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Frost/Nixon Redux

02_frostnixon_lgl I just blogged yesterday about how happy I was that Universal wasn't going to go the "put them in the category they can get nominated in, not the one that's actually appropriate" route with Frost/Nixon. Now comes Tom O'Neil on Gold Derby, saying the exact opposite: urging Michael Sheen to go supporting for his stellar LEADING performance in the film. I really like O'Neil's work so I'll just say I find his "Open Letter to Michael Sheen" well-intentioned, if completely wrong. He openly acknowledges the unfairness of the situation and that Frost is a leading role--that it has even more screen time than Nixon. Then goes on to explain all the (business) reasons Sheen can't land a nomination in the lead category.

O'Neil is very astute in his analysis--he compares Sheen's plight to that of "supporting actors" Ethan Hawke in Training Day, Julianne Moore in The Hours, and James McAvoy in The Last King of Scotland. But that doesn't make it right. I, for one, am tired of watching studio insult our intelligence with these sstrategies. And where does one draw the line? Do we start putting Woody Allen's films up for Adapted Screenplay because the competition is lighter?  

O'Neil also implies it's ego that is keeping Sheen in the leading category--that he should "humbly agree to drop down to supporting" and noting how "humiliating" it must have been when he was the male lead in The Queen to drop down to the "lowly supporting slot (with peasants!)" two years ago. He's obviously being quasi-facetious, but I would ask you what is truly more humble: campaigning for recognition in a blatantly wrong category or (maybe) missing your shot in the right one. Let's praise someone for playing fair, not encourage these games.

I actually never thought Sheen's turn as Tony Blair in The Queen was a lead role, though I suppose the case could be made. But there's no doubt here. In the simplest terms: that movie was called The Queen, not The Queen/The Prime Minister.  This film is called Frost/Nixon. And you'll notice Frost is listed first.

--Jenelle Riley

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