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The Award Should Have Gone To: Best Actor 2010

by Vincent Scarpa on September 15, 2010

in Blogs

This is a new column that I pitched to Eric a few weeks ago, basically because I have a lot of pent-up frustration about award shows. Thank you Eric for letting me “freelance” while all I’m really doing is venting.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, 20092009_best_actor

WINNER: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)

  • Colin Firth (A Single Man)
  • Morgan Freeman (Invictus)
  • Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)
  • George Clooney (Up in the Air)

This was one of the most painful Oscar losses in my life. I had seen each of the films for which the men were nominated—as I always do—and pretty much called the nominations after I saw the performances, long before they had been announced. For me, it was an instant no-brainer that Colin Firth should win for has truly amazing performance in “A Single Man.” It was, and still is, I believe one of the most well-done films in recent years.

When nominations came out, I was so bummed that Tom Ford didn’t even get a directing nod, but don’t get me started. I had only seen Firth in romantic comedies like “Bridget Jones Diary” and “Love Actually,” and find myself in awe each time I watch this performance, which I truly believe to be brilliant.

But, as far as nominations went, I would’ve been satisfied—or at least less upset—with two of my other favorite performances of the year, George Clooney for “Up in the Air” and Jeremy Renner for “The Hurt Locker,” both of which were on my short list of best performances of the year.

I wasn’t surprised that Morgan Freeman was nominated for his role as Nelson Mandela in “Invictus,” but knew he was out from the get-go. I had seen the movie, had said previously that Morgan Freeman was born to play Nelson Mandela, and came away unsatisfied in all ways. But I definitely knew it would get him nominated.

Which brings us to Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart.” I saw the movie. I liked it. It wasn’t something to write home about. Do I think that Jeff Bridges was “overdue” for an Oscar and this was his way in? Absolutely. But I pity for the loss of Colin Firth and his brilliant performance.

It was impeccable, without flow, heart-wrenching, and all kinds of adjectives good. Not only that, the film itself was fantastic and expertly done by Tom Ford– it made his appearance as a middle-aged gay professor all the more enhanced.

I don’t know that Colin Firth will be nominated for an Oscar again ever, which makes it doubly disappointing. It’s an overlooked performance, and film for that matter, and I’m so bummed that it didn’t get the buzz it really deserved.

Bridges accepted the statue—which I think was granted him not necessarily for the singular performance, but for an entire body of work—and I understood the politics in that, but it was mighty heart-wrenching to see such a fantastic performance go by unnoticed. Makes me wish that “Crazy Heart” was released the year before. But, what I’m trying to get at here is that



‘Nuff said.

Vincent Scarpa

Vincent Scarpa is a graduate of Emerson College, and the recipient of the Norman Mailer Four-Year College Writing Award. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Baltimore Review, and plain china: Best Undergraduate Writing 2011.


{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 malia September 15, 2010 at 7:18 am

I think that Colin should have gotten the award too.


2 Reed September 15, 2010 at 7:19 am

I’m guessing the problem here is that more voters didn’t see A Single Man. Watching Crazy Heart, I was pretty underwhelmed in general. Bridges gives a good performance, but as you said, it’s not exactly amazing. You’ve got me curious to see A Single Man. Will have to check it out.


3 Eric Melin September 15, 2010 at 8:12 am

Firth’s performance was pained and complicated and the movie was beautiful to look at, but somehow I felt it was a little underwhelming. It was an interesting look at one man’s very specific grief, but didn’t pack the emotional wallop I’ve felt in similar movies, like “In the Bedroom,” where the grief morphs. Firth did reveal new sides to his acting for sure, but…

…my pick this year was Jeremy Renner for “The Hurt Locker.” I thought he internalized his addiction and masked it with bravado well and really enjoyed the scenes where he went after the kid and wrestled with his team–each one brought a new facet to his character.

One thing they both have in common is that neither performance was outwardly showy. Neither was Bridges, who I also thought was understated. It was a good year for deep performances!


4 Xavier September 15, 2010 at 8:27 am

Firth was really good in a Single Man, but like Eric I was a little underwhelmed, the story didn’t grab me overly so and it did lack the big emotional payoff that was supposed to be there (the costumes however were incredible and should have outright won, how both a single man and where the wild things are weren’t even nominated is beyond me).
My two favorite performances weren’t even nominated, Hal Holbrook in That Evening Sun was incredible and surely the return of Nic Cage in Bad Lieutenant was at least worth a nod. If I was to get annoyed about a Single Man being snubbed it would be for Julianne Moore and those costumes.


5 Marc Eastman September 15, 2010 at 10:47 am

You’re absolutely right on this one. Interesting feature. I look forward to more.


6 Lizzie September 15, 2010 at 3:08 pm

You and a whole host of people feel that Colin should have got the Oscar (myself included). But that is water under the bridge now. You say that you don’t know if Colin will ever be nominated again. Well if all the buzz from Telluride and Toronto, and from a score of reviewers, is correct, he could be nominated for his role in The King’s Speech. We must keep our fingers crossed.


7 Vincent Scarpa September 15, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Reed- I definitely suggest renting it. For me, it was one hell of a film.

Eric- You and I have to agree to disagree :p

Xavier- I do agree that Julianne Moore totally deserved a nod for those twelve minutes. She was just lovely!

Marc- Thanks so much!


8 Xavier September 15, 2010 at 8:53 pm

It is certainly worth renting out, I really liked it and its the sort of film I’d like to see more often, subtle and character focused. Really good acting all round and it was well shot. However I wouldn’t have given Tom Ford a directing nod, although it was a very solid debut. For me there was something missing, but still an interesting film and I did like that the fact that there were gay character’s wasn’t a massive point, it was just another attribute for them.


9 Xavier September 15, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Sorry should be that they were gay characters


10 Diane September 15, 2010 at 9:08 pm

I also have to agree with Vincent. But, you know there were some actors that didn’t even bother to watch this film. I think that needs to be changed. If you are allowed to vote in any particular category you should be required to watch all the performances. Yes, an actress said she wasn’t going to watch this one cause she was voting for her husband anyway.
But enough of that. Not to worry, Colin has the Oscar buzz going again for “The King’s Speech” which is being released November 26. And if you have missed some of Mr. Firth’s other dramatic roles try to rent them and you’ll see that this role, that may well have been his best to date, was not a huge surprise, or stretch, to his fans.


11 Xavier September 16, 2010 at 3:06 am

I agree with Diane about the rules, surely its unfair for people to be picking from a group of performances they haven’t even seen. I’d even suggest family members, spouses etc shouldn’t be able to vote in order to reduce some of the nepotism.


12 James September 16, 2010 at 10:17 pm

As others have stated, Firth is getting alot of oscar buzz and could very well get nominated again. Sadly, A Single Man maybe 1 out of like the 3 films that I didn’t get around to last year. I still need to see it and I’m surprised I haven’t since I was really looking forward to it.


13 Anonymous March 26, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Holy shit, are you retarded? THIS IS BULLSHIT.


14 Anonymous March 26, 2011 at 11:00 pm

I am a test of the emergency comment system


15 .alphamonkey. March 26, 2011 at 11:01 pm



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