“Blade Runner: 2049” marks the third time in recent years that Harrison Ford has returned to one of his classic characters and that could prove to be the charm that brings him back to the Oscars. After all, reprising an iconic role after decades away earned Sylvester Stallone an Oscar bid two years for “Creed,” in which he was once again Rocky Balboa.
As with Stallone and his own recent revisitings of Indiana Jones and Han Solo, Ford is seen in this sequel as an older, world-weary incarnation of Rick Deckard alongside a new, younger player. Shia Labeouf served as his foil in “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” Daisy Ridley did likewise in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and Ryan Gosling plays that part that in “Blade Runner: 2049.”
In their rave reviews of Denis Villeneuve‘s reboot of the “Blade Runner” franchise, many critics singled Ford out for particular praise. Our pal Pete Hammond (Deadline) declared, “Ford proves every inch the movie star he is. He also is a fine actor and his presence in scenes opposite the coolly effective and brooding Gosling (back in ‘Drive’ mode) are there to be relished.” And Dan Jolin (Empire) observed, “If you think Ford is on easy territory as yet another timeworn version of a classic character he could play in his sleep, think again. This is possibly the best performance of his career, Deckard’s situation testing the veteran actor in ways we’ve rarely seen before.”
Perhaps Ford needed a virtuoso filmmaker like Villeneuve to really shake things as he returned to an old character. He may have been too comfortable with “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” director Steven Spielberg for his return as Jones in 2008? And was J.J. Abrams too safe in his direction of “The Force Awakens” two years ago?
Ford has only contended at the Oscars once, losing his 1985 Best Actor bid for “Witness” to William Hurt (“Kiss of the Spider Woman”). This year, he is vying for a bid down in supporting, a category that often goes to the veteran of the bunch (Alan Arkin, “Little Miss Sunshine,” 2006; Christopher Plummer, ” Beginners,” 2011).
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