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« Links: Letitia,Lists,Lady Gaga,and 'Live-Action' Remakes| Main| The 2018 Animation Contenders: Two films by Masaaki Yuasa »
Sunday
Dec 30 2018

FYC: Richard E.Grant in "Can You Ever Forgive Me?"

bySeán McGovern

There is a particular kind joy that we film lovers get to experience once a year or so,and that is seeing an actor who we have enjoyed and admired for years finally receiving the widespread praise and admiration we have always felt for them.Here at the Film Experience that's usually actresses: Isabelle Huppert in亚博主页Elle,Laurie Metcalf inLady Birdas recent examples.But every once in a while there is a man and a performance that makes you excited to pay attention toBest Supporting Actor.

Richard E.Grant inCan You Ever Forgive Me?is a performance so involving and entertaining that to know he is on the cusp of an Oscar nomination fills me with almost the same excitement he is currently experiencing;In a recent interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air,he found out during the recording that he had been SAG-nominated,exclaiming that he was "levitating"at the news...

Clockwise from top left: Gosford Park (2000),Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992),Spice World (1997)

In Can You Ever Forgive Me?,Grant plays Jack Hock,friend and accomplice to Melissa McCarthy's Lee Israel.Beginning first as drinking buddies lumped together by loneliness,their tentative friendship blossoms.Lee is the perfect balance of bitterness to Jack's cavalier charm.While Jack Hock was a real person,little was known about him beyond Israel's descriptions in her book.He was from Portland,Oregon and died in his 40s in 1994.Grant,British and in his 60s is already very different from what this man would have been like,and through his characterisation he creates a fully realized person who we the audience eventually feel like we know.The screen lights up every time Grant appears,but really,he does that in every single film he's in: be it prestige films like theAge of InnocenceorGosford Park,cult classics likeWithnail and I,complete dross likeHudson Hawk,or a cinematic masterpiece likeSpiceworld: The Movie.

The mere mention of these films gives a glimpse at the sheer breadth of his filmography.There is a sense that Grant is going through a kind of renaissance in his career thanks toCYEFM?when in actuality he has continued to work since his career on screen began,both in film and particularly television recently:Downton Abbey,Game of ThronesandGirls.The only validity to conversations about a resurgence in his career is that Marielle Heller's direction and Nicole Holefcener and Jeff Whitt's sparkling screenplay have allowed Grant to get a character as rich and screen time as large as he so justly deserves.His performance opposite Melissa McCarthy needs to be treasured,and not only because it is a rare example of queer friendship on screen,where the sexuality of the two characters is central yet so effortlessly incidental to the story.

And here's where I make a confession: I kind of always thought Richard E.Grant was gay.I never felt any reason to have this confirmed or denied.Grant plays roles and characters in a way that he recently described at an event at BAFTA as "cynical,effete,entitled,arrogant,long-faced parts"which don't possess "an Emma Thompson-like warmth and affection"which to me feel like a very particular and historical form of British homosexuality.And here's another confession: the first role I ever saw Richard E.Grant in where I fully took notice of who he was and just how great he can be was in a cameo inAbsolutely Fabulous,in a dream sequence,playing Edina Monsoon's idealised form of her ex-husband.Grant is more than capable of being hammy,butCYEFM?distills all of his devilish silliness into a role full of heart and humour.

There may be a narrative created over the coming months in which Sam Elliott's role inA Star is Bornand his hopefully inevitable Oscar nomination are deemed something of a career award.But while Elliott stands out in a film full of stand-outs,I am fully championing Richard E.Grant who has entertained people over here on my side of the pond for decades.And while an Oscar nomination is an award in itself,Mark Rylance's win forBridge of Spies(and Christoph Waltz inexplicable second Oscar!) proves that some plots do take a twist.With that in mind,dear Oscars voters,亚博主页for your consideration: Richard E.Grant.

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Reader Comments (12)

This is my favorite performance of the year in any category!!He's funny and heartbreaking at the same time.McCarthy and him have such a lived-in chemistry it's phenomenal

December 30,2018 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Love this performance and what he and MM do together.It is so authentic to a time and type of friendship.I hope he wins!!

December 30,2018 | Unregistered CommenterWeim55

I thought he may even win it but Ali or Elliott are in more popular films.

December 30,2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Let's all wish he wins.Great actor.

December 30,2018 | Unregistered CommenterDg

I find it very endearing that he takes such pleasure and shows so much appreciation for the critical recognition given to him in this role.

I also love that he is not a snob,thinking that some roles are "beneath him"and phoning them in.He gives as much enthusiasm and commitment to a "Spice Girls"as he does to a prestige production.He must be wonderful to work with.

December 30,2018 | Unregistered Commenteradri

I love the performance and the movie but I do wonder which (actually) gay actor might have been given a chance to play this juicy part,and what else would have been brought to the role.

In a parallel universe,Can You Ever Forgive Me is remade with Lea Delaria and Zachary Quinto,or Cynthia Nixon and Jim Parsons,or Jodie Foster and Ben Whishaw....

December 30,2018 | Unregistered CommenterHustler

I thought Richard E.Grant was the best part of the film.Wonderful performance.

December 30,2018 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

My choice.He acted circles around Elliot.

December 30,2018 | Unregistered CommenterRdf

One of those hyped ones that you expect and still over-delivers


I'd imagine he's the favorite?

December 30,2018 | Unregistered CommenterMe

He should be winning.Not Elliott for a cameo and not Ali for a category fraud.

December 31,2018 | Unregistered CommenterLOL

Part of me feels like he will be nominated and win in a very similar way to Mark Rylance.There's talk that Mahershala will win (category fraud) and Sam Elliott will win but so far Richard E Grant is the primary nominee at every awards listing who is an actual supporting performance.My money is on him right now :)

December 31,2018 | Unregistered Commentermikenewq

I think he's winning the Oscar even if McCarthy misses.

January 1,2019 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

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