Yahoo! Best Actor Roundtable: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Jean Dujardin – oh, my!
Photo by Fox Searchlight/Columbia/Weinstein
Let's hit the roundtable for best actor. Nathaniel Rogers started us off at the end of the last roundtable with this quote: "It always hurts when actors are having their best year and they're passed over, which is what's happening with Brad Pitt. What does he have to do to win awards? Age another 15 years I suppose. They do love to make the golden gods wait until they're old and grizzled."
Anne Thompson: The real race that has developed between onetime front-runner George Clooney and Jean Dujardin, who won best actors at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, improves Brad Pitt's chances by creating a split. A close race brings up the possibility of a third actor actually gaining more votes, which is how Adrien Brody won for "The Pianist," a huge upset that year.
Sasha Stone: Dujardin has the thing in the bag.
Anne: Clooney still has support. And so does Pitt. It's not a sure thing at all.
Caryn James: Don't buy the split-vote theory, and I've never thought "Moneyball" was an Oscar-winning role. Definitely Clooney vs. Dujardin and hard to predict. I'm hoping for a Dujardin backlash to save Clooney.
Sasha: Start with the performances. Dujardin stands out as carrying the whole film. Moreover, Pitt and Clooney are both hurt by essentially playing the same role -- as in single dads, charming, womanless, with a great crying scene at the end. Neither of them goes to the depths Dujardin does with his role. So on its face, Dujardin is the best of the three. If the actors were willing to go for an unknown French actor over a huge star like Clooney (I don't buy the split vote either) then, well, you know. That is beyond significant. But we'll see.
Thelma Adams: I'm really teetering on the brink of "I don't know" here. I'm not buying the split vote either, and I do believe that Pitt is out for "Moneyball." That's why he's so relaxed. Every step he takes is a plug for his brand, without any wanting of the prize.
Clooney, on the other hand, wants it. Breezy, but wants it. But I'm a little stuck: I was so convinced of Clooney before the SAG surprise, and I keep reaching back to other actors who totally wowed me: Dominic Cooper, Michael Fassbender (in his many colors -- "Jane Eyre," "A Dangerous Method," and "Shame"), and Woody Harrelson from "Rampart." This belated wondering can't be good. If I took it fresh, again, of the five I'd go for Clooney. And, eek, if I just went for performances, I'd vote Gary Oldman, who is such a complete chameleon.
Anne: Folks in the movie biz love and admire Clooney enough -- and have for years -- to nominate him for pic and "Ides of March" screenplay; Dujardin is new. And "The Descendants" is a hit, while "The Artist" is fumbling at the box office.
Thelma: So, Anne, Clooney?
Sasha: Folks in the industry love Clooney? Huh. I did not know that. I always thought he wasn't the most popular guy in town, you know, someone who had to really fight for attention. You learn something new every day! But seriously, yes, of course they love Clooney. But Clooney's got two problems. One is Pitt, obviously, almost as beloved. Maybe isn't going to be homecoming king, but he's certainly got the quarterback cred. The more popular of a contender Pitt becomes, the harder it is for Clooney to have the edge. There is no incentive, particularly, to give him a second Oscar here. Dujardin, on the other hand, has much going for him. Winning the SAG was really the key indicator -- he didn't go up against Clooney at the Globes. The only place Clooney won against Dujardin was at the Critics Choice. So, you know. Clooney winning the SAG was the expected outcome, given his popularity in the industry and elsewhere. And now it isn't just actors voting, it's all of the other branches, too. Dujardin is hard to resist. Anyone who comes in contact with him falls in love with him. And you just know ol' Weinstein Co. is going to make sure that happens. It also feels good to watch a guy who cried at his SAG win. When Clooney wins, no one cares because he's already such a grand success story. But Dujardin winning has the added bonus of it being a feel-good ending to boot.