Will A Norbit Hurt Natalie Portman's Oscar Odds?

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Hey! The nominees get announced on my birthday!

And if this "Norbit" screws Portman out of an Oscar, then the people at the Academy are more shallow than I thought. Why would they base their judgment on a movie other than the one for which she's nominated?

Elizabeth Grunewald:
Will A Norbit Hurt Natalie Portman's Oscar Odds?

I'm pretty sure the award is for "Best Performance by an Actress In a Leading Role," not "Career the Academy Approves of the Most."

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Politics, and not unjustifiably so.

When they hand out these awards, especially the individual "Best Person at Blah" awards, Hollywood is putting a stamp on this person. They're basically saying, "Make more people like this. And the rest of you? Be more like this person."

That's why we have an industry in which actors know full well that they need to play someone that is either gay, ugly, mentally handicapped, just plain "edgy," or some combination of the above, and they'll be guaranteed an award. Jake Gyllenhaal spent a couple years fishing around each of those trying to snag an Oscar, didn't he?

Well, with everyone so critical over Hollywood's remakes with bad scripts and bad casting, they're trying to protect some sense of artistic integrity. Sometimes exactly what "artistic integrity" means to them is hazy or misguided, of course, but at the core is still a desire to ensure that they are rewarding the right kinds of films and actors. If most of an actor's movies are complete shit, quick cash-ins, or other "waste products," a single bright spot isn't enough for these folks to want to go, "Ah, great job! You've got the approval of all of us now!"

Natalie Portman has done some good stuff. Of course, it isn't until recently that she's really displayed any range. Some of her earlier attempts (like Anywhere But Here or Where the Heart Is) just weren't convincing. The Star Wars stuff suffered from horrible scripting and direction. And her kid-acting stuff? Well, she was supposed to be a precocious, but emotionally blank child, so that worked out.

Black Swan was a great move for her, and it was well done. She sold it, and it was a great movie. But there could still be reasons that something like Strings could diminish her chances. Black Swan was also very well written and directed, which can sometimes make an actor appear a bit better than they are--this is why the actor's other works are sometimes taken into consideration. Was the greatness of the performance a result of a one-trick horse finally being used correctly (like, say, Jim Carrey or Adam Sandler in off-beat dramatic roles)... or is it really because of something the actor contributed to the production? Basically, was it a fluke?

In Portman's case, even if Swan doesn't put her over, it has at least put her on the right track. The movie will get some kind of award, for sure, and her name is attached to the project. If nothing else, she'll have lit the path that leads her to an award later, if she stays the course.

I hope she wins. She deserves it; Black Swan was a remarkable performance.

And, let's be blunt... No Strings Attatched will probably outperform Black Swan at the box office, and an actor has to eat. (Not literally, I'm sure Portman is in danger of starving, but you get my point.)

The_root_of_all_evil:
Aye, Ewan Mcgregor is a good actor as well. It's just that...oh god, why did they have to be that bad?

What it all comes down to is really bad directing and writing. Think about the logic of half the lines of dialogue in those movies. It rarely makes sense when you think about it. On top of that, the characters are mismatched for their personalities. Obi-Wan was supposed to be brash and impatient in the first movie and Megregor tries to play that personality, but he's written with the dialogue of a worrier and a whiner. All he does through the first half of the movie is sit around doing nothing and complain to Qui-Gon about things, while Qui-Gon, who's supposed to be the wise Jedi master, is always doing the things that a brash and impatient younger Jedi would do, yet Neeson still is trying to play his character as wise and thoughtful because this is what Lucas told them their characters were. On the whole, the clash makes it difficult for good actors to pull off. They're trying to figure out their roles as they're acting them and you see that as the movie proceeds. It's not bad acting, it's bad directing.
Hayden Christensen gets a lot of blame for his portrayal of Anikan Skywalker, (I've never seen him in any other movies, so I don't know how good he can actually act), but really, you could have given his role to a finely tuned Shakespearean thespian and he couldn't have made that part any more believable. The writing and directing are just that bad.

Vault Citizen:

Elizabeth Grunewald:

I'm pretty sure the award is for "Best Performance by an Actress In a Leading Role," not "Career the Academy Approves of the Most."

/This

When an actor or actresses is considered for an Oscar I think the only performance that should matter is the one that they are being nominated for.

ditto. I mean, why try to 'punish' an actor or actress for other things they have done/are doing/will do?
p.s. if 'eat pray love' wins best female lead, I will go on a ass-kicking spree >:(

I didn't even see Norbit and I won't ever forgive Eddie murphy for it.

Uhm likening Portmans work to Murphys work is quite short sighted. Why would you compare apples to oranges?

