Time once again for Coffee Spew’s annual Nominated for the Wrong Performance award, which singles out an actor who in the previous year gave a better performance in a different film than the one for which they’ve been Oscar-nominated. (Previous winner was a tie between Kate Winslat, who was so much better in Revolutionary Road than The Reader, and Penelope Cruz, who gave a richer performance in Elegy than Vicky Cristina Barcelona.) This year’s winner is Vera Farmiga, wrongly nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Up in the Air instead of Best Actress for her harrowing work in Orphan. Farmiga’s sexy-cool femme fatale in Up in the Air is really more of a plot contrivance than a believable character. (I don’t know about you, but I felt cheated by the “surprise” revelation of her character’s duplicity and the manner in which the film invited us to scorn her.) Farmiga in Orphan, on the other hand, is simply astonishing playing a recovering alcoholic mother and wife whose grip on reality grows slimmer by the minute.
Posts Tagged 'Revolutionary Road'
Tags: Elegy, Kate Winslat, Orphan, Penelope Cruz, Revolutionary Road, The Reader, Up in the Air, Vera Farmiga, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Tags: Blake Bailey, John Cheever, Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates
Blake Bailey’s new biography of John Cheever is receiving near-unanimous praise. (My copy arrived in the mail today from Amazon, but I’m determined to read Denis Johnson’s 2007 National Book Award-winning novel Tree of Smoke first.) Worth recalling for a moment is Bailey’s magnificent 2003 biography of Richard Yates, A Tragic Honesty. Yates yearned but never got to see any of his short stories published in the New Yorker. Cheever, of course, along with John Updike*, was a New Yorker mainstay for decades. Even the great Yates novel, Revolutionary Road, was a hard luck case: nominated for the National Book Award in 1961, it lost—along with Catch-22—to Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer. Yates believed his career was forever derailed by the loss. Asked once by a student if he really wanted the award, Yates replied: “Want it? Want it? Of course I wanted it. I wanted it so fucking bad I could taste it!”
*Updike, in what was apparently the final book review he wrote before his death, dissed the new Cheever bio as “a heavy, dispiriting read.”