The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is nominated for several Golden Globes, including Best Screenplay, Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director (for David Fincher), and Best Actor (Brad Pitt). With that pedigree, you can rest assured Benjamin Button is one of the surefire Oscar picks for this year. The story is about an ‘odd’ man named Benjamin Button who ages in reverse; he’s born as a withered newborn and regresses into youth. The effects are impressive, but I’ll focus on the performances:
Taraji P. Henson: Playing Benjamin’s adoptive mother Queenie, Taraji (hopefully) is starting to get some of the crossover respect she rightfully deserves. She was named one of Variety’s “10 Actors to Watch” this year, but if you’ve seen Baby Boy, Talk to Me, or Hustle and Flow to name a few, you’ve known for awhile the sister can act. She hasn’t had a true ‘headliner’ role just yet, but somebody smart will give her the chance.
Cate Blanchett: She’s already got an Oscar to back it up, but a quick recap of her recent roles, shall we? A convincing Katherine Hepburn (the Aviator), a convincing Bob Dylan (I’m Not There), and in this film she goes from playing a young ballerina in her 20s to a dying woman on her deathbed, with all the various ages in between. I’m personally more of a Kate Winslet fan, but this woman right here is why Kate doesn’t have an Oscar. For my money I’d say she’s the most talented actor in the game right now, male or female.
Brad Pitt: More than ever, I’d say to succeed in this Industry you have to know how to play to your strengths and know your ‘brand’ (this message brought to you by malikaziz.com). Is Brad Pitt one of the best actors in the game today? Eh… Is he one of, if not the best movie star in the world today? Well, you tell me. Paparazzi target? (Check.) Movie star girlfriend? (Check.) ‘Good guy’ image? (Check.) In Benjamin Button, Pitt plays the title character as more of an observer to his life instead of a catalyst. He uses a slight Southern accent, but not strong enough to be distracting. Can Brad play over the top? Sure (the slightly underrated Snatch, Exhibit A.) But playing to his strengths means playing to his looks and not trying to do too much. I don’t know if he was the Best Actor of 2008, but I won’t complain too loud if he does end up winning.
The movie runs 3 hours, and was written by the same guy who wrote Forrest Gump. As I was watching this, that movie came to mind more than a few times. If you’re looking for a traditional ‘David Fincher’ film (Seven, Fight Club, Zodiac), um, you might want to sit this one out. But it’s a nice family film, a decent holiday film. When Hollywood does big budget right. Overall, PROPS for this one from me.