So the long-awaited list for Oscar is out and voting will close on February 9, 2020, at 6:30 pm Eastern Time. The nominees for the Best Actor in a leading role are:
a. Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
b. Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
c. Adam Driver, Marriage Story
d. Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
e. Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes
Having a problem with the list? Okay, let us begin this article with a brief summary of how Oscar nominees are selected.
On the How
Nominees for each category are selected by votes from members of that category. For example, only actors get to select nominees for the Best Actor category, et al. However, when it comes to the Best Picture category, everyone gets to vote.
How is it calculated? The nomination ballots are initially sorted based on the voters’ first-choice ranking, then followed by the voters’ second-choice selection, etc. The ballots continues in this manner until the magic number is reached or until there are only five nominees remaining.
How is the winner selected? After the required number of nominees have been chosen, everyone then gets to vote on every category ie, an actor or director gets to vote not only for Best Actor, but also for Best Costume Design, Best Short Film, and Best Cinematography, etc. So while the nomination process is done by experts in every individual category, the final winners are chosen by the members of the entire Academy.
Now, back to our reading. Are actors judged by all the films they have acted or only for the film-role they are nominated for?
Initially, actors were nominated as the best in all of their work during the qualifying period (as many as three films, in some cases) was listed after the award. Later, it was reduced to two films. Now, an actor is nominated for a specific performance in a single film.
On who the Best Actor among the nominees for 2020 should be:
Gentlemen, with Oscar’s process, Critics like us are put on dilemma. This is because you will only have to judge based on the movie the actor is nominated for. It gets worst. The storyline may be one that does not require the Actor to perform his best. So let us go on and critique according to the movies tagged on their names. Let us implore the elimination method.
The movie, Pain and Glory, is a dull movie. It required nothing stressful or extraordinary from the actor. Just to pretend to think; flashbacks; and to actually speak. The writer could have set mind-blowing scenes in the flashbacks and imageries that would give the Actor some exciting moments to showcase his skills. For crying out loud, writers and directors of movies have exciting memories. And if not, show a good movie within a movie! Anyways, Antonio Banderas comes bearing his heavy name and his sweet voice. But there was nothing more in that movie that could have provoked us to consider him for the Best Actor. If he gets it, it is probably because he is on top of the list and because the voters are all sentimental. Farewell, my sweet Antonio.
Marriage Story was a super story. And to be fair, Adam Driver drove that act to its end, especially at the scene with the wife when they had to say things to each other. The moves and emotions were just perfect. Not too much not too less. But that was it. There was nothing ‘wow’. So long, dear Adam. We won’t be too mad if you win though.
To be honest, playing a cardinal, is not an easy task, let alone eventually playing the part of a Pope for the little period concerned. What many folks don’t know is that Jonathan Pryce is not a Catholic. And playing the ecclesiastical part comes with a lot of pressure and criticism. Why? – deeply rooted Catholics know so well the behavioural pattern and gestures of its fathers. So when I heard Jonathan Pryce will be playing the part, I said to myself, ‘but the part is nothing like Game of Thrones preacher?’. But oh, I was wrong. He played it well. But… not well for long. If Jonathan had acted Ratzinger’s part (a longer role in the movie perfectly played by Hopkins) we would have been able to judge Pryce well. You see, everyone was expecting Pryce to be Pope and when it fell on him, the critical eye for judging his act as a Francis-Pope, fell. As a cardinal he was perfect I may say. But as a Francis-Pope, not even as a Ratzinger-Pope, his act was flawed. Sorry, my amiable Jonathan. Should Pryce win, we will forgive the Oscar voters.
And now, gentlemen, we have come to the great dilemma.
How do I say this? Oh my gosh, my heart is pumping fast. Let me leave you with words from the act itself:
‘That was the best acting I’ve ever seen in my whole life”.
My whole life? maybe not. But when we consider that Leonardo is a great Actor and is called upon in the movie to act as an actor within the movie, we will see that this man was acting as a 3-in-one. My gosh, did I just describe the Trinity? Anyways, he did so well as a Leonardo looking at acting a part of his life, as Cliff doing the act, and as the bad character he was engaged to act within the movie. Leonardo, you should get this award, but if you lose it for the next person below, that shouldn’t be so bad.
Not many persons like the beginning part of the Joker until the ending part which provoked interests, moving us to ask for more. Here is the thing though, Anyone having problems with the non-funny nature of the joker, I am afraid, is not-too-bright in understanding the nature of the story and the sickness the joker suffered from. Who could have played it right, but Joaquin Phoenix himself? The dry laughter, the unusual expressions, the weird dancing, the suffocation, the betrayed heart, the melancholic explanations, the bitter pain, the coldness, the tears, the first act of murder, the triumphant entry at Murray’s show, the swiftness of the gun, the liberation, and the unexpected fame? Oh, my my! I am going to be very disappointed if the damn award does not go to Joaquin Phoenix! He simply nailed it.
By the way for who will win the best female actor, I have a great feeling that Laura Dern will win. She nailed the script of Marriage Story.