Norbit was pretty much standard fare for Murphy. A romantic comedy is an anomaly for portman.

Why would you compare a portfolio of work filled with similar goofy chars for B list comedies with a few comedic gems sprinkled in to a portfolio filled with Indie films, Blockbuster films, etc that illustrate a wide range of acting styles and techniques?

You might as well compare someone like Kevin Spacey to Ana Faris. Just doesnt make sense, so the whole article seems to be a tad off kilter.

Well, as long as SOCIAL NETWORK (not just overrated, it's melodramatic, unlikeable characters, no character development, bad pacing) wins no awards just like AVATAR at the Oscars, I'll be very happy!

Does someone have to say it? Nobody cares about oscar. It's pretentious, crappy and overestimated by celebrities and media alike piece of shit. The only reason it exists is for some pretentious dipshits (actors and critics) to show how freaking important they are and for other pretentious dipshits (mass consumers) - to show what movies are "important" to watch to show girls their keen intellectual abilities. Isn't it a reason everybody wants some actor or movie to win? To know that they've got a good taste?

Well, no, it shouldn't have an impact on Portman's odds for winning an Oscar... but someone as talented as her agreeing to work with Kutcher should be something of a black mark.

As an admitted Kutcher hater it is funny to see just being in a movie with him getting equated to the absolute train wreck that is Eddie Murphy's career.

If she doesn't win, I'm going to have to choke a bitch.

well. it sucks that critics are determined to hate the movie before it even comes out. so much for not judging a book by its cover :/

i have yet to see black swan, but i got tickets for the opening week (the 23rd, i dont know why it took so long to come out in Denmark) but i understand why they wont give the oscar to her, they pride themself in being a respectable award, and putting their stamp of approval on a actress who appears to go down the road of "movies for stoners".

and i have never liked natalie anyway, black swan does seem to be a great movie but as of writing i have never found her to be believable in any of her roles, for me it seems like she peaked at age 9 (or about that age) in Leon, and even then it was nothing spectacular.

As far as I see it, Bullock won last year as a sort of career achievement award, Judi Dench won Best Supporting Actress for Shakespeare in Love where she has like three lines of dialogue for the same reason.

I find this gallery pretty interesting, because it discusses some of the worst Oscar wins (in the mind of the blogger mind you) and because it looks at the reasons why people and movies won, and who/what they beat to do so:
http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/oscars/oscars_worst_wins_ever.php
I mean Citizen Kane never won best picture, and it's Citizen Kane.

I think I pretty much always figured that the Oscars were based more on politics than objectivity. I mean no sci-fi film has ever won, and some of them have been pretty damn deserving, but the Academy won't reward a genre that they don't see as mature.

That said, I can't predict how Portman's performance in Black Swan will go come the Oscars. I haven't seen any of the films with best actresses nominated, so I'm just going to wildly speculate here. I think her biggest competition will be Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole, and maybe Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine. I think whoever wins the relevant Golden Globe and SAG Award will probably be a big clue.

In other categories my picks are Colin Firth, Best Actor for The Kings Speech (lifetime achievement award), and Christian Bale, Best Supporting Actor for The Fighter (because he's apparently amazing in it and for the most part he tends to stay away from fluffy films). I'd like to see Hailee Steinfeld get Best Supporting Actress for True Grit.

If Norbit did hurt Murphy's chances, it was because it reminded voters that his Dreamgirls performance was a huge outlier at that point in his career.

Speaking about Oscars, I think Mila Kunis should be nominated for Best Supporting Actress (not necessarily the winner though). And here I thought That 70's Show benefited no one in the end.

People seem to be confused and think that the Academy is some sort of small panel that decides who wins or not - it isn't. The Academy is a collective of hundreds and hundreds of actors, directors, writers and professionals in Hollywood who all vote on the films eligible for the awards.

Sometimes good performers have shitty roles. Robert de niro was in that live action rocky and bullwinkle movie. I don't think it will really hurt her chaces.

ah whatever, it's apparent the Academy Awards don't mean crap anymore

TPiddy:

How else do you explain 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' winning for BOTH make-up AND special effects, over superior special effects packages like Transformers and Iron Man?

Because, unlike those walking CGI-fests, Benjamin button did the special effects and make up in an understated way, not saying "LOOK AT THIS COOL SHIT WE CAN PUT ON SCREEN"

Take Fight Club, that had CGI for the faces being mashed up and that got nominated for best effects.

Heck, I still can't get over the fact that they awarded Jamie Foxx an oscar for best supporting actor in Collateral. Who the hell was he supporting? He was the protagonist. It's like they didn't even watch the movie.

