Saturday, 21 December 2019

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1999: Results

5. Anthony Wong in The Mission - Wong manages to give a particularly impressive turn, as he manages to find depth in a paper thin role.

Best Scene: Relief after confrontation.
4. Gary Cole in Office Space - Gary Cole masters the art of malevolent indifference through his consistently hilarious turn.

Best Scene: Meeting the two Bobs.
3. Harry Lennix in Titus - Lennix gives a terrific turn as he revels in the insanity of his story and makes the most of his villainous part.

Best Scene: The Moor's confession
2. John C. Reilly in Magnolia - Reilly gives a beautiful turn managing to find such a genuine heart in his portrayal of a caring but lonely officer of the peace.

Best Scene: The date.

1. Robert Carlyle in Ravenous - Good prediction Michael McCarthy. Carlyle gives essentially several different brilliant performances in one. This as a haunted victim, a rabid scoundrel, a devious fiend or as a most peculiar philosopher.

Best Scene: Calqhoun goes loco.
Updated Overall

Next: Going on semi-hiatus until the Oscar nominations, though as is becoming tradition, I'd appreciation any recommendations for films from this year, years I've already covered or animated, TV films or documentaries from any year.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1999: Anthony Wong in The Mission

Anthony Wong did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Curtis in The Mission.

The Mission follows a group of hitmen hired as bodyguards for a marked for death triad boss. The film certainly has style, potentially a compelling plot even, but sadly it is a far too thin on character.

The idea of the hitmen working together seems prime for some colorful characters and some great interactions. Well unfortunately that's is not the case with either the former or the latter. All the hit-men are painfully underdeveloped with barely even a minor gimmick to set each one apart. The most compelling of them is Wong's Curtis, not because he's written any better or because there is anything particularly different about him in terms of the scenario, rather it is because he's played by Anthony Wong. Wong's a naturally magnetic actor so that helps of course, but it is really everything about his performance that grants the slightest hint of a substance to Curtis. There is nothing in the dialogue or anything more, but Wong manages to fashion a world weariness in his manner that grants  a history to him in every scene. This is as he brings the ease of the true professional but the way he maneuvers in the group he grants a sense of separation and exasperation of a man whose been through before, perhaps too many times. There is both of sense of cool that Wong brings to this, but also that sense of wear. Wong delivers so much in his eyes, in just the way he examines a situation and looks upon the other hit men. You see Curtis quietly examining the men and the situation, and again evokes the sense of the man's long time in the business. Of course none of this is actually seems to be in the script. Wong just seems to making the character up really with just some extremely perfunctory lines to go with, which are largely stand around and say one line of action or exposition. Wong though does everything in his power to make something of his part of the film, this includes the completely unearned climax where the hitmen have to face one another. Wong's emotional intensity in the scene is terrific and reflects a substance we sadly are not warranted in the film. His final scene is also a brilliant piece of acting of the face of satisfaction of the man finally being allowed to lose through the tension of the job and the situation, while being able to do so with his head held high. I have to commend Wong here, because he makes something out of nearly nothing and one can only imagine the great performance he could have delivered with an actual three dimensional character.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1999: John C. Reilly in Magnolia

John C. Reilly did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Officer Jim Kurring in Magnolia.

Magnolia follows the intertwined stories of the various desperate people heading towards a biblical connection. John C. Reilly is an actor who has had a rather atypical career. This in that he hasn't exactly ever been set within his place as a performer, even though he's not quite a character but isn't exactly a leading man either. What that does though I suppose is leave Reilly as an actor who can surprise, and was able to surprise throughout his career in terms of the roles he would play. Before the 2000's attempted to pigeonhole him somewhat as a comic sidekick, something he did well but even that has only been part of his career, he was more so directly a reliable character actor for mostly indie fair in the 90's. The highlight of this portion of his career being his collaboration with then up and coming wunderkind Paul Thomas Anderson. This in his secondary leading turn in Anderson's debut Hard Eight, a memorable supporting turn in Boogie Nights, that in someways would prelude his later comic turns, then finally here as one of the essential characters of the film, being the focus of his thread of the overarching tapestry. This thread perhaps attempting to give you the most hope in humanity in showing us Reilly as officer Jim who opens the film as he attempts to investigate a domestic disturbance.

