6B - The Michigan ,[ily - Weekend4 etc. Magazine - Thursday March 22, 2000
- Thie'Michigah Dy -=Weekend, et
Support group a solid crop
By Lyle Hetretty
Daily Film Editor
The "Best Supporting" Oscar nomi-
nees usually live up to their award's title:
they support the movie, holding it up
with brilliant performances that often
encapsulate the emotional core of the
film. Imagine how listless "Goodfellas"
would have been without 'Joe Pescis
bratty, furious Tommy. Or "The Usual
Suspects" without Kevin Spaceys ques-
tionable narrator. Or "My Cousin Vinny"
without Marisa Tomei. Okay. so the
Academy has made some interesting
(some say questionable) choices in these
category over the years. It is always a
wealth of talent and nearly impossible to
predict. (The 1994 award went to Martin
Landau for "Ed Wood" instead of'
Samuel L. Jackson for "Pulp Fiction!"
I lad the world gone mad?)
This years Best Supporting Actors
race is especially volatile in that there are
no newcomers (usually favored by the
Academy) to give the award to. Even the
youngest of the group. 26-year-old
Joaquin Phoenix. has been making
movies for 15 years. While the young
star was certainly the most enjoyable
part of last summer's popcorn feast
Courtesy of Lions Gate Films
Willem Dafoe frightens as eerie Count Orlock in Elias Merhige's "Shadow of the Vampire."
"Gladiator," he is the least likely to take
home the gold this year. "Gladiator"
belonged to Russell Crowe, and the
Aussie's on and off screen antics have all
but overshadowed his terribly vexed co-
star. Phoenix's quirky persona and pen-
chant for choosing differing, interesting
roles will probably land him in this cate-
gory again soon.
The Academy has bestowed six nomi-
nations on Albert Finney and not a single
win. In "Erin Brockovich," his Ed Masry
was both gruff and loveable, but the
skilled actor may have helped his toothy
costar a little too much. With Julia
Roberts all but .a shoe-in for Best
Actress, the Academy may be wary of
giving the film (which was really noth-
ing more than "A Civil Action" with
cleavage) too much credit.
The very talented Jef Bridges is nom-
inated for his careful characterization of
a lovable liberal president with a consti-
tution of steel in "The Contender." a film
many critics hated and few people actu-
ally saw. Bridges, who has been shame-
fully overlooked previously for such
eclectic work as "The Big Lebowski"
and "The Fisher King." will probably be
defeated by the same ease with which he
fits into his roles. I le is not a flashy actor.
but a competent character actor that
makes each of his characters believably
Fittingly, then, is that one of the front-
runner nominee's is not human at all.
Willem Dafoe's Count Orlock helps
"Shadow of the Vampire" walk the line
between comic-horror and tragic-horror.
See SUPPORTING, Page 11B
By Andy Taylor-Fabe
Daily arts Wrter
Despite the claims that 2000 was one
of the worst movie years in decades,
the competition for the Oscars is still
fierce, and just like every other year,
there are some excellent actors and
films that were left out in the cold. In a
word, they were snubbed. Whether it is
because of legitimate reasons or prob-
lens- with hype (or lack thereof) sur-
rounding a movie, hep Ire some of the
films and people ti- were left out for
this year's Oscar race.
"Almost Famous," a favorite of crit-
ics and moviegoers alike, was denied
a Best Picture nomination, and
Cameron Crowe was left out of the
Director category. The film secured
two best supporting actress nomina-
tions (Kate Hudson and Frances
McDormand) and one for best orii-
nal screenplay, but there are two stel-
lar actors who could have easily got-
ten best supporting nominations who
just plain didn't: Billy Crudup in a
hypnotic performance as Russell
Ilammond, the "guitar player with
mystique" and Phillip Seymour
loffman as the late, great rock critic
Lester Bangs. One of the best lines of
the film was uttered by Iloffman:
"The only true currency in this bank-
rupt world is what you share with
someone else when you're uncool.
Curtis Hlanson's "Wonder Boys"
was left out of almost every category,
with the exception of best song for
Bob Dylan's "Things Hlave Changed"
and Steve Kloves' adapted screen-
play. It's almost as if' the Academy
just forgot that the movie existed.
Part of the problem lies in the timing:
the film was released early in the
year and with inadequate pronotion-
al support, and even the re-release in
the full couldn't save "Wonder Boys"
from fading from memory.
In addition to being worthy of Best
Picture and Best Director, "Wonder
Boys" also boasts Robert Downey Jr.
Downey Jr. is more than deserving of a
nomination for best supporting actor
for his portrayal of Terry Crabtree,
Professor Grady Tripp's (Michael
Douglas) manic and sexually frustrated
editor. Unfortunately, Downey's drug
problem and probable re-incarceration
ruled out his chances.
"Dancer in the Dark" didn't stand a
chance, but not for lack of worth. Bjork
was incredible in her role as a desper-
ate mother who sacrifices everything
Boys,' Bjork -S Dark'
passed up; Conne'y ousted
Courtesy of R
A damn shame: In "Wonder Boys," Robert Downey, Jr. reminds us once
he's one of the best actors working in Hollywood today.
for her son, but stories of her Dennis
Ilopper-"Apocalypse Now" type freak
outs on the set and her vow that she
will never act again probably curtailed
her run at the best actress award. David
Morse was painful and believable in his
part, but he was also left out of the best
supporting actor category. Other than a
nomination for best song, Bjork's "I've
Seen it All." the film didn't receive any
Other omissions include Sean
Connery for his perforr
reclusive but goodhearte
"Finding Forrester," whic
ered to be one of his best ro
with those in "The Untouc
"Indiana Jones and the La
Also, the Coen brother
Brother, Where Art Thou
receive any nominations ot
adapted screenplay, provin
that the Academy just
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