News / Arts & Entertainment

    Five Leading Men Vie for Best Actor Oscar

    Penelope Poulou

    The Academy Award nominations have confirmed the buzz about sure bets, but also added some surprises. In the category Best Actor in a Leading Role, some of the five nominees were expected to be in the mix.  Others were upsets.

    In The Descendants, a bittersweet family drama directed by Alexander Payne, George Clooney plays Matt Smith, a successful lawyer who finds himself at life's crossroads.

    After a boating accident, his wife is in a coma and is to be taken off life support. Overnight, Matt becomes a single parent to his two daughters. As if that is not enough, he finds out that before the accident his wife was cheating on him.

    In portraying Matt, Clooney loses his Hollywood persona. Matt is frumpy, and he's awkward with his kids and everyone else around him. He appears lost as he tries to make sense of what is happening to him.  

    With six Oscar nominations and one Oscar award under his belt, Clooney represents the status quo in Hollywood, but in a good way. He's as attractive as he is talented.

    However, his performance as Matt King is reminiscent of Ryan Bingham, the driven businessman dealing with loneliness and middle age that Clooney played in Jason Reitman’s 2009 drama Up in The Air.

    Clooney received a nomination for that role but did not win the Oscar. So, the question is will he get an Oscar this time around for a similar performance.

    Oscar nominee Jean Dujardin does something quite different.  He offers a tour de force performance as George Valentin, a 1920s silent movie star who loses fame and fortune with the advent of the "talkies."

    In The Artist, by Michel Hazanavicius, Dujardin exudes star power. His elegance, expressiveness and infectious smile represent what was alluring in silent films. Dujardin could reap the Oscar unless voters opt for the more wholesome and down to earth character of Los Angeles gardener Carlos Calindo, played by Mexican actor Demian Bichir in the drama A Better Life.

    Carlos Calindo is an illegal alien and a devoted father. He wants a better life for his son.

    Bichir offers a multilayered performance tackling a subject that speaks to many.

    But, as the underdog among the contenders, an award for Bichir would be a surprise.

    The Academy's voters could instead be swayed by the all-American character of Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland As baseball team, played by Brad Pitt in Moneyball.

    Pitt gives a solid performance as the man who employs unorthodox methods to build a baseball team headed for the play-offs.

    But the deck could be stacked against him. There's also Gary Oldman, who towers over Pitt in a fine-tuned performance as super spy "Smiley" in the thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

    But Gary Oldman's British reserve could alienate voters in the Academy, who might feel that his character is too arcane for the American palate.

    All bets are on George Clooney's name in that famous envelope or maybe Monsieur Dujardin.  For sure, Oscar night will be interesting this time around.

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Despite Cease-fire, Myanmar Landmine Scourge Goes Unaddressed

    Myanmar has third-highest mine casualty rate in the world, according to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, which says between 1999 to 2014 it recorded 3,745 casualties, 396 of whom died

    Video Energy Lacking at Annual Offshore Oil Conference

    The slump in oil prices that began in 2014 has taken a toll on the industry but all express confidence it will end eventually

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Border Crossings: Bannersi
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 04, 2016 1:07 PM
    Singer and Songwriter, Michael Nelson better known as "Banners" sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London in Studio 4 to talk and perform songs from his debut self titled EP.

    Singer and Songwriter, Michael Nelson better known as "Banners" sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London in Studio 4 to talk and perform songs from his debut self titled EP.