January 10, 2013

"Acting requires some intentionality on the part of the actor, some conscious effort to adopt a persona other than his or her own."

"Even adult actors who get criticized for 'playing themselves' are engaged in a series of more or less conscious decisions about how best to be themselves onscreen."
A young child, meanwhile, likely isn't thinking at all about how to be herself, let alone a character. She's a kid, and she just "is." This is, of course, a big part of what we're responding to when we watch Wallis: her innocence and her lack of self-consciousness. She feels genuine precisely because she's incapable of being otherwise.
From an article in The Atlantic a month ago titled "Sorry, Quvenzhané Wallis, but Best Actress Oscar Nods Are for Big Kids."

This morning, Quvenzhané Wallis got that Best Actress Oscar nod.

I loathe movies that exploit our instinctive urge to protect and care for children. The child is automatically that sweet and innocent character, whom the author sadistically torments for our sick pleasure.

26 comments:

Shouting Thomas said...

Anybody can act. As a result of YouTube and corporate video, we all know the secret. The cat is out of the bag.

It's a simple skill. Doesn't take a superman.

The only reason actors seem more effective in the Hollywood environment is that the producers have more money. This means better production values, more takes and better editing.

I've worked with hundreds of actors who do stage and corporate video. They're just as skilled as the people you see on the silver screen.

It's just a matter of opportunity and the amount of money poured into production. I'm not impressed at all by the skill of acting. Anybody can do it.

rehajm said...

Obviously the author never saw Benji

rhhardin said...

Children are made small and weak to limit the damage they can do.

Shouting Thomas said...

Movie making on the "art" level has become an assembly line for the production of fictional martyrs for the liberal political agenda.

Our little art theater in Woodstock is almost entirely in the biz of promoting the weekly martyr to whatever is the next liberal political cause.

Subjected to this deluge of martyrdom propaganda, the audience believes that the martyrdom actually took place.

Thus, the deluge of martyrdom movies over the past few decades about women and gays is the proof that women and gays were persecuted. Although the great persecution never, in fact, happened.

Children, of course, make the best martyrs, for political purposes.

traditionalguy said...

Are you saying that we people take pleasure in defiling the innocent young?

There is a deep anger at innocent folks taking the spotlight as innocent. How dare they get away with that!

Tim Tebow made it longer than most, but the angry response reaction is catching up to him.

The days of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson honoring in America are long gone. Them guys were NOT innocent...so there!

But that crafty lawyer Abraham Lincoln is still teflon.

Scott said...

Anna Paquin won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress when she was 11. And she deserved it.

Larry J said...

rhhardin said...
Children are made small and weak to limit the damage they can do.


Mercy:

Teach every child you meet the importance of forgiveness. It's our only hope of surviving their wrath once they realize just how badly we've screwed things up for them.

sydney said...

So is she the cinematic equivalent of Little Nell?

Bob Ellison said...

"I loathe movies that exploit our instinctive urge to protect and care for children."

That's a strong statement. You didn't provide any evidence. Most movies have some of that. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, not so much, but even Star Wars and The Seven Samurai (the best movie ever) have it.

So if you loathe movies that exploit one of the most basic emotions, how do you go to the movies? Tarantino might be your only guy.

Bob Ellison said...

I just read your "Leave me alone, Hollywood" comment. OK, there I'm with you.

Tari said...

The Atlantic piece was obviously written by someone who doesn't have kids. Neither of my kids could act in so much as a soap commercial; they have no interest in feigning emotion about something completely fake and uninteresting to them. A child who can do so, and do it well, does have a talent. It may not be the same kind of conscious "acting" talent an adult actor has, but it's there.

LarsPorsena said...

Tatum ONeal?

Chip Ahoy said...

When you say "Hollywood leave me alone!" That directive is processed and accepted. It is my duty to enforce the directive, for I am Althouse hillbilly lemming robot and cannot think for myself.

But I see Hollywood has not left you alone, like the flu virus it has infected you. It is my hillbilly lemming robot duty to expunge the virus. But my only available tool is comments.

The following comment contains an antiviral cure. The surface text is misdirection but that is not apparent to virus.

The old man who mentioned pralines are expensive at airports blew in last night. We had dinner at a nearby restaurant then returned to my apartment and exchanged gifts for other people. We are intermediaries in two gift exchanges. Odd, now that I think about it because after all that back and forth activity both of us end up with nothing other than goodwill, I suppose, and yet he's a salesman, he should know better than that.

Anyway, I go, "Now that I'm expert, and it was your idea to begin with, we're going to make pralines." This would be out of character, he is absolutely not a cooking type of person.

"Right now?"

"Yes."

So we did. Just like that. Cranked out a batch of splendid pralines that included a teaspoon of peanut butter, the best tasting pralines ever! Cooled them out on the terrace, wrapped them in wax paper, packaged them in sandwich bags and he departed for another trip.

The Hollywood virus has been disabled, you are now cured.

edutcher said...

Didn't Charley Temple get an Oscar back in the 30s?

PS The Duke played himself and Larry Oliver envied his ability.

YoungHegelian said...

@edutcher,

Charley Temple???

Shirley. You jest?

edutcher said...

But, of course.

(although that's what my Mom said everybody she knew called her when they went to the movies)

McTriumph said...

Actually Shirley Temple was a great actress, no child is that sweet.

dreams said...

I hate all the commercials that use children to say precocious stuff that we're supposed to think is so cute, I'm especially thinking of the ubiquitous Aaron Rogers commercials showing children in the classroom.

dreams said...

"Tatum ONeal?"

Yes, she was the best in my opinion.

Jim Gust said...

Beasts of the Southern Wild was a pretty good movie, especially considering its low budget. I'm glad it's getting some recognition. It does not adhere to Hollywood conventions or politics.

William said...

I can pretend to be witty and sophisticated but not in such a way that Audrey Hepburn or anyone here would believe it. I think that among my immediate circle there would be market for my painting my face blue and acting fierce, but I don't think the larger world would take so much interest in it or give me credibility as a savage Celt.....We all pretend to be our ideal selves but it's hard to project an image that many people believe in or would pay money to see.. Cary Grant and Mel Gibson deserve credit for their ability to create the persona that they wanted to be and for making people believe in it for a couple of hours..

McTriumph said...

edutcher

"The Duke played himself and Larry Oliver envied his ability."

Could the Duke play Heathcliff? I bet he could when younger, but Larry O. in "The Searchers" or "Hondo", I think not. That may be unfair as Larry's forte was really the stage.

eddie willers said...

Children are made small and weak to limit the damage they can do.

OK....that made me laugh.

Kirk Parker said...

How can there be a discussion of young child actors that doesn't mention Ponette???

O Ritmo Segundo said...

The child is automatically that sweet and innocent character, whom the author sadistically torments for our sick pleasure.

Your extraordinary - and one could say "intentional" - ignorance of this film is showing clearly. In no way was the lead in this film depicted in as simplified a way as you suggest.

You seem to revel in finding how far you can push a line of argument without actually knowing anything about it. It's quite lazy, actually.

Joe said...

Anyone who doesn't think a six year old (or younger) can act, never met my oldest daughter at 3 or her daughter, now 3.

Still, this is awfully PC, as were most the nominations. The Oscars have long ceased to be about genuine quality.