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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

"Soul Lounge" host Shawna Renee catches up with soul singer and songwriter Russell Taylor to hear what he’s been up to since winning the VH1 "You Oughta Know" title in 2013. She also convinces him to share a few songs from his album "War of Hearts."