The will of the people in picking notable movies has spoken again if you go by the Toronto Film Festival's People's Choice Award being given on September 17 to "Silver Linings Playbook." As I noted in a prior article not long ago, the PCA should become a standard award at film festivals, especially because it's debatable a hackneyed jury would have picked "Playbook" as a standout film without public opinion. Of course, we have to admit that picking such an unlikely film can lead to more contention about whether the cast members of "Silver Linings Playbook" are worthy of Oscar nods.
That question breaks down to Jennifer Lawrence, who may have found the coveted balance of being a populist actress while also having Oscar potential. What makes this painfully ironic is that if Lawrence is nominated for a best actress Academy Award in "Playbook", it'll be for a movie that also has Robert De Niro in the cast. Such strange imbalances become more grotesque when you realize De Niro had to subject himself to a co-starring role next to the populist likes of Bradley Cooper.
No matter what you think of a movie with Bradley Cooper getting a best picture nod, the real story here is Lawrence and the dearth of competition against her. The only actress anybody can conjure now who can give her Oscar nightmares is eight-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis, who I predict will join the pantheon of youngest Oscar nominated actresses. If you've seen "Beasts of the Southern Wild", then you know that Wallis easily deserves a lead actress nomination above any other of the knowable year.
If momentum for Lawrence increases, then look toward a best actress duel similar to the one for best actor where "Lincoln's" Daniel Day-Lewis will likely go head to head with "The Master's" Joaquin Phoenix. Duels such as these may seem fabricated for the sake of increasing Oscar viewers, even though we have to admit that a Wallis v. Lawrence showdown would be incredibly historic. In turn, these matchups may give us hints to the future acting directions of both genders.
Seeing a split vote between Lawrence and Wallis for best actress would set an interesting precedent for what the academy looks for in future actresses. It's increasingly clear that a new bevy of brilliant young actresses have cropped up that are able to do things an actress triple their age can't do. The astounding aspect to that is many of them have no acting experience.
Quvenzhane Wallis is the perfect example of a precocious young, unknown actress who tapped into something natural with no acting training. Supposedly, Jennifer Lawrence also had no training for acting, yet has an affable natural ability that garners attention and awards. This all seems to indicate that natural young talents will be the emerging new trend at the Oscars, which will likely and eventually include the superior, non-trained, intuitive actress: Mia Wasikowska.
For male actors, it might be a different story. While Joaquin Phoenix is relatively young, trained and semi method actors such as Daniel Day-Lewis still sway Oscar voters. Best actor winners at the Oscars who cinematically emote (sometimes histrionically) are still a part of tradition that can only bring a wish of Robert De Niro being back there before he retires.
But let's not get too carried away with the irony of watching Jennifer Lawrence win best actress for "Playbook" while De Niro applauds pensively in the audience.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Jennifer Lawrence
- Robert De Niro
- Bradley Cooper