Oscar contenders like Lady Gaga and Ben Affleck are getting big E! News UK

There is a beautiful story Minnie Driver recount about director Joel Schumacher, who responded curtly after a co-star complained that Driver’s performance in “Phantom of the Opera” was too over the top.

“Oh honey,” Schumacher replied, “no one has ever paid to see under the roof. “

I have thought about that joke a lot during this movie season, where so many stars seem to be swinging for the fences. Think about Lady Gaga and Jared Leto, which go so daringly big in “House of Gucci”, or Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield as televangelists in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” where they launch their performances almost as wide as Tammy Faye Bakker’s mascara-laden eyes.

In ” The last duelBen Affleck is having a blast playing his costume drama to the max, and the fact that he’s doing it all with a blonde wig and nude-metal goatee just makes the role even more exaggerated. And then there’s Kristen Stewart, who eschews her trademark minimalism for the terribly maximalist “Spencer”, where she is asked to wobble, scream, dance and lift, sometimes all in the same scene.

Credit…Jessica Forde / 20th Century Studios

After the final Oscar season celebrated the calm, naturalistic ‘Nomadland’, it’s a kick to see so many of this year’s high-profile dramas go in a different direction and embrace enormity. In an era dominated by superhero movies, smaller films may now need a performance that feels like an event. Or maybe, after a period where so many of us have led limited lives, it’s just invigorating to see actors shake their chains and go for it.

Either way, it works. “Tic, Tic… Boom! Is fueled by Garfield’s enthusiasm as songwriter Jonathan Larson, a man who operates at 11 all the time. Watching it I remembered the “30 Rock” joke where Jenna Maroney pressured the Tonys to add a category for ” live theatrically in normal life. And this month brings a double dose of Cate Blanchett’s great performances in “Don’t Look Up,” which features her as a terrifying “yassified” cable news host, and “Nightmare Alley,” in which she deals with the breathtaking film. designing production as if everything was tailor-made for his femme fatale to sneak in.

I don’t mean to suggest that this outsized performance is a miscalculation. Quite the contrary: an actress like Blanchett is as attentive to the tone of her films as a singer who asks for the planned key and then begins to sing. When a skilled performer is able to hit all of those high notes, it’s more than technically dazzling: it makes the notes played softly to feel even more resonant.

Credit…Photos by Kerry Hayes / Searchlight

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Oscar contenders like Lady Gaga and Ben Affleck are getting big E! News UK