Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hailee Steinfeld's True Grit Performance & Category Fruad

If there was a stronger case of category fraud in this year's award season it's the sitations as Hailee Steinfeld's performance as Mattie Ross in True Grit.

In terms of story, the biggest difference between the 1969 True Grit and the 2010 version is that the Coen Brother's version puts the centrality of the story on Steinfeld's character. This is great because Steinfel'd performance is engaging and plays the role in a way that Kim Darby didn't in 1969. (Darby's role tipped to side of annoying, which made it okay to put more focus on John Wayne).

Yet, earlier this award season (mid-December 2010)Steinfeld was given the Screen Actors Guild nomination in the supporting actress category.

Not surprising in itself, since awards often carry this type of category fraud that sometimes things a young performer should be relegated to the supporting categories regardless of age. Additionally, this seems to be seen as a strategy to get the nomination that might be lost to more senior performers.

But then this past week, the British Academy of Film and Television gave Steinfeld a nomination in the lead category where her role belongs if it will be nominated.

It seems that the BAFTAs have a lower tolerance for category fraud, I recall drawing some intention to some category fraud issues in 2008 award season when they corrected areas of fraud by putting Dev Patel's role in Slumdog Millionaire in the lead category, as well as Kate Winslet's role in The Reader in the lead as opposed to supporting where both those performances had previously been nominated (of course, the Academy would also put Winslet's Reader role in the lead category, which was the role she would win the Oscar for).

So, come Oscar nomination morning, I'm curious to see if by chance Academy voters might correct this fraud, or accept it with Steinfeld in a supporting role. Or she might not be included in either category with either not enough votes, or the votes syphoning off into the two separate categories.

But, if it were up to me (which it is not) Steinfeld would be at least considered in the lead category, and be receiving a nomination there...but I have a hard time imagining that happening.

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