Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Art of Being an Underdog Best Supporting Actor Nominee

BAFTA Supporting Actor nominees (Adbi, Cooper, Damon, Fassbender, and Bruhl)
At the moment, Michael Fassbender is in England filming Macbeth and he’s been busy just like he said he would – too busy to campaign if he were nominated for an Oscar for 12YAS. Some newer fans or people not familiar with Michael’s work may not realize that he has participated in Oscar campaigning twice before. Back in 2008 he did his bit to support Hunger; he even flew to LA to have a special screening to qualify the film for Oscar consideration. Nothing. And we all know the hard campaigning work he did for Shame in 2012, sans the SAG snub, Michael was predicted to be a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination. Nothing. So here we are in 2014, Michael earned a well-deserved Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for 12YAS, along with nominations for the other three (Globes, SAG, and BAFTA). Michael said last fall that the attention he had received from his performance was flattering, but he’ll be too busy with filming two films to campaign. Furthermore, he made it clear that he is an actor, “not a politician”.

Oscar nominee luncheon group photo
With all things considered equal, why is it so important to schmooze and campaign and kiss butt for a piece of metal when really it’s the performance that should be evaluated and judged on its merits alone? Campaigning during awards season has become part and parcel. It’s expected, and the awarding bodies do love the attention their award receives when it ‘appears’ that the campaigning for said award is sincere and genuine, and that the actor/actress truly WANT the material item. But not everyone has to campaign to win awards, and some even win multiple Oscars even after expressing their complete disinterest and dismay for awards. Woody Allen for instance, he’s won four Oscars, but he can’t be bothered to campaign, let alone attend an Oscar event. But Hollywood loves him and wants to give him awards (disregard the family drama stuff). And surely the Oscar luncheon yesterday is an example of something that those who don’t want to campaign would abhor participating in. But as it was reported, yesterday’s luncheon saw its highest number of attendees. The so-called Supporting Actor frontrunner was surely there, as he has attended every single event. Jared Leto wants that Oscar and he’s campaigning like crazy to get it.

If you think about it, when an actor is perceived as the frontrunner, he/she must campaign like crazy to keep up the momentum, to keep people thinking about them, and only them, to keep the under dogs as under dogs. You can’t be working, you have to be available to attend every event, and smile, and put on airs like you’ve never done before. Just like a politician. There’s no hate in people who do this, because this is their life, their craft, and they want to be rewarded, and they will do whatever it takes. Michael Fassbender is an actor; he’s busy acting right now and could not be available to fly to LA just to have lunch and a group photo. Chiwetel couldn’t make it either, he’s busy too. There is a life one must maintain during the awards season, and I hope that this is taken into consideration when votes are cast.

For those of us who have seen Michael’s performance in 12YAS, and as well as his competition, I think it’s pretty clear who put on the more emotionally demanding role. But this is all subjective, and I’m first in line of biased fans. I have never liked the whole frontrunner talk because it automatically dismisses the other four nominees and relegates them to the bridesmaid role or the wall flower. But frontrunner status just makes it easier for the voters because they don’t have to think too hard or even watch the bridesmaid’s work. Frontrunner status is akin to being spoon fed whom to vote for and again, when the frontrunner is available to be photographed rubbing shoulders and smiling with the right people, its PR makes a memorable impression upon those who don’t have time to wade through 4 other people’s achievements.

The BAFTAs are this Sunday and Michael Fassbender has his best chance to finally get up on stage and accept a top award for his role in 12YAS. With Oscar ballots fresh in the hands of AMPAS members while the BAFTAs are broadcast, a win for Michael could help him immensely. If it goes to anyone else, like Barhhad Abdi (who surprisingly won the London Critic’s Circle), Michael’s narrow Oscar chances got narrower, unless, voters truly think outside of the box and vote for the strongest, most amazing supporting actor performance of 2013.

To confirm the final Oscar ballot voting timeframe, I asked my main three go to guys at twitter:

Final balloting begins Friday the 14th (whew, near miss). Voting then ends Tuesday Feb 25th at 5 p.m.

