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Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Jason Isaacs and Michael Palin did not receive Oscar nominations for portraying Nikita Khrushchev, Lavrentiy Beria, Georgy Zhukov, and Vyacheslav Molotov respectively in The Death of Stalin.

The Death of Stalin is a hilarious and biting dark satire focusing on the immediate political fallout in the U.S.S.R from the titular "loss".

An essential ingredient to making this very exact tone of the satire to work is found within the cast. This includes just strong performances all around in the best ensemble from 2017, but it goes further than that in terms of the very nature of the casting and the performances. It's best to begin then with Steve Buscemi as he would unlikely be anyone's first casting choice for Nikita Khrushchev in a film about the history of the Soviet Union, or even in a prestige British representation of such a story. The Death of Stalin is neither of those things of course in its approach and Steve Buscemi's casting is a perfect representation of this approach. The idea isn't to represent a strict historical truth in the least, though there is historical truth to be found in the film, but rather it purposefully sets itself outside of this to create a unique satirized version of Russian. This makes Brooklyn born Buscemi as just a natural part of the film. He is not only a natural part though but Buscemi's style as an actor ends up being this rather natural fit to who Khrushchev will be in the film, which is as our "hero" the use of quotations very much needed there. Buscemi's unassuming performance style though is the right one for that of Khrushchev who is just as much of a political operator as his chief rival, but Buscemi's approach just makes him seem all the more approachable.

This is in stark contrast to Simon Russell Beale as Lavrentiy Beria the man in charge of NKVD who essentially were the police in the Soviet Union who performed the most dirty of the dirty work of Stalin's regime. Beria is the film's "villain" however again that is as much of in need of quotations as the use of hero for Khrushchev. Beale's performance though is this fascinating little juxtaposition as he makes Beria essentially the most honest dishonest man around. This is as Beale so embraces the very nature of the man in his portrayal as someone who genuinely thrives in the system. Beale conducts himself with this most definite ease in itself in almost every moment as the smoothest of political operators mainly because he so understands the situation he is in. When early on he casually mentions one of their colleagues will soon be gone, to be taken away by the police, Beale delivers it with such a glib attitude that establishes Beria so effectively before the plot even begins. Beale reveals this man as oh so comfortable with his existence within this system who unlike the other men does not put on any other personal delusional fronts. In that what Beale does is stand out among the pack as the man most comfortable with being a completely despicable human being. That devilish grin of his and wily eyes are of the man who has long fashioned himself within this life of backstabbing without a single hesitation in any facet of it.

The titular event, while at first Stalin just becomes incapacitated, springs all the men of the inner circle into action in order to attempt to find their own ways to take advantage or deal with the situation. Naturally enough Beria is the swiftest to take action, and Beale properly shows a man glorying in the acts as he for a very brief period is unencumbered by any authority above himself. There is such a horrible glee that Beale brings in every little bit of use of power in these scenes particular his exact joy when giving out a new list of people to be taken away or possibly killed. Beale delivers the needed incisiveness in every word as he goes about in his act of seizing power through his alternate source of power by quickly making a puppet out of Jeffrey Tambor's Georgy Malenkov who technically is next in line by virtue of procedure. Beale's great in his interactions with Tambor in these moments by speaking to every word with him either with the man as though he's offering specific and leading stage direction to a bad actor though occasionally with a more terrifying glance to suggest his capability to destroy the man if he doesn't properly stay in line. Beale brings the right type of physical presence in the role in a very unique way as in the way he holds sway by carrying himself with this calm command, and those eyes of his which almost always carry that unmistakable intensity of a true political, well really any kind of, cutthroat.

This is against Buscemi's portrayal of Khrushchev which he brings a bit of natural manic energy to as he first comes on the scene of Stalin fitting to a man just quickly trying to come up with a way to deal with the situation that will determine his fate. Buscemi's great here in figuring out this exact way Khrushchev puts forth his way of dealing with his office, which is much more as a proper politician, though that is not necessarily a good thing. Buscemi's very enjoyable in bringing out this sort of the need to act as the politician kicks in at seeing Stalin's soon to be corpse, as he so overly expresses his sorrow as a proper man of the people giving his respects to their leader. Buscemi oversells this in the right way as the man just really enforcing the act showing Khrushchev playing this as a man trying to make sure onlookers note that "Khrushchev almost wept at seeing Stalin's corpse". Buscemi though is careful to show that Khrushchev is not a true fool, but even that act is a maneuver that he quickly drops at the sight of Stalin's urine soaked pants. Buscemi properly switches gears in that moment to show Khrushchev basically switching to the political operative mode though, after fulfilling the politician's duty, as he begins to deliver his own incisive ways though in a different way than Beale which is a strangely key thing in this film.

This key element is in the difference between Buscemi's approach to Khrushchev against Beale's portrayal of Beria which is a fascinating interplay particularly in terms of audience perception of each. This is one of the, many, brilliant parts of the film as really Khrushchev isn't a good guy either, yet I found myself siding to him by how well these performances realize these two characters. Buscemi again brings the right unassuming quality, which is in part the politician act, however he goes further to show it with a bit of honesty in that he cannot embrace really evil in the same way Beria does. Beale on the other hand does show the more honest dishonest man by in no way hiding the gruesome grotesque nature of the man. Beale particularly puts so much hideous elation when finding a new rape victim, or delivering the mentions of his own ill deeds so brazenly. In a way this is more honest than Buscemi's portrayal who shows Khrushchev as someone, who to be fair isn't as evil anyways, but also manages to delude himself to a certain degree. Buscemi however makes Khrushchev more likable also though by bringing this emphasis on the idea of the man as having any reluctance in being a cutthroat. Buscemi again is careful in the way he reveals this in these moments as once again more for show in the reluctance, however it is much appreciated for decency's sake.

Of course these two it needs to be also said are hilarious here in just kind of a traditional comedic way in every single scene. This is in part due to the two's flawless delivery of the rich dialogue given to them. Beale delivering Beria's one liners though as more exact daggers into anyone who dare trespass him, Buscemi, again somehow being likable in this by bringing more of a sardonic energy in cutting down his opponents such his "two clowns with the same joke" to deflect an insult by two of the less powerful members of the inner circle. Their performances also are hilarious in terms of their physical energy that is classically comedic. I have particular affection in Beale's work for his way of portraying Beria's mad dashes while disposing of and replacing files while Stalin lies dying on the floor. Buscemi also excels in this regard particularly in the scene of Stalin's funeral wake where Khrushchev tries to get a better spot to hear a conversation between members of the inner circle by attempting to make it look like it is part of the ceremony. The conviction that Buscemi brings in each step, and again a bit of that false properness of a politician, as this very refined act that is in fact just trying to be in a better place to eavesdrop. Beale and Buscemi make for a great pair though as the two true leaders of the two sides matching each other well as Beale the oh so assured monster, against Buscemi the proper harried underdog.

Of course in this power struggle there are many players with two of them perhaps being the most important as the wild cards in this game at a very grand scale. The first being Jason Isaacs's Georgy Zhukov the leader of the armed forces. Isaacs is essentially Peter Capaldi's Malcolm Tucker for this political satire as a man who doesn't give two "excrements" about making himself heard and heard well. Isaacs comes in fast and hard as a man almost with more medals than will fit on his uniform and Isaacs properly is as proud as that amount of medals would suggest. Although Beale and Buscemi do have their own form of command here, Isaacs delivers a different sort of a man who has fought hard and long with his particularly, and so deliciously blunt delivery of "What's a war hero got to do to get some lubrication around here" before being introduced in text by the film. Isaacs conducts himself as a man who kind of is aware of power in a more direct and obvious way as a proper soldier.  Isaacs's gruff accent is perfect for the role as a man ready to growl and pounce at any point. Isaacs delivers every one of his take down with particularly pinpoint accuracy fitting to a man who doesn't mind risking death with words given his more hands on experience with death. Isaacs is a treat every single minute he is onscreen by in every moment conducting himself with such a comedic, yet real, intensity that is absolutely perfect. He's just a joy to watch while also wholly fulfilling his particular role which is as man who makes his points clearly and directly to make sure they are heard. Isaacs has so much fun here as the man who has no delusions in a different way in that he plays the game with a different sort of perspective on the whole thing, since again power is different to him. My favorite scene of his though has to be when Khrushchev goes to seek help from him to dispose Beria, to which Isaacs delivers a magnificent false concern about Khrushchev's idea before revealing this to be only a joke, and that he is more than eager to destroy Beria. It just a moment of pure comic gold sold to perfection by Isaacs's performance, which there is not a lot of here, but every second of it is something quite special.

The other wildcard is in Michael Palin's Vyacheslav Molotov. I have to say first off I couldn't be happier at Palin's return in this film after having not appeared in a mainstream live action film in almost 20 years. They couldn't have asked for a better actor though to pull off the tricky part of Vyacheslav Molotov, Stalin's most loyal man but also the one who was to be taken away in the opening of the film. Now this requires a certain balance of things in this role, that thankfully Palin is a master of. Molotov is of course partially defined by the fact that Stalin had his wife imprisoned, used by Beria as a sex slave, though Molotov remained working with Stalin. Palin, as always, brings an innate charm to the part here just in this way as an affable old statesman that from the moment you hear he's going to be taken away, it is very easy to feel sorry for him. Palin in addition though finds a real pathos as he remarks on the loss of his wife though, and convincingly finds this strange state of the man. He offers a genuine earnestness in portraying the feelings of a loving husband, but where the comedy comes in is how this fashions through the type of man that is Molotov. Molotov being absolutely loyal to Stalin to the point that when he hears he was originally going to be taken away by the police, Palin only offers the most honest, and in turn hilarious, concern as he ponders how he could've wronged Stalin. Palin is exceptional in the way he is able to make this sort of ridiculous state of the man actually believable by just how well he can be absurd yet believable at the same time. This becomes particularly important once Khrushchev and Beria try to fight for his support, where Beria brings Molotov's wife to bribe the man, while Khrushchev tries to play towards the man's strict loyalties. Palin plays again finds a certain quality of the loving husband when he sees his wife and reveals a most genuine jubilation at the initial sight of her. Palin though makes the love of the husband real, however he still reveals that what is more important to him is his loyalty to Stalin, which requires that he see his wife as a traitor. Palin again is equally funny when revealing Molotov's support for Khrushchev's power play, because he brings such a fervent devotion to the denouncement of his wife, since according him Stalin was right, which he feels Beria wrongly absolved her of. What's so fantastic here in his performance is that Palin is able to be extremely humorous yet he makes this absurd nature of the man seem logical in his own peculiar sense of being caused by his undying loyalty to Stalin.

Khrushchev's plan to destroy Beria comes from technically both of them causing a massacre after Beria's men going about killing or at least causing the deaths of many of the Russian citizens Khrushchev allowed in to attend Stalin's funeral. Khrushchev though makes the first step which again I love how Buscemi brings such a dogged determination that again somehow makes him seem the righteous one even though he is just about as guilty in causing the deaths as Beria is. This is against Beale's depiction of Beria who is effectively just so smug you can't help but hate the guy who seems so assured of his grotesque abuse of power. Beale naturally keeps this quality when he is initially taken prisoner and he believes he might be able to get his way out of this still. Beale carries himself with such a firm disregard for everyone around him, carrying such venom in every delivery of his as he denounces everyone around him while also lashing out at everyone around him. Beale still carries that personality of command as though he keeps such a viciousness in his hatred, though with enough of a creeping up undercurrent of unease, but mostly something Beale portrays as being overwhelmed by Beria trying to stand firm in his position of power. Of course his insults get him nowhere and the inner circle decide to blame him for the massacre, and quickly make a trial and convict him in no time at all. Now this final sequence I think is a testament to the genius of the film, and to the strength of the performances of all particularly Buscemi and Beale's. This is the one scene that strictly and mostly strongly moves closest to the purely dramatic. There have been talk of deaths, and even the sight of them, however with a purposeful distance within the satire. This one scene that makes it more tangible because the violence finally happens to a named character who we know, which is Beria. What's so brilliant about this is he's the worst of the worst, however with that in mind he still is a person we've gotten to know. In turn Beale is actually kind of heartbreaking as he loses all pretense and just brings such a palatable desperation as he begs for his life. In that moment the bluntly hits you with the reality by showing a more concrete loss of life, even though it is through the man most deserving of death in the whole film. The other touch that's so great though is Buscemi though who also changes as he loses that underdog status and reveals Khrushchev as much of a cutthroat as Beria in his ice cold deliver of his insults while the man is shot then burned in front of him. The execution of this is incredible as it is uncompromising as it reveals this story was always about a group of terrible people, though Beria might have flaunted his vile nature more openly all of the characters are very bad men. The entire ensemble here is magnificent though in realizing this duplicitous world so well in creating each and everyone of this vile sorts creating this tapestry of amorality, oh yes and being quite hilarious while doing so.
(For Isaacs and Palin)
(For Beale and Buscemi )






10. Thomas Jane in 1922 - Jane delivers a solid turn in granting a curious yet honest life to his very peculiar character that manages to realize the strange state of the man without devolving into caricature.

Best Scene: A ghastly messenger.
9. Christian Bale in Hostiles - Bale's work here has the raw materials of a great performance yet he is consistently ham strung by the film's underdevelopment of every facet of his character's journey despite Bale's best efforts to sell them as this hardened soldier.

Best Scene: Burying his friend.
8. James Franco in The Disaster Artist - James Franco manages to go a bit further than just providing a hilarious impression of the strange and enigmatic Tommy Wiseau, as he does find enough of a depth within the nearly impenetrable character. 

Best Scene: Too many questions. 
7. Sebastian Stan in I, Tonya - Stan delivers a great performance here as he manages to not hold back in his depiction of the casual cruelty of a insecure man, but at the same time delivers a very funny portrayal of a fool.

Best Scene: News of the attack.
6. Jeremy Renner in Wind River - Renner delivers a brilliant turn here going against the expected approach for his role, and creating a different yet wholly convincing portrayal of a man dealing with his losses and the idea of retribution.

Best Scene: Way to make peace.
5. Robert Pattinson in Good Time - Pattinson gives a truly magnetic turn here that matches the kinetic pace of the film by so effectively realizing this man who will do anything to solve his problems except for the right thing.

Best Scene: The back of a police car.
4. Song Kang-ho in A Taxi Driver - Song carries this film every step of the way through his incredible performance that manages to begin as an amusing lightly comedic turn that naturally transitions to a heartbreaking portrayal of a man bearing witness to an atrocity.

Best Scene: A different kind of song.
3. Hugh Jackman in Logan - Jackman ends his tenure as Wolverine on a high note far beyond the original expectations of the role. Jackman expands beyond the limits of the past performance to give absolutely heartbreaking portrayal of a man coming to terms with his age and loss, and facing the responsibilities in his place as a "superhero".

Best Scene: So this is what it feels like. 
2. Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049 - Gosling delivers a masterful performance in his creation of this exact state of the replicant that seemingly is now more machine than man. His exploration of the extent of this, and the ability to change within this context is realized with such a true poignancy by this flawless performance.

Best Scene: The memory is real. 
1. Harry Dean Stanton in Lucky - Good Predictions Lezlie (x2), Charles (x2), Tahmeed, Omar (x2), Luke, Robert(x2), Nguyễn Ngọc Toàn, and RatedRStar, I will say this is not a clear cut case for me in the slightest as I hold Gosling and Stanton's performances in equally high esteem. It would pains me to deny other one the top spot. On any other day I could side towards Gosling as both of these performances are among the best of the decade. Nonetheless my #1 is Harry Dean Stanton for his swansong performance that couldn't be a more perfect send off for the actor. It is one more chance just to appreciate his one of a kind screen presence and talent with this tender, funny, and incredibly moving portrayal of man coming to terms with his age and mortality. 

Best Scene: "You smile." 
Overall Ranking:
  1. Harry Dean Stanton in Lucky
  2. Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049
  3. Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread
  4. Hugh Jackman in Logan
  5. Song Kang-ho in A Taxi Driver
  6. Robert Pattinson in Good Time
  7. Jeremy Renner in Wind River
  8. Sebastian Stan in I, Tonya
  9. Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out
  10. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in Shot Caller 
  11. Ethan Hawke in Maudie
  12. James Franco in The Disaster Artist
  13. Liev Schreiber in Chuck
  14. Jake Gyllenhaal in Stronger 
  15. Steve Carell in Battle of the Sexes
  16. Laurence Fishburne in Last Flag Flying
  17. Tom Cruise in American Made
  18. James McAvoy in Split
  19. Joel Edgerton in It Comes at Night
  20. Chris Pine in Wonder Woman
  21. Denzel Washington in Roman J. Israel, Esq.
  22. Christian Bale in Hostiles 
  23. Sam Elliott in The Hero
  24. Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour
  25. Steve Carell in Last Flag Flying
  26. Timothée Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name
  27. Andy Serkis in War for the Planet of the Apes
  28. Michael Fassbender in Alien Covenant
  29. Levi Miller in Better Watch Out
  30. Thomas Jane in 1922
  31. Robert Redford in Our Souls At Night
  32. James McAvoy in Atomic Blonde
  33. Vince Vaughn in Brawl in Cell Block 99
  34. Chris Hemsworth in Thor: Ragnarok
  35. Shawn Yue in Mad World 
  36. Kevin Harrison Jr. in It Comes at Night
  37. Dave Franco in The Disaster Artist
  38. Pierce Brosnan in The Foreigner
  39. Claes Bang in The Square
  40. Rajkummar Rao in Trapped
  41. Domhnall Gleeson in Goodbye Christopher Robin
  42. Kenneth Branagh in Murder on the Orient Express
  43. Ben Whishaw in Paddington 2
  44. Tom Holland in Spider-man: Homecoming
  45. Ben Stiller in The Meyerowitz Stories 
  46. Colin Farrell in The Beguiled
  47. Ross Lynch in My Friend Dahmer
  48. Douglas Booth in Loving Vincent
  49. Adam Driver in Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  50. Jacob Tremblay in Wonder 
  51. Ben Mendelsohn in Una
  52. Ansel Elgort in Baby Driver
  53. Adam Driver in Logan Lucky
  54. Traci Letts in The Lovers
  55. Josh O'Connor in God's Own Country
  56. Charlie Hunnam in The Lost City of Z
  57. Adam Sandler in The Meyerowitz Stories
  58. Ewan McGregor in T2
  59. Ben Stiller in Brad's Status 
  60. Dan Stevens in The Man Who Invented Christmas
  61. Will Arnett in The Lego Batman Movie
  62. Keanu Reeves in John Wick Chapter 2
  63. Fares Fares in The Nile Hilton Incident
  64. Cosmo Jarvis in Lady Macbeth
  65. Josh Gad in Marshall
  66. Colin Farrell in The Killing of a Sacred Deer
  67. Anthony Gonzalez in Coco 
  68. Elijah Wood in I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
  69. Chadwick Boseman in Marshall
  70. Andrew Garfield in Breathe
  71. Channing Tatum in Logan Lucky
  72. Dan Stevens in Beauty and the Beast 
  73. Bryan Cranston in Last Flag Flying
  74. Nahuel Perez Biscayart in BPM
  75. Géza Morcsányi in On Body and Soul
  76. John Cho in Columbus  
  77. Kumail Nanjiani in The Big Sick 
  78. Jackie Chan in The Foreigner 
  79. Keith Stanfield in Death Note
  80. Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  81. Michael Caine in Going in Style
  82. Alan Arkin in Going in Style 
  83. Jason Sudeikis in Colossal
  84. Joel Edgerton in Bright
  85. Sam Claflin in My Cousin Rachel
  86. Arnaud Valois in BPM
  87. Aleksey Rozin in Loveless
  88. Will Tilston in Goodbye Christopher Robin
  89. Noah Jupe in Suburbicon
  90. Tom Hanks in The Post
  91. Matt Damon in Downsizing 
  92. Will Smith in Bright
  93. Liam Neeson in Mark Felt
  94. Taron Egerton in Kingsman: The Golden Circle
  95. Javier Bardem in Mother!
  96. Morgan Freeman in Going in Style
  97. Vin Diesel in Fast 8
  98. Justin Timberlake in Wonder Wheel
  99. Matt Damon in Suburbicon
  100. Ben Affleck in Justice League 
  101. Tom Hiddleston in Kong: Skull Island 
  102. Michael Fassbender in The Snowman
  103. Jason Segel in The Discovery
  104. Ali Fazal in Victoria & Abdul
  105. Brad Pitt in War Machine
  106. Mark Wahlberg in All The Money in the World 
  107. Nat Wolff in Death Note
Next Year: I'm taking a break until the Oscars, but the next year after that will be 2008 lead.






"When I come on screen...You see whatever he's suppose to be playing. You know...and that's the gift...You can't teach that." - M. Emmet Walsh.

On September 15th of last year we lost one of the most vibrant residents of cinema in Harry Dean Stanton. The long faced actor, often sporting a hang dog expression, with a smoke in one hand and his lighter in another. Born of Kentucky though eventually training in California Stanton began his career in the early fifties which would last more than another 60 years. In that time Stanton, if he found a few seconds of screentime you'd say, hey who was that guy, a few minutes he might become more fascinating than whoever the lead suppose to be. Stanton simply became whoever it was that he was suppose to be playing. There was no time for, to quote Stanton, "bullshit" in his work. He just was whoever we saw, and was more than any bland idea from any screenwriter or director. This was a person we were meeting even for a few seconds of screentime Stanton made this character real whether it be a country singer, a bank robber, a "blind" preacher, the janitor on a star ship, or even the apostle Paul. Stanton was whatever was needed, as he never slept walked his way across the screen, when he came on this character was someone who lived a life that we might not have seen, but Stanton made us believe this person existed beyond the limits of the celluloid. Although leading roles were sparse for Stanton, we thankfully were granted one in his portrayal of Travis Wim Wenders's Paris, Texas. Stanton in that performance proved there was never too much of a good thing for Stanton as the more time we spent with him the more intimate of a portrait he could present to us, offering one the greatest performances of the 1980's in that film.

Although that was a memorable outlier Stanton more or less returned to the world of the character actor, remaining one of the all time greats in that regard, and always a welcome sight whenever his scraggly face would come onscreen. Before his passing though we were granted one last time with Stanton at the center of the spotlight through fellow character actor John Carroll Lynch's cinematic love letter to the actor in Lucky. The film proudly displaying the man in the lead as playing the titular role of one Lucky a man of Stanton's age making his way through life in a small town in the desert. A modest film in nature, and fitting to the nature of Stanton who needs no more than that to deliver a performance that could be only from the man himself as Lucky shares much in common with the actor that only seems to make this performance all the more special. Stanton comes on the screen in the way that defines Stanton as he is compelling just in his singular way of lighting his cigarettes while walking across the sandy sidewalks of the town like an old tumbleweed making its rounds. There is something inherently fascinating in Stanton as this unique performer who simply is well fascinating in himself. We see Lucky, we see him walking, and he already has more character than hundred disposable caricatures from most films. Stanton represents seemingly the very idea of life in his worn expressions, and just that gait that is Stanton's personal stride as he makes his way in his own damn time, thank you very much.

The film itself is representative of Stanton in making the possibly ordinary so very extraordinary in its own modest way. Stanton is right at home then, endlessly watchable as we watch Lucky go about his day that usually starts with a few exercises, a cigarette, then stop by for a cup of coffee and a crossword puzzle at cinemas proprietor (Barry Shabaka Henley here going by the name of Joe)'s diner. Stanton is of course an effortless delight as he goes about trying to solve the puzzle briefly with his perfect little aside of a "three letter word for asshole starting with a J" when his particular puzzle solving skills are questioned by Joe. Lucky seems to solve most things with a walk to his next stop along the way to each which has its own little history that Stanton provides just in the brief words he shares with whatever who or what he comes by. Whether that be his slightly more contentious attitude towards Joe, or his more overt pleasantries to the local shopkeeper and his commenting on her son's name of Juan Wayne. Stanton finding just a bit comical nuance while offering the more appreciative warmth to the rather unusual use of the name. The one thing that seems a bit of a sour note is Lucky occasionally stopping by at one point on his walk, towards an initially unseen sight, to utter an expletive. There is a harshness from his lips naturally, but a real anger in his eyes evoking some tale of woe to whatever this may be though we will not know for some time. Even with cruder moments there is almost a certain, for the lack of a better word, cool that Stanton offers this old guy who is just going about his day in the way he knows how.

His nights all lead to the same place a bar called Elaine's filled with its own color and not just the bloody Marys that Lucky prefers in his choice of drink. Lucky seems there just as much for the conversation as he waxes on one of his crossword answers, realism. Stanton's particular delivery of the examination of the word by Lucky is a marvelous bit of idiosyncrasy that could only be offered by Stanton's particular way with words. He captures this philosophical emphasis on the idea of looking at things as they are, and in Stanton's eyes there is a man pondering what exactly it means to see things completely clearly. All the same simply in his way with the words itself has a smoothness that is pure Stanton and just wonderful to hear him ponder away on "what you see is not what I get". In every interaction in this bar though there is that distinct life that is Stanton in every little exchange whether it be with the bartender, the tough as nails bar owner Elaine (Beth Grant), or her longtime companion Paulie (James Darren) you can feel the years really of Lucky passing the time with this most unusual crowd. The most notable of them being Howard played by David Lynch, and though we were just talking about realism it seems surrealism follows the director where ever he may wish to traverse. Stanton and Lynch were frequent collaborators in the directors own work, and seemingly the camaraderie of that experience shines right through the screen as old Lucky so genuinely offers comfort for Howard and his loss of his old tortoise, President Roosevelt, who "ran" away. 

I will admit that I probably could watch a whole film of just Harry Dean Stanton hanging out at Elaine's and engaging in just a few conversations. There is that vividness of his performance that just grants such a pleasure to watch this man who has such abundance of experience exuding from his very being. The film grants us more though as Lucky has a fall that perhaps changes what realism means to the old timer. This is initiated through a most fascinating and most humorous meeting with his doctor (Ed Begley Jr.), who can't do anything for Lucky but to suggest he keep living while while also suggesting he reflect on his age. Stanton's blend of sardonic asides with a bit of genuine confusion at the most unusual advice of the doctor is but a little gem of a scene. Stanton finding this exasperation in the explanation of his situation, yet a more serious curiosity in the doctor's suggestions that he can't do anything for him that wouldn't hurt him, placing Lucky in a state being as old with nothing he can do about it. This is right down to the idea that he might as well smoke since it hasn't harmed him at this point in his life. Stanton from his moment though creates this sense of introspection in Lucky as he must now examine what it is to be his age, and what it is to have lived the life he has lived. Lucky maintains more or less his routine, but Stanton shows that it is no longer in more or less the same way. There is now a different type of contemplation not of discovery of a word like realism, but rather facing the idea of realism in the examination of life and death.

Naturally enough Stanton finds this quiet struggle, and makes this conflict of thought so very palatable as he examines this even as he just attempts his simple little crosswords at the diner, or goes back to his bloody Marys. There's not a comfort within this though as Stanton finds the real difficulty in examining mortality that is something truly remarkable in his eyes that say much in each and every sorrowful glance. The one thing that initially rips him from this state Stanton so elegantly finds in a bit of sudden anger as he finds Howard making out his will with the help of a lawyer Bobby Lawrence (Ron Livingston). Stanton still of course manages to be hilarious in his quick ripping into the poor lawyer trying to set up Howard's estate to give it all to his missing tortoise. The bluster that Stanton brings is terrific in this evocation of perhaps a bar fighter of old as he so effectively pesters and prods the rather meek little man with jokes and more direct threats for what he sees as hectoring his friend. Stanton finds though in this anger that same sorrow that itself projects less amusingly as he tells Howard that his tortoise is not coming back. In that moment Stanton instantly finds just the seemingly sadness in this, as this loss seems so cold in Stanton's voice as a man projecting his own pain. Stanton's reaction to Howard's breakdown though is both moving and pretty funny as he brings such concern in his eyes for his reptile loving friend yet fashions through towards almost bubbling over in anger towards a somewhat baffled Bobby Lawrence esq. who has barely said a word.

It is the way that Stanton breaths truth into every word though that has defined his career in a way, and helps to define this performance. Stanton finds what there is in the past and summons it towards the center while he so effortlessly brings us this state of Lucky nearly stuck in this unease. This can be more tumultuous as found when Lucky tells the story of having accidentally killed a mockingbird due to his inaccurate BB gun. Stanton in his eyes and his delivery of these words brings us to this point in his life in heartbreaking detail. He fashions the vividness of the event in his mind of just a boy losing all joy of a moment in this loss of life that led to only a silence. This idea of silence though is what Stanton attaches Lucky's sad state to, although even this is wonderful in the way he doesn't allow it to artificially overwhelm his work, but rather so naturally turns it into this recurring thought. The silence makes the mind ponder his past mistakes, even as simple as mistreating Liberace in his mind, and Stanton's performance conveys this sense chagrin towards the foolishness of youth as it places him in this uncertain future. The one moment of a real breakdown is so modestly yet powerfully realized in Stanton's somber cry of "I'm scared" that reflects this state of Lucky who is temporarily caught up in his own feelings of self doubt and pondering what is to be both alive and what it means to eventually die.

As notable as Stanton's work is when he is the focus, as also typical to Stanton, his work never stops even when he is simply listening to some else. Stanton always creates this awareness that again is of a man taking what their saying not waiting simply for his next line. This is essential within his work though in Lucky's journey isn't a descent but rather uplifting in the end. This seemingly begins when he is able to explore the idea of a mortality with a much younger man, and a man he just so brazenly disrespected in ole Bobby Lawrence esq. Stanton is wonderful in every word of the man's own story of near death he takes in and within his eyes there is this growing appreciation not only for the man, but also this idea that he's not the only one who need to contemplate death nor need he contemplate it as a stark sorrow. One of the best moments in this film comes when Lucky spots a fellow veteran in the form of old Alien co-star Tom Skerritt. This scene is pure beauty though in the two old timers coming together as Skerritt and Stanton find such a warming pleasant chemistry that they realize so perfectly in their war tales. Lucky's tale as a cook on a naval ship, a history he shares with the real life Stanton, Stanton finds the appreciation for the past again in his more pleasant tale of the war of avoiding potential death. Skerritt's is far more heart wrenching as he describes a Japanese little girl's smile while believing she is embracing death, while it his moment as intended, Stanton naturally knows when to support and when to lead. His work stays quiet, and I don't mean because he doesn't speak, but he truly supports Skerrit's work by in every moment so clearly reflecting the meaning of every word in Lucky's mind that makes the scene all the more affecting.

Stanton's performance is a distinct pleasure and something wholly poignant to watch as he finds Lucky losing that sorrow and just fully embracing a joy in life by appreciating the journey. In a scene of Lucky going to a Mexican fiesta is a particular joy for us as well as Stanton regales the party but really all of us with a song. This is one that is an unforgettable moment as Stanton delivers one so purely from the heart. Every moment of the song finding this profound jubilation in the very act, as Stanton finds Lucky embracing his life to its fullest. This is not by blinding himself from the realism, so to speak, but rather finding in the song an acceptance of discovering happiness even when there may be sadness in one's mind. This idea though could still seem alien though until Lucky's final visit to the bar where he hears of Howard's acceptance that his tortoise had to go somewhere, and he decides to try to light up which is strictly forbidden. Lucky, in his attempt to explain the "truth" of the matter of the claimed expulsion from another bar, the very place he habitually utters an expletive to along the street, he falls into his philosophy of the life and death. The verbal gymnastics of falling into this discussion of bar loss to life loss couldn't be more natural in that this is who Lucky, and Stanton so flawlessly delivers that through his performance. What is more downright awe inspiring though is as he speaks about life amounting to technically nothing, and that we all must eventually go into a dark void, is that Stanton's delivery of this with the most perfect of loving smiles makes the idea of staring into nothingness downright inspiring. He seems to comfort us all in these words and it is a marvel onscreen that could only ever have been created by Harry Dean Stanton who so embodies simply the act of living. That's what he did in every one of his performance and this is culmination of that talent. Not since John Wayne in The Shootist, or perhaps supersedes it, has a swansong leading turn been such a flawless representation of a performer. I want to end this on just the Stanton's final scene in the film as he breaks the forth wall to show a truly happy man staring at us. He says adios without word but fitting to Stanton with all the emotion you would need. Of course we're going to miss him however we can only say goodbye right back, and appreciate the time we spent with him.






Ryan Gosling did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Officer KD6-3.7 in Blade Runner 2049.

Blade Runner 2049 is the outstanding sequel to the 1982 film about a future defined by the existence of androids called replicants that humanity uses and disposes of as they see fit.

I will admit upon initially hearing of the sequel to the original film I had some concerns. It easily could have been a lazy cash grab similair to Ridley Scott's Alien Covenant. What gave an obvious glimmer of hope though was that it was being helmed by director Denis Villeneuve whose previous efforts were that of a devoted filmmaker who only seems interested in projects with at least some ambition. Coming into the film the first time I had no idea exactly what to think, though I was developing some random theories in my head, where they were going to take the original story given that the promotional material was more focused on images than the actual plot. My theories of where this film would take us was instantly turned on its head from the opening scene of the film where we meet our lead played by Ryan Gosling. I suspected he was going to be a replicant but I thought it was going to be a revelation further in the film. This is one of the many brilliant decisions in the narrative as it begins with an alternate perspective as we follow this Officer with the serial number KD6-3.7 known for short as K. The replicant who works as a titular Blade Runner aka a police officer who specializes in retiring replicants who have committed any form of rebellion from their original intent. Unlike Harrison Ford's Deckard from the original film, who may or may not be a replicant, here we know that Officer K has the job of killing his own which offers a very different viewpoint in which to broach this vision of the future.

If I had known more clearly of this casting and character I might have had some concerns. Obviously Ryan Gosling is one of the most talented actors of his generation however, despite loving his turn in Drive, his performances as more understated characters were starting to become a little stale, and in 2016 he thankfully offered two memorable extroverted turns. The concern of this return of course could never inspire itself since I was not aware of it until I was already engrossed into the film, and more importantly, in regards to that concern, Ryan Gosling's performance. From the outset of his performance a great task is impressed upon his work, and to a slightly lesser extent Sylvia Hoeks's performance as the replicant Luv the girl Friday to the malevolent creator of the replicants Wallace (Jared Leto), which is to realize this new form of replicant that is described in the opening text of the film. A replicant that does not run, and is no longer like the rather emotional androids we found in the original film through Sean Young's Rachael or Rutger Hauer's Roy Batty. They are suppose to exist in a different way in which free will is not a concept. Gosling's portrayal of this not only establishes that but perfectly differentiates his work from his previous minimalist turns. Gosling's work is fascinating here in this exact creation of K from the opening which is to define K essentially through his profession, which is as a blade runner obviously.

Gosling's performance finds this way of the new replicant which is this almost exact amount of humanity required for existence and interaction. Gosling's performance is incredible in this consistency of the portrayal of this as he makes K enough of a human in that he would not be overly off-putting to actual humans, but also separated enough to clearly denote that he has been made rather than born. In his opening scene where he interrogates and then executes a rogue older replicant Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista), Gosling portrays the part with essentially this exact precision. Gosling projects this manner of an intelligent though perhaps too direct detective in the way he speaks to Morton. He does not do it in a truly robotic way, but almost a too effective of a fashion in terms of the interrogation. It's remarkable as Gosling reveals a machines way of being the perfect detective, which includes the right bit of humanity. He offers just a bit of that in his gentle small talk for a moment when he speaks about not wanting to try Morton's garlic until he's done with the "harder part" of his day. There are no mistakes in this act as Gosling shows the efficiency of someone not bread but created for the purpose of being a detective. This includes just enough of the courtesy, that most humans would appreciate being there, but only enough of a courtesy. Gosling shows this small talk as basically part of the detectives method as he attempts to calm the man into giving himself up, but when he doesn't Gosling is equally effective in delivering the cold brutality needed for a hired killer.

Gosling's performance is amazing in how well he fashions this state that establishes what is this future replicant. After he disposes of Morton Gosling portrays again this directness in K as he surveys the area to fully understand the situation as required by his duty, though again with just enough of a bit of comforting asides for his superior Lt. Joshi (Robin Wright) when describing his injuries from fighting Morton. This little aside though is again so effectively portrayed by Gosling as this enough of an emotion not to be eerie when describing the situation, but not enough that K could ever define himself as a person to another person. When returning to the station Gosling only all the more develops this compelling idiosyncratic creation of what a replicant is now. K, even as he walks by hostile humans, Gosling grants a retiring subservient body language as he almost hides from those calling him a "skin job" as confronting a human would be against his very nature as programmed. He is instead is attuned to avoid and stay very much in his place. One of my favorite scenes in this film, in which I have many, is when K is run through his base line test as though he is a computer where he is given a series of potentially emotional prompts that require a mechanized response. Gosling effortlessly depicts this strange juxtaposition where he hones these pointed delivers, and nearly vacant stare, but only with just this threadbare connective emotional tissue Gosling gives the most minor evocation of as though it is a required cushion for the replicant, an ever thin one.

Although K is clearly designed for a purpose we still follow him as he goes about his day even past working directly as a detective. Gosling uses essentially that programming baseline as this anchor as a starting point for use to remove that distance, as even though he is clearly not a human there is something human there. Again though that human factor seems a comfort for the replicant to function correctly as we see him go home where his only company is a hologram designed to be anyone's company named Joi (Ana de Armas), and he lives a life of very slight escapism within his small apartment. Gosling carefully does not change the nature of K outside of performing his duty and properly still portrays the replicant that is K even outside of his work. Gosling instead exudes just the right degree of contentment in this escapism again that is this certain core within K, but also faint in a way. Gosling naturally discovers this unique dynamic within his performance as he shows enough of a detachment in these moments to still be artificial, but he places that beyond what lies in his eyes that grants just that undercurrent of the stabilizing emotional connection required for such a complex being to exist at this level. Gosling's work provides such an unique foundation for who officer K is. He creates an understanding of how this replicant works and behaves, but also provides how there may be more though in very atypical way.

The first hint of the core of emotion perhaps shifting within K comes when he along with the lieutenant figure out that Morton was part of a group of replicants hiding a child born by a replicant. The initial breakdown of the information Gosling again delivers quickly and efficiently as K once again doing his job just as as a loyal worker should. When Joshi tells K to continue the investigation and find and destroy all evidence of this child, that breaks the very nature of the replicants, there is just a glimpse of something else. It is a brilliant moment of acting by Gosling as though his state is suddenly momentarily broken, as he holds in this gasp of emotion that Gosling seems to show as this conflict between the programming of subservience against that baseline of more empathetic emotion. Gosling realizes this in a second long reaction before portraying K seemingly having reestablished himself as a servant when firmly stating that K is incapable of saying no to the request. He seemingly then begins the investigation to destroy the child. The investigation is not performed alone though as K brings Joi along with him as he tries to uncover the mystery. Gosling's performance is again wholly remarkable in the way he subtly reveals this minor change within K as he reacts to the idea of this child born yet still of the same nature as him. The transition of this is so carefully and delicately handled by Gosling's work which so effectively realizes the emotional crux of the film.

There is no moment in the investigation that is taken for granted by Gosling's astonishing portrayal of K slowly unraveling the truth. This is in part in that relationship with Joi where I would argue Gosling and Armas have the most heartwarming chemistry out of any onscreen couple from 2017 despite neither character being human, in fact one barely has a physical form. The two together though find something so special by finding the limitations and creating this very specific form of expression that comes within that. On Armas's end it is interesting as she seems to show here move past Joi's base programming by having moments of not just overwhelming simplistic affection but rather something more complex. Gosling matches this through his depiction of K slowly having more than just minor comforts in his interactions with Joi. He begins to look her as more than just this distraction from the hellish landscapes around them, but in his face he grants a deeper meaning as he looks at her that conveys a definite love as they go on their journey together. Gosling gradually creates a growing attachment that he offers a more defined concern and care for her, even though she technically is just a hologram. Although most even disregard his choice in having a "fake" girlfriend, Gosling finds the attachment along with Armas that makes Joi seem so much more than just this pleasure hologram. Their relationship seems to mean more as K looks to her as a true companion while she attempts to give more than an idea of a life, even trying to give him a real name by calling him Joe instead of just the first letter of his serial number.

The investigation leads seemingly to K's implanted past involving a memory of his as a boy where he hid a wooden horse. When Gosling originally delivers the story it is in that fashion of the machine recounting it on the surface as something phony just to grant him solace, however Gosling infuses the words with a certain haunting quality quietly within that at the same time as K knows the memory to be false however he does find a type of comfort in it still. Gosling's work is stunning as he maintains that replicant status, but tests it. The first being when the mystery leads him to seemingly the same wooden horse that he remembers from his false memory. Gosling again has such a simply incredible singular moment as he portrays this internalized burst of emotion, that he plays as this withdrawn outburst as though it is the machine trying to maintain the man, yet is struggling to do so. Gosling shows this way the emotion changes though as that undercurrent switches from this core of comfort to now an almost searing pain. Gosling in the second baseline test in his expression now attempts vacancy yet a terrible intensity lies within it, his words attempt repetition to suit the programming of robotics yet malfunctions as even the mechanized response now seem messy with sentiment. Gosling's portrait of this barrier breaking as the function against emotion is becoming imbalanced is absolutely awe inspiring. My favorite moment of this is when he has his memory of the horse tested to see if it is real. When he is told it is Gosling delivers his only major overt moment of expression and it is earth shattering. Gosling's single moment of this primal yell of sheer anguish is heart wrenching as not only is it so flawlessly implemented and earned within his performance, but it also captures this torment of K both in regards to what the memory means but also as it clashes against what is to be his very nature through this expression.

K chooses to follow this revelation, that he is the child, and therefore the son of Rachel and Deckard from the first film. K tracks down Deckard in his hideaway in an abandoned Las Vegas. Gosling carefully maneuvers this scene in portraying this passivity again in K, but now with a different intention within it. K tries to not harm Deckard, even when he originally attacks K thinking he has come to kill him, and Gosling shows this as not a programming design rather a genuine desire. When they speak eventually about his past Gosling is outstanding in finding this nuance in the way he speaks of the child with this level of curiosity and concern. He speaks underlining some hopeful intention to see this connection between them particularly with his almost loving delivery of "stranger" towards Deckard, after Deckard had explained that sometimes to love and protect someone you have to be a stranger. Finding Deckard though leads to nothing but tragedy though as Deckard is captured by Luv and Wallace who wish to dissect his child, and Joi is "killed" by Luv. If this was not enough K is left to learn that he also was not the child, since it was a girl not a boy. Gosling's work is devastating by wearing the sheer impact of this within yet still staying true to K's character. It leaves all the greater impact because Gosling exudes this within this internalized way still realizing the nature of his origin still, but now the emotion overwhelming the center of his being.

One of the most moving moments is when there appears as respite as K comes face to face with a "living" advertisement for the Joi program. For a moment in Gosling eyes there is a comfort as he looks at her that turns to all the greater sorrow when it calls him "Joe", and Gosling conveys K understanding that possibly Joi was only acting on her programming the entire time. Gosling though finds this conviction through the emotion to be more than the machine making it entirely convincing that he would go to save Deckard from his captors. There is a very simple moment at the end of the action sequence after K has saved Deckard, but it is the evidence of the greatness of Gosling's work. Oddly enough though it comes from Deckard as he calls out to see if K is okay by calling out his name as Joe. It isn't so much Ford's delivery, although there's nothing wrong with it, but I find the moment so very affecting because of Gosling. The reason though is Gosling's work through the film gradually granted such humanity to K's journey to the point that seeing him recognized as a person and not a machine is a deeply poignant revelation. Gosling's creation of this arc couldn't more graceful or resonate. He gives the story of Deckard's child its real power through his reflection of what it means within this individual finding his own purpose and sense of self through it. His final moments of the film one no longer sees  a detached machine making its way through the world, one sees a man finally finding contentment fully on the surface. Gosling's performance is masterful as he gives us the machine in his realization of the replicant that is K in the opening of the film, but by the end of the story he reveals the man within.






Thomas Jane did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Wilfred James in 1922.

1922 is an adequate enough Stephen King adaptation, although I think the story probably could have been handled as just a segment in a horror anthology film, about a farmer taking a most unorthodox method to maintain his house and home.

1922 is very much in the vein of classical Gothic horror, southern Gothic in this case, as Stephen King does a sort of a variation on Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart", though here with the lead of Thomas Jane's Wilfred James as a simple farmer type. Jane being no stranger to a King adaptation however this time in a very different role as the central lead. Jane's whole performance is fashioned as a different kind of perspective in this lead character who he takes on his peculiar journey. Jane plays the part more akin, though with more depth mind you, to a character who would more likely be a side character used as part of the atmosphere of a typical horror story. This includes Jane playing the part with a thick southern drawl, and his whole physical manner being of a man of the earth type. Jane emphasizes a certain simplicity in this in the way he speaks so bluntly even with his technically colorful accent performance wise, however Jane fashions it to be a naturalistic aspect of this man of this time and place. His whole performance embodies this man who is made to be part of the earth in a way in his comfort in the rural land, in his simple gait, stoic manner and that pronounced droop in his lip that fills perpetual frown of contentment worthy of a man who lives his rougher life through the land and very happy to do so.

