All five men nominated for this year’s Best Supporting Actor have won an Oscar®. Many are calling this the toughest category to call with no clear front-runner. Tommy Lee Jones won the Screen Actors Guild for Lincoln, Christoph Waltz won the Golden Globe for Django Unchained and Philip Seymour Hoffman won the Critic’s Choice for The Master. Alan Arkin’s film Argo and Robert De Niro’s film Silver Lining’s Playbook are favorites of the Academy. So who will it be? A very deserving and sentimental vote might be cast for Robert De Niro.
De Niro, considered by many one of the best actors of our time, hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar® in 32 years. His role as Pat Sr. in Silver Linings has landed him his 7th nomination. While this performance is considered one of his best, especially considering he’s been playing lighter fare in recent years [Analyze This, Meet the Parents], he has been passed over on some critically praised performances in Casino, The Mission, Midnight Run, Once Upon a Time in America and Everybody’s Fine.
Everybody’s Fine is a remake of a 1990′s Italian film by the same name and follows a recently retired, widower, Frank Goode. Goode surprises his adult kids, spread across the country, for a visit and comes to terms with their lives and decisions. De Niro, especially proud of his work in this film, talked to The Cinema Source about his connection to the character.
I related to Frank and drew on my own experiences like I do in all my parts. You draw on whatever’s relevant to the part you’re playing. It makes it more personal. There was a lot here of course. I have five children, two grandchildren….With my kids, I try not to be too strict because certain things they have to do. But at the same time, I don’t want them to get away with anything.
When Esquire talked to Eveybody’s Fine’s director Kirk Jones about working with De Niro, they also had this to say his performance.
He appears in just about every frame of the film, and he works his ass off. There’s greatness in this performance. The film itself toys with your heart and punches you in the stomach and jerks you from laughter to blubbering like a child. Not every line of dialogue is perfect, but the story is about people you know and things that really happen and all the problems and love and confusion and regret and joy that every family knows. Say what you will about De Niro’s body of work in the last decade, but he crushes this one.
Even De Niro acknowledges the time he put into this film when speaking to Deadline about his body of work.
I never say this about myself, but I was proud of that [performance], and Kirk is a terrific director. I certainly worked very hard on that one.
Now with the spotlight on his work in Silver Linings and just two days away from the big award ceremony, how does De Niro feel about all this Oscar® chatter?
Of course I am happy about it all, but I don’t want to expect much because I don’t want to be disappointed: You expect, and you think, and it never happens. So all I try to do is be even-keel about stuff.