Thursday, February 20, 2014

Non-Oscars: Best Supporting Actor

I have not seen Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club or Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips yet so I cannot judge those two.  Jonah Hill really stretched as an actor in Wolf of Wall Street and became an iconic character in that film.  Michael Fassbender was absolutely merciless in 12 Years a Slave and risked a lot in going all out with such a menacing character.  My favorite of the five is actually Bradley Cooper in American Hustle.  I honestly hoped that the film followed him more as he became much more sympathetic and fascinating.  I was really disappointed in the movie's end because it seemed like they were asking me to hate a character that I really grew to love.

Will Forte, Nebraska
This was a surprising casting decision that really paid off.  Will Forte gives an incredibly understated performance that has unfortunately been overlooked.  He is easily overshadowed by his co-stars because his character is one who is forced to react to others.  Which Forte does perfectly, he definitely excels in the "supporting" aspect of being a supporting actor.  But Forte portrays a three-dimensional character with his own complete backstory and motives.  These things don't receive focus, but the fact that they are so clearly there makes Forte's son character all the more effective.  He also plays a decency that the movie needs.  Career making performance for Forte that hopefully takes the great comedian places.

James Gandolfini, Enough Said
This was of course the last film starring James Gandolfini to be released and it is appropriately dedicated, "For Jim."  Gandolfini is very appropriately cast against type as a caring man with a chubby exterior.  Gandolfini is great with humor as he knows he doesn't look ideal, but he shows an extreme confidence in that.  Gandolfini has a confidence throughout the movie that really makes him attractive, but he still plays extremely vulnerable.  This is one of those characters that when he hurts, you hurt.  He is a genuine, nice guy that you really want to get to know.  You end up rooting for him more than the flawed lead.  This is not because Gandolfini takes unnecessary focus from Dreyfus, but because that is the way the story needs to work.  Gandolfini plays a surprising great romantic comedy love-interest and makes this a quality film that is worth seeing.

Cuba Gooding, Jr., The Butler
Watching Cuba Gooding, Jr. in The Butler I really could not believe that he had not been acting in better movies.  This was an eye-opening performance for an actor that I've always liked, but has had somewhat of a laughable career.  I really hope that The Butler earns him better work, because Gooding is such a great screen presence.  He can be funny when the movie needs someone to be funny or combative when the scene needs a conflict.  He even gets his own dramatic scene which is one of my favorites of the movie.  I am really naming Gooding because I enjoyed him so much.  There was something about this performance that I wanted to see more of.  I love supporting roles like this, the role is not much but the actor makes it something memorable.

Nick Offerman, Kings of Summer
There are of course comparisons that can be made to Ron Swanson, but Offerman inspires an entirely different reaction with this role.  You recognize that this character is difficult for his teenage son to love, but you can't help but sympathize with him even if you don't always like him.  This is a very believable father-son realtionship, Offerman and Nick Robinson play well off of one another.  Offerman also carries a lot of difficult backstory with him as this character is a widower and an unsure father.  Even before the movie gives that information he is clearly portraying a broken man.  This is a performance that is easily overlooked, but it is a vital character for the film that not everyone could have played in Offerman's specific way.

David Oyelowo, The Butler
The heart of The Butler hinges on the difficult father-son relationship and Oyelowo is certainly up to the challenge of acting against the father played by Forest Whitaker.  Oyelowo, a man in his thirties, believably plays this character from his teens to middle aged.  Oyelowo gifts his character with decency and hope, but there is definitely an anger that Oyelowo never overplays.  The movie often diverts to focus on his character and you are always interested in it, Oyelowo really carries his own varied subplots.  The absolute best scene of the movie is a dinner table scene where Oyelowo argues with Whitaker and it is one of those scenes that is amazing just because of the acting.  This was an important role that Oyelowo excels in and he should have received much more notice for it.

Other Great Supporting Performances:
So many.  There are always so many great supporting roles for men, I may do another post because several of these do deserve extra notice (Will Poulter and Colin Farrell in particular).  Moises Arias (Kings of Summer), Bob Balaban (Girl Most Likely), Sam Clafin (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), George Clooney (Gravity), Sharlto Copley (Elysium), Robert De Niro (American Hustle), Kevin Durand (Fruitvale Station), Colin Farrell (Saving Mr. Banks), Tom Hanks (Saving Mr. Banks), Danny McBride (This is the End), Matthew McConaughey (Mud), Fred Melamed (In a World), Sean Penn (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), Will Poulter (We're the Millers)

No comments:

Post a Comment