Film, TV and the Arts

Film, TV and the Arts

Thursday, 9 February 2012

BAFTA Preview: Best Supporting Actor

How refreshing it is to see five completely worthy nominees. What a shame it is that only one can win.

It is hard to have any complaint about the Best Supporting Actor category this year. I have quibbles, such as the fact that not one member of the brilliant supporting cast in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy managed to make it onto the list (presumably they all cancelled out each other’s votes), and that Christopher Plummer, great though he is, has been nominated more for the outlandishness of his role (an elderly father who belatedly comes out) than for the quality of his performance (I personally thought he was better in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

However, you can stand back and look at these five nominees and say not only that they’re all worthy of their place there, but also that you wouldn’t mind any of them winning.

Let me deal first with Plummer: a man whose career has been very considerable indeed, but who has only recently received awards recognition. He is very good in Beginners, but he is excellent in a smaller but crucial role in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. In the latter, he strikes a wonderful balance between being instantly likeable but also quite untrustworthy, hinting that this old man may not be all that he seems and oozing a sense of duplicity which the audience may or may not be correct about having. So, he’s up for the wrong film, but at least he’s up for the award and I would not begrudge him his victory.

The ever-excellent Jim Broadbent receives a nomination for his performance as Denis Thatcher in The Iron Lady, a nod which may have as much to do with the general affection Denis is held in as well as the admiration of Broadbent. However, he is in a mess of a film and his performance suffers from that, turning Denis into some curious ghoul who only has rare flashes of real humanity. When those flashes come in the script, Broadbent nails them, but they are too fleeting.

Another ever-excellent is Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is up for his performance in The Ides of March. Again, I have a small quibble: the really excellent male supporting performance in that film is Paul Giamatti’s, but Hoffman is still very good. He is man who is almost always worthy of a nomination, but his fellow American nominee, Jonah Hill, may well be a surprise for some. The nod for the star of Superbad, Cyrus and the currently despised The Sitter is unexpected but thoroughly deserved for his very subtle performance in the behind-the-scenes, baseball drama Moneyball. There is a theory that his appearance in the apparently loathsome The Sitter has killed whatever he chances he may have had. Nevertheless, he would be a worthy winner.

However, only one person can walk away with the award, and it should be Ken Branagh, whose performance as Sir Laurence Olivier in My Week with Marilyn is brilliantly observed, wonderfully funny and a great reminder of just how excellent Branagh is. He completely steals the film and is a joy to watch whenever he’s on screen. Plummer, I think, will take the Oscar, but the British have a tendency to celebrate their own, and Branagh should be the favourite to win on Sunday, and a most deserving winner he would be.

The BAFTA Film Awards are held on Sunday 12th February and will be broadcast on BBC One at 9pm
The preview continues tomorrow with a look at the nominees for Best Actress

No comments:

Post a Comment