Cross our fingers that Fassy wins this Sunday! Make sure you join fans on the Fassinating Fassbender live chat starting at 4pm EST this Sunday to root for Michael Fassbender!


Oleander Jacob said...

Your article implies that Jared Leto, who is actively campaigning for DBC, is a lesser actor for doing so because unlike Michael, he's not working on a movie and is instead attending these Hollywood events. This is entirely laughable because clearly, you do not know Jared and his work ethics. Just so you know, he's been very vocal about NOT having read any script since DBC wrapped - and that's largely because of his music. Yeah, he's not off in England filming another movie - but he has been, and will be touring all over the world during this whole award season. I respect and greatly admire Fassbender as an actor, but this blatant putting down of his competition - in an attempt to make him look like a more "serious actor" - is borderline fanaticism. When Michael has spent almost 20 years laboring on almost entirely independent (brilliant) films that continuously do not see the light of day because it's not manufactured by Hollywood, when he has see-sawed weight gain/loss of a total of 100 pounds for the sake of the integrity of his roles, when he has stepped away from acting for 6 years and come back out of nowhere with a tour de force performance, then you can say that he is the more serious actor than Jared Leto.

Simone said...

You are entitled to your opinion, and I have not slammed Jared Leto. Relax. Just re-read what I wrote. You are obviously just as biased for Jared as I am for Fassbender. You obviously also are no familiar with Michael's work, and I kinda doubt you saw 12YAS, or, any of his other work.

I'm sorry Leto's work didn't impress the British this time around, this just gives other talent a chance to shine, if for just one event.

April said...

Simone, I have no serious, considered opinion to add, just have to say that I'm laughing so hard at your spoon-fed baby pic right now! See you on Sunday!

Simone said...

LOL! The baby is beautiful and a spot on commentary to the state of voters minds.

See you Sunday April! It'll be around 1pm PST for you. :)

sxi1987 said...

Oleander Jacob, well said! Since I'm a Michael's fan - not a fangirl - for me this article is EMBARASSING.

Sorry Simone but YOU HAVE slammed , in a passive-aggressive way, Leto. It's a shame, really.

Real supporters are better than that.

I'm so disappointed.

Fittonia said...

Fassbender is my favorite actor. I thought his performance in TYAS was brilliant, and I hope he wins the Oscar and BAFTA. I believe, however, Jared Leto deserves the Oscar. Leto's performance was so nuanced, so multi-faceted--not to mention his character is more pivotal in the story development than Fassbender's Epps was to TYAS.

Btw, Dallas Buyers Club did not qualify to be considered for the BAFTAs in 2013. The film just opened in the U.K. last week. I expect Dallas Buyers Club will be recognized by BAFTA in 2014.

Simone said...

Dallas Buyers Club had a qualifying screening in London last year to qualify for BAFTA consideration. Jared received a nomination from the London Critic's Circle because of that screening. DBC opened wide last week in the UK.

sxi1987, relax, if you're so disappointed in what I wrote, you need to step back from the internet because worse things have been written about Leto than I ever could. tsk tsk tsk.

sxi1987 said...

I read worse things around the net too but that's not the point.. I'm disappointed because it's you. I expected better, that post is something a fangirl Would write not a real fan. But I was wrong apparently.

[ and btw re:BAFTA it has been reported that a lot of voters couldn't watch DBC in time (the same happened with HER)]

Simone said...

sxi1987, you either need to re-read what I wrote, or smoke a joint. I mean, really?


Anonymous said...

It's getting a little heated up in here!

I love all of the performances nominated for best supporting actor this year. 12YAS was by far the best film I saw last year (and I've seen all the nominated films). Michael and his fellow nominees (including Leto) did phenomenal work. There can only be one winner though - and regardless of what our opinions are, the Academy voters make that choice.

I'm not sure what you're trying to convey about Jared Leto's campaigning (it does come off a little critical of him), but Michael has made a conscious decision NOT to campaign (work commitments and all).

Academy voters don't EVER call someone a front-runner - the media does - and that's all based on visibility. Who knows how the votes will play out!

It is completely fine that Michael doesn't want to participate in the campaign process - and Simone, I understand your frustration with the "machine" that is awards season - but the fact is that this is how it works. Campaigning is a part of the process, and all of the nominees (including Michael) understand this.

