Christian Bale is clearly a freak of nature, able to transform into any role. Everyone remembers, and was horrified by, him getting down to 120lbs for The Machinist. He bulked up to play Batman for Christopher Nolan. He dropped the weight again in Rescue Dawn. But with Bale it is never completely about the weight, it's his ability to become the person he's portraying, almost to the point of creepiness. Still, he's never even been nominated for an Academy Award, which is what makes his current status as the overwhelming favorite so compelling.
In The Fighter he plays Dicky Eklund, the brother of Micky Ward, a former boxer and all-around shady character. He's all over the place in the film, a complete live wire. He's part mentor, part boxing trainer, part drug addict. Bale completely owns the film, allowing Mark Wahlberg to tackle the stalwart Ward while all the heavy drama is funneled through Bale.
Having seen the other contender for the Supporting crown, Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech), I can tell you it's not even a particularly close contest. Bale is miles ahead. You'll love Bale's dynamic take on a complicated man. Without Bale, The Fighter probably doesn't work. With him, it's a legitimate Best Picture Nominee. He's sympathetic, spiteful, hilarious, and unpredictable, sometimes all in the same scene. Really solid work out of him, and when he raises that little golden man in late February he'll have earned it. If you're in New York or Los Angeles, give The Fighter a whirl this weekend.
It's once again time for the world's favorite feature, the trailer live blog! Hit play and drink it in.
:01 - :20: The moon landing, eh? Michael Bay won't quit until he's defiled all of western civilization's cultural touch points. Next up: Mount Rushmore: Revenge of the FDR
:21 - :30: Thirty seconds in and no sightings of any Transformers. He may have taken our criticism of the rappin' illiterate bots a little too seriously.
:31 - :42: What percentage of you wants Michael Bay to claim the moon landing was faked? Five percent? Ten?
:43 - :59: Apollo 11, starring Colin Hanks. You know you'd pay to see that. IN 3-D!
1:00 - 1:15: I know nothing of science. Still, I can't help but think that telescopes might have revealed the existence of a secret Transformer base on the moon.
1:15 - 1:27: Whenever someone says "My God" in a deep-throated trailer voice you know you're in for a rollicking good time.
1:28 - 1:44: If mission control had said "Wait, are you guys EVEN STILL on the moon?" when the astronaut said "You guys will not believe what we are seeing" I think I would have awarded the film a pre-emptive A+.
1:45 - 1:58: Oooh, we're not alone. It's about to get scary! Tell Sam Witwicky's parents to protect their garden gnomes ... before it's too late!
1:59 - 2:23: So these guys just turned on an ancient transformer which then "transformed" into the title of the movie. Pretty slick. Now we know Michael Bay is back at the top of his game. Otherwise, there's no way he could have pulled off that kind of logo transformation. Still, I give credit to Hollywood.com scribe Daniel Hubschman, who probably said it best when he opined, "I literally know less about this movie than I did before watching this trailer." Truer words were never spoke, Daniel. Except for maybe "My God." You could really feel that guy meant it.
On that note, I'm off to visit Sam Witwicky's fairly awesome garden gnome collection.
Laremy is the lead critic and senior producer for a website named Film.com. He's also available on Twitter.