pushing oneself

The Oscars 2015: For the Birds

Richard Brody on last night’s ceremonies:

There’s no kind of acting that Hollywood venerates more than the highly constructed, technically sophisticated acting of the theatre—especially the British theatre, a tradition that also shows its work. Work can be controlled: one can study harder, research deeper, push oneself further. Charisma, the kind of natural power that a great movie actor exerts by doing nothing, is scary because it’s outside the performer’s control: it comes by the grace of God, and can vanish just as mysteriously. “Birdman” wins, in effect, in response to the ambient fear that the good times can all end suddenly.

Above: Alejandro González Iñárritu accepts the Best Picture prize for “Birdman,” surrounded by the film’s cast and crew. Photograph by John Shearer/Invision/AP