The initial conflict from the film then comes from his wife's desire to move from the farm, due to the value of the land they own, and move into the city. This is with or without Wilfred but she intends to take their son either way. Jane through his realization of this specified nature of the man does find an internal disturbing logic within the man as he decides to murder his wife in order prevent from his son from moving away. Jane doesn't portray this idea as a man with any sort of sadistic glee but rather portrays it as an anger attached specifically towards this decision. When we see Wilfred finding this decision Jane attaches this certain pride for the land, a very problematic pride, which should seem outlandish however Jane's way of finding it within his exact characterization actually does make sense of it within the man's bent logic. He projects that pride of wishing to hold onto his own land no matter what he says. The planning of the murder he says the same way his Wilfred would go about refusing to sell his land to anyone and speaks of the murder as he would planning the planting of a new crop. Jane is notable in the way he makes this initial monstrous action such a natural aspect within his work. He makes this seem like the actions of the man with a very specific worldview rather than of some overt psychopath although Wilfred does qualify as that as well in his own way.

The man successfully murders his wife along with the help of his son before dumping her body into his well. In the initial scenes of the cover up again Jane effectively portrays this as a man just going about his life as the way he sees fit, a rather problematic way to most, however Jane again normalizes it within that very exact portrayal of his. There is a momentary respite as Jane depicts this relief in the man ready just to live his days by tending to his house and home as he always intended without interference. The tell tale heart aspect of this story rear its head within the rats that feast on the man's wife's rotting corpse, and which continue to haunt him throughout the film. Jane in his reactions to specifically the rats embodies well this seed of a guilt from the first instance which he portrays well as just a momentary fear that he tries to quickly cover up as soon as possible. The rest of Jane's performance is dealing with the idea of his specific guilt towards the death of his wife. Early on in this process he shows these as those lapses into fear that usually result from being occasionally reminded of this gruesome end, but much of the time Jane portrays that same sort simple stoicism that initially defined the man as again just the man who thinks himself as the this guardian of his house and home. When he even describes his decision to his son Jane delivers his line with a modest certainty of this farmer who just believed that he knew best.

Obviously given this is Gothic horror things must not go unpunished for our main character as in addition to the frequent appearances of rats other troubles soon arise when his son runs off with the neighbor's daughter, after getting her pregnant. This leads to the gradual downfall of Wilfred as his guilt seems to take a supernatural turn as he begins to see visions, whether real or fake, of more rats and of his dead wife bringing him news that their son has become a bank robber before dying along with the neighbors daughter as his accomplice. Jane reveals this growth in guilt also within his performance where he portrays that loss of that stoic conviction or even pride that defined his initial decision. Jane devolves properly to a more introspective portrayal of the man coming to understand his mistakes revealing a more overt humanity in the fear now revealing itself to be within a more genuine remorse. Wilfred never openly admits his guilt to anyone other than himself however does so well to portray this growing rot within the core of the man through essentially revealing a more open manner in his depiction of the man's emotions. He shows Wilfred no longer able to find solace in his ways as a "man of the earth" and instead finds this man wallowing in his misdeeds. There are no further revelation to destroy the man just more visions of his misdeeds, and essentially they get louder just as the heart got louder in Poe's story. Jane in the end shows the man not breaking as this extreme anguish but rather a more subdued yet powerful evocation of the emotions as the man quietly bears witness to his crimes now with the understanding that he destroyed all that he wanted to preserve through them. This is a strong performance by Jane as he manages  to realize the unique manner of the man in a convincing fashion while avoiding making Wilfred a caricature or a one note monster. He grants insight into the strange man and his horrible decisions, even if that makes all the more disturbing in a way.






Sebastian Stan did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Jeff Gillooly in I, Tonya.

I, Tonya tells the trials and tribulations of figure skater Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie).

I, Tonya is a very entertaining take on the material, though it lifts its methods very blatantly from Martin Scorsese it thankfully applies them well. This approach though is particularly effective in the way it is used to fashion the story as an anti-inspirational biopic. In that we get technically have some beats from a typical biopic but turned on its head here in the story of the infamous Tonya Harding. This is right down to her significant other playing a pivotal role in her story. Where this is usually left for the Oscar role of the "supportive wife", like Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything, this time we get the "supportive" husband in Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gillooly, those quotations on the supportive very much a requirement. Now I, Tonya has been a rather heavily praised film, and deservedly so. Sebastian Stan seems to have become one of the most underrated performances of 2017 in a critically acclaimed film, as he could not even get a single citation from even one of the most obscure critical groups in either lead or supporting. Stan is in one of those strange situations though where I feel his performance was taken for granted. This can often happen when someone who is not all that well known plays a despicable character.

Stan is best known for playing Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier in the Marvel cinematic universe films yet even there he flies under the radar despite some strong work in his latter two turns as the character, but again there he played a secondary role with a sparse amount of lines each time. This apparently seems to have caused some not to be aware that this is a transformative performance by Sebastian Stan, and a brilliant one at that. There is nothing about Stan as Bucky or any of his other performances, or in interviews that suggests he's at all the right man you'd peg to play the not quite infamous, due to attention spans, Jeff Gillooly. Besides the mustache, that as Gillooly describes in the film as something he is apologetic over, Stan fully embodies this particular man. For example his vocal performance here is particularly impressive, though not given much credit, because of  how low key it is. Stan though fashions that sort of squeaky sounding voice of the actual man. His work is completely consistent in the realization of that to the point that he even is able to find naturalistic variations within his voice through Gillooly's higher pitched timbre. Of course it is so good one does not even think about the fact that Stan is putting on a voice at all, it just sounds like it is his normal speaking voice, but of course it's not.

Stan is equally effective in terms of his physical manner in the role which again is not at all typical to Stan's normal screen presence. Stan typically has a more outgoing effortlessly more intimidating style fitting towards a man with self-confidence. Obviously that would not work for Jeff Gillooly so Stan realizes this intensity of insecurity in his body. He carries this tight restrictiveness in his manner and the way he faces someone speaks is always a little off kilter as though he's often afraid of direct confrontation or even eye contact. He is more often retiring in his manner as someone who has not a hint of faith in any of his own abilities. Again this is something that Stan just so effortlessly brings to his performance that it is not noticeable unless your trying to examine his performance as I am doing here. He just naturally behaves as Jeff Gillooly and makes it such a given that no one even notices that his performance is quite a leap, again perhaps because Stan isn't well enough known himself, but also perhaps because Gillooly's not an especially well known historical figure. Stan's recreation of this man though is notable and he does accomplish this with such ease. He manages to never make it seem as though we are looking at Sebastian Stan playing this part, he just comes off as Jeff Gillooly in the film which should not be something that is hand waved.

Of course his performance does not end there either in his realization of the subversion of this type of character usually found in a more hopeful story. We get the early meeting between the two where it appears to be love at first sight. This is something that Stan rather hilariously realizes in his portrayal of Gillooly's love struck face, and his perfectly meek delivery of "you like food?" as his pick up line to Tonya. We very briefly get the "romantic" side of the man which Stan portrays as actually genuine in his affection at Tonya at least in some very basic level. In these moments Stan correctly portrays this overt attachment to her in their less difficult moments, and he portrays this almost sorta flimsy exuberance in these moments as trying to be the good boyfriend and later husband. We have their interactions which are incredibly well handled by Stan in that he portrays this very exact sort of charm here. In that he doesn't play at this overt charm that would be appealing to most people, however he does find something there in a very unassuming way that one can at least see the vague appeal that Tonya finds in him. Stan correctly relates this only to the moments though where he is trying to directly show his attempts that he loves her in some way, which he makes honest in the moment even if they are dishonest to the man as a whole.

Those moments are quickly subverted by the frequent scenes of Gillooly's physical abuse of Tonya. Now most of the time when this is a feature in a character it often becomes the sole emphasis within the actor's performance which usually becomes quickly one note. Stan avoids this pitfall, though not in a way of softening his character, as he makes these moments as just the basic part of what makes up Gillooly, which in a way is more disturbing than if he had to muster energy to be abusive. Stan depicts these scenes as basically just something that he does that is just basically an innate behavior of his as breathing is. Stan makes the moments as a natural part of his insecurity as a person. Stan handles them as casual as clockwork in any moment their alone and he portrays just a minor frustration as more than enough reason to hit her. Stan doesn't portray this at Gillooly's low point but really just his typical state of being for such a pathetic man. He makes them as these attempts to quickly put her down the moment Gillooly feels down about anything himself. He doesn't depict this as building him up as some bully seeking confidence, but rather just this further stewing in his own misery where he tries to bring Tonya right down to where he is. His moments even of apology Stan actually makes earnest, in that he's not a sociopath, but in his weak willed delivery of the apologies shows it stemming from the exact pitiful core of the man.

What is particularly remarkable though is that even with these pretty horrible moments of abuse this is actually often a rather funny performance at times, though usually in a fairly dark way. What Stan does isn't to ever try to be funny but rather excels in just presenting this wretched man that is Gillooly and amusing things can come from this due to the strange state of the man. That state that Stan makes so pure that it is occasionally hilarious because of how unabashed he makes this. For example when Gillooly goes about trying to make up with Tonya, over his friend's Shawn Eckhardt (Paul Walt Hauser) parent's phone, Stan delivers every time he asks Shawn's mother to redial Tonya's number in the same one would as a child upset while at friends house. Stan delivers this certain cordiality towards this every time, and again it ends up being very funny since Stan makes it seem so authentic to the man he has established up to this point. This can even be in a pitch black sense at times though for example when Gillooly threatens Tonya with a gun, while also threatening to commit suicide. Stan brings all the appropriate emotional intensity to the moment, but also through the funnel of the guy Gillooly is. When he does fire in the heat of the moment, there is natural bit of dark humor in Stan's "oops, I didn't mean it to go this far" reaction when Gillooly sees he might have seriously hurt Tonya. Stan manages to find the balance in his performance because his work always stay so true to the character.

Of course what defines the story, and what Jeff Gillooly almost as important to I, Tonya as Tonya herself, though the name of the film suggests she's not so innocent as she often claims in the film, is the attack on her chief rival Nancy Kerrigan. We never get really the full story, however what we do get is the realization of Gillooly's particular method at being the "supportive" husband to Tonya's life story, through his attempt to sabotage the competition. Stan finds this sort of toxic support though throughout his interactions with Robbie as Harding. As in the moments of her success Stan portrays a directly honest happiness for her success, unless it diminishes his presence in her life. Stan then proceeds to depict the initial staging of the idea again rather comically as the man who is going to make her Olympic dreams come true. There is sort of this false cunning that is rather hilarious that Stan projects as he considers the plan with Eckhardt where he does portray a  type of confidence, the weakest most pathetic attempt a confidence you could see. There is not an ounce real confidence mind you there in that he is the same physical manner but not just with this brittle attempt at being the "good husband". Of course thing quickly spiral out of control as the attack is launched, though we never exactly get a clear explanation in terms of the exact awareness of all parties. Stan during this portion often gets sole perspective as he becomes sort of the king of dunces as Gillooly attempts to deal with his involvement. The scenes between Eckhardt and Gillooly are particularly entertaining though in the way Stan and Hauser play it as dumb and dumber. As Hauser plays a man with firm delusions that keep him a sort of bliss against Stan playing a different kind of delusion by depicting such overt, and rather funny, frustrations as he thinks he can deal with one of the few people if more incompetent than himself. The highlight of this perhaps being the moment of seeing the attack coverage on the news with an amazing primal scream by Stan, fitting to a man who realizes he's screwed up to a colossal degree.

Stan is great in the public scenes where he shows again that attempt at a confident, innocent, Gillooly that just couldn't seem more unnatural or unbecoming to the man as Stan still presents him oozing with that same desperation that defines him as a person. As the story begins to unravel Stan is terrific by showing this already underwhelming act slowly falling apart in each successive scene to reveal a more overtly pathetic individual who is overwhelmed by both the idiocy of both the other guys, and his own. Stan delivers every line as a near confession with so little sincerity in his voice, and weakens to the point he shows us practically the same guy who asked Tonya if she liked food near the beginning of the film. Now the one facet I haven't addressed, because it is the most separated in his work, is Stan's portrayal of the current Jeff Gillooly giving his version of the story. Stan once again excels in this, as I love how he plays it that Jeff may or may not have learned anything from his story. He properly changes himself enough to reflect the older age of the man, but what's more important is the way he tells the story. In terms of learning a lesson Stan brings enough of an embarrassed air to voice he speaks of the worst times to suggest perhaps a more introspective man. At the same time though he delivers the same pathetic quality within the bit of pride he expresses in certain moments of the story such as when describing when Tonya asked him back or his feelings on the use of his name as verb to describing hitting someone in the leg was "kind of cool".  That is yet another facet of this great performance by Sebastian Stan as he fully embodies this pitiful man in a way that never becomes one note naturally making a cohesive individual out of the different sides of the man and at the same time finds a surprising degree of humor in presenting this as the typical "supportive husband/wife" character gone very wrong.






Song Kang-ho did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Kim Man-seob in A Taxi Driver.

A Taxi Driver follows an unassuming Korean taxi driver as he escorts a German reporter trying to cover the Gwangju uprising.

I will admit that my initial glowing reaction for this film was amplified by the fact that I knew nothing about it going in making its particular revelations of what the story entails especially striking. Although do not misunderstand me I like the film a great deal, but it's not a flawless film by any measure particularly not when the film leans the scales of fictionalization perhaps just a bit far in its climax. It takes kind of an Argo approach where it has successfully had a lower key yet very tense climax, but then decides to follow it with a more overt action climax. I will admit the action climax is well done in terms of technique, but it just feels a little excessive. Having said that, what originally made me so invested into the story still stands which is within Song Kang-ho's portrayal of the titular taxi driver. Now I must address my perhaps hasty comment in the past in regards to Song Kang-ho where I described him as a "poor man's" Choi Min-sik. That was an unfair statement as Song Kang-ho is a very talented performer in his own right. This performance is further proof of that in that his work carries the film even beyond the fact that he is the lead of the film. Of course as we open up the film this seems like a fairly lightweight performance by Song Kang-ho. This is right in the first shot where we open with him cheerfully singing along with a song on the radio while he drives his taxi around Seoul. Song makes a rather brilliant decision to approach the role from the outset as though he is the lead in a comedy. That's seen from his energy from that opening sing song realizing a man with a song in his heart though not exactly carefree.

Song's approach is notable though as he navigates the early scenes where he goes about what seems like a normal day for the taxi driver Kim. Song delivers the role as this sort of rascal you'd expect from a little more farcical style comedy as in the early scene he scoffs at some young protestors for having it "so good", and goes about chasing down one of them after they inadvertently cause him to break a mirror on his taxi. What I love here is that Song doesn't play it as though we the audience watching him should notice that anything is wrong about this in anyway. This is just a fun performance to watch as Song brings such an abundance of energy to the part that manages to make Kim rather endearing even as he tries to chase down the young guy. He brings just this right type of exuberance in the role fitting to a hapless comic hero even as he deals with a pregnant couple using his taxi, that wouldn't be out of place in an 80's comedy. Kim briefly chews out the man when he doesn't have the money to pay, and what could be a despicable little scene Song makes work in the sort of humorous exasperation he reveals. Although he's not getting his fare, even this is made properly of no importance as he attempts to complain, until the man promises double the next day, where we get Song's hilariously timed instant switch in Kim to a most accommodating taxi driver. Song's terrific in that he does play Kim as a kind of a jerk, but properly as the kind of jerk who is easy to like.

This is not to say that we don't see that Kim has a few problems, as he we find out he's a single dad who is having difficulty making his rent. This is obviously a problem although it is purposefully not given too much gravity by either the film or Song's performance. Song delivers the right earnest, if somewhat hapless, affection though in his early scene with his daughter. He shows well that though Kim loves his daughter it is obviously not exactly prepared to be this great dad. There is just a touch of sorrow that alludes to their mutual loss, though Song effectively portrays this as enough in the past that it no longer is directly upsetting however is still inherent within his relationship with his daughter. Song naturally uses this as part of our sort of hapless hero who even with those problems still is in no way bogged down by them that would make him lose this unique spirit of his. This spirit that is so well realized by Song as something that is both endearing yet selfish at the same time. That sense of fun is so effectively created by Song fitting to a guy who really isn't overly troubled because in his view his problems are not so great they cannot be overcome. Song though finds this exact way this is created though through the narrow perspective that he portrays that defines Kim. Song specifically delivers every line early on that concerns someone out of his situation as this quick brush off of any such concerns returning always to his own experience which while isn't perfect Song shows that he can get along with it just fine.

Kim decides to essentially steal a rider from another taxi driver after overhearing of the inordinately high fare offered for a trip to Gwangju. The rider being a German journalist (Thomas Kretschmann) from Japan intent on covering the uprising in the city despite the South Korean government's ban of foreign journalists. Kim, not knowing the actual details of the job, takes the journalist and here we advance to what could initially be just the beginning of an old fashioned buddy road trip movie. Song is hilarious here in continuing to portray Kim's self absorbed way as he goes about dealing with the journalist who is a particularly demanding costumer. I must say I have particular affection for Song's purposeful butchery of the English language when pretending he has some degree of fluency in it. Song's delivery in this is sheer perfection of a man just trying to get through the most basic communication to get the journalist to stop talking. Song just rambles out any of the words he can as quickly as he can, but then always trails back into Korean as though he only has a very limited set of words he can go by. The majority of their communication ends up being non-verbal then as the two go off where Song continues to be great in actually being kind of a real jerk yet doing it in such amiable way. As Song puts on such a smiling face while attempting any point of actual communication, particularly when it is about his fare, then instantly switches to almost a death stare, a comedic stare mind you, when he goes back to mock the man in Korean.

The two make for an entertaining pair even as Kretschmann plays the journalist as only mildly annoyed by Kim's lack of conviction towards his job. Song though is great in always portraying that exuberance to please only within the context of making the money for the job, but really a general pettiness when that is not a concern. Song's reactions are very funny as he continues to quietly insult the man still just in that singular frame of mind. A chance for this comes when they initially arrive at Gwangju that is obviously going over some considerable upheaval though they arrive during a calm. Song doesn't break his more comedic side even as they arrive in the strange place though he naturally adjusts just early on in portraying the man's slight confusion at the sight of the place since he had no real awareness of. He's still self absorbed though but now in a different way. When the two show up the journalist is greeted with open arms by the local students trying to protest the government, and who initially offer considerable praise to the taxi driver who brought the man. Song's still very entertaining in just showing the rather sudden burst of a foolish pride, even though he has been more or less complaining the whole way without any awareness for the importance of the trip. Song transitions well in calming the more overtly comedic performance to just a still lightly comic one as he discovers something is going on but doesn't take too much note of it.

The situation though slowly appears to be more dire though and Song's terrific in portraying this slight confusion as this representation of him slowly coming out of his bubble a bit. He is sidetracked though when the locals question his motives, and he changes his relationship with the journalist from comically distant to more intensely so. This is mostly in part when those motives are questions and Song's terrific in portraying almost this defense as instinct as the man who in his mind is doing what he's doing for a good enough reason. When the two begin to explore more of the city Song is so effective in just creating this sense of discovery in the man which at first is with a bit of joy as people start treating him well for his "deed", while also capturing this certain bliss of a man who has no idea what's going on. Song presents this especially well by still showing it as mostly within this stuck perception though on how it specifically effects the man. His interactions with the locals and the journalist Song still makes very curt as he would treat any customer still. When they witness more overt violence though Song again carries this character to next stage so well but does not over step the moment. In that he now finds that same self-absorption though now without any humor and just this sense of concern for himself along with a bit of anger for the journalist who he believes put him in this situation.

Song is outstanding though in how subtly he realizes the change in just the scenes of interacting with the locals and the journalist. In these middle scenes he's very quiet and Song's body language is a man just kind of shrinking into his own fear. The kindness of the locals and the moment of just interacting as people Song brings just the slightest change as he begins to notice the people. Song brings out just hints of warmth conveying a slowly growing camaraderie. I especially love his moments with Kretschmann as he captures this perfect combination of this ever so slight understanding towards the man, but with this striking passive aggressive manner that he realizes in these bits of dark joy he finds at any time he can secretly make fun of the man. In every instance of witnessing another horrific misdeed by the government Song naturally ease out of this state and slowly becomes more open and honest in they way he interacts with those around him. Song has a great scene, after the journalist saved him from a vicious soldier, where he finally reveals something about himself to the man, though sort of accidentally keeps it secret since it's in Korean. It's a powerful moment though as Song exudes the man finally breaking his "man as an island" mentality by revealing his own tragedy in the past of losing his wife. Song replays this loss in his performance capturing the grief in this way of understanding the suffering around him finally suggesting a man who has perhaps now come to terms that he was not alone in his pain.

Kim leaves Gwangju without the journalist, in order get his car properly repaired and to return to Seoul to take care of his daughter. While he is getting his car repaired he has time to himself. This is a incredible scene that Song Kang-ho uses so well as this juxtaposition to the man we saw as he entered Gwangju. There we saw the man mostly concerned with his money and his own problems while being oblivious to the obvious troubles around him. In this scene he walks around a celebration and Song's performance conveys the way the man cannot enjoy what is around him as in his mind he shows the man drifting back to the horrors witnessed in the city particularly when all he hears is the government propaganda on what is happening there. This is best realized when he takes off in his taxi again, singing along with the radio as he did in the opening of the film yet now instead of the joyful sing song of a man in his own world Song delivers a wailing tune weighed down by his awareness of the rest of the world. When Kim returns to make sure the journalist makes it out of the city this could come off as overly maudlin yet it is is absolutely earned by Song's performance. In the final act of the film Song's performance becomes mostly reactionary yet it makes no less of an impact. He is fantastic and downright heartbreaking in every scene by showing the full extent of the gravity of the situation in his work. As he watches every atrocity Song's performance ensures the emotion is not lost through realizing how every moment nearly breaks the man. His work with Kretschmann is particularly notable as they don't really say much more to each other yet just the way they look at another powerfully conveys the mutual connection through both their sorrow over what they have seen but also within the conviction to unveil the truth to the world. This is an amazing performance by Song Kang-ho as he pulls the rug out from you by anchoring this film and its tone throughout in such a notable fashion. It is his performance that makes the extreme change in tone from the opening frame to the final shot work. He is convincing in every moment as he goes from this goofy guy in a largely comic work, to a wholly dramatic and devastating portrayal of a man living through and coming to terms with such a horrifying experience.






James Franco did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for SAG and winning a Golden Globe, for portraying Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist.

Oh hai everyone. The circumstances of this review, they're crazy, almost as if I started reviewing me underwears. Alright maybe not  that much ahahaha. What a story, ahahaha as I go from reviewing the original performance by Tommy Wiseau for its infamous quality to the performance as that performance by James Franco which was nearly Oscar nominated. Before I unpack the story behind the room filled filled with spoons I must admit my own feelings towards the inception of this project. After being delighted by the book of the same name as this film I'll admit my anticipation for the adaptation perhaps matched the extent to which chocolate is known to be the symbol of love by society, which as we know is almost unqualified in that vast belief. In short I was excited. Upon hearing James Franco optioned the novel, who I have never been the biggest fan of and I certainly did not see him in the role as the football while wearing tuxedos playing aficionado. Upon also hearing of Franco casting it as this beautiful party. Where he invited all of his friends in cameo or even leading roles, while that might have been good thinking to Franco, but that along with the first teaser was leading me almost to scream your tearing me apart James Franco!

I was concerned more than a strange man/boy creature should be who bought drugs from the wrong oddly named drug dealer. As Tommy Wiseau would be an easy enough character to get wrong because on and off screen he is so ridiculous it would be easy enough to only be the caricature of the man. I must admit though before I started throwing my TV out of a window only for it to fall in a way that is against the laws of gravity, I saw the extended trailer and eventually the film which changed my tone faster then when you don't want pizza but pizza was already ordered for you. Although I won't quite say I said oh hey James Franco I didn't know it was you, upon the opening of the film Franco comes close to becoming the realization of the man who will incorrectly act like a chicken right to your face. We see this as Tommy Wiseau represents the idea of the fearless actor to Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) as they meet in an acting class. Franco of course cannot tell you the secrets of Tommy Wiseau, they're confidential after all. He instead must be the enigma of the man that is quite unlike your typical hu-man being. A man who will randomly say "How's your sex life" as a normal trait of human behavior, this is course a representation of Tommy more so than the legendary character of Johnny the banker from The Room, although these things can blur a bit.

Franco seems to have it all down, I mean the strange saunter, the mysterious glares, the unknowable accent...what's going here? Well Franco seems to have captured Wiseau past the surface level of his strange sunglasses, and even stranger wardrobe. There is that exact way of speaking even past the NOOOOWEORLLEANS accent, but the exact way his voice has these variations depending on the mood of the man. In this capturing of the man that is enough to make it interesting, this is a comedic performance in the sense that it is naturally funny the same way Tommy Wiseau is naturally funny in his strange way of navigating the world. The man who will go about saying "I'm tired, I'm wasted...I love you Baby" that isn't what one typically states in any circumstance, however the real Wiseau isn't far from that strange I'll say atypical juxtaposition of words and emotions. Now as much as the real Wiseau may wish for me to keep my comments in my pocket his very being is quite hilarious just as Franco is here, since he captures that same strange wavelength that the rest of us could only hope to achieve. For example I'm sure Wiseau understands the logic of the flower shop scene in his own mind, however we ponder every word, its very existence, except for perhaps the inclusion of doggie one of the better actors in that film. Franco simply finds the state of being that is Wiseau which is highly entertaining to watch, better than dropping off the earth anyways, that's a promise.

Of course before I go off to eat the delicious delicacy of haaaa, I must ponder if this performance is above a standard impression. Well I would say it is to the extent that it is one of the best impressions one probably has seen of the frequently impersonated Tommy Wiseau, although what takes this further beyond just an entertaining impression is any potential humanization of the very alien Tommy. This is of course as odd as introducing then dropping a cancer subplot through a single line, because Tommy's reactions are not so simple. I mean few people chuckle at hearing someone get beat up so bad they ended up on a hospital on Guerrero street, no one goes cheep cheep to imitate a chicken, well except Tommy Wiseau. Franco's work then must attempt to bring out some strange inner truth of Tommy. In this sense Franco's portrayal of the other sides of Tommy are within his relationship with Greg played by his brother. This friendship is even atypical as the encouragements of Tommy towards Greg are strange in themselves demanding silence on questions about his past while also requiring the return of his own support. There is some strange vulnerability that Franco captures in more subtle moments, within this purposefully extroverted work. A sense of some desire for kinship though very much internalized towards these single moments of earnest friendship mixed in mostly within Wiseau oddity. Franco finds those moments but also uses them to essentially work towards the creation of the more problematic Tommy, that is only lightly touched upon here.

It is there which Franco fashions, for the feel good take to the material, to show it as a jealousy in Tommy towards losing his friend than the more inherent nature of the man who actually made the original film. It does work as such though in this is a return to The Room form, as we see Tommy/Johnny echo themselves as they become fed up with their mutual worlds. The overcoming of this, which is less dramatic for Tommy than it is for Johnny, is merely found in Tommy achieving equilibrium after Greg returns the encouragement to Tommy by showing that his passion project of the Room is beloved even if it is not in the way he intended. This again is Franco still as Tommy and his reactions seem right if perhaps limited in that we do never fully understand who he is past a certain point, to the point that it is obvious Franco never learned the whole truth either. This is an enjoyable representative of Wiseau, and enough of a realization beyond simply an impression to at least feel we've seen something of Wiseau in this film beyond simply being entertained by his unique antics. If James Franco were to ask "What do you want from me, huh? HUH?" about this performance, I'd say what he gave was more than enough. Now one might have a point of view that is so different than mine in regards to this performance. That is fine, as long as we can still love each other, you don't even have to say it, but one should just always remember that if a lot of people love each other, the world would be a better place to live. 






Christian Bale did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Captain Joseph J. Blocker in Hostiles.

Hostiles tells the story of a seasoned soldier being forced to transport a dying Native war chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) and his family back to his tribal lands.

I will admit after watching this film for a second time my original thoughts, which I will admit were somewhat bolstered by my great affection for the western genre to begin with, of that the film had flaws was perhaps an understatement. This film is a tapestry of wasted potential within its story of essentially the horrors of the west to which the film garners not a single pointed insight from therein. The film suffers from an excessive amount of characters while really under serving the majority of them in their attempt to some how include of all of them to tell this story. This is particularly true within the characters of the Natives who have barely a handful of lines though the film acts as though their story is of equal importance to that of the U.S. cavalry yet it never grants them more than the most surface of development. It's a film that seems burdened by its importance yet never offers the needed substance to earn this approach. This is commonly true for director Scott Cooper's career in general who perhaps someone should tell that even Silence and Schindler's List with their bleak subject matter had a few jokes in there, and that's just the truth. Of course a film can be great without humor however Cooper takes the approach that if a film has the appearance of this apparent gravitas that it will in turn realize itself within the narrative, yet that is never the case with his work particularly not in this film.

One credit I will grant for Scott Cooper is he seems to usually have a way with his actors whether or not they are working with compelling material. This is the second time he is working with Christian Bale who previously elevated Cooper's Out of the Furnace with his devoted work. Bale here is as devoted in his portrayal of Captain Joseph Blocker, obviously someone who has been part of the "Indian Wars" for a long time when the film opens. Bale portrays the first scene establishing Blocker as this hardened sort as he pays no mind to his men as they brutalize a few natives they have captured. When he is tasked with the mission at the center of the film though Bale establishes his tone for the rest of the film which is to be more intense than he's ever been in his career, which is saying quite a lot for an actor known for his intensity. Bale is utterly volcanic in this performance as he portrays such pent up anger as he initially tries to turn down the mission. The severity of the man's hatred Bale portrays as deep within the man's heart, but he carefully shows that this is not a hollow prejudice. Bale reveals this by inflicting his greater intensity when speaking of the chief's past that involved killing his friends. Bale uses his intensity to reveal a man on the brink of an emotional breakdown when he speaks of these past events, a breakdown that we see a scene later when he is isolated in the wilderness which Bale uses well to establish Blocker's hate as stemming from this war.

When the journey begins Bale is great in having established this hardened state of the man this is both in terms of his no-nonsense attitude in general. Bale delivers essentially the commanding presence a man who needs to be in these circumstances and properly overshadows every scene as being this focal point within them. He brings that right power personality essentially within the burden of the man's past as well as his hatred. When Blocker originally has the chief chained up Bale delivers this with a shade of malice, but more overtly as this strict method of protecting himself during the journey. They quickly come across a massacred homestead with only Rosamund Pike's Rosalie as a survivor. Bale again captures the scene well within this portrayal of a man who is not at all taken aback by what he sees rather reacts with the utmost professionalism of a man who has seen this many times before. He does suggest the right inherent decency deep within the man just again in the way Bale portrays just faintest bit of warmth, though still within as a soldier's courtesy sort of fashion, as he attempts to take care of the shattered woman. It's a good scene as Bale uses it to establish a different potential side of the man, but once we get Bale having fully established who Blocker is this is where the film begins to run into trouble in terms of the development of its themes in a truly meaningful way.

The group gets attacked by the Apache enough, killing some of Blocker's men, that leads him to unchain the chief and his family so they can work together to finish their trek. That's what happens and then film proceeds to offer many paths yet doesn't properly commit to any of them. In that it never gives them the amount of development needed  with Cooper's direction at fault but particularly in his writing of it. The material is problematic leaving the other performers and Bale to try to make something of this film. I would describe what we see as the film continues in Bale's work as the raw material of a masterful performance, sadly never fully realized into one due to the material. It is not on lacking of his part as throughout the film we are essentially granted vignettes of different paths for his character that could been more fully explored. We get one scene between Bale and his wounded buffalo soldier Corporal Woodson (Jonathan Majors). This scene hasn't really been built towards as it is this exploration for their apparent long friendship based on the two serving together for some time. The film did not earn this moment through developing this story, but having said that Bale tries his absolute best to make up for it within the context of the Blocker he has established. Bale projects this abundance of hidden concern and gratitude for the man within the cold hide of the man to make it an effective moment all within his own performance nonetheless.

The film does this again and again. We also see this through his relationship with two men more mentally unhinged than he is from the war. The first being condemned murderer Sergeant Wills played well by Ben Foster yet the role might as well have been defined by the tired old line "We're not so different you and I". The intensity delivered by Bale and Foster in a single scene is notable enough, and Bale is once again terrific in trying to make this additional subplot work. This time delivery a blunt coldness to the man he refuses to admit he's at alike, though effectively realizing this as taking some degree of suppression from Blocker. In these moments he realizes a more directed hate towards this man possibly because he reminds him of himself, possibly because he's what he could be, these are both interesting ideas alluded to by Bale but not really all that well explored by the film. The second relationship is with his loyal Sergeant Metz well played by Rory Cochrane as a man who is basically in the same state as Bale's Blocker yet without the control to prevent his life of killing and death from destroying his mind. Bale is great in the scenes between them in portraying just the bit of camaraderie the man has to offer as he attempts to comfort his friend, and does suggest their long history of pain together. Bale is terrific by offering this different look at Metz than at Wills, as in his eyes there is that concern rather than hatred, concern seemingly both for Metz and himself. When Metz takes his own life, Bale is outstanding in his portrayal of this man just barely holding onto his own sanity, through his expression of these pained rugged breaths that suggest Blocker controlling himself as fully letting in  the sorrow would swallow his mind whole if he embraced it.

Those relationships are interesting yet still don't seem fully explored to the heights that they could be. They at least get somewhere there though, but perhaps are diluted a bit by the film's choice to pile on its suffering as though it will make a weightier film with each death it depicts. Again there is at least something there, there is far less in Blocker's ongoing relationship with the damaged Rosalie. The development of the relationship as written is extremely underwhelming. Once again though I can't discredit Bale's work. In his scenes with Pike Bale is exceptional in offering a bit more of than initial warmth that suggests a potential at a decent life. Bale allows just this most minor regression of that intense control that defines his character. When he explains that God has been blind to the west, Bale's fantastic in the moment in letting a bit more tender emotion even within cynicism by granting this sense of a man having some type of optimistic belief if somewhere very hidden within him. Although the writing continues to not develop this relationship into anything truly notable, Bale cannot be faulted in his portrayal of Blocker slowly coming out to her in each moment with her, even when the film barely grants him those moments. The most underwritten element is sadly the central one involving Blocker's relationship with Yellow Hawk. The only thing as written the film gives is again that the chief suggests they need to fight together so they do. This somehow is suppose to build  to the point that in the end he so respects the man that he would be willing to fight and die for his right to burial. The film doesn't attempt to show this slow progression of a growing respect at all. It is largely assumed since Studi has so few lines in the film. Bale I will say can't quite make this work to be at all powerful or potent. I will say he does at least try to establish some sense of this transition by gradually easing the direct intensity towards Studi, and shifting to the people he genuinely hates like Foster, or the ranchers they fight at the end of the film. I don't think this is a flaw in Bale's performance because he does try to provide what he can, and given that there are genuinely powerful moments within his own performance inside this lacking material is remarkable. If I were only assessing the success of the character, I would say Blocker isn't quite there. I'm looking at the performance though and on that end Bale is incredible in how much conviction he brings to every scene, and what he manages to deliver within his role despite how many flaws there are within the material behind it.






Jeremy Renner did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Cory Lambert in Wind River.

Wind River tells the story of a murder of a young Native American woman on a Native American reservation investigated by the FBI, and the minimal local law enforcement aided by a local wild life tracker.

Wind River is an often problematic film in its approach towards its subject matter. This partially is in a more technical sense in writer Taylor Sheridan's inconsistent work while trying his own hand at directing one of his scripts where it strangely often plays closer to a TV pilot than a completely successful standalone feature film, but also more inherent towards the choices within the script not even considering the somewhat underwhelming plotting of the film. The faults within the script though are most readily evident in its attempt to adhere towards some greater importance within the story. Now aside from that it also includes the common trope, which has been questioned by many since at least Glory, which on a side note is actually a more easily justified example, where what should be a minority lead story follows white characters. This could have been avoided if the part I am going to address had been played by a Native American actor like Zahn McClarnon for example. The irony though is many of the flaws would have persisted within the film particularly since Jeremy Renner's performance as Cory Lambert is without a doubt the film's best quality.

What's so notable about Renner's work here is his completely atypical approach for a film that could have been made more of a revenge thriller of sorts, certainly with a different leading performance. Renner though from the outset very much emphasizes Cory as just this normal local guy from Wyoming working in and around the Native reservation by killing dangerous predators. Renner doesn't play him as this grizzled bent character, rather he takes a more naturalistic approach for a man who really is just living his life as the film opens. This isn't to say that Renner depicts the role with this carefree attitude, but what he does is find this certain tone that works so effectively for the role. Renner conveys just an inherent salt of the earth type of quality that is fitting to his character. He never over emphasizes this though in his approach. In that he does not make him this "man of few words" type, but rather just a working class hunter type whose more or less an average guy. Renner is able to exude this very specific vividness of the past, disregarding certain things we learn later about his character, but also in terms of a guy who has worked hard for many years in fairly rough conditions. Renner in regards to the man's setting and job doesn't show any exasperation towards that, but rather shows an authentic attitude of a man who lives a tougher life and is just fine living it as is.

We briefly see Cory going about his work and life with his divorced wife and son. Renner in these interactions is very good by only portraying this appreciation for both of them. There is not this overt somberness in this scene as Renner is able to realize the character's grief in a particularly remarkable way, although more on that in a moment. Renner in his family interactions though delivers that right familiarity with only that slight sense of distance with his wife. I love the expressive warmth he delivers in the scenes between Cory and his son. He has this one great moment where he reminds his son to be safe in his use of a gun. Renner plays this with an absolute concern for the moment which is fantastic moment because he reveals without a hint of paranoia. It is rather in the concern there is that brings this sense of just very firm care that he definitely wants his son to be okay without any over protectiveness to this. He obviously is perhaps more concerned than many a parent might be, which Renner alludes to the past that we learn later, yet he carefully shows that it is a greater concern from that past but not this damaging change. What Renner mostly shows though is just a still loving father and husband. As usual when Renner needs to deliver of charm he can, and this role in particular plays well to his unique strengths. In that Renner's charisma is very unassuming yet definitely there, which is perfect for the type of guy Cory is.

When the actual procedural begins Cory is the one who finds the body and along with the local police chief (Graham Greene) makes contact with the random FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) sent to investigate the crime. Renner is appropriately straight forward in the interactions. This isn't to say that he is ever underwhelming for a moment. Renner rather is so great in conveying the reactions natural to a guy who has had some hard times but hasn't been overwhelmed by them. When he sees the body and later describes it Renner delivers the line as a man who has in a way seen worse, however it isn't hollow. His delivery captures the right assumed emotion essentially in that he finds the right way to accentuate concern though in this very calm grounded way that Cory has basically found in his life. It's fantastic work through how lived in Renner finds this quality. For example when they later go about finding the murdered woman's brother, who is involved in some criminal activities, Cory delivers the news about her death to him after he obviously was unaware of her death. Renner puts forth the line very bluntly but not without emotion. It is rather outstanding how Renner here manages to infuse these most direct moments though still with honest concern, but within the rugged manner of this man. Renner just fully embodies the character so effectively throughout that everything just feels natural to who this man is.

Now perhaps where Renner derived his approach from is in a pivotal scene where Cory and the other investigators go to the murdered woman's father Martin (Gil Birmingham). Cory isn't there to interrogate the man but rather comfort it him as Cory also lost his daughter under similair circumstances. Renner is incredible in this scene as he physically and verbally exudes this philosophy as he speaks the words. Cory essentially tells Martin not to close himself from the past nor to forget it but rather embrace his grief in a specific way. In this Renner is able to find essentially how this man has come to terms with his own grief. As he speaks with this definite tenderness in his words as the love of a father reveals itself. His eyes reveal both this sense of loss of the daughter, but also a certain optimism within it as though is thinking of his best memories with her while giving Martin these words. It is not only a powerful stand alone scene but also wholly makes sense of this man who has found his way to cope with his daughter's loss. This is not to forget but to remember her best he can. We see this in Renner's work in that any moment he speaks about his loss, including when he describes what happened to her to Jane, Renner is very moving as he reveals the sorrow that lives in the man but in a way where he has found ease through the love he still holds for it.

When Martin essentially tasks Cory with killing the man responsible, which Cory basically already intended to do so, Renner grants the assurances not as this vicious hatred but rather this basic understanding as honoring one father's loss. Again Renner creates such a vivid realization of the man's personality and history that he makes his work all the more remarkable by so effectively portraying this different kind of lead for this type of film. He is able to maneuver between emotions because he shows it as just part of this straight forward guy Cory is. He has his slightly humorous and charming moments with Jane, and his concerned ones which Renner makes just the behavior you'd expect from him. What he also finds is this though is the drive to solve the case, which again he doesn't play as this obsession. Renner instead reveals as this serene type of passion that just is inherent to the man, as though it is a given that he will do as he has said. Renner makes this state of being a given as well as a completely earned facet of the character from how he has shown us the man right up until they solve crime. Although Cory kills most of the perpetrators as he would any out of control predator, he takes the lead man, who raped the woman, to die the same way she did. Before he does this though they have brief conversation where we perhaps are granted the most severe gap between acting quality of any single scene in 2017. This is where on one end we have one actor playing his part as a South Park caricature of a redneck "WHEEERRES MAAAAAA BOOTS", against Renner's amazing work. Renner doesn't let the abysmal quality of his co-star to interfere with him giving such a poignant piece work by delivering his "I'm going to kill you speech" with this elegance of a man who knows he's in the right and performing it as this duty. There is emotion within it yet Renner is stunning in the way he so internalizes it in the moment showing the man performing essentially this poetic execution so coldly towards the man, but with so much feeling within himself. Renner's final scene is great summation of his work as he goes to comfort Martin one last time with the minor closure of the death of the men responsible. Renner in the scene barely raises or breaks his voice, yet so calmly and still so directly revealing his warmth towards the man, love for his daughter, and his own grief with such subtle grace. Although one can argue over the choice in casting, Renner does his utmost to make up for that through this great performance.






Hugh Jackman did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying X-24 and James Howlett aka Wolverine aka the titular character in Logan.

Logan is one of the best films within the superhero genre by expanding its limits through its approach as a neo-western in its depiction of essentially the "last ride" of the Wolverine.

There is perhaps no actor closer sewn to their role in this genre than Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine as their connection goes beyond just a few entries on the actor's filmography. Jackman before the first X-Men film in 2000 was an unknown theater actor who had only previously been in a couple obscure Australian films. Jackman was not even the first choice for the part only coming into contention through a recommendation by his friend Russell Crowe who turned down the role. Jackman himself was not even cast until two weeks of filming after Dougray Scott dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Jackman was not even initially embraced given his unknown status, and his tall stature compared to the more Danny DeVito sized character of the comics. Jackman's charismatic yet appropriately gruff performance in the original film not only assuaged the majority of such concerns but also led to his breakout as a star in general. Jackman is a notable actor who seems to have appreciated the character that brought his mainstream success far more than many do. His general attitude is to wear it as a bit of a badge of honor showing no hesitations in reprising the role. Of his 18 years in the spotlight Jackman has been onscreen in the role in at least some way for half of them having played the role nine different times. In the public eye he's gone from that Aussie no one knew about hired past the last second to becoming synonymous with the character.

Now there have been some high and lows throughout this tenure, most often stemming from the quality of the film itself. Jackman usually has been a consistent enough factor in these films even when the films themselves have not been great. His sort of basic achievement in the role shouldn't be overlooked. Jackman after all is one of those interesting cases of an actor who broke out really in an against type role. One should have expected Jackman to be the charming romantic lead, but before Jackman could even be pigeonholed into such a role he had already proved himself capable enough as as this rough and often brooding anti-hero. One never thought when even watching his first film, "this guy must come from musicals", rather Jackman established himself as this character and his various facets therein. Although I won't say these films always explored these facets all that well, Jackman always seemed more than eager to himself. Jackman with that in mind obviously took great care to fashion a proper sendoff for the character and his final performance as him that fully explored the role. Re-teaming with The Wolverine's James Mangold but this time both of them taking the next step which that film was allowed to take. This was not only in ensuring a r-rating that doesn't cop out with a ridiculous CGI robo-samurai but also in terms of aiming for a darker and more character driven story in general.

The film establishes this tone quite clearly from the opening scene which rather than some extravagant action sequence is rather a low down and dirty brawl between Logan and a group of thugs who try to lift the wheels off his leased limousine. This makes the fight between Logan and Lady Deathstrike look like a choreographed dance, as here there is nothing but sloppy brutality as Logan struggles to kill the thugs. Jackman's own approach to this is wholly different even in the way he initially approaches them. Jackman rather than the Wolverine swagger of old just portrays Logan as trying to calmly talk to the guys out of the fight before they shoot him. After that point Jackman portrays it as this instinctual reaction as he goes about killing the men. Jackman delivers no cool one liner and portrays no pride in this moment, just a sigh of sheer exasperation as he leaves the scene. Soon afterwards we see one of the common facets of Logan which his ability to endure pain. This is given particularly graphic detail here as even though he can bare the wounds they now scar him. Jackman's work has never been more visceral though in finding every moment of sheer physical torture as Logan treats his wounds. Every scream fraught with such agony by Jackman showing a man who doesn't seem to fully recover even as Logan's wounds seal.

