Justin Timberlake is all over the place now. There is no denying the power of his celebrity. Over the past few years he has separated himself from the stigma of a Boy Band and created an empire on his name alone. Seriously, don’t doubt the power he has in the industry, both musically and otherwise. He has taken a seven year hiatus from music in order to attempt to prove himself an actor, and he has obviously garnered enough respect within the movie industry to not only be courted by high profile directors (Fincher, Coen Brothers) but also become a regular face at awards shows and red carpets. The people (all people) love him.
With the release of his latest album, ‘The 20/20 Experience’, plus the growing popularity he achieves from working with top notch actors and single handedly saving this season of SNL, Timberlake is being rumored to be in the running to host this year’s Oscar ceremony.
What do we have to say about this?
Here’s my thing; Timberlake has charisma. There is no denying that. He’s tried really hard over the past few years to refine that charisma so that he exudes ‘Move Star’ as opposed to ‘Pop Star’, because it’s obvious that he prefers the respect associated with the former. I personally find that charisma equal parts charming and distracting (I can’t get into his acting because he can’t seem to distance himself from himself) but I am curious as to how this will play out on a platform like Oscar. He is remarkable on SNL each time he hosts, and this has a lot to do with the ease before the camera (and improvisation) but Oscar is so different. I mean, if Oscar played out like an SNL skit then…but no.
I’m intrigued by this possibility, but I kind of have a feeling it won’t happen (which is probably for the best).
So that has me wondering; what do you think of Timberlake’s career? Do you feel he belongs in music or movies, or he is ‘multi-talented’? I personally think he needs to stick to music. ‘The 20/20 Experience’ was proof positive that the bulk of his talent lives and dwells in the studio. He develops such progressive sounds and his focus is undeniable. As an actor, I have trouble seeing through ‘the Justin Timberlake show’. He has spent so long creating this identity that it is hard for him to shed that in order to portray a character, unless that character is perfectly suited to that identity. This is an opinion I didn’t expect back in 2007 when I first saw Timberlake in front of the camera. His performance as Frankie Ballenbacher in ‘Alpha Dog’ was rather impeccable, filled to the brim with charisma but also with emotional connection to the material, and he works genius in that pivotal scene. After watching him there I really expected him to become a bona fide movie star, and he sort of has, but not in the sense that I wanted him to. He has basically proven himself to be the Matthew McConaughey of his generation. You can’t build a career in the movies on mere charisma. Well, you can, but not a truly respectable one.