Now that the Screen Actors Guild has released their nominations and the Golden Globes have… Still, I’d like to persuade adventurous Oscar voters to look elsewhere, as so many of the best performances have been overlooked by both groups. Here are five stellar corners that still deserve their due, plus a sixth performance that should do even better than it is.
Renate Reinsve, ‘The worst person in the world’
Here are a few things Renate Reinsve does as Julie, the main character in “The Worst Person in the World”: she changes college major; she flirts; she is dating one guy and is thinking of dating another; sometimes she dances, takes drugs, writes, takes pictures; she worries, more often than she should, about being aimless. But in this collection of the little things that make up a real life, the purpose of the film turns out to be incredibly true.
Reinsve, 34, is a Norwegian performer but looks so much like Dakota Johnson that you’ll start to wonder why Johnson can’t be in such real and engaging romantic dramas, or why Hollywood has stopped doing them. (The film, which had a small Oscar-qualifying release last year, will hit more U.S. theaters next month.) Maybe that’s why I treasured this one so much, though most of it of that credit has to go to Reinsve for playing someone so specific in her hazy sprawl that you’d think you should be able to text Julie to have a drink after watching her movie.
Colman Domingo, ‘Zola’
What can’t Colman Domingo improve? The 52-year-old Broadway veteran has gone on to become one of our finest character actors, appearing in a host of award season films including “Lincoln”, “Selma” and “If Beale Street Could Talk”. He can play sly – with his raised eyebrows and shady silences, he almost stole “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” from the rest of this film’s star-studded cast – or solid, like when he played the Traditionalist versus a fiery Chadwick. Boseman in “My Rainey’s Dark Background.
“Zola” is less obvious as an Oscar nominee than these films, but Domingo’s performance in this film still deserves attention: as a pimp who accompanies our heroine (Taylour Paige) on a road trip in a strip club gone bad, Domingo is both creepy and a hoot of a live wire, sometimes flipping between those extremes in the space of a line. After proving to be a lucky charm in the face of so many award-winning performances, it’s high time the Oscars let themselves be charmed by Domingo himself.
Jessie Buckley, “The Lost Girl”
I enjoyed learning about Irish actress Jessie Buckley’s work in movies like ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ and’ Wild Rose ‘, but at no point watching her did I think,’ You know. who should she be playing? A young Olivia Colman! In fact, it seems like madness for director Maggie Gyllenhaal to even choose Buckley as the earlier version of Colman’s character in “The Lost Daughter”: is there really enough space between Buckley, 32, and the 47-year-old? Colman that we would buy them as separate poles from the same person?
Either way, it works, and that’s while Buckley juggles several other balls. Not only does she have to convince as Colman, but she has to unravel the mysterious backstory of this hapless character and sell several scenes that look unsympathetic on paper, like going after her kids and seeing adultery as a change. of fun rhythm. Yet Buckley is so dexterous and inherently captivating that you don’t question a single second. Even surviving this mission is quite an achievement – succeeding and becoming the movie’s stealth MVP is on a whole new level.
Olga Merediz, “In the heights”
A bouncy summer release, “In the Heights” seemed like one of the year’s first major Oscar contenders until a disappointing box office performance confined him to contender status as well. That quick brushstroke now seems unfair, as most of the award contenders who arrived months later – including “West Side Story,” a much more expensive adaptation of singing on the streets of New York – didn’t. hardly does better.
Maybe it’s time to take another look at ‘In the Heights’, especially if it draws more attention to Olga Merediz, the 65-year-old actress who created the role of Abuela Claudia on stage. Her song “Paciencia y Fe” becomes the centerpiece of the film, a breathtaking fantasy about the immigrant experience spanning several decades. Director Jon M. Chu directs the scene well – with lots of beautiful dances and clever, effects-assisted cuts – but the vulnerable Merediz, singing her heart out, is what you remember the most. (You can crop everything except her face and not miss a thing.)
Ben Affleck, “The Last Duel”
Sometimes when I look at who’s nominated for an Oscar, I want to channel Kristen Johnston’s lavish socialite from “Sex and the City” and exclaim, “No one’s fun anymore!” What happened to the pleasure? That’s what happens when people equate seriousness with value: we get a full list of serious and serious candidates.
Five films to watch this winter
As a bulwark against this, may I continue to suggest 49-year-old Ben Affleck for your consideration? No, not for the quite more conventional “The Tender Bar”, which just got him a SAG nod: instead, please name him to have the time of his life in “The Last Duel”, in which his randy earl throws orgies, negs Matt Damon tells naughty jokes and begs Adam Driver to take his pants off. Is all of this a bit anachronistic? Did the film use it with a British accent instead of a French accent? Can anyone on this planet make sense of their hair? Yes, yes and no, but what about? Affleck is so much fun that only a pro could pull it off.
Ruth Negga, ‘Passing by’
Ruth Negga managed the SAG and Golden Globe nominations for her work in “Passing,” but I’m still moved to include her on this list because “Passing” itself didn’t get its awards, and I’m afraid that that doesn’t put the 40-year-old Negga in danger of being snubbed. There are few films that I have thought more about this season than this first film by actress Rebecca Hall, and absolutely no performance that marked me more than that of Negga.
In “Passing”, based on Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel, Negga plays Clare, a fair-skinned black woman who passes for white. When she reunites with her childhood friend Irene (Tessa Thompson), an already strained existence becomes doubly so: Clare steps out of her racist white husband (Alexander Skarsgard) to flirt with Irene in all kinds of provocative ways. Does she view Irene’s respectable life as an honest black bride in Harlem and covet what she has avoided? Or does she want to lure Irene into an intermediate life where the bond between them can even turn romantic.
I’m not quite sure yet, because a year after seeing this movie, I continue to flip Negga’s performance to examine it from new angles. It’s called a gem, isn’t it?