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LAMB Devours the Oscars 2020: Best Actor in a Leading Role

Originally posted at The Large Association of Movie Blogs as part of their LAMB Devours the Oscars 2020 feature. Original link here.

I was so happy to take part in last year’s LAMB Devours the Oscars feature where I reviewed Green Book (which then went on to win Best Picture – huzzah!) so it’s great to be back again, this time discussing the Actor in a Leading Role category. I started a draft of this post a while ago starting off by saying something along the lines of how great the performances were, but how I thought it was very much a two-horse race and, well, you’ll believe me when I say I scrapped that draft.

Let’s take a look at the nominees, shall we?

Antonio Banderas, PAIN AND GLORY

It was a surprise to see Antonio Banderas here, I thought there was a chance Taron Egerton for Rocketman might just slip in after the Academy’s love for musical biopic Bohemian Rhapsody but regardless, Banderas put in an excellent performance.

Jonathan Pryce, THE TWO POPES

I haven’t seen The Two Popes in full yet, I’m not embarrassed to admit it’s not my usual kind of movie, but Jonathan Pryce’s performance has kept me engaged and it’s great that he’s receiving recognition for his efforts.

Leonardo DiCaprio, ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

Leonardo DiCaprio has now received 5 nominations by the Academy for Lead Actor, which is an amazing achievement. Even though I don’t always love the movies he’s in, I can’t ever say he’s turned in a bad performance. I struggled with his character in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood to begin with but he’d won me over by the end.

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Adam Driver, MARRIAGE STORY

What happened, guys? Before the awards season started, if my Twitter feed was anything to go by, Adam Driver’s name was already etched onto that shiny statue, but now I’m having to watch him lose it every awards night. Bigger film buffs than me might be able to tell you if an Actor has ever lost all the big awards but gone on to take the Oscar, but I don’t think it’s going to happen on Sunday. It’s a shame, because his role in Marriage Story is fantastic. The anger and sadness he expresses feels all too real, and I’ve always believed Adam Driver can say more with his facial expressions than he can with words. If nothing else, I hope his nomination gives him a springboard into finding that role that will eventually win him the recognition he deserves.

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Joaquin Phoenix, JOKER

Being gutted about Adam Driver losing would be manageable if it weren’t for the fact I really enjoyed Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as the Joker. It’s been a very love or hate movie for most, and I can see both sides of the coin. For me, I never felt compelled to feel sorry for Phoenix’s character, Arthur. I felt saddened by what led him down the dark path he took, but never condoned his actions. Heath Ledger won an Oscar for the same character 11 years ago, and so it’ll be quite poetic when Phoenix wins.

Movie Reviews

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018)

the-man-who-killed-don-quixote-2018Director: Terry Gilliam

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Runtime: 132 Minutes

Main Cast: Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Stellan Skarsgard, Jordi Molla, Joana Ribeiro, Oscar Jaenada, Olga Kurylenko

Plot: Toby, once a starry-eyed film director is now an advertising director. Whilst shooting on location he realises how close he is to the town where he shot his first movie. When he visits, he comes across the man he hired to play the character Don Quixote…only the man believes that he really is Don Quixote.

My Thoughts: What a strange, odd movie! The Man Who Killed Don Quixote started production in the year 2000, and finally finished in 2017. There’s even a documentary about the problems and challenges the crew faced to actually bring this movie to our screens. Then in May 2018, it was released at the Cannes Film Festival. It got shown at several other festivals that year, and then got a 1-day theatrical release in the USA almost an entire year later. Finally, this month it got released on DVD & Blu-Ray! Phew…what a journey.

The movie is insane, that much is established within the first few minutes. When Toby meets his old cast member, he fully believes himself to be the great Don Quixote of La Mancha, and thinks Toby is his squire, Sancho. Hilarity ensues, but Toby starts to question what is actually real…and so did I! I completely lost the plot at about the halfway point, but it was so damn entertaining that I kind of didn’t care. I signed up for 2 hours of Adam Driver shouting the f-word in the way only he can, and I was in for the long haul.

I wonder if this is the kind of movie you actually need to be drunk for in order for it to make sense? Regardless, it’s a shame it wasn’t a masterpiece after taking so long to make, but it’s a lot of fun to watch. I found myself asking, but who is the man who killed Don Quixote? He isn’t even dead? And I guess my question got answered…in a very amusing way!

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Best Bit: Towards the end, when the crazy got turned up to 11 and Toby gave into Don’s disillusions, that’s where it got fun. Plus, that black outfit with boots Adam Driver was wearing? Yes, please. Can that be Kylo Ren’s new get up? Anyway – that’s when Don Quixote meets his end. It’s hilarious!

Worst Bit: I think it was the moment that the gold in Toby’s hand turned out to be rocks or dirt or goodness knows what – and Stellan Skarsgard showed up again. That was when I realised I had no idea what was going on, and it was useless to try to work it all out.

Fun Trivia: The film is dedicated to the memory of John Hurt and Jean Rochefort. Terry Gilliam had chosen both to play Don Quixote in past incarnations of this project, and both died before the film was completed.

My Rating: 4 murderous GIANTS that I, Don Quixote of La Mancha shall…oh no wait, they’re just windmills.

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