These are two deceptively simple categories. What exactly is a “supporting” performance?
The official names for the categories are Best Actor/Actress “in a supporting role.” What actually constitutes a supporting role is a little dubious.
Take Timothy Hutton, for example. He won Best Supporting Actor in 1980 for Ordinary People. The film is about him dealing with the death of his brother. He attempts suicide, and his well-to-do Illinois family is concerned about what it will look like in front of the neighbors. Sort of. Dad is very supportive and wants to see his son get better. Mom has completely shut herself off from the world and now despises her son because she loved the dead one more. So now she’s cold to everyone and everything, except when she’s in public, where the facade of the happy family is kept up. Meanwhile, Timothy Hutton is seeing a shrink to help get out whatever anger and such he’s feeling. The movie is about him. So why did he go supporting? Because he was 20 at the time and his parents were played by top-billed Donald Sutherland and Mary Tyler Moore. By the rationale of the studio, they felt that all actors who are not the top-billed “stars” of the picture, are there merely in support of the stars. That’s bullshit. But, it’s what we put up with.
You have to take the good with the bad here. Take this year. Hailee Steinfeld is nominated supporting for True Grit. She’s the lead of the film. So is Jeff Bridges. This is apparent to anyone watching the film. But, the Academy wasn’t going to vote her Best Actress, because she’s 13. They vote her supporting, because that’s where she’s most likely to get on, and because in star terms, she’s technically there in “support” of Jeff Bridges. So is Matt Damon. But that’s apparent. It doesn’t really make much sense. (more…)
Last week in Box Office…
Well, would you look at that? How close was this motherfucker? (Meaning me, not the box office.)
No Strings Attached wins the weekend with $19.7 million. I believe (“believe” in this case means, “I fucking know. I’m about to quote myself”) my exact words were, “I say this movie barely hits $20 million this weekend….$20 million is my number.” The industry had it tracked a bit higher than I did. They all said $20 million, a million or two higher, thereabouts. I said, fuck that, $20 million is your crux, “this movie barely hits $20 million this weekend. It could, but I say high teens.” Hmm…
I also said, “Expect to see on Saturday this movie pulled in a modest $6.7-$7.1 million on Friday”…
“No Strings Attached easily topped the Friday, Jan. 21, box office in North America, taking in $7.31m…”