In Contention

OFF THE CARPET: Strong year for double-dippers

Posted by · 8:58 am · September 12th, 2011

We find ourselves right in the middle of the big Toronto press junket, er, film festival, where 200-plus films are landing, many of them as world premieres, and the landscape of this year’s Oscar race is really beginning to take shape.

As I looked out at the various films in play this year, it suddenly occurred to me that, perhaps more than ever, there are a lot of double-dipping actors and actresses in the hunt. Not all of these performances are or will be awards bait necessarily, but there could still be cases for more than a few saddling up to dual nominations this year.

At the top of that list would have to be Brad Pitt. After already giving what many believed to be his best performance to date in Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” the paparazzi-hounded star found himself the recipient of a lot of great ink for his work in “Moneyball” when it screened in Toronto at the end of the week. Wisely, Fox Searchlight will be planning a supporting actor push for the actor in Malick’s film, which is both practical (given his clear lead in the other film), and organic (given that, at least in my opinion, he is supporting to Hunter McCracken’s lead in “The Tree of Life”).

Also perhaps in the running for a dual berth is Tom Hardy. He gives a remarkably controlled performance as a co-lead of “Warrior,” best in show, even. While that film’s Oscar tale will largely be told by box office receipts, it nevertheless is a big winner with older audiences and Academy types, and he’ll be on the circuit, charming them every step of the way.

But Hardy is also notable in “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.” I asked Guy for his thoughts on Hardy in the film, and his potential for a nomination. “I think Hardy’s terrific in the film,” he told me. “The combination of his breakout year and the fact that he has the most charismatic character in the film makes him the most obvious contender, if one emerges.” He was quick to note, however, that given the vast male ensemble of supporting men, and the across-the-board quality of performances, many people could have different favorites.

One of those is Benedict Cumberbatch, by the way, who ought to be included in this space as he will also show up later this year in Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse.”

The poster child for multiple performances this year is Jessica Chastain. She’s already appeared in three films that have seen release — “The Tree of Life,” “The Help” and “The Debt” — stirring awards chatter for each performance. She has “Take Shelter” and “Coriolanus” still to come as well as “Wilde Salome” and “Texas Killing Fields” in the recently concluded Venice film fest (where she won an award that ought to be attributed to her prolific status this year).

If one performance makes the most sense for a nod from this bunch, it would be her work in “The Help.” But unfortunately these are all supporting performances for the actress. If the Academy rules didn’t stipulate that an actor or actress couldn’t be nominated twice in a category, she could probably land a handful of slots herself.

Moving along, Chastain co-stars with Ralph Fiennes in his own film, “Coriolanus,” which could stir consideration for Fiennes in the lead Shakespearean role. He already gave what was considered by many to be the best performance of the Oscar-aiming “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.”

Speaking of Potter Mania, David Thewlis reprised his role from the franchise briefly in that closing installment. No, it’s not something to watch for awards, but his work in “War Horse,” Roland Emmerich’s “Anonymous” and, most especially, “The Lady,” could very well be. I hear he’s quite strong in the latter, a co-lead piece with Michelle Yeoh that will no doubt see him relegated to a supporting campaign.

I’ve gotten so deep here that I’m coming around to Ryan Gosling way later than I’d have liked. The actor dazzled audiences at Cannes with his remarkably internalized work in “Drive,” which hits theaters soon. He’s also received a lot of appreciation for his work in summer romantic comedy “Crazy, Stupid, Love” (opposite Emma Stone, who is front and center in “The Help”), not to mention his headlining George Clooney’s “The Ides of March.” Two of those films are playing Toronto as we speak.

And, speaking of Clooney’s fourth directorial effort, the multi-hyphenate also stars, though briefly, in the film. He isn’t likely to drum up awards support for his work therein, but the added exposure can’t hurt his chances for “The Descendants.” Also starring in “Ides” are Philip Seymour Hoffman, present elsewhere in “Moneyball,” and Paul Giamatti, who will come back around in a campaign for early-year release “Win Win.”

Going back to “Coriolanus,” Vanessa Redgrave had a flag planted on her behalf by Guy way back at the Berlinale in February, but she’ll add more fuel to that fire with her fantastic portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in “Anonymous.”

