I’d feel bad about posting again about Kevin B. Lee’s Oscar videos if they weren’t so darned good. But here’s the thing: each of them offers something different to the conversation about acting, and now that he’s released Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor, I want to make sure you’re listening to what he’s got to say.
In his examination of the Best Actress nominees, Lee admits he’d be happy with any of the women winning, that this category is the strongest across the board. What’s truly illuminating about the video essay is how he considers prevalence of shot type to show where the character creation is coming from. Jennifer Lawrence has mostly close-ups, so the acting comes from her face. Charlotte Rampling is shot largely in medium shots to emphasize the naturalness of her body language and movement. Bree Larson, gets extreme close-ups in the first half of Room and long shots in the second half to show the emotional effect of too little space and then too much. Lee ultimately picks Saoirse Ronan because she has the most range in facial expression and shot type.
To read his analysis, follow the link here to Fandor Keyframe. But if you have 6 minutes, invest in the video.
In the category for Best Supporting Actor, Lee is far more condemning. With many of the performances–Mark Ruffalo’s, Christian Bale’s–he points to weird ticks each actor does that makes it look like acting but is really just an illusion. In a more celebratory way, he shows the acting in Tom Hardy’s eyes bringing nuance and meaning. Finally, he surprises himself and us by supporting the win going to Stallone for embodying Rocky Balboa in a concrete, natural, and realistic way. His evidence is pretty convincing.
To read the transcript, click through to Fandor. But it’s far more illuminating to spend the 8 minutes on the video.