BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Nominated Role: As Whip Whitaker, Denzel Washington plays a pilot with a substance abuse problem whose life changes after he performs a daring maneuver during an airliner crash.
Denzel Washington delivers a tortured performance worthy of an Academy Award. Unfortunately, there’s not going to be a third win for Denzel this year, the first two being “Glory” (1989) and “Training Day” (2001). With the competition stacked in the Actor in a Leading role category and Daniel Day-Lewis overshadowing everyone this year, if it were a non-Day-Lewis year, Hugh Jackman and Denzel Washington would be fighting it out for this award, with Denzel probably taking the award.
The character Captain Whip Whitaker is so different from most of Denzel’s roles that it provides a shining moment. Playing an alcoholic struggling to come to terms with the catastrophic event of a plane crash and his pending incarceration for using drugs and alcohol the night before the flight is not an easy cross to bear, yet Denzel creates a new bar for himself, delivering an unspeakably poignant and perfect performance. What Denzel brings to the role that no one else could is a likeability that makes you constantly root for the character despite all his flaws. Taking a comparison from another nominated role involving substance abuse in Joaquin Pheonix’s character from “The Master”, there are very few redeemable qualities in him and he as an actor leaves very little to draw pity or empathy from. Denzel, on the other hand, opens up this world where you’re never quite on one side of the fence or the other, constantly rooting for him and constantly being let down.
I would love to award this Oscar to Denzel Washington, but since it will go to Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln, that will not happen, but he will always be a close second in my book, and the centerpiece that carries this rich and original film.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Best Original Screenplay is a great category this year, with five completely different films filling in the ranks, leaving it almost impossible to predict. Here’s how I’d break it down. “Zero Dark Thirty” is losing steam with its “controversy”. Could that gain it more attention? Yes. Could that also hurt its credibility and ultimately its Oscar chances? Also yes. “Django Unchained” and “Moonrise Kingdom” are niche pieces written by their directors and screaming originality. That could easily translate into an Oscar. And “Amour” has defied the boundaries of only being nominated in the Best Foreign Language category, meaning it has a very strong backing to get a screenplay nomination. However, in my opinion, “Flight”, thus far, is the strongest screenplay, I may be rooting for it to take the Oscar, even though that may not be the popular decision.
Denzel Washington delivers a heart-wrenching and spectacularly tortured performance as an alcoholic, yet extremely talented airplane pilot. With an intense opening act, involving an all-too-realistic plane crash, Zemeckis instantly grabs your attention and rarely lets go. “Flight” weaves a story so enthralling, one is never quite sure what will happen next, with expectations often toyed with, rocking back and forth from what you want to happen for the characters and what actually transpires. Don Cheadle and Bruce Greenwood offer up effective supporting performances, as does Kelly Reilly, who completely blows away, with an equally tormented performance, as a fellow addict and love interest. Though “Flight” is at times uneven, the overall appeal never fades and this becomes proof that Zemeckis should stick to live-action cinema.
// Produced by Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes, Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey, & Robert Zemeckis // Directed by Robert Zemeckis //
//Lead Actor: Denzel Washington // Written by John Gatins //
// Dated Viewed: Tuesday, February 5th, 2013 // DVD // 15 films – 20 days //