The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor & Best Supporting Actress – 2009
These were fun, weren’t they? Probably the easiest categories to guess (next to Supporting Actor 2008) of all the Supporting categories of the 2000s. These things were locked from nominations day. But, still, we get to have fun talking about them. Plus I get to praise some of the other people in these categories that might get overlooked in the future.
Best Supporting Actor – 2009
And the nominees were…
Matt Damon, Invictus
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Basterds
Damon — I don’t know why he was nominated. I mean, I do, he’s Matt Damon, he always puts in great work, picks good projects, and everyone likes him. But he really did not do anything at all in this movie. Put on a South African accent, and played rugby. That’s it. Made one of those “we are doing this for our country” speeches and that’s it. But, whatever, he’s Matt Damon, so, I guess it’s all good. Personally I was rooting for Christian McKay to get this last spot, because his Orson Wells in Me and Orson Welles was fucking fantastic. Watch that performance instead of this one. You’ll see the movie anyway because of Morgan Freeman. So for this performance, watch Me and Orson Welles instead.
Harrelson — Holy shit. Woody was amazing in this movie. This movie is amazing, in a quiet sort of way. It’s about a guy who gets wounded and sent home from the army to recover, and while he’s home he’s assigned to be one of the dudes that goes around to tell people their son has died in the war. And Woody is the old hand at this, he’s been doing it for years. He’s an alcoholic, screws random women he meets in bars, is very desensitized by the whole thing even though it still affects him if he lets it. And over the course of the film, we see him adding all these nuances to his character, and its just wonderful to watch. Without Christoph Waltz in this category I’d be voting for Woody.
Plummer — Yeah, he was good and all, but this is a lead role. And as such, I cannot vote for it unless I have no choice. This year I have three. So, this gets thrown out. He plays Leo Tolstoy. He’s old, cranky, and James McAvoy has been sent to get him to agree to do something in his will he doesn’t want to do. Something about making money off his books or something. Whatever. The film is fine and all, and he’s good, especially when he’s in scenes with Helen Mirren, who is his wife, but it’s really a lead role.
Tucci — He was great in this. Only problem is, he’s not in the movie enough, and the movie wasn’t very good. It wasn’t the type of performance where he could elevate the film. It was one where the film needed to be great and then his character gets enhanced. If Inglourious Basterds wasn’t very good, Christoph Waltz still would have been amazing in it. This is a character that needs the film. And because the film essentially foregoes drama for unnecessary special effects, this character isn’t as scary as they wanted it to be. I remember him being real good and supporting this nomination, but now, a year later, I can barely even remember the performance. All I remember is how badly Peter Jackson fucked up the movie. So that tells me that, despite how good Stanley Tucci is in this and always is in anything he does, I can’t vote for him in this. Because there are two deserving performances on this list and their films are better.
Waltz — I think we can all agree he’s the winner here. Just reading this character on the page you know it would be up for an Oscar. This was the kind of role that it would have been so hard, and yet so easy to fuck up. And they found the perfect actor for it. Now, for me, he might have played it just slightly over the top in some cases, and might not have been as menacing as I thought he should be in certain scenes, but this is coming from having read the script a year before the film came out. So, I might be holding him to a different standard than everyone else. Either way, you can’t say he didn’t deserve the nomination. You could say you preferred someone else here, but there’s really no way you can be that upset with this outcome. It was a real bingo, this one.
My Thoughts: It’s Waltz. Harrelson a “in another year” second. Tucci gets high marks, but no vote.
Best Supporting Actress – 2009
And the nominees were…
Penélope Cruz, Nine
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Mo’Nique, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire
Cruz — Yeah, this was that holdover nomination thing. She was great in the movie. I know this because, as I was watching, I had a kind of cold, detachment from the movie. I was watching, thought the art direction looked nice, but otherwise I wasn’t really invested in the film (I blame Rob Marshall for this. Superficiality). And when she showed up, in her number, I actually felt my penis starting to stir. Which was the point of her musical number. And very rarely does a film like this actually receive its required emotion from me. So, I count that as a plus toward her performance. She did look sexy. Plus, I did like the one scene she had at the train station, where she’s just so stupidly naive, she’s like, “Oh, I love this hotel! We stayed here during the war. It was full of Germans! It was wonderful!” I loved that line. Other than that, the character was pretty archetypical, and I thought Marion Cotillard did just as good. But really for me the best part of the film was Fergie. She outsang everyone. Too bad her part wasn’t bigger (and she acted well in it) or else I’d have said nominate her. But, Penélope’s here, so, we deal. She would be #5 but, we have an actual 5th nominee here.
Farmiga — She was really good in this. Only problem was, her costar was better and was also nominated. But, in terms of just her, she was really good at her role. I don’t even want to give it away. Just watch the movie. She’s very good in her role. Sadly, that makes her #3 this year. Shame. Another year she might contend.
Gyllenhaal — Yeah, here’s your #5. I was rooting for Diane Kruger, because there wasn’t really a fifth nominee, and if we’re gonna nominate someone who’s borderline undeserving, let it be someone from a film I really enjoyed. Here, she plays single mother who fucks Jeff Bridges. Why she does this, I don’t know. The movies never really explained it. Does it make sense that Audrey Hepburn would want to fuck a 55 year old Gary Cooper? Or a 55 year old Humphrey Bogart? No. But they just do. So, she fucks him, does that, then he loses her son, and she dumps him. That’s about it. This is a carryover nomination, much like Matt Damon’s. They liked Crazy Heart and wanted to give it some recognition, since Jeff Bridges was winning for him and not for the performance or the movie, so she came along for the ride. That’s it. #5.
Kendrick — Loved, loved, loved, loved this performance. It’s the perfect portrait of a driven young woman who only knows by the book and slowly learns the harsh realities. She has a couple of brilliant scenes and practically steals the picture from Clooney. Also what’s great about the character is how terse and determined she is all the time. Best scene by far is in the hotel lobby after she gets dumped and out of nowhere just bursts into tears. And the whole time before it Clooney is just berating her like he always does, and then he sees her about to cry and is like, “Oh fuck,” and then she starts fucking balling. It’s hysterical how they play it, and she is brilliant in the scene. This is one of those times where, my heart is with her, even though I know someone gave a better performance.
Mo’Nique — There is nothing I can say, or will say about this performance except — holy fuck. Aside from, just watch the movie. Just watch it. I didn’t particularly care for the movie itself, but the performance — holy fuck.
My Thoughts: Mo’Nique gave the best performance. Hands down. Far and away. Seriously. And yes, I’m voting for it. But know, it wasn’t my favorite performance. That was Anna Kendrick. By far. But Mo’Nique is the vote.