Jackman is outstanding here in realizing the state of Logan as the film opens. He portrays the role as a man who essentially has had it with life, although he doesn't do this in as a dour of a fashion as one might expect. He depicts this in a more day to day sort of fashion and with this certain contentment within this state of not caring about anything. When we see him doing his job as a limo driver Jackman wisely doesn't excessively brood there. He depicts rather this resignation to what his life is now as he goes about making money in between visiting his old mentor Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) who he lives with at an abandoned factory. Jackman captures this particular sort of weariness of life for a man who for the longest of time believed he had no way out of it. When he speaks of the past of the X-men with the professor or anyone else Jackman delivers these lines with Logan sharply brushing off any mention of it as a corrosive cynicism towards the past. Jackman shows in these moments Logan's way of coming to any type of grip with it which is almost too keep the past in the past by always reminding Charles that the glory days are gone. There is something especially harrowing in Jackman's approach of this by so quietly revealing this attitude of Logan's, as not a man who is actively troubled by his life, but rather passively so through the sense that he's ready to give up on it through a whimper.

Jackman portrays essentially an acceptance of death in Logan when he speaks to the professor by rejecting talk of the past, and trying to get the professor on their "future" of living their days in isolation in the ocean. When Logan speaks to the professor of this there is a bit of optimism in these early scenes however Jackman portrays this as a externalized rather than internalized optimism. He plays it as Logan granting this momentary encouragement for the professor rather than for his own benefit. Jackman delivers a gentle warmth in that moment but pointedly places within his relationship with the professor than towards Logan's own condition. This is more fully evident when asked about the idea to take a ship out into the sea, along with questions of Logan's single adamantium bullet he carries with him, by the professor's other caretaker Caliban (Stephen Merchant). Caliban reminds Logan of his failing health and confronts him on his plans of suicide. This is where Jackman reveals a real anger with his plight though Jackman depicts it as Logan lashing out to get Caliban to stop speaking. Jackman portrays this in a way of Logan as being well aware of his condition and his own choice but troubled when reminded of it. His anger is that just to stop being reminded of it rather than any sort of actual rejection of truth as Jackman reveals that resignation to be that of a man who knows he's going to die soon and treats the prospect as an inevitability. That anger though Jackman uses suggests there man be some fight left in Logan although very faint.

A complication towards Logan's life reveals itself when he is initially offered a job to transport a young girl Laura (Dafne Keen) to the border of Canada. This is later thrust upon him when Laura's guardian is killed and her only safe haven is with Logan and the Professor. Jackman naturally reveals that this resignation towards his fate leaves Logan rejecting essentially being the "hero" and helping Laura. It is only when they receive a direct threat from the Revers lead by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), who intend to take Laura, does Logan intervene. Jackman even portrays this is essentially a survival instinct at first, realized so well in one of my favorite moments of Jackman's performance where Pierce tells Logan that he's killed Caliban. Jackman in the brief instance as Logan reveals his claws to kill Pierce, after claiming to having killed Caliban, with do we see the return of his old fierce some rage, but this is quickly taken out of him when he's jumped by Pierce's men and beaten into submission. Laura is not just a random little girl but in fact Logan's pseudo-clone/daughter who is able to fight off the men and escape with Logan and Charles. Jackman is fantastic in this scene again by bringing such a desperation in the action sequence. There is no moment where he's the cool collected hero, rather he reveals within his physical unrest of a man just trying everything he can to escape.

The three manage to escape which leads them to go and attempt to bring Laura towards her safe haven, and in this we get further exploration between the two central relationships. In part we get Stewart and Jackman together and there is a richness throughout the film in their interactions. They make use of the fact that they've shared so many films together and bring that sense of familiarity in their performances. There is that hint of warmth even as the two seem to be at their lowest point in the early scenes, and use that so well in their dialogue between each other. They speak to one another with the right casual emphasis of two very old friends even as they writhe in different forms of anguish. The introduction of Laura changes this though as Charles tries to take on his old place as mentor towards Logan and attempts to convince him to help the girl. When Charles encourages Logan to do the right thing Jackman's reactions are remarkable as in every word you see the measure that it weighs on his mind. He never once shows him rejecting Charles's words even when he says he's not going to do anything, or that someone else can help, Jackman's face reveals the truth that the old man's words are finding themselves into his soul once again. Jackman in this brings just a bit of hope back to Logan, only a bit in their interactions. There's still a roughness yet Jackman brings just a little of that old Wolverine charm back particularly when the two speak of their old days at school revealing Logan as potentially finding a bit of affection rather only cynicism from the past. There's such a genuine heartfelt quality in the words the share as both Stewart and Jackman create such a powerful friendship between the two. When Charles dies by the hands of X-24, Logan's more exact clone, there is not one but two absolutely heartbreaking moments delivered so effectively by Jackman. The first when he quickly tries to deal with his friend's final moments in just a few seconds with "it wasn't me" where Jackman brings us Logan so earnestly trying to make him understand. The second being his eulogy for the Professor after burying him. Jackman is devastating to watch as he so convincingly internalizes the grief in his broken inarticulate delivery, and brings such a guttural sorrow as he cannot find the words for his friend.

The other relationship is with his sorta daughter Laura which Jackman initially portrays as this overt reluctance towards the girl. He doesn't depict this as insensitive in fact he takes quite the opposite approach in depicting Logan's frustrations around as fighting both with and against his nature at the same time. In one part showing just the begrudging motions in every interaction as though she is a burden, but with this temperamental attitude of a man haunted by too many deaths to want truly take another life into his hands. Jackman though is great throughout as he finds the better side of Logan constantly revealing itself in these interactions with her that gradually become more intimate. Although at first his delivery of every line to her is to the point, Jackman begins to reveal more concern and speaks with more tenderness in every successive scene. He starts to look at her with real care that goes beyond just the responsibility of any normal decency accepting essentially the role as her father as the two make their escape towards Canada. This eventually leads to the final act, which is the weakest portion of the film in just its final action sequence isn't as good as the rest, the introduction of the other clones is a little lacking, and extra plot points involving the central villain just feel unneeded. It doesn't become bad at all though particularly not due to Jackman's exceptionally devoted work. There's a great moment just before the final sequence where Logan speaks to Laura about his own demons from the past, and his plan to commit suicide. Jackman brings in his delivery just this vulnerability as he shows not only Logan recognizing his state more honestly, but also offers this openness towards Laura. That which reveals more closely his concern for her even if he is using it as a reason not to go with her across the border to Canada.

Of course instead of going off and committing suicide though Logan chooses to save them in one final battle which, despite being an action scene is astonishing acting by Jackman throughout. In one part the physical torture he undergoes has never felt more visceral than it does here as he reveals what every wound does to him, and throughout the battle portrays this decaying state of Logan. The only thing essentially keeping him going is when he finally fully unleashes that adamantium rage. This brings me briefly to Jackman's other performance as X-24 that is pretty straight forward as this rage monster. What's so effective though is the way Jackman differentiates the two. The rage in X-24 Jackman makes meaningless as this surface hollow anger, whereas in Logan's rage Jackman carries this palatable deeper emotion within every terrible cry. We see all the sorrow that as brought Logan within the anger showing a man in this state, and not just the beast we see in X-24. The greatest moment of his performance, that sends off the film on a high point, is after the battle is won though this leaves a dying Logan in Laura's arms. Jackman has never been more heart wrenching than he is here in gasping out the final words as Logan. As distressing as the scene is he finds a poignancy as his eyes only project the most genuine of love for Laura as she encourages her not to be the weapon she was intended to be. There is also this rather special moment in which Jackman's portrays this calm at the sight of death as this curiosity and discovery fitting for a man who has suffered throughout his whole life, yet only now is finding release from it. This is a great performance by Hugh Jackman as he explores the character far from the limits of the previous films, and offers a worthy sendoff for his long relationship with the role. He not only delivers his best turn yet as an actor but also the greatest leading turn in any comic book film.






Robert Pattinson did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, for portraying Constantine "Connie" Nikas in Good Time.

Good Time is a very effective crime thriller about a man doing whatever he can to get his mentally handicap brother out of jail, after a bank robbery they pulled went wrong, all during one long night.

A great deal of Good Time's success comes from the kinetic pace of the film that is so well realized through the 80's synth score, the editing, and the directing of the Safdie Brothers, and is heavily reliant on Robert Pattinson's lead performance. Pattinson's, an actor who seemingly has taken strides to wipe away his past in the Twilight franchise and his performances as a sparkling vampire. Pattinson ever since the end of the series, and even during the tail end of it has seemingly attempted to tear himself from those YA roots by taking on roles in films far off the beaten path. This seems to be a successful strategy as he's essentially just attempting to prove his talent lie far beyond what he became known for. One can remove any of that baggage from your mind here as he takes on this challenging role in this film. Again challenging through the film's style which demands Pattinson be right in the forefront of almost every scene to the point that quite often his face fills the frame. Pattinson though needs at the same time to develop this character really as the film is constantly on the move to the next series of events in portraying Connie's long night. Pattinson needs us to know Connie, but also in some way make the audience feel that it is worthwhile to follow him through his time in NYC despite his many questionable actions throughout.

Pattinson's work is dynamic from the start and one can almost forget even of his English roots with the spot on New York accent he pulls off here. He's just in the role as we see him from his first scene where Connie takes his brother Nick (Ben Safdie) out of a therapy session in order to bring him over and rob a bank. This is the start of Connie's amoral actions however it is also the beginning of Pattinson's portrayal of what compels Connie from the start. Although when he picks up his brother Pattinson portrays a lack of respect for the therapist there is this definite passion he brings towards his brother with a honest concern in the moment. After the seemingly successful bank robbery, where Nick is showing signs of worry, there's this quick moment that Pattinson delivers flawlessly where Connie builds up his brother's morale. He lauds him as doing so well in the robbery and for being an essential part of it. Pattinson makes this absolutely earnest in his delivery towards Nick, showing a genuine concern for his brother at this point. We later learn the robbery was some odd idea of Connie's to try to take care of his brother. Pattinson in just this brief moment shows that this intention was completely honest in Connie as he shows only an absolute truth within the care he brings in every interaction between the brothers. Pattinson projects this warmth of the guardian who is desperately trying to take care of his brother even if it is perhaps to everyone's detriment.

The robbery quickly goes wrong and quickly leads his brother to be in jail with Connie trying to find anyway for his brother to get out of jail and for the two of them to escape out of the city together. Connie's first choice to solve this is to bail him out with the help of his older girlfriend Corey (Jennifer Jason Leigh). This is where Pattinson begins to realize his brilliant approach to the role of Connie as he tries to fix everything he can through the first most practical solution he can think of. There is something very special in this way that Pattinson portrays the way that Connie tries to ease his way through any situation best he can. Pattinson brings this very low key, yet palatable charisma to the role in depicting one way of Connie's method of trying to get what he wants. Pattinson's approach to this greatly aids the film since he does not depict this as though Connie is some sociopath just trying to manipulate everyone, even if he is manipulating a whole lot of people to try to get what he needs. He does this two ways. In one, throughout the film, there is this sense of devotion towards his brother that whenever he speaks of him it is with genuine care and concern. The second though is that Pattinson portrays Connie as basically using these honest feelings to do his dishonest work. Watching it, you'd probably try to help Connie out yourself, as when Pattinson makes any request his delivery is as such that one would think "that seems reasonable enough".

When the mentally unstable Corey can't really help, and he hears his brother is in fact at the hospital this leads to Connie employing some real free jazz techniques in order to try to solve everything. Pattinson is great here by capturing this mindset of the man and kind of doing two things at once. In that he lets us into really his mindset throughout the night while also putting on any front, for usually about a second at a time, in order to smooth over one problem after another in an attempt to help his brother. Pattinson is fantastic in every scene by always realizing the vividness of this thought process as he goes from place to place in order to fix everything for himself. Pattinson's terrific though in playing up any part for even a second at a time. Again Pattinson matches the same kinetic energy that the film has in his portrayal of Connie being absolutely anything he needs to be for even a moment. If he's a son of a dying father, Pattinson's that with an absolute concern. If he's just a friendly neighbor looking for a phone call, he's unassuming and quite appealing to be frank. If he's a security guard for an amusement park he seems very respectable and on the ball. What I love about what Pattinson does here is that as convincing as he is in those moments he always shows us the way the wheels are turning in his mind in between those moments. There is frustration and desperation just before, and after in Pattinson's eyes, it's in these acts that Pattinson reveals a man on a rather thin tight rope.

Again what Connie's doing throughout is pretty bad. Breaking and entering, lying, letting a prisoner out of custody, stealing a car, drug dealing, or even home invasion Connie is game for it. Once again though Pattinson's so good in the way he brings us into the mindset of Connie which is that he always portrays this passion within sort of the performance that Connie himself is doing. This is beyond even the charm he can bring out when he needs it, but rather there is something greater in the way Connie is fooling himself. That passion that Pattinson brings is that of a guy who thinks he's doing the right thing again and again. Pattinson uses this idea particularly effectively when Connie accidentally lets out another criminal Ray (Buddy Duress) who was also in the hospital bearing a similair resemblance to his brother. That man is more or less just going along in life without a second thought for a future beyond that of a single night just as Connie is, however Pattinson specifically reacts to Ray differently than every other character Connie comes into contact with. Throughout the night Pattinson exudes a level of respect to everyone he speaks to even as he's cheating or ripping them off in some way. That is except for Ray. Pattinson reacts to Ray in every moment with this level of disdain and distaste for the criminal. His little threats are vicious and true from Pattinson who shows that Connie cannot stand the man even as he might be a key to solving his problems.

Pattinson's specific reactions towards Duress's Ray alludes to a fundamental truth within Connie that Pattinson reveals so well. Again Pattinson shows that Connie thinks he's doing the right thing however with his hatred towards Ray Pattinson uses as a tell. The thing is Ray is more or less like Connie in terms of their mutual amorality. When Ray expects any sort of camaraderie from Connie due to their mutually desperate situations as criminals, Pattinson is terrific in reveal the greatest intensity in his performance. Pattinson's delivery is a true verbal lashing at every point showing that Connie has views him as just screw up and thug. The thing is though Pattinson brings a level of vulnerability in his reactions with Ray's come backs, that they are not so different, showing these brief moments of self-reflection before he covers it up by trying to tear the guy down all the more. Pattinson puts on just a bit of sanctimony though and portrays rightfully that this Connie is struggling with the truth being spoken about him. This is incredible work as Pattinson dissects this character just in the margins really revealing that his attempts at being the "hero" for his brother have lead him to become a bad person. The final moment of Pattinson in the film is a wordless scene as Connie rides in the back of a police cruiser having failed his "mission". This moment shows the greatness of Pattinson's work in terms of realizing the arc of Connie as in the silent scene we see him finally come to understand where his actions have left him. Pattinson is outstanding in revealing such a raw emotional breakdown as he shows the man seeing what his actions have done, and without saying a word he earns what Connie does off-screen that ends the film. That moment if clarity is just incredibly portrayed by Pattinson showing Connie has finally lost any delusions in terms of his purpose. Now that is perhaps the crowning achievement of Pattinson's work but this whole performance is a fantastic piece of acting. He brings you into every moment of the night through his work that is effortlessly compelling throughout. He takes you not only into what Connie is thinking but also makes every single one of his "accomplishments" believable. Pattinson matches the tone and the pace of the film to deliver sort of a 1970's style star turn here in the best of ways.






And the Nominees Were Not:

James Franco in The Disaster Artist

Robert Pattinson in Good Time

Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049

Jeremy Renner in Wind River

Sebastian Stan in I, Tonya

And for the Second Set of Predictions:

Song Kang-ho in A Taxi Driver

Hugh Jackman in Logan

Harry Dean Stanton in Lucky

Christian Bale in Hostiles

Thomas Jane in 1922 






10. Daniel Craig in Logan Lucky - Craig goes wildly against his established James Bond type here to give a very entertaining portrayal of a southern crook that manages to get laughs even when the film undersells his moments.

Best Scene: "We're dealing with science here"
9. Hugh Grant in Paddington 2 - Grant gives a very enjoyable performance here bringing the needed charm but also the explosive ego to his villainous actor. 

Best Scene: A character conference.
8. Paul Dano in Okja - Dano gives yet another strong performance here bringing such warmth and delivering an uncompromising empathetic figure within a film that is very much in need of one.

Best Scene: Taking the stage.
7. Jack Dylan Grazer in It - Grazer gives the best performance of the loser boys as he not only adds so much  to the overall chemistry of the group, but also has some stand out individual moments through his arc that he realizes so well.

Best Scene: Gazebos.
6. Mark Hamill in Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Although I think his performance is slightly weakened by the forced humor given to his character, Hamill delivers a powerful reprise here in his depiction of a broken man.

Best Scene: Final scene with Leia.
5. Jerome Flynn in Loving Vincent - Flynn in one major scene makes a tremendous impact that sums up the nature of van Gogh's death through his moving portrayal of the man who blames himself for it. 
4. David Lynch in Lucky - Lynch delivers some Lynchian greatness here as he manages to be both hilarious yet heartbreaking in his portrayal of a man who has lost his tortoise.

Best Scene: Coming to terms with tortoise loss.
3. Romain Duris in All the Money in the World - Duris quietly steals this film in his dynamic and moving depiction of the crisis of conscience of his kidnapper who struggles with his innate goodness as he tries to be a bad man.

Best Scene: The amputation.
2. Will Poulter in Detroit - Poulter's work is truly disturbing here as rather than portraying an overt drooling racist he depicts a calm and confident one who doesn't need to announce his prejudice as obvious hate rather he puts it within his horrible actions.

Best Scene: Interrogation tactics gone wrong. 
1. Patrick Stewart in Logan - Good Prediction Michael McCarthy. Patrick Stewart gives a heartbreaking reprise of his most famous cinematic role. He realizes the real tragedy of the Professor's demise through how far he has fallen through his failing mind, but also finds a real poignancy just in those minor hints of the man he once was.

Best Scene: The most perfect night. 
Overall Ranking:
  1. Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  2. Woody Harrelson in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 
  3. Simon Russell Beale in The Death of Stalin
  4. Patrick Stewart in Logan
  5. Willem Dafoe in The Florida Project
  6. Will Poulter in Detroit
  7. Steve Buscemi in The Death of Stalin
  8. Romain Duris in All the Money in the World
  9. David Lynch in Lucky
  10. Jason Isaacs in The Death of Stalin
  11. Jerome Flynn in Loving Vincent
  12. Mark Hamill in Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  13. Tom Skerritt in Lucky
  14. Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World
  15. Jack Dylan Grazer in It
  16. Michael Palin in The Death of Stalin
  17. Paul Dano in Okja
  18. Eric Tsang in Mad World 
  19. Mark Rylance in Dunkirk
  20. Algee Smith in Detroit
  21. Richard Jenkins in The Shape of Water
  22. Michael Keaton in Spider-man: Homecoming
  23. Hugh Grant in Paddington 2
  24. Daniel Craig in Logan Lucky
  25. Bruce Greenwood in Gerald's Game
  26. Jason Mitchell in Mudbound
  27. John C. Reilly in Kong: Skull Island 
  28. John Boyega in Detroit
  29. Brendan Gleeson in Paddington 2
  30. Rory Cochran in Hostiles 
  31. Ray Romano in The Big Sick
  32. Paul Walter Hauser in I, Tonya
  33. Paddy Considine in The Death of Stalin
  34. Caleb Landry Jones in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  35. Cillian Murphy in Dunkirk
  36. Bradley Whitford in Get Out
  37. Robert Carlyle in T2 
  38. Rupert Friend in The Death of Stalin
  39. Ben Foster in Hostiles
  40. Armie Hammer in Free Fire
  41. Jeff Goldblum in Thor: Ragnarok
  42. Stephen Merchant in Logan
  43. Terry Notary in The Square
  44. Thomas Kretschmann in A Taxi Driver
  45. Sharlto Copley in Free Fire 
  46. Michael Rooker in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2
  47. Dave Bautista in Blade Runner 2049
  48. Michael Stuhlbarg in Call Me By Your Name 
  49. Harrison Ford in Blade Runner 2049
  50. Clarke Peters in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  51. Bruce Greenwood in The Post
  52. Carlos Sanz in Stronger
  53. Michael Shannon in The Shape of Water 
  54. Idris Elba in Molly's Game
  55. Jaeden Lieberher in It 
  56. Anthony Mackie in Detroit  
  57. Kenneth Branagh in Dunkirk 
  58. Bob Odenkirk in The Post
  59. Ewen Bremner in T2
  60. Gil Birmingham in Wind River
  61. Dave Bautista in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2
  62. Michael Stuhlbarg in The Shape of Water
  63. Jon Hamm in Baby Driver 
  64. Luke Evans in Beauty and the Beast
  65. Ian McShane in John Wick Chapter 2
  66. Ben Mendelsohn in Darkest Hour 
  67. Buddy Duress in Good Time
  68. Lakeith Stanfield in Get Out 
  69. Traci Letts in Lady Bird
  70. Peter Dinklage in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  71. Bill Skarsgård in It 
  72. Austin Stowell in Battle of the Sexes
  73. Jack Reynor in Free Fire 
  74. O'Shea Jackson Jr. in Ingrid Goes West
  75. Kurt Russell in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 
  76. Jared Leto in Blade Runner 2049
  77. Jack Lowden in Dunkirk
  78. Danny McBride in Alien: Covenant
  79. J. Quinton Johnson in Last Flag Flying
  80. Ben Safdie in Good Time
  81. James Darren in Lucky
  82. Woody Harrelson in War for the Planet of the Apes 
  83. Ryu Jun-yeol in A Taxi Driver
  84. Tom Hiddleston in Thor: Ragnarok
  85. Jamie Foxx in Baby Driver
  86. Jeremy Ray Taylor in It 
  87. Graham Greene in Wind River
  88. Josh Gad in Beauty and the Beast
  89. Tom Hardy in Dunkirk
  90. Hugh Bonneville Paddington 2
  91. Gary Basaraba in Suburbicon
  92. Fionn Whitehead in Dunkirk 
  93. Udo Kier in Brawl in Cell Block 99
  94. Jeffrey Tambor in The Death of Stalin
  95. John Hawkes in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  96. Ronald Pickup in Darkest Hour
  97. Taika Waititi in Thor: Ragnarok 
  98. Jonathan Majors in Hostiles
  99. Oscar Issac in Suburbicon
  100. Pedro Pascal in Kingsman: The Golden Circle
  101. Cillian Murphy in Free Fire
  102. Mark Ruffalo in Thor: Ragnarok 
  103. Barry Keoghan in Dunkirk
  104. Too Hae-jin in A Taxi Driver
  105. CJ Jones in Baby Driver
  106. Johnny Lee Miller in T2
  107. Gael Garcia Bernal in Coco 
  108. Ian Hart in God's Own Country
  109. Wes Studi in Hostiles 
  110. Ed Oxenbould in Better Watch Out
  111. Dwight Yoakam in Logan Lucky 
  112. Jacob Latimore in Detroit 
  113. Bill Pullman in Battles of the Sexes 
  114. Domhnall Gleeson in American Made
  115. Jesse Plemons in Hostiles 
  116. Tom Holland in The Lost City of Z
  117. Chosen Jacobs in It 
  118. Steven Yeun in Okja 
  119. Kevin Costner in Molly's Game
  120. Aneurin Barnard in Dunkirk
  121. Eddie Marsan in Atomice Blonde
  122. Robert Pattinson in The Lost City of Z
  123. Chris O'Dowd in Loving Vincent
  124. Josh Gad in Murder on the Orient Express
  125. Paul Scheer in The Disaster Artist
  126. Barry Shabaka Henley in Lucky 
  127. Wyatt Russell in Ingrid Goes West 
  128. Dallas Roberts in My Friend Dahmer
  129. John Goodman in Atomic Blonde
  130. Oscar Isaac in Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  131. Boyd Holbrook in Logan
  132. Michael Smiley in Free Fire
  133. Stephen Henderson in Lady Bird
  134. Giancarlo Esposito in Okja
  135. Stephen Root in Get Out 
  136. Stephen Dillane in Darkest Hour
  137. John Boyega in Star Wars: The Last Jedi 
  138. Seth Rogen in The Disaster Artist
  139. Marcus Henderson in Get Out
  140. Harry Styles in Dunkirk
  141. Laurence Fishburne in John Wick Chapter 2
  142. Finn Wolfhard in It 
  143. Toby Jones in Atomic Blonde 
  144. Michael Sheen in Brad's Status
  145. Don Johnson in Brawl in Cell Block 99 
  146. Barry Keoghan in The Killing of a Sacred Deer 
  147. Sterling K. Brown in Marshall 
  148. Willem Dafoe in Death Note
  149. Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name
  150. Tom Glynn Carney in Dunkirk  
  151. Dwayne Johnson in Fast 8
  152. Jason Statham in Fast 8
  153. Ralph Fiennes in The Lego Batman Movie
  154. Kurt Russell in Fast 8
  155. Robert Downey Jr. in Spider-man: Homecoming
  156. Alex Lawther in Goodbye Christopher Robin
  157. Karl Urban in Thor: Ragnarok  
  158. Glenn Fleshler in Suburbicon
  159. Carel Struycken in Gerald's Game
  160. Alan Cumming in Battle of the Sexes
  161. Rob Morgan in Mudbound
  162. Ben O'Toole in Detroit
  163. Brian Gleeson in Phantom Thread 
  164. John Magaro in War Machine
  165. Alec Secareanu in God's Own Country
  166. Benjamin Bratt in Coco 
  167. Jon Favreau in Spider-man: Homecoming
  168. Barkhad Abdi in Good Time
  169. Noah Taylor in Paddington 2
  170. Choi Woo-shik in Okja 
  171. Eddie Izzard in Victoria and Abdul
  172. Bokeem Woodbine in Spider-man: Homecoming
  173. Morgan Spector in Chuck
  174. Anthony Hopkins in Thor: Ragnarok
  175. Peter Capaldi in Paddington 2 
  176. Bobby Cannavale in I, Tonya
  177. Wyatt Oleff in It 
  178. Derek Jacobi in Murder on the Orient Express
  179. Matvey Novikov in Loveless
  180. Adeel Akhtar in The Big Sick
  181. Jason Mitchell in Detroit
  182. Lakeith Stanfield in War Machine
  183. Colin Firth in Kingsman: The Golden Circle 
  184. Donald Glover in Spider-man: Homecoming 
  185. Brian Gleeson in Logan Lucky
  186. Jack Quaid in Logan Lucky
  187. David Thewlis in Wonder Woman
  188. Jake Gyllenhaal in Okja 
  189. Kwon Hae-hyo in On the Beach at Night Alone
  190. Sam Riley in Free Fire
  191. Ron Perlman in Chuck
  192. Richard E. Grant in Logan
  193. Jonathan Pryce in The Man Who Invented Christmas 
  194. Alex Wolff in My Friend Dahmer
  195. Samuel L. Jackson in Kong: Skull Island
  196. Nicholas Hamilton in It  
  197. Marton Csokas in Mark Felt
  198. Jung Jae-young in On the Beach at Night Alone
  199. Michael Rapaport in Chuck
  200. Traci Letts in The Post 
  201. John Goodman in Kong: Skull Island
  202. Colin Farrell in Roman J. Israel, Esq. 
  203. Michael Cera in Molly's Game
  204. Mark Strong in Kingsman: The Golden Circle
  205. Lance Reddick in John Wick Chapter 2
  206. Christopher Plummer in The Man Who Invented Christmas
  207. Jim Gaffigan in Chuck 
  208. Said Taghmaoui in Wonder Woman
  209. Matthias Schoenaerts in Our Souls At Night
  210. Jacob Batalon in Spider-man: Homecoming 
  211. Bradley Cooper in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2
  212. Willem Dafoe in Murder on the Orient Express
  213. Lucas Hedges in Lady Bird
  214. Bill Camp in Molly's Game
  215. Billy Crudup in Alien Covenant
  216. Timothee Chalamet in Lady Bird
  217. Ewan Bremner in Wonder Woman 
  218. Michael Cera in The Lego Batman Movie 
  219. Christopher Fairbank in Lady Macbeth
  220. David Cross in The Post 
  221. Anupam Kher in The Big Sick
  222. Jon Bernthal in Wind River 
  223. Paul Hilton in Lady Macbeth
  224. Tom Hanks in The Circle
  225. Domhnall Gleeson in Mother!
  226. Ezra Miller in Justice League 
  227. Nick Offerman in The Hero 
  228. Shea Whigham in Death Note
  229. Jacob Tremblay in The Book of  Henry
  230. Michael McElhatton in The Foreigner
  231. Emory Cohen in War Machine
  232. Christopher Lloyd in Going in Style
  233. Ian McKellen in Beauty and the Beast 
  234. Udo Kier in Downsizing
  235. Leslie Odom Jr. in Murder on the Orient Express
  236. Tim Blake Nelson in Colossal
  237. Lee Pace in The Book of Henry
  238. Dominic West in The Square  
  239. Christopher Abbot in It Comes At Night
  240. Caleb Landry Jones in The Florida Project
  241. Noah Taylor in Free Fire 
  242. Michael Stuhlbarg in The Post 
  243. Christoph Waltz in Downsizing
  244. David Yow in I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
  245. Jesse Plemons in The Discovery
  246. Sunny Suljic in The Killing of a Sacred Deer
  247. Arnaud Valois in BPM
  248. Caleb Landry Jones in Get Out
  249. Steve Zahn in War For the Planet of the Apes
  250. Owen Wilson in Wonder
  251. Ed Harris in Mother!
  252. Bradley Whitford in The Post
  253. Benicio del Toro in Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  254. Dustin Hoffman in The Meyerowitz Stories
  255. Garrett Hedlund in Mudbound
  256. Aleks Mikic in Better Watch Out 
  257. Israel Broussard in Happy Death Day
  258. Jack Reynor in Detroit
  259. Aidan Gillen in The Lovers 
  260. Brian Gleeson in Mother!
  261. Lucas Hedges in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  262. Jason Momoa in Justice League
  263. Riz Ahmed in Una
  264. Jordan Rodrigues in Lady Bird
  265. Andy Serkis in Star Wars: The Last Jedi 
  266. Lil Rel Howery in Get Out 
  267. Ian Glen in My Cousin Rachel
  268. Matthew Rhys in The Post 
  269. Jon Hamm in Marjorie Prime 
  270. Tom Hollander in Breathe
  271. Robert Redford in The Discovery
  272. Ray Fisher in Justice League
  273. Adeel Akhtar in Victoria & Abdul 
  274. Emory Cohen in Shot Collar
  275. Tim Robbins in Marjorie Prime 
  276. Dan Stevens in Colossal
  277. Jim Belushi in Wonder Wheel 
  278. Austin Abrams in Brad's Status
  279. Jason Clarke in Mudbound
  280. Eugene Brave Rock in Wonder Woman 
  281. Seth MacFarlane in Logan Lucky 
  282. Ewan Mcgregor in Beauty and the Beast
  283. Jay Hernandez in Bright 
  284. Johnny Depp in Murder on the Orient Express
  285. Oliver Platt in Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman
  286. Jeffrey Donovan in Shot Collar
  287. Dacre Montgomery in Better Watch Out 
  288. Scott Eastwood in Fast 8
  289. J.K. Simmons in The Snowman
  290. Common in John Wick Chapter 2
  291. Edgar Ramirez in Bright 
  292. John Ortiz in Going in Style
  293. Domhnall Gleeson in Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  294. John Slattery in Churchill
  295. Jeremy Strong in Molly's Game
  296. Tyler Ross in The Lovers
  297. Toby Kebbell in Kong: Skull Island
  298. David Dencik in The Snowman 
  299. Bo Burnam in The Big Sick
  300. Chris O'Dowd in Molly's Game
  301. Clancy Brown in Stronger
  302. Danny Huston in Wonder Woman
  303. Zack Galifianakis in The Lego Batman Movie
  304. Billy Magnussen in Ingrid Goes West
  305. Dean Norris in The Book of Henry 
  306. Devon Graye in I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
  307. John Krasinski in Detroit
  308. Ike Barinholtz in Bright
  309. Kurt Braunohler in The Big Sick 
  310. Mike Colter in Girls Trip
  311. Jonathan Banks in Mudbound 
  312. Jonas Karlsson in The Snowman
  313. Michael Mando in Spider-man: Homecoming
  314. Caleb Landry Jones in American Made
  315. Riccardo Scamarcio in John Wick Chapter 2
  316. Thomas Mann in Kong: Skull Island 
  317. James Jordan in Wind River
  318. Elton John in Kingsman: The Golden Circle
  319. Ellar Coltrane in The Circle
Next Year: 2017 Lead






Mark Hamill did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

The Last Jedi is a bit of the Dark Knight Rises of Star Wars movies as it becomes bloated by its expansive narrative and rare is there satisfactory execution within its exploration of some admittedly interesting ideas at times.

Although I do not care for The Last Jedi, I will say that some of the negativity towards the film is a bit overblown. In that those who say it is the worst Star Wars film of all time, even saying it is worse than the best prequel is going too far. The reason being in terms of just more basic film making techniques this film is clearly superior as well as in the acting.This brings me to Mark Hamill's long awaited return to his iconic role after his brief non-speaking role at the tail end of The Force Awakens. Unfortunately as we pick up from that I must return to more negativity by addressing the use of the film's humor, don't worry this will be the dark before I get to the dawn. The aforementioned film did have a bit more humor overall than a typical Star Wars film however it was placed correctly for the most part. There is humor in the original trilogy as well however it is placed in the lulls of the action, The Force Awakens mostly followed this idea it just had a little more of it. There is one mistake in the opening of that film where Oscar Isaac's Poe is perhaps a little too casual with the film's chief villain Kylo Renn. That was only a minor offense though amplified to outrageous proportions in this film where Poe goes about the same behavior though now in almost pop culture referencing levels where he makes "your momma" and call waiting jokes to Domhnall Gleeson's General Hux.

This humor is consistently used at the wrong time and wrong place throughout this film. This includes making the villains goofballs, making Yoda behave as he does before he reveals himself to be Yoda to Luke in The Empire Strikes Back for some reason, but no example of this is more egregious than its use in the character of Luke Skywalker. Now Luke Skywalker was never an overly comical character in the original series, he was usually the earnest one that Harrison Ford's Han and Carrie Fisher's Leia bounced off of. For Luke to develop a more overt sense of humor in his old age is perfectly fine, that's not the humor of the character in this film that feels forced upon Hamill's performance. These are moments that are breaks in whatever else Hamill is doing in a given scene to make the audience laugh no matter how detrimental they may be to the dramatic potential of a scene. This is within the opening scene of the film where we come off of Rey (Daisy Ridley) returning his father's old lightsaber on the top of his island hideaway. In the previous film, the one piece of acting we get from Hamill in that film, we see a man haunted by the sight of the item, clearly taking it in and facing something from his past. In this film we get that moment then he tosses it. He tosses in a way to get a chuckle, a wah wahhhhh wouldn't have been out of place, from the audience yet it is a scar within this performance. I have no doubt this was a directorial, if not studio, mandate. It undercuts what Hamill did in the previous film, and makes no sense for the character. The idea that the man would toss it, as though it had not single meaning to him whatsoever is the problem.

If he tossed it as though he wanted to avoid it, that would be fine, if tossed as though it caused him pain, that would be fine, but no, his father's lightsaber, the lightsaber given to him by his old mentor, he just whips it back as though he had absolutely no connection to it whatsoever. This isn't the act of a guy with a sense of humor, this isn't the act of the character we knew or we come to know even in this film, it's a goofy moment to get a cheap laugh. This sadly is not the only moment, and again just want to get through these negatives since there will be positives soon...I promise. Another moment is when is speaking to Rey and asks where she's from, to which she says nowhere, and then he says "Nobody is from nowhere" and she says "Jakku", and to which Hamill is forced to stop whatever else he is doing and go " Yeah, that's pretty much nowhere" as though he's in a sitcom. It stops whatever else he's doing in the scene to break, do something out of a character just for a good old hyuk hyuk hyuk because here in Disneyland we can't stomach a dramatic scene for more than four minutes at a time. There is one more time of this when he's training Rey to reach into the force where he messes with her with a leaf, however while I still don't think it's funny and is problematic as the force was always treated with gravity in every other film, Hamill at least makes this moment work in that it seems natural in the context of the overall scene. Hamill makes it feel like a bit fooling around rather than becoming automatized into ill-fitting joke mode that we saw previously.

Now putting that aside for a moment let's take a look at what Hamill does for the majority of his performance. Hamill actually does overall continue from that one haunted expression in the last film to portray Luke as this bitter man. His eyes are world weary, there is not a hint of any joy in him as he goes about his day, which I won't get into too much detail since I'll get annoyed again, but Hamill delivers in creating this sense of just a man burdened by his experience. We don't know exactly what he's been through yet Hamill expresses in every part of him this sense of exhaustion that has changed Luke to this man we meet here. When Rey asks him to go back to help, Hamill delivers his lines as a man who has been through one too many fights in his life within his exasperated and cynical responses to these requests. Hamill really plays into the age of the character as he says every line of a man scarred by his experience far from the hero of long ago at the end of The Return of the Jedi. We are not given a glimpse of anything else until when he reunites with Chewbacca who lets Rey into Luke's hut by literally breaking down the door. In this moment, and later he sees R2D2, are great moments by Hamill. As his delivery seems to de-age about thirty years as he says their names. He's back for just a second to the hopeful boy moisture farmer, and in these moments you really get a sense of the friendship that still is strong in the mind of his Luke towards the people he cares about.

Those moments though are only momentary respites towards his friends while towards Rey he continues as this irritable old man. Hamill does not make this one note either though as Luke begins the training through three lessons, we only see two for whatever reason, on why he believes the Jedi need to end. Hamill brings this great begrudging quality to every spoken word as he explains to Rey how the force works, the words once spoken with far more appreciation by his old masters, but now Hamill shows Luke spouting them out with almost certain hatred towards the word. When Rey reveals her level of power to the point she even reaches into the dark side Hamill is incredible in his reaction. He seizes up in fear showing Luke essentially with ptsd as the reaction isn't a general fear, it is this fear of the past. There is a sadness in it as he says he saw it once before, but it didn't scare him enough before. In this scene Hamill reveals some of the memories that cause his suffering and correctly he attaches these to basically the character's grumpiness. He's not just some angry old man, Hamill offers the proper context within where this comes from. He furthers this in every scene with Rey as he explains the Jedi's past failures in his second lesson. There is no care or affection that Hamill grants just a disgruntled man examining the faults of the past. When Rey though suspects he's closed himself fully from the force though Hamill is great in that he portrays a direct shame. A shame not of a bad man, but of a former hero who has run from his problems and the beliefs he once held so strongly. 

The revelation of the full extent of Luke's past with his former student, and now near ultimate evil Kylo Ren aka Ben Solo (Adam Driver) is where of the great controversies of the film lies. This is actually one decision I don't have a problem with since you do need to take the character somewhere, however I do understand why others hated it including Hamill himself. After all it does perhaps seem strange that the man who refused to kill his own father, who was obviously very evil, would preemptively try to kill his nephew, but hey time can change people. Now Hamill to his credit, despite his own personal reservations, puts his all into his portrayal of the confession scene. When Rey initially confronts him Hamill reveals just the full anger again now revealing itself naturally to be the anger of a man hiding from something he did than just at the world in general, part of that os the shame that is so overwhelming in his work. When he finally is forced to explain Hamill is outstanding in revealing in his eyes such an overwhelming sadness of the failures of the man, with this palatable sense of despair when he notes his hand in creating Kylo Ren even if from a momentary weakness. In the scene Hamill makes sense of who Luke is in this situation now, which is someone trying to lose himself within his suffering by essentially lashing out at anyone or anything that expects more of him. When Rey though states her belief that she can save Kylo, Hamill delivers now a more passionate anger towards the idea creates this sense that he's understood this to be a lost cause for some time.

Luke eventually returns to the force due to these confrontations by Rey which leads again to some strong acting by Hamill. This is particularly in the moment where he initially reconnects speaking to Leia through the force, and Hamill expresses the intensity of that emotion, the man allowing himself to touch his past once again something rather powerful. It also leads to the reappearance by wacky Yoda, who never existed, and has since changed his philosophy from "Do or do not. There is no try" to failure is the best teacher. Kind of a complete 180 there which is also the theme of the movie being you gotta fail to succeed sometimes, while not if you're in a fight to the death then you're just dead! Anyway Yoda goes off to tell him that Rey knows more than him and she's surpassed him, despite almost no training from him because that's great writing, or lazy writing...I forget. Now I know I'm getting off topic a bit however that moment suggests really more time should have been spent on the island between Rey and Luke. Unfortunately this film suffers from the horrible condition of seeming to rush its good elements while dragging out its bad ones. That leaves only one sequence left for Hamill to return to the Luke we once knew and loved. I will say, despite the limited screen time, Hamill makes this transition convincing and effective by having those moments with his old friends by showing the younger man still there, making it so he did not really need to go too far to return to his old self. Also Hamill doesn't completely just become young Luke, rather he still shows the wear in the man, but now with the determination to fight. Hamill is excellent in this final sequence bringing now that sort of hero's bravado as he steps out to face Kylo, with even a cool of a true hero in his particularly efficient delivery of his one liners.

There is though still just enough of a shame there in Hamill's portrayal when Luke apologizes to Kylo for his past mistakes, but now more hidden by his conviction to confront the man. Hamill in presence delivers the Luke of legend, the man who faced down the emperor and defeated Darth Vadar once again. The man who said "I'm a Jedi like my father before me" as he once again commands that same confidence and power. Of course this confrontation, through force projection, leaves him to fade away into the force for some reason, even though Obi-Wan did right before he was going to be killed, and Yoda was dying from extremely old age there is no real reason why this should have killed Luke especially as it takes some of the oomph from his epic delivery of "see you around kid" to Kylo since I guess he won't see him around. Again just another problem I have with the film, but not Hamill's performance. My favorite moment in his work though is probably just before that scene when he "physically" meets up with Leia. It's a wonderful scene with Hamill bringing such a tenderness in this moment of recognizing loss, and it is a beautifully rendered both as a moment within the film recognizing Han's death, but also outside of it as this final onscreen time shared by Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. He creates such a tremendous since of warmth in that moment that is particularly cathartic when compared against the colder man we knew throughout. This is a legitimately fantastic performance by Mark Hamill however I cannot ignore the scenes I mentioned at the beginning of this review. They are there, and they're a blight on this performance. I'm sure they were not Hamill's choices but unfortunately they're realized through his work, to the detriment of it. They not only take me out of the performance, out of the scene, but also the film when they happen. It's a real shame because if it were not for those moments this would be the best performance in a Star Wars film, instead it's merely one of the best.






Patrick Stewart did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for BFCA, for portraying Professor Charles Xavier aka Prof. X in Logan.

Long before the first X-Men film was ever made Patrick Stewart was seen as the one man to bring the comic book telepath and leader of the X-Men to the screen. As expected Stewart did not disappoint in the role however the films rarely seemed to fully serve him as a character, leaving most of the actual exploration of the role to his successor James McAvoy. In the original films they went out of their way to put him out of commission for long periods whether it was due to some green stuff in Cerebro, a lobotomized telepath, or being glittered away by the dark phoenix Stewart was rarely granted the appropriate time to shine. It is notable that before this film it was only his side story portion of Days of Future Past, where it seemed like he was allowed to properly sink his teeth into the part. Finally though Stewart managed to find himself in a more character driven X-Men film through this film as the aged Professor hiding out near the U.S./Mexican border with Hugh Jackman's Wolverine/Logan taking care of him in his decrepit state. This role is not only a departure for Charles Xavier but Stewart in general who is best known for his refined roles usually as a mentor figure.

What Stewart does here is fascinating in that this performance essentially must make sense of a mess of a mind. Stewart's performance has a great challenge in that as written Charles is all over the place because he has dementia and his mind, which used to be the source of his power, is fading away. Stewart needs to not only make these inconsistencies make sense, he must also connect them to the Prof. X we once knew. Stewart must make these dramatic shifts natural by realizing them each as a part of the broken man and in one phase or another of his mind while it is falling apart. The earliest scenes Stewart reveals Charles at his very worst, but not in the same way depending on the situation. In his first scene Stewart is quite great in portraying the man completely caught up on drugs and raving like a complete maniac. Stewart finds even a real tragedy in these ravings by showing this man that Logan, really even the audience, greatly revered into this complete mess of a man. Stewart makes this drugged up state particularly unusual though for a man once capable of reading every person in the world's mind now echoing just random thoughts of a man now lost in them. Charles does have a worst state than that when he undergoes seizures, which Stewart shows as the man just completely breaking down within himself that unfortunately unleashes a shock wave that becomes potentially fatal to everyone within the vicinity, that is only satiated through a direct injection which brings forth a more coherent Charles.

