Christopher Walken gets snubbed for Best Supporting Actor, and we’re mad as hell.
Okay, so what’s not to like about Tommy Lee Jones, Alan Arkin, Christoph Waltz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Robert DeNiro, this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Supporting Actor, the winner to be announced at the Academy Award’s February 24th presentation?
Finally, DeNiro stopped mugging and hamming, playing the Philly Eagles fan and gambling father of a bi-polar son in “Silver Lining Playbook.” But was it nominee-worthy? Not really. Waltz was in a campy Tarantino romp that offered no true character; we’re pretty sure Quentin’s chuckling to himself about the “serious” attention and accolades “Django” has garnered. Tommy Lee Jones…well…he’s done better, and without a powdered wig. Arkin, as long as he stays working (and living), he’ll have another go. And they picked the wrong film to nominate Hoffman for. “The Master” was all posturing…which leads us too….
Not known of late for his performances exhibiting depth, dignity, subtle humor and mastery of his craft, Christopher Walken outshined all of the above in last year’s unsung indie-drama, “A Late Quartet,” in which he portrayed a sensitive-but-realist cellist who learns he has Parkinson’s Disease, and watches shakily on as his abilities are diminished (as does the beloved group of friends who comprise the rest of his classical quartet, including a standout Hoffman, the film he was better suited for getting an Oscar nod). Walken showed similar pluck and depth in the otherwise outrageous and over-the-top “7 Psychopaths,” also released last year.
The actor has said he’ll take nearly every film role offered to him. They pay the bills. We know he’s partially being coy. He won Best Supporting Actor for his uncanny performance as the Russian Roulette-playing “Stevie” in “The Deer Hunter,” and was nominated for one–deservedly–for his heartbreaking role in “Catch Me If You Can,” playing Leonardo DiCaprio’s sentimental, over-his-head father.
Why was he passed by this round? The usual. The Academy just doesn’t vote for great performances when they transpire in movies that don’t do amazingly at the box office. Sad, but true. We’ll be watching, of course, one Sunday from now, when the gold men are handed out. But we’ll be envisioning Christopher Walken, at home in Connecticut, perfectly happy, over 100 films under his dance belt, with a couple of Abysinnian cats by his side, stirring up a pot of pasta for himself. More cowbell, please.
Want to test my assertion? Both “A Late Quartet” and “7 Psychopaths” are available on Netflix and “On Demand” now. Watch them back to back–a hoot.