Since we’re almost halfway there for this year, I thought that it would be nice to roll back and see some worthy films, productions, and performances that I could recommend. If you were like me and you’d like to make your own personal awards, since not all of us can vote for the real Academy Awards, I’d like to use this FYCs to throw out some ideas that maybe not a lot of people thought of. Some left-field choices, some people say. Here is my first FYC for this season from this year’s first half.
For Your Consideration
Best Supporting Actor
Harvey Scrimshaw as Caleb in The Witch
If you follow the Oscar race, you might notice that Best Supporting Actor category is often filled with older actors and veterans. Our recent winners are Mark Rylance and J. K. Simmons. It feels like the appropriate category to award those seasoned actors. But who says that younger actors, or even kids, cannot compete with them? For this category alone I already have two (young) horses, but for the sake of championing one film in one category and no more, I choose Scrimshaw because he absolutely nails his part in the horror/mystery film The Witch by Robert Eggers.
Scrimshaw plays Caleb, the second oldest child in the film. In the beginning he’s the one who goes hunting with his father. He learns to lie to his mother for his father’s sake. Then later on he goes into the woods with his older sister, the oldest of them all, Thomasin played by Anya Taylor-Joy. After an incident, they are separated and only Thomasin is able to find her way home with Caleb left behind. Only be known to us, the audience, Caleb is seen later on being seduced by a beautiful woman who I’m pretty sure is the witch of the woods and we can all fill in the rest of what happens to this poor young boy.
But then it gets interesting because Caleb comes home (nekkid) and has to lay down because of his fever and unconsciousness. If we see Caleb before as an innocent child with some headstrong will towards his father and also curiosity with his sister, this is where Scrimshaw turns our head with his fantastic performance.
Surrounded by the whole members of the family, including the younger twins, Caleb begins to have violent seizure and his mouth shut and begins to bleed. After being forced to open by his mother, an apple falls out of his mouth as a symbol that I guess Caleb has eaten the forbidden fruit by the witch. This is then followed by a fantastic and best scene out of the whole movie where Caleb, in his deliriousness, wakes up and proclaims with joy his love to God and he even recites a verse from the Bible only then to rest peacefully forever.
That scene is a testament to Scrimshaw’s talent in acting. Guided by the director, he nails the scene that has been claimed by the director to be 11-pages long, the longest one in the screenplay. With unbroken monologue while acting convincingly that he has been seduced by the witch and also proclaiming his love to God, it’s no easy feat for anyone especially for young boy like Scrimshaw. Had he made a false note in that performance, we could feel it and it wouldn’t be the same.
The Witch itself is a slow-burning horror movie that leaves viewers with a lot to discuss, from its religious theme to its feminist undertone. But Scrimshaw holds his own as Caleb who completes his journey by the end of that scene. It’s a marvel to watch that scene and his performance. It would be a shame if it got forgotten by the end of the year because we rarely get award-worthy performance from a genre-film let alone from a horror film which usually is only filled with screaming and gimmicks, where this one truly excels.