Norbit is great. I laughed my ass off.

RJ Dalton:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Aye, Ewan Mcgregor is a good actor as well. It's just that...oh god, why did they have to be that bad?

What it all comes down to is really bad directing and writing. Think about the logic of half the lines of dialogue in those movies. It rarely makes sense when you think about it. On top of that, the characters are mismatched for their personalities. Obi-Wan was supposed to be brash and impatient in the first movie and Megregor tries to play that personality, but he's written with the dialogue of a worrier and a whiner. All he does through the first half of the movie is sit around doing nothing and complain to Qui-Gon about things, while Qui-Gon, who's supposed to be the wise Jedi master, is always doing the things that a brash and impatient younger Jedi would do, yet Neeson still is trying to play his character as wise and thoughtful because this is what Lucas told them their characters were. On the whole, the clash makes it difficult for good actors to pull off. They're trying to figure out their roles as they're acting them and you see that as the movie proceeds. It's not bad acting, it's bad directing.
Hayden Christensen gets a lot of blame for his portrayal of Anikan Skywalker, (I've never seen him in any other movies, so I don't know how good he can actually act), but really, you could have given his role to a finely tuned Shakespearean thespian and he couldn't have made that part any more believable. The writing and directing are just that bad.

Christiansen was in a movie about Stephen Glass, a journalist who fabricated all of his stories. He successfully played a neurotic pathological liar and manipulator, and the film immediately convinced me that yep, the prequels were all George's fault.

FaceFaceFace:
Christiansen was in a movie about Stephen Glass, a journalist who fabricated all of his stories. He successfully played a neurotic pathological liar and manipulator, and the film immediately convinced me that yep, the prequels were all George's fault.

That's what I thought would be the case.

mattttherman3:
I doubt it, look at what Sandra Bullock did last year.

So true lol, everything else she did that year was complete rubbish, at least The Blind Side was alright.

If Natalie doesn't get the Oscar I'm going to rage pretty hard, Black Swan is an amazing film.

This whole article seems to be based on the premise that a bunch of movie wankers patting each other on the back is somehow important. How curious.

The_root_of_all_evil:
image

That's one of the funniest pictures ever, I have to say. She just looks so unhappy in it.

Otherwise, I'm sure she'll win.

Maybe judging an actors entire career for an award is not a really bad thing. But they would have to be straightforward about it. And they would have to do a comprehensive evaluation, not just what has been out the las 2-7 years.

Well, I think this is one of the big problems with The Academy as an institution. A lot of shady stuff has gone on with these awards, and given no serious rival groups, there is very little pressure involved for it to maintain higher standards, and consistincy. Of course then again in the end this is all a matter of the opinion of a group of people, and opinions are by their nature subjective. Is it fair that someone's overall career or later work within a year can hurt their chances of getting awards? Not really, but then again in the end opinions by their nature aren't usually fair, and can be swayed by politics, whims of the moment, and everything else.

That said I think people undervalue Eddie Murphy quite a bit. He's talented enough where I think he deserves some lifetime achievement awards, and to be fair while he's had a good number of bombs, it's noteworthy that his failures have in many cases been better than the successes of some other actors (or so I have read), it's simply that he has yet to pull down many blockbusters despite people thinking he's always on the verge of doing it. I remember reading somewhere that pretty much every movie he's been in, including "Pluto Nash" actually made substantially more money than they cost, albiet over a longer period of time. He's had box office bombs, but even his "Terrible" stuff winds up getting the rentals and DVD sales.

I am ranting about this side element, because I think that Eddie Murphy's abillity to play multiple characters in the same movie and have them come accross as differant people is pretty cool, and quite entertaining. Though admittedly "Norbit" did seem like he was trying to rip off "Big Momma's House".

When it comes to Natalie Portman, I don't think she's likely to have many problems, and even if she misses the shot here I think she's talented enough where she's liable to put out some more decent movies and be nominated again. Truthfully I think Eddie Murphy's problem is that he's first and foremost a Comedian with a few cool gimmicks (like playing multiple characters, and doing it well), he's only rarely distanced himself from that and done serious dramatic acting. Natalie Portman on the other hand is first and foremost an actress and has done all kinds of movies accross the genere spectrum, I think in her case being able to do something like "Black Swan" and a romantic comedy almost back to back like that is actually in her favor.

