Jesse Eisenberg did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Simon James and James Simon in The Double.
This is first where we see Eisenberg's other performances as James, and here is perhaps where things are not as ideal for him. Eisenberg can play confident, but it is a very narrow margin of confidence. Eisenberg can do this type of confidence well more so in the vein of his Zuckerberg, which we see here. He projects well this sort of domination of presence, and is able to stand tall without literally doing so. This in that his confidence doesn't project a traditional charisma, and I suppose to certain extent it seems like that is something the role wanted. This as James isn't just suppose to be confident he's supposed to be immediately loved by everyone based on his charisma. I'd say Eisenberg struggles with this angle a little bit. Although this isn't to say there isn't some good to be had here nonetheless largely through the interactions between the doubles, which for me are pretty easily the highlights of the film. This with Eisenberg acting directly against himself and he's terrific in creating the dynamic. This in little comic moments as Eisenberg is indeed commanding against himself speaking each word with a strict conviction in himself and just the right degree of smarmy indulgence. This against Eisenberg as Simon continuing to be awkward and retiring. This with the right comic touch as he portrays these attempt with the appropriate awkwardness, that is rather humorous particularly his failure to flick his tongue sexually, instead looking very much like a lizard in Eisenberg's performance.
Although they seem to briefly attempt a Cyrano situation as Simon goes on a date as James. This initially failing horribly to do this, with Eisenberg again thriving within awkwardness, but also doing just well as finding a bit of charm as Simon stops trying to be James. Then just acts as himself apparently winning over Hannah briefly. Eisenberg's portrayal of this delivers the right charm by finding the charm within his awkwardness by emphasizing an earnestness within himself. He's also good as James in the same scene in projecting the right reaction that shows a more vile personality in his unease at the success of Simon without following every word of James's. Unfortunately the film then just kind of fumbles around towards a relatively obvious conclusion as the two attempt to sabotage each other until one wins. Eisenberg is more than decent in each role, in fact he's particularly good in a moment of a near break down as Simon when he is blamed for all the faults of James. Eisenberg delivering the intense exasperation effectively. Sadly though it doesn't make enough use of that dynamic which was interesting between Eisenberg and himself. There was definitely some more to be mined there, but instead we just get some repetitive scenes of the two's infighting until its unceremonious end. I will qualify this as two good performances, one consistent, one slightly underwhelming in certain respect but still overall effective. The film doesn't make use of the potential within when Eisenberg is with himself. I will say though he was not a favorite of mine in his earlier years, I have come to like Eisenberg as an actor, as he has a unique presence, that definitely offers an alternative protagonist for his films. This does need to be in the right role still, used in the right way. That is mostly true for this film here. It's a good example of Eisenberg being used properly but not a great one. In fact, I think Eisenberg himself sort of refined this performance just a bit for The Art of Self Defense, where he essentially merged the two sides into one arc.