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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

November 1, 2012 at 11:07 AM

And the Oscar for best actor goes to . . .

(Just to interject: hope you all had a nice Halloween. Best costumes showing up at my house were a peacock and a very small knight. No vampires. Lots of candy.)
It’s November, and tomorrow two movies open in Seattle that featuring a performance that’ll definitely be an Academy Awards contender. One, John Hawkes in “The Sessions,” has been talked up since its Sundance debut back in January, and for good reason: he’s playing a real-life character (journalist/poet Mark O’Brien) whose only possible movement was a 90-degree turn of the head. Hawkes disappears into the role, as he has a way of doing; see video of him talking about the challenges of “The Sessions” here. The other is Denzel Washington in “Flight,” and while he’s hardly unrecognizable, the performance is a remarkable study in subtlety and nuance. (He’s playing a character — a pilot who’s concealing addiction problems — who’s always acting, adding a second layer to Washington’s work.) Washington is famous for not talking about his acting process much, but he opens up a little bit in this New York Times profile, talking about the importance of preparation and using specific details (i.e. he carried a battered flight bag given to him by a real pilot).
These two — along with Daniel Day-Lewis, whose performance in “Lincoln” will be in Seattle theaters next week — are absolute slam-dunks to be on the Oscar ballot. That leaves two more. Hmm . . . Russell Crowe or Hugh Jackman in “Les Miserables” (which hasn’t screened yet)? Joaquin Phoenix in “The Master,” though he’s publicly said he doesn’t want an Oscar? Joseph Gordon-Levitt in “Looper,” maybe? Ben Affleck in “Argo,” though it’s not the kind of showy role that wins Oscars? Bradley Cooper in “The Silver LInings Playbook”? Or — wildcard here — might Daniel Craig, in “Skyfall,” be the first nominated James Bond? We shall see.

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