Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Film #148: FOOTNOTE


Joseph Cedar's FOOTNOTE may have a delightful, insistent score by Amit Poznansky (it's a feature that veers some people towards labelling the movie a comedy, which it often is and is not). But, really, FOOTNOTE is a anchor-fluffy tragic tale of a life not quite wasted, but certainly not as fully appreciated as it might be.


Schlomo Bar-Aba plays the elderly, heavy-hearted Talmudic scholar Eliezer Shkolnik, a 20-time loser of the prestigious Israel Prize, given yearly to influential teachers. When Eliezer is finally notified he's attained the achievement following a lifetime of professional disappointment, he's ecstatic (at least, on the inside). Shkolnik's satisfied in what he knows he knows, but he's had to sit back and watch as his main contribution to Talmudic study has been reduced to a footnote in a "greater" scholar's bigger book. But, at least, he's now being recognized for that earthshaking footnote.

Only...it's not the case...this is a mistake...


The tiny committee assigned to give out the prize (all here are brilliantly played) really meant to give the award to Eli's son, Uriel, also a respected Talmudist (he's played by a stunning Lior Ashkenazi, the Brad Pitt of Israel, who dresses down for the role). With his surprisingly long, humorously claustophobic, and passionate debate with the prizegivers (including one powerhouse colleague who has a grudge against his father), a moral quandry is launched on the part of both the son--who struggles over whether to tell his father about the unmeant slight (which, if he lets his father know about it, will cost the son the opportunity to ever win the award in the future)--and for the father, who ultimately must confront the notion that the high point of his life's work might finally amount to a mere footnote in another person's book.


While building up to a dreamy, surreal climax, the American-born Cedar's fast-moving and impressively designed movie (it's a whirl of wacky filmic tricks) cynically pokes holes in the petty concerns those in academia cling to for fear of plunging back down into a reality that, day by day, diminishes their egoist, closely-held values. FOOTNOTE is one of those movies that looks like distant fruit to those not familiar with its world, but it's a fruit, when tasted, seems as if it possesses the flavors of the Earth. It's a movie about fathers and sons (like many films these days), but that taste that somehow should be sweet might turn out to be bitter--just so you know...


Jamey Duvall conducts an incisive interview with FOOTNOTE's writer/director Joseph Cedar here on MOVIE GEEKS UNITED...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Film #147: BOOGIE NIGHTS

Even though it has an immense cult following, BOOGIE NIGHTS is one of those films I love in spite of my better judgment. But I have affection for it just the same.


I can recall gendering at the beautiful one-sheet for Paul Thomas Anderson's breakthrough movie months before it was released in the fall of 1997. I marveled at its huge cast, and was excited about the subject matter--a trip through the Los Angeles porn industry of the late 70s/early 80s. I didn’t know who Anderson was at that time, having not seen his first feature, the small-time con film HARD EIGHT, but that would soon change. The BOOGIE NIGHTS poster, though, with its intricate photo collage of characters from the film, promised an epic portrayal unlike anything ever attempted. I was extremely thrilled about seeing it.


In it, we follow its naïve central character, Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg, in his first really notable lead role), as he's ensnared into a makeshift family of porn mavens. As he’s performing tricks on the side at his busboy job at an L.A. nightspot, he’s spotted by the patriarchal porn auteur Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds, in one of the best roles of his career). Impressed by his entire...um...package, Horner invites Eddie into the porn fold, and there his triumphs and troubles begin.


Eddie’s eventual transformation into the XXX-star Dirk Diggler is followed in great detail, but this story is really a kind of connective tissue for all the many other tales the film has to offer: Julianne Moore is a top-tier porn actress battling the courts and her ex-husband over custody of their son while using Horner’s coterie of performers as sort of stand-in children; William H. Macy is a meek assistant director struggling with his wife’s brazen infidelity; John C. Reilly is an amiable second-string performer (with a penchant for magic tricks) who’s attempting to forge a stronger identity for himself; Don Cheadle is another beaten-down porn star who’s finding difficulty breaking into the world of legitimate business; Heather Graham is the sexy but largely innocent Rollergirl, searching for the family she can’t find at home.


