The Contenders: Richard Gere in Arbitrage

Richard Gere, with his slick silver hair and squinty blue eyes, just turned 63 this past August. A stinging reminder that not only does time go by in the blink of an eye but also that this underrated American actor has never won an Oscar, let alone gotten nominated for one. Yes, that’s right. No nomination for his killer good role as lawyer Billy Flynn in “Chicago”, nada for his portrayal of Zack Mayo in “An Officer And A Gentleman”, the cheated-on husband in “Unfaithful”, Julian Kaye in “American Gigolo” or even as Clifford Irving in the underseen 2007 picture “The Hoax”. That might just change this year as Gere gives the performance of his career in Nick Jarecki’s “Arbitrage”. In fact, Gere is so good as nasty hedge fund magnate Robert Miller that you still root for him to get out of his situation in one piece. Given that Miller is cheating on his wife with a french mistress, scamming his clients of millions of dollars and using his friend Jimmy as bait for the police, we shouldn’t be feeling that way about this corporate son of a gun.

Gere is magnetic, bringing ever ounce of nuance to his role and delivering a performance that’s nothing short of revelatory. No wonder critics have been screaming Oscar since “Arbitrage” got released way back in August. Does Gere have a chance at winning Best Actor? Of course not, especially with Daniel Day Lewis, Joaquin Pheonix and Denzel Washington vying for the top prize but Gere deserves to at least get nominated. In fact, a nomination would be more than welcome by many cinephiles, especially those that know just how good Gere can be when given the right script. “Arbitrage” is that script.

Written by Nicholas Jarecki, director Andrew’s half brother, “Arbitrage” is loaded with enough juicy scenes for Gere to show off his acting chops. That’s a good thing. Gere is going to need those scenes to carry him into awards season if there is any chance at even getting a nomination. Playing a money making scumbag that you really feel for isn’t the easiest thing to pull off in this day and age but Gere does it effortlessely, using his charismatic presence and brooding good looks to fully flesh out his character. Critics have been pretty unanimous in saying it’s one of his best performances, now it’s time for the academy to follow suit and honor this great actor.

26 Comments on this Post

  1. I dont think Richard Gere has ever deserved a Oscar nomination and dont understand why you guys are so hard trying to make him happen this time.

  2. So wonderful that you’re throwing support Gere’s way. He is far too underrated. How he got snubbed for CHICAGO I still don’t know… considering both Queen Latifah and John C. Reilly got nominated and didn’t hold a candle to his performance, in my opinion.

  3. Genadijus

    This year there is such a strong race for Best Actor, and to get a nomination for Richard will be very very difficult… My nominees:
    J. Phoenix – THE MASTER
    D. Day-Lewis – LINCOLN
    J. Hawkes – SESSIONS
    A. Hopkins – HITCHCOCK
    B. Pitt – KILLING THEM SOFTLY (trust me, there’ll be a lot of Academy member going for the overdue Oscar for Brad)

  4. Day Lewis
    Hawks
    Phoenix

    Those are locks at this point

    Washington

    Will be a lock by Friday. Every single critics is calling him a must see and Flight is get very good reviews as well. Ebert called it a master work and Peter Trvers said he will be talked for years for his role. Only a fool would think he is not in at this point.

    That leaves on 1 spot open. Don’t think it will be Gere.

  5. There is really only one spot open.

    Day Lewis- 100% lock

    John Hawkes- 100% lock even though his movie did not have a great start at the BO

    Phoenix- 100%- Even though his mouth is to damn big

    Washington-90%- The only reason why he is not 100% yet is because his movie is not out yet but with all the rave reviews he is in. Also Flight looks to be the highest grosser of all the films.

    The only leaves 1 spot open. Who will get it.

  6. There is one slot open. It’s too easy to throw in Bradley Cooper or Hugh Jackman’s name (I have trouble seeing that happen), but Les Misérables still has to open.

    That means it could be ANYONE’S (right now). With the right campaign, it could be Gere’s.

    I agree. He’s a veteran who has been working hard for decades and has had incomparable box-office success. It would be nice to see him get recognized. It’s a sucky year to try, but his performance was pretty solid. It’s easy to write him off, because it seems like he plays himself a lot. This was a contemptible character who, for a brief, brief time, I found myself mildly rooting for. Yuck. That’s the sign of a great actor. If no one had ever heard of him before, his work would be easier to recognize as a great turn.

