So, The Butler. It was better than I had expected, frankly. I don't want to get into too much of a full review of the the film, but suffice it to say I was entertained. More of the story focused on the Civil Rights Movement than I had anticipated, which was a small, albeit welcomed surprise. Not that I really learned much or was challenged by the makers of the film to ponder many deep questions, but it was an admirable homage to the heroes of the time.
Winfrey was in quite a bit of this film. I can see how one could argue the role being lead, but supporting is probably a more fitting category. Her performance overall for me was...fine. I don't know how much acting training she has but we know she's only done three films. This inexperience coupled with the fact that she's so iconic to me as a TV personality made it difficult to see her as someone other than who I'm used to seeing. I never quite believed Gloria as a cheating alcoholic. An accent that sort of came and went like the wind didn't help much either. As an old woman in her final scene, all I could picture was the dream scene with Michele and Sandy Frink from Romey and Michele's High School Reunion. I doubt that's the effect Daniels was going for.
My criticisms and the goofy presidential cameos in this film notwithstanding, I'm thrilled for Oprah and I'd be shocked if she weren't nominated for an Academy Award. And as of right now, she probably has the best chance for the win. It doesn't necessarily take an exceptional performance to get votes. A bigger factor much of the time is the narrative. Were Oprah new to the scene, I doubt we'd make much fuss about her in this film. Ultimately I found it an unremarkable performance from an incredibly remarkable woman.