Leaving the theater where we saw The Man Who Knew Infinity, I said to my collaborator that the film had me thinking of year-end awards, something that annoys me when other critics and show business media do it, so early.    But I was recalling that the most exciting event of the 1985 awards season was the announcement by the National Board of Review that their best actor award was going to William Hurt AND Raul Julia for Kiss of the Spider Woman.  We need more of this kind of creative award giving.

Without knowing what performances may be revealed between June and December, I am right now in favor of a best actor award to Dev Patel AND Jeremy Irons for The Man Who Knew Infinity.  Having enjoyed Patel previously as a charming and talented movie star, I was unprepared for the profound and intense characterization that he creates in Infinity.  In a riveting story about two mathematicians, he and Irons are superb  —  and exciting. Math is suspenseful here.  The two men play together extremely well.  This is a student/mentor relationship (who is which?); it is something of a duel though not a rivalry; it may be a bromance (minus sex content).  Whatever you find it to be, it is vivid, and visual.

If criticism back home in India of Patel’s portrayal has any point or validity, it is trumped by his (and the director’s) creation of an Indian who is right for this screenplay and its worldwide audience.

The Man Who Knew Infinity     Matt Brown (writer/director)     2016 (USA)


Until then,
See you at the movies,


  1. My first reaction to this post is that I really want to see Infinity, although I fear I will have to travel far far away from my little midwestern town see it. But my more lasting reaction is that I couldn’t agree more with the call for more creative award decisions. The example you give, Rick, is a perfect one. I think about some of the foolishness that has happened because of strict adherence to ridiculous or outdated reward guidelines, The best example I can think of to illustrate this point is 1994, when John Travolta was nominated for best actor for Pulp Fiction while his on-screen partner Samuel Jackson, with almost exactly the same amount of screen time, was nominated for best supporting actor because of misguided belief that one should not have two best actors from the same film. The last time that happened was in 1984, with Amadeus, with F Murray Abraham and Tom Hulce being nominated (and Abraham winning). The following year, after the outstanding decision by the National Board of Review to award both Hurt and Julia, Julia was not even nominated for an Oscar! And now we have this ridiculousness with up to 10 Academy Award nominees for best picture but somehow no additional nominations for actors, directors, cinematographers, etc. Craziness.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s