James Coburn in Afflication
PRO: Plays mean bastard who gets drunk, assaults women and beats people with bottles, all in 20 minutes of screen time.
CON: Didn't shy away from Young Guns 2 or Eraser, so maybe he fell into this one.
Robert Duvall in A Civil Action
PRO: One of the 1970's best actors has come alive in his last several performances; possible reparations for being robbed for The Apostle; subtle reading of cliched wily lawyer role. Only thing worth watching in this piece of trash.
CON: This movie stank; Duvall still living down Days of Thunder. Also, he's been bald for 50 years. What's up with that?
Ed Harris in The Truman Show
PRO: Plays evil director who is somehow sexy; second-time nominee in this category.
CON: Does not die; wears a stupid beret but no riding boots and he's essentially running mission control again like in Apollo 13, but without the toupee.
Geoffrey Rush in Shakespeare in Love
PRO: Also gets points for a just-as-worthy performance in Elizabeth; maybe it all does work out in the end.
CON: Just recognized for Shine, and this isn't quite as showy. Upstaged by most of the cast and a couple dogs too. About the only cast member who doesn't get laid in the picture.
Billy Bob Thornton in A Simple Plan
PRO: Consisently amazing actor, who manages again to play a dumb-as-a-post yokel without seeming like Carl from Sling Blade. So good, he makes you forget about Primary Colors and Armageddon all at once.
CON: Didn't do that mmm-hmmm stuff, that was cool. I reckon, hmm-mmm. Divorced and therefore not escorting the stacked chick he showed up with two years ago.
Kathy Bates in Primary Colors
PRO: Salty as ever; chomps more scenery than Clinton does donuts; dies. Why is it that every character who's close to Clinton dies?
CON: A flat movie upstaged by 1997's Wag the Dog and 1998's "Fondle the Cigar"; boring film not nearly as hot as The Starr Report. Bates' character (fat, short-haired and loud) = Guess what? A lesbian! Gets jingoism points for being only American among Brits (remember Marisa Tomei?).
Brenda Blethyn in Little Voice
PRO: Maybe she'll say that "sweeeetheeeart" stuff from Secrets & Lies in her acceptance speech; plays a drunk.
CON: We tend to handicap against actresses we haven't seen; by narcissistic extrapolation, Academy voters haven't seen this movie. A drunken Brit? Stop the presses!
Judi Dench in Shakespeare in Love
PRO: Ruler of free world could use statuette as scepter; second British monarch she's played in two years -- (after Victoria in Mrs. Brown); nobody would DARE talk or get out of their seat during her speech.
CON: Brief, eight minute appearance; running out of roles -- Queen streak leaves only Anne, Lady Jane, and Latifah; pancake makeup gives her too strong a resemblance to Harvey Weinstein.
Rachel Griffiths in Hilary and Jackie
PRO:Thought by some critics to outshine the better-known, best Actress nominated Emily Watson
CON: Nobody ever gets an Oscar for playing the other one (see Mare Winningham, Georgia).
Lynn Redgrave in Gods and Monsters
PRO: Movie has strong momentum; her noble acting lineage (she is a Redgrave, after all). If she wins maybe she sides with the Zionist hoodlums and evens the score against Vanessa.
CON: Blue blood never did much for Drew Barrymore. People probably thought she was dead or something.
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