Friday, 4 November 2011

J. Edgar: Reviews and Oscar Chances

I wrote a little bit about Clint Eastwood's new film J. Edgar back in August when I discussed potential Oscar contenders. Last night J. Edgar premiered at the AFI Fest and reviews for the film are coming in. They're slightly mixed, with much of the praise going towards Leonardo DiCaprio's performance in the title role of the infamous head of the F.B.I for nearly fifty years, J. Edgar Hoover. Todd McCarthy, who gave the film a good review, says of DiCaprio's performance that's it's a "It's a vigorous, capable performance, one that carries the film and breathes new life into the old tradition of plain real folk achieving retroactive allure by being played by attractive stars."

Peter Debruge, who finds Eastwood's tackling of Hoover's supposed homosexuality too tasteful, nevertheless praises

DiCaprio's remarkable ability to play the character at any point along that timeline. Aided by a convincing combination of facial appliances, makeup and wigs, the thesp draws auds past that gimmick and into the character within a matter of a few scenes.

I'm glad DiCaprio is getting notices for his work here. Last year DiCaprio gave two strong performances in Shutter Island and Inception; unfortunately he wasn't nominated for either performance. As I wrote back in August, I think he has a good chance of being nominated for Best Actor, particularly now with the good reviews. I'm wondering though if the mostly muted praise for the film has hurt its bigger Oscar chances like Best Picture or Best Director. Of course even when a film isn't the hugest critical hit (The Reader), it can still make the cut. I also think it's the kind of movie the academy likes, a biopic with an A-list pedigree. Ultimately, while I'm not certain it'll be the front runner for Best Picture, I think it'll be in the race.  

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