The Ultimate Walt Disney Company Performances Bracket -- Round One, Day Thirteen
It’s the middle of a long weekend, but the bracket keeps on trucking. (I only take time off for the biggest possible holidays, AKA Thanksgiving and Christmas.) Some titanic performances are up for a vote today, so that could make these fairly lopsided. But my guesses don’t amount to anything compared to you voting (and sharing the newsletter — you ought to be doing that too). So let’s dive right in!
(2) Michael Caine, The Muppet Christmas Carol vs. (63) Raymond Ochoa, The Good Dinosaur: You know what’s wild? There was once a time when The Good Dinosaur was the biggest (and really the only) full-on flop from Pixar, creatively and financially. I maintain that the film’s animation is pretty remarkable, at least the background and set design, but its story is very shaky and its box office was even more so. And then Onward arrived in the midst of the pandemic and faltered, and then Lightyear last summer was a huge disaster. Anyway. Pretty wild!
Vote for Michael Caine. As if I need to tell you.
(31) Ben Stiller, Heavyweights vs. (34) Owen Wilson, The Royal Tenenbaums: Ben Stiller is agreeably funny in Heavyweights, in a role that presaged his bad guy in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, but Owen Wilson’s supporting role as Eli Cash in The Royal Tenenbaums is one of the great scene-stealing performances, from the now-memed-to-death line about George Custer to saying “…Wildcat” on an interview show to just raising his arm in defiance to Royal Tenenbaum. Owen Wilson’s got to get this one.
(15) Ed Asner, Up vs. (50) Idris Elba, The Jungle Book (2016): This is a toughie for me. While I love Up and do not love The Jungle Book du Favreau (it’s OK and admittedly incredible compared to Favreau’s execrable remake of The Lion King, but also this movie allowed that one to happen), I do think that Idris Elba’s voice work as Shere Khan is the one aspect in which the remake is a marked improvement over the original. George Sanders is sly and unctuous as the original Shere Khan, but Elba’s take is legitimately terrifying.
Now, I do love Up. And the late Ed Asner is well-cast and very solid as the grouchy old Carl Fredrickson…but so much of the film’s emotional power through Carl comes from effective character animation as opposed to his line delivery or emotional inflection. It’s a coin toss, and I will give it to Elba. But barely. How do you vote?
(18) Mandy Moore, Tangled vs. (47) Alan Cumming, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion: On one hand, I will admit that I am not the biggest fan of Tangled. (It’s fine! But coming a year after The Princess and the Frog, I was a bit let down by the decades-in-development take on one of the most iconic fairy tales of all time.) But I’m going to have to acknowledge that Mandy Moore should win this one, if only because she has a meatier role as Rapunzel than Alan Cumming has in the very funny 90s comedy Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.
Both good performances, but I will give this one to Moore. I bet you will too, but you should vote to prove me right (or wrong)!