Story by Grace Van Haitsma, Reporter
Awards season is here and that means that the Oscars are coming soon. Every year, the Oscars attract a lot of hype and anticipation about what nominations will secure the golden trophies. While I have not seen every movie nominated this year, I have seen quite a few, and there were two performances in particular that I think deserve the positive attention they have
As a fan of musicals, both Lin Manuel Miranda’s “tick tick…BOOM!” and Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” were some of my favorite movies released this past year. Aside from the catchy tunes and exciting choreography, both films featured performances that left me in awe. Andrew Garfield as Jonathan Larson and Ariana DeBose as Anita delivered some of my favorite acting I have seen in a while.
Nominated for “Best Actor in a Leading Role,” Andrew Garfield truly encapsulated the role of Jonathan Larson in “tick tick…BOOM!” Perhaps what is most impressive is that Garfield had no singing experience prior, taking a year of vocal lessons before filming began Garfield’s performance in the musical scenes is impossible to look away from; he puts so much energy into each phrase and action that it is hard to believe this is his first musical.
Nominated for “Best Actress in a Supporting Role,” Ariana DeBose absolutely shines as Anita in “West Side Story.” While the film is full of wonderful performances, DeBose absolutely steals every scene she is in. Equal parts entertaining and sympathetic, she makes you feel every emotion throughout her performance, captivating you with her presence. A known musical theatre performer, DeBose truly shines in the dance numbers, bringing an energy and vibrancy to the film that would be missed without her inclusion. At a particular moment towards the end of the film, Anita goes through a truly terrible experience, and I viscerally felt for her. If there is one reason to see “West Side Story,” it is because of DeBose’s magnetic performance.
Even if you are not a fan of musicals, I believe that both Garfield and DeBose are reasons enough to check out “tick tick…BOOM!” and “West Side Story.” Delivering engaging performances filled with both vulnerability and joy, these are two performances that you won’t want to miss this awards season. Hopefully, the Academy Awards voting committee agrees.