And Horner himself is battling pressures to convert to video rather than film--an idea he finds abhorrent (this is especially poignant now, seeing as how 35mm is dying right before our eyes). Throw into this mix Philip Seymour Hoffman as a schlubby sound guy, Luis Guzman as an enthusiastic outsider, Robert Ridgely as a troubled producer (he has a great scene at his downfall, and the movie is dedicated to him, as he died soon after production), Philip Baker Hall as an imposing moneyman (you have to love Anderson for resurrecting Hall's career), and Ricky Jay as Horner’s loyal photographer/editor, and you can get a sense of this film’s monumental ambition.


I still find many moments in BOOGIE NIGHTS to be quite wonderful. The widescreen cinematography, by Anderson regular Robert Elswit (who would go on to win an Oscar for his work on Anderson’s THERE WILL BE BLOOD) is always vibrant and inventive, as is the diverse 70s-era source music score (which pairs nicely with a sad circus-flavored underscore by Michael Penn). Anderson’s writes dialogue for dumb people particularly brilliantly, so there’s always funny conversation ensuing. The period detail in the garish art direction (by Bob Ziembicki) and costume design (by Mark Bridges, who's gone on to do THE FIGHTER and THE ARTIST) are spot-on. I love seeing Burt Reynolds tearing into a meaty role for possibly the last time, and Julianne Moore is beautifully histrionic here, as she would be in Anderson’s MAGNOLIA as well (both she and Reynolds received supporting player Oscar nominations). As always, I find John C. Reilly to be a hoot as Reed Rothschild, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman is sweetly doofy as the crewman who gets a crush on Eddie (his tortured confession of this to the unsuspecting Wahlberg is, I think, the movie’s most shattering scene).


But I also find that many parts don’t work: William H. Macy is a shamelessly barely-sketched punching bag of a character; Don Cheadle’s story fails to make a deep impression (note: any time you see a character in a white suit, you can bet that thing’s gonna be covered in blood by the end of the scene); and Graham’s Rollergirl, while extremely cute, also seems thinly-written. It feels like Anderson just has too much movie here for 2½ hours to hold (BOOGIE NIGHTS would have been a much better TV series). Also, the film owes a bit too much to the GOODFELLAS style of soaring-then-crashing storytelling (with the onslaught of the 80s being the rather too-obvious turning point, though thankfully the AIDS virus doesn't even make a cameo appearance).


Nevertheless, BOOGIE NIGHTS is required viewing, if only for its extremely tense final third, which finds Eddie struggling with a cocaine addiction while trying to launch a hilariously ill-thought musical career (the songs, performed bravely and horribly by Wahlberg and Reilly, include the original “Feel My Heat“ and an excruciating cover of "The Touch," the closing song to THE TRANSFORMERS MOVIE). Particularly memorable in this segment, too, is one of the great scenes in movie history, where a destitute Wahlberg, Reilly and ne’er-do-well Thomas Jane are stuck inside a free-basing coke-dealer’s house. The gun-toting dealer is played with a maniacal energy by Alfred Molina; he’s so coked up, he has well-hidden suspicions that these three desperate guys are planning to rip him off. With firecracker’s being thrown left and right by his houseboy, he holds the guys semi-hostage as he insists on playing “Jessie’s Girl” and “Sister Christian” for them on his stereo. You’ll never hear these two songs in quite the same way again. It’s really a marvelously scary moment that puts you right there in this mess and gets your heart pounding like you've been smoking crack alongside Molina.


There are many other things I like about the movie: the perfectly stiffly-acted porn sequences, shot on a scratchy 16mm; the famously dazzling tour through one of Horner’s house parties, done in one long shot that recalls a scene out of Kalatozov's I AM CUBA, where we eventually follow a girl as she jumps into the pool out back, all to the perfectly-chosen tune of Eric Burdon’s “Spill the Wine”; and the final shot of the film, which recalls another Scorsese classic, RAGING BULL, but which ends with, at last, a glimpse of what made Dirk Diggler famous. Most centrally, I like the film for its portrayal of adopted families; I think this is how many with too-dyfunctional families now get along. I wish BOOGIE NIGHTS as a whole was as good as these individual elements, but it’s still certainly something worth checking out, most preferably on the big screen. And it remains an important film, if only as the first calling card for an electrifying artist like Paul Thomas Anderson who, with each passing work, only seems to be getting better and better.

