This may sound curious to some, but I’ve thought it over and honestly believe that Stephen Graham‘s intense performance as mobster Anthony Provenzano in The Irishman is more deserving of a Best Supporting Actor nomination than Tom Hanks for playing Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
Yes, I know — how dare I bump the deeply loved Hanks? I love him as much as anyone else, and I’m not disrespecting his gentle kindly goodvibe. But his brand has been largely about this for years, and there’s nothing all that extra or surprising or head-turning involved here. His Rogers performance is perfect, agreed, but it’s exactly the kind of thing that Hanks could do in his sleep. Whereas Graham’s “Tony Pro” is a cherry bomb. Hard, defiant concentrated. Remember his Baby Face Nelson in Michael Mann‘s Public Enemies (’09)? He was a mad man in that role.
I can’t bump Al Pacino (The Irishman), Brad Pitt (Once Upon A Time in Hollywood), Sterling K. Brown (Waves) or Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse) off my Gold Derby list, but I can bump Hanks. If there were six slots for Best Supporting Actor, I would naturally keep Hanks, but there’s only five. Sorry — not my rules.
Guess what? I just tried to put Graham on my Gold Derby list, and he’s not even listed as an option. HE to Tom O’Neil: Can you fix this?
Incidentally: When’s the last time I heard a British guy from a working-class background pronounce “book” in a way that rhymes with “mook” or “juke (box)”? I’m thinking of Ringo Starr in A Hard Day’s Night (’64).