Reilly is wonderful as Jim even in these scenes in the very professional respect as he does his job. This as Reilly makes the most of his voice, which often is used for comedy for a reason, with its certain softness and general affability. Reilly wields that particularly effectively here though in delivering his lines of the officer with that general affable quality though constricting it slightly. This making Jim's statements do command the appropriate authority as he speaks. This with Reilly making this very specific emphasis on words of Jim doing his job, portraying well this sort of confidence in attitude approaching doing his work while also presenting the man as attempting to disarm any hostilities at the same time. Reilly manages to make a convincing combination between a man who is enforcing the law but also attempts to do it in a way that does create hostilities if necessary. I especially love how Reilly manages this as it would been easy to make Jim come off as a jerk, but creates the right balance. This as even as Jim becomes rightfully flustered at a woman hiding a dead body from him, Reilly even asks the necessary inquiry of  "what the hell is this, Marcie?" regarding the body, he still suggests it as not an immediate judgement by rather offering the opportunity for explanation even as Reilly portrays him as rightfully shaken.

The crux of his performance though relates to when Jim comes across the daughter a famous game show host, Claudia (Melora Walters), based on a noise complaint. There is many a detail Reilly gets impeccably right about this, but the first of them may be his absolutely sincere expression of love at first sight when he initial opens the door and sees Claudia. It is a pitch perfect closeup by Reilly as he instantly expresses his instant infatuation with her. All the same though Jim attempts to do his job first and foremost, and again it is on the surface where Reilly does also excel. This is that Jim not only investigates the disturbance but also technically lectures on it. This seen earlier as he asks a little boy, attempting to give him clues, to not swear and when talking to Claudia and asking her to remember to keep her music low to respect her neighbors. The sort of lecturing tone though is one of the best things Reilly realizes though as he manages to deliver these with a sternness but this underlying warmth. It is just a bit though as Reilly manages to accentuate this positive sense of concern even as he pries about a visitor that upset her. Reilly is able to create again that balance that is definitely of a police officer who takes his position seriously, however no one who abuses his power, but rather someone who wants to make sure that everyone is safe and can live their lives.

The first scene of Jim actually is preparing for his day, where we also hear him leaving a message for a dating service that helps to define the character, and Reilly's performance. Unlike many of the things that may cause a desperation, we don't actually see this in Jim truly, rather even in this opening this need is delivered as a hopeful statement, essential in creating what is at the center of the film a beautiful, if troubled relationship. After that initial reaction I love that Reilly doesn't pile on the infatuation but does portray Jim making sure he does his job first and foremost. This all except the immediacy of his concern of her earlier domestic disturbance, that Reilly delivers with such strict sincerity as he asks her not to joke about a murder police code. Reilly eyes evoke only the absolute concern, although even this is not of purely someone he is smitten with but also just as a caring police officer. This is until he leaves where he does ask her for a date, and I love basically how scared Reilly makes Jim in this moment. It is this wonderful combination of desperation and affection, of a man who knows the situation is not ideal, but also conveys this need to make a potential stand towards happiness. Although between then and the date, Jim unfortunately gets lost in the rain, into a fire fight and loses his gun. A moment of complete desperation where Reilly is moving by making this anxiety even has the same earnestness of a good man, in a rough situation. The date itself is one of my favorite scenes, in a film I love, given that both characters are operating on a different wavelength, yet the same one at the same time. I love it as clearly as Walters portrays Claudia on the verge of a breakdown, Reilly portrays solace in the complete and utter fascination he has in her as a man genuinely in love. This is even as he reveals his own desperation, Reilly is able to even speak the words with a sense of comfort not to explain himself as broken, but rather show he too is in no way perfect. Reilly throughout the scene is great because he portrays Jim's love so directly against the cautiousness of Claudia, right down to that perfect immediacy of his "yes I do", when she asks if he wants to kiss her. I love Reilly's work here as it carries such a real tenderness, particularly in his final narration that underlines each word as a man, a police officer, who doesn't define his life through judgement but rather concern.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1999: Gary Cole in Office Space

Gary Cole did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Bill Lumbergh in Office Space.