Let’s see. Elle Fanning has already generated a lot of respect for her work in the summer blockbuster “Super 8,” and she still has Cameron Crowe’s “We Bought a Zoo” to come (as well as, eventually, the apparent Francis Ford Coppola misfire “Twixt”). Kate Winslet has a small-ish part in “Contagion” that she nevertheless nails (across from Marion Cotillard, also present in “Midnight in Paris,” and Matt Damon, who turns up in “We Bought a Zoo”). Winslet gets more to chew on in Roman Polanski’s “Carnage,” starring with John C. Reilly, who gets some time opposite awards hopefuls Tilda Swinton an Ezra Miller in “We Need to Talk About Kevin.” And Bryce Dallas Howard is very good in “The Help” while continuing to stretch herself with an unlikeable character in “50/50.”

With the recent news that Fox Searchlight picked up Steve McQueen’s “Shame,” you have to at least humor Michael Fassbender in all of this. He is a bit of a non-issue in “A Dangerous Method,” but he gives his best performance to date in McQueen’s film (and benefits from added exposure at least in “Jane Eyre” and “X-Men: First Class.”)

If you can believe it, I haven’t even scratched the surface yet. There are a boatload of performances in films still looking for distribution that could add to actors’ causes.

Let’s start with Jude Law, who is already visible in “Contagion” (probably the best part of the film), and with Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” still to come, he’s also in Fernando Meirelles’s “360,” playing Toronto this week (though leaving critics cold).

Speaking of “360,” Rachel Weisz headlines that film and is also in “The Whistleblower,” which played Toronto in 2010, to say nothing of her rumored-to-be excellent work in Terrence Davies’s “The Deep Blue Sea.”

Christopher Plummer started the season as a good bet for supporting actor recognition in “Beginners,” but he stars in a one-man show in Toronto called “Barrymore” that many are calling a potential Best Actor play, before wrapping up the year in David Fincher’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

And then there’s the most unique double-dipper of them all, Andy Serkis, whose motion-capture performance in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” has already stirred awards talk from those who think he deserves to be in the hunt. And he’ll have another mo-cap turn in Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” later in the year. Not that anything will come of all of that, but it’s worth a mention.

My fingers are tired. So apologies to Ewan McGregor, Emily Watson, Judi Dench, Carey Mulligan, Michelle Williams, Robin Wright, Thomas Haden Church, Matthew McConaughey, Mia Wasikowska, Marisa Tomei, Ben Foster and whomever I surely forgot, but I think you get the point. The deck is stacked with double-, triple-, quadruple- and, hell, septuple-dippers this year. I can’t recall another season with so many prolific stars on display. It’ll be fun to watch the various shades of these performers’ talents throughout.

I’ve run a comb through the Contenders section once more and the sidebar predictions reflect those changes. More as the Toronto fest forges ahead.

[Photos: Walt Disney Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, The Weinstein Company]

→ 56 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Off the Carpet

56 responses so far

  • 1 9-12-2011 at 9:07 am

    amanda said...

    Kris it’s interesting that you have Matt Damon so high in the actor category, have you heard anything about the movie or are you just guessing?

  • 2 9-12-2011 at 9:09 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Weird year for the category. No one else really makes much sense above him. And hanging out a touch of faith, too.

  • 3 9-12-2011 at 9:14 am

    tdr said...

    It’s almost like six degrees of separation the way you flow through the actors in the article.

  • 4 9-12-2011 at 9:23 am

    amanda said...

    Well I would love for Damon to get nominated but the Academy doesn’t seem to like him very much. I know he was just nominated for Invictus but he should have been nominated for so many more than that performance, which was very weak.

  • 5 9-12-2011 at 9:27 am

    evelyn garver said...

    I admire both Hardy and Fassbender, but I think Fassbender has, despite SHAME’S explicit content, a better chance at a nomination. His performance is being talked about and reviewed as one of those bravura, groundbreaking turns. In fact, more than one commentator has called him the new Daniel Day-Lewis. I would also speculate that it would have to be a pretty thin best actor field for R. Fiennes to get in. He’s been off the Academy’s radar for years.

  • 6 9-12-2011 at 9:33 am

    mikhael said...

    Also love of my life Carey Mulligan who appears in Drive and Shame

  • 7 9-12-2011 at 9:35 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Aha! I knew I’d forget one. Thanks mikhael.

  • 8 9-12-2011 at 9:39 am

    Derek 8-Track said...