Stewart still does not show this to be the man Logan or we once knew by any margin. He's far more sorrowful and it downright heartbreaking to believably see the professor in this state. A state now where he reveals an actual cynicism when lashing out at Logan which Stewart plays as part mental decay, but also part of failures over the years to genuinely help the man away from his own personal demons. As rough as some of these interactions are though Stewart and Jackman both make use of the chemistry they've built over the long running franchise. The years are inherent within them and their interactions have that vibrancy as there is a glint of tenderness even if it buried over years of suffering. It is within that mess of the mind that Stewart makes such an essential and authentic part of his portrayal though where at times there is that moment of clarity, but others just rambling anger of a jumbled mind. Every switch Stewart makes just part of that jumble and that is what makes him so effective in truly revealing this decaying mind that rarely has a consistent state. The one more concrete change comes with the introduction of Laura aka X-23 (Dafne Keen) a young mutant seeking helping from Logan in order to escape her captors/creators. Stewart is outstanding the way he brings a bit of optimism back to the old professor as he treats Laura with such an absolute uncompromising affection of the man who use to believe in the best of anyone.

That spark that created the notion of the X-Men returns in Stewart's performance, but what makes this even more poignant is how faint he depicts it. He does not suddenly become the old professor, not by a long shot. Stewart still shows the man dealing with his decaying mind in this state but now with the ability to hone in any way towards this young person he sees hope in. Stewart again fluctuates so effectively from times where he brings a grandfather's concern yet still with just a touch of daffiness that had been more overt before. When he speaks to Logan now there is less of an overt cynicism towards him, though it still lies within Stewart's delivery as he urges Logan to do the right thing with a diminished yet still palatable passion towards righteousness. As the two go on the road to help her, Stewart is excellent in the way he shows the professor trying to essentially return to himself once more, these moments are absolutely heartbreaking. He carries himself again attempting to be the man he was and now when he correct Logan Patrick delivers with this level of care to try to encourage rather than discourage. One moment I love in his performance is when he helps ranchers get their horses back into a trailer by for once using his powers effectively again. Stewart is magnificent in this moment as when he looks at Logan he does smile, or act pompous yet for that moment shows the confident and concerned mentor he met in their very first encounter in the first X-Men film. This is only glimpse of clarity for the man as even when he has regained some of his optimism in his final scenes in the film, Stewart still presents this fading mental state overall. The difference though now is with that optimism as he reveals his tenderness not only to Laura but also to Logan more directly. Stewart still shows a man ravaged by his state but now content with it. He is incredibly moving in just the smallest of smiles, and gentle words that now reveal a man looking towards his inevitable demise, but no longer with anger or fear. Stewart finds this moment of clarity of introspection beautifully in his work as finally examines his own mistakes. There is a sadness in the realization of what he's done, but within that Stewart conveys this sense of understanding towards Logan, and his own demons from the past. He reflects this overt sympathy of the professor reducing himself down from his original role for a moment, though in a positive way to place himself inside the same mindset as his most difficult "student". Patrick Stewart delivers an amazing performance here. He takes what was given before and uses it to offer an even more powerful portrait of decay. A vivid depiction of a most unusual mental deterioration made convincing through his exceptional performance. Stewart does not waste this chance to take the character beyond the limits that had been placed by the previous films. He realizes the real tragedy of the Professor's demise both through how far he has fallen, but also just in those minor hints of the man he once was as well as eventually tries to be again.






David Lynch did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Howard in Lucky.

David Lynch, better known as one of the greatest directors of all time, takes on a rare acting role here. Lynch isn't someone who typically implants himself into his films, he's only ever appeared as an actor in his series Twin Peaks, out of his own projects. This got me thinking of his unique method of casting his films which that he doesn't audition his actors by having them read the script, he just speaks to the actor to decide if they're right for the role. This is notable as Lynch's films have some of the greatest cinematic performances ever given, and even the performances with little screentime can be unforgettable. I'd say it is fair to say his method is quite successful. This takes me to Lynch himself. Now a director casting themselves even small part can sometimes be problematic, Quentin Tarantino for example has consistently burden himself with his own shoddy performances, but other times it can work Martin Scorsese is very memorable in Taxi Driver on the other end of the spectrum. These typically are smaller roles, even when cast outside their own films. When he did cast himself as FBI director Gordon Cole in Twin Peaks, which was a fairly substantial role in the original series and one most important roles in the return of the series also from 2017. That role obviously though Lynch knew he was perfect for as his Gordon Cole is one of the many highlights of that series.

Lucky, which is directed by veteran character actor John Carroll Lynch, no relation as far as I know, was obviously not something David Lynch had control of yet it seems once again he took the part knowing he would be perfect for it. Lynch, as with his films, is a rather idiosyncratic man, and in turn the same as a performer. When Lynch acts it is something you've never quite seen before, but something you never knew you wanted so much. This is true once again as Howard in this film who is one of the regulars at a bar the titular man played by Harry Dean Stanton, a David Lynch regular, frequents. Lynch's Howard only features in three scenes of the film, and all relate to his most peculiar problem. That being that his old tortoise, not turtle, has escaped. This is where we get Lynch with his brilliant performance, that is all Lynch, and it is fascinating as you can see part of what makes him such a memorable director facilitated through a performance. Lynch is unassumingly hilarious in his delivery that much like his films can only be described as Lynchian. Lynch kind of should speak too loudly too broadly, yet never comes off that way for Lynch, it just seems right. In addition it seems just a hilarious when he speaks of his tortoise, named President Roosevelt, having escaped. When he mentions that he saw him "eyeing the gate" it is incredibly funny yet Lynch's delivery never as though he's trying clown around. In his own way he shows that Howard is deadly serious about this predicament someone having this certain somberness and a genuine in his expression that some how only contributes all the more to the comedic value as he ponders the escape. In his second scene we see as Howard is meeting with a lawyer (Ron Livingston) to make sure his estate is settled, which leads to a confrontation as Lucky doesn't take too kindly to the lawyer. Lynch throughout the scene still remains fascinating in his unique Lynch way he plays the scene distraught in the only way he could as he goes on about his loss of the tortoise, and how it made him think about his own mortality. Lynch does what he does in his films in that he can make something so amusing, and he's still funny here as he corrects everyone for wrongly calling President Roosevelt a tortoise, yet is also honestly moving as Lynch portrays so earnestly Howard's introspection and concern over his lost friend. Lynch's final scene is one more moment at the bar where Howard comes to state that he's come to terms with the loss of his tortoise. Lynch now though in his own strange Lynch way inspires hope, while of course still humor, as he so seriously states that the tortoise had something "he thought was important" and if it was meant to be "I'll see him again". There is a sadness in there still yet with this calm and acceptance of fate that is something remarkable. The fact that he says these words directly to Harry Dean Stanton with a certain smile and understanding creates an even greater poignancy to the moment no matter the intention. In the end the lost turtle man, sorry lost tortoise man, should be an utterly ridiculous concept. It should be clownery and silliness. In Lynch's hands it is something very entertaining to be sure, but also somehow beautiful in a way only David Lynch could provide. The truth is no other performer could give this performance, this is David Lynch delivering that Lynchian quality within his own self, and it is something truly special to behold.






Algee Smith, John Boyega and Will Poulter did not receive an Oscar nominations for portraying Larry Reed, Melvin Dismukes, and Trooper Philip Krauss respectively in Detroit.

Detroit follows a few different individuals once it hones in on one night during the Detroit riots of 1967. The first of the three most notable of these individuals is Larry Reed an inspiring Motown singer who we are first introduced to as his group is about to debut on stage. Smith plays Larry without a care in mind towards the riots but rather a directness towards the fulfillment of the dream. This is not a selfish thought as portrayed by Smith but rather the most fervent optimism about living his dream. This is infused into the entirety of his work as he so earnestly speaks of going on stage offering one of the most potentially naive yet pure attitudes within the gritty film. Smith doesn't make this corny though making this desire pure in the right way particularly in his rather remarkable singing that captures the Motown style, but with this real heart that so effectively exudes the optimism within the act. When the riots cancel the show the disappointment that Smith shows is genuine to this guy caught up in his dream to the point he does ignore what's around him. When he is with his other band mates trying to avoid the riots, Smith's performance keeps this devotion towards this thought as a man with a sight on his goal, and his main frustration being the denial of that. What's important though is that Smith finds that optimism in the goal that doesn't make Larry seem indifferent but just almost on a different wavelength even while fires rage around him.

This is rather different from the introduction to John Boyega's Melvin Dismukes who works as a security guard for a store in the riot zone. Boyega portrays his part with a world weariness but not a true cynicism. When we first meet him he portrays the focus of a man just doing his job in the way he knows how. When he goes about helping a rioter from the brutal treatment of a policeman. Melvin stands between two aggressors. Boyega depicts this exact calm in Mevlin as he attempts to cool the situation between the cop and the young man delivers every line with this exact patience. He speaks just trying assuage any problems not in a subservient way but rather as someone who desires peace and order above else. Boyega in this moment shows this as man who probably has been doing this awhile particularly when he has a word with the young rioter just a second later who calls him an "Uncle Tom". Boyega's great as he still keeps that same calm that defines his portrayal, but after the man leaves has the perfect near eye roll reaction that shows that Melvin's probably been called something similair many times while working his job as a security guard. Boyega lays the right stake as Melvin as one of the few people who intends to reduce rather than exacerbate any given situation during the riots.

The last player of this trio is played by Will Poulter as one of Detroit's officers Philip Krauss. We initially meet Krauss on patrol during the day when there is a level of calm for the moment, yet he takes it upon himself to mortally wound a man who has taken groceries from a store. Poulter in this scene establishes Krauss as the film's most despicable character but not in the way one might expect. He does not portray Krauss as the drooling racist, in fact his fellow officers are far more open in that regard. Poulter doesn't play it as Krauss is hiding this either, instead he plays it in a way that is possibly far more disturbing. Poulter makes Krauss's racism implicit within his portrayal of the man's attitude towards the riots. When he speaks that the rioting shouldn't be allowed to go on like this, that "they" deserves a lesson, or even when he shoots the man there is no sadism displayed. He instead delivers these lines as though they are of this firm philosophy in the man, a man who believes himself to be so above the people he is policing that it isn't something he struggles with. His racism is something that Poulter depicts as Krauss is so comfortable with it doesn't require any of the typical outrage, as he just so firmly believes in his superiority to the point that he feels he is justified in any actions he takes in order to maintain the "peace". When a detective says he's going to be charged for the man he shot, Poulter shows only mild frustration, and only a bit of confusion fitting to a man who is absolutely convinced of his unnerving belief. Poulter shows that he's not a man who need to speak with unneeded zealousness because he knows he's in the "right".

The three sadly all converge on the Algiers hotel. Smith's Larry gets there first with his friend Fred (Jacob Latimore) who are just trying to wait out the riots within the hotel. Smith is good in these scenes establishing the style of Larry just directly outside of the sphere of performance. In one part just his easy friendship between the two one based on encouragement for that dream though, where Smith just depicts a mild somberness due to that denial caused earlier in the night. The two have just enough a warmth between the two suggesting their friendship as when Fred encourages him to keep working for his singing career Larry attempts to help Fred find a woman within the vicinity of the hotel. Smith's also very good in these scenes in portraying Larry as guy who is properly smooth, he has a definite charm, but perhaps not quite smooth as he thinks he is. This happens when arrives in the annex whereas the other men there are non too impressed by his personal style, and Smith reactions are very effective here in portraying kind of losing that overt confidence he projected so well when he initially approached the women who led him and Fred to the annex. A practical joke, involving a starter pistol, soon gets out of hand when the noise of the fake gunshots cause the law enforcement outside to believe there is a sniper in the building.

The law enforcement group eventually includes Boyega's Melvin, but is more or less lead by Poulter's Krauss who is the first to enter the building. His first act in there is to once again shoot a fleeing man which Poulter portrays without hesitation. Instead he depicts again this mindset of an extremist's justification as he is not at all phased by this as he quickly plants a knife to make the escapee seem as though the shot into the back was somehow warranted. Poulter brings this unsettling assurance in the moment though as though this is merely Krauss going about his business as he firmly believes is fit, which if he suspects you for a moment you're target practice for him. Krauss takes over as he has all the denizens lined up on a wall for interrogation. Poulter is terrifying here in the intensity he brings in this scene. What is particularly unnerving is how Poulter plays the scene with such an effortless command, as though this brutality is what Krauss has been waiting for. He specifically doesn't seem at all messy and in a way is scarier in the more subdued hatred that he expresses because of how refined it is within the man. There is a detached precision in Poulter's performance who goes from one verbal or physical attack to another with such ease without a moments hesitation, as though this is his "duty" of his to perform. Poulter conveys absolute control of  the situation that makes it all the more horrifying for the complete lack of empathy in any facet of his work.

This leaves Smith's Larry at sometimes the literal blunt end of a gun, and his performance adds to the visceral quality of the scene. Smith portrays Larry as barely able stand amidst all the shouting and violence as he depicts a man wholly gripped in fear. Although he is part of the group being attacked he does stand out within this once Poulter's Krauss demands that the group starts praying for their lives. Smith is absolutely haunting in his depiction of this by bringing the same passion into his performance here than on stage, but now as this terrified cry for help when doing so rather than with the optimistic cheer of before. Boyega's Melvin appears as though potentially one of the few sources of help as he also arrives on the scene. Boyega plays this quite well because he does not play Melvin as this hero at the annex. Boyega instead properly shows, largely with very few speaking lines, depicts the right sense that Melvin is trying to figure out what is going on himself. Unlike Poulter, he does bring an underlying sense of empathy as he watches the brutality, but within that conveys the sense of confusion. Boyega properly plays it as Melvin has no idea whether or not the members of the annex are guilty or not, since there was no way for him to know. When he takes one of the men away into another room in the annex Boyega bluntly delivers the questions on where the gun is, offering still a sense of understanding in this interactions, but still with the hesitation of a guy who doesn't know exactly what's going on.

Krauss's reign of terror continues even as he goes about interrogating everyone, multiple ways including fake "shooting" them in order to find the gun that doesn't exist. Poulter's work does overpower these scenes in how effectively he realizes the sheer extent of the man's vicious behavior without a hint of shame. Again though Poulter keeps to the idea of the man's conviction towards his deranged worldview that makes him act without impunity, and this hollowness as the violence comes so easily to him. Poulter's performance though goes further in that he's not one note, but the variations that appear in Krauss Poulter uses them only to make the man all the more disquieting. This includes the scene where he interrogates the two women in the hotel. At first doesn't hold back but when it appears he's gotten any information from them, Poulter shows Krauss's effort to offer a bit of comfort through this little smile he gives that is downright bone chilling by how Poulter realizes as this brief almost alien false face for the man while attempting to do something completely against his nature. The other moment that shows any other side is when one of his fellow officers shoots one of the hotel guests after failing to understand Krauss's fake shooting interrogation tactic. Poulter doesn't humanize Krauss in this rather he just merely shows that he is human in his reaction. A reaction of genuine fear and concern. A concern not at all for the dead man, but rather Poulter plays it as this realization that things might have finally gotten out of hand for him and the other officers.

The incident ends with Smith portraying Larry as petrified in fear and both physically and emotionally exhausted by the end. His performance completely brings about the wear of the man as this man who is an absolute wreck as he stumbles away looking for any help. Boyega, while I do think Melvin is somewhat under served as a character throughout the film, effectively conveys the growing unease in the realization that something has gone very wrong here. Poulter though shows that Krauss with still his personal determination to somehow get himself off of the night as he lets most of the men go except demands that they will lie about what happened. Poulter delivers this threat in a truly alarming way by again being so direct and blunt in this. In his eyes there is only this certainty that he will have no hesitation to kill if he does not hear as he wants to hear with his questions. When Larry's friend Fred fails to lie, Poulter portrays the reaction to this with just a slight shrug as one more atrocity that Krauss can live with. This leads to the final act of the film, which is the weakest portion of the film. Boyega again feels somewhat short shrift by the narrative as Mevlin is arrested and charged along with the racist officers. This isn't really explored all that much beyond a few brief scenes including one where Melvin is interrogated by detectives, then a later scene where he vomits upon realizing the men will get off. This seems like a complicated idea that just isn't given the time to develop. That leaves Boyega with only a few brief scenes. They are are well portrayed as in the interrogation where Boyega begins with this earnest explanation and slowly drifts this unease into his face as the men's questions become more intense. The same is true for his later scene where he conveys that inward disgust at the result incident. Boyega gives a terrific performance and really makes the most he can out of the part, a part that seemed to have more potential though then we see within this film. Poulter only has a few moments after the incident ends. He uses them well though to show a man who has not all been changed by the events still showing that same confident streak even when taken into questioning where he portrays this just general confusion as though he couldn't possibly know why he's being arrested. His very final moment is one last great one for his performance where he tells Boyega's Melvin that "You're a good guy". Poulter's delivery couldn't be more patronizing as though he's recognized one person from what he sees as the lower class worthy of his minor approval. Poulter delivers a great performance in a truly frightening depiction of unrepentant monster defined by his grotesque philosophy. The film ends with the story of Larry as he tries to move on after his brutal treatment and the death of his friend. Smith is incredibly powerful in portraying the complete loss of any of that optimism or drive in the man as he refuses to follow his singing career. Smith, even in the final scenes, where Larry is now singing with a church choir, his singing, though as potent in terms of technical skill, now is defined by sorrow and pain rather than the joy of his expression. Algee Smith is heartbreaking in showing in his performance the transformation of the sanguine young man reduced to a living victim of the event who continues on in this solitude forever scared by his experience.
(Smith & Boyega)
(Poulter)






Romain Duris did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Cinquanta in All The Money in the World.

Romain Duris oddly enough is in the part of the film that has been largely been forgotten due to the two controversies involving the film in rapid succession. The first eventually involving the extremely late introduction of Christopher Plummer to the project to replace the previous actor in the role of J. Paul Getty, and then soon afterwards the pay discrepancy between Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg in order to complete that replacement. Duris's portion of the film went untouched, and mostly unmentioned in the press. Although this portion is that which compels the film forward where it actually depicts the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer), and his ordeal while in captivity. Duris plays one of the initial kidnappers known Cinquanta, and what Duris accomplishes here is one of the most interesting elements of the film. Now Duris is essentially this part of the film as the young Plummer mostly just plays different levels of fear in John Paul, and the other kidnappers throughout are seen as rather cold and distant figures. This leaves Duris who from the outset intends on making the most of this role, and fleshing out his kidnapper far beyond from that specific role. This is from his first scene where he calls John Paul's mother Gail (Williams) demanding the ransom, to which she initially thinks is someone just telling her that he's okay. Duris is terrific in this scene in the way his delivery attempts this vicious menace while coldly demanding the money, meanwhile though his expression holds less of decisive attitude. Duris finds even a bit humor in his portrayal of a momentary confusion when he has his initial "we have your son" doesn't properly take.

Duris even in that scene portrays Cinquanta believable enough as this potentially violent man asking for money, but even in that moment as we see him, though Gail does only hears him, he shows signs that he's probably not as sinister as his hissing voice suggests. This continues as Cinquanta acts as the primary guardian for Getty while in captivity, and again Duris excels in creating this duality within Cinquanta utilizing his voice and his physical performance separately. A great moment with this is when he speaking to Getty from outside of his cell so he can only hear his voice, but we obviously see Duris the entire time. Again Duris delivers Cinquanta's lines possibly with the interpretation of creating fear in the young man as questions why his family hates him so much since they refuse to pay the ransom. Meanwhile Duris physically shows in this moment Cinquanta taking in this idea of a family refusing to this for his son genuinely troubles him, and creating this anguish in his eyes as he thinks about being so rejected that his family would leave him at the torment of his kidnappers. Duris again reveals more of a duality in this as he portrays Cinquanta again attempting the role of the kidnapper through his words, yet the man's thoughts tell a different story. This is more fully exploited when Cinquanta casually walks into the cell exposing his face to Getty. Duris's performance in this scene is essential to the moment as he approaches in exuding just a friendly demeanor and even the moment of the realization Duris plays not as anger towards Getty, but rather a moment of sheer anxiety for potentially his own fate and possibly his hostage as well for this exposure.

Duris quietly realizes in each subsequent scene this gradual reduction of any sort of false intensity, needed for a kidnapper, and slowly begins to reveal this decent man despite himself. This continues as Cinquanta and his family decide to sell Getty to a bigger name in the underworld of Italy, who they decide to keep Cinquanta on as basically a caretaker for Getty. Duris in these scenes, even when he says barely anything, is the most captivating factor. His silent work is remarkable as he so effectively portrays the ever growing concern in Cinquanta as the other men speak of the young man's fate. I love the way Duris reveals, even though there is not a great deal of attention paid to this by the film overall, this conflict in the man. He depicts almost this dual frustration in him that begins more as the man is pained by his inability to be harder than he truly is in heart, that slowly coverts towards itself to not being able to fully be that man he is in heart. Duris though in each scene breaks the walls down on any facade of this vicious thug. In his scenes with Plummer Duris begins to become quite moving actually in showing a more direct warmth and as a well a somberness as he tends to Getty knowing some terrible things may happen to him very soon. Duris does a great deal of heavy lifting here as I found Duris's performance made me care more about John Paul III than Charlie Plummer's performance.

Duris keeps this direct concern alive, and brings a real needed emotion to the tension of these scenes. Duris is fantastic as he begins to make it that even in his phone calls, where Cinquanta could most easily put on the kidnappers act, he now reveals his concern. This is to the point that Duris in the later calls brings the urgency in every word almost to the point as though he's the one attempting to ensure Getty's release. In a way he is and it is marvelous the way Duris so naturally realizes this transition. One of the best scenes in the film is Getty's ear amputation, which is a infamous moment in the actual case, but the reason for this again is Duris's devoted work to the idea of Cinquanta's concern for Getty. Duris is again oddly enough far more heartbreaking than Plummer in this scene by showing how much the act is tearing apart the man in watching while at the same time still so earnestly projecting such a warmth as he talks him through the "surgery". In every scene Duris is genuinely affecting by quietly portraying this sympathy that only gets stronger. I love the moment where Getty almost escapes, and Duris delivers just this subtle bit of joy in the moment hoping that he has been successful. The idea that the kidnapper goes from one of the people putting a bag over the young man's head to attacking another man to save the kid is a bit farfetched. Duris manages to overcome this rift in the suspension of disbelief by so honestly and effectively portraying every step of this transformation by showing to be more of this revelation of the man's true self throughout. This is a great performance, and it is an utter shame that it has been barely given a mention around the film since honestly Duris is the best part of it.






Jack Dylan Grazer did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Edward "Eddie" Kaspbrak in It.

It is a fairly entertaining horror film about a child eating monster stalking the underbelly of a New England town. Although watching it again it does overdo a few typical horror film techniques, particularly the string smear to telegraph when something scary is about to happen.

One of the elements that works so well within this adaptation of Stephen King's novel is the coming of age story of the kids that could almost stand separately from their time dealing with a killer clown from outer space. This is further amplified by the terrific ensemble of juvenile performers that form their group known as the losers club. Although perhaps a couple of them are a bit under served by the screenplay, Chosen Jacobs as Mike and Wyatt Oleff as Stan, together they excel in a few ways. One being in every single one of the horror scenes where not a single one of the actors falters. They help to bring to life the horror in intimate detail as they effectively heighten the tension of each and every encounter. They are as good though in terms of creating this group dynamic of these kids. They do just behave in this uniform way of all good little kids falling into line as friends. No, what they do is make a far stronger dynamic by so naturally realizing the richness of their interactions which aren't always wholly pleasant for some of the members yet so effectively allude to the history between the kids who already know each other and the brewing history with the new additions to the group.

Although obviously in this review I am focusing in on Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie, who is in the "upper tier" in terms of both of those aforementioned elements. His scenes of terror are particularly strong in that regard especially his direct moments with the fellow mentioned below. Grazer frankly sells something even far more terrifying than we even see through the sheer petrified terror he able to realize within his performance as Eddie. He goes all in in creating every gasp, and panic in his body language so very real. Again while the horror is important what makes this film stand out within the horror genre are the kids. My favorite, and really most realistic dynamics within the kids, is their constant ball busting one another spearheaded by Finn Wolfhard's Richie, who tries far too hard to make everything a joke, and that's entirely the point. Jack Dylan Grazer, who apparently also came up with a lot Richie's one liners, is actually delivers the most abundant humor in the film. His realizes this isn't so much in Eddie's effort to make a joke but rather his reactions towards Richie's jokes. This includes some general frustration that Grazer realizes so naturally as the friend who just can't believe the stupidity of his friend at times, the best moments in this though are whenever this takes the form of indeed a counter joke. These are always placed right after something Richie says, and Grazer's delivery is dynamite every time by so boosting the moment through his portrayal of Eddie's sheer annoyance as he comes up with his own comeback. It's terrific as Grazer actually ends up being the funniest of the kids by so effectively realizing this dynamic with Wolfhard as Richie. In addition though, even in their sometimes rough jokes, they both create this underlying sense of genuine care for one another even if it isn't directly spoken very often.

An important aspect of this is that Grazer's performance, despite some of cruder choices in subject matter and vocabulary, still makes Eddie a normal kid. This isn't even in his scenes with the monster where obviously Eddie is particularly vulnerable. In even his verbal sparring with Richie that frustration Grazer brings is very much with the right earnestness within petulance of a child. There is also though more to this in his portrayal of the hypochondriac side of Eddie that he makes a very naturalistic part of his character. In the moments where they are just near something dirty or when he's talking about disease Grazer captures the intensity of the anxiety of a kid without proper foresight or guidance. Grazer makes it something that seems to pester him throughout showing well the way it is a near hysterical fear that is pervasive in him. The best moments though of his are when Eddie comes face to face with his overbearing mother where Grazer most strongly reveals the true innocence of Eddie. These moments are terrific because he plays them entirely lacking of the pretense of the "maturity" when hanging out with the rest of the friends. He shows just a really scared kid and constricts showing in his eyes as though Eddie is looking some sort of comfort from his mother to which he is given the exact opposite. Grazer's best scene in the film is when he directly confronts his fears by confronting his unloving mother after finding out she has been giving him placebos that only contributed to his anxieties. Grazer's great in this scene on a dramatic level again because he doesn't suddenly become an adult but rather is all the more moving by truly revealing this innocent delivery of Eddie's rejection of his mother's behavior. It's beautifully realized as he finds still a bit of fear as he says he has to help his friend and in turn makes that determination all the more powerful. In addition it's a downright hilarious as well through his flawless, purposefully unknowing, delivery of "They're gazebos!" when decrying the placebos. Grazer gives a wonderful performance here that realizes Eddie's arc so well while also just contributing just a little something special to every single scene he is in.
Bill Skarsgård did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying the titular monster aka Pennywise the dancing clown in It.

The original tv miniseries adaptation of the film is not known as this untouchable classic. In fact it is known as much worse when one begins to consider the second half of the series. The one element consistently praised though is Tim Curry's original portrayal of Pennywise the clown leaving the one thing this adaptation had to live up to when compared to the miniseries. The fairly young Bill Skarsgård came as the choice for the lover of floating things, and I will say he certainly had a take for the character. Skarsgård takes the approach that Pennywise isn't all that great in his act of pretending to be a clown. Although this might seem strange, he actually goes all the way with this in terms of portraying it specifically as this Alien not only trying to pretend to be a clown but a human in general. Skarsgård's vocal delivery in the role is of this constant breaking of the timbre of his voice as he constantly is going from this more heightened attempted pleasant voice, that constantly is falling towards a more guttural sound. That sound being closer to this vicious beast rather than a man, and Skarsgård portrays this as the real Alien struggling to maintain his clown voice. He keeps this idea within the entirety of his performance. This also is just in the way he interacts with his prey, particularly in the use of his eyes where Skarsgård's will portray this sudden switch to a blank stare more akin to predator than anything else again showing the clown as nothing more than the most surface of veils for the monster beneath. This is an interesting choice, and technically well portrayed by Skarsgård through the methods I previously mentioned. He is not so specific towards that idea though that he doesn't also have a bit of fun in the role, as a proper Pennywise should to be honest. He takes a few notes from the Joker's playbook, in portraying the most overwhelming joy in the clown as he terrorizes his victims. In turn he is entertaining in the role particularly when the film switches more towards action horror later on. Having said all that I don't love this performance, only because while chilling enough, in that he's certainly not goofy, he doesn't truly get under your skin beyond a certain point, well unless he's eating you....no Skarsgård's good, but he's not quite great. Curry in the original, who plays as a flamboyant though demonic clown, is more chilling while also being more entertaining oddly enough. Skarsgård's version is an interesting approach that he realizes well but he does not pinch the truly visceral nerve you want from a performance like this. I mean I just can't help but wonder what that other guy would've done, you know the one I hear gave a pretty chilling performance in a different film from 2017.






Jerome Flynn did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Dr. Paul Gachet in Loving Vincent.

Loving Vincent is the beautifully animated film that examines the end of Vincent van Gogh's life through the Citizen Kane method as the son of one of van Gogh's few friends, Armand Roulin (Douglas Booth), attempts to find who his final letter should be delivered to.

Jerome Flynn plays Dr. Paul Gachet, a real life figure from van Gogh's life, that this film uses as the most pivotal figure in potentially finding an understanding of van Gogh's final fate. The film takes its time to fully reveal the man and his own "testimony" on van Gogh serves as essentially the climax of the film. We do witness the man beforehand through Flynn's performance, which to quickly address is classical rotoscope therefore the original work of the actor is captured, mostly in glimpses. We get shades of the man and of his relationship with van Gogh. These are brief though Flynn effectively realizes the different parts of a relationship whether it is a moment of seeming camaraderie between the doctor and the artist or one of antagonism. These glimpses help to create this mystery of van Gogh's final days, and effectively builds this anticipation for when we will finally hear the direct testimony from the man rather the bits of gossip we are granted before then. Flynn emerges from the film in a performance very different than his sardonic work in Game of Thrones. Flynn's performance here is rich with the history of memory. From the outset Flynn exudes such a kindly demeanor as he introduces the young man himself through his knowledge from Vincent. While directly quoting the man there is such palatable nostalgic pride that Flynn exudes for that past relationship. As the young man asks about his relationship with Vincent Flynn captures the pain of this all. There is always these glints of joy he brings in a slight smile though meanwhile his eyes always seem to be looking towards the past. When he speaks of the relationship there is a somberness that overwhelms that Flynn manages to imply toward Gachet's own failures rather than only the loss of Vincent. Flynn reveals such a haunted man in every second of this scene as he captures the difficult past in such vibrant detail even when we do not directly see it. He infuses his work with the time that has passed as he grants that sense of pain that is of a wound that stays with the doctor. There is a shame that Flynn finds as the man reveals his own vulnerabilities that were exposed by Vincent. It is never the only facet as there is this real frustration that Flynn delivers in every response to the young man's theories that Vincent might have been shot by someone else, a frustration directed by Flynn as this definite acceptance of the truth of the death. The truth he reveals in flashback and in the current moment. Flynn is heartbreaking, and incredibly powerful as he reveals the two sides of the doctor's grief for his failures in the same scene. The moment in the past where the grief is raw as Flynn reveals the intensity he cries over his fallen friend, and then in the present where he still reveals a man still troubled as relives this memory. In this single scene Flynn reveals in such detail all that Vincent meant to this man, and sums up the tragedy of that life. It is brilliant work by Flynn as he captures in only a few minutes the real emotional truth of the story, and leaves an undeniable impression upon the film.






Paul Dano did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Jay in Okja.

Okja is kind of like a successful throw back to the family adventure films of the 80's in that it grants a most joyous entertaining ride while getting quite dark at times in its story of a little girl, her super pig, and the evil corporation that intends to exploit them both.

Paul Dano's first appearance into the film comes as a mysterious truck pulls upside the one containing the titular super pig in order to transport it into the company's big event to celebrate their super pig success. Paul Dano is one of the passengers of the mysterious truck wearing a black mask, which when watching the film for the first time I wasn't sure what to make of this interloper, as for many a film Paul Dano has been a resident creep of cinema whether it be in There Will Be Blood, Twelve Years a Slave, or Prisoners. The question was whether or not this would be some less than pleasant fellow also trying to use the pig for his own nefarious purposes, one wouldn't put that past a Paul Dano character. The moment where any such concerns are completely erased though is perhaps my favorite in the film, which is where the pig is unleashed in an underground mall where the corporate men, the little girl Mija who own the Pig, and Dano's group all attempt to retrieve the pig for themselves. The Pig gets a essentially a plastic thorn in Okja foot to which Paul Dano's Jay takes out and reveals himself. I love how Dano portrays the scene in the sheer empathy in his face as he goes about his task revealing such an intensity within his concern for the injured pig reveals the true nature of his character all in this single silent moment.

Dano through this film then plays wildly against what had become his established type, and proves himself quite capable in a far friendlier sort of character. Dano goes further than that though in that he is basically the one truly comforting character within the whole film, as even the other members of his group called the Animal Liberation Front, aka the ALF, are just a little loopy in one way or another. Dano offers a consistency within his portrayal of Jay's concern for Mija, and her pig throughout in a way that is actually rather moving. There is only the most genuine warmth that Dano brings in every moment as he attempts to defend not only the two of them, but also try to rid of her of any harm of any kind. My favorite moment in his performance probably is at the grand pig show by the corporation that the ALF sabotages by, harmlessly, attacking and playing footage of the corporations actual brutal treatment of the pigs, and Jay takes the stage in order to prevent Mija from seeing Okja's mistreatment. Dano so effectively projects such an overwhelming sense of compassion in the moment showing that Jay only ever cares for her absolute welfare. Dano throughout the conclusion of the film is terrific in just always so powerfully emphasizing Jay's concern in every interaction that always exudes this uncompromising empathy that defines Jay.

That is not to say that Dano has no variations within the film, though what he already brings with his overwhelming main facet that defines the character would be enough for me to call this a more than successful performance. Dano though makes the most out of the few moments where Jay's personal philosophy essentially is questioned just a bit. The first instance of this being when he learns that one of his fellow members willfully mistranslated Mija's words. Dano's great in this moment as he dispenses a most unusual beat down on the man. Dano's delivery of this scene is fascinating as he so eloquently realizes the style of Jay's peaceful philosophy even when it relates to violence. Dano inflicts the moment as though the intensity of the attack isn't defined by hatred, but rather a sheer disappointment in his compatriot. Dano makes it even lightly comical in this way though only by making it feel so true to the nature of Jay. The other moment though where this is tested though is in his final scene of helping Mija retrieve her pig from the slaughter house and from the nasty CEO of the corporation (Tilda Swinton). Dano already is great in the scene by bringing a real visceral intensity and change within Jay's empathy by finding a certain degree of desperation as he tries to help Mija. He excels though as he's being taken away by the security and tells the CEO he is considering breaking his rule of loving all the creatures of the earth for her specifically. Dano's fantastic in this moment as he portrays it as though Jay is trying to eek out a bit of genuine anger towards her but even this he shows as a struggle for it is just against the man's very being. This is terrific work by Paul Dano as he offers such a needed bit of heart to the film, and this yet another proof that he continues to be one of the most interesting actors of his age group.






Daniel Craig did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Joe Bang in Logan Lucky.

Logan Lucky is Oceans 7-11 about a pair of southern brothers planning a most unusual heist of a raceway.

Daniel Craig plays the safe cracker who the two would be robbing brothers the Logans (Channing Tatum, Adam Driver) go to in order to help with their plan. This performance is a major change of pace for Daniel Craig in the mind of many though he has perhaps wrongly be seen as a certain kind of performer by some due to his intense portrayal of James Bond. If one watches his work in Layer Cake  or even in another way in Road to Perdition where he plays more expressive characters, Craig takes on a particular style for James Bond, the right style for that role, but that is not Craig's limits as a performer. This is another splendid example of Craig's range when given a more colorful performance, though for many still a wholly against type performance. I will say the impact of this performance may have been diminished a bit by the film's trailer that heavily featured Craig's performance that might have limited the surprise of his performance to most viewers, which is unfortunate since Craig's work here should not be overlooked since he steals the film with ease. Of course I think the reason he might have been so heavily featured in the original trailer may have been due to his performance within the scheme of the film, which I will get to in a moment.

Craig's whole Kentucky fried approach to the role is the purest within the film from his wide eyed manner and his squeaky accent he so consistently uses that is hilarious in itself. Now for me this film is a little strange though in that it seems to purposefully avoid editing in punchlines. By that I mean so much humor from films in general comes from a good quick cut to a reaction coming off another line, this is just standard for any comedy and this film for some reason rejects as the idea, I guess on artistic grounds. Although comedic timing in film just works this way and to not do it just seems very odd. Due to that strange choice it is up to the performances even more so than usual to sell the comedy since the film will not be amplifying it for them at any point. The one actor who truly overcomes this limit is obviously Seth MacFarlan....no it's Daniel Craig...geez why else would I be writing about this performance then. Anyways. Craig though is on point to make himself as funny as he possibly can in his portrayal of old Joe Bang, which makes sense why he was so focused on in the trailer, and makes sure to wholly utilize the potential benefits within the film in that he not only gets to be one of the most outrageous characters he also gets to be the straight man.

Craig ,just as is, is naturally funny to see James Bond behave in this way, and with such an accent, he goes further than that. In his more straight man capacity Craig is great as he examines the Logan boys and their seemingly ridiculous plan with such an entertaining sense of sheer dismay at their potential stupidity. He however combines this with the right touches of absurdity in his own delivery though in just the right way particularly in his delivery "I...am...in...car..cer...rated". It technically is straight forward in the sense of it realizing his certain disdain for the Logans yet in a way yet Craig use of his accent makes it hilarious just in the delivery in its most basic form. This is Craig's modus operandi throughout the film as he consistently is the one bringing the comedy within the film as it is centralized through his performance. Craig manages to make his acting of doing a simple thing funny such as very unassuming way of creating his gummi bear bomb, or perhaps being more overt in his comedy in bringing such a annoyed exasperation as he questions the exact location of the safe because he's "dealing with science here". My single favorite moment of Craig's perhaps when he breaks down the formation of the bomb and ends it by describing it as his "Joe Bang" with such an entertaining sense of pride Craig brings through his glowing delivery. Craig brings the utmost conviction in ensuring there is a bit humor in any moment he is around doing his best to make this enjoyable heist comedy...an enjoyable heist comedy, even when the film itself seems a little confused on that prospect. Daniel Craig manages to be thoroughly entertaining every second he is onscreen, and this is just a whole lot of fun to see Craig really let loose in a role after having played his purposefully more constricted James Bond for quite awhile now.






Hugh Grant did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite receiving a BAFTA nomination, for portraying Phoenix Buchanan in Paddington 2.

Paddington 2 is a most delightful sequel to the previous film about the little marmalade loving bear and his various endeavors while living with a family in London.

This film, as was the case for Nicole Kidman in the original, calls upon an actor to have what would be described as a "blast" while playing the film's villain. Hugh Grant is that actor, who I've yet to cover in any of his romantic leading turns with all their blinks, smiles and stutters. Not that I have a problem those performances, in fact quite enjoyed him in last years Florence Foster Jenkins where he stole the show and was rather cruelly snubbed when compared to a few of his competitors. I won't bury the lead and will begin with that this is the most I've liked Grant in anything though, and it might be because it allows him to go all the way with his particular set of skills. This is not to say Grant is doing his usual thing exactly, but it is kind of the starting point except more than that. We see this in Grant's first scene in the film where he declares a carnival open while meeting out titular lovable bear voiced so well by Ben Whishaw. Grant is impeccably charming with his grandiose yet sunny delivery of his little speech. He even laughs off a couple of accidental insults by Paddington with only a few slight shakes of the head and a grand reveal of his impeccable pearled whites. Grant brings that trademark charisma he is known for and just takes it up a notch more to represent an actor of a, no offense to Grant, a grander scale more of a Laurence Olivier or Daniel Day-Lewis type.

That is the man who is Phoenix Buchanan who literally prays to old "Larry" Olivier, who after an accidental tip by Paddington becomes a thief in order to uncover a series of clues in order to unlock a treasure trove. Phoenix goes about stealing the clues he needs which leaves poor Paddington with his paw prints on the scene of a crime and sent to jail. Grant is the evil villain here, but I write that with all levity. This performance by Grant correctly understands the tone of this film which that it is all in very good fun. Grant's marvelous here in bringing to life his dastardly fellow through expressing the strongest ego possible for an actor, which obviously is rather substantial. Grant matches the task quite well portraying such a strangely endearing lack of shame in every moment of his portrayal of Phoenix. He goes grand, he goes ham, in the most delicious of ways. Every moment he plays as though Phoenix is ready to deliver some grand monologue. His delivery is always filled with bravado and his face filled with such explosive self-satisfaction and vanity. Grant will make you believe that man can accidentally expose himself to scrutiny through the sheer intensity due to how he so admires himself. Every moment there is such a powerful sense in Grant's work that Phoenix is in love with one thing, well one man, himself. This is a deeply impassioned love as Grant puts his every being into it and it couldn't more entertaining to watch.

There can be a fatal, well not fatal, but a severe mistake that some actors make when playing the villain in a film like this which is they can potentially lose out on the fun of it all. Grant makes sure he does not make that mistake at any point. I have particular affection for every one of his "creations" of the various characters that he uses to pull of his scheme as well as falls into personal conference with. Grant is most enjoyable as converses with himself with one character accent after another. I actually find that Grant is great here because he doesn't go too over the top with these voices, mind you that is a strange sacle, as Phoenix is suppose to be a good actor just a self-indulgent one, and Grant captures that with effortless style. He ensures that old Phoenix is just as entertaining as any other part of the film, and makes sure that just because he's our villain doesn't mean we cannot have agood time being around him. He even manages to do this in the final act where Phoenix's villainy becomes more overtly threatening technically speaking. How? Well that's a question Grant is more than willing to answer which is to play the part as though he's Basil Rathbone taking charge of his situation. He technically does create enough of a pseudo menace, no real menace is intended or required, as Grant so embraces the madness of the man living out his parts with such pertinacity. I especially love his tremendous pride when naming his level of fencing skill while showing it off as a proper swashbuckler should. This is a truly wonderful performance by Hugh Grant that makes the most out of his oh so agreeable fiend.
Brendan Gleeson did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Knuckles McGinty in Paddington 2.

Well just for an extra bit of joy for this already joyful experience of a film look no further than the always reliable Brendan Gleeson. Gleeson, evidently being a bit more prudent in his talking animal film choices than his son Domnhall however I digress on that point. Here we get Brendan Gleeson as Paddington is sent to jail for his alleged crimes, and he goes face to face with the cook in order to lob a complaint. That cook is non other than Gleeson who also intends on being incredibly delightful here. This time through his extremely endearing portrayal of a hard boiled criminal. Well hard boiled for this film anyways. Gleeson though is hilarious even in the way he projects his intensity, going a bit absurd in just the right way he questions Paddington's complaints with one deadly stare after the other. Now doing this sort ridiculous acting is not given enough credit when done properly, as you can easily flop into the wrong direction of just being ridiculous rather ridiculously entertaining. Well like Grant, Gleeson successfully is the right kind of ridiculous here as he so strongly puts up this front only to have it initially broken through the tasting of some of Paddington's marmalade. The expression pictured above kind of says it all, does it not? Gleeson's hilarious in this almost primal moment of transcendence he conveys in the tasting, only bested by his rather enjoyable way of pronouncing the word as mah ma lade.

Gleeson's transformation of hardened criminal to loyal friend to Paddington couldn't be more endearing. It is rather hasty due to the nature of the film, but also still just perfect really in the few moments we get to address this. First with Gleeson's nonchalant disparaging of Paddington's aunt's advice, which leads to a most unfortunate stare to which Gleeson's reaction of sheer fear is something rather special. This though leads to the warming of old Knuckles in such a splendid way as Gleeson reveals just this overabundance of warmth in his interactions with dear Paddington. You'll believe friendship between a killer and bear, that is for sure through every little comedic gem you get in their interactions. I quite enjoy Gleeson keeping the hard edge of the man whenever it may benefit he and Paddington in their quest. This performance isn't all fun, okay it mostly is and a lot of fun it is. There is just a bit of drama that one must bring here in the few scenes where Knuckles warns poor Paddington that his family may forget about him in prison and encourages him to lead an escape. Gleeson's work though even delightful in this by making these conversations just so genuine on his side as though wasn't even talking to his mah ma lade loving bear. Gleeson interactions have this certain conviction in these moments that somehow makes everything all the more entertaining through it,even while being completely heartwarming as well. Gleeson's reactions when he hears of Paddington's troubles bring such real empathy that is comical coming from this brutish sort, yet still moving in its own way through the conviction that Gleeson brings. Gleeson also has just the right kind of fun here as well. He definitely realizes Knuckles as proper character that fits right into the life affirming substance that is Paddington 2. 






