I don’t know, nor do I particularly care, if these were popular, but I have more pictures and so I’m going to do some more atypical 2008 awards.
Performance that was greatly misunderstood-
Diego Luna- Milk
I’m not sure I would call it a ‘great’ performance, because I think Penn, Hirsch and Franco are all far superior, but I’ve seen Luna on countless ‘worst lists’, citing him as ‘main flaw in Milk’ and the like… I’ve seen the movie twice now and I can honestly say that Luna didn’t offend me at all. His character is supposed to be a direct contrast to Franco’s Scott, and it is just that… he’s flamboyant, clingy and jealous. I feel that Luna did exactly what was expected of him. Best of the cast? Not even close. But fatal flaw? Hideous distraction from an otherwise gorgeous movie? No way.
Best Performance I Shouldn’t Have Liked-
Anna Faris- The House Bunny.
Even in the worst of films, Anna Faris has proven herself to be a completely reliable comedic actress. The House Bunny is stupid, frothy fun, but Faris is miles above the material… Funny in every scene. She, suprisingly, has a very wide range of comedic characters- from Scary Movie to Lost in Translation.
I honestly prefer her work to Meryl Streep’s in Doubt, which I found completely too self-important. And to be honest, I didn’t even have a huge problem with the movie The House Bunny. It basically tells you to act like a slut to get guys, but then not to… but thankfully, it’s anchored by a very talented and underrated actress and is completely watchable. Unless you’re a snob.
Best Ensemble Cast-
There are quite a few contenders for best ensemble this year… but none shone quite as brightly as the cast members of Frost/Nixon. Every single performance is sharp, even those with little to do (Rebecca Hall, anyone? Did her description say: ‘Stand and look hot as hell’?) are used appropriately, while the big guns are allowed to shine. Not only does everyone do a good job, but they also work well together, which is just as important. The chemistry between Langella and Sheen is as electric as it was on the stage. Rockwell and MacFadyen are believable compadres to Sheen’s quest.
Although there were, as I said, quite a few good contenders for Ensemble this year, my second choice would be the work of the cast of Rachel Getting Married. My personal MVP Rosemarie DeWitt is a believable sister of Anne Hathaway. Winger and Irwin serve as realistic parents. The dysfunction of a family that has been through so much is there in every scene. The supporting cast (Actor with long cool name that plays Rachel’s fiancee, guy that Kym bangs, etc) are top notch as well.
Penelope Cruz- Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Who else is there besides the luminous Maria Elena?
The entire movie builds up to her entrance and when she finally graces the screen with her presence, she doesn’t disappoint. Her performance is full of fire and humor, and she manages to tackle the entire film in about 15 minutes. The entire cast is sexy, but she is the hottest one of all. Every line is perfect, every mannerism is perfect. If there is a God, she’ll win the Oscar.
Colin Farrell, In Bruges
There was a lot to choose from this year… but Farrell emerges victorious because not only was he screamingly funny, but he was monumentally better than quite a few of the ‘big contenders’ for the Actor race this year. His performance is brilliant… he’s like a little kid in some scenes, and completely at peace with his possible brain delay? In Bruges also wins my favorite line of the year with ‘If I’d grown up on a farm and was retarded, Bruges might impress me… but I didn’t, and so it doesn’t.’ Completely brilliant. Thank you Colin Farrell for impressing the shit out of me.
Not to be forgotten in the hilarious category, there’s the always reliable Robert Downey Jr who has finally made his Oscar comeback with a very untraditional role that basically mocks method acting. He is responsible for the very best laughs in Tropic Thunder, and it was a truly inspired nomination. To be fair, RDJ had one hell of a year. He’s been back in my heart since 2005 when Kiss Kiss Bang Bang came out, but he’s really become a household name between Kirk Lazarus and Tony Stark. He’s hot too, so I always welcome him on my movie screen. He obviously won’t beat Ledger at the Oscars, but he was wonderful in both performances this year. The annoying ‘ROBERT DOWNEY JR IS SOOOO GOOD’ crapola has already started and that’s frustrating, seeing as how I’ve been a fan for years, but I am happy that he’s popular. I want him to sing again, like he did in Ally McBeal. Those were the days.
Movie that nobody liked but me-
I’m not even a real Chuck Palinhiuk fan. Fight Club is okay, I guess. Choke is a far better story, and a pretty decent movie. Much of this has to be credited to Sam Rockwell, who also had one hell of a year– between this and Frost/Nixon, I think he’s on more people’s radars than ever before– Here’s hoping he gets cast as the Riddler in the new Batman movie!–
The protagonist, with his antagonistic nature, is kind of a perfect, sardonic and assholish role for Rockwell, who is always sort of disheveled in that ‘just rolled out of bed chic’ way.
I’m still not sure where I stand on this, but Dev Patel kissing Freida Pinto’s scars was one of the most romantic things I’ve seen this year. His performanced bored me to tears, hers– luminous– but I let all my gripes with bland as dry toast Patel go at this particular moment, a closure for all that they’d been through together. I love Slumdog Millionaire, and I’m proud of it… I will be perfectly content when it wins Best Picture, although Wall-E deserves it.