Though Nightcrawler opened over the weekend, earning a respectable $10.4 million, Jake Gyllenhaal is still out promoting the movie. Partially because Nightcrawler is the kind of movie that benefits from word of mouth, but also in no small part in service of an Oscar campaign. Jake G’s never been a highly visible campaigner—which is a huge part of why he’s such an underappreciated actor, he’s not constantly rubbing our noses in his career—but he’ll show up if asked. Yesterday he appeared at both AOL’s BUILD Speaker Series and The Daily Show. It’s a shame The Daily Show geoblocks their videos outside the US because Jon Stewart really likes Jake G and he’s always delightful on the show. If you are in the US, you can watch Stewart fangirling here.
Jake is fantastic in Nightcrawler. It’s easily one of the top lead actor performances I’ve seen this year, and yet, he’ll probably go un-nominated (yet again). We’ve still got two months of new releases to go and already the Best Actor field is filling up. Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton are virtual locks, Benedict Cumberbatch pretty well has his first Oscar nomination in the bag, and Timothy Spall, Bradley Cooper, David Oyelowo, Steve Carell, and Joaquin Phoenix are duking it out for the last two spots, with Unbroken’s Jack O’Connell, Chadwick Boseman, and Jake G circling from the outside.
I don’t know what it’ll take to put Jake G over the top. He did the dramatic weight loss thing for Nightcrawler but it doesn’t seem to be helping. I think he has the same problem as Jeremy Renner—he makes acting look too easy. He’s so natural and the weirdo stuff comes so easily to him that it doesn’t look like acting at all. Actors aren’t all that subtle, as a group, which is why obvious stuff like weight loss wins them over so easily. But Jake G makes it look effortless, and somehow it’s translating into “overlooked”. It’s too bad. Nightcrawler is a great movie that deserves more attention, and Jake G is delightfully strange.