Thursday, March 13, 2008

Addicts 2007: Supporting Actor

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Michael Cera

Cera's Pauly Bleeker could well have emerged as some kind of amalagamation of John Hughes 80's men, The Breakfast Club's Brian, a shy, naive geek, and Pretty In Pink's Duckie, the best friend destined to remain as such. But he knows better than to exaggerate any of his mannerisms to fit these past creations, his emergence as the true love interest in the film, the Sonny to Juno's Cher if you will, all his own doing. Everything that Bleeker's character says in the film is the honest truth, and Cera values this, taking the dialogue and using it to bring out the sensitivity, grace, and charm that Juno ultimately just can't ignore.

Vlad Ivanov
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days

As the no-nonsense abortionist he makes you feel his experience of the situation at hand, his methodical nature an effective contrast to the naivety of the two girls. He is aggressive in tone, and a huge presence, yet convincingly becomes less of a physical bully than a mental one; a manipulater of fear, tension, and vulnerability. He leads the encounter with probing questions and doubting urgency, but his honest, disorientating rationale makes us see him through the eyes of the two girls; a man they shouldn't have taken for granted.

Tommy Lee Jones
No Country For Old Men

Throughout No Country For Old Men I was thinking... "This is pretty. This is flash. This is good". What helped me to really get the film (although I still think it's slightly constricted) were the sequences with Jones. It's at this point where the macabre elements are really acknowledged. His comic tone and timing in the one-liners so grimly disguised and executed that when he does deliver them, they're razor sharp. His long monologues spoken with the grandeur commentary that's needed to reflect on a volatile younger generation. Perhaps Jones' biggest success though, is his ability to build an on-screen rapport with every other cast member he shares the screen with, especially Garret Dillahunt, with whom he has an undeniably entertaining chemistry.

Paul Rudd
Knocked Up

What the devil is it about Paul Rudd? There are few actors working today that can do what he does: be 'one of the guys' and still appear so investable as a romantic prospect. His involvement in Knocked Up then is definitely a piece of excellent casting, the relationships between him and the other three main characters (Buddy to Ben, easy-going husband to Debbie, and comic brother-in-law to Alison) valuable, as they feel individually conditioned, relaxed and honest. I don't think there's anyone I'd rather discuss fantasy baseball with.

Steve Zahn
Rescue Dawn

When Dieter Dengler arrives in the camp in which he's imprisoned, he's not the only one facing a testing wake-up call. He's walking into a prison in which its American inhabitants have been repressed, both in physical and, particularly, political terms. Their thought and sense of duty have seemingly been rendered obsolete, this best embodied by an ailing Zahn, who, given that he has the task of representing a generation disillusioned with identity, expresses such an awful lot. His drained, stranded figure of pain a perfect personification of the war itself -- rescuable on the face of it, but when all is said and done, a thoroughly hopeless mess. Zahn is incredible because he never really is, or wants to be, the sidekick or accomplice; just the forgotten labourer in a laboured world.

Winner: Steve Zahn, Rescue Dawn
Runner Up: Tommy Lee Jones, No Country For Old Men

Sad to Exclude: Denis O'Hare, a vital component in A Mighty Heart's very talented network of performers. Jason Bateman, subtly transforming from maverick 30-something (almost reminiscent of Paul Rudd) to desperate faded rock star. John Travolta, hilarious in Hairspray. The companion convincingly lured into the tempting world of song and showbiz. Alexandru Potocean, who seems to understand more of Otilia's character than is alluded to in 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days.


goatdog said...

This is a really great lineup. I'm especially impressed with your choice of Paul Rudd, who I think is consistently great but who I never think of as a great supporting actor. Weird. But when you mentioned him, I thought, yeah, he had a lot to do with what worked about that movie.

Cal said...

Yeah, Rudd is not someone you think of as a world-beater, but he's pretty great in everything and as I said, it's perfect casting. He works so well with the film.

Yaseen Ali said...

Michael Cera aside (good, but hardly "list-worthy" IMO), this is a line-up I'm totally down with. Especially love the Ivanov mention, who - LAFCA mention aside - has been conspicuously missing from a lot of awards lists from last year. He would definitely make my theoretical shortlist... probably even take the win, too. Then again, I still have a lot of catching up to do from last year.

Zahn gave Rescue Dawn the heart and soul it needed, and Paul Rudd anchored the hit-and-miss Knocked Up. I preferred Jones in Elah, but his work in the Coen Bros. film is just as valuable.

Probably my favourite Supporting Actor list so far. Can't wait to see what's coming up!