COMMENTARY | When the 6,000 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences get their special screening or DVD mailer of Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine,” they’ll likely be honed in on Cate Blanchett’s great lead performance; but there’s another performance in the film just as award worthy by Andrew Dice Clay as Augie.
If the Academy voting members don’t recognize Clay for his role as Jasmine’s ex-brother-in-law, I’ll question if the members know what a great supporting role is in a film. They’ve gotten the Best Supporting Actor category right recently by awarding Christoph Waltz in “Django Unchained” and Christian Bale in “The Fighter.” Like those actors, Clay steals every scene he’s in, including one brilliant one with Blanchett.
Comedians, like Clay, can give such authentic performances on film, but they usually never get any recognition for it on Oscar night. Whoopi Goldberg in “Ghost” and Robin Williams in “Good Will Hunting” are the only two gifted comedians who managed to crossover to drama and win an Academy Award for it.
I had a female friend tell me that women will never put a check next to Andrew Dice Clay’s name on an award’s ballot. I disagreed; if they see the movie they’ll see what an incredible job he did with Woody Allen’s words. And a few girls I know that have actually seen “Blue Jasmine,” said Clay’s performance was their favorite thing about the picture.
Several actors and actresses have won Academy Awards in supporting roles in Woody Allen films; Michael Caine in “Hannah and Her Sisters,” Dianne Wiest twice in “Hannah” and “Bullets Over Broadway,” and Penelope Cruz in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” to name a few. Its possible Clay could join that list of actors.
Clay’s performance in “Blue Jasmine” was as memorable and entertaining as those exceptional performances; I just wish there was more of Augie (the voice of reason in the film) in Allen’s best film since “Match Point.”
Clay’s comeback as an actor is a great one, much like when Mickey Rourke came back with “The Wrestler” in 2008. The Academy can’t resist a good comeback story. Sony Pictures Classics, the studio that distributed “Blue Jasmine,” should pay for some full page ads in the Hollywood trades for Clay’s consideration for Best Supporting Actor. Blanchett will surely get a big campaign, but Clay deserves one as well.
However, the Academy voting members have very short memories; will they remember Clay’s performance as Augie in December or January? There hasn’t been a better supporting actor performance on the big screen this year, especially this summer.
Note: I’ve written pieces for Yahoo! Sports and Yahoo! Voices for about a year.