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Old January 24 2009, 03:59 AM   #61
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Re: 2009 Oscar Nominations

Shocking as it may seem, I don't think there were any depths at all to Ledger's performance as Joker. I don't blame him. The idea of Joker as Terrorist, spouting turn of the century nihilist cliches, was Politically Correct, in the sense of appeasing the current political climate. But it was dumb. Ledger sold dumb with a flashy performance.

Downey created a plausible resemblance to an African-American as represented by a white Method actore and and Australian. Both personas had to pass muster with audiences who've seen both. Ledger's Joker didn't have to resemble anything on Earth, just hold attention. Technically there's comparison in the challenge I think. Plus, so far as depths go, the sequence when Downey's character breaks character easily had more depth. If the Oscar is awarded for achievement in performance, it's Downey's Oscar. Ledger will probably win, but it will be a backhanded tribute to Brokeback Mountain. But that doesn't mean Gyllenhaal's career is destined to recover.
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Old January 24 2009, 04:42 AM   #62
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Re: 2009 Oscar Nominations

First, don't get me wrong, because I think RDJ's performance is a triumph and I'd like him to win, and I think he achieves much of what Ledger achieved.

What Ledger did that was great, and is most difficult and few actors achieve it, is lose himself. And I don't mean that in the typically pedestrian sense in which armchair critics say to mean you couldn't see or recognize the actor.

I mean Ledger wasn't there, almost literally. What most don't understand about great acting, even actors, is that to pull off a fantastic performance, especially in cinema when the camera is on your nose and the audience is in your face, is that your consciousness cannot be there.

Many actors will perform, or be a character, or even live as one. But in their heads, in their minds, in their consciousness, they are still them being that character. They are trying. They are themselves doing something.

A truly great performance is when that actor is on camera, they are not themselves, they must be the character in presence and act, but also in thought...and never to be thinking to be thinking as the character who is doing. This is a very rare gift that is not often seen and rarely done. It would have been amazing to be Christopher Nolan behind that lens and seeing the magic between action and cut.

What makes Ledger's performance great is he's double acting. The Joker is a liar. He's always scheming. He's borderline insane, and everything he does he's doing his best to hold a veneer of sanity to be able to accomplish his goals. In every scene Ledger is in, he is the Joker in presence, but you can also see him as the Joker in mind...and that is a performance worthy of an Oscar.
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Old January 24 2009, 03:19 PM   #63
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Re: 2009 Oscar Nominations

T'Baio wrote: View Post
The Joker is a liar. He's always scheming. He's borderline insane, and everything he does he's doing his best to hold a veneer of sanity to be able to accomplish his goals. In every scene Ledger is in, he is the Joker in presence, but you can also see him as the Joker in mind...and that is a performance worthy of an Oscar.
Well, the plot requires that Joker is a truthful man. Yes, I know the movie also shows he's a liar! Stuff like that is why I'm not so impressed. Further, although I haven't had a large amount of experience dealing with mentally ill people, I have had some. The Joker's "insanity" is completely out of Hollywood mythology, not anything real, or even simply human. (As the years go by, I'm starting to get really pissed by the usual backward depiction of mental illnesses!) I never bought into Joker. I just was amused by his antics. Fundamentally the character was no more serious or truthful than Caesar Romero's Joker.

But as I say, that's why I admired Ledger's competence in selling this nonsense, which was the prime reason the movie was tolerable! (With Aaron Echkart's performance being the second, by the way. Where's the love for him?) But in the end, I ask myself, would it really be a tribute to memorialize Ledger for the Joker? Hell, no.
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Old January 25 2009, 06:48 AM   #64
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Re: 2009 Oscar Nominations

The academy missed its chance to award Ledger for Brokeback Mountain. The Dark Knight is, outside of the new Gilliam film, the only chance they have left. Assuming the premise is correct, i.e. that Ledger's performance salvages what would otherwise be not worth remembering, doesn't that make it all the better a performance to reward?

I'm not convinced Eckhart's performance is worthy of many accolades. It was serviceable, but Ledger made his dialogue believable. Eckhart made awkward lines ("You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain) sound like awkward lines. And take away the CGI effect of two-face, is his performance really all that chilling? If anything, it makes Ledger's performance look all the better to me.

Not going to argue about Downey Jr's performance though. It was the best part of Tropic Thunder.
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Old January 25 2009, 08:10 AM   #65
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Re: 2009 Oscar Nominations

I have no problem with Ledger getting the award, although arguments could probably be made for the other nominees.
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Old January 25 2009, 11:56 PM   #66
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Re: 2009 Oscar Nominations

Star Treks wrote: View Post
aladinsane wrote: View Post
Yes, the academy does harbor some prejudices toward genre films, but I really think The Dark Knight's greatness has been overstated and that it doesn't deserve a best picture nomination. It was a very fun, well made film, but not a great film. I truly do not believe that it will be a movie that will be as highly regarded in even 10 years time.
Completely agree - of all the times a Genre film should get Best Picture, TDK is definitely not one of them. A solid, enjoyable, good, not great movie with one great acting performance and stalwart direction.

Perhaps if Chris Nolan does a third Batman and that one actually turns out to be a "great" movie, maybe it'll get the nomination as a recognition of the 3 Batman films together like Peter Jackson's nomination (and win) for Return of the King. But unfortunately, IMO, Batman Begins is going to be a constant drag on Oscar potential for the (presumed) trilogy.

I also agree that the current political winds in Hollywood are blowing in favor a best picture win for "Milk", and probably Sean Penn too. Definitely won't be the first time something like this has happened, though.
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Old January 26 2009, 01:07 AM   #67
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Re: 2009 Oscar Nominations

TheArsenal wrote: View Post
Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
What the hell is Milk or The Reader? Has any average film goer even heard of these films?
The Oscars are becoming an art-film ghetto. But I prefer that to them becoming just another iteration of the People's Choice Award. Let em be highbrow, they'll pay for it by taking a hit in the Nielsens.
I can't speak to Milk or The Reader which I haven't seen and may very well be art house films, but Frost/Nixon and in particular Slumdog Millionaire, while small films are not. Frost/Nixon, as strange as it is going to sound, is more like a crowd pleasing boxing film than anything else. Subject matter and quality aside, it's structured like a Rocky film; Nixon as Apollo Creed. And Slumdog while quite good and inventive in many places, mixes very familiar audience pleasing Hollywood ideas. It is only the central plot conceit and the "exotic" locale which hides this familiarity from immediate detection.
Even those are artier than the likes of Iron Man and Dark Knight. It's all relative in Hollywood - even the little arty films are expected to follow the moral-redemption or underdog-wins models. Well-made movies that are unabashed crowd-pleasers are the types that get snubbed at the Oscars but some little arty film that depresses the hell out of everyone is going to have a tough time of it, too. The Reader and Revolutionary Road are pushing it for morose-ness.
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