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February 18, 2009

Oscar goes to right actor/wrong role


Plenty of fodder out there for that right actor/wrong role argument. Here are just a few examples of those who've won Oscars for performances that are either subpar -- of course, this is all subjective -- or just less noteworthy than the gig they actually won for:

Russell Crowe took home the trophy for "Gladiator" instead of "The Insider"; Al Pacino for "Scent of a Woman" instead of "Dog Day Afternoon" or "Serpico," still one of the all-time Academy Awards head-scratchers; Judi Dench for her eight minutes in "Shakespeare in Love" instead of her psycho "best friend" in "Notes on a Scandal"; Whoopi Goldberg for throwaway romance "Ghost" instead of the groundbreaking drama "The Color Purple"; and Renee Zellweger for "Cold Mountain" when it should've been "Chicago." Or, just not "Cold Mountain."

We could continue, but we'll fast-forward to this year's race, where we believe the right actor/wrong role debate is alive again. Our picks?

Brad Pitt for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" 

84695243 Look, he's a lot better as the little old CGI manchild than when he's his hunky 40-something-but-
aging-backwards self. Stiff as a board! And that's half the blessed movie. We would've much rather seen him nominated for "Fight Club," but we knew that wasn't going to happen for David Fincher's uber-violent treatise on disconnected males. This nomination for his third outing with Fincher seems like a make-good. (No supporting nod for "Thelma & Louise," "Burn After Reading"? Pshaw!)

Angelina Jolie in "Changeling"

And speaking of make-goods? She should've been nominated last year for "A Mighty Heart," which no one saw. The drama about Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl's abduction and murder and Jolie's role as his stalwart wife Mariane were both overlooked. It was lost, or shoved aside, in a crowded year.

What do we get instead? "I want my son back!!!" Well, we want our two-and-a-half hours back. Though we love us some Clint Eastwood, especially in the director's chair, "Changeling" left us cold and unmoved, with ears ringing. So much shrieking!

Plus, we think she took a best actress spot that rightfully belonged to Sally Hawkins.

But our top right actor/wrong role choice this year is the one who's most likely to win:

Kate Winslet for "The Reader"  

It's not just because we hated this Holocaust-based drama -- oh boy, we did -- but because we know we're likely to see flawless, affecting and wonderful work from her in the future. Some of that, at least, will go unheralded because of her probable win on Sunday.

Any of the five previous nods -- go ahead, eeny, meeny, miny, mo -- would've been the better choice, as would her curiously overlooked performance in the snubbed "Revolutionary Road."

Feel free, dear readers, to jump in here anywhere.


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Oh my God, Brad Pitt is the best actor in the world, I love hos movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" because it was very serious and interesting, and he was stunning, by the way, Angelina Jolie is very good too, I saw her in Salt and she was awesome.


I think Russell Crowe deserved the trophy fro Gladiator, becuase his performance was simply mind-blowing. I even consider that film as one of the greatest of all time. For this year my favorite is Brat Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

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  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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