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With the possible exception of Jessica Chastain, no actor has done better work in a wider variety of roles this year than Michael Fassbender. The 34-year-old, who was born in Germany and raised in Ireland, starred in no fewer than four major films: Cary Fukunaga‘s period piece Jane Eyre (released on March 11), Matthew Vaughn‘s blockbuster X-Men: First Class (released on May 26), David Cronenberg‘s historical drama A Dangerous Method (released on November 23), and Steve McQueen‘s NC-17 character study Shame (released on December 2).
While Fassbender’s body of work this year has been celebrated (the Los Angeles Film Critics Association named him the year’s best actor), it is his performance in Shame — in which he gives a landmark performance as a sex addict who is desperately seeking a connection, but, tragically, can’t stop himself from pushing away anyone who offers him one — that has earned him the most acclaim (including best actor nominations from the Broadcast Film Critics Association and Hollywood Foreign Press Association), thus far. It is also the performance for which he stands the best chance of being nominated by the Academy on January 23.
Fox Searchlight, recognizing that Fassbender is in an extremely tight race for the fifth slot in the best actor Oscar category — the others presumably being occupied by Jean Dujardin (The Artist), George Clooney (The Descendants), Brad Pitt (Moneyball), and Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar) — has decided to put together and release the featurette that appears at the top of this post, which juxtaposes clips from Shame with footage of Fassbender talking about his character, Brandon.
If the film’s subject matter and NC-17 rating haven’t yet piqued Academy members’ curiosity enough to check out the film, perhaps Fassbender’s eloquent description of it will.
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