Monday Morning Quarterback
By BOP Staff
January 24, 2011
Matthew Huntley: Definitely Portman, but success stories in Hollywood are always such isolated incidences that anything is possible (look at Cuba Gooding Jr. after his Oscar win). Who knows, five years from now, Kutcher could get his "big break" when it comes to acting and stun the industry. I think he has it in him, and, as with Portman, it will take the right director to bring it out. Remember how bad Portman was in the Star Wars prequels (there's rumors she even apologized for them), but then Aronofsky comes along and gives her the role of a lifetime and suddenly she's the new IT girl. At this time, then, the answer is Portman, but in Hollywood, that answer is always pending.
Bruce Hall: I have been a fan of Portman since her debut in Luc Besson's The Professional, a film which I still lovingly dust off from time to time. I think she's a phenomenal actress and still has far more road ahead of her than behind her. She's had a lot of press lately, but she's not a new face, and she's not just the flavor of the week - in my opinion, she's really that good. For the record, I don't think it is fair to hold the overall quality of the Star Wars prequels against her any more than we should blame De Niro for the debacle that was Rocky and Bullwinkle; all of those movies were so unspeakably bad no actor living or dead could have salvaged them. As far as Kutcher goes, I am not inclined to reflexively hate him like a lot of folks are. He's had a lot of good fortune, and he rose to fame almost immediately in a role he was seemingly born to play. Many people seem to resent this, but you can't say you'd walk away from it if it happened to you. Like Matthew, I suspect he is more talented than his reputation suggests, but how far this will take him remains to be seen. I really don't think he's anything special, but while his shelf life may have expired by this time next year, he's just as likely to stumble across a franchise role that keeps him a household name for another generation. This is Hollywood; stranger things have happened.
Edwin Davies: Portman in the short term - she's definitely going to have the bigger year considering she's already starred in two successful films and she has both Thor and Your Highness on the way - but her sudden rise to prominence is so shocking to me that I can't say with any certainty whether she will stay at this level, creatively and commercially, for very long. I know she's been around for years and her performances in the Star Wars prequels mean that she is hardly an unknown quantity, but if you had told me a few years ago, when she was starring in small scale, low impact films like My Blueberry Nights and The Other Boleyn Girl, that she would soon be a probable Oscar winner and starring in back-to-back hits, one of which is a psycho-sexual thriller about ballet, I would have laughed so hard and for so long that I'd have been put away in a mental institution. It's really stunning to me how quickly she has risen from being a well-regarded character actress to a genuine A-lister.