Why is Jack Black's Performance in `Bernie' Missing from the Best Actor Discourse?

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Why is Jack Black's Performance in `Bernie' Missing from the Best Actor Discourse?

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Predictions for who will take home the Oscar for Best Actor at the 2013 Academy Awards ceremony are heating up to the point where oddsmakers have already pretty much agreed on a consensus of three or four potential nominees. The fourth and fifth names on the list may vary slightly from one oddsmaker or Oscar swami to the next, but by Halloween it seemed preordained that Daniel Day-Lewis, Joaquin Phoenix and John Hawkes should definitely not be making any other plans that night.

The names that have popped up regularly from prognosticators and oddsmakers to join the Big Three range from Hugh Jackman to Bradley Cooper. More surprising is the frequency with which that living cure for insomnia, Denzel Washington, is mentioned. Then there are those who posit the previously unthinkable idea of a guy getting nominated for Best Actor for playing James Bond. Despite the fact that he both looks and sounds more like a fat Michael Caine than anything at all like "Hitchcock" some people are even suggesting that Anthony Hopkins round out the Best Actor list.

The most surprising absence from the discourse about potential Best Actor nominees is actually not very surprising at all. After all, one of the most engaging performances of 2012 belongs to an actor most closely associated with comedy who turned in a mostly comedic performance in black comedy about murder.

Why does Jack Black continue to be the Jan Brady of the Oscar Bunch? Black already was cheated out of a nomination for "Nacho Libre," a performance that Denzel Washington could not duplicate if he lived an infinite number of lifetimes in an infinite number of parallel universes. In fact, nothing Washington has ever done comes anywhere close to the full scale reinvention and creation of character at odds with his persona that Jack Black pulls off in "Nacho Libre."

And then he goes and nearly does it again in "Bernie" and this time without wearing the outfit of a Mexican wrestler and STILL it's "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia." No love for Jan. No love for Jack. But put a ton of makeup on Anthony Hopkins in what can only be described as a comprehensive failure to get him to look anything at all like Alfred Hitchcock and he still gets mentioned among those who should be nominated.

He LOOKS like Michael Caine. He SOUNDS like Michael Caine. Just because he's got a protruding stomach doesn't mean he's Hitchcock.

Jack Black deserves to be nominated for "Bernie." Deal with it, Hollywood.

For more from Timothy Sexton, check out:

"Nacho Libre": Wrestling with Adorno

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