Best Supporting Actor

whiplash

Todd McCarthy, THR:

“Anyone who’s ever had a high school or college teacher make it a point to manipulate or mess with students’ lives will no doubt have relatable, and possibly painful, memories revived by this vivid portrait of a music school at which the program, run by its star instructor, closely resembles the boot camp presided over by R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket…

Teller, who greatly impressed in last year’s Sundance entry The Spectacular Now, does so again in a performance that is more often simmering than volatile. However, one misses any scene in which Andrew and the other guys might sit around talking about their tormenting teacher, sharing their misery and speculating as to what the hell made him act like this.

For his part, Simmons has the great good fortune for a character actor to have here found a co-lead part he can really run with, which is what he excitingly does with a man who is profane, way out of bounds and, like many a good villain, utterly compelling.”

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Do you love Bill Murray or do you LOVE Bill Murray?

Justin Timberlake (Inside Llewyn Davis), Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) and the dearly departed James Gandolfini (Enough Said) are some of the covers running concurrently for this month’s GQ mag.

Justin TimberlakeMatthew McConaugheyJames Gandolfini

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Stealing the show in Arbitrage, Nate Parker has made Variety’s Ten Actors to Watch list.  He, along with the rest of the names, will be honored at the Hampton’s Film Fest in September.

Parker joins a tight ensemble in Arbitrage and more than holds his own against Richard Gere.  Other actors chosen by Variety include Scoot McNairy, who is also pretty darned good in Killing Them Softly, Dree Hemingway (Muriel’s daughter) for Starlet, Adam Driver for Inside Llewyn Davis, Boyd Holdbrook from the Host and more. Check out the rest of the names over at Variety.

For another in our ongoing series, Thelma Adams, Susan Wloszczyna and I discuss the preliminary stage of the Best Supporting Actor race. It could and will likely shift, but how I believed it is standing right now is:

Jonah Hill
Christopher Plummer
Albert Brooks
Nick Nolte
Max Von Sydow
Von Sydow wins. Best guess right now.
SUSAN: I would give it to Max, too, performance unseen. He should have gotten one for Hannah and The Exorcist let alone his Bergman classics.
Oh, and Mr. Brooks wants to win. He even stuck a fork in it.
THELMA: Sasha’s right: in this category, we still have too many gaps in knowledge, although I think we’ve covered pretty much what we’ve seen so far in 2011. Is there a problem when an actor wants the Oscar so badly — you should look like you want it, and shake every old Academy member’s hand, and yet be humble, and praise every body else. It’s such an act — and Colin Firth nailed it last year.

Head on over to Thelmadams.com and read the rest.

If there is one central performance that currently stands out from the rest so far it’s the somewhat controversial work done by WETA and Andy Serkis in creating Caesar — the ape leader in The Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  What is great about Serkis’ work here is that finally, motion capture has delivered on its promise to create seamlessly emotional, realistic performances.

Two years ago, this notion was being sold yet again with Avatar, as it had been when Andy Serkis delivered the brilliant Gollum.  It could be argued, looking back, that Zoe Saldana never could have given such a strong performance without the aid of a sophisticated performance enhancer.  How easy it is to tweak a little bit here or there to inch closer and closer to perfection.  Humans are not perfect.  Their performances are sometimes flawed — they can’t always nail it as precisely as the director would want them to.  And therein lies the threat.  Make no mistake about it: performance capture, animated performances of any kind, remain a threat to actors which is why the Academy will continually be reluctant to recognize a motion capture performance over a live action one.

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kings speech 34

Artwork for The King’s Speech seems at last to be finding the proper voice. The Spanish design after the cut might be my favorite so far. As spotlessly formal as an official State Portrait, it benefits from being beautifully lit and the sight lines convey an emotional authenticity that previous versions have lacked.

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Today, the 2,100 randomly selected Screen Actors Guild nominating committee members are getting their ballots. They will then have a few weeks to see everything before jotting down their choices.

Votes for nominees may be cast online or via mailed paper ballot. Votes must be received by the Guild’s official teller, Integrity Voting Systems, by Monday, Dec. 13, 2010 at 5 p.m (PT). Nominations for the 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be announced at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010 at 6 a.m. (PT)/9 a.m. (ET), telecast live on TNT and webcast live on tnt.tv and tbs.com.

The SAG members will likely rely on screeners and on their own memory from screenings they attended. Some films will play very well on screener, while others, not so much. The year’s best performances have somehow been about the power of two. Two co-stars coming together or pulling apart. If you look behind one great performance, in other words, you will see many supporting faces that help them get where they want to go.

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Being singled out among a terrific ensemble cast, word for Sam Rockwell’s role in Conviction sounds like the stuff Supporting Actor campaigns are made of. Katey Rich at Cinemablend says his, “every scene in the prison interview room and especially flashbacks gives the film a jolt of electricity.”

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