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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

(A Single) Best Actor Frontrunner

Our gorgeous nominees.
This picture is smaller.
I was contemplating on whether I should do another comparison between two Oscar nominees, as I did with the Best Supporting Actresses. I've seen the three prime contenders in their praised roles (there are really only three, as neither Gary Oldman nor Demian Bichir have any chance of winning), so it is only logical that I evaluate their performances, then choose who I believe should win. Of course, you all should be aware that my passionate choice for Best Actor is Jean Dujardin for The Artist, for he gave a tremendous portrayal as the suave, fading cinema star, George Valentin. That being said, I feel there is no purpose in even placing George Clooney or Brad Pitt beside his magnificent performance. What I will do is point out the reasons why Jean Dujardin should and will receive the honor this Sunday.

George Clooney for The Descendants (D)
Let's start with the most obvious one: acting. That is what the award is given to, isn't it? Lately, I've been doubtful to that axiomatic assumption. (Axiomatic is my word of the day. I won't insult your intelligence by defining it.) In the past few years, the Best Actor title has been given to a completely absurd and unworthy performance or a merely decent performance based on that year's overall deficiency of good acting. An example of the former would be Jeff Bridges winning for Crazy Heart, a movie I'm sure you wouldn't have remembered if I didn't say it. The movie itself I have not seen, for it would be a complete waste of time. Therefore, I can predict Jeff Bridges's acting was no more worthy of my time. In other words, not Oscar material. Once again, the Academy nominates an indie movie that most certainly does not belong in such a prestigious venue. I am referring to George Clooney's mediocre portrayal of a Hawaiian absentee dad who discovers his comatose wife had been cheating on him. Might I say how utterly original that sounds. (Sarcasm.) Surely, I've mentioned enough of how adverse I am to this unfortunate piece of "cinema" in one of my previous posts. (Yet Another Pointless Award Entry...) Like Jeff Bridges two years ago, George Clooney has been a front-runner for the award the minute Award Season began, to my dismay. As much as I like Clooney, really I do, The Descendants just didn't do anything for me. At all. In fact, I was rather disturbed by watching this, not physically but as an admirer of film in general. Recently, however, with the Screen Actors Guild and BAFTA Awards, Jean Dujardin has finally been considered for actually being named Best Actor at the Oscars. This is a most-deserved prediction on the critics' part, and I'll even forgive them for being so late for noticing the actor's clear acting prowess over George Clooney.

Brad Pitt for Moneyball  (B)
I hope you will permit me to return to the second part of a sentence I made earlier. I'll even rewrite it for you. Well, copy and paste anyway. In the past few years, the Best Actor title has been given to a completely absurd and unworthy performance or a merely decent performance based on that year's overall deficiency of good acting. As for the latter of this statement, Colin Firth could apply to that description quite nicely. Although I expressed much support and jubilation for Colin Firth during last year's award season, his performance was not utterly remarkable, as an Oscar winner should be. Yes, he was the best of the nominees last year, no question, but that was his only accomplishment. Running up against a fast-talking nerd and a hiker who gets crushed by a boulder is a pretty easy competition, if you can even call it that. Therefore, Colin Firth was simply given the award, as opposed to truly earning it. (Though I am pleased that he actually got it, solely because I enjoy the actor overall.) Which brings me to this year's similarly decent nominee, Brad Pitt, for his portrayal as the Oakland A's determined general manager Billy Beane. In another, weaker year, Brad Pitt would most likely be given the title of Best Actor, at last...seriously, one would think he'd have one by now. (Then again, he hasn't made many movies. Anyway.) The movie itself, like Brad Pitt's performance, was absolutely sufficient (looked up a synonym for decent), however there was nothing there that was shockingly outstanding. For a sports movie, it was rather satisfying, and I was somewhat keeping up with all the statistical baseball talk. Because of the mathematical element in the film, I'm sad to say that it was the reason I wouldn't watch it another time, nor do I place it high in my Best Picture want-list. Additionally, Brad Pitt is not my first choice either. (Obviously, considering who my first choice really is....)


Jean Dujardin for The Artist  (A)
Jean Dujardin. From the moment I was graced with his charmingly attractive visage, I was captivated by his presence every time I laid eyes on him once more. Quite a spell he has me in, no? I was so intrigued by the French actor that I decided to watch some of his movies, with English subtitles. That is a rather flattering gesture to the actor, as I rarely relish reading movies. Regardless, I enjoyed his OSS: 117 films immensely. Coincidentally, Michel Hazanavicius directed both spy spoofs, much to my delight and further joy. This was all just a prelude, a glorious prelude at that, to what I've been anticipating for months: The Artist. Absolutely sensational, unequivocally the highlight of the year in cinema. (The Artist: A Cinematic Masterpiece) Rather than get into yet another cajoling account of Jean Dujardin's stunning performance, I'll simply say that he entranced the audience with his facial expressions alone. (Did you hear it was completely silent?) This is something that not only is a rare mastery, but worthy of the renowned recognition of the Academy. Let's just hope they will uphold such a distinguished position in cinema by honoring the true triumph.

Rather than listing why Jean Dujardin is worthy of the title of Best Actor, I'm going to request that you read my post on The Artist yourself. I know it's asking a lot from you, but, please, humor me. The link is just above, so you won't have to trouble yourself searching for it manually. Thank you for your cooperation. The post would, also, illustrate the marvelous film itself, therefore explain why it, too, will receive the most-deserving title of Best Picture. Let's face it, The Artist has finally reached the culmination of Best Picture front-runner, so you might as well pleasure yourself by viewing a true work of artistry. And by pleasure yourself, I mean enjoy the film for its quality. Do not masturbate please. I had to specify what I meant. Did I? Have a wonderful day.

Four days until Oscar night!

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