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Oscar Watch: Beginners' Christopher Plummer Supporting Actor Frontrunner, Video Exclusive

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood November 11, 2011 at 4:16PM

While the supporting actor category is open to change and movement over the next few months, one name is sure to land a slot on Oscar nominations morning: Christopher Plummer. The stage-trained Canadian actor, 81, has been giving great performances for  decades, from Baron von Trapp in "The Sound of Music" and Rudyard Kipling in "The Man Who Would Be King" to Mike Wallace in "The Insider" and, remarkably, his first Oscar nomination as Leo Tolstoy in 2009's "The Last Station." But arguably among Plummer's best is the role Mike Mills gave him as Ewan McGregor's ailing gay father in "Beginners." It's a juicy part: late in life, although he's fighting against the dying of the light, the man has come out of the closet and is madly in love with both his freedom and his partner (Goran Visnjic). Plummer is joyful, vigorous, sexy, funny, and heartbreaking. He talks about how he approached the role in the exclusive Plummer featurette below.
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Christopher Plummer in "Beginners"
Christopher Plummer in "Beginners"

While the supporting actor category is open to change and movement over the next few months, one name is sure to land a slot on Oscar nominations morning: Christopher Plummer. The stage-trained Canadian actor, 81, has been giving great performances for  decades, from Baron von Trapp in "The Sound of Music" and Rudyard Kipling in "The Man Who Would Be King" to Mike Wallace in "The Insider" and, remarkably, his first Oscar nomination as Leo Tolstoy in 2009's "The Last Station." But arguably among Plummer's best is the role Mike Mills gave him as Ewan McGregor's ailing gay father in "Beginners." It's a juicy part: late in life, although he's fighting against the dying of the light, the man has come out of the closet and is madly in love with both his freedom and his partner (Goran Visnjic). Plummer is joyful, vigorous, sexy, funny, and heartbreaking. He talks about how he approached the role in the exclusive Plummer featurette below.

"I can't bear looking at myself on the frigging screen," Plummer said at the Toronto Film Festival Q and A for his latest turn as John Barrymore, in a screen version of the Tony-winning play. "It's enough, thank you. I have enough technique now that I don't have to worry about what to do with my hands. " Plummer wishes he could play Shakespeare's Othello as a Moor, he said, "which is difficult because it does belong to African Americans and I might get lynched if I played it. I love that role." Next up this season he plays Henrik Vanger opposite Daniel Craig in David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." "He's the nicest guy in the story," he said, "the only nice guy in the story; the arc to his character intrigued me greatly. Fincher helped me along those lines."

This article is related to: Awards, Interviews , Headliners, Indies, Genres, Universal/Focus Features


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.