There are some things that are just a certainty. Daniel Day Lewis will give you an excellent performance. The United States is winning a World War. Leonardo DiCaprio is the biggest under the radar playboy in Hollywood history.
The Oscars are now and will forever be more important that the Emmy's.
That is something that I want to explore though, because this weekend while watching season 5 of Breaking Bad with Becky, the lovely Miss Soapbox, I can't think of a dramatic performance during those last few Cranston seasons that I would trade for a single movie performance. I'm very aware that part of this is the developed relationship I had with Walter White over the years, but the story telling was better and the acting was better too, so why would one performance in a movie be ranked as better than anything he did as Walter White? Why do we separate them at all since acting is acting is acting and television is consistently putting out better products now? I would not trade Season 5's Walter White performance by Cranston for Leo's performance in The Revenant this year. That might not be fair, so let's look at the years that Bryan Cranston won and who won Best Actor that year at the Oscars.
Brian Cranston - Outstanding Lead Actor - Drama
Won the Emmy in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2014.
Those are the years that I want to go head to head with the Best Actor at the Oscars, since I firmly believe that since the debut of The Soprano's, television has been on the heels of movies for best acting and story telling. That means by 2008, there was as much good TV on the air as there were good movies, so the level of importance is simply perception by this point.
Best Actor - Academy Award
2008 - Sean Penn - Milk
2009 - Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart
2010 - Colin Firth - The Kings Speech
2014 - Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
I have a feeling that you look at those years and the Academy Award winners and think that I just choose them because I knew they were weak choices. You would be wrong though, because any acting performance that I would have picked would have given me the same result, because by 2008, comic book movies were already ruling the landscape in Hollywood and big budget movies were taking over smaller movies that were much better stories, but smaller profits. Have you looked around the theater this year? Have you seen a single movie that was well acted and well cast and that you thought might have a chance to win an award?
That answer is a resounding no!
The better question is "have you seen a single movie this year that is better than what Netflix did with Stranger Things?" If you have, then please let me know what it is because I haven't seen it yet and I'm dying for Hollywood to give me something that is worth my time. I'm still going to the movies, and I've seen several of these big budget movies, but even the comic movies are starting to suffer (don't get me started on Suicide Squad again!) and there is no story to take their place. Are you excited about Ben Hur? If you are, then I want you to know that we could never be friends. The top movie at the box office was Don't Breathe, a movie trailer that I've seen three time in three different movies, and still had to look up what it was when I saw it was the top movie. I live and breathe movies and I didn't know what the top movie of the weekend was about without looking it up!!!!! Exclamation point!!! I'm sure that there will be plenty of performances that will be pumped out over the next two months, but that doesn't make up for the fact that this year has been a complete shit show of movies that Hollywood has thrown at us.
Earlier, I said that since The Soprano's television has started to catch up with movies and by the mid 2000's it had caught up but was just a case of perception. The actual year that it caught up was in 2006 when Forrest Whitaker won for The Last King of Scotland (an almost unwatchable movie) and every year since then if Daniel Day Lewis wasn't in it, the winner was worse than whoever won the Emmy. Quick, what year did The Artist come out? What was the name of that dog that you loved? What is the name of the guy that won the Best Actor for it?
Do you know the answer to any of those questions? Half of them? All of them?
Do you remember the end of Half Measure when Walter White is under his floor laughing maniacally when he figured out Skylar had given away his money and he was going do die? Will you ever forget Gus Fring? Will you ever forget the fear in Hank's eyes when the twin cousins are trying to kill him? So why is it that when we separate acting, that we still see the Oscar's as more important than the Emmy? I maintain that it's not, but it still is more glamorous at this point. One day soon though, that question will come up mainstream and I look forward to hearing the response from those involved.
Stephen Balding is the founder of Cinema Soapbox. You can reach him at email@example.com