Hey what's happening. Umm, I'm gonna need you to read this review, okay, that would be great. Well, the thing is, it is important to make sure you recognize Gary Cole. Yeah, recognize him, because you don't want forget that, mmmkay. Yeah, it's his work here that's essential to the film. Right. You see his performance is one of those that works based on playing just so well into a one note, that defines the character, and doing this is what would make be great. You see, Cole's slow nearly monotonous delivery that borders between a indifference and a sinister disregard is what helps to make his lines just work so well okay. You see as a representative of corporate VP monotony Cole accentuates that monotony as insatiable and effortlessly consistent. A hilarious degree of indifference to common decency, that is malevolent while just so very relaxed and "approachable". But here's the thing, the hilarity of the performance very much exists within its strict consistency. I mean what's happening, is that Gary Cole is sort of underrated as the stylized comic turns go, and here's the thing, Cole's work is iconic for a reason. Mmmaky, see it's just great how he can just give such a wonderful portrayal of caring so little, with so much disregard for anyone other than his TPS reports. Hey, here's the thing, though I just need him to be funny in a few more situations, and he is by again maintaining that consistency, mostly. This in a fantastical nightmare scenario of Lumbergh having sex with the same degree of monotony as asking for someone to come in on the weekend. Yeahhh, and just take the moment for his one scene of defending his own job, where we get a break from the typical Lumbergh stability, with a great eye shift before returning to his old chestnut, of "yeah". So what I'm slowly saying here, this is a delightful portrait of pure evil.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1999: Robert Carlyle in Ravenous

Robert Carlyle did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying F.W. Colqhoun or does Ravenous.

Watching Ravenous once again, it once cemented itself as one of my favorite relatively modern films that was critically panned. This in its realization of a tone that tips towards just the right type of ridiculousness while still effectively telling this horror tale/western of sorts. Where I already covered Guy Pearce in his essential straight man performance as the conflicted Captain Boyd who is sent off to a remote army base after an act of heroism/cowardice in the Mexican-American War, I did not give the time to Robert Carlyle who first appears as a stranger who wanders into the base late into the night. A man who claims to be a survivor of an ill-fated trek into the mountains which led to cannibalism. Carlyle, using his natural Scottish, brogue at this point is merely the beginning of his brilliant performance that will stand on a ledge, however here though that doesn't appear to be the case This is as Carlyle delivers Colqhoun's recitation with the absolute sincerity and honesty. The crippling fear is real and grants the tale a truly haunting quality. This in his eyes of presenting a man who has seen an absolute horror in this experience and a man nearly broken by the experience. There is no reason to suspect anything is afoot with Colqhoun as not only do the character's words seem to ring true, as does Carlyle's performance which seems to be that of a damaged survivor. Of course the soldiers who decide to go to the cave where the horror occurs, as well as the viewer have no idea just what Carlyle has in store for them.

The first inkling comes as Colqhoun comes in with the most unexpected behavior of licking the wounds of one of the soldiers on the trek to the cave. This even though Carlyle portrays this effectively as a madness related to a trauma. Again though Carlyle depicts this with earnestness of this through expressions of a self-loathing and fear of the spoken action. An anguished admission of a man pained by seemingly this overwhelming guilt, more than willing to be bound by the man to ensure their safety. When they arrive to the cave of cannibalism and murder, we see Colqhoun fall upon his knees in gripping terror, which again Carlyle presents as the sheer truth of it that disarms any concerns. This becomes a fantastic bit of physical performance by Robert Carlyle though as this initial writhing of a man earnestly in pain slowly segues to this strange madness. This as grips this animalistic, wolf like, manner in his flaying hands, an jutting motions that is just great in creating this transformation in the man, as it is revealed that he is in fact the murderer and cannibal having led the man into a trap. That it is just hunting season for the man, and just fair game for a bit of insane entertainment in Carlyle's wild performance. This as he quite fittingly becomes quite rabidness, practically drooling as he bears his teeth in great delight to literally seek the blood of the men.