    “an actor or actress couldn’t be nominated twice in a category”

    That’s upsetting. The best performances nominated should be the best performances, regardless of who did them. I would love to see a character actor like Phil Hoffman (or in this case Jessica Chastain) fill two or three slots in the supporting category some year.

    but i guess, rules are rules.

  • 9 9-12-2011 at 10:15 am

    Andrej said...

    Looks like this article fully answers my Oscar Talk question from last week. Instead of Pitt, I’d go with Hardy for the dual nod this year, as both of his movies seem to be more approachable than Pitt’s The Tree of Life (and I wouldn’t count out Warrior’s chances because of its disappointing premiere box office – The Hurt Locker and 127 Hours went all the way regardless).

    Also, Kris, what about Midnight in Paris for Cinematography, Costume Design and Art Direction? After having The King’s Speech at those categories, I wouldn’t think its chances are that far off (well, Art Direction might be a tough sell all things considered, but still).

  • 10 9-12-2011 at 10:17 am

    ferdi said...

    You forgot also Michelle Williams starring in My Week With Marylin and Take This Waltz. And I’m beginning to love Carey Mulligan after seeing her in Shame. So raw and wrenching, the scene where she sings New York New York is heartbreaking. Hope she will get a nomination as supporting this year, for Shame or Drive as well.

  • 11 9-12-2011 at 10:46 am

    mary said...

    Off topic? :

    Sony Pictures Classics wanted to open “Shame” in 2012 when they were trying to buy the film.

    It looks like SPC wanted to distance “Shame” from “A Dangerous Method”….. Anyway, it looks like “Shame’ would be somewhat harmful to the Oscar potential of “A Dangerous Method”…..

  • 12 9-12-2011 at 10:49 am

    ferdi said...

    There’s no worry now, ’cause Shame is in Focus Searchlight hands.

  • 13 9-12-2011 at 10:52 am

    Brock Landers said...

    Saw We Need to Talk About Kevin at TIFF. What an absolute powerhouse. The ending really shook me. I just can’t see how Swinton and Miller don’t get nominated. As long as people see the film, I don’t see that being a problem. There is no way you can watch that movie and tell me they don’t deserve a nomination.

  • 14 9-12-2011 at 10:55 am

    ferdi said...

    Wow! Can’t wait to see We Need To Talk About Kevin! Still we don’t have a release date in Italy…

  • 15 9-12-2011 at 12:25 pm

    Andrew M said...

    Interesting that you are still sticking with Knightly after the critical, and your personal, response to the film.

  • 16 9-12-2011 at 1:00 pm

    Rashad said...

    Chris Hemsworth – Thor

    that’s right.

  • 17 9-12-2011 at 1:02 pm

    Rashad said...

    About double dippers, it won’t happen, but Serkis does have his performance as Haddock this year in addition to Caesar.

  • 18 9-12-2011 at 1:06 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Ha. good point.

  • 19 9-12-2011 at 1:52 pm

    The Other James D. said...

    Marisa Tomei is yet another, with Crazy, Stupid, Love. and The Ides of March to her credit!

    And the ubiquity role call continues.

  • 20 9-12-2011 at 2:36 pm

    The Other James D. said...


  • 21 9-12-2011 at 2:37 pm

    cineJAB said...

    Interesting that you wrote a whole article about actors having potential to double-dip yet you don’t predict that any of them will. I really think Fassbender and Gosling get a lead nods for Shame and Drive respectfully, and Hardy gets a supporting nod for TTSS. Or maybe I just hope they do.

  • 22 9-12-2011 at 2:40 pm

    cineJAB said...

    Oh and Joseph Gordon-Levitt for 50/50….shoot. Here’s my dream Best Actor lineup:
    Dicaprio, J.Edgar
    Fassbender, Shame
    Gordon-Levitt, 50/50
    Gosling, Drive
    Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

    of course I’ve not seen one of those movies.

  • 23 9-12-2011 at 2:43 pm

    The Other James D. said...

    You just hope they do. And quite frankly, you’re not alone. :P That is totally my dream Best Actor lineup as well, with one little tweak:

    Michael Fassbender, Shame
    Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50
    Ryan Gosling, Drive
    Gary Oldman, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
    Craig Roberts, Submarine

    The last one may seem a bit random, but he was astonishing and superb in what’s so far my favorite film of the year so far. I recommend it highly.

  • 24 9-12-2011 at 2:55 pm

    cineJAB said...

    also I don’t see War Horse panning out. Some tech stuff at most.