Friday, February 10, 2012

MASTER LIST #23: The Best Acting from the 2000s

The five best performances from lead actors and actresses, and supporting actors and actresses, from 2000 to 2012, as I see them. I'm obviously modelling this after the Oscars, so the award frames the conversation:

2000

ACTOR
George Clooney (O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?)
Tom Hanks (CAST AWAY)
Ed Harris (POLLOCK)
Mark Ruffalo (YOU CAN COUNT ON ME)
Mike White (CHUCK AND BUCK)
How Mark Ruffalo failed to get nominated for the Oscar still surprises me. He's the obvious choice here.


ACTRESS
Gillian Anderson (THE HOUSE OF MIRTH)
Bjork (DANCER IN THE DARK)
Ellen Burstyn (REQUIEM FOR A DREAM)
Laura Linney (YOU CAN COUNT ON ME)
Julia Roberts (ERIN BROCKOVICH)
What a powerhouse lineup! My sentimental choice is Burstyn, but I’m going with what I REALLY think the best is, and that’s Anderson in the horribly underseen THE HOUSE OF MIRTH.

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Willem Dafoe (SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE)
Benecio Del Toro (TRAFFIC)
Christopher Guest (BEST IN SHOW)
Joaquin Phoenix (GLADIATOR)
Eric Stoltz (THE HOUSE OF MIRTH)
Del Toro was fantastic in the the Soderburgh movie...it was his from the get-go.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Catherine Denueve (DANCER IN THE DARK)
Laura Linney (THE HOUSE OF MIRTH)
Johdi May (THE HOUSE OF MIRTH)
Amanda Peet (THE WHOLE NINE YARDS)
Ziyi Zhang (CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON)
A complicated year for the category, but I had to go with the scarily chilly Linney (also as a prize for her very different and warm lead performance in YOU CAN COUNT ON ME).


2001

ACTOR
Gene Hackman (THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS)
Ewan MacGregor (MOULIN ROUGE!)
John Cameron Mitchell (HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH)
Denzel Washington (TRAINING DAY)
Tom Wilkinson (IN THE BEDROOM)
Again, it seems impossible to think that my choice, John Cameron Mitchell, wasn't even in the running that year. What a performance that was!

ACTRESS
Thora Birch (GHOST WORLD)
Nicole Kidman (MOULIN ROUGE!)
Sissy Spacek (IN THE BEDROOM)
Charlotte Rampling (UNDER THE SAND)
Naomi Watts (MULHOLLAND DR.)
Watts, of course, deserves to be the winner.

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Steve Buscemi (GHOST WORLD)
Ben Kingsley (SEXY BEAST)
William Mapother (IN THE BEDROOM)
Ian McKellen (THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING)
Paul Rudd (WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER)
I'd have given it to Buscemi, though Kingsley was a monster...

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Scarlett Johansson (GHOST WORLD)
Helen Mirren (GOSFORD PARK)
Brooke Smith (SERIES 7: THE CONTENDERS)
Miriam Shor (HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH)
Marisa Tomei (IN THE BEDROOM)
A difficult category to pick. I really think I have to go with Brooke Smith...


2002

ACTOR
Adrian Brody (THE PIANIST)
Nicholas Cage (ADAPTATION)
Leonardo DiCaprio (CATCH ME IF YOU CAN)
Ralph Fiennes (SPIDER)
Jack Nicholson (ABOUT SCHMIDT)
Fiennes' complicated work is the best of the year...

ACTRESS
Jennifer Anniston (THE GOOD GIRL)
Diane Lane (UNFAITHFUL)
Leslie Manville (ALL OR NOTHING)
Julianne Moore (FAR FROM HEAVEN)
Samantha Morton (MORVERN CALLAR)
I go with Moore here, because she showed chops in THE HOURS as well. If I were being extra-personal, I'd go with Manville instead.

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Chris Cooper (ADAPTATION)
Paul Newman (ROAD TO PERDITION)
Timothy Spall (ALL OR NOTHING)
Noah Taylor (MAX)
Christopher Walken (CATCH ME IF YOU CAN)
The tricky performance from Taylor, as the young Adolph Hitler, is so clearly the supporting take of the year...

