5 Unlikely Oscar Nominations We Hope to See on Tuesday Morning
Tuesday is the big, index-culminating day, dear cinephiles! Oscar day! All the 0s and 1s we punched into our Academydore 64 will turn into rightful predictions or sad mistrials. Before tomorrow's gigantic, Made in Dagenham-devoid announcement, we're counting down five long-shot nominations we'd love to see. Yes, The Social Network gets yet another round of props here. Sorry, Sean Parker!
Best Supporting Actress: Rooney Mara in The Social Network
She's in the movie for a little over five minutes -- mostly the opening scene, no less -- yet Rooney Mara's role as Erica Albright in The Social Network provides a barometer for conscience that the audience puts up to every mechanizing male who appears on-screen thereafter. A pretty-much pure invention of Aaron Sorkin, Erica fields Mark Zuckerberg's condescension and flippancy; her outrage is ours, and her exasperation is as well-expressed and witty as Mark's. Beatrice Straight won an Oscar for her five-minute gauntlet of heartbreak, fury, and closure in Network, and Mara is her heir apparent. Both are dismissed by antisocial social geniuses, and both take just five minutes to establish what their adversaries struggle to conjure in 120: humanity. (Even it took 99 takes.)
Best Actress: Kim Hye-ja in Mother
Annette Bening and Julianne Moore are nervy dual matriarchs in The Kids are All Right, but Kim Hye-ja's searing journey as the title powerhouse in South Korea's Mother makes Nic and Jules's dramas seem like I Love Lucy vignettes. When her son Do-jun is charged with murder, Mother barrels through town conducting her own research about the crime, harassing as many authorities and passersby as possible. Mother is a difficult film, but the fulgent conviction in Kim Hye-ja's performance is unforgettable.
Best Supporting Actor: Bill Murray in Get Low
2010 was not an especially strong year for "droll." Get Low may be a bit understated (and under-climactic) for academy consideration, but Bill Murray's turn as Frank Quinn, the owner of a local funeral parlor, was even saltier than any of the splendid performances on NBC's Community. If the latter will remain an unrewarded gem in primetime, the least the Academy can do is honor Murray, who delivers lines like, "I sold 26 of the ugliest cars in the middle of December with the wind blowing so far up my ass I was farting snowflakes into July" with rhythmic, uninterrupted wryness.
Best Supporting Actor: Rob Corrdry in Hot Tub Time Machine
The only broad comic performance to earn a Best Supporting Actor nomination in the past decade is Robert Downey, Jr.'s in Tropic Thunder, as an Australian method actor attempting blackface in a combat drama. The taboo factor worked in Downey's favor, as it should've, but where's the Academy love for caustic hysterics otherwise? If Jack Nicholson's not pulverizing the punchlines, does Oscar refuse to care? In the year's least Oscar-buzzy movie (aside from maybe Sex and the City 2 and Marmaduke: The 5D Holographic Great Dane Experience), Rob Corrdry kills as the bankrupt divorcee who uses the titular plot absurdity for his own Motley Crue-loving gain. Corrdry's not even a long-shot here -- he's a no-shot -- but a nomination would at least signify that AMPAS views more than ten films a year.
Best Picture: Rabbit Hole
The year's most obvious downer is also its most unexpectedly gentle. Rabbit Hole lacks both spectacle and crackerjack dialogue -- two major facets in the race this year -- but that's its undeniable strength: For lack of a stronger term, it's real -- steady, thoughtful, and not afraid to let its stylistic spareness work on the viewer. Some critics have said Rabbit Hole wants to be congratulated for its harrowing character pangs -- including Aaron Eckhart's tantrums and Nicole Kidman's breakdowns, but I'd say The Fighter's histrionics and I Am Love's monotonous eye-candy want more Independent Spirit applause than this believable family drama. Rabbit Hole successfully builds a timeline for tragedy, and its characters work hard to understand the malleability of reality and the hell of acceptance.