filmmixtape’s Best Supporting Actor of 2015

Rolling right along with my votes for Best Supporting Actor…

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Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation

  • Much has been made of the terrifying impact of his guerrilla warfare commandant, but the most masterful moments of the performance are as he loses dominance over his child soldiers – the impotence with which he clings to his his blind warpath lingers after the chills.

Oscar Isaac – Ex Machina

  • Isaac turns the a reclusive, proselytizing scientist on the page into a study of intellectual, broski misogyny. He’s the embodiment of the film: mysterious, elusive, sexual, and just this side of bonkers. Bonus points for cutting up that fucking dance floor. (More here!)

Michael Keaton – Spotlight

  • His Robby Robinson stears the Spotlight team, but Keaton is the ensemble’s beacon. Much of the film’s ability to go deeper than procedural relies on Keaton’s arc of guilt over his own role in the systemic disregard to the victims depicted. He doesn’t just ace it, he’s the film’s rageful center. (More here!)

Jason Mitchell – Straight Outta Compton

  • As his Eazy-E’s emerges as a major talent, we sense the breakthrough of a future superstar in Mitchell. His intense and passionate portrayal rises above the film’s greatest-hits approach and becomes its emotional core. Emotionally varied and heartbreaking.

Sylvester Stallone – Creed

  • Stallone seizes every opportunity here to illuminate new, unexpected sides to a cinema icon, clearly energized by director Ryan Coogler’s honest approach to the legacy. To Stallone’s (and Coogler’s) further credit, this Rocky Balboa would be just as clearly defined and complete without a franchise preceding it.

The Almost-Made-Its and The Winner after the jump…

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In Review!: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

With a crowd-rousing ferocity, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has arrived to the masses hopeful for its potential after a prequel trilogy has diminished the reputation of the long-beloved franchise, wanting to forget how creator George Lucas has driven his namesake into the ground. By the end of Awakens, that betrayal feels felt anew due to all that director JJ Abrams and his screenwriting crew of Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt have done to successfully right the ship, and also bucking disheartening trends in populist entertainment. If you’ve heard that this one is great, you haven’t been misled.

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Bursting with spirit and emphasis on character, Awakens is remarkably satisfying entertainment – to those waiting for those massive crowds to die down: you simply must see this with a crowd. Enough to stir conversation in even the most typically ambivalent audience, we have here a crowd-pleaser aiming more for our hearts than our heartrates, and becomes all the more thrilling for its ability to invest us in its particulars. In an age where character and stakes take a further backseat to increasingly absurd, conxtext-free bombast (for which the Star Wars prequels take massive flak, with current examples like Jurassic World even more guilty than those lackluster films), Abrams’ film feels almost subversive in its steadfast focus on character to get us cheering. For a director often teased for his forcing his aesthetic unnecessarily, here he is sharply attuned to the needs of the narrative – unquestionably, his best work.

Continue reading “In Review!: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens””

A Very “Star Wars” Christmas

Some holiday cheer came from the Star Wars Twitter Q&A, giving us an unexpected moment of magic.

Only twenty seconds long and infinitely better Star Wars Christmas experience.

Readers will know filmmixtape has some strong feelings about Oscar Isaac and Christmas in general, so I was delighted by this. After Inside Llewyn Davis, any musical moments from Isaac are more than welcome. Remember those rumors of a Guys and Dolls remake? I’d say you have two great leads right here!

For Your Consideration: Best Supporting Actor – Oscar Isaac “Ex Machina”

Criminally unrecognized by awards voters and general audiences (perhaps until next month with Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Oscar Isaac has been quietly giving the most diverse range of characters of an actor his age. One of the best lead male performance of the decade was his work in the Coens’ Inside Llewyn Davis, a showcase for his gifts of subtlety and sorrow, but also for unexpected wowza musical talent.

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In Ex Machina, he gets to play with a full toolbox of mystery. The performance mirrors the film’s delicate balance of big ideas, moral indifference, and sexual undercurrent. Isaac often underplays moments that lesser actors could have turned into moustache-twirling, allowing the film’s darker ideas to speak for themselves. He plays the film’s narrative cards close to the chest but is still an open book, enticing and alluring to the audience and Domhnall Gleeson’s protagonist. Unyielding to the sinister and kooky elements, it’s also the sexiest performance of the year to boot.

Check in with filmmixtape’s Best Supporting Actor Oscar Predictions!