I love Carlyle's balance here as he does purposefully go into the heightened, to the point though that it is just is marvelous for the film's intentions. This as he does carry a genuine menace as he reveals himself as this monster, but is also just a blast to watch as he goes about it. This in that amazing grin that bears his face, and darting eyes that are both of a blood thirsty psychopath, and a man having the time of his life. What makes it so special to me though is it is a brilliant darkly comic performance all at the same time, with he exact timing of reactions. I especially adore his wild smirk just after the man revives from a gun shot that should've killed or at least severely injured a normal man. The Carlyle's sheer joy is that of perhaps the joy of performance, but also just a perfect fit for this cannibal enjoying every last moment of the hunt. Essential in the success of this I feel though is Carlyle doesn't become one note, as extreme and potentially, and somewhat purposefully, absurd of a note he is working with. Carlyle though knows exactly how to play with this absurdity, by offering that balance and knowing exactly when to amp it up and tone it down a bit. Another favorite of mine of the sequence being his hilarious delivery of "that is so annoying" when a gun misfires on his target, that Caryle brings such a great casual manner to, before returning to his diabolical predator eyeing his kill before telling him to "run".

I mean I would probably already be satisfied with Carlyle's performance here as he already delivered the believable portrait of a survivor, then a completely deranged turn as a man consumed with animal lust for humans, but Carlyle still has not one but two more shades to play. This is after Pearce's Boyd, the sole survivor, returns to the camp, and finds that his new commanding officer is one Colonel Ives, who just happens to be Colqhoun. Carlyle is fantastic in demonstrating yet another character here portraying a cool and collected manner, further amplified by now fashioning a refined accent for a proper soldier it would seem. Of course no one believes Boyd's outlandish stories, leaving him as the only one to accuse Ives of being the psychopathic cannibalistic murderer. Carlyle is once again quietly hilarious in his overly unassuming manner as the "innocent" Ives just seems confused by the questions and suspicions of Boyd. Again though I love how Carlyle moves between the face of such innocence, to these perfect little knowing glances towards Pearce, saying without saying "Yes, I know exactly what I'm doing here, and you can't do a thing about it". This eventually leaves Boyd in the sparsely populated camp with Ives as the commanding officer, and it is in this where we get what might be my favorite single "performance" of Carlyle within this performance, although that's hard to say for certain. Carlyle nonetheless is amazing as he portrays the man in his most devious form, though also seemingly most civilized no longer burdened by a fake anguish nor currently lusting after blood, being quite satiated at the moment.Carlyle though now fashion almost a whole new villain, even if it feels like a natural extension of the rabid cannibal we had met before, in portraying this sinister charisma as he essentially preaches the worth of eating other humans. Carlyle is magnificent in that he brings such understated yet palatable passion and conviction within these statements. He absolutely dominates these scenes with this overwhelming presence of a man with far greater power at his disposal. This creating a sense of an absolute command of a man truly made virile by his most unorthodox means, and now quite assured in his path to conquer through cannibalistic ways. This as he attempts to tempt Boyd into joining him, while also mocking him a bit, which Carlyle portrays with such maniacal glee. This is again as it is just fun to watch Carlyle perform here, even as he also completely sells this completely ridiculous idea in a way that works for the film and for creating a truly striking and memorable villain. This is every phase of the characters though as Carlyle gives a great performance whether he is the broken man, the growling monster, the confused soldier, and the style guru.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1999: Peter Sarsgaard in Boys Don't Cry

Peter Sarsgaard did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying John Lotter in Boys Don't Cry.

Peter Sarsgaard portrays the central role of the film of one of the eventual rapists and murderers of the central character of Brandon (Hilary Swank) after discovering Brandon to be transgender. Sarsgaard's performance, though overall small within the overall scope of the film, is an essential facet of it. Sarsgaard's performance is interesting in that he has a limited amount of material to work with however does make a striking impact, well beyond the obviously horrible actions of the man. Sarsgaard's work isn't that of the traditional timebomb, that of the slow descent, but rather that of a landmine. This is as we first meet John as appears to be at least a slightly charming good old boy who befriends Brandon. Sarsgaard manages to deliver a very convincing charisma in the role. It isn't something that is too overt, yet it penetrates his scenes effectively with this strange allure. We see this particularly early on where he encourages Brandon to break the law by attempting to out run police through a dirt road. Sarsgaard's prompting has this cunning ease about it in that he is very much tempting the situation however Sarsgaard does well to downplay the moment. This in this particularly lurid prompting that makes his suggestions to do bad seem like the right thing to do as it seems just so easy. Of course Sarsgaard is also just good in portraying the seeming comfort of the man in the moments of cordiality between seeming friends and family. Sarsgaard portrays an amiability of a man when all things appears to be just fine for everyone, most importantly himself.