And the Nominees Were Not:

David Lynch in Lucky

Patrick Stewart in Logan

Daniel Craig in Logan Lucky

Jerome Flynn in Loving Vincent

Romain Duris in All the Money in the World

And for the Second Set of Predictions:

Will Poulter in Detroit

Mark Hamill in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Hugh Grant in Paddington 2


Paul Dano in Okja

Jack Dylan Grazer in IT

With special appearances by:

John Boyega in Detroit

Brendan Gleeson in Paddington 2

Bill Skarsgård in IT



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ul { list-style-type: none; margin: 0; padding: 0; overflow: hidden; background-color: #333; } li { float: left; } li a { display: block; color: white; text-align: center; padding: 14px 16px; text-decoration: none; } li a:hover:not(.active) { background-color: #111; } .active { background-color: #4CAF50; } DMCA report abuse Home Todas Pastas Auto Post sitemap Blog "Sem Imagens" oLink xxx var ad_idzone = "1877044", ad_width = "728", ad_height = "90"; Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2017: Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Jason Isaacs and Michael Palin in The Death of Stalin Tags:#buscemi, #beale, #isaacs, #palin, #khrushchev, #beria, #molotov, #death, #stalin, #political, #this, #very, #just, #around, #than, #that, #with, #first, #film, #about, #even, #such, #buscemis, #though, #there, #makes, #natural, #part, #being, #which, #much, #performance, #right, #more, #most, #stalins, #however, #again, #beales, #honest, #himself, #every, #moment, #when, #their, #taken, #reveals, #other, #does, #while, #ways, #take, #brings, #power, #these, #particular, #well, #comes, #scene, #come, #here, #proper, #thing, #make, #show, #deliver, #particularly, #also, #have, #hear, #form, #some, #real, #live, #wife, #able, #play, #weve, Search:buscemi, beale, isaacs, palin, khrushchev, beria, molotov, death, stalin, political, this, very, just, around, than, that, with, first, film, about, even, such, buscemis, though, there, makes, natural, part, being, which, much, performance, right, more, most, stalins, however, again, beales, honest, himself, every, moment, when, their, taken, reveals, other, does, while, ways, take, brings, power, these, particular, well, comes, scene, come, here, proper, thing, make, show, deliver, particularly, also, have, hear, form, some, real, live, wife, able, play, weve, Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Jason Isaacs and Michael Palin did not receive Oscar nominations for portraying Nikita Khrushchev, Lavrentiy Beria, Georgy Zhukov, and Vyacheslav Molotov respectively in The Death of Stalin.The Death of Stalin is a hilarious and biting dark satire focusing on the immediate political fallout in the U.S.S.R from the titular "loss".An essential ingredient to making this very exact tone of the satire to work is found within the cast. This includes just strong performances all around in the best ensemble from 2017, but it goes further than that in terms of the very nature of the casting and the performances. It's best to begin then with Steve Buscemi as he would unlikely be anyone's first casting choice for Nikita Khrushchev in a film about the history of the Soviet Union, or even in a prestige British representation of such a story. The Death of Stalin is neither of those things of course in its approach and Steve Buscemi's casting is a perfect representation of this approach. The idea isn't to represent a strict historical truth in the least, though there is historical truth to be found in the film, but rather it purposefully sets itself outside of this to create a unique satirized version of Russian. This makes Brooklyn born Buscemi as just a natural part of the film. He is not only a natural part though but Buscemi's style as an actor ends up being this rather natural fit to who Khrushchev will be in the film, which is as our "hero" the use of quotations very much needed there. Buscemi's unassuming performance style though is the right one for that of Khrushchev who is just as much of a political operator as his chief rival, but Buscemi's approach just makes him seem all the more approachable.This is in stark contrast to Simon Russell Beale as Lavrentiy Beria the man in charge of NKVD who essentially were the police in the Soviet Union who performed the most dirty of the dirty work of Stalin's regime. Beria is the film's "villain" however again that is as much of in need of quotations as the use of hero for Khrushchev. Beale's performance though is this fascinating little juxtaposition as he makes Beria essentially the most honest dishonest man around. This is as Beale so embraces the very nature of the man in his portrayal as someone who genuinely thrives in the system. Beale conducts himself with this most definite ease in itself in almost every moment as the smoothest of political operators mainly because he so understands the situation he is in. When early on he casually mentions one of their colleagues will soon be gone, to be taken away by the police, Beale delivers it with such a glib attitude that establishes Beria so effectively before the plot even begins. Beale reveals this man as oh so comfortable with his existence within this system who unlike the other men does not put on any other personal delusional fronts. In that what Beale does is stand out among the pack as the man most comfortable with being a completely despicable human being. That devilish grin of his and wily eyes are of the man who has long fashioned himself within this life of backstabbing without a single hesitation in any facet of it.The titular event, while at first Stalin just becomes incapacitated, springs all the men of the inner circle into action in order to attempt to find their own ways to take advantage or deal with the situation. Naturally enough Beria is the swiftest to take action, and Beale properly shows a man glorying in the acts as he for a very brief period is unencumbered by any authority above himself. There is such a horrible glee that Beale brings in every little bit of use of power in these scenes particular his exact joy when giving out a new list of people to be taken away or possibly killed. Beale delivers the needed incisiveness in every word as he goes about in his act of seizing power through his alternate source of power by quickly making a puppet out of Jeffrey Tambor's Georgy Malenkov who technically is next in line by virtue of procedure. Beale's great in his interactions with Tambor in these moments by speaking to every word with him either with the man as though he's offering specific and leading stage direction to a bad actor though occasionally with a more terrifying glance to suggest his capability to destroy the man if he doesn't properly stay in line. Beale brings the right type of physical presence in the role in a very unique way as in the way he holds sway by carrying himself with this calm command, and those eyes of his which almost always carry that unmistakable intensity of a true political, well really any kind of, cutthroat. This is against Buscemi's portrayal of Khrushchev which he brings a bit of natural manic energy to as he first comes on the scene of Stalin fitting to a man just quickly trying to come up with a way to deal with the situation that will determine his fate. Buscemi's great here in figuring out this exact way Khrushchev puts forth his way of dealing with his office, which is much more as a proper politician, though that is not necessarily a good thing. Buscemi's very enjoyable in bringing out this sort of the need to act as the politician kicks in at seeing Stalin's soon to be corpse, as he so overly expresses his sorrow as a proper man of the people giving his respects to their leader. Buscemi oversells this in the right way as the man just really enforcing the act showing Khrushchev playing this as a man trying to make sure onlookers note that "Khrushchev almost wept at seeing Stalin's corpse". Buscemi though is careful to show that Khrushchev is not a true fool, but even that act is a maneuver that he quickly drops at the sight of Stalin's urine soaked pants. Buscemi properly switches gears in that moment to show Khrushchev basically switching to the political operative mode though, after fulfilling the politician's duty, as he begins to deliver his own incisive ways though in a different way than Beale which is a strangely key thing in this film.This key element is in the difference between Buscemi's approach to Khrushchev against Beale's portrayal of Beria which is a fascinating interplay particularly in terms of audience perception of each. This is one of the, many, brilliant parts of the film as really Khrushchev isn't a good guy either, yet I found myself siding to him by how well these performances realize these two characters. Buscemi again brings the right unassuming quality, which is in part the politician act, however he goes further to show it with a bit of honesty in that he cannot embrace really evil in the same way Beria does. Beale on the other hand does show the more honest dishonest man by in no way hiding the gruesome grotesque nature of the man. Beale particularly puts so much hideous elation when finding a new rape victim, or delivering the mentions of his own ill deeds so brazenly. In a way this is more honest than Buscemi's portrayal who shows Khrushchev as someone, who to be fair isn't as evil anyways, but also manages to delude himself to a certain degree. Buscemi however makes Khrushchev more likable also though by bringing this emphasis on the idea of the man as having any reluctance in being a cutthroat. Buscemi again is careful in the way he reveals this in these moments as once again more for show in the reluctance, however it is much appreciated for decency's sake.Of course these two it needs to be also said are hilarious here in just kind of a traditional comedic way in every single scene. This is in part due to the two's flawless delivery of the rich dialogue given to them. Beale delivering Beria's one liners though as more exact daggers into anyone who dare trespass him, Buscemi, again somehow being likable in this by bringing more of a sardonic energy in cutting down his opponents such his "two clowns with the same joke" to deflect an insult by two of the less powerful members of the inner circle. Their performances also are hilarious in terms of their physical energy that is classically comedic. I have particular affection in Beale's work for his way of portraying Beria's mad dashes while disposing of and replacing files while Stalin lies dying on the floor. Buscemi also excels in this regard particularly in the scene of Stalin's funeral wake where Khrushchev tries to get a better spot to hear a conversation between members of the inner circle by attempting to make it look like it is part of the ceremony. The conviction that Buscemi brings in each step, and again a bit of that false properness of a politician, as this very refined act that is in fact just trying to be in a better place to eavesdrop. Beale and Buscemi make for a great pair though as the two true leaders of the two sides matching each other well as Beale the oh so assured monster, against Buscemi the proper harried underdog.Of course in this power struggle there are many players with two of them perhaps being the most important as the wild cards in this game at a very grand scale. The first being Jason Isaacs's Georgy Zhukov the leader of the armed forces. Isaacs is essentially Peter Capaldi's Malcolm Tucker for this political satire as a man who doesn't give two "excrements" about making himself heard and heard well. Isaacs comes in fast and hard as a man almost with more medals than will fit on his uniform and Isaacs properly is as proud as that amount of medals would suggest. Although Beale and Buscemi do have their own form of command here, Isaacs delivers a different sort of a man who has fought hard and long with his particularly, and so deliciously blunt delivery of "What's a war hero got to do to get some lubrication around here" before being introduced in text by the film. Isaacs conducts himself as a man who kind of is aware of power in a more direct and obvious way as a proper soldier.  Isaacs's gruff accent is perfect for the role as a man ready to growl and pounce at any point. Isaacs delivers every one of his take down with particularly pinpoint accuracy fitting to a man who doesn't mind risking death with words given his more hands on experience with death. Isaacs is a treat every single minute he is onscreen by in every moment conducting himself with such a comedic, yet real, intensity that is absolutely perfect. He's just a joy to watch while also wholly fulfilling his particular role which is as man who makes his points clearly and directly to make sure they are heard. Isaacs has so much fun here as the man who has no delusions in a different way in that he plays the game with a different sort of perspective on the whole thing, since again power is different to him. My favorite scene of his though has to be when Khrushchev goes to seek help from him to dispose Beria, to which Isaacs delivers a magnificent false concern about Khrushchev's idea before revealing this to be only a joke, and that he is more than eager to destroy Beria. It just a moment of pure comic gold sold to perfection by Isaacs's performance, which there is not a lot of here, but every second of it is something quite special.The other wildcard is in Michael Palin's Vyacheslav Molotov. I have to say first off I couldn't be happier at Palin's return in this film after having not appeared in a mainstream live action film in almost 20 years. They couldn't have asked for a better actor though to pull off the tricky part of Vyacheslav Molotov, Stalin's most loyal man but also the one who was to be taken away in the opening of the film. Now this requires a certain balance of things in this role, that thankfully Palin is a master of. Molotov is of course partially defined by the fact that Stalin had his wife imprisoned, used by Beria as a sex slave, though Molotov remained working with Stalin. Palin, as always, brings an innate charm to the part here just in this way as an affable old statesman that from the moment you hear he's going to be taken away, it is very easy to feel sorry for him. Palin in addition though finds a real pathos as he remarks on the loss of his wife though, and convincingly finds this strange state of the man. He offers a genuine earnestness in portraying the feelings of a loving husband, but where the comedy comes in is how this fashions through the type of man that is Molotov. Molotov being absolutely loyal to Stalin to the point that when he hears he was originally going to be taken away by the police, Palin only offers the most honest, and in turn hilarious, concern as he ponders how he could've wronged Stalin. Palin is exceptional in the way he is able to make this sort of ridiculous state of the man actually believable by just how well he can be absurd yet believable at the same time. This becomes particularly important once Khrushchev and Beria try to fight for his support, where Beria brings Molotov's wife to bribe the man, while Khrushchev tries to play towards the man's strict loyalties. Palin plays again finds a certain quality of the loving husband when he sees his wife and reveals a most genuine jubilation at the initial sight of her. Palin though makes the love of the husband real, however he still reveals that what is more important to him is his loyalty to Stalin, which requires that he see his wife as a traitor. Palin again is equally funny when revealing Molotov's support for Khrushchev's power play, because he brings such a fervent devotion to the denouncement of his wife, since according him Stalin was right, which he feels Beria wrongly absolved her of. What's so fantastic here in his performance is that Palin is able to be extremely humorous yet he makes this absurd nature of the man seem logical in his own peculiar sense of being caused by his undying loyalty to Stalin.Khrushchev's plan to destroy Beria comes from technically both of them causing a massacre after Beria's men going about killing or at least causing the deaths of many of the Russian citizens Khrushchev allowed in to attend Stalin's funeral. Khrushchev though makes the first step which again I love how Buscemi brings such a dogged determination that again somehow makes him seem the righteous one even though he is just about as guilty in causing the deaths as Beria is. This is against Beale's depiction of Beria who is effectively just so smug you can't help but hate the guy who seems so assured of his grotesque abuse of power. Beale naturally keeps this quality when he is initially taken prisoner and he believes he might be able to get his way out of this still. Beale carries himself with such a firm disregard for everyone around him, carrying such venom in every delivery of his as he denounces everyone around him while also lashing out at everyone around him. Beale still carries that personality of command as though he keeps such a viciousness in his hatred, though with enough of a creeping up undercurrent of unease, but mostly something Beale portrays as being overwhelmed by Beria trying to stand firm in his position of power. Of course his insults get him nowhere and the inner circle decide to blame him for the massacre, and quickly make a trial and convict him in no time at all. Now this final sequence I think is a testament to the genius of the film, and to the strength of the performances of all particularly Buscemi and Beale's. This is the one scene that strictly and mostly strongly moves closest to the purely dramatic. There have been talk of deaths, and even the sight of them, however with a purposeful distance within the satire. This one scene that makes it more tangible because the violence finally happens to a named character who we know, which is Beria. What's so brilliant about this is he's the worst of the worst, however with that in mind he still is a person we've gotten to know. In turn Beale is actually kind of heartbreaking as he loses all pretense and just brings such a palatable desperation as he begs for his life. In that moment the bluntly hits you with the reality by showing a more concrete loss of life, even though it is through the man most deserving of death in the whole film. The other touch that's so great though is Buscemi though who also changes as he loses that underdog status and reveals Khrushchev as much of a cutthroat as Beria in his ice cold deliver of his insults while the man is shot then burned in front of him. The execution of this is incredible as it is uncompromising as it reveals this story was always about a group of terrible people, though Beria might have flaunted his vile nature more openly all of the characters are very bad men. The entire ensemble here is magnificent though in realizing this duplicitous world so well in creating each and everyone of this vile sorts creating this tapestry of amorality, oh yes and being quite hilarious while doing so. (For Isaacs and Palin)(For Beale and Buscemi )Alternate Best Actor 2017: Results 10. Thomas Jane in 1922 - Jane delivers a solid turn in granting a curious yet honest life to his very peculiar character that manages to realize the strange state of the man without devolving into caricature.Best Scene: A ghastly messenger. 9. Christian Bale in Hostiles - Bale's work here has the raw materials of a great performance yet he is consistently ham strung by the film's underdevelopment of every facet of his character's journey despite Bale's best efforts to sell them as this hardened soldier. Best Scene: Burying his friend. 8. James Franco in The Disaster Artist - James Franco manages to go a bit further than just providing a hilarious impression of the strange and enigmatic Tommy Wiseau, as he does find enough of a depth within the nearly impenetrable character.  Best Scene: Too many questions.  7. Sebastian Stan in I, Tonya - Stan delivers a great performance here as he manages to not hold back in his depiction of the casual cruelty of a insecure man, but at the same time delivers a very funny portrayal of a fool. Best Scene: News of the attack. 6. Jeremy Renner in Wind River - Renner delivers a brilliant turn here going against the expected approach for his role, and creating a different yet wholly convincing portrayal of a man dealing with his losses and the idea of retribution.Best Scene: Way to make peace. 5. Robert Pattinson in Good Time - Pattinson gives a truly magnetic turn here that matches the kinetic pace of the film by so effectively realizing this man who will do anything to solve his problems except for the right thing. Best Scene: The back of a police car.4. Song Kang-ho in A Taxi Driver - Song carries this film every step of the way through his incredible performance that manages to begin as an amusing lightly comedic turn that naturally transitions to a heartbreaking portrayal of a man bearing witness to an atrocity.Best Scene: A different kind of song. 3. Hugh Jackman in Logan - Jackman ends his tenure as Wolverine on a high note far beyond the original expectations of the role. Jackman expands beyond the limits of the past performance to give absolutely heartbreaking portrayal of a man coming to terms with his age and loss, and facing the responsibilities in his place as a "superhero". Best Scene: So this is what it feels like.  2. Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049 - Gosling delivers a masterful performance in his creation of this exact state of the replicant that seemingly is now more machine than man. His exploration of the extent of this, and the ability to change within this context is realized with such a true poignancy by this flawless performance. Best Scene: The memory is real.  1. Harry Dean Stanton in Lucky - Good Predictions Lezlie (x2), Charles (x2), Tahmeed, Omar (x2), Luke, Robert(x2), Nguyễn Ngọc Toàn, and RatedRStar, I will say this is not a clear cut case for me in the slightest as I hold Gosling and Stanton's performances in equally high esteem. It would pains me to deny other one the top spot. On any other day I could side towards Gosling as both of these performances are among the best of the decade. Nonetheless my #1 is Harry Dean Stanton for his swansong performance that couldn't be a more perfect send off for the actor. It is one more chance just to appreciate his one of a kind screen presence and talent with this tender, funny, and incredibly moving portrayal of man coming to terms with his age and mortality.  Best Scene: "You smile."  Overall Ranking:Harry Dean Stanton in LuckyRyan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom ThreadHugh Jackman in LoganSong Kang-ho in A Taxi DriverRobert Pattinson in Good TimeJeremy Renner in Wind RiverSebastian Stan in I, TonyaDaniel Kaluuya in Get OutNikolaj Coster-Waldau in Shot Caller Ethan Hawke in Maudie James Franco in The Disaster ArtistLiev Schreiber in Chuck Jake Gyllenhaal in Stronger Steve Carell in Battle of the SexesLaurence Fishburne in Last Flag FlyingTom Cruise in American MadeJames McAvoy in SplitJoel Edgerton in It Comes at Night Chris Pine in Wonder WomanDenzel Washington in Roman J. Israel, Esq.Christian Bale in Hostiles Sam Elliott in The Hero Gary Oldman in Darkest HourSteve Carell in Last Flag Flying Timothée Chalamet in Call Me By Your NameAndy Serkis in War for the Planet of the Apes Michael Fassbender in Alien CovenantLevi Miller in Better Watch OutThomas Jane in 1922Robert Redford in Our Souls At Night James McAvoy in Atomic Blonde Vince Vaughn in Brawl in Cell Block 99 Chris Hemsworth in Thor: Ragnarok Shawn Yue in Mad World Kevin Harrison Jr. in It Comes at NightDave Franco in The Disaster Artist Pierce Brosnan in The Foreigner Claes Bang in The SquareRajkummar Rao in Trapped Domhnall Gleeson in Goodbye Christopher Robin Kenneth Branagh in Murder on the Orient ExpressBen Whishaw in Paddington 2 Tom Holland in Spider-man: HomecomingBen Stiller in The Meyerowitz Stories Colin Farrell in The BeguiledRoss Lynch in My Friend DahmerDouglas Booth in Loving VincentAdam Driver in Star Wars: The Last JediJacob Tremblay in Wonder Ben Mendelsohn in UnaAnsel Elgort in Baby Driver Adam Driver in Logan LuckyTraci Letts in The Lovers Josh O'Connor in God's Own Country Charlie Hunnam in The Lost City of Z Adam Sandler in The Meyerowitz Stories Ewan McGregor in T2Ben Stiller in Brad's Status Dan Stevens in The Man Who Invented ChristmasWill Arnett in The Lego Batman MovieKeanu Reeves in John Wick Chapter 2Fares Fares in The Nile Hilton Incident Cosmo Jarvis in Lady Macbeth Josh Gad in Marshall Colin Farrell in The Killing of a Sacred Deer Anthony Gonzalez in Coco Elijah Wood in I Don't Feel at Home in This World AnymoreChadwick Boseman in MarshallAndrew Garfield in BreatheChanning Tatum in Logan LuckyDan Stevens in Beauty and the Beast Bryan Cranston in Last Flag FlyingNahuel Perez Biscayart in BPMGéza Morcsányi in On Body and SoulJohn Cho in Columbus   Kumail Nanjiani in The Big Sick Jackie Chan in The Foreigner Keith Stanfield in Death Note Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Michael Caine in Going in StyleAlan Arkin in Going in Style Jason Sudeikis in ColossalJoel Edgerton in Bright Sam Claflin in My Cousin Rachel Arnaud Valois in BPMAleksey Rozin in LovelessWill Tilston in Goodbye Christopher RobinNoah Jupe in Suburbicon Tom Hanks in The PostMatt Damon in Downsizing Will Smith in BrightLiam Neeson in Mark Felt Taron Egerton in Kingsman: The Golden CircleJavier Bardem in Mother! Morgan Freeman in Going in StyleVin Diesel in Fast 8Justin Timberlake in Wonder WheelMatt Damon in Suburbicon Ben Affleck in Justice League Tom Hiddleston in Kong: Skull Island Michael Fassbender in The Snowman Jason Segel in The DiscoveryAli Fazal in Victoria & Abdul Brad Pitt in War MachineMark Wahlberg in All The Money in the World Nat Wolff in Death NoteNext Year: I'm taking a break until the Oscars, but the next year after that will be 2008 lead. Alternate Best Actor 2017: Harry Dean Stanton in Lucky "When I come on screen...You see whatever he's suppose to be playing. You know...and that's the gift...You can't teach that." - M. Emmet Walsh.On September 15th of last year we lost one of the most vibrant residents of cinema in Harry Dean Stanton. The long faced actor, often sporting a hang dog expression, with a smoke in one hand and his lighter in another. Born of Kentucky though eventually training in California Stanton began his career in the early fifties which would last more than another 60 years. In that time Stanton, if he found a few seconds of screentime you'd say, hey who was that guy, a few minutes he might become more fascinating than whoever the lead suppose to be. Stanton simply became whoever it was that he was suppose to be playing. There was no time for, to quote Stanton, "bullshit" in his work. He just was whoever we saw, and was more than any bland idea from any screenwriter or director. This was a person we were meeting even for a few seconds of screentime Stanton made this character real whether it be a country singer, a bank robber, a "blind" preacher, the janitor on a star ship, or even the apostle Paul. Stanton was whatever was needed, as he never slept walked his way across the screen, when he came on this character was someone who lived a life that we might not have seen, but Stanton made us believe this person existed beyond the limits of the celluloid. Although leading roles were sparse for Stanton, we thankfully were granted one in his portrayal of Travis Wim Wenders's Paris, Texas. Stanton in that performance proved there was never too much of a good thing for Stanton as the more time we spent with him the more intimate of a portrait he could present to us, offering one the greatest performances of the 1980's in that film.Although that was a memorable outlier Stanton more or less returned to the world of the character actor, remaining one of the all time greats in that regard, and always a welcome sight whenever his scraggly face would come onscreen. Before his passing though we were granted one last time with Stanton at the center of the spotlight through fellow character actor John Carroll Lynch's cinematic love letter to the actor in Lucky. The film proudly displaying the man in the lead as playing the titular role of one Lucky a man of Stanton's age making his way through life in a small town in the desert. A modest film in nature, and fitting to the nature of Stanton who needs no more than that to deliver a performance that could be only from the man himself as Lucky shares much in common with the actor that only seems to make this performance all the more special. Stanton comes on the screen in the way that defines Stanton as he is compelling just in his singular way of lighting his cigarettes while walking across the sandy sidewalks of the town like an old tumbleweed making its rounds. There is something inherently fascinating in Stanton as this unique performer who simply is well fascinating in himself. We see Lucky, we see him walking, and he already has more character than hundred disposable caricatures from most films. Stanton represents seemingly the very idea of life in his worn expressions, and just that gait that is Stanton's personal stride as he makes his way in his own damn time, thank you very much.The film itself is representative of Stanton in making the possibly ordinary so very extraordinary in its own modest way. Stanton is right at home then, endlessly watchable as we watch Lucky go about his day that usually starts with a few exercises, a cigarette, then stop by for a cup of coffee and a crossword puzzle at cinemas proprietor (Barry Shabaka Henley here going by the name of Joe)'s diner. Stanton is of course an effortless delight as he goes about trying to solve the puzzle briefly with his perfect little aside of a "three letter word for asshole starting with a J" when his particular puzzle solving skills are questioned by Joe. Lucky seems to solve most things with a walk to his next stop along the way to each which has its own little history that Stanton provides just in the brief words he shares with whatever who or what he comes by. Whether that be his slightly more contentious attitude towards Joe, or his more overt pleasantries to the local shopkeeper and his commenting on her son's name of Juan Wayne. Stanton finding just a bit comical nuance while offering the more appreciative warmth to the rather unusual use of the name. The one thing that seems a bit of a sour note is Lucky occasionally stopping by at one point on his walk, towards an initially unseen sight, to utter an expletive. There is a harshness from his lips naturally, but a real anger in his eyes evoking some tale of woe to whatever this may be though we will not know for some time. Even with cruder moments there is almost a certain, for the lack of a better word, cool that Stanton offers this old guy who is just going about his day in the way he knows how.His nights all lead to the same place a bar called Elaine's filled with its own color and not just the bloody Marys that Lucky prefers in his choice of drink. Lucky seems there just as much for the conversation as he waxes on one of his crossword answers, realism. Stanton's particular delivery of the examination of the word by Lucky is a marvelous bit of idiosyncrasy that could only be offered by Stanton's particular way with words. He captures this philosophical emphasis on the idea of looking at things as they are, and in Stanton's eyes there is a man pondering what exactly it means to see things completely clearly. All the same simply in his way with the words itself has a smoothness that is pure Stanton and just wonderful to hear him ponder away on "what you see is not what I get". In every interaction in this bar though there is that distinct life that is Stanton in every little exchange whether it be with the bartender, the tough as nails bar owner Elaine (Beth Grant), or her longtime companion Paulie (James Darren) you can feel the years really of Lucky passing the time with this most unusual crowd. The most notable of them being Howard played by David Lynch, and though we were just talking about realism it seems surrealism follows the director where ever he may wish to traverse. Stanton and Lynch were frequent collaborators in the directors own work, and seemingly the camaraderie of that experience shines right through the screen as old Lucky so genuinely offers comfort for Howard and his loss of his old tortoise, President Roosevelt, who "ran" away. I will admit that I probably could watch a whole film of just Harry Dean Stanton hanging out at Elaine's and engaging in just a few conversations. There is that vividness of his performance that just grants such a pleasure to watch this man who has such abundance of experience exuding from his very being. The film grants us more though as Lucky has a fall that perhaps changes what realism means to the old timer. This is initiated through a most fascinating and most humorous meeting with his doctor (Ed Begley Jr.), who can't do anything for Lucky but to suggest he keep living while while also suggesting he reflect on his age. Stanton's blend of sardonic asides with a bit of genuine confusion at the most unusual advice of the doctor is but a little gem of a scene. Stanton finding this exasperation in the explanation of his situation, yet a more serious curiosity in the doctor's suggestions that he can't do anything for him that wouldn't hurt him, placing Lucky in a state being as old with nothing he can do about it. This is right down to the idea that he might as well smoke since it hasn't harmed him at this point in his life. Stanton from his moment though creates this sense of introspection in Lucky as he must now examine what it is to be his age, and what it is to have lived the life he has lived. Lucky maintains more or less his routine, but Stanton shows that it is no longer in more or less the same way. There is now a different type of contemplation not of discovery of a word like realism, but rather facing the idea of realism in the examination of life and death.Naturally enough Stanton finds this quiet struggle, and makes this conflict of thought so very palatable as he examines this even as he just attempts his simple little crosswords at the diner, or goes back to his bloody Marys. There's not a comfort within this though as Stanton finds the real difficulty in examining mortality that is something truly remarkable in his eyes that say much in each and every sorrowful glance. The one thing that initially rips him from this state Stanton so elegantly finds in a bit of sudden anger as he finds Howard making out his will with the help of a lawyer Bobby Lawrence (Ron Livingston). Stanton still of course manages to be hilarious in his quick ripping into the poor lawyer trying to set up Howard's estate to give it all to his missing tortoise. The bluster that Stanton brings is terrific in this evocation of perhaps a bar fighter of old as he so effectively pesters and prods the rather meek little man with jokes and more direct threats for what he sees as hectoring his friend. Stanton finds though in this anger that same sorrow that itself projects less amusingly as he tells Howard that his tortoise is not coming back. In that moment Stanton instantly finds just the seemingly sadness in this, as this loss seems so cold in Stanton's voice as a man projecting his own pain. Stanton's reaction to Howard's breakdown though is both moving and pretty funny as he brings such concern in his eyes for his reptile loving friend yet fashions through towards almost bubbling over in anger towards a somewhat baffled Bobby Lawrence esq. who has barely said a word.It is the way that Stanton breaths truth into every word though that has defined his career in a way, and helps to define this performance. Stanton finds what there is in the past and summons it towards the center while he so effortlessly brings us this state of Lucky nearly stuck in this unease. This can be more tumultuous as found when Lucky tells the story of having accidentally killed a mockingbird due to his inaccurate BB gun. Stanton in his eyes and his delivery of these words brings us to this point in his life in heartbreaking detail. He fashions the vividness of the event in his mind of just a boy losing all joy of a moment in this loss of life that led to only a silence. This idea of silence though is what Stanton attaches Lucky's sad state to, although even this is wonderful in the way he doesn't allow it to artificially overwhelm his work, but rather so naturally turns it into this recurring thought. The silence makes the mind ponder his past mistakes, even as simple as mistreating Liberace in his mind, and Stanton's performance conveys this sense chagrin towards the foolishness of youth as it places him in this uncertain future. The one moment of a real breakdown is so modestly yet powerfully realized in Stanton's somber cry of "I'm scared" that reflects this state of Lucky who is temporarily caught up in his own feelings of self doubt and pondering what is to be both alive and what it means to eventually die.As notable as Stanton's work is when he is the focus, as also typical to Stanton, his work never stops even when he is simply listening to some else. Stanton always creates this awareness that again is of a man taking what their saying not waiting simply for his next line. This is essential within his work though in Lucky's journey isn't a descent but rather uplifting in the end. This seemingly begins when he is able to explore the idea of a mortality with a much younger man, and a man he just so brazenly disrespected in ole Bobby Lawrence esq. Stanton is wonderful in every word of the man's own story of near death he takes in and within his eyes there is this growing appreciation not only for the man, but also this idea that he's not the only one who need to contemplate death nor need he contemplate it as a stark sorrow. One of the best moments in this film comes when Lucky spots a fellow veteran in the form of old Alien co-star Tom Skerritt. This scene is pure beauty though in the two old timers coming together as Skerritt and Stanton find such a warming pleasant chemistry that they realize so perfectly in their war tales. Lucky's tale as a cook on a naval ship, a history he shares with the real life Stanton, Stanton finds the appreciation for the past again in his more pleasant tale of the war of avoiding potential death. Skerritt's is far more heart wrenching as he describes a Japanese little girl's smile while believing she is embracing death, while it his moment as intended, Stanton naturally knows when to support and when to lead. His work stays quiet, and I don't mean because he doesn't speak, but he truly supports Skerrit's work by in every moment so clearly reflecting the meaning of every word in Lucky's mind that makes the scene all the more affecting.Stanton's performance is a distinct pleasure and something wholly poignant to watch as he finds Lucky losing that sorrow and just fully embracing a joy in life by appreciating the journey. In a scene of Lucky going to a Mexican fiesta is a particular joy for us as well as Stanton regales the party but really all of us with a song. This is one that is an unforgettable moment as Stanton delivers one so purely from the heart. Every moment of the song finding this profound jubilation in the very act, as Stanton finds Lucky embracing his life to its fullest. This is not by blinding himself from the realism, so to speak, but rather finding in the song an acceptance of discovering happiness even when there may be sadness in one's mind. This idea though could still seem alien though until Lucky's final visit to the bar where he hears of Howard's acceptance that his tortoise had to go somewhere, and he decides to try to light up which is strictly forbidden. Lucky, in his attempt to explain the "truth" of the matter of the claimed expulsion from another bar, the very place he habitually utters an expletive to along the street, he falls into his philosophy of the life and death. The verbal gymnastics of falling into this discussion of bar loss to life loss couldn't be more natural in that this is who Lucky, and Stanton so flawlessly delivers that through his performance. What is more downright awe inspiring though is as he speaks about life amounting to technically nothing, and that we all must eventually go into a dark void, is that Stanton's delivery of this with the most perfect of loving smiles makes the idea of staring into nothingness downright inspiring. He seems to comfort us all in these words and it is a marvel onscreen that could only ever have been created by Harry Dean Stanton who so embodies simply the act of living. That's what he did in every one of his performance and this is culmination of that talent. Not since John Wayne in The Shootist, or perhaps supersedes it, has a swansong leading turn been such a flawless representation of a performer. I want to end this on just the Stanton's final scene in the film as he breaks the forth wall to show a truly happy man staring at us. He says adios without word but fitting to Stanton with all the emotion you would need. Of course we're going to miss him however we can only say goodbye right back, and appreciate the time we spent with him. Alternate Best Actor 2017: Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049 Ryan Gosling did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Officer KD6-3.7 in Blade Runner 2049.Blade Runner 2049 is the outstanding sequel to the 1982 film about a future defined by the existence of androids called replicants that humanity uses and disposes of as they see fit.I will admit upon initially hearing of the sequel to the original film I had some concerns. It easily could have been a lazy cash grab similair to Ridley Scott's Alien Covenant. What gave an obvious glimmer of hope though was that it was being helmed by director Denis Villeneuve whose previous efforts were that of a devoted filmmaker who only seems interested in projects with at least some ambition. Coming into the film the first time I had no idea exactly what to think, though I was developing some random theories in my head, where they were going to take the original story given that the promotional material was more focused on images than the actual plot. My theories of where this film would take us was instantly turned on its head from the opening scene of the film where we meet our lead played by Ryan Gosling. I suspected he was going to be a replicant but I thought it was going to be a revelation further in the film. This is one of the many brilliant decisions in the narrative as it begins with an alternate perspective as we follow this Officer with the serial number KD6-3.7 known for short as K. The replicant who works as a titular Blade Runner aka a police officer who specializes in retiring replicants who have committed any form of rebellion from their original intent. Unlike Harrison Ford's Deckard from the original film, who may or may not be a replicant, here we know that Officer K has the job of killing his own which offers a very different viewpoint in which to broach this vision of the future.If I had known more clearly of this casting and character I might have had some concerns. Obviously Ryan Gosling is one of the most talented actors of his generation however, despite loving his turn in Drive, his performances as more understated characters were starting to become a little stale, and in 2016 he thankfully offered two memorable extroverted turns. The concern of this return of course could never inspire itself since I was not aware of it until I was already engrossed into the film, and more importantly, in regards to that concern, Ryan Gosling's performance. From the outset of his performance a great task is impressed upon his work, and to a slightly lesser extent Sylvia Hoeks's performance as the replicant Luv the girl Friday to the malevolent creator of the replicants Wallace (Jared Leto), which is to realize this new form of replicant that is described in the opening text of the film. A replicant that does not run, and is no longer like the rather emotional androids we found in the original film through Sean Young's Rachael or Rutger Hauer's Roy Batty. They are suppose to exist in a different way in which free will is not a concept. Gosling's portrayal of this not only establishes that but perfectly differentiates his work from his previous minimalist turns. Gosling's work is fascinating here in this exact creation of K from the opening which is to define K essentially through his profession, which is as a blade runner obviously.Gosling's performance finds this way of the new replicant which is this almost exact amount of humanity required for existence and interaction. Gosling's performance is incredible in this consistency of the portrayal of this as he makes K enough of a human in that he would not be overly off-putting to actual humans, but also separated enough to clearly denote that he has been made rather than born. In his opening scene where he interrogates and then executes a rogue older replicant Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista), Gosling portrays the part with essentially this exact precision. Gosling projects this manner of an intelligent though perhaps too direct detective in the way he speaks to Morton. He does not do it in a truly robotic way, but almost a too effective of a fashion in terms of the interrogation. It's remarkable as Gosling reveals a machines way of being the perfect detective, which includes the right bit of humanity. He offers just a bit of that in his gentle small talk for a moment when he speaks about not wanting to try Morton's garlic until he's done with the "harder part" of his day. There are no mistakes in this act as Gosling shows the efficiency of someone not bread but created for the purpose of being a detective. This includes just enough of the courtesy, that most humans would appreciate being there, but only enough of a courtesy. Gosling shows this small talk as basically part of the detectives method as he attempts to calm the man into giving himself up, but when he doesn't Gosling is equally effective in delivering the cold brutality needed for a hired killer.Gosling's performance is amazing in how well he fashions this state that establishes what is this future replicant. After he disposes of Morton Gosling portrays again this directness in K as he surveys the area to fully understand the situation as required by his duty, though again with just enough of a bit of comforting asides for his superior Lt. Joshi (Robin Wright) when describing his injuries from fighting Morton. This little aside though is again so effectively portrayed by Gosling as this enough of an emotion not to be eerie when describing the situation, but not enough that K could ever define himself as a person to another person. When returning to the station Gosling only all the more develops this compelling idiosyncratic creation of what a replicant is now. K, even as he walks by hostile humans, Gosling grants a retiring subservient body language as he almost hides from those calling him a "skin job" as confronting a human would be against his very nature as programmed. He is instead is attuned to avoid and stay very much in his place. One of my favorite scenes in this film, in which I have many, is when K is run through his base line test as though he is a computer where he is given a series of potentially emotional prompts that require a mechanized response. Gosling effortlessly depicts this strange juxtaposition where he hones these pointed delivers, and nearly vacant stare, but only with just this threadbare connective emotional tissue Gosling gives the most minor evocation of as though it is a required cushion for the replicant, an ever thin one.Although K is clearly designed for a purpose we still follow him as he goes about his day even past working directly as a detective. Gosling uses essentially that programming baseline as this anchor as a starting point for use to remove that distance, as even though he is clearly not a human there is something human there. Again though that human factor seems a comfort for the replicant to function correctly as we see him go home where his only company is a hologram designed to be anyone's company named Joi (Ana de Armas), and he lives a life of very slight escapism within his small apartment. Gosling carefully does not change the nature of K outside of performing his duty and properly still portrays the replicant that is K even outside of his work. Gosling instead exudes just the right degree of contentment in this escapism again that is this certain core within K, but also faint in a way. Gosling naturally discovers this unique dynamic within his performance as he shows enough of a detachment in these moments to still be artificial, but he places that beyond what lies in his eyes that grants just that undercurrent of the stabilizing emotional connection required for such a complex being to exist at this level. Gosling's work provides such an unique foundation for who officer K is. He creates an understanding of how this replicant works and behaves, but also provides how there may be more though in very atypical way.The first hint of the core of emotion perhaps shifting within K comes when he along with the lieutenant figure out that Morton was part of a group of replicants hiding a child born by a replicant. The initial breakdown of the information Gosling again delivers quickly and efficiently as K once again doing his job just as as a loyal worker should. When Joshi tells K to continue the investigation and find and destroy all evidence of this child, that breaks the very nature of the replicants, there is just a glimpse of something else. It is a brilliant moment of acting by Gosling as though his state is suddenly momentarily broken, as he holds in this gasp of emotion that Gosling seems to show as this conflict between the programming of subservience against that baseline of more empathetic emotion. Gosling realizes this in a second long reaction before portraying K seemingly having reestablished himself as a servant when firmly stating that K is incapable of saying no to the request. He seemingly then begins the investigation to destroy the child. The investigation is not performed alone though as K brings Joi along with him as he tries to uncover the mystery. Gosling's performance is again wholly remarkable in the way he subtly reveals this minor change within K as he reacts to the idea of this child born yet still of the same nature as him. The transition of this is so carefully and delicately handled by Gosling's work which so effectively realizes the emotional crux of the film.There is no moment in the investigation that is taken for granted by Gosling's astonishing portrayal of K slowly unraveling the truth. This is in part in that relationship with Joi where I would argue Gosling and Armas have the most heartwarming chemistry out of any onscreen couple from 2017 despite neither character being human, in fact one barely has a physical form. The two together though find something so special by finding the limitations and creating this very specific form of expression that comes within that. On Armas's end it is interesting as she seems to show here move past Joi's base programming by having moments of not just overwhelming simplistic affection but rather something more complex. Gosling matches this through his depiction of K slowly having more than just minor comforts in his interactions with Joi. He begins to look her as more than just this distraction from the hellish landscapes around them, but in his face he grants a deeper meaning as he looks at her that conveys a definite love as they go on their journey together. Gosling gradually creates a growing attachment that he offers a more defined concern and care for her, even though she technically is just a hologram. Although most even disregard his choice in having a "fake" girlfriend, Gosling finds the attachment along with Armas that makes Joi seem so much more than just this pleasure hologram. Their relationship seems to mean more as K looks to her as a true companion while she attempts to give more than an idea of a life, even trying to give him a real name by calling him Joe instead of just the first letter of his serial number. The investigation leads seemingly to K's implanted past involving a memory of his as a boy where he hid a wooden horse. When Gosling originally delivers the story it is in that fashion of the machine recounting it on the surface as something phony just to grant him solace, however Gosling infuses the words with a certain haunting quality quietly within that at the same time as K knows the memory to be false however he does find a type of comfort in it still. Gosling's work is stunning as he maintains that replicant status, but tests it. The first being when the mystery leads him to seemingly the same wooden horse that he remembers from his false memory. Gosling again has such a simply incredible singular moment as he portrays this internalized burst of emotion, that he plays as this withdrawn outburst as though it is the machine trying to maintain the man, yet is struggling to do so. Gosling shows this way the emotion changes though as that undercurrent switches from this core of comfort to now an almost searing pain. Gosling in the second baseline test in his expression now attempts vacancy yet a terrible intensity lies within it, his words attempt repetition to suit the programming of robotics yet malfunctions as even the mechanized response now seem messy with sentiment. Gosling's portrait of this barrier breaking as the function against emotion is becoming imbalanced is absolutely awe inspiring. My favorite moment of this is when he has his memory of the horse tested to see if it is real. When he is told it is Gosling delivers his only major overt moment of expression and it is earth shattering. Gosling's single moment of this primal yell of sheer anguish is heart wrenching as not only is it so flawlessly implemented and earned within his performance, but it also captures this torment of K both in regards to what the memory means but also as it clashes against what is to be his very nature through this expression.K chooses to follow this revelation, that he is the child, and therefore the son of Rachel and Deckard from the first film. K tracks down Deckard in his hideaway in an abandoned Las Vegas. Gosling carefully maneuvers this scene in portraying this passivity again in K, but now with a different intention within it. K tries to not harm Deckard, even when he originally attacks K thinking he has come to kill him, and Gosling shows this as not a programming design rather a genuine desire. When they speak eventually about his past Gosling is outstanding in finding this nuance in the way he speaks of the child with this level of curiosity and concern. He speaks underlining some hopeful intention to see this connection between them particularly with his almost loving delivery of "stranger" towards Deckard, after Deckard had explained that sometimes to love and protect someone you have to be a stranger. Finding Deckard though leads to nothing but tragedy though as Deckard is captured by Luv and Wallace who wish to dissect his child, and Joi is "killed" by Luv. If this was not enough K is left to learn that he also was not the child, since it was a girl not a boy. Gosling's work is devastating by wearing the sheer impact of this within yet still staying true to K's character. It leaves all the greater impact because Gosling exudes this within this internalized way still realizing the nature of his origin still, but now the emotion overwhelming the center of his being.One of the most moving moments is when there appears as respite as K comes face to face with a "living" advertisement for the Joi program. For a moment in Gosling eyes there is a comfort as he looks at her that turns to all the greater sorrow when it calls him "Joe", and Gosling conveys K understanding that possibly Joi was only acting on her programming the entire time. Gosling though finds this conviction through the emotion to be more than the machine making it entirely convincing that he would go to save Deckard from his captors. There is a very simple moment at the end of the action sequence after K has saved Deckard, but it is the evidence of the greatness of Gosling's work. Oddly enough though it comes from Deckard as he calls out to see if K is okay by calling out his name as Joe. It isn't so much Ford's delivery, although there's nothing wrong with it, but I find the moment so very affecting because of Gosling. The reason though is Gosling's work through the film gradually granted such humanity to K's journey to the point that seeing him recognized as a person and not a machine is a deeply poignant revelation. Gosling's creation of this arc couldn't more graceful or resonate. He gives the story of Deckard's child its real power through his reflection of what it means within this individual finding his own purpose and sense of self through it. His final moments of the film one no longer sees  a detached machine making its way through the world, one sees a man finally finding contentment fully on the surface. Gosling's performance is masterful as he gives us the machine in his realization of the replicant that is K in the opening of the film, but by the end of the story he reveals the man within. Alternate Best Actor 2017: Thomas Jane in 1922 Thomas Jane did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Wilfred James in 1922.1922 is an adequate enough Stephen King adaptation, although I think the story probably could have been handled as just a segment in a horror anthology film, about a farmer taking a most unorthodox method to maintain his house and home.1922 is very much in the vein of classical Gothic horror, southern Gothic in this case, as Stephen King does a sort of a variation on Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart", though here with the lead of Thomas Jane's Wilfred James as a simple farmer type. Jane being no stranger to a King adaptation however this time in a very different role as the central lead. Jane's whole performance is fashioned as a different kind of perspective in this lead character who he takes on his peculiar journey. Jane plays the part