After the triumph in Venice with the Volpi Memorial Cup, the time has come Peter Saarsgard to see his talent recognized at the Oscars. In the 2003–2004 season, Peter Saarsgard received the most previous awards for his supporting role in Billy Ray’s Shattered Glass.
The actor plays Charles Lane, a newly appointed editor who suspects that one of his respected writers (Hayden Christensen) may have fabricated some of his stories. It was a landmark performance for Sarsgaard, winning critical and public acclaim.
However, when it came time for major television events, he only managed to receive a Golden Globe nomination, followed by high-profile rejections from SAG, BAFTA and, finally, the Oscars. The industry has spent the last twenty years trying to right this wrong, while Sarsgaard has always attracted potential Oscar interest to Kinsey (2004), Seahead (2005), An Education (2009) and The Experimenter ( 2014). Neither of these films earned him a nomination.
The role that could lead Peter Saarsgard to an Oscar
Last year, he received his first Emmy nomination for his work on Hulu’s Dopesick. And now it’s adding a new potential candidate in “Memento,” Michel Franco’s romantic drama premiered in Venice and premiered to critics and audiences at TIFF. In the film, Sarsgaard plays Saul, a man battling early-onset dementia who turns the world of a social worker named Sylvia (played by Jessica Chastain) upside down. This challenge will force both of them to face their past.
Combining Jonathan Demme’s “Rachel Getting Married” with Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland’s “Still Alice,” the film is pure acting, with Chastain and Sarsgaard giving two of their brightest and strongest performances. For his work, Sarsgaard won the prestigious Volpi Cup for Best Actor, joining the ranks of past winners such as Brad Pitt (The Assassination of Jesse James) and River Phoenix (The Beautiful and Damned).
If Venice weren’t handing out supporting acting awards, it shouldn’t be assumed that Sarsgaard should be nominated in a best actor race already filled with names like Leonardo DiCaprio and Jeffrey Wright. For Sarsgaard, he will find a clearer path in the supporting category, although Robert Downey Jr., Robert De Niro and Ryan Gosling appear ready.
The key to Sarsgaard’s success will be the film’s recognition in other categories. Getting a nomination for supporting actors alone is difficult, although not impossible. Franco gave Sarsgaard the opportunity to deliver a performance free of the usual award-winning stereotypes. His performance is truly worthy of applause. Will Sarsgaard finally get his moment or will the Oscar still remain a mirage for the actor?