So, I’m confused. Or maybe I’m just dense. Is it weird that I refuse to corral behind Daniel Day-Lewis for the Oscar this year? Everyone seems pretty convinced that he is winning his third Leading Actor Oscar this year for his praised portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’. I have to admit, I’ve had him locked up for the nomination since year’s beginning, and I haven’t wavered from that thought all year. He was bound to get the nomination of prestige value alone. But a win? Seriously? The man already has TWO Lead Oscars, one as recent as 2007. I just can’t imagine that he is really going to pull off a third win so soon.
The Oscar is supposed to be the pinnacle of someone’s career. This is the award they all strive to attain. Winning TWO Oscars is an even greater triumph. Winning two LEAD Oscars, well, that’s a true stamp of a terrific actor (or at least it should be). It isn’t entirely rare though. In fact, it’s happened to nine actors (we’re just talking the men at this point).
Marlon Brando] On the Waterfront & The Godfather
Gary Cooper] Sergeant York & High Noon
Daniel Day-Lewis] My Left Foot & There Will be Blood
Tom Hanks] Philadelphia & Forrest Gump
Dustin Hoffman] Kramer vs. Kramer & Rain Man
Fredric March] Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde & The Best Years of Our Lives
Jack Nicholson] One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest & As Good As it Gets
Sean Penn] Mystic River & Milk
Spencer Tracy] Captains Courageous & Boys Town
Now, I’ve seen all of these works minus the films starring Gary Cooper. I never got into him as an actor and I never got around to seeing his films. I plan on doing it soon and then dissecting this list a little better, so we’ll avoid breaking into this too much for the time being. Still, as surprisingly wide as this list is (seriously, two Lead Acting Oscars is a big deal), I’m just not entirely sold on the idea of someone breaking all records and winning a third here. Katherine Hepburn holds the record for wins in the Lead Acting category with FOUR, and it is a record that I don’t see being broken anytime soon, by anyone, in any category.
My question is…why Daniel Day-Lewis? I understand that he is respected, but really? Is he THAT good? As a whole, I don’t particularly find him that impressive. He has a tendency to ham things up unnecessarily, going too far to create a ‘character’, and on the other hand he can come off almost stagey and stuffy when he’s not careful. He overthinks things. I understand that this is a mere personal opinion, but I know I’m not alone in my thinking.
Of course, my opinion has no bearing on whether or not the Academy (who does love them some DDL) is going to give him the Oscar. BUT, with the other viable options (Phoenix, Washington, Jackman) I just feel like in the end they will award someone else. The Academy isn’t always quick to hand out ‘another’ Oscar so freely, and if there is an actor considered overdue in your way, they tend to take precedence, regardless of whether or not your performance was ‘better’. The Oscars may also be a political thing (which could work in DDL’s favor depending on which way you spin it) but they also vote with passion, and I can’t see DDL garnering much of that as the season weighs on. I’m still hedging my bets on Jackman, who I think will burst on the scene with the passion vote and the win thanks to a star turn in my predicted Best Picture winner.
But only time will tell.
Another interesting tidbit is that 'Lincoln' could mark a THIRD for two other people, Spielberg and Field, both of which would have three Oscars if they win on this outing.