Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2016: Alden Ehrenreich in Hail Caesar!

Alden Ehrenreich did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Hobie Doyle in Hail Caesar!.

Hail Caesar! is an enjoyable series of vignettes about a Hollywood fixer, Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), trying to fix various problems around his studio.

Hail Caesar is probably one of the Coen Brothers more divisive films perhaps partially because of how earnest of a love letter to old Hollywood it is. There is cynicism of course within the depiction of the personal lives of the various actors and directors, but it's at its heart a movie that loves movies. It doesn't matter what that movie may even be which brings us to our future Han Solo, Alden Ehrenreich. Ehrenreich plays Hobie Doyle who as the film opens specializes in b-westerns, where the gun play isn't too rough and there's always time to play a song on his guitar. We briefly see him at work where he seems very at home riding, roping and shooting though he doesn't say much,. Later on we catch a bit one of his films. Where again his speaking is brief and his singing is overdubbed, in a very classic Hollywood fashion. Ehrenreich does produce a certain something in this in that there's nothing great about what Hobie Doyle is technically doing onscreen, but he's certainly doing to the best of abilities. Ehrenreich brings the right confidence not of a great movie star, but of a man doing a good job.

Hobie differs from most of the other stars we meet. The graceful DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) is in a course woman off screen, the confident Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is a simple dope and the happy go lucky Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum) is secretly a cold communist. Old Hobie is just the same easy going cowboy off screen as he is onscreen. Ehrenreich is really quite charming by just how pure he makes the character. He's just a simple chap who treats it all as a job. He brings such an enjoyable enthusiasm and earnestness to every one of his lines. Ehrenreich shows that Hobie has nothing ever to hide and every ounce of him is genuine. There is purposefully no shading which is what makes him such a delight actually. Even when he speaking about the possible duplicitous nature of eekstras (extras), there is only the best of intentions revealed in Ehrenreich's serious delivery, which in turn makes it very amusing. Ehrenreich is so straight forward in the best of ways in his whole realization of this cowboy, he never winks which is what makes him just so endearing.

Ehrenreich's standout scene is actually fairly early on in the film but it also is the best scene of the film. It is the one scene where Hobie is required to be something he's not, an actor. That is when he used as a last minute replacement for a role in the revered stage adaptation style drama. Ehrenreich is downright brilliant in the scene in his realization of just how ill-fitting Hobie is to the film. Ehrenreich is hilarious by making nothing about the process feel natural. Never has a man seemed more awkward when simply just walking towards than sitting down on a couch. Ehrenreich's great as he kind of hits every wrong beat within his performance as Hobie as he is terribly self aware, seemingly looking at every camera and person behind it, while failing to properly address the other actor he is suppose to be interacting with. When he finally gets to his line Ehrenreich is perfect as he almost seems to cough it as though he is attempting some unnatural process within his throat by speaking while a camera is rolling. Things only get funnier when the film's director Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes), attempts to direct him. Fiennes and Ehrenreich's comedic timing couldn't be better as they portray the difficult exchange between the two. I love how Ehrenreich stays still so earnest, showing that Hobie only wants to do what the director wants him to do, but would that it were so simple. Again that is the highlight of the film, but whenever we see Hobie onscreen it's a highlight, because Ehrenreich steals the film. He hones in the Coens' style so well producing such a delightful and entertaining character in Hobie Doyle.


Calvin Law said...

Love this performance.

Deiner said...

I love him as well.

Luke Higham said...

Great performance.

I must admit, with Neill coming next, it makes no sense to me how Louis loves Hunt For The Wilderpeople yet Dennison's a 4 and rather low on the ranking.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: That's why I'm betting on a potential Neill upset.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Oh I'm confident about Neill taking 2nd at least. But I keep thinking that Louis might possibly be trolling us with Dennison.

Calvin Law said...

True Louis has been known to troll on occasion. Till this date I'm still not sure whether that Sharlto Copley/Elysium review was truly sincere.

Luke Higham said...

Everyone: Your top 3 animated film openings.

1. The Prince Of Egypt - Deliver Us
2. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame - The Bells Of Notre Dame
3. The Lion King - Circle Of Life

Calvin Law said...


The Lion King

Princess Mononoke

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Are you planning on giving Denzel Washington's work in Training Day, a re-evaluation.

Calvin Law said...

Also, for another alternate 2010s Fargo

Marge: Essie Davis
Jerry: Paul Dano
Carl: Alden Ehrenreich
Gaer: Jiang Wen (would have to change his name and nationality of course)

Robert MacFarlane said...

Outside of liking him here and in Beautiful Creatures, I was also amused by how he wasn't even trying to hide his contempt in Rules Don't Apply. Not technically a good performance, but his constant defaulting to scowling was a good indicator of what he thought of the material he had.

Charles Heiston said...

When i first watched this movie, i didn't see much in Ehrenreich's performance. And on a rewatch, i still don't.

Giuseppe Fadda said...

