Oct 27, 2010
Why all actors should be supporting
I generally find the supporting acting categories much more interesting than the main ones. Possibly because, as my wife could testify, I am one of life's naturally supporting fellows, a retiring amanuensis of mellow Jeevesian temperament, who likes nothing better than to lend a helping hand then remove myself with catlike grace so that others may shine. Plus, I dislike the sheer amount of acting that goes on in the major categories — all the sweat and tears, as opposed to the badminton-like returns of serve that really keep a movie chugging along, the breezy freedom to shoot off scurrilous one-liners from the sidelines. This year is no different. I couldn't be more bored by the main acting categories — Firth looks like a lock, while Best Actress looks like a duke-out between the overdue (Bening) and the overwrought (Portman). Even supporting actress, normally a vessel of vitrous joy, feels like a slog through thin gruel — Cotillard for Inception, Miranda Richardson for Made in Dagenham, plus the horrifying threat of another awards assault from Halle Berry, whose reappearance recalls the last scene of Brian de Palma's Carrie, in which Sissy Spacek's hand shot out from the grave to grab Amy Irving's ankle, just as you were putting the old bird to rest. Her grueling turn in Monster's Ball has lost none of its windmilling hysteria over the years. Turn to the men, on the other hand, and things really start to get cooking, with Sam Rockwell (Conviction), Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are Alright), Jeremy Renner (The Town), Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech), Andrew Garfield (The Social Network), and Christian Bale (The Fighter) all keening for position, and Michael Douglas shaping up as the potential spoiler. Bale I can live without. Garfield I look forward to more of. Rush I assume will win. But of the three remaining R's — Rockwell, Renner and Ruffalo — I would be hard picked to choose my favorite, so much pleasure was each responsible for releasing in my system, metabolically, over the course of the year. Ruffalo gets the Gentleman of the Year award for his support of lesbian moms; Rockwell gets the diamond-in-the-rough prize for redeeming lackluster material; while Renner wins the Steve McQueen Scholarship on sheer voltage.