  7. Have him in my top five on The Awards Circuit. Hoping it pans out.

  8. I might be overly cautious, but I think we have only ONE lock and that’s Daniel Day-Lewis who is A. Daniel Day-Lewis B. playing a beloved, historic figure C. directed by Spielberg in a potential BP-frontrunner.

    Sure, Joaquin Phoenix gave a brilliant, career-best performance but A. Did the Academy GET the film ? B. Will the anti-Oscar rant hurt him especially considering his massive competition ?

    Denzel Washington is receiving early raves at the moment and I have no doubt he delivers, but then again, he will be probably the only strong contender in the Best Actor race whose film won’t come close to a BP-nod and while that shouldn’t take away anything from his individual work, it could give the edge to the others during the lengthy Awards Season.

    John Hawkes has been widely praised since Sundance, but his film is small quiet, and dare I say, light. Not that it isn’t a proper dramedy, but to the voters that will probably feel like comedy compared to the dramatic heavyweights he will face. So could this quiet little film earn him a Best Actor nomination in such a strong year ? Maybe…maybe not. A BP-nod would definitely help.

    Then there is the beloved Hugh Jackman whose film, though still an unseen question mark, has the potential to be THE one to beat and if that happens, Hugh ‘triplethreat’ Jackman could instantly enter the race not just as a nominee but as a potential, last minute frontrunner.

    And of course living legend Anthony Hopkins decided to show up as well, playing an American Cinema Icon, in a film that looks like a crowdpleaser.

    That’s 6 already. A case could be made that taking all this into account, Bradley Cooper is simply out of his league BUT his film is a strong BP-contender, he has the Weinsteins in his corner and he is a movie star. If Harvey could get unknown Jean Dujardin on the Kodak podium, he could EASILY get Bradley Cooper in the top5, too.

    Good news ? In my opinion, the race is down to these 7 contenders.
    Bad news ? I don’t think other contenders in low-profile films (Richard Gere, Matt Damon) and genre movies (Brad Pitt, Jamie Foxx), could knock anyone out of that top7.

    Let’s face it, if the Academy ignored Richard Gere when he was the male lead of a Best Picture winning smash hit, they probably won’t go for him this time, either.

    If Brad Pitt couldn’t even register in the Best Actor race when his Tarantino-film was a top contender with picture/director/screenplay nominations (and there is no guarantee the Academy would love ‘Django’ as much as they did ‘Basterds’), Jamie Foxx probably won’t come close, either, as great as his performance looks in the trailers.

    And as for Brad Pitt in ‘Killing them softly’, even though he has the star power and a very Oscar-friendly release date, the distributor (=Harvey Weinstein) already has at least two stronger contenders in the Best Actor race, and if ‘Django’ receives a bp-nod – something ‘Killing them softly’ probably can’t count on at all – even Foxx will be ahead of him on the Weinstein/Best Actor list.

    Bottom line : I think it’s down to 7 with one lock (Day-Lewis), but I have no idea which two of the Phoenix-Washington-Hawkes-Jackman-Hopkins-Cooper sextet WON’T make the cut in the end.

  9. unlikely hood

    DDL, JH, HJ, JP, DW

    – and when they read those names on nomination day you’ll say “RIght, it’s been locked since October.”

    Gere, Pitt, Hopkins, Cooper will not win any year-end prizes from the critics groups that give out such things, nor guild awards. Those are all going to one of the men whose initials I just mentioned. I don’t think they really like Gere much. And if they loved Pitt as much as Genadijus suggests, they had a golden opportunity to give him an Oscar last year and passed on it.

    Sasha is right to tilt at this windmill. Just isn’t gonna happen though.

  10. Comment

  11. Gere has been getting overlooked since his dynamite turn in Looking for Mr. Goodbar, which should have been his first of at least three nominations. He’s more than due.

  12. Keith A.

    How about Internal Affairs? Heard some praise for that performance, and while 1990 had a large number of guys worthy of nominations (all the people who were picked, plus Pacino, Gabriel Byrne, Ray Liotta, etc.), I don’t think that there were too many who were powerful enough for wins.

