The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1995
I like 1995. Because it’s overall solid. It’s one where I don’t disagree with the choices. I’d just simply, have gone another way. You know. It’s like passing away as opposed to dying. One just feels better. Then again, one also doesn’t involve going down in a hail of gunfire at the Vatican. So there are pros and cons.
Braveheart wins Best Picture. I like Braveheart. I just like Apollo 13 more. Mel Gibson wins Best Director for the film (talked about here), which works, since Ron Howard wasn’t nominated. So Mel dominated that category. Best Actor was Nicolas Cage for Leaving Las Vegas (talked about here). Perfect choice, despite the stacked category. Best Actress was Susan Sarandon for Dead Man Walking (talked about here), which had been coming to her for a long time. I personally would have gone with Elisabeth Shue, but the decision was still good. And Best Supporting Actress was Mira Sorvino for Mighty Aprhodite (talked about here), which I love very much.
So there’s no real decision this year where I’m vehemently against it. I like that. And then there’s this category, and, aside from some questions about legitimacy (it’s kind of a lead performance), no one can really argue with this one. It’s pretty awesome, in fact.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1995
And the nominees were…
James Cromwell, Babe
Ed Harris, Apollo 13
Brad Pitt, Twelve Monkeys
Tim Roth, Rob Roy
Kevin Spacey, The Usual Suspects
Cromwell — How can you not love Babe? The little pig that wants to be a sheepdog? “That’ll do, pig”? It’s so wonderful. It’s impossible to not like this movie.
Cromwell plays Farmer Hoggett, who wins Babe at a fair, convinces his wife not to kill him, and becomes impressed by him and his abilities as a sheepdog. And when Babe thinks the family will eat him, he sings and dances and cares for Babe. It’s such a great performance. Cromwell is so fucking good here. I love that he got nominated. I really wish I could vote for him. This category is ridiculously stacked. I still might vote for him, though.
Harris — I fucking love Apollo 13. It’s one of those films you love from childhood that you find out afterwards was nominated for a bunch of Oscars. Real sentimental favorite.
It’s about the mission. “Houston, we have a problem.” Slingshot around the moon. Wonderful film. Really great.
Ed Harris is the mission control commander at NASA who has to get the boys home. He’s a real steadying presence throughout the film. I’m glad he got nominated. He gets serious consideration because I love the film, I love the role, and I love Ed Harris. I’m not sure if that’ll be enough in this category, but it sure is enough to give him a shot.
Pitt — Twelve Monkeys is another one of those Terry Gilliam films, which get so much press from all the wrong people that I refused to watch it for the longest time because I was convinced I’d hate it. I’m like that. When people who haven’t seen Casablanca say Twelve Monkeys is one of the best films ever made, I go immediately contrarian and want to dislike it. So, knowing I wouldn’t give the movie a fair shot, I waited until I could be thoroughly objective about it. That wait lasted until about 2/3 of the way through this Quest. I think when I started the blog and realized people could see which films I hadn’t seen, I made sure I got those off the list. So I put this one on, and, I’m glad I did. It was pretty good. I didn’t love the film the way others do, but I appreciated it.
I’m sure you know about this film. I assume everyone’s seen this. If not, I really don’t care to, because it’s a film the assholes told me I needed to see, so I feel no reason to make it easier for anyone else.
Pitt plays a mental patient who Bruce Willis is told is responsible for the release of a virus that wiped out the human race. And — well, Pitt is amazing. He doesn’t really have a specific plot line or arc or anything, plus the film is pretty batshit anyway, so it’s not really a performance I can summarize. Just know that Pitt is terrific here. I’d actually put him second for a vote based purely on performance. Will I vote for him? Probably not. Maybe, but — the category is stacked, and we have the eventual winner to deal with.
Roth — Rob Roy. I heard amazing things about this performance before I saw it. Everyone said that Roth should have won this category. Expectations were created. I saw the movie. They weren’t met.
It’s weird. A lot of people rave about Rob Roy as ‘the film that was forgotten’ because Braveheart also came out this year. But — you see the movies, and — Braveheart is the better film. It just is. This is predictable all the way, and is pretty boring, on the whole. It stars Liam Neeson, and is a pretty standard revenge-type story. Rob Roy does his shit, he’s wanted, they come after him. Tim Roth is a nobleman who is tasked to get him, and he’s pretty — quirky, sadistic, odd, and unique. It’s an interesting kind of character. Roth is good here, but, he’s clearly the weak link of the category for me. The performance comes off as a standard baddie made unique by Roth adding some quirky touches to it. Nice, but not gonna win in this category. Everyone else has stature and likability going for them. He’s clearly a #5 for me. I just don’t get the sentiment that he should have won. At all.
Spacey — The Usual Suspects. Seriously, just stop trying if you haven’t seen this.
Spacey plays Verbal Kint — the cripple who tells his story to the police. Spacey’s performance has everything. Most people would consider him a lead, and — he kind of is. But, when you look at it, just because he’s telling the story — once the story happens, he takes a back seat in a lot of the scenes. That’s what makes the performance work.
He’s clearly the one to vote for here. It’s a testament to how great this film was at the time. I think Spacey wins this all the way. Sure he didn’t reinvent the wheel, and he’s the last person (based on his later win) who should have won this based on that — but how can you not love this performance? Come on.
My Thoughts: Kevin Spacey really jumps out here. But — he’s kind of a lead role. Yet, he was also awesome in the film. Fuck it, I’m taking Spacey. The more I talk about it, the more I’ll talk circles around myself. Spacey’s the vote. Pitt was a second choice. Then Harris, then Cromwell, then Roth. Strong category.
My Vote: Spacey
Should Have Won: Don’t know if I can call this one definitively. All five actors kind of “should have” won, based just on their careers alone. Spacey probably needed it least, looking at it in hindsight, but, here, none of them had Oscars, so it was all just as well. No call here.
Is the result acceptable?: I say yes. If anything, it acts to show everyone just how awesome The Usual Suspects is. I mean, I’m not sure how well it holds up after the first half-dozen watches (I haven’t seen this movie in a while), but it’s still a wonderful film, and I like this decision purely because I love the film. That’s really the only way I can call this category.
Performances I suggest you see: If you haven’t seen The Usual Suspects, Babe or Apollo 13, you’re dead to me.
Twelve Monkeys you should probably see, since most people consider it a masterpiece. I just consider it very good, and have a hard time calling it essential because the way people talk about this one annoys me. But it’s pretty close to essential, culturally (at least, within the filmgoing community).
Rob Roy — you don’t need to see at all. A lot of people will say to see it for Roth’s performance, but I didn’t really feel either way about it. Braveheart was the superior film in every way. If you’re gonna see one film based in Scotland from 1995, make it Braveheart.