1/16/11 Update: MAZEL TOV to Paul Giamatti, winner of the 2011 Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical. How great to see a real mensch get his just desserts!
From Jan ’11 Spotlight: The 2011 awards season is heating up! Three actors playing Jewish characters have been nominated for Golden Globes: Jesse Eisenberg as “Mark Zuckerberg” in The Social Network (a loose adaptation of Ben Mezrich’s non-fiction best seller The Accidental Billionaires); Paul Giamatti as “Barney Panofsky” in Barney’s Version (based on Mordecai Richler’s last novel); and Kevin Spacey as “Jack Abramoff” in Casino Jack (a comic riff on America’s most infamous lobbyist).
All three of these feature films should be playing in local theatres when this issue hits your mail box. Also, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (one of the documentaries on this year’s Oscar shortlist) will have its Chicago premiere at the Gene Siskel Film Center beginning Jan 14.
As I write, several critics groups have already named The Social Network as their Top Pick for 2010, but I’m frankly not sure why—the depiction of Zuckerberg as a pushy Jewish geek reaching for the next rung isn’t exactly groundbreaking. The Spitzer doc (Client 9) bogs down in conspiracy theories, and the Abramoff story (Casino Jack) is a bit too farcical for my taste.
So of these four, the film I most enjoyed was Barney’s Version. Dustin Hoffman (as Barney’s father “Izzy”) and Rosamund Pike (as Barney’s wife “Miriam”) provide Giamatti with excellent foils, and the plot ripens nicely as Barney ages (although the filmmakers make no attempt to capture the specific medical complications described by Richler in his novel).
Click HERE for complete list of 68th annual Golden Globe noms.