decade revisited: 2008, part 2
The Nominees: Ah, to remember a year when the Supporting Actor category wasn’t quite so slim pickens as 2009’s. In a relatively strong year for the category (in an otherwise fairly weak year for film), the five chosen men still seem like viable choices from great movies. Brolin and Franco play very different roles in the lead character’s life in the biopic standout Milk, Marsan nails the rigid driving instructor to a tee in Happy-Go-Lucky, Pitt is more charming than usual as the dunderheaded gym rat in Burn After Reading, and Ledger gave the performance of the year as the villainous Joker in The Dark Knight.
Revisions: Since I’m happy with this group of five, I’ll simply let you know what others would stand a shot at usurping spots in retrospect, most of them being rather silly, but perfectly acceptable (in my eyes) candidates – Gary Oldman in The Dark Knight, Russell Brand in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Danny McBride in Pineapple Express.
The Nominees: Thanks to a summer living in the big city, I was able to see a few harder to find, obscure foreign flicks in 2008 — hence my nod to Scott Thomas here, who was fantastic in the little-seen but wonderfully twisty-turny Tell No One. Thanks to living up the hype, awardsbait Cruz, Davis, and Tomei were included here. And in a nod to an underrated turn in one of the big awardy productions of the year, the last spot was filled by Swinton, who out-performed some of the showier roles in the sweeping epic, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Revisions: Though I totally appreciate Tomei’s work in The Wrestler, the understated performance would likely be bumped out by another understated performance, that of Rosemarie Dewitt’s in Rachel Getting Married, a criminally under-awarded turn. Along with the top five, though, there is a host of other notable performances that I thought were quite nice – Taraji P. Henson in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Misty Upham in Frozen River, Ari Graynor in Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, Debra Winger in Rachel Getting Married, Cynthia Nixon in Sex and the City, Ellen Page in Smart People, and Hiam Abbass in The Visitor.