Fiennes moved to supporting for 'The Reader'

Fiennesdutchess_l_2Big movie stars are fleeing the Best Actor race in droves these days. Now comes word that Ralph Fiennes’ camp has decided to place him in the Best Supporting Actor category for The Reader. (Astute EW readers will notice that I put Fiennes in the lead-actor column in my Oscar Race feature in this week’s issue, out today; I was merely following the Weinstein Co.’s directives, which apparently have been overruled.) Certainly the swap now means Fiennes has a better shot at scoring a nomination: He’s said to be excellent in the film, but since he shares his role with newcomer David Kross, he probably lacks the sufficient screen time to make the Best Actor cut.

But moving Fiennes out of lead for The Reader does have a few strange results. For starters, it pretty much renders his fine supporting performance in The Duchess (pictured above) obsolete as far as the Oscar season is concerned, since Academy rules dictate that actors may only receive one nomination per category. And with his costar Kate Winslet currently set to be campaigned as Best Supporting Actress for the film, the movie now has no lead-acting contenders at all. The Academy usually lets that fly for an ensemble film like Babel or Crash; will they accept it for a three-hander like The Reader?

What do you all think of this? Is Fiennes shooting himself in the foot by competing against himself? Or is he making the smart move by banking on his Holocaust-themed movie for an Oscar nod?

Comments (14 total) Add your comment
  • Emily

    I don’t really know what to think. But I hope he wins something!

  • Ceballos

    I think this is a smart move, beyond the fact that he’s already banked a Holocaust-themed movie role into a “Best Supporting Actor” nod before (“Schindler’s List”).
    Obviously I haven’t seen “The Reader”, but it just doesn’t seem like “The Duchess” was going to stick in Oscar voters’ minds long enough for him to earn a nomination for that role. Again, I don’t know if “The Reader” will be any good, but it at least comes out closer to the end of the year, so sacrificing his “Duchess” performance for his work in “Reader” (which will be fresh in voters minds) seems like a good move.
    I think it’s a shame actors can’t get nominated twice in the same category. I know the Academy might want to spread the wealth around, but that unfairly penalizes certain actors who deliver more than one scene-stealing performance per year. Or it could penalize a lead actor who delivered an outstanding year (I thought DiCaprio deserved “Best Actor” noms for “Blood Diamond” and “Departed” a few years ago.

  • Lisa M

    Couldn’t the studio that made The Duchess submit him for Best Actor?

  • Derrick

    Ralph Fiennes is a fine actor and deserves to be nominated in the leading category–let alone win it. Plus, what makes Weinstein think the supporting category will be any easier? Even if Fiennes gets nominated, it’ll be tough for him to beat Heath Ledger. I think Fienne has a very good chance getting nominated in the leading category, considering his body of work–especially what he has done this year.

  • Kat

    If the film hews closely to the book, Supporting is a much more accurate description of his role than Lead. The vast majority of the story and key moments occur to his younger self. He wouldn’t have the scenes to place himself in Lead.

  • Sylvia

    Ralph’s role is definitely a supporting one based on the book. He probably has the least screen time than any other LEAD actors which is Kate Winset and David Kross.

  • Jake

    I’d like to see Fiennes get nominated for Best Supporting Actor for In Bruges. Heck, I’d like to see everyone from that movie get nominated.

  • Jason

    It seems to be the right move. But this year, it’s going to take an amazing performance to beat Heath Ledger for the Oscar.

  • jon adams

    he shpuldnt. two oscar nods are better than one. and his turn as the duke was amazing. he doesnt lack any screen time. bullshit :p

  • jon adams is a whore

    It is a wise move.

  • Dee

    I don’t know if he’s shooting himself in the foot or not. I DO know that he’s long been in my “Someone Give Them an Oscar Already” list, alongside Kate Winslet and Johnny Depp. Seriously. Give him an Oscar. I don’t even care for what. Showing up? lol He’s too fabulous not to have one. And it really saddens me that In Bruges probably won’t be recognized. It was a great movie, and he was great in it.

  • Ceballos

    Dee, if there’s really a “Someone Give Them an Oscar” list, it should be called “The Gary Oldman Someone Give Them an Oscar” list.
    At least Fiennes and Winslet and Depp have been nominated. Oldman’s never even gotten a nom!

  • Nick

    I don’t think it really matters that much to him. he has proved time and time again that his great performances are worth nothing to the oscars. but he finally has “main stream” movies coming out. I think we can all agree, award, award nomination, or non of the above, he is definitely an actor, and not a man out for fame and glory.

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