I’m writing my LA Weekly column so I won’t get back to Oscar analyzing here until later. (Thanks for all your cool comments. And, yes, I was channeling a filthy-mouthed gaffer named Bick.) But, in the meantime, I want to update you on the 411 behind Ryan Gosling’s wild card nomination. (I called it this year’s “What the fuck?” Oscar noms moment, said those lost kids on the back of milk cartons are better known than this ex-Young Hercules, the TV series, and surmised that his father toils for the accounting firm who counts the ballots.) True, ThinkFilm was savvy enough to get that Half-Nelson screener out to Academy members early — it was among the first to arrive — and then ran a smart word-of-mouth campaign focusing on Gosling’s real-‘n’-raw performance. That makes a huge difference for these blink-and-you-missed-the-release movies, especially this one and its 91% RottenTomatoes.com “fresh” rating. (In fact, New York mag film reviewer David Edelstein emails me that the critics loved Gosling, so much so that the kid came in second to Forest Whitaker in many awards picks.) Turns out this newbie is the Ed Norton of his day. Norton, remember, burst on the scene in Primal Fear and scored a 1997 Best Supporting Actor nod. Unlike Norton, Gosling is a pretty-boy type, but one who’s got a reputation more for his acting chops than for his giddy features in US magazine or on Entertainment Tonight which have killed the careers of too many of his better-known generation of thesps. That’s why he has a real following among elite Screen Actors Guild types, who, as we know, make up the majority of Academy members. “You know better than anyone that we could count on one hand the number of young actors who are level-headed, modest and damned talented to boot,” a fanboy tells me. “Ryan Gosling is one of them.” But I still wanna know where his Dad works, OK?
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