i just watched "hustle and flow" with best actor nominee terrence howard as a memphis pimp in a mid-life crisis who decides to chase his dream to become a rapper. okay, it's a much deeper story than that, and most of that is because of the complexity of the character provided by howard, who is just fantastic. in fact, i thought he was just as amazing in "crash" playing a completely different character (a well-to-do executive), but that was a supporting role. he completely carried this film. he's absolutely deserving of the nomination, the first of what will be many.
the thing is that i really didn't understand half of what he said. he spoke with such a deep memphis accent and so quickly that i got the jist of it after awhile but, honestly, the first fifteen minutes were lost on me. but i was able to understand completely. he was that good.
i'm sure i'm not alone in admitting that.
the funny thing is that heath ledger was just as completely incomprehensible in "brokeback mountain", and his performance was just as strong. you felt the restraint and conflict in ledger just as you felt the determination and sometimes disarray in howard. their characters spoke that way because it was true to them. sometimes, the audience has to do a little work too.
so two of the five best acting nominees i really couldn't understand but completely were amazed by.
that, my friends, is acting.