Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What are Michael's chances?

On January 22nd, the result of a four month, unscientific, way below the radar fan Oscar consideration campaign to get Michael Fassbender noticed for his portrayal as Bobby Sands in Hunger, will either come to the end, or go into Phase II. Depending on the outcome of the Oscar nominations that day, I will either be royally pissed off or dizzy from complete euphoria, and I'm ready for both extreme emotions.

When I saw Hunger at the Toronto Int'l Film Festival last September, I knew that this was Oscar qualified film-making and acting at its finest. I was witnessing for the first time in person, the North American festival premiere of a film, along with its Director and Lead Actor, that had Oscar written all over it in which I supported immediately. For as long as I have been an Oscar enthusiast, during this pre-Oscar season, I really have been educated in the ways of Oscar politics and particulars, and it does make me a little nervous. There were a few times when I felt empowered and proud to be supporting Michael, especially when people asked me questions about him and 'Hunger'.

And then there were the many times when I felt my lobbying was met with deaf and indifferent ears, because: Michael is an unknown; he's not American; the director is an unknown; it's a low-budget UK production; and the film has only been seen in select American festivals which has made it ineligible to be considered on year end critic's lists, which also means that not a whole lot of people, who matter, have seen it. However, Hunger did have a one week screening in LA where it got at best, mixed reviews. But those that did enjoy it had great things to say about the film and the performances. I do think that Hunger should have been screened in New York City at the same time to cover both coasts, but I do not know the financial or logistical obstacles IFC Films faced in trying for both. But in the end, Los Angeles was the best place for it to be viewed if it only had one city choice.

This pre-Oscar season, I'm emotionally invested in the success of one particular film and actor. There are other films and other actors I'm rooting for this year for sure. In previous years, I got riled up in the speculation action, but it was all in good fun. I had no emotional or vested interest in any film/performance. I have had loads of favorites in the past, especially in the Best Actress arena. But it is different this year and I know I'm so vehement in my support because I also realize that the chances are slim.

My hopes and predictions are worlds apart. For example, I predict, that if Hunger is even thought of, it may get a Best Cinematography nomination, if anything at all. Why cinematography? It's a high honor to recognize a very good film with few nominations, but still deep in the shadow of Actor, Picture, Director, and Screenplay, for instance. I also have prepared myself for a complete snub of Hunger. My hopes, which I admit are innocently delusional, is that Hunger is nominated in all five categories just mentioned, but I would be at peace with one or two, and one of them MUST BE Best Actor. Lots of great films only get acting nominations, and that could be Hunger's reward. And speaking of rewards, when it comes to nominations alone, especially Hunger as it is truly the David versus Goliath this year, a nomination alone would just open so many doors for Michael and his career. And in all honesty, that's what I really want for him: Recognition. He has already proven that he's a fantastic actor, and since he's only 31, he has many years ahead of him to obtain a future Oscar nomination, and by then, he will be more established and respected and he would win without so much nail biting and 'Who dat?' drama.

Garnering a nomination this year will send shock waves through the industry and people will be curious about him, and industry Powers That Be will be knocking on his door with eager smiles and brilliant scripts. I want Michael to receive a nomination because he deserves it, he was excellent and committed beyond the call of duty in his role as Bobby Sands. Also, it would bring great joy to me to see so many Oscarholics in an uproar about this year's Laura Linney. See, last year Ms. Linney, a fantastic and gorgeous actress, was a surprise Best Actress Oscar nominee for 'The Savages', a great movie by the way. Her nomination was a surprise because she was not on the radar at all in any of the precursor awards and critic's list. Her nomination came totally out of the blue! And that could be Michael this year. So next year, people will be speculating about surprise Best Actor nominees and they'll say, 'Who's going to pull a Michael Fassbender this season?' Wouldn't that rock? Well, we can dream, and I'll keep on dreaming until the Best Actor nominations are announced on January 22nd. And not to discount the BAFTAs, which will be announced on Jan 15th, Michael will be nominated there which will make his possible absence from the Oscar roll call even more glaringly unfortunate.


Anonymous said...

The Laura Linney's last nomination is a good example of how an actor returns to Oscars votes, but I don't think Michael will have that luck:

*Laura Linney is a well know american actress
*She has important friends: Clint Eastwood, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon...
*The Movie received raves
*Michael, unfortunally, is a unknow irish actor in a european indie production and he's not like Marion Cotillard, who played one of the most important french singers and contemporany icons.
*IFC is a F** stupid studio. They're ruined 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, MAggie Gyllenhaal, Connie Nielsen, Benicio Del Toro and Julianne Moore Awards Reconoctions and Oscar's chances.
*British votes goes to Dev Patel, Sally Hawkins and Kate Winslet.
*They're still Leo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins and other actors are still fighting for the last two spots.

Well, unleast the BAFTA is very possible. But if Michael'll had an Oscar Nomination would be amazing and surprising... ;)

Simone said...

I really appreciate your comments and they are based on facts and reality. I'm glad that someone else sees the fuck up of IFC Films this year, as well as in the recent past. They distribute so many fine films that you'd think they would be more sensitive to a performance like Michael's.

My hopes have been more on the BAFTAs anyway, but even they have stars in their eyes and Michael may still not be big enough for them to fully honor beyond a nomination.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Simone. Another victim for IFC incompetence... "Gomorrah"

Simone said...

I know. I can't believe it. I'm starting for feel very embarrassed for IFC Films.

IFC = Idiot Fools Company