Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Beyond Actor-Dome: Round 3 Concludes

64 men enter. One man leaves.

A few words on the criteria: I'm only taking into account performances from the past ten years (1997 and onward). Film and television performances count. Match-ups will be judged on the following merits: (1) number of performances I've enjoyed (sheer quantity); (2) whose singular best performance is the greatest (quality); (3) if I had an Oscar ballot, how many nominations would the actor have received since '97 (fake Oscars); (4) if both actors have co-starred in a film, who gave the better performance (spotlights stolen); and (5) since watching boys fight is something you can see at the closest downtown bar, this time around we're judging by who would prevail in the most time-tested of competitive activities: The Walkoff (Motherf*cking Walkoff).

Heath Ledger vs. Edward Norton
Quantity: Much like Brad Pitt and The Assassination of Jesse James, Ledger suffers for me not having seen I'm Not There yet. I mean, there's no guaranteeing I'd like those performances, but the odds are in their favor. Instead of a category win, Heath settles for a Push
Quality: Norton's tricksy-but-relatable work in Fight Club goes up against Ledger's much-ballyhooed Brokeback Mountain performance. It's ballyhooed for a reason. Advantage: Ledger
Fake Oscar Nods: Norton: 2 (American History X; Fight Club); Ledger: 1 (Brokeback Mountain).
Spotlights Stolen: They've never shared the screen.
Motherf*cking Walkoff: Well, Heath, perhaps if you didn't go out of your way to continually show up at events and in photos like an unkempt undergraduate with an 8 AM class, you might stand a better chance here. Not to mention if you stuck around in Brooklyn long enough for me to spot you getting coffee somewhere. Enjoy Australia, mate. Advantage: Norton
Winner: Edward Norton 2-1

Ian McKellen vs. Peter Sarsgaard
Quantity: You know, Ian McKellen really needs to make another movie, if only so I can stop feeling bad for the fact that not hating his DaVinci Code performance is proving to be the difference in some of these competitions. Advantage: McKellen
Quality: Much love, as always, to Peter Sarsgaard in Shattered Glass, and much credit to the man for being the best thing going in at least half the films he's in, but McKellen's sad, majestic James Whale in Gods and Monsters continues to stand tall. Advantage: McKellen
Fake Oscar Nods: McKellen: 2 (Gods and Monsters; Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring); Sarsgaard: 2 (Shattered Glass; Jarhead). Push
Spotlights Stolen: They've never shared the screen.
Motherf*cking Walkoff: Looking through Sarsgaard's filmography, it's tough to find even one character able to work it as fiercely as McKellen's Whale, or as sagely as Gandalf, as world-dominatingly as Magneto, or know, I was going to bring Apt Pupil into this discussion but I'm grossing myself out, so never mind. Advantage: McKellen
Winner: Ian McKellen 3-0

Alec Baldwin vs. Jude Law
Quantity: Two of the heaviest hitters in the numbers game, Baldwin and Law have each put in a solid decade of performances, both big and small. After seeing and enjoying Law in last winter's little-seen Breaking and Entering, their credits end up matching exactly. Advantage: Push
Quality: In a battle of two pitch-perfect comic performances, Law's high-strung golden boy in I Heart Huckabees falls to Baldwin's unparalleled Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock. Advantage: Baldwin
Fake Oscar Nods: Law: 3 (The Talented Mr. Ripley; A.I.; I Heart Huckabees); Baldwin: 0.
Spotlights Stolen: Both had small roles in The Aviator, but Law's Errol Flynn cameo was both smaller and pound-for-pound less impressive than Baldwin's aeronautical rival. Advantage: Baldwin
Motherf*cking Walkoff: While it's a fact that Baldwin can still rock a tux (it’s after six, what was he, raised on a farm?), Law still hasn't managed to let infidelity and (have we mentioned?) unwashed hair piss away all of his dashing charm. He'd better watch it, though. Advantage: Law
Winner: 2-2. HOLY CRAP IT'S A TIE! Vote.

Johnny Depp vs. Bill Murray
Quantity: Sweeney Todd couldn't come soon enough to give Depp the (razor's) edge in this close (shaven) face-off (literally). He's a barber who cuts people's heads off! Get it? Anyway, credit this to poor timing on Depp's part. Push
Quality: It's 2003 all over again as Murray's Lost in Translation performance goes up against Depp's original Jack Sparrow. And as it would have happened if I'd had a vote, Murray would have come out ahead, much as I love both performances deeply. Advantage: Murray
Fake Oscar Nods: Murray: 2 (Lost in Translation; Rushmore); Depp: 1 (Pirates of the Caribbean).
Spotlights Stolen: Both appeared in Ed Wood (the Spotlights Stolen category is exempt from the 10-year eligibility period, as you may have previously noticed; basically because I said so, that's why), and while Murray fit in reasonably well with Tim Burton's cast of weirdos, Depp stole that show pretty easily, I think. Advantage: Depp
Motherf*cking Walkoff: He may rock the runway staggering like Captain Jack, but he'll rock it nonetheless. Advantage: Depp
Winner: 2-2. HOLY CRAP IT'S A TIE! Vote wisely and once, you know the deal.

That's two ties, folks. Please vote for both in the comments.


AB and the Bear Suits said...

Alec Baldwin, because he's my TV boyfriend. And Johnny Depp because I saw Pirates I in the theaters no less than four times (shut up, I was in high school).

notanillusion said...