  • 25 9-12-2011 at 3:06 pm

    Ryan Sartor said...

    I was scratching my head while reading Roger Ebert’s review of “Contagion.” He didn’t understand why Jude Law’s character was in “Contagion.” What’s to understand?

  • 26 9-12-2011 at 4:06 pm

    tony rock said...

    Fassbender, Gosling, Dicaprio, Gordon-Levitt, and Oldman would be my dream line-up as well. Of course, we’ll probably end up seeing a bunch of old-timers nominated. I know it should be about the performance but I always prefer to see first-time/second-time nominees over the same ole, same ole names (Clooney).

  • 27 9-12-2011 at 4:19 pm

    Andrew M said...

    I understand people wanting new blood in the category (the list mentioned above in the comments is great) but, as of right now, there are two never nominated, two nominated 3 times, and an open spot filled by someone nominated twice. I don’t think that’s all that bad of a field, though it is boring we basically have narrowed it down to 4 (3 if J.Edgar doesn’t perform well).

  • 28 9-12-2011 at 4:20 pm

    Andrew M said...

    I didn’t count Clooney’s directing and writing noms, which would bring him up to 5, just his acting.

  • 29 9-12-2011 at 5:05 pm

    m1 said...

    I think that Sarah Jessica Parker should be mentioned. If it is well-received, she could get a Golden Globe nomination for I Don’t Know How She Does It and she plays the horse in War Horse as well.

  • 30 9-12-2011 at 5:22 pm

    Kyle T. said...

    @Tony Rock

    George Clooney is a same ol’, same ol’ because he consistently delivers gripping, layered and powerful work, and, imo, always evolving and getting better.

    Syriana, Good Night and Good Luck, Michael Clayton, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Up in the Air, and now The Descendants (rumoured to be his best performance)…His choices are diverse, challenging (both to the audience, and for him as an actor) and among the most lauded and rewarding movies of each year.

    I don’t think we should take his talent and artistry for granted.

  • 31 9-12-2011 at 5:29 pm

    Maxim said...

    Well, when Tintin wins best animated film we’ll see the biggest double dip of them all.

    That is, until Lincoln wins next year, too.

  • 32 9-12-2011 at 6:00 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    though it is boring we basically have narrowed it down to 4

    You have, maybe. I don’t know about “we”. It’s September — nobody can possibly narrow the conversation to that extent yet.

  • 33 9-12-2011 at 6:09 pm

    Andrew M said...

    I shouldn’t of generalized like that, but it seems like the consensus right now are those 4. I can’t wait until something comes along to shake the field up, which I’m certian will happen.

    I guess what I should of said was that the majority of predictions has narrowed it down, as of right now.

  • 34 9-12-2011 at 6:53 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “What’s to understand?”

    The whole point of the film is in Law’s character. Wow.

    Also, m1 @ 29 for the win. Mean, but I laughed out loud.

  • 35 9-12-2011 at 6:58 pm

    will said...

    I’m hoping for Matt Damon. It would be such a shame if the nearest he ever got to an Oscar was for … whatever that Nelson Mandela movie was. Invictus. Had to look that up.

  • 36 9-12-2011 at 7:00 pm

    The Other James D. said...

    Um, the closest he ever got to Oscar was for Good Will Hunting. Ya know, when he and his theoretical butt buddy won Best Original Screenplay and all.

  • 37 9-12-2011 at 7:02 pm

    will said...

    ^yeah, yeah. I meant for acting. I just think it would be a shame if people looked back at Oscar rosters 50 years from now and thought, “Oh. So that’s the kind of things Matt Damon did.”

  • 38 9-12-2011 at 7:10 pm

    The Other James D. said...

    Haha, he’s still young and will continue finding great roles. I mean, Liberace was what I figured could bring nom #3. Don’t see a win yet, but it’s not like he’s 80.

    There actually aren’t *too* many films though that I consider him to be among the top 5 in that particular category for, to be honest. But he’s great nonetheless.

  • 39 9-12-2011 at 7:24 pm

    Dana Jones said...

    m1 I cannot stop laughing

  • 40 9-12-2011 at 8:17 pm

    Speaking English said...

    I actually consider Chastain a lead in “The Tree of Life,” but of course she doesn’t have a chance for that one in any category.

  • 41 9-12-2011 at 9:11 pm

    dvfty9 said...

    What about Peter Mullan? I heard he is great in Tyrannosaur and he’s also in War Horse. No awards buzz for him?

