Academy Awards: A Bridges Too Far
All eyes will be focused on the Academy Awards presentations Sunday night which is a continual reminder to me how much we escape our pathetic lives and worship the entertainment stars of ours and the world’s fictional nirvana.
It always amazes me more than 100 million people throughout the globe endure the usual boredom of the televised presentations spiced every five minutes with an actual announcement of a winner. In short, the Academy Awards is a colossal self-serving ego trip for the film industry.
By no means am I a film buff. But, I appreciate great screenwriting, acting and camera work as much as the next bloke.
Which leads me to one of the nominees, actor Jeff Bridges in the Best Actor category for the leading role he played in the movie “Crazy Heart.” Bridges is a gifted actor from a family of fine thespians.
But I have a serious problem with Bridge’s acting persona. In every role I have seen him play, he is Jeff Bridges no matter what character he’s playing. It is the same rap I had against John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe and Tom Cruise.
The sheer power of their magnitude as a carefully crafted entertainment idol never seemed to transform to the characters they portrayed. Bridges fails in that regard, too, even though I think he is a better actor than the three box office sensations I compared.
My concept of a great actor is one who makes the viewer believe he is the actual character in the movie.
The best in the business at that is actress Meryl Streep. When you watch the movie “Julia,” Streep is the reincarnation of the real Julia Child whom she is playing. I have never seen a movie in which Streep didn’t pull off that trick.
Another actress accomplishing that fete in at least two of her movies, “Pretty Woman” and “Erin Brockovich” was Julia Roberts.
Great character actors who play supporting roles accomplish that tricky transformation consistently, if, for no other reason, their celebrity status is not so fixed in the public’s mind.
It could be I am unfair in my view of Jeff Bridges. I have a cousin who looks like him, reacts with the same facial expressions as him and even has the same vocal inflections as him. My cousin is not an actor. He is who he is and, unfortunately, so is Bridges who is paid megabucks to perform someone else.
I read in the paper this week that some expert in the movie business is suggesting the Best Actor award include both male and female genders, eliminating the Best Actress award all together.
My gut reaction is that would be the death knell of superstar male actors such as Bridges, George Clooney and possibly Tom Hanks.and Denzell Washington.
In the immortal words of Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”