I'm going Baldwin and Deppfor the win. It's a real Sophie's choice for me, but Sparrow makes me melt, and I give the edge for that over good ol' Venkman.

jessica said...

Much as I LOVE Alec Baldwin in so, so many ways, Jude Law leaves me feeling flushed. And since he has less than any chance of winning this vote, I think, I'm going with him.

Depp and Murray is a harder choice. Coin flip makes it Depp.

Anonymous said...

Baldwin and Depp

Jeff Hansen said...

Baldwin, because his watch cost more than my car.

Depp, because of my "Depp-Reeves theorem" that I've have for about 8 years: every Keanu Reeves movie becomes at least 25% better if he's replaced by Depp. Think of the Devil's Advocate. Think of the Matrix. Think of Bill & Ted's.

Joe R. said...

Those are fine choices, Jeff, and I appreciate your participation always, but I have to say I cannot disagree more with your Depp-Reeves theory. The Matrix is totally not the same without Keanu "whoa"ing his way through the whole thing. He was born to play Ted "Theodore" Logan, and The Devil's Advocate starring Depp instead of Keanu was called The Ninth Gate and it suuuuucked.

And your whole argument falls apart with just one word: Speed.

Put Depp in Bram Stoker's Dracula, however, and you might be on to something.

JA said...

Jude Law.

Bill Murray.

Jeff Hansen said...

I will grant you Speed.

-Keanu & Pacino were terrible together, while Depp & Pacino were great together in Donnie Brasco.

Bill & Ted's:
-Reeves totally was outshined in Bill & Ted's; he's not nearly as memorable as Bill is. I doubt that would have happened to Depp.

-He was fine in the first movie, but he SUCKED in the sequels. Granted everything sucked, but one of the absolute keys to the sequels' success was believing that Neo & Trinity truly loved each other (hence all the savings and love and the glavin). But Reeves substituted "longing looks" with "glassy-eyed stares", completely sinking any hope of salvaging the movies (especially the third).

Julie said...

Baldwin, even though he busted up my chifforobe, and Depp. Always Depp. Though Murray almost wins it for me since I just viewed the genius that is Scrooged for the 3rd time this season.

And though I concur that McKellen should beat Sarsgaard...there is NO WAY he'd defeat him in a walkoff. MADNESS.

JS said...

Jude Law

Bill Murray

Brenda said...


Depp vs. Murray is tough; in the past I've always voted for Murray, but Depp is equally as good. And, probably more versatile. And obviously hotter. So, uh, Depp.

jennie said...

Baldwin (because of The Departed)
Murray (because of everything he's ever done in his entire life... and I think I'm the only person on the planet who thinks Depp is overrated).

alex said...

Alec Baldwin

Bill Murray

NYOne said...

I do still love Jude Law, even after seeing The Holiday...but Baldwin gets my vote. Still Best. SNL. Host. Ever. and that's gotta count for a lot.

And Johnny Depp, for maybe being the king of the world right now and yet using his powers for good rather than evil.

Tracy said...

Baldwin and Depp.

Deirdre said...

Baldwin for his two kinds of balls (brass and Schwetty).

And Depp for whatever kind he has that allows him to keep making the film choices he does.

par3182 said...



Yoshi said...

Depp is awesome, but again, three words: Lost. In. Translation. Murray takes it.

Keith said...

Baldwin and Murray.

Mathan said...

I'm just in shock to see Ian sweep Peter. Wow.

You've got to vote Baldwin, he always slays me.

And as much as I dig Depp, I'm voting for Murray because of his collaborations with Wes.

(And huge props to Jeff for the "glavin".)

Rinaldo said...

Law vs. Baldwin is hard. Both are superb, skilled actors. I give it to Baldwin because of the longevity he's shown, including being one of the few movie stars of his generation who's allowing himself to AGE visibly (and still looks damn good). Baldwin.

But given a similar pair of careers-in-progress with Depp vs. Murray... much though I admire Bill and how he's broadened his range more than I would have believed possible, I choose the younger one this time. Depp.

Pamela said...

Alec Baldwin, because...awesome.

And I've got to go with Bill Murray because of Rushmore. He earned a lifetime of love with that performance.

Oh, and Peter Sarsgaard losing 3-0 broke my heart a little.

AB and the Bear Suits said...

@Jeff Hansen: And who played Bill?

harlemjd said...

got to go with the majority here -

Baldwin and Depp (even if his name is German for "moron")

Jeff Hansen said...

Irrelevant. Only after Speed and Point Break did anyone go back and figure out who played Ted. :)

The Bloody Munchkin said...

Normally, I'd be team Depp but i just saw part of the Libertine not too long ago and A) I still don't get it and B) it left a bad taste in my mouth. Must've been all the wig powder. So I'm going Murray.

In the case of Baldwin versus Law, dude I don't know. Gattiga has been on my brain lately, but Baldwin shows up, kicks ass, takes names and leaves in just about everything he's been in. His performance in The Cooler still gets me. Baldwin, I guess....

Stephanie said...

Baldwin & Depp.

rg said...

Baldwin, Murray.

SecretMargo said...

law & depp

Keli said...

Baldwin, Depp

Kamikaze Camel said...

Depp and Law.

rachel said...

baldwin (glengarry love)
murray ("yeah, i was in the shit.")