Frank Awards 2013: Acting

So, here comes five awards, all the awards for acting in one big blow for all of you, maybe one of the favorites of the Frank Awards! Take a look. Sorry for the delay in these, I had internet problems.

Best Performance, Acting, Ensemble:

Last year, the winner of the Frank Award in this category was the ensemble cast of the great movie ‘Cloud Atlas’ (2012), and as you can already hear, I prefer big casts that have a great amount of acting instead of one that outshines the rest, making the rest invisible, here there’s a singular work from all the performers. Sometimes the ensembles have no nominees in the smaller acting categories, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a great ensemble.

This year the ensembles nominated come from all over the world and with varying degrees of importance in the movie. In ’12 Years a Slave’ you can see the exception to the norm that I preceded this category with, in this, the amount of acting by the main performers and the great uniformity of them all makes them all nominees in the main slot below (won’t spoil, but you can guess who they are). The many stories in the miniseries ‘Top of the Lake’ are developed further and greatly thanks to the stupendous cast present in its many episodes, having a distinct personality that could be explored in the many minutes it had to do so. At moments, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ seems to be a one man show, but for some reason it goes beyond that with the many stupendous supporting characters, from Matthew McGonaghuey to Jonah Hill, they are all great examples of debaucheary and excess. We have a team of adventurers with ‘The World’s End’, a great ensemble of people with outrageous and distinct personalities, their skills in the physical can only be surpassed by their dramatic and funny acting. The many fighters and performers in the kung fu dramatic film ‘Yi dai zong shi’ make a great impression on the viewer with every kick and punch and turn that they make.

So, the nominated ensembles are:
· 12 Years a Slave
· Top of the Lake
· The Wolf of Wall Street
· The World’s End
· Yi dai zong shi

And the winning movie is:

‘The World’s End’ ensemble acting combines the best talent of modern british actors with the most comedic couple of these years in Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, it’s a bunch of actors that are accompanied by another bits and pieces here and there, and none of them feel out of place at any time.

Best Performance, Acting, Female, Lead:

In the Frank Awards of last year we honored Emanuelle Riva for her stupendous leading role in the masterpiece ‘Amour’ (2012), but in 2013 she didn’t work in any movie, but I think she’s approaching (if she isn’t already) retirement.

Five great performances are collected this year, it was really hard (and at the same time very simple) to choose the best one from the bunch presented here. For example, Cate Blanchett is brilliant in ‘Blue Jasmine’, as she seems to be fully in the know of how people with hysteria, depression and hints of schizophrenia work in the modern world of today, and her tale of rotten ups and downs is something to wonder at by the changes in her face. Julie Delpy reprises her classic role in ‘Before Midnight’ the latest film in the series that Richard Linklater started, here she picks up a strength that gives the role a meatier importance and some gravitas that didn’t exist in the other two movies, a wonder when she gets angry, a beauty when she’s peaceful. Paula Dinamarca is almost playing herself in the Chilean film ‘Naomi Campbel’, the story of a transexual woman who wants an operation to change her body completely to the one of a woman, a powerful performance based on her own reality, her story and her powerful shortcomings and habilities, a great movie and a great performance. In ‘Magic Magic’ there are many sequences and shots that can make you angry and dissapointed, maybe it’s one of the most xenophobic films out there, but the performances are maybe something that I could say that this movie didn’t deserve, such as the main female performance of Juno Temple, who plays crazy and anguish perfectly, one of the craziest performance of the year alongside the one of Cate Blanchett. Mia Wasikowska was nominated for a Frank Award a few years ago but in a different category, it’s the now defunct Best Dance, Female category that she was nominated for her work in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (2010), this time for a completely different role, one that’s almost mute, but powerful in its eyes and actions, the way that she seems to know and understand everything around her, how the lust of the start of her sexuality can be felt in everything she does, it’s a wonderful performance.

