Towards the Oscar, among the actors Cillian Murphy leads but watch out for Paul Giamatti


Towards the Oscar, among the actors Cillian Murphy leads but watch out for Paul Giamatti

Even with a clear favorite, Cillian Murphy for his performance in Oppenheimer by Christopher Nolan, in the role of the father of the atomic bomb, the race for the Oscar for leading actor does not actually seem closed, given the presence of Paul Giamatti, with The Holdovers – Life lessons by Alexander Payne, which has relaunched the great actor who has never yet received a statuette. To complete the run, the performance offered by Bradley Cooper (also director) in the role of Leonard Bernstein in Maestro; Colman Domingo, whose talent finally reached a global audience first on TV with Euphoria and now with his portrayal of activist Bayard Rustin in George C. Wolfe's Rustin, and Jeffrey Wright who in a career full of extraordinary characters, gets the his first nomination with the satire of political correctness and the story of latent racism in American fiction by Cord Jefferson. The night of the stars for the Oscars is March 10th in Los Angeles.

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“Dear Cillian, finally a chance to see you as a protagonist”. It's the phrase that Christopher Nolan left on Cillian Murphy's script, offering him the main role in Oppenheimer. A chance that the director knew his friend, extraordinary, versatile and courageous Irish interpreter, born in 1976, who had already worked with him in The Dark Knight, Inception and Dunkirk, would make the most of by giving one of the tests in the role of the restless physicist more intense than in recent years. The film dominates in the Oscar nominations (13 in total) and places Murphy (already the legendary Thomas Shelby in the cult series Peaky Blinders ) in pole position for the statuette, given the many victories this season from the Golden Globes to the Bafta. A period in the spotlight, which the actor who is notoriously shy with the media and anti-star (his expressions often become memes on social media, ed.), tried to live to the fullest: “It's all quite new for me but I'm getting used to it” he told the New York Times, describing Oppenheimer as a man who was “complex, contradictory, flawed, vain and arrogant, but also immensely charismatic and charming. It was a huge responsibility to play him. But the types of roles I like are the ones where I think I have no idea how I'm going to play it.”
An impeccable career, that of Paul Giamatti , with around 60 films of all genres to his credit, especially as a supporting role (with important exceptions such as Sideways or Barney's Version), directed by the greatest directors and, among others, a recent showman TV series, together with Damian Lewis as Billions. It is the business card of the actor, born in 1967, a graduate of Yale, of Italian origins on his father's side (his great-grandparents came from Telese, in Campania), hitherto overlooked by Academy voters, given that he starred in The Alexander Payne's Holdovers is only his second nomination after his supporting nomination for Cinderella Man (2006). For this reason, many critics and cinephiles would be happy to see him finally win (he has already won, among others, the Golden Globe for comedy or musical and the Critics Choice Award), thanks to his emotional and empathetic performance in the role of a tough but generous New England college professor in the early 1970s. “I don't think there is an actor who doesn't suffer from impostor syndrome” Giamatti explained to Variety when talking about his work – It's a love story that goes through phases. Sometimes you can't stand it and want to leave, but then you can't live without. It's nice to love something and be loved in return.”
The realization of a dream: this is how Bradley Cooper has repeatedly defined having succeeded in making a film about one of his idols since Leonard Bernstein was a child: with Maestro , as director and protagonist, he does not so much make a biopic as the journey some fundamental moments, artistic and private, in the life of the great conductor, with at the center the very deep bond with his wife Felicia Montealegre and the relationship with bisexuality. An immersive test, which brought the actor, director and producer (here to his 12th nomination in 11 years including the three for Maestro, with a total of four as leading actor, 5 as producer for best film, 2 as screenwriter and one as a supporting actor) to prepare for the role for six years, so as to appear as credible as possible even as an orchestra conductor. “I didn't feel like I was making a film but rather a sort of ritual – explained Cooper – Leonard Bernstein died in 1990 but I feel like I know him”.
Born in 1968, the Californian Colman Domingo has built a path over a 30-year career that has won over critics and the most attentive audiences between theater (he won a Tony Award for the musical The Scottsboro Boys), TV and cinema, from Selma to Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. However, it was probably the acclaim for the character of Ali, a drug addict on the road to detox in the already cult series Euphoria, for which he won an Emmy, that earned him the chance to star in Rustin by George C. Wolfe. In the film he gives life to Bayard Rustin, an African-American civil rights activist who never hid his homosexuality, and was among the main supporters of the great march on Washington in 1963. A performance that brought him his first Oscar nomination. “It was a long and tortuous journey – Domingo told the Hollywood Reporter about her career, also saying that she preferred her husband to follow the announcement of the nominations while he rearranged the wardrobes -. I never expected this kind of success. I knew I was fully dedicated to what I did. And wherever I went on stage, whether it was regional theaters, whether it was on Broadway, off Broadway, I just wanted to do a good job. When I got this opportunity, I knew I was ready.”
A long gallery of extraordinary characters is also that offered by Jeffrey Wright , born in 1965, from his intense portrait of the genius Basquiat to the miniseries Angels in America (for which he won an Emmy and a Golden Globe) from The Hunger Games to the Westworld series, passing for CIA agent Felix Leiter in three James Bond films or Commissioner Gordon in The Batman. A talent that the Academy has not recognized until now. It took another powerful example of his versatility in Cord Jefferson's social dramedy American Fiction , which ridicules both political correctness and latent racism in American society, to bring him his first Oscar nomination. It arrives thanks to the character of Thelonious Ellison, known as Monk, a serious professor and writer, who, between life, invention and art, finally achieves success with a novel written under a pseudonym in which he brings together all the clichés about African Americans. “I think that in our culture there are preconceptions or false representations of who we are as individuals but that not feeling seen is not just the experience of African Americans – the actor explained to PBS -. Perhaps thanks to my way of working, I was able to overcome some of the obstacles that were placed in my way.”

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