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams (CATCH ME IF YOU CAN)
Zooey Deschanel (THE GOOD GIRL)
Julianne Moore (THE HOURS)
Meryl Streep (ADAPTATION)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (CHICAGO)
It shocks me that, with this set of nominees, I still side with Zeta-Jones. She was the central spirit of that movie.


2003

ACTOR
Vincent Gallo (THE BROWN BUNNY)
Paul Giamatti (AMERICAN SPLENDOR)
Bill Murray (LOST IN TRANSLATION)
Paul Schneider (ALL THE REAL GIRLS)
Billy Bob Thornton (BAD SANTA)
This is a very tough year, for me, in this category. I think I might just have to go with Thornton, because that was an impossible role, and he seemed so deep into it.

ACTRESS
Jennifer Connelly (HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG)
Zooey Deschanel (ALL THE REAL GIRLS)
Charlize Theron (MONSTER)
Uma Thurman (KILL BILL)
Naomi Watts (21 GRAMS)
I adore Charlize's transformative performance, but I have to give it to Zooey, for her utter sweetness.

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Tony Cole (BAD SANTA)
Jonah Friedlander (AMERICAN SPLENDOR)
Djimon Hounsou (IN AMERICA)
Tim Robbins (MYSTIC RIVER)
Peter Sarsgaard (SHATTERED GLASS)
God, another hard category to pick from. But I have to say, I loved Tony Cole in BAD SANTA most of all.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Shohreh Aghdashloo (HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG)
Hope Davis (AMERICAN SPLENDOR)
Lauren Graham (BAD SANTA)
Marcia Gay Harden (MYSTIC RIVER)
Christina Ricci (MONSTER)
Maybe I could go with Ricci here, but Graham is ridiculously, and believably, sweet in BAD SANTA. But it would be wrong to give three acting awards to BAD SANTA, right? NOOOO! Lauren Graham for the win.


2004

ACTOR
Christian Bale (THE MACHINIST)
Clint Eastwood (MILLION DOLLAR BABY)
Jamie Foxx (RAY)
Paul Giamatti (SIDEWAYS)
Sean Penn (THE ASSASSINATION OF RICHARD NIXON)
All were great, but Foxx deserved the prize, for sure.

ACTRESS
Nicole Kidman (BIRTH)
Catalina Sandeno Moreno (MARIA FULL OF GRACE)
Imelda Staunton (VERA DRAKE)
Hillary Swank (MILLION DOLLAR BABY)
Kate Winslet (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND)
Staunton should have taken this award, hands down, though Kidman's showing was a close second.

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Alec Baldwin (THE AVIATOR)
Thomas Haden Church (SIDEWAYS)
Morgan Freeman (MILLION DOLLAR BABY)
Richard Graham (VERA DRAKE)
Jon Gries (NAPOLEON DYNAMITE)
Morgan Freeman deserves to take the award, but I really think that Church's performance was the deserved supporting actor winner of the year.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett (THE AVIATOR)
Anne Heche (BIRTH)
Virginia Madsen (SIDEWAYS)
Natalie Portman (CLOSER)
Lily Tomlin (I HEART HUCKABEES)
Terrible year for this category. I like Madsen the best, even though I admire Blanchett's go at Hepburn. I'll almost always choose original roles rather than imitations...


2005

ACTOR
Daniel Autiel (CACHE)
Jeff Daniels (THE SQUID AND THE WHALE)
Phillip Seymour Hoffman (CAPOTE)
Terrence Howard (HUSTLE AND FLOW)
Heath Ledger (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN)
It should have gone to Ledger, for sure, but I loved Howard in HUSTLE AND FLOW, too.


ACTRESS
Juliette Binoche (CACHE)
Claire Danes (SHOPGIRL)
Felicity Huffman (TRANSAMERICA)
Q’orianka Kilcher (THE NEW WORLD)
Liv Ullmann (SARABAND)
Not a great year for this race. I like Kilcher’s performance the best, but hate not giving it to Ullmann.