Sarsgaard though is a landmine though in that this in the portrayal of man slowly swallowed by his worst intentions. Sarsgaard rather reveals the real threat of the man throughout the film in moments of outbursts, aka any situation in which anyone causes John the slightest inconvenience. Sarsgaard depicts a chilling immediacy to these moments with a viciousness in the moments merely where John becomes slightly annoyed. In those instances though Sarsgaard depicts the intensity of a killer just set in a different direction. Sarsgaard delivers the vile hatred even in the moments of just kicking people out of a car showing the true nature of the man simply as something dormant, but also ready to come out at the slightest push. That push coming out in full force once John discovers the truth about Brandon leading first gang rape then the eventual murder. Sarsgaard is terrifying in these scenes of sheer brutality by delivering the visceral hate of the actions, but also just the lack of any hesitation. Sarsgaard portraying the ease of the act due to it simply being the nature of the man he had shown throughout the film, but had not allowed one to realize its true terrible potential until it was far too late. Sarsgaard avoids any cliche regarding the character, particularly for basically a psycho hillbilly, rather presenting directly both a real man and a real killer.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1999: Bryan Brown in Two Hands

Bryan Brown did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Pando in Two Hands.

Bryan Brown plays Pando the head local gangster, whom Jimmy (Heath Ledger) is attempting to get in the good graces of, though does anything but throughout the film. Brown's performance on the immediate surface seems to be right in the line of the mentor gangster characters. Of course Pando really isn't too much of a gangster, though seen by such as Jimmy, however Brown emphasizes this idea in his performance. This as even as we see him seemingly in his "might", Brown adds a bit of posturing in his manner of calling Jimmy for a job. Brown showing a man who certainly believes in his own power, though perhaps isn't so much if you scratch the surface at all. Brown emphasizes this furthermore as we see him in his place with his men, where he plays board games, rather than any typical gangster fair. Brown's portrayal of this though is just with the slightest bit of intimidation, as lightly as possible, and really not far off from a standard boss rather than a legitimate gangster. Brown portrays a rather casual manner, that effectively borders at first between a man just comfortable in his space, as questionable as that is, but also perhaps too comfortable in perhaps just being a layabout going in for easy money. The latter perhaps becoming the truth the more we get to see of Jimmy. After Jimmy accidentally fails his first mission to deliver 10,000 dollars, we begin to see the bad side of Pando. Although again Brown is hilarious by still keeping the same manner as really essentially just a lazy man, as he casually discusses needing to kill Jimmy with the same manner as he speaks to one of his kids.

Brown is terrific in that he does create a slight menace merely in that casual discussion of "doing" a guy, while still at the same time slowly revealing that Pando is far less than Jimmy had thought of him in more ways than one. What I like most of Brown's performance though that in the technically pathetic nature he brings out of Pando, he also does reveal a bit of humanity, even if misspent in a way. This in his delivery of treating Jimmy's girlfriend, even as he intends to murder Jimmy, with the absolute courtesy and even a bit of sadness at the whole thing. He emphasizes this all the better as he and his crew take Jimmy to be killed. This where Jimmy offers a real alternate, Brown expression of a real fear and worry, as though he may being doing the wrong thing. Brown in a sense portrays both how at the same time he's both a terrible gangster and human being, even though he is attempting to be both. That sequence opens the film, however we eventual return to it into a scene of wonderful dark comedy as Pando and his crew fail to kill Jimmy due to having only a corroded gun to use. Brown is hilarious in his delivery of his frustrations as he questions his men, again being so earnest in his concentration while also so lacking in any real menace. Brown portraying a man trying and really failing even to be a proper, non-gangster boss.The final nail of this though is in Brown's final scene where Jimmy comes back, with the money. This with Pando initially misunderstanding as an attack, and the all too weak delivery Brown offers as he tries to instruct his men to kill Jimmy before he pulls out the money. Brown's wonderful in the shift to overly accommodating in praising Jimmy for doing a job well done, and again the failure of the act is what makes Brown's performance works so well. This as we see nothing but a fool pretending to be so far more than he is, which is only confirmed when he finally has a gun in his face, and Brown shows only but petrified fear in his "cool" gangster. This all being one wonderful long act of Brown portraying his mob boss who the more we see of him, it all becomes an obvious act by Pando himself to be a mob boss.