Friday, December 31, 2010

Who's Supporting Who?

I admit, there are a lot of things I don't understand about the Academy Awards - how Roberto Benigni won a Best Actor gong, for example, is right up there with the greatest mysteries of the twentieth century.

Another is how the acting awards are split into 'lead' and 'supporting' and who is slotted into what category. I mention this because I have just seen The King's Speech which is a well made movie clearly with Oscar in mind. Prestige subject matter - check; Character afflicted with disability - check (if somewhat mildly); Period piece - check; presence of Geoffrey Rush - check.

And there's the rub - Colin Firth is widely being discussed as presumptive favourite for Best Actor while Geoffrey Rush is somehow relegated to the category of supporting actor. How is this possible? Surely the two leads in this film are Rush and Firth with Helena Bonham-Carter and Guy Pearce the most notable of the supporting cast.

The film works best when Rush and Firth are on screen and theirs is the critical relationship in the movie. But alas, our Geoffrey, who is excellent, gets reduced to a 'support player' when awards season comes around.

I suspect it's because there's an old fashioned notion that a movie should have a male lead and a female lead. Or maybe it's because studios try and maximise their chances by spreading the talent around the categories - Rush and Firth, head to head, would take votes off each other?

Perhaps Oscar should get with the programme, expand the number of nominations in Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, and remove the gender distinction. All I know is Colin Firth is good, but it's Rush who makes the movie work.

Speaking of categories, is the screenplay for The Social Network an original one or an adaptation? It's based on the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich which was being written concurrently with the screenplay. Probably doesn't matter as the script will win whatever category it is in.

Finally, my own awards on the last day of 2010...

Best Film - This proved to be very hard to decide - The Social Network left me a little cold, Inception left me underwhelmed, The King's Speech was good but not spectacular, Toy Story 3 was excellent but, at times, I felt the strings being pulled too overtly... which leads me to:

Animal Kingdom. Without meaning to come off as parochial, this was totally absorbing fare and the best Australian film I've seen in a long time. Good to see it found international recognition as well.

Worst Film - This was an easy decision. The Expendables was the biggest load of old tosh I have seen in a long long time.

Most Over-rated Film - It has to be Inception. I wasn't convinced it was the masterpiece many were saying the first time around and on a second viewing it diminished even more.

Best Performance - Again, going the Aussie route here with Ben Mendelsohn from Animal Kingdom who supplies the menace that kicks that film up a notch.

Worst Performance - anybody who was in The Expendables though Mickey Rourke probably gets the nod for his ridiculous monologue that was flat out awful.

So there it is, 2010 done and dusted. Have a great New Year's and here's to a creative and prosperous 2011!

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