Wahlberg Didn’t Suffer – A look at Best Actor/Actress Nominees

In this morning’s Boston Globe, Wesley Morris takes a hard look at what nominees and eventual winners “suffer” to walk away with Oscar. This thoughtful piece is worth a read. As with Neal Gabler’s article in the Christian Science Monitor, it is Morris’ take on Mark Wahlberg’s performance as Micky Ward in “The Fighter” that will interest locals. He labels Wahlberg the “most ironic loser” in his role depicting a passive character – not over the top, not requiring the wigs, the cosmetics,  prosthetic bits, the twisted expressions or dialectical direction. Here is his look:

This year, the biggest winner in this preference for work that shows will be Colin Firth, whose vivid stuttering in “The King’s Speech’’ borders, under the circumstances, on pornographic. The most ironic loser is Mark Wahlberg. His performance in “The Fighter’’ has been roundly underpraised compared with the admittedly deserved kudos heaped upon his costars (and likely winners tonight) Melissa Leo and Christian Bale. It’s true they were bigger, louder, and showier than Wahlberg, who plays a real-life character who happens to be passive. But the bias for work that shows almost certainly worked against him. Leo was made to look older than her 50 years and worked her Lowell accent like a whip. Bale, an extreme technician of the “Raging Bull’’ school, lost a lot of weight and hid his native Welsh accent for a Lowell one, as well.

Given what these two — and their blue-collar costar Amy Adams — obviously did, people were forced to ask what Wahlberg had done, besides get himself in fighting shape and get the movie made? He’s from Boston. He was already in great shape. He made it look too easy by comparison. Where was his work? Depending on how things go for Natalie Portman tonight, he might want to go over and tell Annette Bening he knows how she feels.

Read the entire “Many who suffer for art end up celebrating” article here at Boston.com and keep it in mind as you watch the Oscar results tonight.