a five from him, it's going to be her.

Robert MacFarlane said...

He could. I think this performance is up his alley.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: What did you think of the ending to episode 7 of Westworld. Think that might be the best acted scene of television this Century so far, for me.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Masterful in every way from the power of the revelation both in terms of the story but also the emotion of it, to the brilliance of the dialogue and of course all three performances involved especially Hopkins.

Calvin Law said...

Couldn't have said it better. I also don't understand the hate I've found for Knudsen in some parts, I'd actually consider her one of the strongest components in the show, and also has to deal with some of its worst components. So what if her accent is a bit odd, real people talk with slightly off accents sometimes too.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Yeah that criticism doesn't make any sense to me either since I just figured her character was suppose to be originally from Denmark as well. Plus, as you alluded, one should be given extra credit for trying to elevate so many scenes with Quaterman.

Alex Marqués said...

Guys, you REALLY should check out Horace & Pete if you haven't.

Louis Morgan said...

On Bafta. Man they really just don't like Washington apparently. I hate that Silence keeps getting shut out. It seems like it probably won't connect, but a man can still hold a fools hope that it will. Anyway on the rest I can support that La La Land, and Arrival love. I cannot support that Nocturnal Animals love, hopefully that is a Bafta only film.

Anonymous said...

Louis: I imagine you will be even more angry if Jake Gyllenhaal gets Oscar Nominated since you already gave his rating lol, it wont happen of course but that must be a tiny worry in the back of the mind what with Taylor Johnson winning the Globe that maybe Nocturnal picking up some steam lol

Alex Marqués said...

The idea of the Academy nominating Gyllenhaal for Nocturnal Animals instead of doing the same thing with Nightcrawler two years ago is quite frustrating.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: I'm not concerned with Gyllenhaal and I had my suspicions about Silence. Anyway, it's definitely down to SAG now to decide the Lead Actor race.

Calvin: What are your thoughts on the score from Moonlight, I gave it a listen last night and completely adored the classical element to it.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: it's beautiful and works so incredibly well with the film. My #1 for Best Score so far.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Well I wouldn't be happy about it, nor do I care for that THAT is the performance they've decided to recognize Blunt for.

Luke:

I thought that the film might not make it in the above the line categories, but to see it completely snubbed below the line is a bit baffling as well as rather frustrating.

Calvin Law said...

I feel if Silence came out last year it'd have been the big winner, not necessarily because of competition, just feel like it's been shafted aside from the other contenders this year whereas last year it would have fitted in quite nicely, I don't know why, just a feeling.

Anonymous said...

So, guys, here's a new photo from the Justice League movie.
http://www.slashfilm.com/justice-league-photo-2/

Robert MacFarlane said...

Louis, would you consider lowering your score for Jake in Nocturnal Animals? Because I kind of thought he was terrible.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: I still have no faith.

Calvin Law said...

I have literally zero hype for the Justice League film. Moderately so for Wonder Woman, but for JL I just think it'll be a complete mess. Marvel's cinematic universe isn't flawless but at least they slowly established their main players with individual films, before releasing a whole team-up, testing the waters and seeing what worked and what didn't. Just jumbling characters together won't work.

Anonymous said...

Luke: Neither do I. I just wanted to show the photo

Calvin Law said...

Robert: I re-watched the film and have to admit Jake fell down a bit for me too, as did Shannon. I also kind of hate it overall now, and I think we completely agree on that ending being one of the worst.

Having said that, I'm happy that Taylor-Johnson is getting awards love. I wouldn't mind his nomination so long as it's the only nomination Nocturnal Animals gets...although that might come at the cost of someone like Liam Neeson, Ben Foster or Issey Ogata sneaking in.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: That's OK. Anyway, I saw the photo during Affleck's interview on Jimmy Kimmel.

Louis Morgan said...

Robert:

Yes I would as feel I was a bit generous already, hopefully I won't have to readjust it in the form of a review though.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Is he a 3 or lower.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

On Silence I think it might have been a combination of unfortunate factors. One being Paramount fumbled the campaign since they clearly only decided to release it in 2016 at the last minute. The second being I think as film it's one that will benefit when viewers have some time to reflect on it, for example my own initial reaction was already strong but it has only has grown with me further over time, something a late release doesn't help with at all. Lastly the film I think is one that needed to be seen widely in screenings not at home with screeners. The last shot for example I think probably is amplified by being just a bit of light in a dark theater.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Might as well wait and see if he is nominated. I need something to write about if I have to review him.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Do you still have belief in Neeson getting in.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Still have belief? What I am in Silence?

