Friday, September 03, 2010

The Fifties for 2010: Best Supporting Actor

Khalid Abdalla for Green Zone, who avoids bare clichés of the outraged local or the shady ally yet keeps you guessing about his motives and engaged in his point of view;

Niels Arestrup for A Prophet, because even if he weren't in jail, you could see that he's trapped and rotting, no matter how much power he wields from that fireplug frame;

Pierce Brosnan for The Ghost Writer, taut and character-specific in revelatory ways, either as a weary ex-PM denied the respect he deserves or a lifelong dupe, but mad either way;

John Hawkes for Winter's Bone, because the tenor he brings to most of the perf does not match the spirit of the character's decisions and behavior, creating rich mysteries; and

Rhys Ifans for Greenberg, who could have oversold Ivan's sad backstory or his ire at Roger's recent abuses, but he stays quietly powerful, intent on keeping cool.

Honorable mentions to Ned Beatty for his plush, avuncular, but always operative antagonism in Toy Story 3; Hans-Jochen Wagner for being such an insufferable, sexist foil in Everyone Else without seeming fully against his friend, or just becoming a nuisance to the audience; Michael Shannon, who strays not very far from the usual Michael Shannon performance in The Runaways but is nonetheless a reliable generator of energy and needed flamboyance; and Ewan McGregor, working far from his Honorable Mention'd performance in The Ghost Writer as the fey lover-inmate in I Love You Phillip Morris, parsing stereotypes with noble discernment, invoking the familiar but avoiding the hackneyed, and winding up a gentle, sympathetic figure.

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Blogger Glenn said...

Call me crazy, but I think McGregor has (almost) never been better than in I Love You Phillip Morris. So surprised by him there (and the film in general).

I can't say I agree about Ifans, but I can agree on Hawkes. The rest I have not seen.

I'd probably go with Ernie Dingo (Bran Nue Dae), Michael Fassbender (Fish Tank), John Hawks (Winters Bone), Kayvan Novak (Four Lions) and Steve Bisley (Red Hill). I'm not sure if Phillip Morris is even being released so I'll hold off on including him.

4:29 AM, September 03, 2010  
Blogger James T said...

Niels Arestrup! I have no idea why I was afraid you might not include him. You're not that idiosyncratic! I think he was magnificent.

And you are really making an effort to make me feel guilty for skipping Greenberg. OK, OK, I'll catch it on DVD some day. Satisfied? :p

Re: The Ghost Writer. This movie made you like even Brosnan but you still hate Catrall? I'm still waiting for the day she will make you change your mind (I read good things on her perf on play, recently) though tou seem to have a fundemental dislike for her :(

I'm so glad you're not slowing down :)


6:01 AM, September 03, 2010  
Blogger Nick Duval said...

A very well done list. Ifans, Arestrup, and Hawkes especially are very good. I also agree with Brosnan. I'm not sure if I liked Abdhalla as much as you.

I'll second Glen's choice of Michael Fassbender, though I understand your inclusion of him in Best Actor. Also applies to Mark Ruffalo.

I would also add:
Sam Rockwell, Iron Man 2 - A great performance on the side, especially with the "Ex-Wife Bullet" monologue, undoubtedly better than anything he'll pull in "Conviction" or anything he did in "Snow Angels" (which I know you liked, but I hated).

Ciaran Hinds, Life During Wartime - Unless this was more of a lead performance, I thought he was very good, one of the best parts of the film.

And a level below:

Tom Hardy, Inception
Greg Kinnear, Green Zone
Jonah Hill, Cyrus - Who's let down by the film, locked into plodding situations, though being convincingly two-faced.

10:25 AM, September 03, 2010  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

@Glenn: Bran Nue Dae is alleged to be opening in the States soon, so I'll finally know what the fuss is about!

@James: I didn't see Greenberg till DVD, which I feel sheepish about, so don't worry, I'm not in a position to guilt anyone about it. As for Cattrall, she's had her moments in the very few Sex and the City episodes I've seen but she does strike me as having a small bag of tricks, and she's just terrible in The Ghost Writer. Like, get her off the screen. I did like her in a canceled primetime soap from ages ago called Angel Falls.

@Nick: Interesting choices. I didn't see Iron Man 2 and can't comment there; I usually like Hinds, but I thought he overplayed his hand in Life During Wartime, seeming too much the hammerhead shark. But I guess I just resisted how Solondz altered the character this time 'round.

12:18 PM, September 03, 2010  
Blogger Andrew K. said...

Very glad to see Ifan and Abdalla there. I'm really glad you liked Green Zone. It seems a bit too journalistic at times, but I'm surprised at the poor response it got.

Pierce was good in The Greatest, actually the cast is generally good but the movie is just a bit too blah.

Shannon (mentioned) and Cheadle for Brooklyn's Finest would make my list too.

4:11 PM, September 03, 2010  
Blogger John T said...

Proving that my film-going habits have been just awful this year, I've seen hardly any of these. However, it warms my heart to see Hawkes here, as he is perhaps the only remotely famous actor that I've actually had a conversation with.

8:07 PM, September 03, 2010  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

Twice as many comments for the fellas as for the supporting ladies? I hardly know my own readers.

@A:EE: I totally agree that Green Zone, while not without important flaws, was completely short-shrifted this winter.

@John: I take it Hawkes was a pleasant interlocutor? Hope so. I know I shouldn't equate talent with being a nice person, but I can't help wanting to.

10:26 PM, September 03, 2010  
Blogger Glenn said...

There's not all that much to get fussed about re Bran Nue Dae, but it is fun and lively and Dingo is particularly great.

11:53 PM, September 03, 2010  
Blogger John T said...

He was very pleasant-I actually met him after a community play near my hometown. He signed the playbill and talked to my brother and I about the play and The Perfect Storm (it was around 2001 when I met him).

10:19 AM, September 04, 2010  

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