  13. Hmmn, PHANTOM … I ALMOST threw down the gauntlet with you. However, I will agree with you … for now. But, I’m very close to calling the four aforementioned all locks. Some things can’t be ignored …

    Wish it were Friday, so I could put my money where my mouth wants to be …

    Swank 2010 Part II will have to wait …

    (Dang, I hate holding my tongue … or holding my fingers back from the keyboard)

    ;)

  14. I will say this, though, PHANTOM …

    Anthony Hopkins …

    NOT HAPPENING IN 2012!

    FOR SURE!

    Richard Gere has a better shot than he does.

    Hopkins *may* come close and *ahem* get a SAG nod or something like that, but he is NOT getting nominated for an Oscar. I don’t even have to watch the film to know that.

    So, maybe I did throw down the gauntlet after all?

  15. 1. Joaquin Phoenix
    2. John Hawkes
    3. Daniel Day-Lewis
    4. Jean Louis Trintignant
    5. Denzel Washington or Richard Gere

    I believe Gere has a real shot. If the SAG goes for him, he’s in this time around. It’s a heavy drama and he delivers a strong performance. And no, he wasn’t really good in Chicago and even though it was a snub (due to his Globe win and SAG nod), I think the Academy did the right choice.

    To me Jean Louis Trintignant will be the fifth one. He’s a legend. They know who he is. And the film will be big. I have this feeling.

  16. Vince Smetana

    ‘So, maybe I did throw down the gauntlet after all?’

    Of course you did, frankly I would have been utterly disappointed if you hadn’t, but it was hilarious how you tried NOT to in your first comment :) Still, thank God for the second, now we have a conversation about the Best Actor race ! Swank10 Round 2, here we come ! :)

    OK, just for fun, here is my official prediction for the top5, and for the record I know that brilliant, probably year-best performances are not as high as they should be, but then again, this is the Oscars…THE best rarely wins…actually THE best rarely gets the nomination :

    1. Daniel-Day Lewis (In my opinion, the only lock and for now, the one to beat.)
    2. Hugh Jackman (Putting him so high on the list is clearly a gamble, but if his film hits the right notes, I see him as the only viable threat to beat DDL.)
    3. Denzel Washington (Although it wouldn’t hurt if his film had buzz in other main categories, too, when a two-time Academy Award winner receives career-best reviews, we know he will make the cut. Will he win a third ? Probably not.)
    4. Bradley Cooper (He is the male lead of a Weinstein-crowdpleaser…and we all know how those fared in the last two years. Add that Cooper is a sexiestmanalive type of movie star, and I think it will be hard to consider a scenario where Harvey does NOT secure him a nomination.)
    5. Joaquin Phoenix (I know you will probably lose it when you see I put him this low, but I do think that the combined effect of the Academy screening reportedly NOT going that well AND his instantly misunderstood anti-Oscar rant, makes him vulnerable. Not to mention every now and then Harvey plays favourites(Firth/Gosling, anyone ?), and since Cooper WILL want it, if Phoenix will come off like he does NOT, Weinstein might not pull out all the stops for him in the end.)

    Then there are the contenders who might stay in the race a little longer, but probably won’t make it til the end :

    6. John Hawkes (While I think his film will be considered too small compared to the others’, he IS very likable, so is his role…so as shocking as this may sound, I could see him replace Phoenix.)
    7. Anthony Hopkins (He is a legend…and those rarely have problems in the nomination-stage.)
    8. Jamie Foxx (IF his film didn’t turn out to be divisive…but that would be a first for Tarantino)
    9. Richard Gere (Again, if they snubbed him for a Best Picture winning smash hit, they won’t go for him this time.)
    10. Brad Pitt (Every now and then genre performances make the cut, and his star power helped two NOTOscary films get recognition last year, but this time the competition is much more massive and his distributor already has stronger contenders in the race.)

    Could you give me your top10, I’m very curious to see your take on the Best Actor race ! So your top4 is DDL, Phoenix, Washington, Hawkes, but who is your 5th ?

