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Dec 30 2016

The Oscar Week: Denzel,Adam,and Issey

In this weekly feature fromMurtadawe follow Oscar contender appearances and interviews.

This week was quiet for Oscar buzz.Most of the stars are in hibernation,since the big push comes next week when Oscar balloting opens.Still best actor hopefuls Adam Driver and Denzel Washington and one possible Supporting Actor dark horse were out promoting their late releases.

IsAdam Driveractually a contender?Winning best actor at LAFCA forPatersonis major,the only winners who were not nominated by Oscar in the last decade are Tom Hardy inLocke(2014) and Michael Fassbender inShame(2011).Couple that with his supporting turn inSilencebeing released at the same time,he's certainly getting media attention.HisPatersonperformance is especially striking because Driver is shown mostly writing,driving and thinking.He talked to NYTimes about that challenge.

I wanted his physical life on autopilot.which allows him to drift in his art.[] You have to trust yourself that it's interesting enough,cinematic enough — trust the power of thought and that you can sustain it.

Denzel Washingtonis a surefire best actor contenderbut what about best director?Will his achievement be hampered by the many reviews that call it " stagey"?One thing in his favor is box office success. Fenceswent wide on Christmas Day to great results and that will be noticed by the industry.Already nominated for 3 awards by SAG,we think it's going to do well with the other guilds.Washington emphasized his respect and reverence for August Wilson's words,the reason for getting that " stagey"label,in an interview with NPR,in which he confirmed that he will produce the other 9 Wilson plays for HBO.

If it ain't on the page,it ain't on the stage.What an opportunity we have now,because August Wilson has left us about a thousand pages of his brilliant work,and we have 10 opportunities — the first one now being Fences — to make sure it's not a trend....I have enough work for the next 10 years,even if it's just as a producer,but also there are hundreds of actors — African-American and white actors — in his plays that now will have an opportunity to not just work but to interpret a genius' work — one of the five greatest playwrights in American history's work.So I honor that.

The whole interview,which includes Viola Davis,is worth your time.Have a listen.

And finally we were wondering where isIssey Ogata?The Japanese actor gives the best and most memorable performance inSilenceand easily steals the film from the more well known Driver,Andrew Garfield and Liam Neeson.There is photo evidence he was in USA for the film's first few screenings (pictured to the left at a NY screening).Yet there are no profiles or interviews about him by any media outlet.We think he has has a chance to be that late breaking acting contender that misses all precursors and yet makes it on Oscar's short list.Like another actor from a Scorsese film,Jonah Hill inThe Wolf of Wall Street(2013).But for that to happen he has to have some visible profile as voters start watching theirSilencescreeners.

Thoughts on the chances of Driver,Washington and Ogata?

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Reader Comments (16)

Adam Driver will miss out on a nomination this year I think.but what a shame.Andrew Garfield is having the kind of year that Adam Driver should be having.His star has risen significantly over the last couple of years and he is picking the type of projects that show real intelligence and ambition.He does not fit the typical Hollywood leading man mold and it's nice to see a nice young antidote to the Chrises of our world (not that there's anything wrong with them - things tend to become a little boring with the same type of actors).

December 30,2016 | Unregistered CommenterTony T

Washington does a serviceable job directing Fences.But he's not nomination worthy for Best Director.And I'm saying this as someone who wants Mel Gibson snubbed for a nomination.Washington is an actor and deserves to join the likes of Bergman and Streep in the three or more club of multiple acting Oscar winners.

December 30,2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Haven't seen Silence yet,but unless the tech guilds revive it somewhat I don't think it will garner enough support that enough people will see it to get it much traction.Certainly it could still factor into the picture race (given that all branches of the Academy vote their and its the type of film that could garner a lot of first place votes),but I doubt that any of the acting branch will get enough oomph to the list.

Washington does a serviceable job directing,but it's hardly spectacular.And given that we have a lot of showier directors in the mix this year (and an intimate drama is less likely to garner director support in the first place unless it's the front runner) I'd say he's a longshot at best.

Driver has probably the best shot of getting in with Paterson,given the gap between the top three contenders (Affleck,Washington and Gosling,in that order),but even then he has a lot of things going against him.The size of his film,the lack of precursors outside of LAFCA (and that there are few acting precursors left to raise his profile) and well-known contenders (Hanks most notably) still stand between him and the top.

