Friday, March 5, 2010

Oscar's Blind Side

My two picks for the biggest Blind Side omissions from this year's Oscar ceremony. Sandra Bullock's passing them by, but if she goes below 50 mph, she'll explode!

Best Actor:
Michael Fassbender
(Hunger / Fish Tank)

Responsible for one of the most tantalizing monologues of the year in Hunger, Michael Fassbender is also responsible for the most tantalizing man flesh of the year in Fish Tank. Both equally admirable and award worthy. One film details the horrors inflicted on the body, the other the body's insurmountable pleasures.

Beyond his obvious external beauty though is a masterfully confident performer. Hunger strips Fassbender bare, his body and mind made frail for a cause. The brutal physicality of the role is met with a startling internal grace, turning the sustained single shots into captivating and moving reveals. While wasting away before our eyes, the depths of his character are fully nourished.

Fish Tank then is just as startling, merging that inherent sex object quality with a father figure conflict. His encounters with the young Mia are equal parts erotic and unsettling as we experience her desires for her mom's new boytoy first hand, and yet we feel the detached darkness subtly creep in with each curious glance and questionable touch. Removing someone's shoes has never seemed so layered and lustful. His character's turns could make him horribly villainous, yet Fassbender stirs an inner judgement and disgrace that keeps him from being painted as simplistically. If Michael Fassbender is a sculptural man, he manages to chip away at all the right parts.

Best Actress:
Tilda Swinton

Channeling Gena Rowlands if mob maven Gloria had taken to child abduction rather than childcare. Her olive-dropped swirl of moral suspect is filled to the brim in Tilda Swinton's boozy, mesmerizing creation. Julia is a woman bent on destroying herself and everyone around her, destined for a life lived in brown paper bags and back seats, until a child enters her life. Same story we've seen a million times, and yet Julia first abducts the child and binds him to the motel radiator outside of Mexico. For every noble effort there's some nefarious counterpoint and Swinton builds Julia's inevitable soul without orchestration - even if Swinton's detailing plays like some kind of tipsy symphony.


JA said...

You're probably already aware how deeply I agree with everything you wrote here already, Adam, so let me just say, "Well said!" And "tipsy symphony" is a beautiful phrase.

Simon said...

I really should've seen more than five minutes of Julia at this point, shouldn't I?

God, I feel so out of it.

Adam said...

Thanks, JA!

Seriously though, how does Tilda manage to get Oscar attention for her slim (still sensational) bit in "Michael Clayton," but no one bats an eye when she's drunkenly abducting kids, firing guns and running people over with as much flourish as she does in "Julia." Let us all drown our sorrows with a stiff drink.