Thursday, January 31, 2008

AFT Awards: Best Actor in a Supporting Role


This is the third category of the 1st Annual AFT Film Awards to be announced. The AFT Awards are my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. Nominees are listed in alphabetical order by film title. Winners will be announced in late February.

Runners-up:
IRFAN KHAN, A MIGHTY HEART
HAL HOLBROOK, INTO THE WILD
PAUL RUDD, KNOCKED UP
YOUSEF SWEID, THE BUBBLE
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN, CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR


The nominees:
ROLF LASSGARD, AFTER THE WEDDING
It is hard to summarize Lassgard’s performance without including some major spoilers, so I will keep it short and suggest that anyone reading this watch this film at their earliest convenience. Lassgard first appears on screen while the song “It’s Raining Men” plays on his radio, but that is such a false impression of the generous businessman with a booming voice that only the film can itself reveal.

CASEY AFFLECK, THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORDAffleck takes his quiet ferocity from “Gone Baby Gone” and transplants it into the past, where he faces off against Brad Pitt in this remarkable film. Affleck’s Robert Ford is at every moment desperately eager to please Pitt’s Jesse James, but it is clear that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery for Ford. Without ever raising his voice, Affleck carries a pent-up anger and jealousy throughout the film and more than keeps the film going during its somewhat slow-paced third act.

ED HARRIS, GONE BABY GONE
All the buzz for this film went to co-star Amy Ryan, but it is veteran Harris who really stands out. As a somewhat shady cop in the Boston police force, Harris both demands respect and exudes suspicion at the same time. He does not take crap from anybody, which is most clear in his scenes with Casey Affleck. Harris has many terrific moments with such a small role that make his character impossible to forget.

MARCUS CARL FRANKLIN, I’M NOT THERE
It would be easy for the young Franklin, in his first feature film role, to get lost among the great actors playing Bob Dylan in this film (Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, and Cate Blanchett, most notably). But Franklin proves in his very first moment to be the strongest thing about the film, making his interpretation of Dylan mature beyond his years and so eagerly adaptable to the world around him. Franklin definitely has an exciting career ahead of him.

JAVIER BARDEM, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Every time I see this ridiculously nice guy give an acceptance speech, I am reminded of how good his performance was and how he in real life is so remarkably different from his psychotic but calculating killer. Bardem immediately skyrockets to the top of any “best villains” list and his presence holds sway over the entire film, even when he is not on screen. His best moments come when he is engaged in one-on-one conversations with unexpected people who just want to do their job. He just wants to do his job, but that may involve flipping a coin.

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