Sunday, February 16, 2014

MMM Awards 2013 - Best Actor Nominees

While I had trouble cutting down the best actress list to 10, pickings were slimmer in the Best Actor category. Say what you will about the misogyny of horror films, but women clearly get the best roles. However, the dudes performed admirably as well. Here are the nominated dudes:


A.J. Bowen - You're Next!


Maybe there's no such thing as a "Scream King," but A.J. Bowen is getting close with his contributions to The Signal, Hatchet II, House of the Devil, Rites of Spring, A Horrible Way to Die, Chillerama, and Ti West's upcoming The Sacrament. But in You're Next! he really gets to shine. His performance rewards repeat viewings because you pick up on subtle choices he makes that pay off later. His interactions with his onscreen family have a familiarity and realism that make the movie work. And yeah, he's really playing a supporting role to Sharni Vinson, but he plays it perfectly.

Jeffrey Combs - Would You Rather?

Did I say there's no such thing as a "Scream King"? Jeffrey Combs's contribution to the horror genre hearkens back to the days of Karloff and Price. And like those luminaries, he's been in his fair share of schlock. But he's also been brilliant. And lest you think this nomination is a sort of lifetime achieve award, this may be Mr. Combs's most menacing role ever. He's the ultrarich monster we've all come to fear, hosting a dinner party where only one guest can emerge alive from his twisted parlour games. As scary as this character is, the element that pushes the performance into MMM Award territory is how charming he manages to be, despite it all. While Brittany Snow plays the leading lady admirably, it is J-Combs (his hip hop name) who we miss every second he's off-screen. This is Jeffrey's movie. Everyone else is just visiting.

Toby Jones - Berberian Sound Studio

I avoided this movie for a long time, thinking it was called Bieberian Sound Studio, which would be too horrifying even for me. Obviously I made that up. I had heard wonderful thing about this movie and couldn't help but come away a touch disappointed. The first 3 quarters of this movie are amazing, until you realize all that build-up never pays off. The one thing about this film that doesn't disappoint is the lead performance by Toby Jones. I see this actor all over the place, but he hardly seemed leading man material. Not only does he carry this movie, he shows that as an actor, he can throw down with the very best of them. His character is a quiet, gentle soul who is thrown into a snakepit of shady Italian horror filmmakers and backbiting actresses. He does sound design, but mostly for nature documentaries. It's doubtful he's ever watched a horror movie. Half the fun of Berberian is watching him squirm when he has to foley murders and torture. The audience never sees the horrors onscreen, but it's all written in his face.


Rob Mayes - John Dies at the End


Chase Williamson - John Dies at the End

I had never seen either of these actors before, but both could be huge stars if the right casting directors are watching Coscarelli movies. Rob Mayes as the titular John brings a cool-yet-slightly-hyperactive presence to the film, with his up-for-anything attitude and his roguish charm. In fact, if Disney decides to make a movie about Han Solo's early days, this has got to be the guy. He also has the distinction of speaking the single best one-liner of 2013: "That door cannot be opened!" It doesn't look like much out of context, but trust me, it get a huge laugh every time. Chase Williamson is the yin to Mayes's yang. Or vice versa. But anyway, he's the more serious half of the duo, rarely smiling, constantly exasperated, and somehow equally appealing. As the narrator, he gets more than his fair share of mind-blowingly amazing dialogue. He also gets much more screen time. It's his flat, deadpan delivery that sets the tone for this ridiculous, ridiculously entertaining movie. I think it's fair to say, it would not have been the same film if either of these actors was not in it.

That's it for the dude noms. Now tell me, friends. Who did I totally miss in this category?

Back soon with the nominations for best screenplay.

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