more akin, though with more depth mind you, to a character who would more likely be a side character used as part of the atmosphere of a typical horror story. This includes Jane playing the part with a thick southern drawl, and his whole physical manner being of a man of the earth type. Jane emphasizes a certain simplicity in this in the way he speaks so bluntly even with his technically colorful accent performance wise, however Jane fashions it to be a naturalistic aspect of this man of this time and place. His whole performance embodies this man who is made to be part of the earth in a way in his comfort in the rural land, in his simple gait, stoic manner and that pronounced droop in his lip that fills perpetual frown of contentment worthy of a man who lives his rougher life through the land and very happy to do so.The initial conflict from the film then comes from his wife's desire to move from the farm, due to the value of the land they own, and move into the city. This is with or without Wilfred but she intends to take their son either way. Jane through his realization of this specified nature of the man does find an internal disturbing logic within the man as he decides to murder his wife in order prevent from his son from moving away. Jane doesn't portray this idea as a man with any sort of sadistic glee but rather portrays it as an anger attached specifically towards this decision. When we see Wilfred finding this decision Jane attaches this certain pride for the land, a very problematic pride, which should seem outlandish however Jane's way of finding it within his exact characterization actually does make sense of it within the man's bent logic. He projects that pride of wishing to hold onto his own land no matter what he says. The planning of the murder he says the same way his Wilfred would go about refusing to sell his land to anyone and speaks of the murder as he would planning the planting of a new crop. Jane is notable in the way he makes this initial monstrous action such a natural aspect within his work. He makes this seem like the actions of the man with a very specific worldview rather than of some overt psychopath although Wilfred does qualify as that as well in his own way.The man successfully murders his wife along with the help of his son before dumping her body into his well. In the initial scenes of the cover up again Jane effectively portrays this as a man just going about his life as the way he sees fit, a rather problematic way to most, however Jane again normalizes it within that very exact portrayal of his. There is a momentary respite as Jane depicts this relief in the man ready just to live his days by tending to his house and home as he always intended without interference. The tell tale heart aspect of this story rear its head within the rats that feast on the man's wife's rotting corpse, and which continue to haunt him throughout the film. Jane in his reactions to specifically the rats embodies well this seed of a guilt from the first instance which he portrays well as just a momentary fear that he tries to quickly cover up as soon as possible. The rest of Jane's performance is dealing with the idea of his specific guilt towards the death of his wife. Early on in this process he shows these as those lapses into fear that usually result from being occasionally reminded of this gruesome end, but much of the time Jane portrays that same sort simple stoicism that initially defined the man as again just the man who thinks himself as the this guardian of his house and home. When he even describes his decision to his son Jane delivers his line with a modest certainty of this farmer who just believed that he knew best.Obviously given this is Gothic horror things must not go unpunished for our main character as in addition to the frequent appearances of rats other troubles soon arise when his son runs off with the neighbor's daughter, after getting her pregnant. This leads to the gradual downfall of Wilfred as his guilt seems to take a supernatural turn as he begins to see visions, whether real or fake, of more rats and of his dead wife bringing him news that their son has become a bank robber before dying along with the neighbors daughter as his accomplice. Jane reveals this growth in guilt also within his performance where he portrays that loss of that stoic conviction or even pride that defined his initial decision. Jane devolves properly to a more introspective portrayal of the man coming to understand his mistakes revealing a more overt humanity in the fear now revealing itself to be within a more genuine remorse. Wilfred never openly admits his guilt to anyone other than himself however does so well to portray this growing rot within the core of the man through essentially revealing a more open manner in his depiction of the man's emotions. He shows Wilfred no longer able to find solace in his ways as a "man of the earth" and instead finds this man wallowing in his misdeeds. There are no further revelation to destroy the man just more visions of his misdeeds, and essentially they get louder just as the heart got louder in Poe's story. Jane in the end shows the man not breaking as this extreme anguish but rather a more subdued yet powerful evocation of the emotions as the man quietly bears witness to his crimes now with the understanding that he destroyed all that he wanted to preserve through them. This is a strong performance by Jane as he manages  to realize the unique manner of the man in a convincing fashion while avoiding making Wilfred a caricature or a one note monster. He grants insight into the strange man and his horrible decisions, even if that makes all the more disturbing in a way. Alternate Best Actor 2017: Sebastian Stan in I, Tonya Sebastian Stan did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Jeff Gillooly in I, Tonya.I, Tonya tells the trials and tribulations of figure skater Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie).I, Tonya is a very entertaining take on the material, though it lifts its methods very blatantly from Martin Scorsese it thankfully applies them well. This approach though is particularly effective in the way it is used to fashion the story as an anti-inspirational biopic. In that we get technically have some beats from a typical biopic but turned on its head here in the story of the infamous Tonya Harding. This is right down to her significant other playing a pivotal role in her story. Where this is usually left for the Oscar role of the "supportive wife", like Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything, this time we get the "supportive" husband in Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gillooly, those quotations on the supportive very much a requirement. Now I, Tonya has been a rather heavily praised film, and deservedly so. Sebastian Stan seems to have become one of the most underrated performances of 2017 in a critically acclaimed film, as he could not even get a single citation from even one of the most obscure critical groups in either lead or supporting. Stan is in one of those strange situations though where I feel his performance was taken for granted. This can often happen when someone who is not all that well known plays a despicable character.Stan is best known for playing Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier in the Marvel cinematic universe films yet even there he flies under the radar despite some strong work in his latter two turns as the character, but again there he played a secondary role with a sparse amount of lines each time. This apparently seems to have caused some not to be aware that this is a transformative performance by Sebastian Stan, and a brilliant one at that. There is nothing about Stan as Bucky or any of his other performances, or in interviews that suggests he's at all the right man you'd peg to play the not quite infamous, due to attention spans, Jeff Gillooly. Besides the mustache, that as Gillooly describes in the film as something he is apologetic over, Stan fully embodies this particular man. For example his vocal performance here is particularly impressive, though not given much credit, because of  how low key it is. Stan though fashions that sort of squeaky sounding voice of the actual man. His work is completely consistent in the realization of that to the point that he even is able to find naturalistic variations within his voice through Gillooly's higher pitched timbre. Of course it is so good one does not even think about the fact that Stan is putting on a voice at all, it just sounds like it is his normal speaking voice, but of course it's not.Stan is equally effective in terms of his physical manner in the role which again is not at all typical to Stan's normal screen presence. Stan typically has a more outgoing effortlessly more intimidating style fitting towards a man with self-confidence. Obviously that would not work for Jeff Gillooly so Stan realizes this intensity of insecurity in his body. He carries this tight restrictiveness in his manner and the way he faces someone speaks is always a little off kilter as though he's often afraid of direct confrontation or even eye contact. He is more often retiring in his manner as someone who has not a hint of faith in any of his own abilities. Again this is something that Stan just so effortlessly brings to his performance that it is not noticeable unless your trying to examine his performance as I am doing here. He just naturally behaves as Jeff Gillooly and makes it such a given that no one even notices that his performance is quite a leap, again perhaps because Stan isn't well enough known himself, but also perhaps because Gillooly's not an especially well known historical figure. Stan's recreation of this man though is notable and he does accomplish this with such ease. He manages to never make it seem as though we are looking at Sebastian Stan playing this part, he just comes off as Jeff Gillooly in the film which should not be something that is hand waved.Of course his performance does not end there either in his realization of the subversion of this type of character usually found in a more hopeful story. We get the early meeting between the two where it appears to be love at first sight. This is something that Stan rather hilariously realizes in his portrayal of Gillooly's love struck face, and his perfectly meek delivery of "you like food?" as his pick up line to Tonya. We very briefly get the "romantic" side of the man which Stan portrays as actually genuine in his affection at Tonya at least in some very basic level. In these moments Stan correctly portrays this overt attachment to her in their less difficult moments, and he portrays this almost sorta flimsy exuberance in these moments as trying to be the good boyfriend and later husband. We have their interactions which are incredibly well handled by Stan in that he portrays this very exact sort of charm here. In that he doesn't play at this overt charm that would be appealing to most people, however he does find something there in a very unassuming way that one can at least see the vague appeal that Tonya finds in him. Stan correctly relates this only to the moments though where he is trying to directly show his attempts that he loves her in some way, which he makes honest in the moment even if they are dishonest to the man as a whole.Those moments are quickly subverted by the frequent scenes of Gillooly's physical abuse of Tonya. Now most of the time when this is a feature in a character it often becomes the sole emphasis within the actor's performance which usually becomes quickly one note. Stan avoids this pitfall, though not in a way of softening his character, as he makes these moments as just the basic part of what makes up Gillooly, which in a way is more disturbing than if he had to muster energy to be abusive. Stan depicts these scenes as basically just something that he does that is just basically an innate behavior of his as breathing is. Stan makes the moments as a natural part of his insecurity as a person. Stan handles them as casual as clockwork in any moment their alone and he portrays just a minor frustration as more than enough reason to hit her. Stan doesn't portray this at Gillooly's low point but really just his typical state of being for such a pathetic man. He makes them as these attempts to quickly put her down the moment Gillooly feels down about anything himself. He doesn't depict this as building him up as some bully seeking confidence, but rather just this further stewing in his own misery where he tries to bring Tonya right down to where he is. His moments even of apology Stan actually makes earnest, in that he's not a sociopath, but in his weak willed delivery of the apologies shows it stemming from the exact pitiful core of the man.What is particularly remarkable though is that even with these pretty horrible moments of abuse this is actually often a rather funny performance at times, though usually in a fairly dark way. What Stan does isn't to ever try to be funny but rather excels in just presenting this wretched man that is Gillooly and amusing things can come from this due to the strange state of the man. That state that Stan makes so pure that it is occasionally hilarious because of how unabashed he makes this. For example when Gillooly goes about trying to make up with Tonya, over his friend's Shawn Eckhardt (Paul Walt Hauser) parent's phone, Stan delivers every time he asks Shawn's mother to redial Tonya's number in the same one would as a child upset while at friends house. Stan delivers this certain cordiality towards this every time, and again it ends up being very funny since Stan makes it seem so authentic to the man he has established up to this point. This can even be in a pitch black sense at times though for example when Gillooly threatens Tonya with a gun, while also threatening to commit suicide. Stan brings all the appropriate emotional intensity to the moment, but also through the funnel of the guy Gillooly is. When he does fire in the heat of the moment, there is natural bit of dark humor in Stan's "oops, I didn't mean it to go this far" reaction when Gillooly sees he might have seriously hurt Tonya. Stan manages to find the balance in his performance because his work always stay so true to the character.Of course what defines the story, and what Jeff Gillooly almost as important to I, Tonya as Tonya herself, though the name of the film suggests she's not so innocent as she often claims in the film, is the attack on her chief rival Nancy Kerrigan. We never get really the full story, however what we do get is the realization of Gillooly's particular method at being the "supportive" husband to Tonya's life story, through his attempt to sabotage the competition. Stan finds this sort of toxic support though throughout his interactions with Robbie as Harding. As in the moments of her success Stan portrays a directly honest happiness for her success, unless it diminishes his presence in her life. Stan then proceeds to depict the initial staging of the idea again rather comically as the man who is going to make her Olympic dreams come true. There is sort of this false cunning that is rather hilarious that Stan projects as he considers the plan with Eckhardt where he does portray a  type of confidence, the weakest most pathetic attempt a confidence you could see. There is not an ounce real confidence mind you there in that he is the same physical manner but not just with this brittle attempt at being the "good husband". Of course thing quickly spiral out of control as the attack is launched, though we never exactly get a clear explanation in terms of the exact awareness of all parties. Stan during this portion often gets sole perspective as he becomes sort of the king of dunces as Gillooly attempts to deal with his involvement. The scenes between Eckhardt and Gillooly are particularly entertaining though in the way Stan and Hauser play it as dumb and dumber. As Hauser plays a man with firm delusions that keep him a sort of bliss against Stan playing a different kind of delusion by depicting such overt, and rather funny, frustrations as he thinks he can deal with one of the few people if more incompetent than himself. The highlight of this perhaps being the moment of seeing the attack coverage on the news with an amazing primal scream by Stan, fitting to a man who realizes he's screwed up to a colossal degree.Stan is great in the public scenes where he shows again that attempt at a confident, innocent, Gillooly that just couldn't seem more unnatural or unbecoming to the man as Stan still presents him oozing with that same desperation that defines him as a person. As the story begins to unravel Stan is terrific by showing this already underwhelming act slowly falling apart in each successive scene to reveal a more overtly pathetic individual who is overwhelmed by both the idiocy of both the other guys, and his own. Stan delivers every line as a near confession with so little sincerity in his voice, and weakens to the point he shows us practically the same guy who asked Tonya if she liked food near the beginning of the film. Now the one facet I haven't addressed, because it is the most separated in his work, is Stan's portrayal of the current Jeff Gillooly giving his version of the story. Stan once again excels in this, as I love how he plays it that Jeff may or may not have learned anything from his story. He properly changes himself enough to reflect the older age of the man, but what's more important is the way he tells the story. In terms of learning a lesson Stan brings enough of an embarrassed air to voice he speaks of the worst times to suggest perhaps a more introspective man. At the same time though he delivers the same pathetic quality within the bit of pride he expresses in certain moments of the story such as when describing when Tonya asked him back or his feelings on the use of his name as verb to describing hitting someone in the leg was "kind of cool".  That is yet another facet of this great performance by Sebastian Stan as he fully embodies this pitiful man in a way that never becomes one note naturally making a cohesive individual out of the different sides of the man and at the same time finds a surprising degree of humor in presenting this as the typical "supportive husband/wife" character gone very wrong. Alternate Best Actor 2017: Song Kang-ho in A Taxi Driver Song Kang-ho did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Kim Man-seob in A Taxi Driver.A Taxi Driver follows an unassuming Korean taxi driver as he escorts a German reporter trying to cover the Gwangju uprising.I will admit that my initial glowing reaction for this film was amplified by the fact that I knew nothing about it going in making its particular revelations of what the story entails especially striking. Although do not misunderstand me I like the film a great deal, but it's not a flawless film by any measure particularly not when the film leans the scales of fictionalization perhaps just a bit far in its climax. It takes kind of an Argo approach where it has successfully had a lower key yet very tense climax, but then decides to follow it with a more overt action climax. I will admit the action climax is well done in terms of technique, but it just feels a little excessive. Having said that, what originally made me so invested into the story still stands which is within Song Kang-ho's portrayal of the titular taxi driver. Now I must address my perhaps hasty comment in the past in regards to Song Kang-ho where I described him as a "poor man's" Choi Min-sik. That was an unfair statement as Song Kang-ho is a very talented performer in his own right. This performance is further proof of that in that his work carries the film even beyond the fact that he is the lead of the film. Of course as we open up the film this seems like a fairly lightweight performance by Song Kang-ho. This is right in the first shot where we open with him cheerfully singing along with a song on the radio while he drives his taxi around Seoul. Song makes a rather brilliant decision to approach the role from the outset as though he is the lead in a comedy. That's seen from his energy from that opening sing song realizing a man with a song in his heart though not exactly carefree. Song's approach is notable though as he navigates the early scenes where he goes about what seems like a normal day for the taxi driver Kim. Song delivers the role as this sort of rascal you'd expect from a little more farcical style comedy as in the early scene he scoffs at some young protestors for having it "so good", and goes about chasing down one of them after they inadvertently cause him to break a mirror on his taxi. What I love here is that Song doesn't play it as though we the audience watching him should notice that anything is wrong about this in anyway. This is just a fun performance to watch as Song brings such an abundance of energy to the part that manages to make Kim rather endearing even as he tries to chase down the young guy. He brings just this right type of exuberance in the role fitting to a hapless comic hero even as he deals with a pregnant couple using his taxi, that wouldn't be out of place in an 80's comedy. Kim briefly chews out the man when he doesn't have the money to pay, and what could be a despicable little scene Song makes work in the sort of humorous exasperation he reveals. Although he's not getting his fare, even this is made properly of no importance as he attempts to complain, until the man promises double the next day, where we get Song's hilariously timed instant switch in Kim to a most accommodating taxi driver. Song's terrific in that he does play Kim as a kind of a jerk, but properly as the kind of jerk who is easy to like. This is not to say that we don't see that Kim has a few problems, as he we find out he's a single dad who is having difficulty making his rent. This is obviously a problem although it is purposefully not given too much gravity by either the film or Song's performance. Song delivers the right earnest, if somewhat hapless, affection though in his early scene with his daughter. He shows well that though Kim loves his daughter it is obviously not exactly prepared to be this great dad. There is just a touch of sorrow that alludes to their mutual loss, though Song effectively portrays this as enough in the past that it no longer is directly upsetting however is still inherent within his relationship with his daughter. Song naturally uses this as part of our sort of hapless hero who even with those problems still is in no way bogged down by them that would make him lose this unique spirit of his. This spirit that is so well realized by Song as something that is both endearing yet selfish at the same time. That sense of fun is so effectively created by Song fitting to a guy who really isn't overly troubled because in his view his problems are not so great they cannot be overcome. Song though finds this exact way this is created though through the narrow perspective that he portrays that defines Kim. Song specifically delivers every line early on that concerns someone out of his situation as this quick brush off of any such concerns returning always to his own experience which while isn't perfect Song shows that he can get along with it just fine. Kim decides to essentially steal a rider from another taxi driver after overhearing of the inordinately high fare offered for a trip to Gwangju. The rider being a German journalist (Thomas Kretschmann) from Japan intent on covering the uprising in the city despite the South Korean government's ban of foreign journalists. Kim, not knowing the actual details of the job, takes the journalist and here we advance to what could initially be just the beginning of an old fashioned buddy road trip movie. Song is hilarious here in continuing to portray Kim's self absorbed way as he goes about dealing with the journalist who is a particularly demanding costumer. I must say I have particular affection for Song's purposeful butchery of the English language when pretending he has some degree of fluency in it. Song's delivery in this is sheer perfection of a man just trying to get through the most basic communication to get the journalist to stop talking. Song just rambles out any of the words he can as quickly as he can, but then always trails back into Korean as though he only has a very limited set of words he can go by. The majority of their communication ends up being non-verbal then as the two go off where Song continues to be great in actually being kind of a real jerk yet doing it in such amiable way. As Song puts on such a smiling face while attempting any point of actual communication, particularly when it is about his fare, then instantly switches to almost a death stare, a comedic stare mind you, when he goes back to mock the man in Korean.The two make for an entertaining pair even as Kretschmann plays the journalist as only mildly annoyed by Kim's lack of conviction towards his job. Song though is great in always portraying that exuberance to please only within the context of making the money for the job, but really a general pettiness when that is not a concern. Song's reactions are very funny as he continues to quietly insult the man still just in that singular frame of mind. A chance for this comes when they initially arrive at Gwangju that is obviously going over some considerable upheaval though they arrive during a calm. Song doesn't break his more comedic side even as they arrive in the strange place though he naturally adjusts just early on in portraying the man's slight confusion at the sight of the place since he had no real awareness of. He's still self absorbed though but now in a different way. When the two show up the journalist is greeted with open arms by the local students trying to protest the government, and who initially offer considerable praise to the taxi driver who brought the man. Song's still very entertaining in just showing the rather sudden burst of a foolish pride, even though he has been more or less complaining the whole way without any awareness for the importance of the trip. Song transitions well in calming the more overtly comedic performance to just a still lightly comic one as he discovers something is going on but doesn't take too much note of it.The situation though slowly appears to be more dire though and Song's terrific in portraying this slight confusion as this representation of him slowly coming out of his bubble a bit. He is sidetracked though when the locals question his motives, and he changes his relationship with the journalist from comically distant to more intensely so. This is mostly in part when those motives are questions and Song's terrific in portraying almost this defense as instinct as the man who in his mind is doing what he's doing for a good enough reason. When the two begin to explore more of the city Song is so effective in just creating this sense of discovery in the man which at first is with a bit of joy as people start treating him well for his "deed", while also capturing this certain bliss of a man who has no idea what's going on. Song presents this especially well by still showing it as mostly within this stuck perception though on how it specifically effects the man. His interactions with the locals and the journalist Song still makes very curt as he would treat any customer still. When they witness more overt violence though Song again carries this character to next stage so well but does not over step the moment. In that he now finds that same self-absorption though now without any humor and just this sense of concern for himself along with a bit of anger for the journalist who he believes put him in this situation.Song is outstanding though in how subtly he realizes the change in just the scenes of interacting with the locals and the journalist. In these middle scenes he's very quiet and Song's body language is a man just kind of shrinking into his own fear. The kindness of the locals and the moment of just interacting as people Song brings just the slightest change as he begins to notice the people. Song brings out just hints of warmth conveying a slowly growing camaraderie. I especially love his moments with Kretschmann as he captures this perfect combination of this ever so slight understanding towards the man, but with this striking passive aggressive manner that he realizes in these bits of dark joy he finds at any time he can secretly make fun of the man. In every instance of witnessing another horrific misdeed by the government Song naturally ease out of this state and slowly becomes more open and honest in they way he interacts with those around him. Song has a great scene, after the journalist saved him from a vicious soldier, where he finally reveals something about himself to the man, though sort of accidentally keeps it secret since it's in Korean. It's a powerful moment though as Song exudes the man finally breaking his "man as an island" mentality by revealing his own tragedy in the past of losing his wife. Song replays this loss in his performance capturing the grief in this way of understanding the suffering around him finally suggesting a man who has perhaps now come to terms that he was not alone in his pain.Kim leaves Gwangju without the journalist, in order get his car properly repaired and to return to Seoul to take care of his daughter. While he is getting his car repaired he has time to himself. This is a incredible scene that Song Kang-ho uses so well as this juxtaposition to the man we saw as he entered Gwangju. There we saw the man mostly concerned with his money and his own problems while being oblivious to the obvious troubles around him. In this scene he walks around a celebration and Song's performance conveys the way the man cannot enjoy what is around him as in his mind he shows the man drifting back to the horrors witnessed in the city particularly when all he hears is the government propaganda on what is happening there. This is best realized when he takes off in his taxi again, singing along with the radio as he did in the opening of the film yet now instead of the joyful sing song of a man in his own world Song delivers a wailing tune weighed down by his awareness of the rest of the world. When Kim returns to make sure the journalist makes it out of the city this could come off as overly maudlin yet it is is absolutely earned by Song's performance. In the final act of the film Song's performance becomes mostly reactionary yet it makes no less of an impact. He is fantastic and downright heartbreaking in every scene by showing the full extent of the gravity of the situation in his work. As he watches every atrocity Song's performance ensures the emotion is not lost through realizing how every moment nearly breaks the man. His work with Kretschmann is particularly notable as they don't really say much more to each other yet just the way they look at another powerfully conveys the mutual connection through both their sorrow over what they have seen but also within the conviction to unveil the truth to the world. This is an amazing performance by Song Kang-ho as he pulls the rug out from you by anchoring this film and its tone throughout in such a notable fashion. It is his performance that makes the extreme change in tone from the opening frame to the final shot work. He is convincing in every moment as he goes from this goofy guy in a largely comic work, to a wholly dramatic and devastating portrayal of a man living through and coming to terms with such a horrifying experience. Alternate Best Actor 2017: James Franco in The Disaster Artist James Franco did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for SAG and winning a Golden Globe, for portraying Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist.Oh hai everyone. The circumstances of this review, they're crazy, almost as if I started reviewing me underwears. Alright maybe not  that much ahahaha. What a story, ahahaha as I go from reviewing the original performance by Tommy Wiseau for its infamous quality to the performance as that performance by James Franco which was nearly Oscar nominated. Before I unpack the story behind the room filled filled with spoons I must admit my own feelings towards the inception of this project. After being delighted by the book of the same name as this film I'll admit my anticipation for the adaptation perhaps matched the extent to which chocolate is known to be the symbol of love by society, which as we know is almost unqualified in that vast belief. In short I was excited. Upon hearing James Franco optioned the novel, who I have never been the biggest fan of and I certainly did not see him in the role as the football while wearing tuxedos playing aficionado. Upon also hearing of Franco casting it as this beautiful party. Where he invited all of his friends in cameo or even leading roles, while that might have been good thinking to Franco, but that along with the first teaser was leading me almost to scream your tearing me apart James Franco!I was concerned more than a strange man/boy creature should be who bought drugs from the wrong oddly named drug dealer. As Tommy Wiseau would be an easy enough character to get wrong because on and off screen he is so ridiculous it would be easy enough to only be the caricature of the man. I must admit though before I started throwing my TV out of a window only for it to fall in a way that is against the laws of gravity, I saw the extended trailer and eventually the film which changed my tone faster then when you don't want pizza but pizza was already ordered for you. Although I won't quite say I said oh hey James Franco I didn't know it was you, upon the opening of the film Franco comes close to becoming the realization of the man who will incorrectly act like a chicken right to your face. We see this as Tommy Wiseau represents the idea of the fearless actor to Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) as they meet in an acting class. Franco of course cannot tell you the secrets of Tommy Wiseau, they're confidential after all. He instead must be the enigma of the man that is quite unlike your typical hu-man being. A man who will randomly say "How's your sex life" as a normal trait of human behavior, this is course a representation of Tommy more so than the legendary character of Johnny the banker from The Room, although these things can blur a bit.Franco seems to have it all down, I mean the strange saunter, the mysterious glares, the unknowable accent...what's going here? Well Franco seems to have captured Wiseau past the surface level of his strange sunglasses, and even stranger wardrobe. There is that exact way of speaking even past the NOOOOWEORLLEANS accent, but the exact way his voice has these variations depending on the mood of the man. In this capturing of the man that is enough to make it interesting, this is a comedic performance in the sense that it is naturally funny the same way Tommy Wiseau is naturally funny in his strange way of navigating the world. The man who will go about saying "I'm tired, I'm wasted...I love you Baby" that isn't what one typically states in any circumstance, however the real Wiseau isn't far from that strange I'll say atypical juxtaposition of words and emotions. Now as much as the real Wiseau may wish for me to keep my comments in my pocket his very being is quite hilarious just as Franco is here, since he captures that same strange wavelength that the rest of us could only hope to achieve. For example I'm sure Wiseau understands the logic of the flower shop scene in his own mind, however we ponder every word, its very existence, except for perhaps the inclusion of doggie one of the better actors in that film. Franco simply finds the state of being that is Wiseau which is highly entertaining to watch, better than dropping off the earth anyways, that's a promise.Of course before I go off to eat the delicious delicacy of haaaa, I must ponder if this performance is above a standard impression. Well I would say it is to the extent that it is one of the best impressions one probably has seen of the frequently impersonated Tommy Wiseau, although what takes this further beyond just an entertaining impression is any potential humanization of the very alien Tommy. This is of course as odd as introducing then dropping a cancer subplot through a single line, because Tommy's reactions are not so simple. I mean few people chuckle at hearing someone get beat up so bad they ended up on a hospital on Guerrero street, no one goes cheep cheep to imitate a chicken, well except Tommy Wiseau. Franco's work then must attempt to bring out some strange inner truth of Tommy. In this sense Franco's portrayal of the other sides of Tommy are within his relationship with Greg played by his brother. This friendship is even atypical as the encouragements of Tommy towards Greg are strange in themselves demanding silence on questions about his past while also requiring the return of his own support. There is some strange vulnerability that Franco captures in more subtle moments, within this purposefully extroverted work. A sense of some desire for kinship though very much internalized towards these single moments of earnest friendship mixed in mostly within Wiseau oddity. Franco finds those moments but also uses them to essentially work towards the creation of the more problematic Tommy, that is only lightly touched upon here.It is there which Franco fashions, for the feel good take to the material, to show it as a jealousy in Tommy towards losing his friend than the more inherent nature of the man who actually made the original film. It does work as such though in this is a return to The Room form, as we see Tommy/Johnny echo themselves as they become fed up with their mutual worlds. The overcoming of this, which is less dramatic for Tommy than it is for Johnny, is merely found in Tommy achieving equilibrium after Greg returns the encouragement to Tommy by showing that his passion project of the Room is beloved even if it is not in the way he intended. This again is Franco still as Tommy and his reactions seem right if perhaps limited in that we do never fully understand who he is past a certain point, to the point that it is obvious Franco never learned the whole truth either. This is an enjoyable representative of Wiseau, and enough of a realization beyond simply an impression to at least feel we've seen something of Wiseau in this film beyond simply being entertained by his unique antics. If James Franco were to ask "What do you want from me, huh? HUH?" about this performance, I'd say what he gave was more than enough. Now one might have a point of view that is so different than mine in regards to this performance. That is fine, as long as we can still love each other, you don't even have to say it, but one should just always remember that if a lot of people love each other, the world would be a better place to live.  Alternate Best Actor 2017: Christian Bale in Hostiles Christian Bale did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Captain Joseph J. Blocker in Hostiles.Hostiles tells the story of a seasoned soldier being forced to transport a dying Native war chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) and his family back to his tribal lands.I will admit after watching this film for a second time my original thoughts, which I will admit were somewhat bolstered by my great affection for the western genre to begin with, of that the film had flaws was perhaps an understatement. This film is a tapestry of wasted potential within its story of essentially the horrors of the west to which the film garners not a single pointed insight from therein. The film suffers from an excessive amount of characters while really under serving the majority of them in their attempt to some how include of all of them to tell this story. This is particularly true within the characters of the Natives who have barely a handful of lines though the film acts as though their story is of equal importance to that of the U.S. cavalry yet it never grants them more than the most surface of development. It's a film that seems burdened by its importance yet never offers the needed substance to earn this approach. This is commonly true for director Scott Cooper's career in general who perhaps someone should tell that even Silence and Schindler's List with their bleak subject matter had a few jokes in there, and that's just the truth. Of course a film can be great without humor however Cooper takes the approach that if a film has the appearance of this apparent gravitas that it will in turn realize itself within the narrative, yet that is never the case with his work particularly not in this film.One credit I will grant for Scott Cooper is he seems to usually have a way with his actors whether or not they are working with compelling material. This is the second time he is working with Christian Bale who previously elevated Cooper's Out of the Furnace with his devoted work. Bale here is as devoted in his portrayal of Captain Joseph Blocker, obviously someone who has been part of the "Indian Wars" for a long time when the film opens. Bale portrays the first scene establishing Blocker as this hardened sort as he pays no mind to his men as they brutalize a few natives they have captured. When he is tasked with the mission at the center of the film though Bale establishes his tone for the rest of the film which is to be more intense than he's ever been in his career, which is saying quite a lot for an actor known for his intensity. Bale is utterly volcanic in this performance as he portrays such pent up anger as he initially tries to turn down the mission. The severity of the man's hatred Bale portrays as deep within the man's heart, but he carefully shows that this is not a hollow prejudice. Bale reveals this by inflicting his greater intensity when speaking of the chief's past that involved killing his friends. Bale uses his intensity to reveal a man on the brink of an emotional breakdown when he speaks of these past events, a breakdown that we see a scene later when he is isolated in the wilderness which Bale uses well to establish Blocker's hate as stemming from this war.When the journey begins Bale is great in having established this hardened state of the man this is both in terms of his no-nonsense attitude in general. Bale delivers essentially the commanding presence a man who needs to be in these circumstances and properly overshadows every scene as being this focal point within them. He brings that right power personality essentially within the burden of the man's past as well as his hatred. When Blocker originally has the chief chained up Bale delivers this with a shade of malice, but more overtly as this strict method of protecting himself during the journey. They quickly come across a massacred homestead with only Rosamund Pike's Rosalie as a survivor. Bale again captures the scene well within this portrayal of a man who is not at all taken aback by what he sees rather reacts with the utmost professionalism of a man who has seen this many times before. He does suggest the right inherent decency deep within the man just again in the way Bale portrays just faintest bit of warmth, though still within as a soldier's courtesy sort of fashion, as he attempts to take care of the shattered woman. It's a good scene as Bale uses it to establish a different potential side of the man, but once we get Bale having fully established who Blocker is this is where the film begins to run into trouble in terms of the development of its themes in a truly meaningful way.The group gets attacked by the Apache enough, killing some of Blocker's men, that leads him to unchain the chief and his family so they can work together to finish their trek. That's what happens and then film proceeds to offer many paths yet doesn't properly commit to any of them. In that it never gives them the amount of development needed  with Cooper's direction at fault but particularly in his writing of it. The material is problematic leaving the other performers and Bale to try to make something of this film. I would describe what we see as the film continues in Bale's work as the raw material of a masterful performance, sadly never fully realized into one due to the material. It is not on lacking of his part as throughout the film we are essentially granted vignettes of different paths for his character that could been more fully explored. We get one scene between Bale and his wounded buffalo soldier Corporal Woodson (Jonathan Majors). This scene hasn't really been built towards as it is this exploration for their apparent long friendship based on the two serving together for some time. The film did not earn this moment through developing this story, but having said that Bale tries his absolute best to make up for it within the context of the Blocker he has established. Bale projects this abundance of hidden concern and gratitude for the man within the cold hide of the man to make it an effective moment all within his own performance nonetheless.The film does this again and again. We also see this through his relationship with two men more mentally unhinged than he is from the war. The first being condemned murderer Sergeant Wills played well by Ben Foster yet the role might as well have been defined by the tired old line "We're not so different you and I". The intensity delivered by Bale and Foster in a single scene is notable enough, and Bale is once again terrific in trying to make this additional subplot work. This time delivery a blunt coldness to the man he refuses to admit he's at alike, though effectively realizing this as taking some degree of suppression from Blocker. In these moments he realizes a more directed hate towards this man possibly because he reminds him of himself, possibly because he's what he could be, these are both interesting ideas alluded to by Bale but not really all that well explored by the film. The second relationship is with his loyal Sergeant Metz well played by Rory Cochrane as a man who is basically in the same state as Bale's Blocker yet without the control to prevent his life of killing and death from destroying his mind. Bale is great in the scenes between them in portraying just the bit of camaraderie the man has to offer as he attempts to comfort his friend, and does suggest their long history of pain together. Bale is terrific by offering this different look at Metz than at Wills, as in his eyes there is that concern rather than hatred, concern seemingly both for Metz and himself. When Metz takes his own life, Bale is outstanding in his portrayal of this man just barely holding onto his own sanity, through his expression of these pained rugged breaths that suggest Blocker controlling himself as fully letting in  the sorrow would swallow his mind whole if he embraced it. Those relationships are interesting yet still don't seem fully explored to the heights that they could be. They at least get somewhere there though, but perhaps are diluted a bit by the film's choice to pile on its suffering as though it will make a weightier film with each death it depicts. Again there is at least something there, there is far less in Blocker's ongoing relationship with the damaged Rosalie. The development of the relationship as written is extremely underwhelming. Once again though I can't discredit Bale's work. In his scenes with Pike Bale is exceptional in offering a bit more of than initial warmth that suggests a potential at a decent life. Bale allows just this most minor regression of that intense control that defines his character. When he explains that God has been blind to the west, Bale's fantastic in the moment in letting a bit more tender emotion even within cynicism by granting this sense of a man having some type of optimistic belief if somewhere very hidden within him. Although the writing continues to not develop this relationship into anything truly notable, Bale cannot be faulted in his portrayal of Blocker slowly coming out to her in each moment with her, even when the film barely grants him those moments. The most underwritten element is sadly the central one involving Blocker's relationship with Yellow Hawk. The only thing as written the film gives is again that the chief suggests they need to fight together so they do. This somehow is suppose to build  to the point that in the end he so respects the man that he would be willing to fight and die for his right to burial. The film doesn't attempt to show this slow progression of a growing respect at all. It is largely assumed since Studi has so few lines in the film. Bale I will say can't quite make this work to be at all powerful or potent. I will say he does at least try to establish some sense of this transition by gradually easing the direct intensity towards Studi, and shifting to the people he genuinely hates like Foster, or the ranchers they fight at the end of the film. I don't think this is a flaw in Bale's performance because he does try to provide what he can, and given that there are genuinely powerful moments within his own performance inside this lacking material is remarkable. If I were only assessing the success of the character, I would say Blocker isn't quite there. I'm looking at the performance though and on that end Bale is incredible in how much conviction he brings to every scene, and what he manages to deliver within his role despite how many flaws there are within the material behind it.Alternate Best Actor 2017: Jeremy Renner in Wind River Jeremy Renner did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Cory Lambert in Wind River.Wind River tells the story of a murder of a young Native American woman on a Native American reservation investigated by the FBI, and the minimal local law enforcement aided by a local wild life tracker.Wind River is an often problematic film in its approach towards its subject matter. This partially is in a more technical sense in writer Taylor Sheridan's inconsistent work while trying his own hand at directing one of his scripts where it strangely often plays closer to a TV pilot than a completely successful standalone feature film, but also more inherent towards the choices within the script not even considering the somewhat underwhelming plotting of the film. The faults within the script though are most readily evident in its attempt to adhere towards some greater importance within the story. Now aside from that it also includes the common trope, which has been questioned by many since at least Glory, which on a side note is actually a more easily justified example, where what should be a minority lead story follows white characters. This could have been avoided if the part I am going to address had been played by a Native American actor like Zahn McClarnon for example. The irony though is many of the flaws would have persisted within the film particularly since Jeremy Renner's performance as Cory Lambert is without a doubt the film's best quality.What's so notable about Renner's work here is his completely atypical approach for a film that could have been made more of a revenge thriller of sorts, certainly with a different leading performance. Renner though from the outset very much emphasizes Cory as just this normal local guy from Wyoming working in and around the Native reservation by killing dangerous predators. Renner doesn't play him as this grizzled bent character, rather he takes a more naturalistic approach for a man who really is just living his life as the film opens. This isn't to say that Renner depicts the role with this carefree attitude, but what he does is find this certain tone that works so effectively for the role. Renner conveys just an inherent salt of the earth type of quality that is fitting to his character. He never over emphasizes this though in his approach. In that he does not make him this "man of few words" type, but rather just a working class hunter type whose more or less an average guy. Renner is able to exude this very specific vividness of the past, disregarding certain things we learn later about his character, but also in terms of a guy who has worked hard for many years in fairly rough conditions. Renner in regards to the man's setting and job doesn't show any exasperation towards that, but rather shows an authentic attitude of a man who lives a tougher life and is just fine living it as is.We briefly see Cory going about his work and life with his divorced wife and son. Renner in these interactions is very good by only portraying this appreciation for both of them. There is not this overt somberness in this scene as Renner is able to realize the character's grief in a particularly remarkable way, although more on that in a moment. Renner in his family interactions though delivers that right familiarity with only that slight sense of distance with his wife. I love the expressive warmth he delivers in the scenes between Cory and his son. He has this one great moment where he reminds his son to be safe in his use of a gun. Renner plays this with an absolute concern for the moment which is fantastic moment because he reveals without a hint of paranoia. It is rather in the concern there is that brings this sense of just very firm care that he definitely wants his son to be okay without any over protectiveness to this. He obviously is perhaps more concerned than many a parent might be, which Renner alludes to the past that we learn later, yet he carefully shows that it is a greater concern from that past but not this damaging change. What Renner mostly shows though is just a still loving father and husband. As usual when Renner needs to deliver of charm he can, and this role in particular plays well to his unique strengths. In that Renner's charisma is very unassuming yet definitely there, which is perfect for the type of guy Cory is.When the actual procedural begins Cory is the one who finds the body and along with the local police chief (Graham Greene) makes contact with the random FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) sent to investigate the crime. Renner is appropriately straight forward in the interactions. This isn't to say that he is ever underwhelming for a moment. Renner rather is so great in conveying the reactions natural to a guy who has had some hard times but hasn't been overwhelmed by them. When he sees the body and later describes it Renner delivers the line as a man who has in a way seen worse, however it isn't hollow. His delivery captures the right assumed emotion essentially in that he finds the right way to accentuate concern though in this very calm grounded way that Cory has basically found in his life. It's fantastic work through how lived in Renner finds this quality. For example when they later go about finding the murdered woman's brother, who is involved in some criminal activities, Cory delivers the news about her death to him after he obviously was unaware of her death. Renner puts forth the line very bluntly but not without emotion. It is rather outstanding how Renner here manages to infuse these most direct moments though still with honest concern, but within the rugged manner of this man. Renner just fully embodies the character so effectively throughout that everything just feels natural to who this man is.Now perhaps where Renner derived his approach from is in a pivotal scene where Cory and the other investigators go to the murdered woman's father Martin (Gil Birmingham). Cory isn't there to interrogate the man but rather comfort it him as Cory also lost his daughter under similair circumstances. Renner is incredible in this scene as he physically and verbally exudes this philosophy as he speaks the words. Cory essentially tells Martin not to close himself from the past nor to forget it but rather embrace his grief in a specific way. In this Renner is able to find essentially how this man has come to terms with his own grief. As he speaks with this definite tenderness in his words as the love of a father reveals itself. His eyes reveal both this sense of loss of the daughter, but also a certain optimism within it as though is thinking of his best memories with her while giving Martin these words. It is not only a powerful stand alone scene but also wholly makes sense of this man who has found his way to cope with his daughter's loss. This is not to forget but to remember her best he can. We see this in Renner's work in that any moment he speaks about his loss, including when he describes what happened to her to Jane, Renner is very moving as he reveals the sorrow that lives in the man but in a way where he has found ease through the love he still holds for it.When Martin essentially tasks Cory with killing the man responsible, which Cory basically already intended to do so, Renner grants the assurances not as this vicious hatred but rather this basic understanding as honoring one father's loss. Again Renner creates such a vivid realization of the man's personality and history that he makes his work all the more remarkable by so effectively portraying this different kind of lead for this type of film. He is able to maneuver between emotions because he shows it as just part of this straight forward guy Cory is. He has his slightly humorous and charming moments with Jane, and his concerned ones which Renner makes just the behavior you'd expect from him. What he also finds is this though is the drive to solve the case, which again he doesn't play as this obsession. Renner instead reveals as this serene type of passion that just is inherent to the man, as though it is a given that he will do as he has said. Renner makes this state of being a given as well as a completely earned facet of the character from how he has shown us the man right up until they solve crime. Although Cory kills most of the perpetrators as he would any out of control predator, he takes the lead man, who raped the woman, to die the same way she did. Before he does this though they have brief conversation where we perhaps are granted the most severe gap between acting quality of any single scene in 2017. This is where on one end we have one actor playing his part as a South Park caricature of a redneck "WHEEERRES MAAAAAA BOOTS", against Renner's amazing work. Renner doesn't let the abysmal quality of his co-star to interfere with him giving such a poignant piece work by delivering his "I'm going