I’ve long wondered whether the Academy should bestow the word “best” upon any actor. After all, did Helen Mirren really give the single best female performance of the entire year, or was she merely adequate in an extraordinarily written role? Would she have been nominated if she offered acting of an equal caliber in, say, a fluffy romantic comedy? I think not.
The Academy is quick to recognize actors for trying different types of roles, especially ones that requires someone to play a retarded or physically handicapped character. But good performances should not necessarily be confused with good writing or directing… and I fear this happens to some degree almost every year.