Of all the 2016 Oscar nominees in all four acting categories, Mark Rylance – for his supporting role of spy Rudolf Abel in Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies – is by far the most interesting nomination. The three-time Tony Award winner, who performs more in theatre than on screen, may best be remembered by film buffs of the 90’s for great performances in three difficult but visually haunting films: Peter Greenaway’s Prospero’s Book, Brothers Quay’s Institute Benjamenta and Philip Haas’ Angels and Insect, a wonderful period piece that made it to Cannes Film Festival competition in 1995.
The gifted British actor, who graces the screen with rare presences, offers the kind of performance that made him a success on Broadway. He brings a restrain dramatic energy and gentle psychological complexity to his character, as well as a great use of his voice, a thing partly lost in today’s films. He is the type of actor who is a gift for a filmmaker in increasing the possibilities of telling his story right, being more than just a presence, an accomplish and dedicated artist in every aspects.
But the whole thing with the Academy Awards is first of all about stars people want for winners (some time accompanied with good performance), like… groupies. The strong competition in his category (Stallone, Hardy, Bale and Ruffalo) certainly does not make Rylance the front-runner. Still there is a remarkable difference between the recognition of the qualities and presences of these other actors and fancying them to an absolute win. I’ve read and heard people stating they unconditionally want Leonardo DiCaprio to win this time (in the Leading Role category) before The Revenant was even shown in cinemas. Ridiculous, even if he is actually good.
Mark Rylance, if it is about talent and performance, deserves the Oscar in his category. Period.
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