Clint Eastwood – Gran Torino
My Overall Thoughts:
This was a year where it came down to the wire between Rourke and Penn. Both gives great performances, but one is from an actor who has tons of great performances and the other is from one who played a career defining role here that is amazing.
5. Frank Langella
4. Brad Pitt
3. Richard Jenkins
2. Sean Penn
1. Mickey Rourke
5. Milk – Great film that is led by an amazing Penn who is able to transform himself into the character making us forget who is playing the role. The story is told quite well and we get a clear sense of the way that gays and other minorities were treated at the time. The supporting cast is also great and the fact that this is based on a true story helps give this film an even harder impact. The problem is that there is something slightly missing that would have raised the stakes even higher and would have made it amazing. Nominated for 8 Oscars but only managed to win Best Actor and Best Screenplay.
4. The Visitor – Jenkins is great in this story about simple people that works on numerous levels.
3. Frost/Nixon – Sheen and Langella make this film so fun to watch because they are both such engaging characters. The discussions between them through the course of the film seem like a seesaw because both have points where they are up and points when they are down, but each is doing his best to stay at the top. The fact that a story like this can stay engaging for the entire two hours says so much about the directing by Howard. Definitely deserving of the Best Picture Nomination, but not the strongest contender that year so I wouldn’t have expected it to win
2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Great story told in a great way. Excellent script that really makes us feel for and understand many of the characters and their actions. Pitt is amazing as the lead character. Unbelievable use of special effects that make us truly wonder how it was all done. I’m still baffled that the Academy chose Slumdog over this one…
1. The Wrestler – Excellent character study. Powerful and moving story. Rourke was robbed of an Oscar for this role.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and NO! Penn was great as Harvey Milk, but Rourke does a much better job this year with his role in The Wrestler and should have taken home Gold for this career defining performance.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!