Every year, somebody gives a universally praised performance that can’t gain Oscar momentum. This year’s victim appears to be Michael Shannon. As the star of “Take Shelter,” Shannon plays a working class husband and father haunted by apocalyptic visions. He has frankly never been better.
With one Oscar nomination under his belt already for his supporting turn in “Revolutionary Road” (2008), it is peculiar that only critics have taken note of this unforgettable lead performance. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter said, “With his sad-eyed intensity and a towering physicality almost like that of Frankenstein’s monster, there’s possibly no more mesmerizing American actor working in any medium today than Michael Shannon. His talents are put to exceptional use in writer-director Jeff Nichols‘ devastating ‘Take Shelter.'” And New York Times critic A.O. Scott called Shannon “amazing” and said, “his taciturn, haunted performance manages to be both heartbreaking and terrifying.”
However, among our experts, editors and users predicting the Oscars, he has odds of just 25-to-1 of being nominated for Best Actor. That is a shame as Shannon emerges as one the finest actors this year. He works beautifully with co-star Jessica Chastain and makes every minute count. His highlight is a heart-stopping breakdown before his friends and family where he warns them all of the world’s impending end. The scene is a true stunner and, if a miracle occurs and Shannon finds himself on the Oscar shortlist, it will undoubtedly be his clip on the show’s telecast.
While the Academy screening of “Take Shelter” two weekends ago was reportedly sparsely attended, there remains plenty of time to get voters buzzing about Shannon’s performance.
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