Should Ethan Hawke get a Best Actor Oscar nomination for ‘First Reformed’?

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For months, I’d been hearing about First Reformed and how it was a great movie and Ethan Hawke is brilliant in it and it’s going to be an undercover Oscar contender. I finally saw it and… good lord, I hope not. I’m not going to do a full review of it, just suffice to say that it was some haunting Protestant nonsense. I went into First Reformed blind – all I knew was that Ethan Hawke plays a minister. It was described as a “thriller.” It is not. It’s a deeply contemplative drama about religion, mortality and the environment. Amanda Seyfried is in it, as is Cedric the Entertainer (I honestly realized that was Cedric the Entertainer hours after I watched the film).

I’m not trying to say that First Reformed is utter trash – it’s not. It’s a quiet film with some very disconcerting moments. It raises some thoughtful issues. And Ethan Hawke’s performance IS very good. He’s aged into a very interesting actor, and it was fascinating to see him play this buttoned-up man in the throes of depression and grief, struggling with his faith and what to do with the last months of his life. And I’ll say this too: it took a lot more for Ethan to give such a quiet, thoughtful performance than it did for Gary Oldman to fart around in a fat suit as Winston Churchill in HIS Oscar-winning turn.

So should Ethan be a major Oscar contender for an imperfect film with a sh-tty ending? I don’t know. Ethan has been picking up awards for a few months – he’s already received the Gotham Award for Best Actor, the New York Film Critics Circle award for Best Actor, and just this week, he was named the Best Actor by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. While the Golden Globes skipped out on giving him a nomination, the Independent Spirit Awards nominated him and the film for several awards. He also just got nominated for a Critics Choice Award. The reason why I think Ethan will end up with an Oscar nomination is because he’s actually great at hustling – he wants an Oscar, and he doesn’t mind selling his film. So, we’ll see. Also: SAG nominations come out tomorrow, and it will be very interesting to see if he’s short-listed for a SAG.

Ethan Hawke at arrivals for 10th Annual...

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, ‘First Reformed’.

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5 Responses to “Should Ethan Hawke get a Best Actor Oscar nomination for ‘First Reformed’?”

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  1. Lightpurple says:

    Ethan takes on a wide variety of roles and his work is respected by his peers so an Oscar nomination would not be surprising if his work is that good. If he gets a SAG nomination, that would help because AMPAS voters in the acting categories are usually all SAG members.

  2. TheOtherSam says:

    He seems to have made a last minute push into the top five, so an Oscar nom may be in the making. It would be nice to have a third actor to contend with the building Cooper-Bale showdown.

    If Hawke does nab the 5th spot I wonder who he bested there. Some feel Viggo hurts his chances with the recent controversy. There’s also Defoe, Gosling, and Redford in the mix.

  3. Electric Tuba says:

    No. He should get a Lady Bic.

  4. StormsMama says:

    I loved him in Juliet Naked with Rose Byrne which was also released this year.

  5. Cay says:

    As someone raised in the same branch of religion as Paul Schrader, I can tell you there is a lot to unpack in that movie. But really, it’s a film about guilt, isn’t it? Can we live with our guilt? Can we live with our sins? And if we can’t, what are our options? We don’t go to a priest who forgives us. We can ask God directly to forgive us. We can ask others to forgive us. But how do we know we’ve achieved forgiveness? If we don’t know if we’ve been forgiven, how do we live with the mistakes we make? I think Ethan Hawke did a pretty convincing job getting that message across.