Friday, January 28, 2011

30 Days of "Oscar Nominee..." -- A Fun Tradition

Every year during Oscar Season TCM runs its annual "30 Days of Oscar" programming. During this time viewers are treated with a wonderful romp through the history of film. Viewers know they are watching the best of the best and can watch the films that inspired great filmmakers -- past and present.

At my house, we have a slightly different tradition. It's a game I call it "Oscar Nominee/Winner...," and it is wonderful fun and makes for its own kind of viewing pleasure. The rules of the game are simple. Make a calendar of films or TV shows featuring this year's nominees for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Director. The films themselves must not be the "best of the best." In fact, the quirkier the film or TV show the more amusing the calendar. After compiling your list, you share it with friends, vote for which films or TV shows your will all watch, and share the experience by discussing the merits of the films/talents during an Oscar viewing party. For example, if Tom Hanks and Hilary Swank were up for Oscars this year your list might include Bachelor Party and The Next Karate Kid. In this case, you would discuss how Hanks' performance in Bachelor Party prepared him for his nominated role etc.

One might think that this tradition is merely as a way to make light of Oscar nominees, but that would be incorrect.

The thing I respect more from talent working in the industry (in front of and behind the camera) is hard work. Maybe it's the blue collar kid in me, but I really admire people who crank out the work like the studio system actors used to do. I find that Hong Kong actors and British actors often have some of the "deepest" work filmographies. I don't like pretentious actors who spend to much time talking about "craft," I prefer those who consider acting work. Some of the best performances aren't always those in important films and the ability to work hard in smaller -- less serious -- projects is a demonstration of character.

So... what are my entries in this year's calendar?


Actor "Classic Role"
Jesse Eisenberg Cursed
Colin Firth The Last Legion
James Franco Flyboys
Jeff Bridges Stick It
Javier Bardem Perdita Durango


Actress "Classic Role"
Natalie Portman Mars Attacks
Nicole Kidman Days of Thunder
Jennifer Lawrence The Bill Engvall Show
Michelle Williams Halloween H20
Annette Bening The Great Outdoors


Actor "Classic Role"
Christian Bale Reign of Fire
Geoffrey Rush House on Haunted Hill
Jeremy Renner S.W.A.T.
John Hawkes From Dusk 'Til Dawn
Mark Ruffalo 54


Actress "Classic Role"
Melissa Leo Deadtime Stories
Helena Bonham Carter Planet of the Apes
Amy Adams Psycho Beach Party
Hailee Steinfeld Back to You
Jacki Weaver Cosi


Director "Classic Project"
Darren Aronofsky The Fountain
David Fincher Alien³
Tom Hooper The Damned United
David O. Russell Spanking the Monkey
Ethan Coen & Joel Coen Raising Arizona

That's my list and I think it looks entertainingly watchable. It actually has a couple of my favorite films and favorite guilty pleasures.

What's your list?


Alex Daw said...

I reckon this is a great idea. It really makes you think about their career to date which is what I always find fascinating. I remember watching an interview with Eric Bana and seeing that the role he played in The Hulk which I think he was roundly panned for, actually inspired Spielberg to cast him in Munich which is a great film. Now I will have to go off and think about my list. Thanks!

Sean M. said...

Fun game, not only for the apprenticeship reason you mention, but also because, in any given year (including this one), the Oscars nominations ignore terrific talent/work, even if they indirectly acknowledge it later (e.g., David Fincher). Here are my first reactions:

Best Actor
Jesse Eisenberg: The Squid and the Whale
Colin Firth: Shakespeare in Love
James Franco: Milk
Jeff Bridges: The Big Lebowski (or Fearless)

Best Actress
Natalie Portman: Beautiful Girls
Nicole Kidman: Cold Mountain
Jennifer Lawrence: ?
Michelle Williams: Dick
Annette Bening: Mars Attacks

Best Supporting Actor:
Christian Bale: American Psycho (or Shaft)
Geoffrey Rush: Shakespeare in Love
Jeremy Renner: ? (Hurt Locker, but...)
John Hawkes: ?
Mark Ruffalo: Collateral

Best Supporting Actress:
Melissa Leo: ?
Helena Bonham Carter: Fight Club
Amy Adams: ? (Junebug, but...)
Hailee Steinfeld: ?
Jacki Weaver: ?

Best Picture-Director:
Darren Aronofsky: The Fountain
David Fincher: "Bad Girl" music video
Tom Hooper: ?
David O. Russell: Three Kings
Ethan Coen & Joel Coen: Raising Arizona (or Miller's Crossing, or The Big Lebowski

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