Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Small Comment (While finishing up the Couchies)

The selection of Sean Penn over Mickey Rourke for Best Actor on Sunday was an embarrassment. I don't expect the Oscars to reward true merit in Best Screenplay or Best Director, but when it comes to mainstream acting, they should at least be able to recognize the difference between mimicry and true talent.

Now I like Sean Penn as much as the next guy (well, maybe not if the 'next guy' is RFC's Sean), but flaming it up and playing the role of martyr was not nearly the performance of Rourke, who actually had to create a character out of a script and (maybe) his own experience. I'm glad I didn't watch the show Sunday, because the only thing I would have liked to see (well, aside from a Herzog win) was Rourke's acceptance speech. I'm not sure why the Penn pick wasn't more controversial, but the folks in LA did a fine job of conspiring to rob the outsider and reward a guy who, for all his rebel posing, is about as much a company man as there is in that town.


Sean said...

I take it you didn't actually see Penn's acceptance speech which was a pretty memorable one and bubbling over with Mickey love, right up to the point of handing the award over to him.

I'd argue that Mickey is more of a company man than Penn these days. Who's the actor trying to negotiate himself into Iron Man 2? Who played the bad guy in the Rodman/Van Damme movie? Who's consistent gigs in the past few years have been in Robert Rodriguez movies? So the sign of a company man is to only make one movie in the past three years and have it be by Gus Van Sant? Sean Penn is far more selective in his roles than most actors. Mickey just wants to be able to make a good living like the majority of people out there. I wanted Mickey to win too but like I said earlier, the Oscars exist primarily to infuriate and let you down. Penn and Mickey are brothers (as they like to say), only one of them managed not to turn his career into Wild Orchid 2 and the Marlboro Man. The only reason Mickey is considered an outsider is because he made some bad decisions over the years. Their career paths easily could have been reversed had Penn continued to star in movies like Shanghai Surprise and you’d be pissed that Mickey had won. It’s fair, and I’d say accurate, to be pissed that the better performance didn’t win the award on Sunday night but you loose credibility when you start accusing Sean Penn of being a Hollywood hack. On the other hand, if you wish to call into question the merits of I am Sam I’d be with you on that – that was some horrible shit.

Padraic said...

I wasn't trying to compare their respective IMDB credits, or their respective decisions.

My point was that, as Ty Burr pointed out last Sunday, the Oscars are really only about one thing - how people in Hollywood want other people to view them.

Hollywood *does not* want to be seen as a bunch of fuck-ups like Rourke, even though the vast majority of its output looks a lot more like Rourke's IMDB page than Penn's.

They want to be seen as liberal, forward thinking, and socially responsible, so they reward a so-so performance in a politically "important" film over a legendary performance in a film merely about real life lived by normal people.

The point was more about the people who picked Penn than the guy himself, but his "discretion" has a lot to do with restricting himself to projects that aren't in the least contraversial in Hollywood circles.

Sean said...

Of course that's the way Oscar works. Did you really think it was based on quality? This is why you can gamble on the awards without actually watching all the movies -- the same way the academy members vote without seeing all the movies. This is widely known. Ty Burr isn't breaking any news here. It's been this way since it's inception and since citizen cane. I suppose maybe it's something to still be upset about if you're low on things to be upset about but I don't think there's any reason to take pot shots at Penn. It looks like the academy wanted to make a statement in regards to prop 8 and Mickey got the shaft because of it. cest la oscar.