I really liked this performance, very charming and entertaining. The movie itself was okay but, outside of Ehrenreich and the production design, I found it rather unremarkable.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Still haven't seen this :/
Louis: Would you consider upgrading Pacino's performance in Glengarry Glen Ross up to a 5?

Alex Marqués said...

Lovely performance, his scene with Fiennes is brilliant indeed.

Mitchell Murray said...

I very charming role and by far the best performance in the movie. As for the rest of the cast, no one stood out to me as particularly bad, just fine or weak. And in this case, weak can also mean underused.

Fine: Ehrenreich, Swinton, Brolin, Clooney, Fiennes, Tatum

Weak: Johansson, Hill, McDormand

Anonymous said...

Louis, your top 10 Bill Murray acting moments and your top 10 Nicolas Cage acting moments

Calvin Law said...

Louis: I know Bridge of Spies is a 4.5 for you, can I ask what were the faults to The End of the Tour that kept it from a 5?

Calvin Law said...

In reference to your 2015 Ranking.

Charles Heiston said...

Louis: Your top 5 James Mason performances.

Charles Heiston said...

Louis: On your 'my nominations' page, it says James Mason is #9 for The Shooting Party. But on your overall for 1985 he's #8.

Louis Morgan said...





1. "I wonder if he remembers me" - The Life Aquatic
2. "I'm a God" - Groundhog's Day
3. Meeting his "son" - Broken Flowers
4. The Future - Scrooged
5. Helicopter ride - The Life Aquatic
6. The Second Day - Groundhog's Day
7. Meal before the first ghost - Scrooged
8. The Raid - The Life Aquatic
9. Opening Meeting - Scrooged
10. His Scene - Little Shop of Horrors


1. The end - Leaving Las Vegas
2. The Soul Dance - Bad Lieutenant
3. Cashing the check - Leaving Las Vegas
4. Interrogating the Elderly - Bad Lieutenant
5. Brothers in the swamp - Adaptation
6. "Love me tender" - Wild At Heart
7. At the motel - Leaving Las Vegas
8. Joe takes action - Joe
9. Arresting Big Fate - Bad Lieutenant
10. Pharmacy - Matchstick Men


I have no faults with the film it just for me is a very good film rather than a great one, and just in terms of my most personal reaction which you can kinda account for certain 5's over 4.5's. As in there's nothing wrong with the execution it's just a film I really liked rather than loved.


1. Lolita
2. Bigger Than Life
3. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
4. The Verdict
5. Julius Caesar

That's because technically Hurt and Julia are #1 and #2.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your top ten Ben Foster and Ralph Fiennes moments.

Louis Morgan said...


Save Foster for just a bit.


1. Ken and Harry in the Tower - In Bruges
2. An inanimate object - In Bruges
3. "I Pardon You" - Schindler's List
4. After the Prison Escape - The Grand Budapest Hotel
5. A proper shootout - In Bruges
6. Monsieur Gustave's Introduction - The Grand Budapest Hotel
7. "You've got to stick to your principles" - In Bruges
8. The Basement - Schindler's List
9. "An Uzi?" - In Bruges
10. Meeting Ken - In Bruges

Anonymous said...

Louis: Who do you think got the worst treatment in X-Men Wolverine Origins, Deadpool or Sabretooth?

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: Deadpool without question.

Louis Morgan said...


Deadpool, Sabretooth was in some ways an upgrade to what we saw in the first X-Men.

RatedRStar said...

Louis: From In Bruges, it might have my favorite I laugh but you dont sort of scene, such a small moment that makes me burst everytime, when Ray and Chloë are sat on the bench while Ken and Harry just stroll past them, dont know why that makes me snigger so hard lol.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Do you think Ken's suicide with On Raglan Road in the background is one of the greatest death scenes of the 2000s.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your top ten Shakespearean performances on film.

Michael McCarthy said...

Does anyone know where Louis's thoughts on Song Kang-ho in The Age of Shadows are?

Luke Higham said...

Michael: (Perhaps his strongest work, at the least that I've seen. Song is terrific in creating the arc of his character beginning with his first scene in just presenting the good, if somewhat indifferent, soldier performing his job. The loss at the beginning of the film Song uses well as he has it essentially haunt his performance for the rest of the film. He makes it a seed that slowly builds from that point. He's particularly good in showing the difficulty of his character turning, and earns it by conveying the way his regrets take hold in his mind. In addition he adds so much to the espionage sequences by showing the way his character of Lee is playing the different sides and really ratchets up the tension. Then everything he builds to comes together beautifully in the end that contributes so much to its powerful conclusion.)

Louis Morgan said...


Alright updated list, pure language only so no Nakadai and Mifune:

1. Laurence Olivier - Richard III
2. Ian McKellen - Richard III
3. Laurence Olivier - Hamlet
4. James Mason - Julius Caesar
5. Kenneth Branagh - Hamlet
6. Brian Cox - Coriolanus
7. Derek Jacobi - Hamlet
8. Paul Scofield - King Lear
9. Marion Cotillard - Macbeth
10. John Gielgud - Julius Caesar