  17. Forget the Best Actor category

    a revolution in acting was started this year. I’m waiting for you guys to take notice, but I guess like any other cultural advancement, people don’t catch on until others make it acceptable for them to agree

    JOAQUIN PHOENIX in The Master

    The truth is, we have never seen acting like this yet. Why are you guys so calm about that? Is it because he’s human that it’s hard to process that what you are seeing is so vastly new, different, and innovative compared to everything else? This is ALIEN to us.

    You guys can wake up today, you know, and not wait for 10-15-20 years to look back and say “wow, he changed things forever.”

    @DarrenAronofsky
    the master is masterful. beautiful statement on human change. have I ever seen a performance like joaquin’s work? #scenestealer

  18. I don’t know why everyone is arguing.

    The Oscar WILL go to DDL. No buts. No Ifs. No doubt… And it has NOTHING to do with his performance (Which is phenomenal).
    Lincoln WILL get the best actor Oscar because it will be the first and only Spielberg film to get an acting Oscar. Lincoln WILL get the best actor Oscar because it is a Spielberg film ABOUT Abe Lincoln in an Election year. Finally, Lincoln WILL get the best actor Oscar because none of the other 4 nominees can get it.

    Phoenix is out because The Master hasn’t gotten any love from AMPAs. Jackman won’t win because he is in a full musical. Washington will lose because he is an African American who already has two Oscars. The fifth nominee is either Cooper or Hopkins and neither has any real chance since they are just in the filler spot.

  19. Oh, PHANTOM, it is so ON!

    Anthony Hopkins is going down Hilary Swank-2010-style, South By Southwest.

    1) You can place him at the bottom of your list
    2) And, then erase his name! :)

    And, Brad Pitt, not happening.

    And, Jamie Foxx, nope.

    This is my predictive list:
    1. DDL for the win
    2. JPhoenix
    3. JHawkes
    4. DWashington
    5. HJackman
    6. RGere
    7. BCooper
    8. JLTrintignant
    9. BMurray
    10. TLJones
    11. BAffleck
    12. BPitt
    13. JFoxx

    14. AHopkins

    … okay, maybe #12, but I did this for dramatic effect ;)

  20. There is nothing special about this film, including this performance.

  21. Vince Smetana

    So once again we agree on 4 and we will quarrel like kindergarteners on the 5th for months:) FUN ! :)

    I could see Bill Murray getting some early critics awards and a big Focus-push, but his buzz died down completely, so I don’t think he will be in the conversation in December.

    Tommy Lee Jones will get the ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ treatment, ESPECIALLY because they can easily make him settle in the supporting category, hell, he could even win there.

    Jean-Louis Trintignant isn’t getting the buzz his co-star does, which is strange, because his performance was just as impressive as Riva’s, still the Academy rarely goes for this kind of film especially in a foreign language.

    You’re onto something with Ben Affleck. Argo has the critics, the Box Office and its Academy screening was a smash, so I could see him pulling a ‘M$B’. Next time he will be in my top10.

    I think you are underestimating Cooper. His film is a strong BP-contender and he is the obvious lead, not to mention it is a Weinstein-crowdpleaser and he is a movie star. I can’t see Harvey miss this one.

    It was wise to put Jackman 5th, IMO his current position in the race is the definition of ‘could go either way’ : I could see him win, I could see him not getting even close to the top5. It will all come down to the reviews.

  22. There is a real possibility that all ten nominees in both Best Actor and Actress will be previous nominees/winners this year. Has that ever happened before in Oscar’s history? I know the last time it happened in Best Actress was 1994.

  23. Richard Gere’s debut starring performance in Malick’s 1978 “Days of Heaven” was a thing of sheer beauty.

    I have watched the film multiple times, and each time am surprized by how complex a character he portrayed in that film.

    Even though I hated the film, his performance in “American Gigalo” was also spot-on.

    I think it would be fitting to give RG a nomination this year. He deserves it.

  24. Saw it one week after Argo, and actually liked this movie much better. Yes, Argo has more prestige, and it’s a better-directed movie, but the performances in “Arbitrage” and the strong script made this a very enjoyable experience. It’s just so effective casting Gere as a rotten person when he’s so likable.

    Not only does Gere deserves a nom, but I think definitely supporting actor for sure. I don’t know who the newcomer is (and I know he’s one of the actors we should watch out for), but he’s equally impressive.

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