Clint Eastwood wore a secret smile at last night’s Golden Globe awards. Who cares if those schmucks from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association didn’t nominate his career-capping performance in Gran Torino? Eastwood, 78, had the last laugh. Gran Torino, which opened nationwide this weekend after a month in limited release, scored $29 million at the box office. That’s a record opening for an Eastwood movie, and way more than enough to trounce Bride Wars, the critically-decimated Kate Hudson-Anne Hathaway exercise in female self-loathing that was predicted to take the top spot. I guess the brides didn’t count on Dirty Harry showing up and telling them to, “get off my lawn.” Look out for Eastwood when the Oscar nominations are announced on Jan. 22nd. All the talk is about Sean Penn (Milk) vs. Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler). Back in 1969 all the Oscar talk was about Dustin Hoffman duking it out for the gold with his Midnight Cowboy costar Jon Voight. But who rode off with the prize? John Wayne, then 62, delivering his career-capping performance in True Grit. It was a first acting Oscar for Wayne, just as a Torino win would be a first acting prize for Eastwood, who has a quartet of Oscars for directing and producing Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby. So here’s my question for today: ”
If Clint Eastwood wins an acting Oscar for Gran Torino would it be for his best screen performance? What movie do you think should have won Eastwood an acting Oscar? Personally, I’d go for his wised-up cowboy in Unforgiven, followed by his tormented Secret Service agent in In the Line of Fire, his conflicted fight manager in Million Dollar Baby, and his sexually screwed up cop in 1984’s little-seen Tightrope. Eastwood has always been a better actor than critics give him credit for. In Gran Torino he’s as iconic as he was in Dirty Harry, just older. Will Oscar finally make his day?