December 30,2016 | Unregistered CommenterDarbicus

I think Ogata is in and that Silence will have decent support.It was just a late opener.

Driver is def alongside Edgerton,Hanks and Viggo fighting for that last spot.Right in the thick of that battle INO.

December 30,2016 | Unregistered CommenterHuh

If anyone is gonna surprise,I think it's gonna be Liam Neeson for Silence.People sure do respect him and can think of the movie as a chance to honor him.The movie will get in too.

December 30,2016 | Unregistered CommenterCraver

Fenceswas good,but Denzel was overshadowed by Viola.God damn,that woman is amazing.Supporting Actress is also category fraud in her case.

December 30,2016 | Unregistered Commenterbeyaccount

I cannot believe all the pundits and critics on board woth Viola being supporting.She is the co-lead of Fences.End of story.

December 31,2016 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

I didn't particularly care for PATERSON.Driver is great in it,but more so in individual moments rather than across the entire two hours.

December 31,2016 | Registered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Adam is such a versatile actor but HW is myopic.They will copy SAG and GG.sadly.

December 31,2016 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Hutton

Denzel gives a wonderful performance in Fences but I don't think his direction was particularly inspired;it's difficult material to make cinematic.But it's also the kind of material that relies heavily on performances and the entire cast more than brings it.

December 31,2016 | Unregistered CommenterRob

I'm wondering if Jim Jarmusch might get a surprise Best Directing nomination.

December 31,2016 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Silence might likely get a best pic n best adapted screenplay nod if the critics n audience like it.

However,i tink the best supp actor r more or less sealed up as shown in the SAG nom.I wld luv to see Issey Ogata sneak in but at whose exp?Certainly not Hugh Grant's as he's long o/due for a nom.Mayb Hughes as he's still so young,but i tink the boy is riding on the coattail o Manchester n shld b able to retain his position.

Anyway,it will b super rare tt two asian actors get nom in same cat,taking into consideration Patal will be nom.

December 31,2016 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

SawFencesthis past week and I think Denzel Washington will definitely get a nomination for his acting;not sure about his direction though.Denzel is dynamite as Troy.Viola (who created a universe of emotions in one particular scene) is like a clarinet in a chamber jazz setting.She provides counterpoint melody very effectively.She is definitely a lead inFencesbut I can see why she can be supporting too.While she may have the requisite length of time for a lead performance,methinks Denzel's towering presence sometimes eclipses her character.But they make a sublime duet of a performance.

December 31,2016 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

I saw Fences and regarding Denzel ...I did not realize an actor could eat that much ham in two hours.By way of comparison,Streep is a demure house plant in August: Osage County.The other actors in Fences including Viola were more subtle and infinitely more graceful.

December 31,2016 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

Do people think the actors directed themselves?From various comments it sounds like the role of director is limited to staging scenes and framing shots.It was clear that Washington earned the trust of that cast.And for people looking for a stylistic flourish,the ending scene with the trumpet fits the bill for me.Should he win the directing Oscar?Nah,but a nom is reasonable.

January 2,2017 | Unregistered CommenterKJ

I can't remember a Best Actor and Best Actress race this unpredictable.There seem to be a lot of parallels in between the two categories as well.

Each has two undeniable locks: Casey and Denzel and Natalie and Emma.
Each has a contender that might not make the list due to resistance to a certain genre.Ryan Gosling-they don't award lead actors in musicals.Amy Adams-they don't do sci-fi.
Each has a veteran that is so consistently good they might decide not to honor them this time to make room for fresh blood.The difference here is that Meryl has been recognized 19 times,and you can make the case that Tom Hanks is waaaay overdue for his 6th nomination.
Each has a contender from Loving.Will they make it a his and hers nomination for Joel and Ruth?
And we have a handful of wild card performances,from movies that have not been widely seen yet.Andrew?Annette?Isabelle?Viggo?Could Adam or Taraji surprise?

Can't wait till nomination morning!It will be quite a feat to get 5 out of 5 correct in both these categories.So many possibilities!

January 5,2017 | Unregistered Commentershawshank

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