The Mistake Warners is Making With Christian McKay
Christian McKay gives one of the great supporting performances of the decade as Orson Welles in "Me and Orson Welles," and in any other year he'd a shoo-in for the Academy award. But this year, Christoph Waltz is also in the running ("Inglourious Basterds"), as well as Woody Harrelson in "The Messenger." Of the three I'd go with Waltz.
However I've been absolutely certain McKay would at least get a nomination . . . until I finally opened my mail today and found a screener disc of ME AND ORSON WELLES. This is the same screener that Academy members get, and along with it comes a little list on the package that tells you what nominations they're hoping for. And lo and behold, under supporting actor they list three minor players and Zac Efron, who is the actual star of the film. And under Best Actor, they list Christian McKay.
This is what's going to happen now. People who want to vote for McKay for the award he should get -- supporting actor -- are going to hold back, thinking their vote will be wasted, assuming that his vote will be diffused into two categories. There will also be some who would be happy to vote for McKay for supporting actor but who won't want to commit so far as to vote for him for best actor. It's just not a best actor type role.
Now in another year, this might have been a reasonable move. I'm sure Warners must be thinking of the example of Forest Whitaker, who won best actor for what was essentially a supporting role in THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND. But even then, Whitaker was a famous, established actor with years of accomplishment behind him. He also had a grander role, requiring many different shadings.
Moreover, he was competing in a dead year for actors. That's not the case this year. This year, you have Clooney, Colin Firth and Jeff Bridges all but guaranteed a nomination. And probably Morgan Freeman has a lock on one, too. So there's really just one slot left, and who is going to go to -- Tobey Maguire? Jeremy Renner ("The Hurt Locker") or Christian McKay? I don't think McKay has a chance in this category.
It's a shame, because here you have a young actor, all but sure to get the career boost that a nomination would bring -- and with a good chance of winning in his rightful category -- and now because of bad positioning, he probably won't be nominated.
However, there's a solution: Warners should send out a press release and maybe put an ad in the trades, saying, "For Your Consideration . . . Christian McKay for best supporting actor." If they pull the plug on this bad strategy now, they can pull this guy's chances out of the fire (how's that for a mixed metaphor?). . . and maybe even generate a little publicity for a good cause.
I hope they take note of this.
Now for AWARDS!
In addition to Christian's nomination for a BFCA Critics' Choice Award, he and the film have been recognized as follows:
San Francisco Film Critics Circle
Best Supporting Actor: Christian McKay, Me and Orson Welles
Austin Film Critics Association
Breakthrough Artist Award: Christian McKay, Me and Orson Welles
Best Austin Film: Me and Orson Welles, Richard Linklater
Chicago Film Critics Association - Nominations
Best Supporting Actor:
Peter Capaldi (-) In the Loop
Woody Harrelson (-) The Messenger
Christian McKay (-) Me and Orson Welles
Stanley Tucci (-) The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz (-) Inglourious Basterds
Most Promising Performer:
Sharlto Copley (-) District 9
Christian McKay (-) Me and Orson Welles
Carey Mulligan (-) An Education
Max Records (-) Where the Wild Things Are
Gabourey Sidibe (-) Precious
Toronto Film Critics Association
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”
Runners-up: Christian McKay, “Me & Orson Welles” and Timothy Olyphant, “A Perfect Getaway”
Boston Society of Film Critics
Best Actor: Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
Runner-up: Christian McKay, Me and Orson Welles
San Diego Film Critics Society
Named best actor was England’s Colin Firth, for his poignantly gay teacher in “A Single Man” (which opens Dec. 25); runner-ups included Ben Foster (”The Messenger”), Christian McKay (”Me and Orson Welles”) and George Clooney (”Up in the Air”).
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association
Best Supporting Actor: 1) Christopher Waltz - Inglourious Basterds
2) Woody Harrelson - The Messenger
3) Stanley Tucci - The Lovely Bones
4) Alfred Molina - An Education
5) Christian McKay - Me and Orson Welles