  • 42 9-12-2011 at 9:46 pm

    Steve G said...

    There’s also Mia Wasikowska, who is terrific in ‘Jane Eyre’ and perhaps a distant possibility for a nod. She also turns up in ‘Albert Nobbs’ and ‘Restless’.

  • 43 9-12-2011 at 11:12 pm

    tintin said...

    Clooney is a lock.

  • 44 9-13-2011 at 1:44 am

    Glenn said...

    I understand the reasoning behind about half of these “double dippers”, but the rest all just seem like actors who managed to score two acting roles in one year. That’s hardly new, is it?

    Wouldn’t it be a hoot if Christopher Plummer got two nominations this year?

  • 45 9-13-2011 at 3:16 am

    tony rock said...

    @ Kyle T

    Don’t get me wrong, Clooney delivers excellent perfs again and again. But I personally feel that if the new blood deliver something equally as great, then I’d rather see them nominated. However, the Academy usually prefers their veterans (ex: Bardem/Bridges over Gosling last year).

  • 46 9-13-2011 at 3:18 am

    matsunaga said...

    Nice right up Kris!!!

    I appreciate how you connected the dots!

    Such a great read!

  • 47 9-13-2011 at 3:18 am

    tony rock said...

    Of course, there are many exceptions. Sometimes the guy with four previous noms or previous wins is that much better.

  • 48 9-13-2011 at 5:09 am

    Adam said...

    Caught Descendants, Deep Blue Sea and The Artist over the weekend in Toronto.

    Clooney definitely earned a nomination with easily his best work since his best work to date (Michael Clayton), and depending on how much star power they want the category to have, I’d really like to see Jean Durjardin make it to the final five.

    Rachel Weisz was solid, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she landed some consideration, but that will depend a lot on movies none of us have seen yet.

  • 49 9-13-2011 at 5:11 am

    JJ1 said...

    I agree, tony rock. AMPAS does love their veterans; especially in the men’s field …

    -Tommy Lee Jones, out of nowhere in ’07.

    -Javier Bardem, multi-nommed from the past, recent winner. He’s liked & respected; so voters gave the film a look, appreciated, & voted.

    That does spell some amount of trouble for Gosling, Hardy (moreso), Fassbender (moreso), etc..

    DiCaprio, Oldman, Clooney, Pitt (?) looking good, thus far. If Dujardin is as good as some say (and in a surefire BP nom), then perhaps he’s in serious discussion.

    But yeah, I agree, tony.

  • 50 9-13-2011 at 5:25 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Given that that he’s only 42 years old, and has only been known to most Academy types for a decade or so, isn’t it a tad premature to call Javier Bardem a “veteran”?

  • 51 9-13-2011 at 5:50 am

    JJ1 said...

    Perhaps. Veteran is a bit strong (for Bardem).

    I guess I was just thinking recently – evidence of someone more well-known/respected getting in over fresh meat, so to speak. That said, if anyone was a veteran who got missed last year, it was Duvall, huh?

    I think there’s a lot of goodwill for Bardem (3 noms, 1 win).

  • 52 9-14-2011 at 6:51 am

    JJ1 said...

    Kris, don’t know where else to ask this, but I’m genuinely intrigued:

    You have Kristin Scott Thomas in 11th in Best Actress.

    1) did you see the film and were very impressed with her? If so, what was your opinion of the film?

    2) the fact that she executes several languages, plus an American accent is always impressive.

    And/or 3) do you know something we don’t (a big campaign planned, good word of mouth from Academy types)?

    I liked the film, and she was very good (as usual). But I just find that her quite high 11th place (as of now) jumps out at me. :)

  • 53 9-14-2011 at 10:54 am

    Danny said...

    I’m still on pins and needles regarding the inevtiable 60something showdown between Glenn Close (“Albert Nobbs”) and Meryl Streep (“The Iron Lady”). “Nobbs” sounds gimmicky, but I do love Close. Streep, working up to her 17th Oscar nomination (11 more than Close should Close be nominated, and she will). Should be interesting … eventually, I’ll have to get over the fact that Kate Winslet stole Meryl’s [2009] Oscar.

  • 54 9-14-2011 at 11:11 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    JJ: I just wonder if Weinstein might try to propel her into the race. That’s all.

  • 55 9-14-2011 at 12:21 pm

    JJ1 said...

    k, thanks. :)