Friday, April 19, 2024

Ethan Hawke Suddenly Jumps into Tight Lead Actor Race for Oscars with 2 Wins for “First Reformed”


I’ll bet the Oscar prognosticators are having heart attacks.

First they were crazy about Ryan Gosling in”First Man” as their Lead Actor in Oscars 2019.

Then for weeks they were all over Bradley Cooper to win Best Actor for “A Star is Born.”

Next came Viggo Mortensen, for “Green Book.” And then Rami Malek picked up steam from “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Last week, it all turned to Christian Bale, bulked up and unrecognizable as Dick Cheney in “Vice.”

On Monday Ethan Hawke won the Gotham Award for Best Actor in “First Reformed.” He got a lot of applause. Would this make him an Oscar contender? No one knew, but it seemed unlikely.

Now he’s won the NY Film Critics Circle. Ethan must be taken seriously now. He’s going to dethrone one of those other actors, I think. I don’t know which one.

Ethan has two acting Oscar nominations– one for “Boyhood,” and the other for “Training Day.” They’re each in Supporting. He also has two writer noms, for co-writing Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise” and “Before Midnight.”

He started out as a kid actor in “Dead Poet’s Society.” Since then he’s had one terrific performance after another. This past year it seemed like was everywhere. He was in “Juliet, Naked.” He wrote and directed a little gem called “Blaze.” He just turned 48 and his clip reel is astounding. Some of my favorites are “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” and “A Midnight Clear.” There are dozens more including a lovely turn in the remake of “The Magnificent Seven.”

So as much as all the other actors in the semi-finals are great, and all should be included, Ethan Hawke’s new rise to dominance is very cool, and welcomed.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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