This really isn't a set of predictions, but every year when they announce the nominees in the acting categories, they show a brief clip, and if you pay attention, you're able to figure out just what the Academy looks for when they choose the clip. So, for the 20 nominated performances, I have offered my opinion on what exactly they'll show. Enjoy!
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
The Quote: “You can't just take people away like that. Do you hear me? He was a good man, a good person. It's not fair! We are not just helpless children! He had a life! Do you hear me? I mean, do YOU hear ME? What's the matter with you?”
Why? It’s the only time all movie he raises his voice, and for Oscars, Yelling = Good Acting
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
The Quote: “Well, to hell with that! We're not going to let that happen, either of us. We're going to show those bums, we're going to make 'em choke on our continued success. Our continued headlines! Our continued awards! And power! And glory!”
Why? It’s Langella at his theatrical best in the film, and of course, he’s yelling.
Sean Penn, Milk
The Quote: “All men all created equal. No matter how hard you try, you can never erase those words”
Why? Oscar is big on speeches, and this was Penn’s most emotional in the film. And yes, he’s yelling.
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Quote: “I thought I’d come here, and maybe sweep you off your feet or something”.
Why? It’s a heartbreakingly honest moment for Pitt in the film, and since he never yells in the film at all, it’s the best I got.
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
The Quote: "I’m just an old broken down piece of meat, and I deserve to me alone. I just don’t want you to hate me”
Why? If they don’t show a clip of the actor yelling, they show one of him crying. Plus, it’s the emotional high point of the film.
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
The Quote: “I am Shiva the destroyer, and your harbinger of doom for this evening.”
Why? The most painfully awkward toast in cinema history, and a perfect capsule of Hathaway’s amazing performance..
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
The Quote: “I want my son back. My son”
Why? A twofer – she both yells and cries at the same time! Plus, I’m pretty sure this was Jolie’s every other line in the film.
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
The Quote: I want ALL the money. Now!
Why? Dramatic and tension filled, she yells while pointing a gun. In a performance of restraint, it’s the best they can do.
Meryl Streep, Doubt
The Quote: “I will step outside the church if that's what needs to be done, till the door should shut behind me! I will do what needs to be done, though I'm damned to Hell! You should understand that, or you will mistake me.”
Why? Streep at her fiery best and most dramatic. Does any single line better capture her character?
Kate Winslet, The Reader
The Quote: “It doesn’t matter what I think. It doesn’t matter what I feel. The dead are still dead.”
Why? Her most dramatic moment, and a perfect view of her enigmatic character. It’s a plus that she has all her clothes on as well, since she doesn’t for much of the movie.
Josh Brolin, Milk
The Quote: “I’m talking about right and wrong. Moral and immoral”
Why? Captures Dan White’s fractured nature in one simple line. I am holding out hope that they’ll use “I don’t even know who you are. You just showed up out of nowhere, Latino Man”, but I doubt it.
Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder
The Quote: I’m the dude playing a dude, disguised as another dude
Why? Funny and succinct. They would show courage by going with “Never go full retard”, but they don’t have the guts.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
The Quote: "You have no right to act on your own! You have taken vows, obedience being one. You answer to us! You have no right to step outside the church!"
Why? The performance is subtle throughout, but this is the one time where a scene by itself holds dramatic weight.
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
The Quote: “You’re just a freak. Like me"
Why? Perfect quote, and gets that evil cackle in as well.
Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road
The Quote: “I’ll tell you one thing I’m glad of. I’m glad I’m not gonna be that kid”
Why? Almost every line reading is a thing of beauty, but this one has a power all by itself.
Amy Adams, Doubt
The Quote: “I don’t think Father Flynn did anything wrong.”
Why? Her naïve nature and sweetness all in one simple quote.
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
The Quote: "You’re still searching for me in every woman."
Why? It’s probably her most dramatic speech in the film – at least in English.
Viola Davis, Doubt
The Quote: "Why do you have to know something like that for sure when you don’t. It’s just till June."
Why? She’s crying, and acting circles around Streep. Perfection.
Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Quote: "You never know what’s comin’ for ya."
Why? Why not? I can’t think of another quote from the movie that captures her inherent goodness.
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
The Quote: "Randy I’m here. I’m right here and I’m real"
Why? Dramatic and heartbreaking, and she has her clothes on for once in the movie. All they really need.
This is the first time I've done this, so I want to see how I do.