Well on that note PGA noms:

Arrival
Deadpool
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester By The Sea
Moonlight

Anonymous said...

Louis can I get your updated predictions in Picture/Director and the acting races?

Luke Higham said...

Louis. :) Well, at least he gave a tremendous performance, which should at least be some consolation to you.

I would love and hate to see Deadpool in the best picture category this year.

Anonymous said...

Luke: A superhero movie getting a Best Picture nomination? Unlikely.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: Certainly, but if it did, it would irritate me to no end that it's the first superhero film to be nominated, when it should've been The Dark Knight.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I'm honestly not a big fan of Deadpool, but I'll take it over Nocturnal Animals any day of the week.

Anonymous said...

Luke: Even if The Dark Knight had been nominated, it wouldn't have won. But Ledger got the Oscar, and that's good enough for me.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: The nomination would've mattered to me, though Slumdog was unstoppable that year so it would've been reward enough.

Agreed on Ledger.

Anonymous said...

Luke: So what do you think they should do with the DC Cinematic Universe? Scrap it?

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: Yes, so they could save themselves from further embarrassment.

Charles Heiston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luke Higham said...

Louis: Are you watching Taboo tonight.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Wait until DGA.

Luke:

I will if I have the time.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Are you sure that you can't downgrade Cooper's performance in For Whom the Bell Tolls? I found his final speech to Maria to be badly delivered.

Varun Neermul said...

Would anyone here give Aaron a 5 for his performance In Nocturnal Animals?

Charles Heiston said...

Varun: Probably not.

Luke Higham said...

Varun: I'm actually leaning towards a five for him.

Alex Marqués said...

Luke: He's my favourite of the year so far, but I still have to see A LOT.

Robert MacFarlane said...

@Varun: I don't really do ratings, but I did love him when I saw it a lot. That said, my enthusiasm for his work has died down slightly, but he's still the best thing about that shitshow. He's not in my Supporting Actor lineup anymore.

Giuseppe Fadda said...

I'm probably one of the few here who does not hate Nocturnal Animals and even if it is indeed rather flawed I still think there are some things worthy of appreciation. I actually really liked both Adams and Gyllenhaal and I would not really mind a nomination for the latter, even if there are unquestionably better performances to reward this year.

Charles Heiston said...

Varun: A solid 4 for me.

Calvin Law said...

One episode to go for Westworld, in case you haven't started watching it, start watching it.

Preparing a good ol' meal before the finale. Maybe some chianti beans too.

Calvin Law said...

Preparing my Westworld cast rankings for the blog, but for the timebeing:

1. Jeffrey Wright
2. Anthony Hopkins
3. Thandie Newton
4. Evan Rachel Wood
5. Jimmi Simpson
6. Ed Harris
7. Louis Herthum
8. James Marsden
9. Sidse Babett Knudsen
10. Clifton Collins Jr.
11. Angela Sarafyan
12. Rodrigo Santoro
13. Shannon Woodward
14. Ingrid Bolsø Berdal
15. Ben Barnes
16. Talulah Riley
17. Ptolemy Slocum
18. Leonardo Nam
19. Luke Hemsworth
20. Tessa Thompson
21. Simon Quarterman

Robert MacFarlane said...

Louis: I recently watched the first season of Fargo (which was great!), and I have a question; do you think Martin Freeman would have made a good Wormtail? Like, if they made the Harry Potter movies now?

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Probably.

Robert:

I could. I think he could have gotten even more under your skin in terms of portraying the character's sycophant nature, though it would be hard to match the visual of Spall transforming into and from a rat.

Luke Higham said...

I really hope we'll get Hopkins tonight or tomorrow.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: 1980s Westworld cast? All I got is Raul Julia as Bernard and Richard Jordan as William.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Jack O'Connell, Tom Holland, Tom Hollander and Peter Capaldi.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: And Jason Bateman.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Joseph Fiennes being cast as Michael Jackson.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Lastly, who would be your preferred choice for Belle instead of Emma Watson, because after watching the latest TV Spot, her voice is auto-tuned with her rendition of 'Belle'.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the Dark Phoenix Saga episodes of X-Men TAS.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

I approve of those choices.

