Monday, February 25, 2013

Alexandra Petri's New Oscar Categories (Taken More Seriously Than She Intended) (Part Two)

(Read part one here.)

Best Heartstring-Tugging Child
Let's just go back to the first truly great child performance in movies, Jackie Coogan in Charlie Chaplin's The Kid. If you don't get a little misty when Chaplin rescues him from the orphanage goons, your heart is made of stone.

Hard to believe that cute little tyke grew up to become this guy:

Best Performance With a Director Who Was Really Hard to Work With
You could interpret this question a couple of ways. William Wyler was notoriously difficult to work with—for example, once requiring Bette Davis to do forty takes of a scene in Jezebel where she did nothing but walk down a flight of stairs. Actors, though, knew that Wyler could see something they often couldn't so they put up with him and the result was that he still holds the record for directing the most Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning performances (36 and 14, respectively).
Fritz Lang, on the other hand, was just an anal-retentive a-hole who would do things like delay production for five hours while he fiddled with a fake cobweb in the background. I get the impression actors succeeded in his films in spite of him rather than because of him. In which case, I choose Peter Lorre's performance in M as the best of the bunch.

Best Weird Thing James Franco Thought Would Be Interesting to Try
I confess I read this one and thought "Now who is James Franco again? Oh, right, the former fascist dictator of Spain." To which the answer is probably "Guernica."
But then I did a little research and found out that James Franco is some sort of an actor. Boy, he's made a lot of crap, hasn't he.

Best Portrayal of a Recovering Addict
He wasn't all that recovering and who knows about babies crawling along the ceiling, but I did very much enjoy Ewan McGregor's performance as a heroin addict who goes cold turkey in the 1996 British comedy Trainspotting. Highly recommended.

Best Surprisingly Grounded Performance in a Superhero Film
I'll probably get drummed out of some sort of bloggers club for this, but I'm not that big a fan of superhero movies. I hate the "with great power comes great responsibility" gibberish that movies like Spider-Man palm off on us. That, and the inevitable Kryptonite business.

And what is it with all the tights?

That said, I'm going with Will Smith in Hancock. Hancock is very much the kind of superhero I would be if I suddenly found myself thrust into that role—just your basic anti-social "leave me alone, why don't you people grow up" kind of superhero. Don't know that I'd become a homeless alcoholic, but I'd probably spend even more time talking to the dog than I already do.

Tomorrow: Quentin Tarantino, diseases, arm-waving, sadness and nudity.

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