The Academy Awards ceremony is just over three weeks away, and I’m already irked by it. Generally, my angst toward –what Johnny Carson called “two hours of sparkling entertainment, spread out over a four hour show”– is drawn out during the actual ceremony, as mainstream “hollywood-esque” movies steal acclaim from the lesser-known, better ones.
However, my mind was in a state of tumult as I read the list of nominees and found that Anne Hathaway is up for best supporting actress for her role in the movie “Les Miserables.” Mind you, there were other nominations, or lack of, that left me lame, but Anne Hathaway’s nomination thrust me into shocked stupor. What scares me even more is that she already won the Golden Globe for the same nomination.
(CU Independent Illustration/Josh Shettler)
First of all, her screen time was so little in comparison to the actual movie length that it’s hard to gauge how important her character actually is. In a nut shell, Hathaway’s character is a lower class woman who is fired by her employer, Hugh Jackman, after it is learned that she is sending money to her illegitimate daughter. She then becomes a prostitute to continue her support and is saved from an abusive client by Hugh Jackman. However, she is hospitalized and dies leaving Jackman’s character in a state of remorse and he vows to raise her daughter on his own.
That’s it. She dies and doesn’t return until the finale song, as a ghost.
For a movie that runs for just about two and a half hours, Anne Hathaway is in it for maybe the first half hour and perhaps the final five minutes.
How can an actor/actress, who is part of a movie for such little time, be nominated for such a “prestigious” award? That’s like saying Matt Damon should have been nominated for best supporting actor in “Saving Private Ryan”, or Alec Guiness for his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi’s ghost in “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back”, or Julianne Moore for her role as Clive Owen’s sort-of-lover in “Children of Men”—anyone? Anyone? Did I just hear a film major out there agree with me?
Moreover, “Les Miserables”, as a movie itself, isn’t even good enough to garner the praise the Academy Awards is instilling upon it. The movie is nominated for a preposterous seven Academy Awards, a fact to surely be thrown at us via commercials and DVD covers for the next year, while a more quality movie like “Moonrise Kingdom”—I bet everyone forgot about it already—is only nominated for one award.
The problem with “Les Miserables” is that is so long, yet doesn’t provide much in the way of character development. Rather, the movie replaces development with leaps in time and expects the audience to simply accept what the characters become after these time skips. However, this more alienates viewers from the characters because one doesn’t have the opportunity to learn about them unless bluntly told. Put simply, we are merely watching caricatures preach to us—through song—how they became what they are, instead of experiencing their arcs.
Now, in fairness, Anne Hathaway’s performance does reveal her talent as a singer, and her character perhaps contained the most weight. However, her presence in the film is anything but prevalent as the story focuses on how her daughter is raised by Hugh Grant—and did I mention she dies very early on?
So she clearly has talent; almost all big budget movies contain a certain degree of talent. Anne Hathway did nothing to separate herself from other actresses in a supporting role to distinguish herself as an award worthy nominee. In fact, I believe, she didn’t do enough to even be considered a nominee.
In the future, there should be a limit to the amount of screen time an actor or actress have before being nominated because Hathaway certainly wouldn’t have reached it. It seems silly that someone could be awarded for a supporting role in one fifth of a movie, when Christoph Waltz is being nominated for the same role for “Django Unchained” and was essentially the lead of that movie. Hopefully, the Academy Awards can begin going for the less “sexy” picks and start nominating more deserving actors/actresses and movies.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Edward Quartin at Edward.email@example.com.
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