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Volpi Cup for Best Actor
It's not often that a Competition lineup winds up really short on Best Actor contenders -- often it's the Best Actress race that one wishes were more competitive --but that seems to be the case this year. Nicolas Cage's mostly subdued turn in "Joe" looked more likely on paper than it did in practice. Greek actor Themis Panou is many people's pick for a good but rather limited turn as a perverted patriarch in "Miss Violence." Lee Kang-sheng could well win for his anguished, mostly silent turn in "Stray Dogs" -- thanks largely to an 11-minute centerpiece shot in which he attacks and weepily eats a raw cabbage -- though not in the film takes top honors, as many think it will. Jesse Eisenberg? Excellent, but probably too coolly internalized. With no great confidence, then, I'm plumping for relative newcomer Scott Haze for another physically demanding portrait of human disintegration; James Franco's latest didn't win over the critics, though Haze came in for much praise. Also worth noting is that the festival often likes to balance its acting awards: one for a big name, one for a lesser-known one. So if Best Actress goes as I think it wil, thast bodes will for Haze and Panioul. Then again, any takers for Donald Rumsfeld?
Will win: Scott Haze, "Child of God"
Should win: Jesse Eisenberg, "Night Moves"
Other possibilities: Lee Kang-sheng, "Stray Dogs"; Themis Panou, " Miss Violence"; David Zimmerschield, "The Police Officer's Wife"