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An Oscar for Gary?

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Variety laments the continuing outrage of the Academy snubbing performances in superhero-esque films. but maybe this year the pain will end.

Oscar’s biases are nothing new. Unfortunately, they’re increasingly out of step with the reality that some of the finest acting in American movies — and, for that matter, some of the most artful filmmaking — can be found in the realms of what might be uncharitably described as “fanboy cinema.” In a year that saw a surfeit of memorable performances in superhero pictures — Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart and Gary Oldman in “The Dark Knight,” Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow in “Iron Man,” Charlize Theron in “Hancock” — it may be time for the Academy to start taking this work as seriously as the actors and filmmakers have.

Credit for this phenomenon must go in part to the recent infusion of indie directing talent into the studio ranks. From their earliest projects, helmers such as Christopher Nolan, Sam Raimi, Bryan Singer, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro demonstrated formidable filmmaking chops and a sometimes down-and-dirty enthusiasm for B-movie thrills — qualities they’ve maintained even as their ambitions, reputations and production budgets have soared.


Personally, we would like to see a nomination for Stan Lee for his lifetime body of work in such roles as Hot Dog Guy, Milwaukee Man Drinking From Bottle, Willie Lumpkin, and his devastating turn as Old Man at Crossing in DAREDEVIL.

  1. They list Gwyneth Paltrow in Iron Man as a great performance? Sorry, but spending the last twenty minutes of a movie standing on a street shouting into a phone isn’t exactly Oscar worthy.

  2. I bet Downey Jr. will get a Golden Globe nom for Iron Man. I doubt The Dark Knight will get doubled up for supporting actor. That’s probably a good thing, since two actors nominated for the same film tend to split the vote.

  3. If someone is in some conceivable way arguably not the lead, which can be for as flimsy a reason as because they’re young or because their name isn’t in the title, the Awards basically lets studios nudge them into supporting categories if they want. Studios like doing this sometimes because it increases the chances for a win. If they choose to do so, no one’s going to get in the way of them doing it for Heath Ledger because you end up being the person standing in the way of a well-liked dead person.

    I found the vast majority of the performances listed above ordinary to terrible, so I’m surprised they’re not at all receiving Academy Awards nominations.

  4. Let’s be honest – there are some good performances in those films but *oscar* worthy? give me a break….

    Charlize Theron in “Hancock”???

    Now I enjoyed that film but deserving of awards?

  5. Downey Jr and Ledger gave great performances. Oldman was miscast, if you ask me. Since when is Gordon the soft spoken sensitive type?

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