BEST ACTOR WATCH: Robert De Niro in ‘Everybody’s Fine’

Posted by · 7:51 am · September 11th, 2009

(from left) Drew Barrymore and Robert De Niro in Everybody's FineI’ve been meaning to post something along these lines for a few weeks now.  Around roughly this time a year ago (plus a month exactly), we pointed you early on to a potential comeback in the works for Mickey Rourke in Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler.”  We all know how that turned out.  Now there are murmurs that Robert De Niro could be back in serious Oscar contention for the first time since…anybody?

The film is Kirk Jones’s “Everybody’s Fine” and it is a remake of Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1990 film of the same name.  De Niro stars as a widower who realizes the only connection he has to his family was through his wife, so he sets off on an impromptu road trip to reunite with each of his grown children.

In some ways it sounds like a role similar to George Clooney’s in “Up in the Air,” a sudden realization that one’s place in the world is very much determined by relationships with loved ones.  And it could be just the ticket for De Niro to get back into the fray.  Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell also star.

The last time De Niro was treading these waters, by the way — if you’re still racking your brain on that — was a one-two comedy Golden Globe punch in 1999’s “Analyze This” and 2000’s “Meet the Parents.”  The last time it was a serious role?  1991’s “Cape Fear.”  Suffice it to say, it’s been a while since De Niro made the circuit’s acquaintance.

I’ve had De Niro on my radar for a while but wanted to wait until something tangible began to bubble up to the surface.  Marcello Mastroianni originated the role, though he didn’t see any awards notices.  However, along with Clive Owen in “The Boys Are Back,” De Niro represents Miramax’s best bet for acting awards contention.  Hopes have been pretty well dashed for “Chéri” and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Pete Hammond saw the film recently and said De Niro puts on “a master class in subtle, understated acting that just seems effortless.”  High praise indeed.

Chalk it up as one more contender to the steadily unfolding 2009 awards season.

→ 19 Comments Tags: , , | Filed in: Daily

19 responses so far

  • 1 9-11-2009 at 7:57 am

    James D. said...

    That is certainly great to hear. DeNiro is always a pleasure to watch when he is on top of his game.

  • 2 9-11-2009 at 8:19 am

    Aaron said...

    I’ve been wondering about this one, considering the role seems meaty enough to garner Oscar attention.
    I know the main focus is DeNiro, but I wonder if Drew Barrymore has any potential? She is having a killer year. It would be the icing on the cake if she could garner some awards attention for her role.

  • 3 9-11-2009 at 8:23 am

    Jim T said...

    I’d like to see him back in the race but where is Pacino? I love that guy but he has lost it!?! Give these guys good scripts and directors!

  • 4 9-11-2009 at 8:47 am

    Edward L. said...

    A De Niro comeback would be wonderful.

  • 5 9-11-2009 at 8:57 am

    Encore Entertainment said...

    Kristopher! Collective sigh when you say Pfeiffer’s hopes have been dashed. Who knows? Judi Dench was nominated for Mrs. Henderson…

  • 6 9-11-2009 at 9:28 am

    RichardA said...

    I won’t count out Michelle Pfeiffer.

  • 7 9-11-2009 at 10:09 am

    Jesse said...

    Serious role? Kris, don’t forget 1995’s Casino, one of De Niro’s most understated performances. It still surprises me that he didn’t get a nomination. It’s funny, because just last weekend I was wondering when De Niro would begin to get talk for this film. Similar premise won Art Carney the Oscar for Harry and Tonto.

  • 8 9-11-2009 at 10:20 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    That reads funny. It should read “last serious role to be in the derby.” Sorry for the confusion. Love Casino.

  • 9 9-11-2009 at 10:22 am

    El Rocho said...

    I thought De Niro’s last good performances were in ‘City by the Sea’ and ‘Wag the Dog’. Not his best, but decent enough. I recently wrote a blog about legendary actors who have lost their talent as of late, mostly in crap, genre-based films, and De Niro was one of them (others included Pacino and Hoffman). I’m just really happy to hear such praise for one of our greatest actors who, hopefully, has brought his game back.

    Well, good for him. He’s sooo much better then ‘Righteous Kill’, ‘What Just Happened?’ or any of his horror (‘Hide and Seek’, ‘Godsend’) and/or comedy (‘Meet the Parents’, ‘Showtime’, ‘Meet the Fockers’) attempts.

  • 10 9-11-2009 at 10:27 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Good stuff in Wag the Dog, too. A personal favorite from 1997.

  • 11 9-11-2009 at 10:44 am

    El Rocho said...

    Same. And have always been a devoted and vocal admirer of David Mamet.

  • 12 9-11-2009 at 11:15 am

    Duderman said...

    I forgot I saw this trailer las week with Extract…The movie looked decent, but had one of the worst trailer voice-overs I have heard in a really long time. Made it seem like a direct to video trailer. Without the voice over it would look like a much better movie

  • 13 9-11-2009 at 12:25 pm

    Michael W. said...

    I saw the trailer for Everybody’s Fine a few days ago and thought that it looked like a real feel-good-movie that could possible put De Niro in as a contender for a Golden Globe comedy/musical nod (EF isn’t exactly drama is it? I didn’t get that feeling by watching the trailer).

    But I would love to see De Niro get another Oscar nom. He really should have been nominated for both Casino and Jackie Brown.

  • 14 9-11-2009 at 12:29 pm

    Michael W. said...

    By the way. I started thinking about Jack Nicholson and About Schmidt when I saw the trailer for Everybody’s Fine. Though that was considered drama. But what was it Jack said when he won the Globe for best actor in a drama – “I thought we were making a comedy” :D

  • 15 9-11-2009 at 12:54 pm

    yer said...

    This is great news, but I don’t like the idea of this being a “comeback”. De Niro hasn’t really gone anywhere. He just hasn’t been delivering masterful performances as he did so often in the past. When you’re Robert De Niro a good performance or even a great one is still disappointing because everyone expects a masterpiece. The same thing happens to someone like Pacino. Anyways I’m glad to see him gaining some buzz hopefully it continues towards another nomination. The academy loves to nominate veterans. This article also reminded me he wasn’t nominated for The King of Comedy which is right up there with his very best. Such a shame.

  • 16 9-11-2009 at 1:20 pm

    BurmaShave said...

    Was wondering when this film was gonna pop up. A lot of potential.

  • 17 9-11-2009 at 4:22 pm

    ryy said...

    This is great news, hopefully he’ll get the nomination.
    His best performance since his last nomination imo was in HEAT, and they didn’t nominate him, let’s hope they don’t make the same mistake.

  • 18 9-11-2009 at 5:44 pm

    tim said...

    One of the best actors of all time. Should have won for Taxi Driver. People talk about how weak the best actress field is this year but I don’t see how the men’s side is any stronger. How great would it be if he and Meryl both won their third Oscars this year?

  • 19 9-14-2009 at 11:47 am

    brian said...

    Sounds a lot like Broken Flowers. Hope this one does better.