Is Fassbender Dead Meat?

As much as I admire and respect Michael Fassbender‘s sex-addict performance in Shame, I don’t think he has a chance in hell of getting any Best Actor action from it. He’s playing an ice man who’s too remote, too indecipherable. Ditto his performance as Carl Jung in A Dangerous Method. The 2011 Fassbender performance that got to me the most? That I found emotionally whole and affecting and quite supple? His performance as Rochester in Cary Fukanaga‘s Jane Eyre. But no one’s paying attention to that one so I suppose that means “game over” for the guy. Or does it?

20 thoughts on “Is Fassbender Dead Meat?

  1. Nick XX on said:

    I don’t think he’ll get an oscar nom for Shame (even without seeing the movie, it’s just not something the academy wants to look closely at, I feel like) but the movie is one of my most-anticipated for the fall, absolutely.

  2. I reckon he can get a nomination. If Fox Searchlight really get behind it, the actors will surely get behind the performance. Whether he wins or not is another thing but Javier Bardem’s performance, brilliant as it was in Biutiful was a tough sell until Julia Robers started screaming from the rafters and then she throws a part and … bingo.

  3. Jeff- He was indeed at the top of his game in Jane Eyre, particularly in the proposal scene. However, you wrote about how powerful his X-Men performance was (wholeheartedly agree) so why no mention in this piece?

  4. I don’t think Fassbender will get a nomination this year, because there are too many small performance carried movies. You’ve got Levitt, Frenchy, Harrelson, Shannon (in that order). And that’s before you factor in movie stars like Pitt & Clooney and possibly Dicaprio or Hanks (if he’s the main actor). He’s an also-ran whose chances seem bigger because on-line folks love to talk him up.

  5. Does Levitt stand a chance? I really enjoyed his performance in 50/50, but it was a fairly low-key, contemporary film that didn’t really make a splash at the box office, so it’s unlikely anyone in the Academy will even have seen it. Too busy watching The Help on repeat.

  6. One thing’s reasonably sure: you give a lot more of a shit about it than Fassbender does. How do I know you ask? Well, I met him once, and it was an aura, a feeling, something in the air. But I trust it. Man.

  7. Wait, comment #5: Michael Shannon for what? Surely not Take Shelter, right? I haven’t seen it, but NO WAY is that on any Academy member’s radar. The Gordon-Levitt thing also seems like early-in-the-season wishful thinking that won’t come to pass…

  8. They won’t have to push it hard to get Levitt a nomination. It’s got pretty much everything. If they tap into the right voters, I could even see it sneaking into Best Picture. It only needs 5% of the voters — how many of them do you think will relate to the cancer stuff?

    I don’t think Shannon will get it, but he’s automatically more on the radar than Fassbender.

  9. Look, I’m not a HUGE Fassbender champion (WORTHINGTON IS BETTER), but nobody, NOBODY, is more “on the radar” than Scowly McKim Coates and his douchey red hair. He’s all I fucking hear about, day in, day out, from every Oscar blogger, he’s in more movies than the color black, and he has a FOX SEARCHLIGHT push in a movie that now has one half of their yearly one-two punch slot (Shame/Descendants are this year’s Black Swan/127 Days)…

    Five spots sounds like:

    Fassbender

    DiCaprio

    Pitt

    Dujardin

    Clooney

    Where you guys think anyone is seeing “totally tanking in limited at godawful second run theaters TAKE SHELTER” is beyond me.

  10. JGL’s performance is surely too subtle for the Oscars. Yes, it’s a cancer movie, but as the filmmakers have even admitted, the character basically stays the same throughout the film. He deals with the cancer in a decidedly un-Hollywood way. I thought it was brilliant, and JGL was superb, but I just don’t see it as being showy enough for the awards season. Plus a lot of his scenes are interacting with Seth Rogen, talking a lot about balls and blowjobs and pubic hair and whatnot. I just don’t see it clicking with the older voters.

    It was terrific, though. And he was excellent. He only really had two particularly emotional scenes – the one in the car and the one right before surgery – and yet he sold the whole experience so well. Especially impressive given that he was a last-minute stand-in for James McAvoy, and had literally a week to prepare. Rogen was fantastic, it was nicely directed, had a killer soundtrack, and Kendrick has beautiful tits. Five stars.

  11. Lex – Fassbender’s “buzz” is pure blog. I don’t expect much translation. Shame isn’t going to do any better than 50/50 (or probably even Take Shelter), so I’m not sure why you think box office matters in those two cases but not the third.

    Eloi – the car + the pre-surgery is two more Oscar scenes than Brad Pitt has in ‘Moneyball’, and people are saying he’s the favorite to win! Your point about Rogen-ish scenes is a fair one, but, for my money, Levitt is actually funnier in the movie than Rogen, even on Rogen’s own ground, and that has to count for something.

    (That’s not a knock against Pitt, it’s a really solid performance, I just don’t see how it’s an Oscar-winner.)

  12. Lex – regarding Fox Searchlight, ’127 hours’ had an Oscar winning director behind it and a lot more money on the line. ‘Shame’ is a movie they acquired six weeks ago, and they’re marketing it so hard that they haven’t even updated the Wikipedia list of upcoming movies or their own entry to include it. I’m not saying Wikipedia “matters”, but that’s pretty basic-level awareness stuff they’re not bothering with. They even made sure that ‘Margaret’ got listed there making that, I believe, the most prominent advertising that film received.

  13. I just don’t know how they sell Shame. Maybe they have a great plan. But what’s the over/under for female attendance, like 7?

    The thing is, though, it doesn’t seem like there are a lot of great performances this year. Or high-profile great films this year. So things that might have seemed odd in other years might actually happen.

  14. I just watched Jane Eyre last night and I could see him getting nominated for that as well if they wanted to honor his work this year. It just depends if Focus brings it back and campaigns. Mia Wasikowska deserves a decent push too – she was fantastic.

  15. I saw SHAME today at the NY Film Festival. Applause at the end (a lot of crewmembers seemed to be dead) but Alice Tully Hall cleared quickly.With a subzero emotional temperature and Fassbender’s chilly performance it’s a no-hoper with audiences.And Carey Muilligan’s glacial performance of “Theme from ‘New York, New York’” is incredibly grating.

  16. I would agree with Lex G’s list except I would substitute Woody Harrelson for Fassbender. Corrupt cops like Harrelson’s character in “Rampart” are something the Academy has gone for in the past (Denzel and Matt Dillon recently), and Fassbender’s film seems too perverse and icy for Oscar barring unexpected commercial success. The blogosphere is a more progressive and open group than the actual Academy membership, but even on the Internet people seem turned off in a very elemental way by the “Shame” character while simultaneously admitting that Fassbender’s fantastic.

  17. His amazing “Shame” performance is lightyears more moving and penetrating than his “Jane Eyre” work, even though he is quite good in the latter.

    I, for one, suspect a healthy heap of Best Actor discussion for his work in “Shame.” I could totally see him getting nominated for it, in fact.

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