Are you ready for a Boys Night? Of course you are, or you wouldn’t have clicked on this post! In a year where Oscar movies lack anything resembling buzz, there are a ton of strong performances by the guys. The nominees for Best Actor are Christian Bale in “Vice”, Bradley Cooper in “A Star Is Born,” Willem Dafoe in “At Eternity’s Gate,” Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and Viggo Mortensen in “Green Book.”
Willem’s movie didn’t get much buzz and didn’t get a ton of noms in other categories. He has a strong support system in Hollywood, but so do a couple of the other nominees. Hopefully he can get in to Elton’s after party.
Viggo was stupendous in Green Book, but he should be here with Mahershala Ali, as I think they were truly co-leads.
This category really comes down to Christian, Bradley, and Rami. Rami shocked a lot of us when he won the Golden Globe for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury (an outstanding performance in an otherwise better-than-average movie). The Hollywood Foreign Press, the gang that votes on the Globes, only has about 80 members, so retail politicking can go a long way with them. Academy membership is larger (around 5,000 members) and more diverse (voters come from all aspects of film production and know what they’re looking for). That’s not to say Rami is out of the running, I’m just saying he’s got some stiff competition.
Bradley was outstanding in A Star Is Born, which he also directed. The performance was gritty and truthful, a story told from his soul. But he’s been overshadowed by his co-star, Lady Gaga. Shallow is her song, even though they both sing on it. Her acting carries it, even though they both act in it. The only real Oscar discussion Cooper’s gotten has been that he was snubbed for a director nom. I believe he, and the film, will likely come up empty on Sunday.
That leaves Christian Bale. This is his night. Vice is political and aligns with the views of a majority of the voters. His performance is strong. He suffered for his art, gaining weight and spending tons of time in the makeup chair. (He also lost the weight and is back to being his delicious self)
Looking For Support
Nominees in the Supporting Actor Category are Mahershala Ali in Green Book, Adam Driver in BlacKkKlansman, Sam Elliott in A Star Is Born, Richard E. Grant in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and Sam Rockwell in Vice.
Grant’s film didn’t do much. His performance is heartfelt and believable, but he’s not walking home with anything in his arms, except maybe his date.
Adam in BlacKkKlansman was terrific, and Spike Lee is bringing a ton of support with him to the voting this year. But
Kylo Ren Adam is renting a condo in ItsAnHonorJustToBeNominatedVille.
It’s all about Mahershala and the Sams.
Ali should be nominated in the Best Actor category along with Mortensen. He could win this prize. But one of the Sams will likely take it. Vice was a buzzy favorite in December, but brought back to Earth by the Globes. Still, Sam Rockwell is great in Vice and the film could find some redemption in this category.
However, the best performance in the category comes to us from Sam Elliott. A Hollywood veteran with lots of good will around his career and nomination, this award will likely go to him. This is also the best opportunity for A Star Is Born to pick up a trophy in any of the major categories.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
Sam Elliots Moustache. This obscure but sweet cocktail is intricately made, much like the performance of its namesake in A Star Is Born.