Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes)
Al Pacino (The Irishman)
Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood)
Jamie Foxx – Just Mercy
My Overall Thoughts:
This is one of the very best categories this year. All 5 of these performances are spectacular and all 5 have already won Oscars (4 in acting categories and 1 as a producer). This is another category that has been dominated by one of the nominees throughout the award season and it will be a big shocker if that trend doesn’t continue come Oscar night.
5. Joe Pesci
4. Anthony Hopkins
3. Al Pacino
2. Tom Hanks
1. Brad Pitt
4. The Irishman – Another great gangster epic by Scorsese but unfortunately fails to really bring anything new to the table. The story is long yet never feels boring because it tries to be so comprehensive in all that it does. The cast is spectacular and De Niro, Pesci, Pacino all give us great performances (as usual). The biggest problem with this film is the fact that it tries to tell a story over too many decades and something feels missing along the way. The story itself is based on real events, but since parts of the film cannot be corroborated, we will have to take their word for it which also is a slight strike against it. Scorsese is able to give us an epic feel for this story while also introducing us to new characters who are intriguing to meet. This film have been part of the big debate over theatrical releases vs Netflix releases and both sides of the argument have great points, but this film has received lots of backlash due to it being a Netflix film and might make it go 0-10 on Oscar night which would be quite a blow both for those associated with the movie and for those advocating the Netflix style of film making.
3. The Two Popes – Great story that is accentuated by two amazing performances by Hopkins and Pryce. Despite the fact that anyone familiar with current events over the past decade are aware of the outcome of this story, but the beauty is watching how it plays out since they allow the viewer to see how the various pieces of the puzzle fit together. Both of these actors give very powerful performances here and they both are quite deserving of all of the accolades that they have received for their work here. The dialogue is superbly written and helps enhance the story so much because we get a very clear picture of who both of these men are and how even with their blatant differences, they both know how important it is that they find common ground with one another. The various subjects of their conversations constantly evolve over the course of the story yet they manage to touch upon so many interesting themes along the way.
2. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – An amazing film that is accentuated by the performance of Hanks as Rogers. The film sets up a great story and makes the viewer feel as if Mr. Rogers is talking directly to them throughout the film. We get a chance to see the simplistic way that Mr. Rogers viewed the world and allows us to gain a vast understanding of why he was such an important role model in the lives of millions. Hanks is superb in this role and manages to bring this character back to life in a way that is uncanny. He is quite deserving of all of the accolades that he has received so far and hopefully will get an Oscar nomination for his work in this role even if he probably wont be able to beat Pitt who is currently the front runner in the supporting actor category. Rhys is able to hold his own against Hanks and helps the story feel even more genuine. This is a film that I plan to watch again because it spoke so deeply to me and I felt a personal touch by the characters in the way that the present the message about the important things in life are that you feel important and loved by those who are around you and love you.
1. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood – Another amazing Tarantino film that is superb on so many levels. The film creates the perfect atmosphere for this kind of story and the build up during the first half has great pay offs during the second half. The cast is amazing and they all fit in so well with the story and atmosphere of it all. Pitt is the obvious standout here and will hopefully take home Gold for this (supporting) role. The music and characters help set the place and time and Tarantino’s dialogue is once again so realistic and exquisite throughout. Some people fault this film for its re-imagining of history, but I loved the way they did it because it shows how even little changes in routine could possibly lead to a very different outcome. Not Tarantino’s best but still quite close.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Absolutely! Pitt is superb in this role and despite having some really powerful and talented competition, he’s able to bring something to this character that makes him stand out.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!