So, the nominees are:
· Cate Blanchett as “Jasmine” in ‘Blue Jasmine’
· Julie Delpy as “Céline Wallace” in ‘Before Midnight’
· Paula Dinamarca as “Yermén” in ‘Naomi Campbel’
· Juno Temple as “Alicia” in ‘Magic Magic’
· Mia Wasikowska as “India Stoker” in ‘Stoker’

And the winner is:

Cate Blanchett’s performance as Jasmine in ‘Blue Jasmine’ is the most amazing deployment of realism put to screen this year, how we see her breakdown is something incredible and prooven. That’s how crazy people act.

Best Performance, Acting, Female, Supporting:

Last year, the Frank Award was given to Anne Hathaway for her role as Selina Kyle in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (2012), where she prooved her worth, and in 2013 she appeared in what seems to be a small role in the film ‘Don Jon’, that I wasn’t interested in seeing.

The women here mix the new with the old in these times of cinema, maybe the best mix of them all out there. For example, the great Sally Hawkins has a wonderful supporting role in ‘Blue Jasmine’ as the sister of the protagonist, that has problems of her own, mixing the giddyness of her own excitement and the way that she tries to proove herself worth of her own destiny. Nicole Kidman was already nominated for a Frank Award before but in a different category, that would be the Best Performance, Acting, Female, Lead Frank Award for the movie ‘Rabbit Hole’ (2010), and this time in supporting she’s nominated for a teary eyed performance filled with dread and jealousy, I feel everything she feels as the mother in ‘Stoker’. Lupita Nyong’o is a newcomer, this is the first movie that she’s acted in, and she already makes a succesful role, bringing it forward with a mix of sentimentalism and pain in her magnificent role in ’12 Years a Slave’. In ‘Nebraska’ there’s no one as foulmouthed as June Squibb, playing the husband of the protagonist, a woman who has no fear of saying and doing what she thinks is the right thing to say or do, she even adds a musical quality to the performance, a voice of her own to make it seem natural and at the same time important. And finally we have Ziyi Zhang, the chinese beauty, the woman that would end up being more important than the wife of the protagonist (in an unexpected move according to me) in ‘Yi dai zong shi’, her movements and face expressions are mute yet they feel more articulate than most actors when they talk.

So, the nominees are:
· Sally Hawkins as “Ginger” in ‘Blue Jasmine’
· Nicole Kidman as “Evelyn Stoker” in ‘Stoker’
· Lupita Nyong’o as “Patsey” in ’12 Years a Slave’
· June Squibb as “Kate Grant” in ‘Nebraska’
· Ziyi Zhang as “Gong Er” in ‘Yi dai zong shi’

And the winner is:

Ziyi Zhang goes miles to pull her vision of the perfect woman, the woman who is inconditional to an ideal, that is capable to sacrifice herself for others, that is also as strong (if not stronger than) as a man. This performance gives ‘Yi dai zong shi’ a feminist and sad touch that might be the extra push that needed for this movie to become a masterpiece of the kung fu and artistic genre.

Best Performance, Acting, Male, Lead:

The winner of the Frank Award last year was the deserving Denis Lavant for his wonderful turn as the actor for all sizes in ‘Holy Motors’ (2012), and in this 2013 he worked in a lot of things that I didn’t have the chance to see, like the short movies ‘Jiminy’, ‘Je sens plus la vitesse’, ‘Méandres’, ‘Les grandes marées’, ‘Fatigués d’être beaux’ and the full length movies’Barricade: le film’, ‘Michael Kohlhaas’ and ‘Marussia’.