SUPPORTING ACTOR
George Clooney (SYRIANA)
Clifton Collins Jr. (CAPOTE)
Matt Dillon (CRASH)
Paul Giamatti (CINDERELLA MAN)
Tom Wilkinson (BATMAN BEGINS)
A weird year for this category. I hand it to Dillon, because I think it's the closest he's gonna get to any award out there, as brilliant as he is.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams (JUNEBUG)
Taraji P. Henson (HUSTLE AND FLOW)
Catherine Keener (CAPOTE)
Rachel Weitz (THE CONSTANT GARDNER)
Michelle Williams (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN)
Rarely do we see as a fantastic lineup as this in this category; all are deserving. Still, I think this is Amy Adams' eternal calling card.


2006

ACTOR
Albert Brooks (LOOKING FOR COMEDY IN THE MUSLIM WORLD)
Sasha Baron Cohen (BORAT)
Ryan Gosling (HALF NELSON)
Ulrich Muhe (THE LIVES OF OTHERS)
Will Smith (THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS)
I'd go with Ulrich Muhe here, as a rare foreign Best Actor winner. But Cohen almost landed this one.

ACTRESS
Laura Dern (INLAND EMPIRE)
Shareeka Epps (HALF NELSON)
Maggie Gyllenhall (SHERRYBABY)
Helen Mirren (THE QUEEN)
Kate Winslet (LITTLE CHILDREN)
I’d give it to Dern for her onscreen insanity, but I can understand why Mirren deserves it, too. Ah, heck, let’s give it to Dame Helen.


SUPPORTING ACTOR
Alan Arkin (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE)
Ken Davitian (BORAT)
Jackie Earle Haley (LITTLE CHILDREN)
Mark Wahlberg (THE DEPARTED)
Forrest Whitiker (THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND)
This is one of those cases where the lead actor winner was really a supporting performance. I'd give it to Whitaker here, for sure.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Adriana Baranza (BABEL)
Jennifer Hudson (DREAMGIRLS)
Frances McDormand (FRIENDS WITH MONEY)
Sheetal Sheth (LOOKING FOR COMEDY IN THE MUSLIM WORLD)
Phyllis Somerville (LITTLE CHILDREN)
Another bizarre year for this category, as I've posed it. I have to go with Hudson, who gave a stupendous performance here.


2007

ACTOR
Casey Affleck (THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD)
George Clooney (MICHAEL CLAYTON)
Daniel Day Lewis (THERE WILL BE BLOOD)
Joaquin Phoenix (WE OWN THE NIGHT)
Thomas Turgoose (THIS IS ENGLAND)
An incredible matchup here, with Lewis and Affleck. But I have to give it to Affleck.


ACTRESS
Julie Christie (AWAY FROM HER)
Marion Cotillard (LA VIE EN ROSE)
Laura Linney (THE SAVAGES)
Ellen Page (JUNO)
Luisa Williams (DAY NIGHT DAY NIGHT)
Another lackluster year for actresses. Cotillard's the victor, no question.


SUPPORTING ACTOR
Javier Bardem (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN)
Paul Dano (THERE WILL BE BLOOD)
Robert Downey Jr. (ZODIAC)
Brad Pitt (THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD)
Tom Wilkinson (MICHAEL CLAYTON)
I choose Bardem, though Pitt's performance is perhaps more detailed.


SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett (I'M NOT THERE)
Kelly McDonald (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN)
Amy Ryan (GONE BABY GONE)
Tilda Swinton (MICHAEL CLAYTON)
Marisa Tomei (BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD)
How did Cate Blanchett lose this?


2008

ACTOR
Brian Cox (RED)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (SYNECDOCHE, NY)
Richard Jenkins (THE VISITOR)
Frank Langella (FROST/NIXON)
Mickey Rourke (THE WRESTLER)
I thought hard about including Jean Claude Van Damme in here for JCVD, but that just couldn't happen. I side with Mickey Rourke on this one.


ACTRESS
Anna Faris (SMILEY FACE)
Sally Hawkins (HAPPY-GO-LUCKY)
Angelina Jolie (CHANGELING)
Meryl Streep (DOUBT)
Michelle Williams (WENDY AND LUCY)
I like Williams here the best, though Hawkins is a wonder in that film.


SUPPORTING ACTOR
Robert Downey Jr. (TROPIC THUNDER)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (DOUBT)
Heath Ledger (THE DARK KNIGHT)
Eddie Marsan (HAPPY-GO-LUCKY)
Brendon Gleeson (IN BRUGES)
Honestly, how could you not give it to Ledger?


SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams (DOUBT)
Penelope Cruz (VICKI CHRISTINA BARCELONA)
Viola Davis (DOUBT)
Marisa Tomei (THE WRESTLER)
Emily Watson (SYNECDOCHE, NY)
Viola Davis' role is one of those great two/three-scene performances. I'd give it to her.


2009

ACTOR
Jeff Bridges (CRAZY HEART)
Nicolas Cage (BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS)
Matt Damon (THE INFORMANT!)
Patton Oswalt (BIG FAN)
Jeremy Renner (THE HURT LOCKER)
I'm resolutely siding with Oswalt on this one, given that I would have given the award to Jeff Bridges for THE BIG LEBOWSKI.


ACTRESS
Abbie Cornish (BRIGHT STAR)
Michelle Monaghan (TRUCKER)
Gabourey Sidibe (PRECIOUS)
Meryl Streep (JULIE AND JULIA)
Tilda Swinton (JULIA).
I’da given it to Swinton, for sure...


SUPPORTING ACTOR
Woody Harrelson (THE MESSENGER)
Anthony Mackie (THE HURT LOCKER)
Brad Pitt (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS)
Paul Schnieder (BRIGHT STAR)
Christoph Waltz (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS)
Waltz had the mastery of so many languages, and he could not lose.


SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Vera Farmiga (UP IN THE AIR)
Melanie Laurent (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS)
Anna Kendrick (UP IN THE AIR)
Diane Kruger (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS)
Mo'Nique (PRECIOUS)
Mo'Nique deserved all her accolades; an amazing performance.


2010

ACTOR
Jesse Eisenberg (THE SOCIAL NETWORK)
Colin Firth (THE KING'S SPEECH)
Ryan Gosling (BLUE VALENTINE)
Edgar Ramirez (CARLOS)
Ben Stiller (GREENBERG)]
Some might frown, but I have to lean towards Colin Firth...


ACTRESS
Katie Jarvis (FISH TANK)
Leslie Manville (ANOTHER YEAR)
Natalie Portman (BLACK SWAN)
Emma Stone (EASY A)
Michelle Williams (BLUE VALENTINE)
Emma Stone knocked me out with her perf in that movie. Sorry, Leslie…


SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale (THE FIGHTER)
Andrew Garfield (THE SOCIAL NETWORK)
Rhys Ifans (GREENBERG)
Mark Ruffalo (THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT)
Geoffrey Rush (THE KING'S SPEECH)
Rush was great (and was the power behind the lead Firth), but Bale deserves the accolade.


SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams (THE FIGHTER)
Greta Gerwig (GREENBERG)
Jacki Weaver (ANIMAL KINGDOM)
Dianne Weist (RABBIT HOLE)
Olivia Williams (THE GHOST WRITER)
I think Greta Gerwig's performance here is one of the best supporting actress showings of all time.


2011

ACTOR
Dominic Cooper, THE DEVIL'S DOUBLE
Jean Dujardin, THE ARTIST
Mel Gibson, THE BEAVER
Peyman Mouadi, A SEPARATION
Brad Pitt, MONEYBALL
God, I love Pitt in that movie. It's hard to snub Dujardin, because the entire movie rests upon his able shoulders. But I go with Pitt anyway...


ACTRESS
Juliette Binoche (CERTIFIED COPY)
Kirsten Dunst (MELANCHOLIA)
Tilda Swinton (WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN)
Kristen Wiig (BRIDESMAIDS)
Michelle Williams (MY WEEK WITH MARILYN).
Strangely, I would happily give the award to Dunst.


SUPPORTING ACTOR
Albert Brooks, DRIVE
Jonah Hill, MONEYBALL
Viggo Mortensen, A DANGEROUS METHOD
Brad Pitt, THE TREE OF LIFE
Kiefer Sutherland, MELANCHOLIA
I know it's an unpopular choice, but I'd go with Jonah Hill; it's a really understated performance, and it's sort of at the center of the movie.


SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Sareh Bayat, A SEPARATION
Jessica Chastain, THE HELP
Jennifer Ehle, CONTAGION
Melissa McCarthy, BRIDESMAIDS
Octavia Spencer, THE HELP
Here, I'd surprise by giving it to Bayat, whom I thought owned the most soul-rocking supporting performance of the year.