Dr. Ford: Richard Attenborough (Felt shades of Attenborough's John Hammond with Hopkins in Ford's more inspirational moments)
Maeve: Cathy Tyson
Dolores: Frances McDormand
Teddy: Peter Weller
Armistice: Caroline Munro
Hector: Benicio Del Toro
Ashley: Frank Stallone
Elsie: Lee Garlington
Clementine: Anna Levine
Logan: Richard Thomas
Lawrence: Michael Parks
Lee: Michael Palin
Charlotte: Angela Bassett
Abernathy: Harry Dean Stanton
The Man in Black: Robert Mitchum

Luke:

O'Connell - (Fresh young talent with definite screen presence. Maybe a bit rusty around the edges but I think he could potentially break out big with the right roles as I feel he has the talent.)

Holland - (Classical British character actor, and I mean that in the best of ways. Basically effortless in drama and comedy though rarely given his due when it comes to getting roles with actual meat to them. He almost always shines when given the chance.)

Capaldi - (I haven't seen that much of him total but tends to be an entertaining presence whenever and wherever he shows up.)

Bateman - (I think his straight man routine in comedies is technically hit or miss, sometimes it really works, and other times he comes off as too much of a jerk for it to work. As a dramatic actor though he really delivers and I hope he finds roles down the road which challenge him since he seems to have some hidden talents in him)

Terrible casting for Fiennes, but I have to admit late Jackson would be a very hard role to cast no matter what.

I actually think in terms of type she's well cast, though Watson, from what I've seen so far, isn't that talented of an actress and that auto tuning was noticeable. Hopefully that was just a mistake in the sound recording, but if it wasn't that poses a serious problem. Alternate choices aren't always obvious, since you need to know who can sing so on that basis Samantha Barks could have worked.

On a side note it is hard to believe that Emma Watson and Miles Teller were the original choices for La La Land, they certainly made an upgrade there.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Do you think Mulligan would've been good if she was about 5-7 years younger.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Tom Holland.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Yes I would.

Sorry read it as Hollander.

Holland - (Proving himself to very talented and extremely natural performer. He really was the one who carried The Impossible, and did so so effectively. Now in the few other places he's popped up he's very consistent and often a highlight of the films. I look forward to seeing him lead again with Spider-man.)

Louis Morgan said...

Hey the American Society of Cinematography nominations:

La La Land
Arrival
Lion
Moonlight
Silence (FINALLY!!!)

Anonymous:

An excellent set of episodes. I love that the show does not shy away from the darker material either. It realizes the strength of the original material in terms of its visuals but also more. It gets emotional, and it does keep the stakes quite high particularly in the final scenes of the saga. I will say this shows how the saga needs to be done. It needs the time to build, you can't just go to Dark Phoenix or it makes no sense. Also you really need the intergalactic elements of X-Men for it to work, so they should stop trying in the films or at least come up with a real plan.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Did you think there were any flaws in the episodes?

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Sure there are flaws, it can get a tad melodramatic at times, and the few censorship elements that they do tone down from the comic. Nothing too major though.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: That's one of only 3-4 categories, that I'm expecting it to get a nod for.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Are there any child performances that could possibly be upgraded from a 4.5 to a 5.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your Female Overall top tens for 2016 so far.

And that's my last request until the next review.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Well the fact that it did not even get Cinematography at BAFTA makes me wonder how many of their voters even saw the film. I'm still hoping, perhaps against all sense, that it will land with the Academy.

Hmmm non come to mind at the moment.

Charles Heiston said...

I'm sure the Oscar's will recognize Silence for at least some technical awards.

94dfk1 said...

I was actually about to suggest Carey Mulligan as an alternate for Belle haha.

Louis: Do you think Silence is a "director's picture" in the same vein as Coppola's Apocalypse Now?

Robert MacFarlane said...

Anne Hathaway should have been the obvious choice for Belle. You can't even make an age argument against it since she's the same age as Dan Stevens.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

1. Emma Stone - La La Land
2. Amy Adams - Arrival
3. Min-hee Kim - The Handmaiden
4. Marion Cotillard - Allied
5. Ruth Negga - Loving
6. Mary Elizabeth Winstead - 10 Cloverfield Lane
7. Elle Fanning - The Neon Demon
8. Kate Beckinsale - Love and Friendship
9. Tae-ri Kim - The Handmaiden
10. Helen Mirren - Eye in the Sky

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
6. Viola Davis - Fences
7. Lucy Boynton - Sing Street
8. Michelle Williams - Manchester by the Sea
9. Bella Heathcote - The Neon Demon
10. Rachel House - Hunt for the Wilderpeople

94dk1:

In that it has a strong directorial vision, that is a definite yes.

Robert:

I would agree.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Have you given Love & Friendship a proper watch.

Louis Morgan said...

Nein.