Saturday, February 08, 2020
Let's hear it for The Gold Guy!
Best Supporting Actress: Laura Dern, who was good as the cut throat divorce lawyer in Marriage Story. I liked Florence Pugh better; her Amy was the highlight of Little Women for me. But I don't vote. Plus, Dern undeniably had some great moments, compassionate to her client and brutal to opposing counsel.
Best Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt. This is my favorite category because I've seen all five performances, and think all five are worthy. In Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Tom Hanks doesn't imitate Mr. Rogers, he evokes him and fleshes him out and makes him four dimensional. Similarly, Anthony Hopkins makes Pope Benedict warmer than I'd thought possible in The Two Popes. (I laughed out loud when he said, "It's a German joke, so it doesn't have to be funny.") In The Irishman, Joe Pesci is a quiet menace, a monster benign in appearance and manner. His costar, Al Pacino, is so warm and alive as Hoffa that you're sad every moment you see him, anticipating his inevitable demise. But Brad Pitt ... His Cliff Booth is heroic and silly and irreverent and completely charming. And this was a surprise for me, as I'm not much of a Brad Pitt fan. But in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (like in Moneyball) he disappears into the part and wins me over.
Best Actress: Renee Zellwegger. I adore Judy Garland, and approached the movie Judy with a healthy skepticism. And I wasn't crazy about the film because it focused so narrowly on The Wizard of Oz Judy and end-of-the-road Judy, ignoring the stunning career she had between those touchpoints. But still, Zellwegger is awesome. It's a fair, affectionate, tender and funny performance. She gives Judy her due, even if the script does not. (The Academy never did, either. Zellwegger could win an Oscar for playing an actress who was denied her Oscar.)
Best Actor: Oh, just give it to Phoenix already! I admit I didn't care for the movie Joker. It's too dystopian, even by comic book/fantasy standards. And it's too, too long -- I stopped caring what was real and was imagined. I just didn't give a shit anymore. But Joaquin Phoenix is brilliant. He makes you see how the world broke him, and you feel compassion for him. You understand Joker/Arthur and you give him credit for owning his madness. "What do you get when you cross a mentally ill loner with a society that treats him like trash?"
I'll leave you with Joker/Arthur literally descending into insanity. Compare this performance with Phoenix's turn as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line, and you'll be blown away.