The Lung Brothers

Hanging out at the extreme end of the long tail ...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Affliction Oscars

Here’s where one has to be completely honest and admit that if I were an aspiring actor, I would not hesitate to grab a nice meaty role that involves being mentally or physically disabled or afflicted in some way.

They might not be the subtler roles but they are certainly the ones that get you noticed. You really don’t have to worry about ‘internalising’ the emotion and saying it all with a silent, brooding stare. No, affliction gives you licence to wildly flail around and a host of stereotypical histrionic gestures to express the particular hardship that your character is enduring.

And don’t forget, Hollywood has always had an undying love affair with those roles of disability. Ever since they inexplicably gave Cliff Robertson a statuette for Charly in 1968, every actor has jumped on the gravy train to prove their talent. The Academy Awards have reflected this tendency without fail, the bumper years being the mid-nineties. So here I present the victim list of the past 20 years.


2004
Jamie Foxx - Ray - Best Actor Winner – Blind
Hilary Swank – Million Dollar baby - Best Actress Winner – Doesn’t she end up disabled at the end?

2003
Tim Robbins – Mystic river - Best Supporting Actor Winner – Simpleton

2002
Adrian Brody – The Pianist - Best Actor Winner – Starvation
Ed Harris – The Hours - Best Supporting Actor Nominee – AIDS

2001
Russel Crowe – A Beautiful Mind - Best Actor Nominee – Schizophrenia
Sean Penn – I Am Sam - Best Actor Nominee – Mentally disabled
Judy Dench – Iris - Best Actress Nominee – Senility

2000
Ellen Burnstyn – Requiem for a Dream - Best Actress Nominee – Geriatric Junky

1999
Julianne Moore – The End of the Affair - Best Actress Nominee – Terminal illness
Richard Farnsworth – The Straight Story - Best Actor Nominee – Semi-Disabled
Angelina Jolie – Girl Interrupted - Best Supporting Actress Winner – Nuts

1998
Emily Watson – Hilary and Jackie - Best Actress Nominee - Terminal illness.
Billy Bob Thornton – A Simple Plan - Best Supporting Actor Nominee – Simpleton

1997
Jack Nicholson – As Good as it Gets - Best Actor Winner – OCD

1996
Ralph Fiennes – The English Patient - Best Actor Nominee – Burn Victim
Woody Harrilson – People Vs. L. Flint - Best Actor Nominee – Disabled
Geoffrey Rush – Shine - Best Actor Winner – Nervous breakdown/Nuts
B. Bob Thornton – Sling Blade - Best Actor Nominee – Simpleton
Emily Watson – Breaking the Waves - Best Actress Nominee - Simpleton

1995
Nicholas Cage – Leaving Las Vegas - Best Actor Winner – Alcoholic
Brad Pitt – 12 Monkeys - Best Supporting Actor Nominee – Nuts
Kevin Spacey – Usual Suspects - Best Supporting Actor Winner – Semi-disabled
Massimo Troisi – The Postman - Best Actor Nominee – Dying on shoot

1994
Tom Hanks – Forrest Gump - Best Actor Winner – Simpleton
Nigel Hawthorne – Madness of King George - Best Actor Nominee – Nuts
Jodie Foster – Nell - Best Actress Nominee – Woman-child (Simpleton)
Miranda Richardson – Tom and Viv - Best Actress Nominee - Nuts
Martin landau – Ed Wood - Best Supporting Actor Winner - Geriatric Junky
Gary Sinise – Forrest Gump - Best Supporting Actor Nominee – Legless

1993
Tom Hanks – Philadelphia - Best Actor Winner – AIDS
Holly Hunter – The Piano - Best Actress Winner – Mute
Debra Winger – Shadowlands - Best Actress Nominee – Terminal Illness
Leonardo DiCaprio – Gilbert Grape - Best Supporting Actor Nominee – Mentally disabled
Rosie Perez – Fearless - Best Supporting Actress Nominee – Post Traumatic Disorder

1992
Al Pacino – Scent of a Woman - Best Actor Winner – Blind

1991
Nick Nolte – Prince of Tides - Best Actor Nominee – Trauma victim
Robin Williams – Fisher King - Best Actor Nominee – Nuts due to trauma

1990
Robert de Niro – Awakenings - Best Actor Nominee – Catatonic illness

1989
Tom Cruise – Born 4th of July - Best Actor Nominee – Disabled
Daniel Day Lewis – My Left Foot - Best Actor Winner – Disabled

1988
Dustin Hoffman – Rain Man - Best Actor Winner – Autistic
Tom Hanks – Big - Best Actor Nominee – Man-child (Simpleton)
Jodie Foster – The Accused - Best Actress Winner – Trauma victim

1987
Jack Nicholson – Ironweed - Best Actor Nominee – Alcoholic
Meryl Streep – Ironweed - Best Actress Nominee – Alcoholic

1986
Dexter Gordon – Round Midnight - Best Actor Nominee – Alcoholic
Marlee Matlin – Children lesser God - Best Actress Winner – Deaf

1985
Meg Tilly – Agnes of God - Best Supporting Actress Nominee – Simpleton


I haven’t seen every Oscar flick over the past 25 years so I may have left out a few. Please feel free to add to the list in the comments section.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Ricardipus said...

A bit of a stretch, but how about:

2003 - Charlize Theron, best actress "Monster" - psychotic murderer

;)

6:19 pm  
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8:07 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

best actor awards go to dramas, and dramas, by definition, contain afflicted characters. A little too much research

8:21 am  

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