Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Geoffrey Rush

His EGOT credentials include the rare Triple Crown of Acting (the Emmy, Oscar, and Tony for acting as opposed to, well, not acting pretty much), but I want to focus on a role that didn't get him as much acclaim. I wasn't as taken with him in Shine as most (I'm sure winning the Oscar is sufficient solace for my lack of enthusiasm for that performance--he sleeps just fine), so my respect for him really began with Elizabeth (the 1998 film starring Cate Blanchett).

OKAY, goddamn it, I can't embed the trailer for the 1998 movie. Click here to watch it. If you haven't seen it, it's a fucking elegant movie--the art direction, the costumes, THE FABRICS ARE INCREDIBLE. So much went into this movie (I love its cinematography and its editing), and I have nothing but respect for director Shekhar Kapur (but not so much that I will ever learn his name, instead I call him "Tupac Shakur" which confuses the hell out of people) for making such an amazing movie. It picked up 7 Oscar nominations (winning only for Best Makeup) and Kapur was definitely robbed of a nomination for his direction.

Geoffrey Rush and Joseph Fiennes had roles in both Elizabeth and the big Oscar-winning period piece of the same year, Shakespeare in Love. Rush picked up a Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for SiL, but won the Supporting Actor BAFTA for Elizabeth, which I think is not only his better work of the two, but some of the best acting that year.

I was really shaken with how familiar the movie felt. I am ill-informed on world history (me and Sarah Palin have that in common), so it wasn't that I somehow had read the story. It took me a while, possibly a few weeks to realize that Elizabeth and The Godfather have remarkably similar story arcs. And Rush plays a cross between Tom Hagen and Obi-Wan Kenobi (who was, technically, not in any of The Godfather movies, I know). By the way, I totally looked up, and went back to hyphenate the name Obi-Wan just now.

A few years later Rush turned in an exceptional performance in Quills. But if you haven't seen Elizabeth, add that to your library list.

It is a testament to a personal black hole of movies that I never saw 2007's continuation of the story, Elizabeth: The Golden Age which reunited Rush, Blanchett and Tupac Shakur. I totally suck.

But Geoffrey, he totally doesn't.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

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