We have arrived at my favorite category of the night, Best Actor. Just a simple nomination in this category can make a career. Of all the talented men in this category there is only one previous Oscar winner, Christian Bale. The field is made up of a veteran and legend, two first time nominees in Chiwetel Ejiofor and Matthew McConaughey, and of course Mr. DiCaprio.
Christian Bale underwent a massive translation to play the lead character in American Hustle. His massive weight gain was just part of what made this an incredible performance. Bale’s accent and delivery is top-notch, although, that’s almost what we have come to expect from him as he continues his ride at the peak of his career.
Bruce Dern is a “graduate” of the Roger Corman school of film making. He is a legend of the style of films that became popular in the 70’s with films like Black Sunday and Coming Home. He may have found his greatest role in Alexander Payne’s Nebraska. At the age of 77 he is experiencing a new resurgence. The beautiful part of his ride is seeing his daughter, Laura Dern by his side.
The big question surrounding this category has been, “is this the year that DiCaprio walks away with his Oscar. Having won the Golden Globe but not the SAG, it makes for an interesting showdown. His portrayal of Wall Street swindler, Jordan Belfort is loud and lude but played very well. I just don’t see this being his year and I would be a little disappointed if he won for two reasons. Reason 1) This is by far not his best performance, in my opinion. I would have rather seen him win for The Aviator or Blood Diamond. Those are A-1 performances. Reason 2) Matthew McConaughey deserves it.
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup is moving, emotional and flat out gut wrenching. His performance is as extraordinary as the story itself. To see a confident free man broken down over time is hard to watch, but Ejiofor makes you keep your eyes glued to the screen. His performance is the unfortunate one of the year that came up against a once in a lifetime performance.
Matthew McConaughey’s transformation over the last few years has been remarkable. It comes to it’s peak Sunday night, when he will most likely walk on stage and hold that statue. He took home the SAG and that has been the precursor in this category almost every year. He literally became Ron Woodroof, losing 45lbs for the role and who better to play a cowboy who is Texas to the bone.
Come Sunday, I’m sure Matthew will be feeling alright,alright,alright.