to kill you speech" with this elegance of a man who knows he's in the right and performing it as this duty. There is emotion within it yet Renner is stunning in the way he so internalizes it in the moment showing the man performing essentially this poetic execution so coldly towards the man, but with so much feeling within himself. Renner's final scene is great summation of his work as he goes to comfort Martin one last time with the minor closure of the death of the men responsible. Renner in the scene barely raises or breaks his voice, yet so calmly and still so directly revealing his warmth towards the man, love for his daughter, and his own grief with such subtle grace. Although one can argue over the choice in casting, Renner does his utmost to make up for that through this great performance. Alternate Best Actor 2017: Hugh Jackman in Logan Hugh Jackman did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying X-24 and James Howlett aka Wolverine aka the titular character in Logan.Logan is one of the best films within the superhero genre by expanding its limits through its approach as a neo-western in its depiction of essentially the "last ride" of the Wolverine.There is perhaps no actor closer sewn to their role in this genre than Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine as their connection goes beyond just a few entries on the actor's filmography. Jackman before the first X-Men film in 2000 was an unknown theater actor who had only previously been in a couple obscure Australian films. Jackman was not even the first choice for the part only coming into contention through a recommendation by his friend Russell Crowe who turned down the role. Jackman himself was not even cast until two weeks of filming after Dougray Scott dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Jackman was not even initially embraced given his unknown status, and his tall stature compared to the more Danny DeVito sized character of the comics. Jackman's charismatic yet appropriately gruff performance in the original film not only assuaged the majority of such concerns but also led to his breakout as a star in general. Jackman is a notable actor who seems to have appreciated the character that brought his mainstream success far more than many do. His general attitude is to wear it as a bit of a badge of honor showing no hesitations in reprising the role. Of his 18 years in the spotlight Jackman has been onscreen in the role in at least some way for half of them having played the role nine different times. In the public eye he's gone from that Aussie no one knew about hired past the last second to becoming synonymous with the character.Now there have been some high and lows throughout this tenure, most often stemming from the quality of the film itself. Jackman usually has been a consistent enough factor in these films even when the films themselves have not been great. His sort of basic achievement in the role shouldn't be overlooked. Jackman after all is one of those interesting cases of an actor who broke out really in an against type role. One should have expected Jackman to be the charming romantic lead, but before Jackman could even be pigeonholed into such a role he had already proved himself capable enough as as this rough and often brooding anti-hero. One never thought when even watching his first film, "this guy must come from musicals", rather Jackman established himself as this character and his various facets therein. Although I won't say these films always explored these facets all that well, Jackman always seemed more than eager to himself. Jackman with that in mind obviously took great care to fashion a proper sendoff for the character and his final performance as him that fully explored the role. Re-teaming with The Wolverine's James Mangold but this time both of them taking the next step which that film was allowed to take. This was not only in ensuring a r-rating that doesn't cop out with a ridiculous CGI robo-samurai but also in terms of aiming for a darker and more character driven story in general.The film establishes this tone quite clearly from the opening scene which rather than some extravagant action sequence is rather a low down and dirty brawl between Logan and a group of thugs who try to lift the wheels off his leased limousine. This makes the fight between Logan and Lady Deathstrike look like a choreographed dance, as here there is nothing but sloppy brutality as Logan struggles to kill the thugs. Jackman's own approach to this is wholly different even in the way he initially approaches them. Jackman rather than the Wolverine swagger of old just portrays Logan as trying to calmly talk to the guys out of the fight before they shoot him. After that point Jackman portrays it as this instinctual reaction as he goes about killing the men. Jackman delivers no cool one liner and portrays no pride in this moment, just a sigh of sheer exasperation as he leaves the scene. Soon afterwards we see one of the common facets of Logan which his ability to endure pain. This is given particularly graphic detail here as even though he can bare the wounds they now scar him. Jackman's work has never been more visceral though in finding every moment of sheer physical torture as Logan treats his wounds. Every scream fraught with such agony by Jackman showing a man who doesn't seem to fully recover even as Logan's wounds seal.Jackman is outstanding here in realizing the state of Logan as the film opens. He portrays the role as a man who essentially has had it with life, although he doesn't do this in as a dour of a fashion as one might expect. He depicts this in a more day to day sort of fashion and with this certain contentment within this state of not caring about anything. When we see him doing his job as a limo driver Jackman wisely doesn't excessively brood there. He depicts rather this resignation to what his life is now as he goes about making money in between visiting his old mentor Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) who he lives with at an abandoned factory. Jackman captures this particular sort of weariness of life for a man who for the longest of time believed he had no way out of it. When he speaks of the past of the X-men with the professor or anyone else Jackman delivers these lines with Logan sharply brushing off any mention of it as a corrosive cynicism towards the past. Jackman shows in these moments Logan's way of coming to any type of grip with it which is almost too keep the past in the past by always reminding Charles that the glory days are gone. There is something especially harrowing in Jackman's approach of this by so quietly revealing this attitude of Logan's, as not a man who is actively troubled by his life, but rather passively so through the sense that he's ready to give up on it through a whimper.Jackman portrays essentially an acceptance of death in Logan when he speaks to the professor by rejecting talk of the past, and trying to get the professor on their "future" of living their days in isolation in the ocean. When Logan speaks to the professor of this there is a bit of optimism in these early scenes however Jackman portrays this as a externalized rather than internalized optimism. He plays it as Logan granting this momentary encouragement for the professor rather than for his own benefit. Jackman delivers a gentle warmth in that moment but pointedly places within his relationship with the professor than towards Logan's own condition. This is more fully evident when asked about the idea to take a ship out into the sea, along with questions of Logan's single adamantium bullet he carries with him, by the professor's other caretaker Caliban (Stephen Merchant). Caliban reminds Logan of his failing health and confronts him on his plans of suicide. This is where Jackman reveals a real anger with his plight though Jackman depicts it as Logan lashing out to get Caliban to stop speaking. Jackman portrays this in a way of Logan as being well aware of his condition and his own choice but troubled when reminded of it. His anger is that just to stop being reminded of it rather than any sort of actual rejection of truth as Jackman reveals that resignation to be that of a man who knows he's going to die soon and treats the prospect as an inevitability. That anger though Jackman uses suggests there man be some fight left in Logan although very faint.A complication towards Logan's life reveals itself when he is initially offered a job to transport a young girl Laura (Dafne Keen) to the border of Canada. This is later thrust upon him when Laura's guardian is killed and her only safe haven is with Logan and the Professor. Jackman naturally reveals that this resignation towards his fate leaves Logan rejecting essentially being the "hero" and helping Laura. It is only when they receive a direct threat from the Revers lead by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), who intend to take Laura, does Logan intervene. Jackman even portrays this is essentially a survival instinct at first, realized so well in one of my favorite moments of Jackman's performance where Pierce tells Logan that he's killed Caliban. Jackman in the brief instance as Logan reveals his claws to kill Pierce, after claiming to having killed Caliban, with do we see the return of his old fierce some rage, but this is quickly taken out of him when he's jumped by Pierce's men and beaten into submission. Laura is not just a random little girl but in fact Logan's pseudo-clone/daughter who is able to fight off the men and escape with Logan and Charles. Jackman is fantastic in this scene again by bringing such a desperation in the action sequence. There is no moment where he's the cool collected hero, rather he reveals within his physical unrest of a man just trying everything he can to escape. The three manage to escape which leads them to go and attempt to bring Laura towards her safe haven, and in this we get further exploration between the two central relationships. In part we get Stewart and Jackman together and there is a richness throughout the film in their interactions. They make use of the fact that they've shared so many films together and bring that sense of familiarity in their performances. There is that hint of warmth even as the two seem to be at their lowest point in the early scenes, and use that so well in their dialogue between each other. They speak to one another with the right casual emphasis of two very old friends even as they writhe in different forms of anguish. The introduction of Laura changes this though as Charles tries to take on his old place as mentor towards Logan and attempts to convince him to help the girl. When Charles encourages Logan to do the right thing Jackman's reactions are remarkable as in every word you see the measure that it weighs on his mind. He never once shows him rejecting Charles's words even when he says he's not going to do anything, or that someone else can help, Jackman's face reveals the truth that the old man's words are finding themselves into his soul once again. Jackman in this brings just a bit of hope back to Logan, only a bit in their interactions. There's still a roughness yet Jackman brings just a little of that old Wolverine charm back particularly when the two speak of their old days at school revealing Logan as potentially finding a bit of affection rather only cynicism from the past. There's such a genuine heartfelt quality in the words the share as both Stewart and Jackman create such a powerful friendship between the two. When Charles dies by the hands of X-24, Logan's more exact clone, there is not one but two absolutely heartbreaking moments delivered so effectively by Jackman. The first when he quickly tries to deal with his friend's final moments in just a few seconds with "it wasn't me" where Jackman brings us Logan so earnestly trying to make him understand. The second being his eulogy for the Professor after burying him. Jackman is devastating to watch as he so convincingly internalizes the grief in his broken inarticulate delivery, and brings such a guttural sorrow as he cannot find the words for his friend.The other relationship is with his sorta daughter Laura which Jackman initially portrays as this overt reluctance towards the girl. He doesn't depict this as insensitive in fact he takes quite the opposite approach in depicting Logan's frustrations around as fighting both with and against his nature at the same time. In one part showing just the begrudging motions in every interaction as though she is a burden, but with this temperamental attitude of a man haunted by too many deaths to want truly take another life into his hands. Jackman though is great throughout as he finds the better side of Logan constantly revealing itself in these interactions with her that gradually become more intimate. Although at first his delivery of every line to her is to the point, Jackman begins to reveal more concern and speaks with more tenderness in every successive scene. He starts to look at her with real care that goes beyond just the responsibility of any normal decency accepting essentially the role as her father as the two make their escape towards Canada. This eventually leads to the final act, which is the weakest portion of the film in just its final action sequence isn't as good as the rest, the introduction of the other clones is a little lacking, and extra plot points involving the central villain just feel unneeded. It doesn't become bad at all though particularly not due to Jackman's exceptionally devoted work. There's a great moment just before the final sequence where Logan speaks to Laura about his own demons from the past, and his plan to commit suicide. Jackman brings in his delivery just this vulnerability as he shows not only Logan recognizing his state more honestly, but also offers this openness towards Laura. That which reveals more closely his concern for her even if he is using it as a reason not to go with her across the border to Canada.Of course instead of going off and committing suicide though Logan chooses to save them in one final battle which, despite being an action scene is astonishing acting by Jackman throughout. In one part the physical torture he undergoes has never felt more visceral than it does here as he reveals what every wound does to him, and throughout the battle portrays this decaying state of Logan. The only thing essentially keeping him going is when he finally fully unleashes that adamantium rage. This brings me briefly to Jackman's other performance as X-24 that is pretty straight forward as this rage monster. What's so effective though is the way Jackman differentiates the two. The rage in X-24 Jackman makes meaningless as this surface hollow anger, whereas in Logan's rage Jackman carries this palatable deeper emotion within every terrible cry. We see all the sorrow that as brought Logan within the anger showing a man in this state, and not just the beast we see in X-24. The greatest moment of his performance, that sends off the film on a high point, is after the battle is won though this leaves a dying Logan in Laura's arms. Jackman has never been more heart wrenching than he is here in gasping out the final words as Logan. As distressing as the scene is he finds a poignancy as his eyes only project the most genuine of love for Laura as she encourages her not to be the weapon she was intended to be. There is also this rather special moment in which Jackman's portrays this calm at the sight of death as this curiosity and discovery fitting for a man who has suffered throughout his whole life, yet only now is finding release from it. This is a great performance by Hugh Jackman as he explores the character far from the limits of the previous films, and offers a worthy sendoff for his long relationship with the role. He not only delivers his best turn yet as an actor but also the greatest leading turn in any comic book film. Alternate Best Actor 2017: Robert Pattinson in Good Time Robert Pattinson did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, for portraying Constantine "Connie" Nikas in Good Time.Good Time is a very effective crime thriller about a man doing whatever he can to get his mentally handicap brother out of jail, after a bank robbery they pulled went wrong, all during one long night.A great deal of Good Time's success comes from the kinetic pace of the film that is so well realized through the 80's synth score, the editing, and the directing of the Safdie Brothers, and is heavily reliant on Robert Pattinson's lead performance. Pattinson's, an actor who seemingly has taken strides to wipe away his past in the Twilight franchise and his performances as a sparkling vampire. Pattinson ever since the end of the series, and even during the tail end of it has seemingly attempted to tear himself from those YA roots by taking on roles in films far off the beaten path. This seems to be a successful strategy as he's essentially just attempting to prove his talent lie far beyond what he became known for. One can remove any of that baggage from your mind here as he takes on this challenging role in this film. Again challenging through the film's style which demands Pattinson be right in the forefront of almost every scene to the point that quite often his face fills the frame. Pattinson though needs at the same time to develop this character really as the film is constantly on the move to the next series of events in portraying Connie's long night. Pattinson needs us to know Connie, but also in some way make the audience feel that it is worthwhile to follow him through his time in NYC despite his many questionable actions throughout.Pattinson's work is dynamic from the start and one can almost forget even of his English roots with the spot on New York accent he pulls off here. He's just in the role as we see him from his first scene where Connie takes his brother Nick (Ben Safdie) out of a therapy session in order to bring him over and rob a bank. This is the start of Connie's amoral actions however it is also the beginning of Pattinson's portrayal of what compels Connie from the start. Although when he picks up his brother Pattinson portrays a lack of respect for the therapist there is this definite passion he brings towards his brother with a honest concern in the moment. After the seemingly successful bank robbery, where Nick is showing signs of worry, there's this quick moment that Pattinson delivers flawlessly where Connie builds up his brother's morale. He lauds him as doing so well in the robbery and for being an essential part of it. Pattinson makes this absolutely earnest in his delivery towards Nick, showing a genuine concern for his brother at this point. We later learn the robbery was some odd idea of Connie's to try to take care of his brother. Pattinson in just this brief moment shows that this intention was completely honest in Connie as he shows only an absolute truth within the care he brings in every interaction between the brothers. Pattinson projects this warmth of the guardian who is desperately trying to take care of his brother even if it is perhaps to everyone's detriment.The robbery quickly goes wrong and quickly leads his brother to be in jail with Connie trying to find anyway for his brother to get out of jail and for the two of them to escape out of the city together. Connie's first choice to solve this is to bail him out with the help of his older girlfriend Corey (Jennifer Jason Leigh). This is where Pattinson begins to realize his brilliant approach to the role of Connie as he tries to fix everything he can through the first most practical solution he can think of. There is something very special in this way that Pattinson portrays the way that Connie tries to ease his way through any situation best he can. Pattinson brings this very low key, yet palatable charisma to the role in depicting one way of Connie's method of trying to get what he wants. Pattinson's approach to this greatly aids the film since he does not depict this as though Connie is some sociopath just trying to manipulate everyone, even if he is manipulating a whole lot of people to try to get what he needs. He does this two ways. In one, throughout the film, there is this sense of devotion towards his brother that whenever he speaks of him it is with genuine care and concern. The second though is that Pattinson portrays Connie as basically using these honest feelings to do his dishonest work. Watching it, you'd probably try to help Connie out yourself, as when Pattinson makes any request his delivery is as such that one would think "that seems reasonable enough".When the mentally unstable Corey can't really help, and he hears his brother is in fact at the hospital this leads to Connie employing some real free jazz techniques in order to try to solve everything. Pattinson is great here by capturing this mindset of the man and kind of doing two things at once. In that he lets us into really his mindset throughout the night while also putting on any front, for usually about a second at a time, in order to smooth over one problem after another in an attempt to help his brother. Pattinson is fantastic in every scene by always realizing the vividness of this thought process as he goes from place to place in order to fix everything for himself. Pattinson's terrific though in playing up any part for even a second at a time. Again Pattinson matches the same kinetic energy that the film has in his portrayal of Connie being absolutely anything he needs to be for even a moment. If he's a son of a dying father, Pattinson's that with an absolute concern. If he's just a friendly neighbor looking for a phone call, he's unassuming and quite appealing to be frank. If he's a security guard for an amusement park he seems very respectable and on the ball. What I love about what Pattinson does here is that as convincing as he is in those moments he always shows us the way the wheels are turning in his mind in between those moments. There is frustration and desperation just before, and after in Pattinson's eyes, it's in these acts that Pattinson reveals a man on a rather thin tight rope.Again what Connie's doing throughout is pretty bad. Breaking and entering, lying, letting a prisoner out of custody, stealing a car, drug dealing, or even home invasion Connie is game for it. Once again though Pattinson's so good in the way he brings us into the mindset of Connie which is that he always portrays this passion within sort of the performance that Connie himself is doing. This is beyond even the charm he can bring out when he needs it, but rather there is something greater in the way Connie is fooling himself. That passion that Pattinson brings is that of a guy who thinks he's doing the right thing again and again. Pattinson uses this idea particularly effectively when Connie accidentally lets out another criminal Ray (Buddy Duress) who was also in the hospital bearing a similair resemblance to his brother. That man is more or less just going along in life without a second thought for a future beyond that of a single night just as Connie is, however Pattinson specifically reacts to Ray differently than every other character Connie comes into contact with. Throughout the night Pattinson exudes a level of respect to everyone he speaks to even as he's cheating or ripping them off in some way. That is except for Ray. Pattinson reacts to Ray in every moment with this level of disdain and distaste for the criminal. His little threats are vicious and true from Pattinson who shows that Connie cannot stand the man even as he might be a key to solving his problems.Pattinson's specific reactions towards Duress's Ray alludes to a fundamental truth within Connie that Pattinson reveals so well. Again Pattinson shows that Connie thinks he's doing the right thing however with his hatred towards Ray Pattinson uses as a tell. The thing is Ray is more or less like Connie in terms of their mutual amorality. When Ray expects any sort of camaraderie from Connie due to their mutually desperate situations as criminals, Pattinson is terrific in reveal the greatest intensity in his performance. Pattinson's delivery is a true verbal lashing at every point showing that Connie has views him as just screw up and thug. The thing is though Pattinson brings a level of vulnerability in his reactions with Ray's come backs, that they are not so different, showing these brief moments of self-reflection before he covers it up by trying to tear the guy down all the more. Pattinson puts on just a bit of sanctimony though and portrays rightfully that this Connie is struggling with the truth being spoken about him. This is incredible work as Pattinson dissects this character just in the margins really revealing that his attempts at being the "hero" for his brother have lead him to become a bad person. The final moment of Pattinson in the film is a wordless scene as Connie rides in the back of a police cruiser having failed his "mission". This moment shows the greatness of Pattinson's work in terms of realizing the arc of Connie as in the silent scene we see him finally come to understand where his actions have left him. Pattinson is outstanding in revealing such a raw emotional breakdown as he shows the man seeing what his actions have done, and without saying a word he earns what Connie does off-screen that ends the film. That moment if clarity is just incredibly portrayed by Pattinson showing Connie has finally lost any delusions in terms of his purpose. Now that is perhaps the crowning achievement of Pattinson's work but this whole performance is a fantastic piece of acting. He brings you into every moment of the night through his work that is effortlessly compelling throughout. He takes you not only into what Connie is thinking but also makes every single one of his "accomplishments" believable. Pattinson matches the tone and the pace of the film to deliver sort of a 1970's style star turn here in the best of ways. Alternate Best Actor 2017 And the Nominees Were Not:James Franco in The Disaster ArtistRobert Pattinson in Good TimeRyan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049Jeremy Renner in Wind RiverSebastian Stan in I, TonyaAnd for the Second Set of Predictions:Song Kang-ho in A Taxi DriverHugh Jackman in LoganHarry Dean Stanton in LuckyChristian Bale in HostilesThomas Jane in 1922  Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2017: Results 10. Daniel Craig in Logan Lucky - Craig goes wildly against his established James Bond type here to give a very entertaining portrayal of a southern crook that manages to get laughs even when the film undersells his moments. Best Scene: "We're dealing with science here" 9. Hugh Grant in Paddington 2 - Grant gives a very enjoyable performance here bringing the needed charm but also the explosive ego to his villainous actor.  Best Scene: A character conference. 8. Paul Dano in Okja - Dano gives yet another strong performance here bringing such warmth and delivering an uncompromising empathetic figure within a film that is very much in need of one. Best Scene: Taking the stage. 7. Jack Dylan Grazer in It - Grazer gives the best performance of the loser boys as he not only adds so much  to the overall chemistry of the group, but also has some stand out individual moments through his arc that he realizes so well. Best Scene: Gazebos. 6. Mark Hamill in Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Although I think his performance is slightly weakened by the forced humor given to his character, Hamill delivers a powerful reprise here in his depiction of a broken man.Best Scene: Final scene with Leia.5. Jerome Flynn in Loving Vincent - Flynn in one major scene makes a tremendous impact that sums up the nature of van Gogh's death through his moving portrayal of the man who blames himself for it.  4. David Lynch in Lucky - Lynch delivers some Lynchian greatness here as he manages to be both hilarious yet heartbreaking in his portrayal of a man who has lost his tortoise.Best Scene: Coming to terms with tortoise loss. 3. Romain Duris in All the Money in the World - Duris quietly steals this film in his dynamic and moving depiction of the crisis of conscience of his kidnapper who struggles with his innate goodness as he tries to be a bad man. Best Scene: The amputation. 2. Will Poulter in Detroit - Poulter's work is truly disturbing here as rather than portraying an overt drooling racist he depicts a calm and confident one who doesn't need to announce his prejudice as obvious hate rather he puts it within his horrible actions. Best Scene: Interrogation tactics gone wrong.  1. Patrick Stewart in Logan - Good Prediction Michael McCarthy. Patrick Stewart gives a heartbreaking reprise of his most famous cinematic role. He realizes the real tragedy of the Professor's demise through how far he has fallen through his failing mind, but also finds a real poignancy just in those minor hints of the man he once was.Best Scene: The most perfect night.  Overall Ranking:Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MissouriWoody Harrelson in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Simon Russell Beale in The Death of Stalin Patrick Stewart in LoganWillem Dafoe in The Florida ProjectWill Poulter in DetroitSteve Buscemi in The Death of Stalin Romain Duris in All the Money in the World David Lynch in LuckyJason Isaacs in The Death of Stalin Jerome Flynn in Loving VincentMark Hamill in Star Wars: The Last JediTom Skerritt in LuckyChristopher Plummer in All the Money in the World Jack Dylan Grazer in ItMichael Palin in The Death of Stalin Paul Dano in OkjaEric Tsang in Mad World Mark Rylance in DunkirkAlgee Smith in Detroit Richard Jenkins in The Shape of WaterMichael Keaton in Spider-man: Homecoming Hugh Grant in Paddington 2 Daniel Craig in Logan LuckyBruce Greenwood in Gerald's GameJason Mitchell in Mudbound John C. Reilly in Kong: Skull Island John Boyega in Detroit Brendan Gleeson in Paddington 2 Rory Cochran in Hostiles Ray Romano in The Big SickPaul Walter Hauser in I, TonyaPaddy Considine in The Death of Stalin Caleb Landry Jones in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MissouriCillian Murphy in DunkirkBradley Whitford in Get OutRobert Carlyle in T2 Rupert Friend in The Death of Stalin Ben Foster in HostilesArmie Hammer in Free FireJeff Goldblum in Thor: RagnarokStephen Merchant in LoganTerry Notary in The SquareThomas Kretschmann in A Taxi Driver Sharlto Copley in Free Fire Michael Rooker in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2Dave Bautista in Blade Runner 2049Michael Stuhlbarg in Call Me By Your Name Harrison Ford in Blade Runner 2049Clarke Peters in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Bruce Greenwood in The PostCarlos Sanz in StrongerMichael Shannon in The Shape of Water Idris Elba in Molly's GameJaeden Lieberher in It  Anthony Mackie in Detroit  Kenneth Branagh in Dunkirk Bob Odenkirk in The PostEwen Bremner in T2 Gil Birmingham in Wind RiverDave Bautista in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2Michael Stuhlbarg in The Shape of Water Jon Hamm in Baby Driver Luke Evans in Beauty and the BeastIan McShane in John Wick Chapter 2Ben Mendelsohn in Darkest Hour Buddy Duress in Good TimeLakeith Stanfield in Get Out Traci Letts in Lady Bird Peter Dinklage in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Bill Skarsgård in It Austin Stowell in Battle of the Sexes Jack Reynor in Free Fire O'Shea Jackson Jr. in Ingrid Goes West Kurt Russell in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 Jared Leto in Blade Runner 2049Jack Lowden in DunkirkDanny McBride in Alien: CovenantJ. Quinton Johnson in Last Flag FlyingBen Safdie in Good TimeJames Darren in Lucky Woody Harrelson in War for the Planet of the Apes  Ryu Jun-yeol in A Taxi Driver Tom Hiddleston in Thor: RagnarokJamie Foxx in Baby DriverJeremy Ray Taylor in It  Graham Greene in Wind RiverJosh Gad in Beauty and the Beast Tom Hardy in Dunkirk Hugh Bonneville Paddington 2Gary Basaraba in SuburbiconFionn Whitehead in Dunkirk Udo Kier in Brawl in Cell Block 99Jeffrey Tambor in The Death of Stalin John Hawkes in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Ronald Pickup in Darkest HourTaika Waititi in Thor: Ragnarok Jonathan Majors in HostilesOscar Issac in SuburbiconPedro Pascal in Kingsman: The Golden Circle Cillian Murphy in Free Fire Mark Ruffalo in Thor: Ragnarok  Barry Keoghan in DunkirkToo Hae-jin in A Taxi Driver CJ Jones in Baby DriverJohnny Lee Miller in T2Gael Garcia Bernal in Coco Ian Hart in God's Own CountryWes Studi in Hostiles  Ed Oxenbould in Better Watch OutDwight Yoakam in Logan Lucky Jacob Latimore in Detroit Bill Pullman in Battles of the Sexes Domhnall Gleeson in American MadeJesse Plemons in Hostiles Tom Holland in The Lost City of Z Chosen Jacobs in It  Steven Yeun in Okja  Kevin Costner in Molly's GameAneurin Barnard in DunkirkEddie Marsan in Atomice BlondeRobert Pattinson in The Lost City of Z Chris O'Dowd in Loving VincentJosh Gad in Murder on the Orient Express Paul Scheer in The Disaster Artist Barry Shabaka Henley in Lucky Wyatt Russell in Ingrid Goes West Dallas Roberts in My Friend Dahmer John Goodman in Atomic BlondeOscar Isaac in Star Wars: The Last Jedi Boyd Holbrook in LoganMichael Smiley in Free FireStephen Henderson in Lady BirdGiancarlo Esposito in OkjaStephen Root in Get Out Stephen Dillane in Darkest HourJohn Boyega in Star Wars: The Last Jedi Seth Rogen in The Disaster ArtistMarcus Henderson in Get OutHarry Styles in DunkirkLaurence Fishburne in John Wick Chapter 2Finn Wolfhard in It Toby Jones in Atomic Blonde Michael Sheen in Brad's Status Don Johnson in Brawl in Cell Block 99 Barry Keoghan in The Killing of a Sacred Deer Sterling K. Brown in Marshall Willem Dafoe in Death NoteArmie Hammer in Call Me By Your NameTom Glynn Carney in Dunkirk  Dwayne Johnson in Fast 8Jason Statham in Fast 8 Ralph Fiennes in The Lego Batman MovieKurt Russell in Fast 8Robert Downey Jr. in Spider-man: Homecoming Alex Lawther in Goodbye Christopher Robin Karl Urban in Thor: Ragnarok  Glenn Fleshler in Suburbicon Carel Struycken in Gerald's GameAlan Cumming in Battle of the SexesRob Morgan in Mudbound Ben O'Toole in DetroitBrian Gleeson in Phantom Thread John Magaro in War Machine Alec Secareanu in God's Own CountryBenjamin Bratt in Coco  Jon Favreau in Spider-man: HomecomingBarkhad Abdi in Good TimeNoah Taylor in Paddington 2Choi Woo-shik in Okja Eddie Izzard in Victoria and Abdul Bokeem Woodbine in Spider-man: Homecoming Morgan Spector in ChuckAnthony Hopkins in Thor: RagnarokPeter Capaldi in Paddington 2 Bobby Cannavale in I, TonyaWyatt Oleff in It Derek Jacobi in Murder on the Orient Express Matvey Novikov in LovelessAdeel Akhtar in The Big Sick Jason Mitchell in DetroitLakeith Stanfield in War MachineColin Firth in Kingsman: The Golden Circle Donald Glover in Spider-man: Homecoming Brian Gleeson in Logan LuckyJack Quaid in Logan LuckyDavid Thewlis in Wonder Woman Jake Gyllenhaal in Okja Kwon Hae-hyo in On the Beach at Night Alone Sam Riley in Free Fire Ron Perlman in Chuck Richard E. Grant in LoganJonathan Pryce in The Man Who Invented Christmas Alex Wolff in My Friend Dahmer Samuel L. Jackson in Kong: Skull IslandNicholas Hamilton in It  Marton Csokas in Mark FeltJung Jae-young in On the Beach at Night Alone Michael Rapaport in ChuckTraci Letts in The Post John Goodman in Kong: Skull IslandColin Farrell in Roman J. Israel, Esq. Michael Cera in Molly's Game Mark Strong in Kingsman: The Golden CircleLance Reddick in John Wick Chapter 2Christopher Plummer in The Man Who Invented ChristmasJim Gaffigan in Chuck  Said Taghmaoui in Wonder Woman Matthias Schoenaerts in Our Souls At NightJacob Batalon in Spider-man: Homecoming Bradley Cooper in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2Willem Dafoe in Murder on the Orient Express Lucas Hedges in Lady Bird Bill Camp in Molly's GameBilly Crudup in Alien Covenant Timothee Chalamet in Lady BirdEwan Bremner in Wonder Woman Michael Cera in The Lego Batman Movie Christopher Fairbank in Lady MacbethDavid Cross in The Post Anupam Kher in The Big SickJon Bernthal in Wind River Paul Hilton in Lady MacbethTom Hanks in The CircleDomhnall Gleeson in Mother! Ezra Miller in Justice League Nick Offerman in The Hero Shea Whigham in Death Note Jacob Tremblay in The Book of  Henry Michael McElhatton in The Foreigner Emory Cohen in War MachineChristopher Lloyd in Going in Style Ian McKellen in Beauty and the Beast Udo Kier in DownsizingLeslie Odom Jr. in Murder on the Orient Express Tim Blake Nelson in ColossalLee Pace in The Book of HenryDominic West in The Square  Christopher Abbot in It Comes At NightCaleb Landry Jones in The Florida Project Noah Taylor in Free Fire Michael Stuhlbarg in The Post Christoph Waltz in Downsizing David Yow in I Don't Feel at Home in This World AnymoreJesse Plemons in The Discovery Sunny Suljic in The Killing of a Sacred DeerArnaud Valois in BPMCaleb Landry Jones in Get OutSteve Zahn in War For the Planet of the Apes Owen Wilson in Wonder Ed Harris in Mother! Bradley Whitford in The PostBenicio del Toro in Star Wars: The Last JediDustin Hoffman in The Meyerowitz Stories Garrett Hedlund in MudboundAleks Mikic in Better Watch Out Israel Broussard in Happy Death DayJack Reynor in Detroit Aidan Gillen in The Lovers Brian Gleeson in Mother! Lucas Hedges in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MissouriJason Momoa in Justice LeagueRiz Ahmed in UnaJordan Rodrigues in Lady BirdAndy Serkis in Star Wars: The Last Jedi  Lil Rel Howery in Get Out Ian Glen in My Cousin Rachel Matthew Rhys in The Post Jon Hamm in Marjorie Prime Tom Hollander in BreatheRobert Redford in The DiscoveryRay Fisher in Justice League Adeel Akhtar in Victoria & Abdul Emory Cohen in Shot Collar Tim Robbins in Marjorie Prime Dan Stevens in ColossalJim Belushi in Wonder Wheel Austin Abrams in Brad's Status Jason Clarke in Mudbound Eugene Brave Rock in Wonder Woman Seth MacFarlane in Logan Lucky  Ewan Mcgregor in Beauty and the BeastJay Hernandez in Bright Johnny Depp in Murder on the Orient Express Oliver Platt in Professor Marston and the Wonder WomanJeffrey Donovan in Shot Collar Dacre Montgomery in Better Watch Out  Scott Eastwood in Fast 8J.K. Simmons in The SnowmanCommon in John Wick Chapter 2Edgar Ramirez in Bright John Ortiz in Going in StyleDomhnall Gleeson in Star Wars: The Last JediJohn Slattery in Churchill Jeremy Strong in Molly's GameTyler Ross in The Lovers Toby Kebbell in Kong: Skull IslandDavid Dencik in The Snowman Bo Burnam in The Big SickChris O'Dowd in Molly's GameClancy Brown in Stronger Danny Huston in Wonder WomanZack Galifianakis in The Lego Batman MovieBilly Magnussen in Ingrid Goes West Dean Norris in The Book of Henry  Devon Graye in I Don't Feel at Home in This World AnymoreJohn Krasinski in DetroitIke Barinholtz in Bright Kurt Braunohler in The Big Sick Mike Colter in Girls TripJonathan Banks in Mudbound Jonas Karlsson in The Snowman Michael Mando in Spider-man: HomecomingCaleb Landry Jones in American Made Riccardo Scamarcio in John Wick Chapter 2Thomas Mann in Kong: Skull Island James Jordan in Wind RiverElton John in Kingsman: The Golden CircleEllar Coltrane in The CircleNext Year: 2017 LeadAlternate Best Supporting Actor 2017: Mark Hamill in Star Wars: The Last Jedi Mark Hamill did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.The Last Jedi is a bit of the Dark Knight Rises of Star Wars movies as it becomes bloated by its expansive narrative and rare is there satisfactory execution within its exploration of some admittedly interesting ideas at times.Although I do not care for The Last Jedi, I will say that some of the negativity towards the film is a bit overblown. In that those who say it is the worst Star Wars film of all time, even saying it is worse than the best prequel is going too far. The reason being in terms of just more basic film making techniques this film is clearly superior as well as in the acting.This brings me to Mark Hamill's long awaited return to his iconic role after his brief non-speaking role at the tail end of The Force Awakens. Unfortunately as we pick up from that I must return to more negativity by addressing the use of the film's humor, don't worry this will be the dark before I get to the dawn. The aforementioned film did have a bit more humor overall than a typical Star Wars film however it was placed correctly for the most part. There is humor in the original trilogy as well however it is placed in the lulls of the action, The Force Awakens mostly followed this idea it just had a little more of it. There is one mistake in the opening of that film where Oscar Isaac's Poe is perhaps a little too casual with the film's chief villain Kylo Renn. That was only a minor offense though amplified to outrageous proportions in this film where Poe goes about the same behavior though now in almost pop culture referencing levels where he makes "your momma" and call waiting jokes to Domhnall Gleeson's General Hux.This humor is consistently used at the wrong time and wrong place throughout this film. This includes making the villains goofballs, making Yoda behave as he does before he reveals himself to be Yoda to Luke in The Empire Strikes Back for some reason, but no example of this is more egregious than its use in the character of Luke Skywalker. Now Luke Skywalker was never an overly comical character in the original series, he was usually the earnest one that Harrison Ford's Han and Carrie Fisher's Leia bounced off of. For Luke to develop a more overt sense of humor in his old age is perfectly fine, that's not the humor of the character in this film that feels forced upon Hamill's performance. These are moments that are breaks in whatever else Hamill is doing in a given scene to make the audience laugh no matter how detrimental they may be to the dramatic potential of a scene. This is within the opening scene of the film where we come off of Rey (Daisy Ridley) returning his father's old lightsaber on the top of his island hideaway. In the previous film, the one piece of acting we get from Hamill in that film, we see a man haunted by the sight of the item, clearly taking it in and facing something from his past. In this film we get that moment then he tosses it. He tosses in a way to get a chuckle, a wah wahhhhh wouldn't have been out of place, from the audience yet it is a scar within this performance. I have no doubt this was a directorial, if not studio, mandate. It undercuts what Hamill did in the previous film, and makes no sense for the character. The idea that the man would toss it, as though it had not single meaning to him whatsoever is the problem.If he tossed it as though he wanted to avoid it, that would be fine, if tossed as though it caused him pain, that would be fine, but no, his father's lightsaber, the lightsaber given to him by his old mentor, he just whips it back as though he had absolutely no connection to it whatsoever. This isn't the act of a guy with a sense of humor, this isn't the act of the character we knew or we come to know even in this film, it's a goofy moment to get a cheap laugh. This sadly is not the only moment, and again just want to get through these negatives since there will be positives soon...I promise. Another moment is when is speaking to Rey and asks where she's from, to which she says nowhere, and then he says "Nobody is from nowhere" and she says "Jakku", and to which Hamill is forced to stop whatever else he is doing and go " Yeah, that's pretty much nowhere" as though he's in a sitcom. It stops whatever else he's doing in the scene to break, do something out of a character just for a good old hyuk hyuk hyuk because here in Disneyland we can't stomach a dramatic scene for more than four minutes at a time. There is one more time of this when he's training Rey to reach into the force where he messes with her with a leaf, however while I still don't think it's funny and is problematic as the force was always treated with gravity in every other film, Hamill at least makes this moment work in that it seems natural in the context of the overall scene. Hamill makes it feel like a bit fooling around rather than becoming automatized into ill-fitting joke mode that we saw previously.Now putting that aside for a moment let's take a look at what Hamill does for the majority of his performance. Hamill actually does overall continue from that one haunted expression in the last film to portray Luke as this bitter man. His eyes are world weary, there is not a hint of any joy in him as he goes about his day, which I won't get into too much detail since I'll get annoyed again, but Hamill delivers in creating this sense of just a man burdened by his experience. We don't know exactly what he's been through yet Hamill expresses in every part of him this sense of exhaustion that has changed Luke to this man we meet here. When Rey asks him to go back to help, Hamill delivers his lines as a man who has been through one too many fights in his life within his exasperated and cynical responses to these requests. Hamill really plays into the age of the character as he says every line of a man scarred by his experience far from the hero of long ago at the end of The Return of the Jedi. We are not given a glimpse of anything else until when he reunites with Chewbacca who lets Rey into Luke's hut by literally breaking down the door. In this moment, and later he sees R2D2, are great moments by Hamill. As his delivery seems to de-age about thirty years as he says their names. He's back for just a second to the hopeful boy moisture farmer, and in these moments you really get a sense of the friendship that still is strong in the mind of his Luke towards the people he cares about.Those moments though are only momentary respites towards his friends while towards Rey he continues as this irritable old man. Hamill does not make this one note either though as Luke begins the training through three lessons, we only see two for whatever reason, on why he believes the Jedi need to end. Hamill brings this great begrudging quality to every spoken word as he explains to Rey how the force works, the words once spoken with far more appreciation by his old masters, but now Hamill shows Luke spouting them out with almost certain hatred towards the word. When Rey reveals her level of power to the point she even reaches into the dark side Hamill is incredible in his reaction. He seizes up in fear showing Luke essentially with ptsd as the reaction isn't a general fear, it is this fear of the past. There is a sadness in it as he says he saw it once before, but it didn't scare him enough before. In this scene Hamill reveals some of the memories that cause his suffering and correctly he attaches these to basically the character's grumpiness. He's not just some angry old man, Hamill offers the proper context within where this comes from. He furthers this in every scene with Rey as he explains the Jedi's past failures in his second lesson. There is no care or affection that Hamill grants just a disgruntled man examining the faults of the past. When Rey though suspects he's closed himself fully from the force though Hamill is great in that he portrays a direct shame. A shame not of a bad man, but of a former hero who has run from his problems and the beliefs he once held so strongly. The revelation of the full extent of Luke's past with his former student, and now near ultimate evil Kylo Ren aka Ben Solo (Adam Driver) is where of the great controversies of the film lies. This is actually one decision I don't have a problem with since you do need to take the character somewhere, however I do understand why others hated it including Hamill himself. After all it does perhaps seem strange that the man who refused to kill his own father, who was obviously very evil, would preemptively try to kill his nephew, but hey time can change people. Now Hamill to his credit, despite his own personal reservations, puts his all into his portrayal of the confession scene. When Rey initially confronts him Hamill reveals just the full anger again now revealing itself naturally to be the anger of a man hiding from something he did than just at the world in general, part of that os the shame that is so overwhelming in his work. When he finally is forced to explain Hamill is outstanding in revealing in his eyes such an overwhelming sadness of the failures of the man, with this palatable sense of despair when he notes his hand in creating Kylo Ren even if from a momentary weakness. In the scene Hamill makes sense of who Luke is in this situation now, which is someone trying to lose himself within his suffering by essentially lashing out at anyone or anything that expects more of him. When Rey though states her belief that she can save Kylo, Hamill delivers now a more passionate anger towards the idea creates this sense that he's understood this to be a lost cause for some time.Luke eventually returns to the force due to these confrontations by Rey which leads again to some strong acting by Hamill. This is particularly in the moment where he initially reconnects speaking to Leia through the force, and Hamill expresses the intensity of that emotion, the man allowing himself to touch his past once again something rather powerful. It also leads to the reappearance by wacky Yoda, who never existed, and has since changed his philosophy from "Do or do not. There is no try" to failure is the best teacher. Kind of a complete 180 there which is also the theme of the movie being you gotta fail to succeed sometimes, while not if you're in a fight to the death then you're just dead! Anyway Yoda goes off to tell him that Rey knows more than him and she's surpassed him, despite almost no training from him because that's great writing, or lazy writing...I forget. Now I know I'm getting off topic a bit however that moment suggests really more time should have been spent on the island between Rey and Luke. Unfortunately this film suffers from the horrible condition of seeming to rush its good elements while dragging out its bad ones. That leaves only one sequence left for Hamill to return to the Luke we once knew and loved. I will say, despite the limited screen time, Hamill makes this transition convincing and effective by having those moments with his old friends by showing the younger man still there, making it so he did not really need to go too far to return to his old self. Also Hamill doesn't completely just become young Luke, rather he still shows the wear in the man, but now with the determination to fight. Hamill is excellent in this final sequence bringing now that sort of hero's bravado as he steps out to face Kylo, with even a cool of a true hero in his particularly efficient delivery of his one liners.There is though still just enough of a shame there in Hamill's portrayal when Luke apologizes to Kylo for his past mistakes, but now more hidden by his conviction to confront the man. Hamill in presence delivers the Luke of legend, the man who faced down the emperor and defeated Darth Vadar once again. The man who said "I'm a Jedi like my father before me" as he once again commands that same confidence and power. Of course this confrontation, through force projection, leaves him to fade away into the force for some reason, even though Obi-Wan did right before he was going to be killed, and Yoda was dying from extremely old age there is no real reason why this should have killed Luke especially as it takes some of the oomph from his epic delivery of "see you around kid" to Kylo since I guess he won't see him around. Again just another problem I have with the film, but not Hamill's performance. My favorite moment in his work though is probably just before that scene when he "physically" meets up with Leia. It's a wonderful scene with Hamill bringing such a tenderness in this moment of recognizing loss, and it is a beautifully rendered both as a moment within the film recognizing Han's death, but also outside of it as this final onscreen time shared by Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. He creates such a tremendous since of warmth in that moment that is particularly cathartic when compared against the colder man we knew throughout. This is a legitimately fantastic performance by Mark Hamill however I cannot ignore the scenes I mentioned at the beginning of this review. They are there, and they're a blight on this performance. I'm sure they were not Hamill's choices but unfortunately they're realized through his work, to the detriment of it. They not only take me out of the performance, out of the scene, but also the film when they happen. It's a real shame because if it were not for those moments this would be the best performance in a Star Wars film, instead it's merely one of the best. Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2017: Patrick Stewart in Logan Patrick Stewart did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for BFCA, for portraying Professor Charles Xavier aka Prof. X in Logan.Long before the first X-Men film was ever made Patrick Stewart was seen as the one man to bring the comic book telepath and leader of the X-Men to the screen. As expected Stewart did not disappoint in the role however the films rarely seemed to fully serve him as a character, leaving most of the actual exploration of the role to his successor James McAvoy. In the original films they went out of their way to put him out of commission for long periods whether it was due to some green stuff in Cerebro, a lobotomized telepath, or being glittered away by the dark phoenix Stewart was rarely granted the appropriate time to shine. It is notable that before this film it was only his side story portion of Days of Future Past, where it seemed like he was allowed to properly sink his teeth into the part. Finally though Stewart managed to find himself in a more character driven X-Men film through this film as the aged Professor hiding out near the U.S./Mexican border with Hugh Jackman's Wolverine/Logan taking care of him in his decrepit state. This role is not only a departure for Charles Xavier but Stewart in general who is best known for his refined roles usually as a mentor figure.What Stewart does here is fascinating in that this performance essentially must make sense of a mess of a mind. Stewart's performance has a great challenge in that as written Charles is all over the place because he has dementia and his mind, which used to be the source of his power, is fading away. Stewart needs to not only make these inconsistencies make sense, he must also connect them to the Prof. X we once knew. Stewart must make these dramatic shifts natural by realizing them each as a part of the broken man and in one phase or another of his mind while it is falling apart. The earliest scenes Stewart reveals Charles at his very worst, but not in the same way depending on the situation. In his first scene Stewart is quite great in portraying the man completely caught up on drugs and raving like a complete maniac. Stewart finds even a real tragedy in these ravings by showing this man that Logan, really even the audience, greatly revered into this complete mess of a man. Stewart makes this drugged up state particularly unusual though for a man once capable of reading every person in the world's mind now echoing just random thoughts of a man now lost in them. Charles does have a worst state than that when he undergoes seizures, which Stewart shows as the man just completely breaking down within himself that unfortunately unleashes a shock wave that becomes potentially fatal to everyone within the vicinity, that is only satiated through a direct injection which brings forth a more coherent Charles.Stewart still does not show this to be the man Logan or we once knew by any margin. He's far more sorrowful and it downright heartbreaking to believably see the professor in this state. A state now where he reveals an actual cynicism when lashing out at Logan which Stewart plays as part mental decay, but also part of failures over the years to genuinely help the man away from his own personal demons. As rough as some of these interactions are though Stewart and Jackman both make use of the chemistry they've built over the long running franchise. The years are inherent within them and their interactions have that vibrancy as there is a glint of tenderness even if it buried over years of suffering. It is within that mess of the mind that Stewart makes such an essential and authentic part of his portrayal though where at times there is that moment of clarity, but others just rambling anger of a jumbled mind. Every switch Stewart makes just part of that jumble and that is what makes him so effective in truly revealing this decaying mind that rarely has a consistent state. The one more concrete change comes with the introduction of Laura aka X-23 (Dafne Keen) a young mutant seeking helping from Logan in order to escape her captors/creators. Stewart is outstanding the way he brings a bit of optimism back to the old professor as he treats Laura with such an absolute uncompromising affection of the man who use to believe in the best of anyone. That spark that created the notion of the X-Men returns in Stewart's performance, but what makes this even more poignant is how faint he depicts it. He does not suddenly become the old professor, not by a long shot. Stewart still shows the man dealing with his decaying mind in this state but now with the ability to hone in any way towards this young person he sees hope in. Stewart again fluctuates so effectively from times where he brings a grandfather's concern yet still with just a touch of daffiness that had been more overt before. When he speaks to Logan now there is less of an overt cynicism towards him, though it still lies within Stewart's delivery as he urges Logan to do the right thing with a diminished yet still palatable passion towards righteousness. As the two go on the road to help her, Stewart is excellent in the way he shows the professor trying to essentially return to himself once more, these moments are absolutely heartbreaking. He carries himself again attempting to be the man he was and now when he correct Logan Patrick delivers with this level of care to try to encourage rather than discourage. One moment I love in his performance is when he helps ranchers get their horses back into a trailer by for once using his powers effectively again. Stewart is magnificent in this moment as when he looks at Logan he does smile, or act pompous yet for that moment shows the confident and concerned mentor he met in their very first encounter in the first X-Men film. This is only glimpse of clarity for the man as even when he has regained some of his optimism in his final scenes in the film, Stewart still presents this fading mental state overall. The difference though now is with that optimism as he reveals his tenderness not only to Laura but also to Logan more directly. Stewart still shows a man ravaged by his state but now content with it. He is incredibly moving in just the smallest of smiles, and gentle words that now reveal a man looking towards his inevitable demise, but no longer with anger or fear. Stewart finds this moment of clarity of introspection beautifully in his work as finally examines his own mistakes. There is a sadness in the realization of what he's done, but within that Stewart conveys this sense of understanding towards Logan, and his own demons from the past. He reflects this overt sympathy of the professor reducing himself down from his original role for a moment, though in a positive way to place himself inside the same mindset as his most difficult "student". Patrick Stewart delivers an amazing performance here. He takes what was given before and uses it to offer an even more powerful portrait of decay. A vivid depiction of a most unusual mental deterioration made convincing through his exceptional performance. Stewart does not waste this chance to take the character beyond the limits that had been placed by the previous films. He realizes the real tragedy of the Professor's demise both through how far he has fallen, but also just in those minor hints of the man he once was as well as eventually tries to be again. Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2017: David Lynch in Lucky David Lynch did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Howard in Lucky.David Lynch, better known as one of the greatest directors of all time, takes on a rare acting role here. Lynch isn't someone who typically implants himself into his films, he's only ever appeared as an actor in his series Twin Peaks, out of his own projects. This got me thinking of his unique method of casting his films which that he doesn't audition his actors by having them read the script, he just speaks to the actor to decide if they're right for the role. This is notable as Lynch's films have some of the greatest cinematic performances ever given, and even the performances with little screentime can be unforgettable. I'd say it is fair to say his method is quite successful. This takes me to Lynch himself. Now a director casting themselves even small part can sometimes be problematic, Quentin Tarantino for example has consistently burden himself with his own shoddy performances, but other times it can work Martin Scorsese is very memorable in Taxi Driver on the other end of the spectrum. These typically are smaller roles, even when cast outside their own films. When he did cast himself as FBI director Gordon Cole in Twin Peaks, which was a fairly substantial role in the original series and one most important roles in the return of the series also from 2017. That role obviously though Lynch knew he was perfect for as his Gordon Cole is one of the many highlights of that series.Lucky, which is directed by veteran character actor John Carroll Lynch, no relation as far as I know, was obviously not something David Lynch had control of yet it seems once again he took the part knowing he would be perfect for it. Lynch, as with his films, is a rather idiosyncratic man, and in turn the same as a performer. When Lynch acts it is something you've never quite seen before, but something you never knew you wanted so much. This is true once again as Howard in this film who is one of the regulars at a bar the titular man played by Harry Dean Stanton, a David Lynch regular, frequents. Lynch's Howard only features in three scenes of the film, and all relate to his most peculiar problem. That being that his old tortoise, not turtle, has escaped. This is where we get Lynch with his brilliant performance, that is all Lynch, and it is fascinating as you can see part of what makes him such a memorable director facilitated through a performance. Lynch is unassumingly hilarious in his delivery that much like his films can only be described as Lynchian. Lynch kind of should speak too loudly too broadly, yet never comes off that way for Lynch, it just seems right. In addition it seems just a hilarious when he speaks of his tortoise, named President Roosevelt, having escaped. When he mentions that he saw him "eyeing the gate" it is incredibly funny yet Lynch's delivery never as though he's trying clown around. In his own way he shows that Howard is deadly serious about this predicament someone having this certain somberness and a genuine in his expression that some how only contributes all the more to the comedic value as he ponders the escape. In his second scene we see as Howard is meeting with a lawyer (Ron Livingston) to make sure his estate is settled, which leads to a confrontation as Lucky doesn't take too kindly to the lawyer. Lynch throughout the scene still remains fascinating in his unique Lynch way he plays the scene distraught in the only way he could as he goes on about his loss of the tortoise, and how it made him think about his own mortality. Lynch does what he does in his films in that he can make something so amusing, and he's still funny here as he corrects everyone for wrongly calling President Roosevelt a tortoise, yet is also honestly moving as Lynch portrays so earnestly Howard's introspection and concern over his lost friend. Lynch's final scene is one more moment at the bar where Howard comes to state that he's come to terms with the loss of his tortoise. Lynch now though in his own strange Lynch way inspires hope, while of course still humor, as he so seriously states that the tortoise had something "he thought was important" and if it was meant to be "I'll see him again". There is a sadness in there still yet with this calm and acceptance of fate that is something remarkable. The fact that he says these words directly to Harry Dean Stanton with a certain smile and understanding creates an even greater poignancy to the moment no matter the intention. In the end the lost turtle man, sorry lost tortoise man, should be an utterly ridiculous concept. It should be clownery and silliness. In Lynch's hands it is something very entertaining to be sure, but also somehow beautiful in a way only David Lynch could provide. The truth is no other performer could give this performance, this is David Lynch delivering that Lynchian quality within his own self, and it is something truly special to behold.Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2017: Algee Smith, John Boyega and Will Poulter in Detroit Algee Smith, John Boyega and Will Poulter did not receive an Oscar nominations for portraying Larry Reed, Melvin Dismukes, and Trooper Philip Krauss respectively in Detroit. Detroit follows a few different individuals once it hones in on one night during the Detroit riots of 1967. The first of the three most notable of these individuals is Larry Reed an inspiring Motown singer who we are first introduced to as his group is about to debut on stage. Smith plays Larry without a care in mind towards the riots but rather a directness towards the fulfillment of the dream. This is not a selfish thought as portrayed by Smith but rather the most fervent optimism about living his dream. This is infused into the entirety of his work as he so earnestly speaks of going on stage offering one of the most potentially naive yet pure attitudes within the gritty film. Smith doesn't make this corny though making this desire pure in the right way particularly in his rather remarkable singing that captures the Motown style, but with this real heart that so effectively exudes the optimism within the act. When the riots cancel the show the disappointment that Smith shows is genuine to this guy caught up in his dream to the point he does ignore what's around him. When he is with his other band mates trying to avoid the riots, Smith's performance keeps this devotion towards this thought as a man with a sight on his goal, and his main frustration being the denial of that. What's important though is that Smith finds that optimism in the goal that doesn't make Larry seem indifferent but just almost on a different wavelength even while fires rage around him.This is rather different from the introduction to John Boyega's Melvin Dismukes who works as a security guard for a store in the riot zone. Boyega portrays his part with a world weariness but not a true cynicism. When we first meet him he portrays the focus of a man just doing his job in the way he knows how. When he goes about helping a rioter from the brutal treatment of a policeman. Melvin stands between two aggressors. Boyega depicts this exact calm in Mevlin as he attempts to cool the situation between the cop and the young man delivers every line with this exact patience. He speaks just trying assuage any problems not in a subservient way but rather as someone who desires peace and order above else. Boyega in this moment shows this as man who probably has been doing this awhile particularly when he has a word with the young rioter just a second later who calls him an "Uncle Tom". Boyega's great as he still keeps that same calm that defines his portrayal, but after the man leaves has the perfect near eye roll reaction that shows that Melvin's probably been called something similair many times while working his job as a security guard. Boyega lays the right stake as Melvin as one of the few people who intends to reduce rather than exacerbate any given situation during the riots.The last player of this trio is played by Will Poulter as one of Detroit's officers Philip Krauss. We initially meet Krauss on patrol during the day when there is a level of calm for the moment, yet he takes it upon himself to mortally wound a man who has taken groceries from a store. Poulter in this scene establishes Krauss as the film's most despicable character but not in the way one might expect. He does not portray Krauss as the drooling racist, in fact his fellow officers are far more open in that regard. Poulter doesn't play it as Krauss is hiding this either, instead he plays it in a way that is possibly far more disturbing. Poulter makes Krauss's racism implicit within his portrayal of the man's attitude towards the riots. When he speaks that the rioting shouldn't be allowed to go on like this, that "they" deserves a lesson, or even when he shoots the man there is no sadism displayed. He instead delivers these lines as though they are of this firm philosophy in the man, a man who believes himself to be so above the people he is policing that it isn't something he struggles with. His racism is something that Poulter depicts as Krauss is so comfortable with it doesn't require any of the typical outrage, as he just so firmly believes in his superiority to the point that he feels he is justified in any actions he takes in order to maintain the "peace". When a detective says he's going to be charged for the man he shot, Poulter shows only mild frustration, and only a bit of confusion fitting to a man who is absolutely convinced of his unnerving belief. Poulter shows that he's not a man who need to speak with unneeded zealousness because he knows he's in the "right".The three sadly all converge on the Algiers hotel. Smith's Larry gets there first with his friend Fred (Jacob Latimore) who are just trying to wait out the riots within the hotel. Smith is good in these scenes establishing the style of Larry just directly outside of the sphere of performance. In one part just his easy friendship between the two one based on encouragement for that dream though, where Smith just depicts a mild somberness due to that denial caused earlier in the night. The two have just enough a warmth between the two suggesting their friendship as when Fred encourages him to keep working for his singing career Larry attempts to help Fred find a woman within the vicinity of the hotel. Smith's also very good in these scenes in portraying Larry as guy who is properly smooth, he has a definite charm, but perhaps not quite smooth as he thinks he is. This happens when arrives in the annex whereas the other men there are non too impressed by his personal style, and Smith reactions are very effective here in portraying kind of losing that overt confidence he projected so well when he initially approached the women who led him and Fred to the annex. A practical joke, involving a starter pistol, soon gets out of hand when the noise of the fake gunshots cause the law enforcement outside to believe there is a sniper in the building.The law enforcement group eventually includes Boyega's Melvin, but is more or less lead by Poulter's Krauss who is the first to enter the building. His first act in there is to once again shoot a fleeing man which Poulter portrays without hesitation. Instead he depicts again this mindset of an extremist's justification as he is not at all phased by this as he quickly plants a knife to make the escapee seem as though the shot into the back was somehow warranted. Poulter brings this unsettling assurance in the moment though as though this is merely Krauss going about his business as he firmly believes is fit, which if he suspects you for a moment you're target practice for him. Krauss takes over as he has all the denizens lined up on a wall for interrogation. Poulter is terrifying here in the intensity he brings in this scene. What is particularly unnerving is how Poulter plays the scene with such an effortless command, as though this brutality is what Krauss has been waiting for. He specifically doesn't seem at all messy and in a way is scarier in the more subdued hatred that he expresses because of how refined it is within the man. There is a detached precision in Poulter's performance who goes from one verbal or physical attack to another with such ease without a moments hesitation, as though this is his "duty" of his to perform. Poulter conveys absolute control of  the situation that makes it all the more horrifying for the complete lack of empathy in any facet of his work.This leaves Smith's Larry at sometimes the literal blunt end of a gun, and his performance adds to the visceral quality of the scene. Smith portrays Larry as barely able stand amidst all the shouting and violence as he depicts a man wholly gripped in fear. Although he is part of the group being attacked he does stand out within this once Poulter's Krauss demands that the group starts praying for their lives. Smith is absolutely haunting in his depiction of this by bringing the same passion into his performance here than on stage, but now as this terrified cry for help when doing so rather than with the optimistic cheer of before. Boyega's Melvin appears as though potentially one of the few sources of help as he also arrives on the scene. Boyega plays this quite well because he does not play Melvin as this hero at the annex. Boyega instead properly shows, largely with very few speaking lines, depicts the right sense that Melvin is trying to figure out what is going on himself. Unlike Poulter, he does bring an underlying sense of empathy as he watches the brutality, but within that conveys the sense of confusion. Boyega properly plays it as Melvin has no idea whether or not the members of the annex are guilty or not, since there was no way for him to know. When he takes one of the men away into another room in the annex Boyega bluntly delivers the questions on where the gun is, offering still a sense of understanding in this interactions, but still with the hesitation of a guy who doesn't know exactly what's going on.Krauss's reign of terror continues even as he goes about interrogating everyone, multiple ways including fake "shooting" them in order to find the gun that doesn't exist. Poulter's work does overpower these scenes in how effectively he realizes the sheer extent of the man's vicious behavior without a hint of shame. Again though Poulter keeps to the idea of the man's conviction towards his deranged worldview that makes him act without impunity, and this hollowness as the violence comes so easily to him. Poulter's performance though goes further in that he's not one note, but the variations that appear in Krauss Poulter uses them only to make the man all the more disquieting. This includes the scene where he interrogates the two women in the hotel. At first doesn't hold back but when it appears he's gotten any information from them, Poulter shows Krauss's effort to offer a bit of comfort through this little smile he gives that is downright bone chilling by how Poulter realizes as this brief almost alien false face for the man while attempting to do something completely against his nature. The other moment that shows any other side is when one of his fellow officers shoots one of the hotel guests after failing to understand Krauss's fake shooting interrogation tactic. Poulter doesn't humanize Krauss in this rather he just merely shows that he is human in his reaction. A reaction of genuine fear and concern. A concern not at all for the dead man, but rather Poulter plays it as this realization that things might have finally gotten out of hand for him and the other officers.The incident ends with Smith portraying Larry as petrified in fear and both physically and emotionally exhausted by the end. His performance completely brings about the wear of the man as this man who is an absolute wreck as he stumbles away looking for any help. Boyega, while I do think Melvin is somewhat under served as a character throughout the film, effectively conveys the growing unease in the realization that something has gone very wrong here. Poulter though shows that Krauss with still his personal determination to somehow get himself off of the night as he lets most of the men go except demands that they will lie about what happened. Poulter delivers this threat in a truly alarming way by again being so direct and blunt in this. In his eyes there is only this certainty that he will have no hesitation to kill if he does not hear as he wants to hear with his questions. When Larry's friend Fred fails to lie, Poulter portrays the reaction to this with just a slight shrug as one more atrocity that Krauss can live with. This leads to the final act of the film, which is the weakest portion of the film. Boyega again feels somewhat short shrift by the narrative as Mevlin is arrested and charged along with the racist officers. This isn't really explored all that much beyond a few brief scenes including one where Melvin is interrogated by detectives, then a later scene where he vomits upon realizing the men will get off. This seems like a complicated idea that just isn't given the time to develop. That leaves Boyega with only a few brief scenes. They are are well portrayed as in the interrogation where Boyega begins with this earnest explanation and slowly drifts this unease into his face as the men's questions become more intense. The same is true for his later scene where he conveys that inward disgust at the result incident. Boyega gives a terrific performance and really makes the most he can out of the part, a part that seemed to have more potential though then we see within this film. Poulter only has a few moments after the incident ends. He uses them well though to show a man who has not all been changed by the events still showing that same confident streak even when taken into questioning where he portrays this just general confusion as though he couldn't possibly know why he's being arrested. His very final moment is one last great one for his performance where he tells Boyega's Melvin that "You're a good guy". Poulter's delivery couldn't be more patronizing as though he's recognized one person from what he sees as the lower class worthy of his minor approval. Poulter delivers a great performance in a truly frightening depiction of unrepentant monster defined by his grotesque philosophy. The film ends with the story of Larry as he tries to move on after his brutal treatment and the death of his friend. Smith is incredibly powerful in portraying the complete loss of any of that optimism or drive in the man as he refuses to follow his singing career. Smith, even in the final scenes, where Larry is now singing with a church choir, his singing, though as potent in terms of technical skill, now is defined by sorrow and pain rather than the joy of his expression. Algee Smith is heartbreaking in showing in his performance the transformation of the sanguine young man reduced to a living victim of the event who continues on in this solitude forever scared by his experience. (Smith & Boyega)(Poulter)Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2017: Romain Duris in All the Money in the World Romain Duris did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Cinquanta in All The Money in the World.Romain Duris oddly enough is in the part of the film that has been largely been forgotten due to the two controversies involving the film in rapid succession. The first eventually involving the extremely late introduction of Christopher Plummer to the project to replace the previous actor in the role of J. Paul Getty, and then soon afterwards the pay discrepancy between Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg in order to complete that replacement. Duris's portion of the film went untouched, and mostly unmentioned in the press. Although this portion is that which compels the film forward where it actually depicts the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer), and his ordeal while in captivity. Duris plays one of the initial kidnappers known Cinquanta, and what Duris accomplishes here is one of the most interesting elements of the film. Now Duris is essentially this part of the film as the young Plummer mostly just plays different levels of fear in John Paul, and the other kidnappers throughout are seen as rather cold and distant figures. This leaves Duris who from the outset intends on making the most of this role, and fleshing out his kidnapper far beyond from that specific role. This is from his first scene where he calls John Paul's mother Gail (Williams) demanding the ransom, to which she initially thinks is someone just telling her that he's okay. Duris is terrific in this scene in the way his delivery attempts this vicious menace while coldly demanding the money, meanwhile though his expression holds less of decisive attitude. Duris finds even a bit humor in his portrayal of a momentary confusion when he has his initial "we have your son" doesn't properly take. Duris even in that scene portrays Cinquanta believable enough as this potentially violent man asking for money, but even in that moment as we see him, though Gail does only hears him, he shows signs that he's probably not as sinister as his hissing voice suggests. This continues as Cinquanta acts as the primary guardian for Getty while in captivity, and again Duris excels in creating this duality within Cinquanta utilizing his voice and his physical performance separately. A great moment with this is when he speaking to Getty from outside of his cell so he can only hear his voice, but we obviously see Duris the entire time. Again Duris delivers Cinquanta's lines possibly with the interpretation of creating fear in the young man as questions why his family hates him so much since they refuse to pay the ransom. Meanwhile Duris physically shows in this moment Cinquanta taking in this idea of a family refusing to this for his son genuinely troubles him, and creating this anguish in his eyes as he thinks about being so rejected that his family would leave him at the torment of his kidnappers. Duris again reveals more of a duality in this as he portrays Cinquanta again attempting the role of the kidnapper through his words, yet the man's thoughts tell a different story. This is more fully exploited when Cinquanta casually walks into the cell exposing his face to Getty. Duris's performance in this scene is essential to the moment as he approaches in exuding just a friendly demeanor and even the moment of the realization Duris plays not as anger towards Getty, but rather a moment of sheer anxiety for potentially his own fate and possibly his hostage as well for this exposure. Duris quietly realizes in each subsequent scene this gradual reduction of any sort of false intensity, needed for a kidnapper, and slowly begins to reveal this decent man despite himself. This continues as Cinquanta and his family decide to sell Getty to a bigger name in the underworld of Italy, who they decide to keep Cinquanta on as basically a caretaker for Getty. Duris in these scenes, even when he says barely anything, is the most captivating factor. His silent work is remarkable as he so effectively portrays the ever growing concern in Cinquanta as the other men speak of the young man's fate. I love the way Duris reveals, even though there is not a great deal of attention paid to this by the film overall, this conflict in the man. He depicts almost this dual frustration in him that begins more as the man is pained by his inability to be harder than he truly is in heart, that slowly coverts towards itself to not being able to fully be that man he is in heart. Duris though in each scene breaks the walls down on any facade of this vicious thug. In his scenes with Plummer Duris begins to become quite moving actually in showing a more direct warmth and as a well a somberness as he tends to Getty knowing some terrible things may happen to him very soon. Duris does a great deal of heavy lifting here as I found Duris's performance made me care more about John Paul III than Charlie Plummer's performance.Duris keeps this direct concern alive, and brings a real needed emotion to the tension of these scenes. Duris is fantastic as he begins to make it that even in his phone calls, where Cinquanta could most easily put on the kidnappers act, he now reveals his concern. This is to the point that Duris in the later calls brings the urgency in every word almost to the point as though he's the one attempting to ensure Getty's release. In a way he is and it is marvelous the way Duris so naturally realizes this transition. One of the best scenes in the film is Getty's ear amputation, which is a infamous moment in the actual case, but the reason for this again is Duris's devoted work to the idea of Cinquanta's concern for Getty. Duris is again oddly enough far more heartbreaking than Plummer in this scene by showing how much the act is tearing apart the man in watching while at the same time still so earnestly projecting such a warmth as he talks him through the "surgery". In every scene Duris is genuinely affecting by quietly portraying this sympathy that only gets stronger. I love the moment where Getty almost escapes, and Duris delivers just this subtle bit of joy in the moment hoping that he has been successful. The idea that the kidnapper goes from one of the people putting a bag over the young man's head to attacking another man to save the kid is a bit farfetched. Duris manages to overcome this rift in the suspension of disbelief by so honestly and effectively portraying every step of this transformation by showing to be more of this revelation of the man's true self throughout. This is a great performance, and it is an utter shame that it has been barely given a mention around the film since honestly Duris is the best part of it. Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2017: Jack Dylan Grazer & Bill Skarsgård in It Jack Dylan Grazer did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Edward "Eddie" Kaspbrak in It.It is a fairly entertaining horror film about a child eating monster stalking the underbelly of a New England town. Although watching it again it does overdo a few typical horror film techniques, particularly the string smear to telegraph when something scary is about to happen.One of the elements that works so well within this adaptation of Stephen King's novel is the coming of age story of the kids that could almost stand separately from their time dealing with a killer clown from outer space. This is further amplified by the terrific ensemble of juvenile performers that form their group known as the losers club. Although perhaps a couple of them are a bit under served by the screenplay, Chosen Jacobs as Mike and Wyatt Oleff as Stan, together they excel in a few ways. One being in every single one of the horror scenes where not a single one of the actors falters. They help to bring to life the horror in intimate detail as they effectively heighten the tension of each and every encounter. They are as good though in terms of creating this group dynamic of these kids. They do just behave in this uniform way of all good little kids falling into line as friends. No, what they do is make a far stronger dynamic by so naturally realizing the richness of their interactions which aren't always wholly pleasant for some of the members yet so effectively allude to the history between the kids who already know each other and the brewing history with the new additions to the group.Although obviously in this review I am focusing in on Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie, who is in the "upper tier" in terms of both of those aforementioned elements. His scenes of terror are particularly strong in that regard especially his direct moments with the fellow mentioned below. Grazer frankly sells something even far more terrifying than we even see through the sheer petrified terror he able to realize within his performance as Eddie. He goes all in in creating every gasp, and panic in his body language so very real. Again while the horror is important what makes this film stand out within the horror genre are the kids. My favorite, and really most realistic dynamics within the kids, is their constant ball busting one another spearheaded by Finn Wolfhard's Richie, who tries far too hard to make everything a joke, and that's entirely the point. Jack Dylan Grazer, who apparently also came up with a lot Richie's one liners, is actually delivers the most abundant humor in the film. His realizes this isn't so much in Eddie's effort to make a joke but rather his reactions towards Richie's jokes. This includes some general frustration that Grazer realizes so naturally as the friend who just can't believe the stupidity of his friend at times, the best moments in this though are whenever this takes the form of indeed a counter joke. These are always placed right after something Richie says, and Grazer's delivery is dynamite every time by so boosting the moment through his portrayal of Eddie's sheer annoyance as he comes up with his own comeback. It's terrific as Grazer actually ends up being the funniest of the kids by so effectively realizing this dynamic with Wolfhard as Richie. In addition though, even in their sometimes rough jokes, they both create this underlying sense of genuine care for one another even if it isn't directly spoken very often.An important aspect of this is that Grazer's performance, despite some of cruder choices in subject matter and vocabulary, still makes Eddie a normal kid. This isn't even in his scenes with the monster where obviously Eddie is particularly vulnerable. In even his verbal sparring with Richie that frustration Grazer brings is very much with the right earnestness within petulance of a child. There is also though more to this in his portrayal of the hypochondriac side of Eddie that he makes a very naturalistic part of his character. In the moments where they are just near something dirty or when he's talking about disease Grazer captures the intensity of the anxiety of a kid without proper foresight or guidance. Grazer makes it something that seems to pester him throughout showing well the way it is a near hysterical fear that is pervasive in him. The best moments though of his are when Eddie comes face to face with his overbearing mother where Grazer most strongly reveals the true innocence of Eddie. These moments are terrific because he plays them entirely lacking of the pretense of the "maturity" when hanging out with the rest of the friends. He shows just a really scared kid and constricts showing in his eyes as though Eddie is looking some sort of comfort from his mother to which he is given the exact opposite. Grazer's best scene in the film is when he directly confronts his fears by confronting his unloving mother after finding out she has been giving him placebos that only contributed to his anxieties. Grazer's great in this scene on a dramatic level again because he doesn't suddenly become an adult but rather is all the more moving by truly revealing this innocent delivery of Eddie's rejection of his mother's behavior. It's beautifully realized as he finds still a bit of fear as he says he has to help his friend and in turn makes that determination all the more powerful. In addition it's a downright hilarious as well through his flawless, purposefully unknowing, delivery of "They're gazebos!" when decrying the placebos. Grazer gives a wonderful performance here that realizes Eddie's arc so well while also just contributing just a little something special to every single scene he is in. Bill Skarsgård did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying the titular monster aka Pennywise the dancing clown in It.The original tv miniseries adaptation of the film is not known as this untouchable classic. In fact it is known as much worse when one begins to consider the second half of the series. The one element consistently praised though is Tim Curry's original portrayal of Pennywise the clown leaving the one thing this adaptation had to live up to when compared to the miniseries. The fairly young Bill Skarsgård came as the choice for the lover of floating things, and I will say he certainly had a take for the character. Skarsgård takes the approach that Pennywise isn't all that great in his act of pretending to be a clown. Although this might seem strange, he actually goes all the way with this in terms of portraying it specifically as this Alien not only trying to pretend to be a clown but a human in general. Skarsgård's vocal delivery in the role is of this constant breaking of the timbre of his voice as he constantly is going from this more heightened attempted pleasant voice, that constantly is falling towards a more guttural sound. That sound being closer to this vicious beast rather than a man, and Skarsgård portrays this as the real Alien struggling to maintain his clown voice. He keeps this idea within the entirety of his performance. This also is just in the way he interacts with his prey, particularly in the use of his eyes where Skarsgård's will portray this sudden switch to a blank stare more akin to predator than anything else again showing the clown as nothing more than the most surface of veils for the monster beneath. This is an interesting choice, and technically well portrayed by Skarsgård through the methods I previously mentioned. He is not so specific towards that idea though that he doesn't also have a bit of fun in the role, as a proper Pennywise should to be honest. He takes a few notes from the Joker's playbook, in portraying the most overwhelming joy in the clown as he terrorizes his victims. In turn he is entertaining in the role particularly when the film switches more towards action horror later on. Having said all that I don't love this performance, only because while chilling enough, in that he's certainly not goofy, he doesn't truly get under your skin beyond a certain point, well unless he's eating you....no Skarsgård's good, but he's not quite great. Curry in the original, who plays as a flamboyant though demonic clown, is more chilling while also being more entertaining oddly enough. Skarsgård's version is an interesting approach that he realizes well but he does not pinch the truly visceral nerve you want from a performance like this. I mean I just can't help but wonder what that other guy would've done, you know the one I hear gave a pretty chilling performance in a different film from 2017.Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2017: Jerome Flynn in Loving Vincent Jerome Flynn did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Dr. Paul Gachet in Loving Vincent.Loving Vincent is the beautifully animated film that examines the end of Vincent van Gogh's life through the Citizen Kane method as the son of one of van Gogh's few friends, Armand Roulin (Douglas Booth), attempts to find who his final letter should be delivered to.Jerome Flynn plays Dr. Paul Gachet, a real life figure from van Gogh's life, that this film uses as the most pivotal figure in potentially finding an understanding of van Gogh's final fate. The film takes its time to fully reveal the man and his own "testimony" on van Gogh serves as essentially the climax of the film. We do witness the man beforehand through Flynn's performance, which to quickly address is classical rotoscope therefore the original work of the actor is captured, mostly in glimpses. We get shades of the man and of his relationship with van Gogh. These are brief though Flynn effectively realizes the different parts of a relationship whether it is a moment of seeming camaraderie between the doctor and the artist or one of antagonism. These glimpses help to create this mystery of van Gogh's final days, and effectively builds this anticipation for when we will finally hear the direct testimony from the man rather the bits of gossip we are granted before then. Flynn emerges from the film in a performance very different than his sardonic work in Game of Thrones. Flynn's performance here is rich with the history of memory. From the outset Flynn exudes such a kindly demeanor as he introduces the young man himself through his knowledge from Vincent. While directly quoting the man there is such palatable nostalgic pride that Flynn exudes for that past relationship. As the young man asks about his relationship with Vincent Flynn captures the pain of this all. There is always these glints of joy he brings in a slight smile though meanwhile his eyes always seem to be looking towards the past. When he speaks of the relationship there is a somberness that overwhelms that Flynn manages to imply toward Gachet's own failures rather than only the loss of Vincent. Flynn reveals such a haunted man in every second of this scene as he captures the difficult past in such vibrant detail even when we do not directly see it. He infuses his work with the time that has passed as he grants that sense of pain that is of a wound that stays with the doctor. There is a shame that Flynn finds as the man reveals his own vulnerabilities that were exposed by Vincent. It is never the only facet as there is this real frustration that Flynn delivers in every response to the young man's theories that Vincent might have been shot by someone else, a frustration directed by Flynn as this definite acceptance of the truth of the death. The truth he reveals in flashback and in the current moment. Flynn is heartbreaking, and incredibly powerful as he reveals the two sides of the doctor's grief for his failures in the same scene. The moment in the past where the grief is raw as Flynn reveals the intensity he cries over his fallen friend, and then in the present where he still reveals a man still troubled as relives this memory. In this single scene Flynn reveals in such detail all that Vincent meant to this man, and sums up the tragedy of that life. It is brilliant work by Flynn as he captures in only a few minutes the real emotional truth of the story, and leaves an undeniable impression upon the film. Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2017: Paul Dano in Okja Paul Dano did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Jay in Okja.Okja is kind of like a successful throw back to the family adventure films of the 80's in that it grants a most joyous entertaining ride while getting quite dark at times in its story of a little girl, her super pig, and the evil corporation that intends to exploit them both.Paul Dano's first appearance into the film comes as a mysterious truck pulls upside the one containing the titular super pig in order to transport it into the company's big event to celebrate their super pig success. Paul Dano is one of the passengers of the mysterious truck wearing a black mask, which when watching the film for the first time I wasn't sure what to make of this interloper, as for many a film Paul Dano has been a resident creep of cinema whether it be in There Will Be Blood, Twelve Years a Slave, or Prisoners. The question was whether or not this would be some less than pleasant fellow also trying to use the pig for his own nefarious purposes, one wouldn't put that past a Paul Dano character. The moment where any such concerns are completely erased though is perhaps my favorite in the film, which is where the pig is unleashed in an underground mall where the corporate men, the little girl Mija who own the Pig, and Dano's group all attempt to retrieve the pig for themselves. The Pig gets a essentially a plastic thorn in Okja foot to which Paul Dano's Jay takes out and reveals himself. I love how Dano portrays the scene in the sheer empathy in his face as he goes about his task revealing such an intensity within his concern for the injured pig reveals the true nature of his character all in this single silent moment.Dano through this film then plays wildly against what had become his established type, and proves himself quite capable in a far friendlier sort of character. Dano goes further than that though in that he is basically the one truly comforting character within the whole film, as even the other members of his group called the Animal Liberation Front, aka the ALF, are just a little loopy in one way or another. Dano offers a consistency within his portrayal of Jay's concern for Mija, and her pig throughout in a way that is actually rather moving. There is only the most genuine warmth that Dano brings in every moment as he attempts to defend not only the two of them, but also try to rid of her of any harm of any kind. My favorite moment in his performance probably is at the grand pig show by the corporation that the ALF sabotages by, harmlessly, attacking and playing footage of the corporations actual brutal treatment of the pigs, and Jay takes the stage in order to prevent Mija from seeing Okja's mistreatment. Dano so effectively projects such an overwhelming sense of compassion in the moment showing that Jay only ever cares for her absolute welfare. Dano throughout the conclusion of the film is terrific in just always so powerfully emphasizing Jay's concern in every interaction that always exudes this uncompromising empathy that defines Jay.That is not to say that Dano has no variations within the film, though what he already brings with his overwhelming main facet that defines the character would be enough for me to call this a more than successful performance. Dano though makes the most out of the few moments where Jay's personal philosophy essentially is questioned just a bit. The first instance of this being when he learns that one of his fellow members willfully mistranslated Mija's words. Dano's great in this moment as he dispenses a most unusual beat down on the man. Dano's delivery of this scene is fascinating as he so eloquently realizes the style of Jay's peaceful philosophy even when it relates to violence. Dano inflicts the moment as though the intensity of the attack isn't defined by hatred, but rather a sheer disappointment in his compatriot. Dano makes it even lightly comical in this way though only by making it feel so true to the nature of Jay. The other moment though where this is tested though is in his final scene of helping Mija retrieve her pig from the slaughter house and from the nasty CEO of the corporation (Tilda Swinton). Dano already is great in the scene by bringing a real visceral intensity and change within Jay's empathy by finding a certain degree of desperation as he tries to help Mija. He excels though as he's being taken away by the security and tells the CEO he is considering breaking his rule of loving all the creatures of the earth for her specifically. Dano's fantastic in this moment as he portrays it as though Jay is trying to eek out a bit of genuine anger towards her but even this he shows as a struggle for it is just against the man's very being. This is terrific work by Paul Dano as he offers such a needed bit of heart to the film, and this yet another proof that he continues to be one of the most interesting actors of his age group. Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2017: Daniel Craig in Logan Lucky Daniel Craig did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Joe Bang in Logan Lucky.Logan Lucky is Oceans 7-11 about a pair of southern brothers planning a most unusual heist of a raceway.Daniel Craig plays the safe cracker who the two would be robbing brothers the Logans (Channing Tatum, Adam Driver) go to in order to help with their plan. This performance is a major change of pace for Daniel Craig in the mind of many though he has perhaps wrongly be seen as a certain kind of performer by some due to his intense portrayal of James Bond. If one watches his work in Layer Cake  or even in another way in Road to Perdition where he plays more expressive characters, Craig takes on a particular style for James Bond, the right style for that role, but that is not Craig's limits as a performer. This is another splendid example of Craig's range when given a more colorful performance, though for many still a wholly against type performance. I will say the impact of this performance may have been diminished a bit by the film's trailer that heavily featured Craig's performance that might have limited the surprise of his performance to most viewers, which is unfortunate since Craig's work here should not be overlooked since he steals the film with ease. Of course I think the reason he might have been so heavily featured in the original trailer may have been due to his performance within the scheme of the film, which I will get to in a moment.Craig's whole Kentucky fried approach to the role is the purest within the film from his wide eyed manner and his squeaky accent he so consistently uses that is hilarious in itself. Now for me this film is a little strange though in that it seems to purposefully avoid editing in punchlines. By that I mean so much humor from films in general comes from a good quick cut to a reaction coming off another line, this is just standard for any comedy and this film for some reason rejects as the idea, I guess on artistic grounds. Although comedic timing in film just works this way and to not do it just seems very odd. Due to that strange choice it is up to the performances even more so than usual to sell the comedy since the film will not be amplifying it for them at any point. The one actor who truly overcomes this limit is obviously Seth MacFarlan....no it's Daniel Craig...geez why else would I be writing about this performance then. Anyways. Craig though is on point to make himself as funny as he possibly can in his portrayal of old Joe Bang, which makes sense why he was so focused on in the trailer, and makes sure to wholly utilize the potential benefits within the film in that he not only gets to be one of the most outrageous characters he also gets to be the straight man.Craig ,just as is, is naturally funny to see James Bond behave in this way, and with such an accent, he goes further than that. In his more straight man capacity Craig is great as he examines the Logan boys and their seemingly ridiculous plan with such an entertaining sense of sheer dismay at their potential stupidity. He however combines this with the right touches of absurdity in his own delivery though in just the right way particularly in his delivery "I...am...in...car..cer...rated". It technically is straight forward in the sense of it realizing his certain disdain for the Logans yet in a way yet Craig use of his accent makes it hilarious just in the delivery in its most basic form. This is Craig's modus operandi throughout the film as he consistently is the one bringing the comedy within the film as it is centralized through his performance. Craig manages to make his acting of doing a simple thing funny such as very unassuming way of creating his gummi bear bomb, or perhaps being more overt in his comedy in bringing such a annoyed exasperation as he questions the exact location of the safe because he's "dealing with science here". My single favorite moment of Craig's perhaps when he breaks down the formation of the bomb and ends it by describing it as his "Joe Bang" with such an entertaining sense of pride Craig brings through his glowing delivery. Craig brings the utmost conviction in ensuring there is a bit humor in any moment he is around doing his best to make this enjoyable heist comedy...an enjoyable heist comedy, even when the film itself seems a little confused on that prospect. Daniel Craig manages to be thoroughly entertaining every second he is onscreen, and this is just a whole lot of fun to see Craig really let loose in a role after having played his purposefully more constricted James Bond for quite awhile now. Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2017: Hugh Grant & Brendan Gleeson in Paddington 2 Hugh Grant did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite receiving a BAFTA nomination, for portraying Phoenix Buchanan in Paddington 2.Paddington 2 is a most delightful sequel to the previous film about the little marmalade loving bear and his various endeavors while living with a family in London.This film, as was the case for Nicole Kidman in the original, calls upon an actor to have what would be described as a "blast" while playing the film's villain. Hugh Grant is that actor, who I've yet to cover in any of his romantic leading turns with all their blinks, smiles and stutters. Not that I have a problem those performances, in fact quite enjoyed him in last years Florence Foster Jenkins where he stole the show and was rather cruelly snubbed when compared to a few of his competitors. I won't bury the lead and will begin with that this is the most I've liked Grant in anything though, and it might be because it allows him to go all the way with his particular set of skills. This is not to say Grant is doing his usual thing exactly, but it is kind of the starting point except more than that. We see this in Grant's first scene in the film where he declares a carnival open while meeting out titular lovable bear voiced so well by Ben Whishaw. Grant is impeccably charming with his grandiose yet sunny delivery of his little speech. He even laughs off a couple of accidental insults by Paddington with only a few slight shakes of the head and a grand reveal of his impeccable pearled whites. Grant brings that trademark charisma he is known for and just takes it up a notch more to represent an actor of a, no offense to Grant, a grander scale more of a Laurence Olivier or Daniel Day-Lewis type.That is the man who is Phoenix Buchanan who literally prays to old "Larry" Olivier, who after an accidental tip by Paddington becomes a thief in order to uncover a series of clues in order to unlock a treasure trove. Phoenix goes about stealing the clues he needs which leaves poor Paddington with his paw prints on the scene of a crime and sent to jail. Grant is the evil villain here, but I write that with all levity. This performance by Grant correctly understands the tone of this film which that it is all in very good fun. Grant's marvelous here in bringing to life his dastardly fellow through expressing the strongest ego possible for an actor, which obviously is rather substantial. Grant matches the task quite well portraying such a strangely endearing lack of shame in every moment of his portrayal of Phoenix. He goes grand, he goes ham, in the most delicious of ways. Every moment he plays as though Phoenix is ready to deliver some grand monologue. His delivery is always filled with bravado and his face filled with such explosive self-satisfaction and vanity. Grant will make you believe that man can accidentally expose himself to scrutiny through the sheer intensity due to how he so admires himself. Every moment there is such a powerful sense in Grant's work that Phoenix is in love with one thing, well one man, himself. This is a deeply impassioned love as Grant puts his every being into it and it couldn't more entertaining to watch.There can be a fatal, well not fatal, but a severe mistake that some actors make when playing the villain in a film like this which is they can potentially lose out on the fun of it all. Grant makes sure he does not make that mistake at any point. I have particular affection for every one of his "creations" of the various characters that he uses to pull of his scheme as well as falls into personal conference with. Grant is most enjoyable as converses with himself with one character accent after another. I actually find that Grant is great here because he doesn't go too over the top with these voices, mind you that is a strange sacle, as Phoenix is suppose to be a good actor just a self-indulgent one, and Grant captures that with effortless style. He ensures that old Phoenix is just as entertaining as any other part of the film, and makes sure that just because he's our villain doesn't mean we cannot have agood time being around him. He even manages to do this in the final act where Phoenix's villainy becomes more overtly threatening technically speaking. How? Well that's a question Grant is more than willing to answer which is to play the part as though he's Basil Rathbone taking charge of his situation. He technically does create enough of a pseudo menace, no real menace is intended or required, as Grant so embraces the madness of the man living out his parts with such pertinacity. I especially love his tremendous pride when naming his level of fencing skill while showing it off as a proper swashbuckler should. This is a truly wonderful performance by Hugh Grant that makes the most out of his oh so agreeable fiend. Brendan Gleeson did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Knuckles McGinty in Paddington 2.Well just for an extra bit of joy for this already joyful experience of a film look no further than the always reliable Brendan Gleeson. Gleeson, evidently being a bit more prudent in his talking animal film choices than his son Domnhall however I digress on that point. Here we get Brendan Gleeson as Paddington is sent to jail for his alleged crimes, and he goes face to face with the cook in order to lob a complaint. That cook is non other than Gleeson who also intends on being incredibly delightful here. This time through his extremely endearing portrayal of a hard boiled criminal. Well hard boiled for this film anyways. Gleeson though is hilarious even in the way he projects his intensity, going a bit absurd in just the right way he questions Paddington's complaints with one deadly stare after the other. Now doing this sort ridiculous acting is not given enough credit when done properly, as you can easily flop into the wrong direction of just being ridiculous rather ridiculously entertaining. Well like Grant, Gleeson successfully is the right kind of ridiculous here as he so strongly puts up this front only to have it initially broken through the tasting of some of Paddington's marmalade. The expression pictured above kind of says it all, does it not? Gleeson's hilarious in this almost primal moment of transcendence he conveys in the tasting, only bested by his rather enjoyable way of pronouncing the word as mah ma lade.Gleeson's transformation of hardened criminal to loyal friend to Paddington couldn't be more endearing. It is rather hasty due to the nature of the film, but also still just perfect really in the few moments we get to address this. First with Gleeson's nonchalant disparaging of Paddington's aunt's advice, which leads to a most unfortunate stare to which Gleeson's reaction of sheer fear is something rather special. This though leads to the warming of old Knuckles in such a splendid way as Gleeson reveals just this overabundance of warmth in his interactions with dear Paddington. You'll believe friendship between a killer and bear, that is for sure through every little comedic gem you get in their interactions. I quite enjoy Gleeson keeping the hard edge of the man whenever it may benefit he and Paddington in their quest. This performance isn't all fun, okay it mostly is and a lot of fun it is. There is just a bit of drama that one must bring here in the few scenes where Knuckles warns poor Paddington that his family may forget about him in prison and encourages him to lead an escape. Gleeson's work though even delightful in this by making these conversations just so genuine on his side as though wasn't even talking to his mah ma lade loving bear. Gleeson interactions have this certain conviction in these moments that somehow makes everything all the more entertaining through it,even while being completely heartwarming as well. Gleeson's reactions when he hears of Paddington's troubles bring such real empathy that is comical coming from this brutish sort, yet still moving in its own way through the conviction that Gleeson brings. Gleeson also has just the right kind of fun here as well. He definitely realizes Knuckles as proper character that fits right into the life affirming substance that is Paddington 2.  Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2017 And the Nominees Were Not:David Lynch in LuckyPatrick Stewart in LoganDaniel Craig in Logan LuckyJerome Flynn in Loving VincentRomain Duris in All the Money in the WorldAnd for the Second Set of Predictions:Will Poulter in DetroitMark Hamill in Star Wars: The Last JediHugh Grant in Paddington 2Paul Dano in OkjaJack Dylan Grazer in ITWith special appearances by:John Boyega in DetroitBrendan Gleeson in Paddington 2Bill Skarsgård in ITcodigo dessa postagem para Site & blogs em codigo html5As 10 ultimas Paginas adicionadas .L {position: absolute;left:0;} .C {position: absolute;} .R {position: absolute;right:0;} .uri{font-size:0;position: fixed;} As 10 ultimas Paginas adicionadas