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Oh Gee, It's Oscar Season

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 31, 2009 6:30PM

We've been so preoccupied lately with Blago and Huberman that we forgot to get excited about the Oscar nominations. Frankly, compared to last year, this year's crop holds a lot less excitement for us, although there are some notable exceptions. It's pretty awesome to see Richard Jenkins and Werner Herzog (!) up for awards, but coolest of all is the Best Supporting Actor nomination for long-time Chicago actor Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road.

2009_1_31michaelshannon.jpg We first encountered Shannon in the role of the Inspector in A Red Orchid Theatre's production of Victims of Duty, where he is an ensemble member. Later he did more Ionesco for A Red Orchid, starring in The Killer and directing Hunger and Thirst, both of which were nothing short of riveting. He'd played small roles in movies ranging from Groundhog Day to Kangaroo Jack, but it was his portrayal of a seriously disturbed drifter in the Tracy Letts play Bug that really made everyone take notice. He later starred in the film version opposite Ashley Judd. Although known for playing unhinged psychos, in real life he's a very low-key family man with a young daughter and a fondness for Talking Heads. He's obviously a long shot to take home the Oscar (Heath Ledger anyone?) but it's still thrilling to see him get some recognition. Incidentally, Shannon, who had a film at Sundance, will be in Werner Herzog's next film.