The actors nominated this year are all newcomers to the Frank Awards, but at the same time there are some known faces to the world of film. For example the veteran yet incredible actor Bruce Dern plays a damaged and senile man to perfection, maybe the most accurate projection of a role like that ever put to film, at least to my knowledge. Leonardo DiCaprio managed something out of this world in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’, being funny, dramatic, crazy, dynamic and having a sense of comedic timing as well as physical comedy akin to the one of a Jerry Lewis, just nothing short of extraordinary. I haven’t heard of Chiwetel Ejiofor until he starred in the wonderful ’12 Years a Slave’, where his cries of pain combined with the grudge for his family lost, the pains of his works, the load of centuries of abuse, those are the elements that make it one of the most powerful performances of the year, as you feel the history of the world in his eyes. The sadness of the main character of ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ is combined by the overall clumsiness of his own life, the funnies and the sads that are in the performance of Oscar Isaac make it something to wonder how is it possible that you didn’t hear about this actor before. Joaquin Phoenix just doesn’t surprise you anymore when he gives a performance that is great, you just expect it from him, and while this is his first time being nominated for a Frank Award, he would’ve surely made the fight for the award if I had seen ‘The Master’ (2012) at time last year, but in this performance for ‘Her’, he just makes the awkward teenager that never grows in the body and responsabilities of an adult a reality that it’s too close for comfort.

So, the nominees are:
· Bruce Dern as “Woody Grant” in ‘Nebraska’
· Leonardo DiCaprio as “Jordan Belfort” in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’
· Chiwetel Ejiofor as “Solomon Northup” in ’12 Years a Slave’
· Oscar Isaac as “Llewyn Davis” in ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’
· Joaquin Phoenix as “Theodore” in ‘Her’

And the winner is:

Bruce Dern is just as clueless as when we see him perform in ‘Nebraska’. We can’t understand how he does it, but he feels as if the actor himself was going through a senile fit, as if he was just taken out of an old people manor of sorts, it’s a real performance that feels real to people in the know.

Best Performance, Acting, Male, Supporting:

Last year, the winner of this Frank Award was the two times winner Christoph Waltz for his role in the magnificent masterpiece that is ‘Django Unchained’ (2012), and this year he managed to grab a lead performance in the latest film of Terry Gilliam, ‘The Zero Theorem’, that wasn’t available to see to me in any festival, and a voicework in the animated film ‘Epic’, that I didn’t see.

The nominees this year are maybe not the ones that you’d expect in a category like this. For example we have Stephen Cone, american actor, for a role in a film that only a select (or lucky) few have been able to see, the short film ‘Ellie Lumme’, playing the creepiest man alive, conjuring uneasyness and just real fear in a simple and mostly unarticulate performance. Previously nominated for a Frank Award in the same category is Michael Fassbender, nominated for playing the cyborg character in ‘Prometheus’ (2012), this year he is awarded this nomination for his work as the brute owner of the cotton plantation who rapes, yells and whips as well as finds his own fears fed by his own sexual apetites and respect for the strength of the people under their charge in ’12 Years a Slave’. On its own wavelength, Nick Frost surprises in his role (less important than in the other Cornetto films on my opinion) that might be the best he has in the trilogy, playing an orderly man first and then an all out crazy one, the change being natural and understandable. Rutger Hauer is the man, and he plays a blind retired american actor in the Italian-Chilean film ‘Il futuro’ to something near a sadness in his movements that also contain a hint of restrained violence that can be seen in the way that he moves or carries the protagonist in his arms. Peter Mullan plays a nasty man in the miniseries ‘Top of the Lake’, one of the most disgusting and hateful men this year in the visual market, a man who is divided between the crimes that he commits and the help that he wants to receive to look for his lost daughter, something that he might be more guilty of than he thinks.

So, the nominees are:
· Stephen Cone as “Ned” in ‘Ellie Lumme’
· Michael Fassbender as “Edwin Epps” in ’12 Years a Slave’
· Nick Frost as “Andy Knightley” in ‘The World’s End’
· Rutger Hauer as “Maciste” in ‘Il futuro’
· Peter Mullan as “Matt Mitcham” in ‘Top of the Lake’

And the winner is:

Nick Frost delivers not only an intelectual performance when we see him change from the order to the chaos, but at the same time he might be the most surprising fighter from the bunch, giving the performance the physical punch that it needs to be above the rest.

Tomorrow: The Best Films of the Rest.


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