The Ultimate Walt Disney Company Performances Bracket -- Round One, Day Five
The poison. The poison for Kuzco, the poison chosen especially to kill Kuzco, Kuzco's poison.
So, fun fact: as I type these specific words, I am still just a few hours into the new year. But it being a weekend, there’s plenty of reporting to be had on the shocking box-office success of James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water. I assume the one aspect that will be dug into in greater detail over the next few weeks — since you’re reading these words in the middle of the film’s fourth weekend at the box office — will be that studios just kinda gave up.
Think about the other films at the box office in December 2009 competing for attention along with the first Avatar: there was The Princess and the Frog, a new Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Blind Side, Sherlock Holmes, and It’s Complicated. Here’s the competition at the box office now: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, a Whitney Houston biopic, and Babylon. Fun fact: the Christmas 2009 weekend featured six films making at least $10 million. Christmas 2022? …two films. (Avatar and Puss in Boots.)
Yes, it is remarkable that The Way of Water has become one of the highest-grossing films ever made over the course of a month. But when there is no competition at the multiplex, what the hell else is going to happen?
Anyway. To the votes!
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(2) Amy Adams, Enchanted vs. (63) Tilda Swinton, Doctor Strange: Amy Adams should already have an Oscar, a statement with which I hope many of you agree. Amy Adams specifically should have an Oscar for her work in Enchanted, a statement with which perhaps fewer of you agree. (I do think her performance in Arrival is pretty damn impressive too, among others.) I don’t love Enchanted as a whole — I think outside of Adams, Timothy Spall, and James Marsden, the film is fairly shaky. But Adams’ work is true MVP stuff, and it remains my favorite thing she’s ever done. Tilda Swinton’s a hell of an actress, but…I mean, this one’s a gimme. Do your thing.
(31) Phyllis Smith, Inside Out vs. (34) Peter Ustinov, Robin Hood: A tough matchup if we have any today. I am not a super-big fan of Robin Hood, but I will happily acknowledge that Peter Ustinov is extremely funny as Prince John, and easily the film’s best aspect. Phyllis Smith is one of many solid performers in Inside Out, and she does a very good job with the could-be-one-note role of Sadness. But I’ll be a little charitable here, and give it to another MVP, in Ustinov. I could see him pulling this one off, but it’s up to you. Vote!
(15) Patrick Warburton, The Emperor’s New Groove vs. (50) Rosalie Chiang, Turning Red: I really dug Turning Red, as you may recall from my recap of the best films of 2022, and I think Rosalie Chiang’s exuberant voice performance is a big part of what makes it so winning. But Patrick Warburton as Kronk in The Emperor’s New Groove is one of those performances that reminds you of how hilarious some actors can be. It’s the kind of performance I envision going extremely far in this bracket, and I can’t deny him a vote. How about you?
(18) Timothy Dalton, The Rocketeer vs. (47) Angela Bassett, What’s Love Got to Do With It?: Folks, you know I’m voting for Timothy Dalton in The Rocketeer. I love the film, I love the performance, and I am literally wearing a shirt with his credit from the film as I click Send on this newsletter. Angela Bassett is always a force with which to be reckoned, but I cannot deny my heart here. I vote for the former James Bond. You?