Patton Oswalt was robbed. When I spoke to him on November 15, 2011, I was positive that he had a lock on a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his work in YOUNG ADULT. Certainly, no one that was subsequently nominated in that category gave a better performance. As Matt, the nerd hopelessly in love with Charlize Theron’s Mavis, an obtuse ex-high school prom queen, Oswalt was funny, heartbreaking and an effortlessly skillful combination of innocence and cynicism. What more do those who decide these things need?
My conversation with the actor, author, and stand-up comedian was as delightfully multi-faceted as the man himself. I started by giving him props for overcoming a recent bout with the flu before getting to the his work in YOUNG ADULT and then moving on to the mutability of memory, and then his passion for cinema. From the subversive nature of THE SEARCHERS to why he though Mavis was not unlike Swamp Thing, and onto the vagina dentata and Richard III as an uber-nerd as well as a villain with a reasonable grudge, Oswalt was erudite, pithy, and darn funny. We concluded with his explanation of how action star Jason Statham improves any film, followed by his generous humoring of my request for examples of how Mr. Stathams presence would improve even films that were already garnering Oscar buzz. You will never think of Terrence Malick’s THE TREE OF LIFE in quite the same way again.