I also share the concern that Natalie Portman might be overexposing herself though. As ironic as it might sound, she is increasingly reminding me of Nicholas Cage. Nicholas Cage is an actor that managed to show off his abillity to do a wide variety of movies and film generes, he however wound up doing so many movies even before his money trouble (I guess that he liked to work) that I think he started to annoy people, especially seeing as he didn't seem especially picky about what scripts he took. He wound up taking the blame for some bad movies where his personal performance was actually fine. Of course he got older, and due to money problems he hasn't been able to be more selective, very much being in the "will do any movie that will give him a paycheck" catagory nowadays. His personal financial irresponsibility/mistakes having nothing to do with his abillity to act.

bob-2000:

The_root_of_all_evil:
image

That's one of the funniest pictures ever, I have to say. She just looks so unhappy in it.

Otherwise, I'm sure she'll win.

Actually, I think that's a fine picture. If I remember correctly Queen Amidala was very loosely based on Queen Victoria who came into power at a very young age. The shots like that were supposed to be akin to the old oil paintings of royalty and nobility, where you'll notice part of the style is that everyone looks stern and unhappy. You generally don't see many of them with people smiling and trying to look friendly.

Now the costume for that was a bit much, though admittedly they did use the makeup and garb as part of the storyline to explain the prescence of a body double.

I never felt Natalie Portman was the problem with that character, George Lucas was the problem with that character, and it just got continuously worse as the prequels went on and she was under contract. I think Amidala was destroyed as a character when they decided to say that the Queen was an *elected* position. Not only does that more or less defeat the entire purpose of a Queen, and the existance of handmaidens who act as body doubles, but it also means that the people of that planet were supposed to have elected a 14 or 15 year old into the preeminant position of power on their planet which is... dumb. I won't even get into ranting about it more, but the basic point here is that Natalie Portman gets griped at for those movies, but at the same time I don't think anyone could have salvaged that role any better than she did. The big problem being that when things went down hill, she was under contract and the script/concept didn't matter at all.

I think a lot of people who take the "OMG, she can actually act" track with Natalie Portman seem to miss that she had gotten attention as a young actress before the "Star Wars" prequels got her attention. Her performance in "The Professional" was very noteworthy before that, and not just for the Lolita-esque aspects of it. To be honest the scene from "Kick Ass" when "Hit Girl" entered the lobby of the bad guy's building seemed like a direct homage to what Natalie's character tried to do in "The Professional" albiet things turned out differantly, being very differant styles of action movies. The whole bit being a set up for her assasin mentor to figure "[email protected] it" and go on a redemptive bad-guy killing spree/rescue mission which the entire movie was leading up to.

Cheesebob:

TPiddy:

How else do you explain 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' winning for BOTH make-up AND special effects, over superior special effects packages like Transformers and Iron Man?

Because, unlike those walking CGI-fests, Benjamin button did the special effects and make up in an understated way, not saying "LOOK AT THIS COOL SHIT WE CAN PUT ON SCREEN"

Take Fight Club, that had CGI for the faces being mashed up and that got nominated for best effects.

And yet, walking CGI-fests like Terminator, LOTR and Avatar won special effects awards. Besides.... if it's a combination of BOTH make-up and special effects.... is it really the best at BOTH? It's total bullshit. Especially when other technical gems like "Where the Wild Things Are" get competely snubbed.

Honestly, I don't think that this movie should hurt her chances for best actress. She was fantastic in Black Swan and gave real depth to the character she was portraying and I think it would be a shame if one random rom com distracted the academy on what is undoubtedly one of the best performances of 2010.
Also I actually saw No Strings Attached and do you know what? It wasn't that bad, it had a very funny and raunchy script and Portman shone brightly as the hyper emotional aggressive and eccentric leading lady, in fact if anything the shocking contrast between her performance as the shy emotionally and physically repressed Nina in Black Swan versus her crazy eccentric performance in No Strings Attached should actually only CEMENT the fact that she's a really good actress.
She played two different roles in two very different movies and did them exceptionally well, frankly I see no reason why one not so ambitious rom com should be the thing that breaks the deal here.

So frankly I think it would be silly to hold it against her, I know that the Academy Awards are basically just a sham contest but truly I think Natalie Portman deserves this one. She's a great actress and has had a very interesting career and I've liked her ever since V for Vendetta. Okay so she suffered through the prequel trilogy in Star Wars but hey, no one could save those movies. Frankly I'd like to see credit where it's due for once in the Academy Awards and no simple rom com should get in the way of that.

So no, I don't think it should hurt her chances and even if it does, Black Swan is the kind of movie that can really help guide a young career to a brighter future. Which is good, Natalie Portman deserves it, fantastic actress.

EDIT: Oh hey, she also won the award. So I guess now, retrospectively at least, it wasn't enough to hurt her chances. Good show.

If you're incapable of giving someone an award because of something that has nothing to do with that award, then you probably shouldn't be in charge of that award, should you?

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