September 21, 2006

Oscar buzz for Beach?

The Power of an Image Drives Film by EastwoodOscar season is only just getting under way, but on credentials alone a presumptive front-runner would have to be Clint Eastwood’s “Flags of Our Fathers,” the World War II epic about the men who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, which began screening for selected journalists this week in New York.

Mr. Eastwood’s last two movies, after all, were “Mystic River,” which picked up best picture and best directing nominations in 2004, and “Million Dollar Baby,” which won in both categories in 2005. Paul Haggis, who wrote the shooting script for “Flags of Our Fathers,” also wrote “Million Dollar Baby” and was a co-writer of the Oscar-winning screenplay for last year’s best picture, “Crash.” To top it off, the movie’s producers include Steven Spielberg, whose battlefield decorations include Oscars for “Saving Private Ryan” and Emmys for the mini-series “Band of Brothers.”
Comment:  Some people think Adam Beach may get nominated for his role playing Ira Hayes, the Pima Indian who was one of the six flag-bearers.

3 comments:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
I have admired Adam Beach from the time I saw SQUANTO A WARRIOR'S TALE, which was his first major role in a film. I had auditioned as Squanto's father but didn't get a callback. The bright spot was Lynn Stalmaster personally oversaw the auditions and he thanked me for being the only prospect who knew his lines.
Later, I saw Adam Beach on JAG, THIRD WATCH, EVERWOOD, and THE DEAD ZONE. He played a believable Jim Chee in the Hillerman Navajo detective adaptations on PBS and he was very good in WINDTALKERS. He soon is to be seen in the TV miniseries COMANCHE MOON and recently was cast in HBO's BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE to be telecast in 2008.
In articles in PREMIERE and ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Magazines, I saw articles on Clint Eastwood's FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS in which Adam Beach portrays the Native Marine, Ira Hayes. My cousin and I have that film as a must-see come this October 20. ENTERTAINMENT even gave Adam Beach a full-page article and photo some weeks back as a newly upcoming face to watch, even though he's been in the biz for sixteen years.
But Academy Award worthy? He never has overcome his Canadian Native accent, he always moves slowly a la John Wayne, he has his own 'Jake Gyllenhaal' goofy smile as a standard facial reaction, and his voice register varies only a little no matter the moment. He at least doesn't whisper like Clint Eastwood most of the time like a lot of current younger actors.
If he really does stand out and shine in FLAGS, then by all means I will vote for him. It's just that such nominations can be career disruptors rather than boosters, e.g., Gary Busey never recovered from his nomination for THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY. And as I posted elsewhere among these articles, Academy voters in 1971 felt that Chief Dan George wasn't worthy of an Oscar because, how hard is it for an Indian to play an Indian?
With Will Sampson and Dan George long gone, and Sonny Landham crashed and burned, and Rodney Grant gone middle-age thick, and Graham Greene somewhat long-toothed (I STILL would take him as my Nathan BigHawk in ANASAZI the screenplay), there needed to be a visible Native presence and Adam Beach is about the only inheritor.
I'll see the film, and then decide. Four weeks cannot pass too quickly for me.
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

All I can say is that I've heard a little buzz. I don't necessarily endorse it.

I agree with you about Beach's acting abilities. He's good at playing himself--a charming surfer dude--but I don't know how much he can "stretch."

By the way, he was also in Now and Forever, Smoke Signals, and Dance Me Outside. I haven't seen Now and Forever yet, but the latter two are must-sees for fans of Native movies.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Last I heard, Adam Beach was running for the chairman position of his small sub-band of the Ojibwa. If he won, would he still be free to appear on TV and in films? But then a lot of Native chairmen moonlight. At least Beach by contrast would have an honest second job to pursue.
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'