Make Room For Pearce

Posted by julian On 5:49 AM
Michael C. here from Serious Film to file a complaint.

If I were to name the biggest problem currently facing the nation today that problem would be category fraud. Okay, maybe not, but it still irks the hell out of me. Not because, like some political press release, this Oscar-grubbing is treated completely legit despite everyone knowing it's total bull. That's no biggie. No, what bugs me is the way this screws over the guys and girls this category is there to honor in the first place: the supporting players who show up for two or three scenes and absolutely kill it. Not only are the leads hogging the precious few slots, but they're overshadowing the real supporting players from their own films. Look no further than this year's The King's Speech to see this problem in action.

If it was called The King's Therapist would this even be an issue?
By pushing Rush as supporting they're sidelining the real standout supporting turn in the film, Guy Pearce as King Edward. With just a few well-chosen strokes Pearce deftly suggests his rebellious, feckless character. The audience's immediate reaction is, "Jesus, don't put that guy on the throne." The performance supports the movie perfectly, setting the stage for the main conflict. Yet Pearce can't get any oxygen because Rush is sucking it all up. What's the point of having a supporting category if major screen time is practically a requirement? The same thing happened when Jamie Foxx was laughably crammed into the supporting category for Collateral despite being in literally every scene in the movie. Barry Shabaka Henley's unforgettable seven minutes as the jazz club owner with regrets and secrets never had a chance.

Spot the supporting actor. Hint: It's not the guy in 99% of the film.
I don't see how anyone could classify Geoffrey Rush as supporting and keep a straight face since the whole movie is a two-hander between him and Firth. Listen closely, Academy: Just because one character is royalty and the other is a commoner doesn't mean the actor playing the king is somehow more important. I feel like this should be a simple concept to grasp.

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