I actually love how much effort Jared Leto is putting into his Oscar campaign. He's touring with his band, promoting his documentary feature and finding time to attend events and screenings. He really cares about winning - and a lot of other actors and directors are doing the same. That's the point - to show that they DO CARE about winning. Steve McQueen and Lupita Nyong'o have both attended every event possible to not only promote themselves and their film, but also to enhance their chances of winning. There's no shame in it.

IF Michael's chances are narrow, he's not helping his own situation by being MIA from events - but frankly, I don't know if he cares... and that disappoints me a little, because obviously, we care.

Martha said...

Boderline fanaticism. LOL.

Anyway, if awards were fair Michael would have won for Shame and he would have at least been nominated for Hunger.

This Steve McQueen guy would have been talked about long before 2013.

But people are not fair and for the longest time I have been disappointed when awards are given out. I wonder, "How did that happen?". I vow never to watch again, but then I do.

I do think it is terrible that if people are expected to campaign why to they reward Woody Allen so much. TELL ME! TELL ME! WHY! WHY! WHY!

Oh sorry about that.

I do however think that some showing up to events is necessary, if only show that there is gratitude on your part. I'm sure that if Leto was working on another film he would not be able to be seen as much.

I don't really consider Leto a serious actor as it seems his music is more important to him (To clarify it is not his main passion, least OJ come after me too. O. J. gasp!). And that is fine. If he likes music so much that he really can't be bothered with acting roles unless the script is just awesome, more power to him. I bet he doesn't do another film for years again. Although I have never seen him in anything I have always thought that he only looks for great characters to play and doesn't accept silly movie roles (Like Mathew M. did for so long. Thankfully his current list is showcasing how much more he is capable of).

Thankfully Simone your writings explained the baby. As when I first clicked on the page I was like? Huh? Why is there a baby here. Secret Fassbender baby! I can only imagine the madness that would ensue from some of those crazy posters.

Okay now. Looking forward to Sunday!

Hupsakeek said...

The Academy Award isn't about film and acting. It is about money, politics, manipulation and Bribary. It's entertainment. It's a pity that it is still the biggest and important film event of the world because the event has a history of bribary and other scandals. The commerce made it such an important award. That's why it's important for an actor|director|film to win one, but it made me sad that the winner ( or nominee) isn't always the honest winner. IMO a re the AA infected and the list of members could use some cleaning up.

Although I'm an Fassbender supporter, I'm not blind to another actor's quality. I read the post thoroughly (because English isn't my main language) and my conclusion is that Simone doesn't dis anyone. Because this is a Fassbender blog you can easily misread things because of the angle of incidence. But as I've written before... winning the Academy Awards isn't about the best performance it's all about entertainment.

sxi1987 said...

@Simone, No. I don't need a joint ................ or to re-read anything. It is clear what you meant and what you were implying with your words.

roobydee - *clap clap clap* that is what I call a honest, objective and fair 'analysis of the situation'.

Simone said...

Thank you Martha and Hupsakeek! True Fassinators who understand what I wrote and the awards season scenario! xoxo

Snootiegirl said...

"The Academy Award isn't about film and acting. It is about money, politics, manipulation and Bribary.(sic)"

Here, here. I still maintain that Nicole Kidman got hers as part of her divorce settlement with Tom Cruise.

As with our messed up political system, doing good is not enough in the US anymore. You have to promote your good, spend money, and ask for laurels. I really liked reading about MF's decision not to campaign. I think it's beneath any good actor to need awards to prove their worth. I don't get awards for the work I do except for a salary and being hired for new contracts. And so it should be for actors.

And then there are people who do real heroic work who never get awards and public attention and fancy luncheons. Let's get away from a culture of entitlement and back to improving ourselves for ourselves and the betterment of our fellow (wo)man.

As for movies, The public votes for actors with their money when they go to see and rent movies. Shame was never in a theater around me, to my knowledge, so I rented it from Amazon. And I got to review it! Fun. There is my award to MF, Steve McQueen, and Carey Mulligan and everyone involved in the movie. The film made me think and feel. There's a win.