While watching House the other day, I was once again struck by just how great Hugh Laurie is. I'm not the only one -- he's been nominated for a bunch of Emmys and won a few Golden Globes. People rave about his talents, and the way his accent seems to disappear without a trace. We're mesmerized.

But should we be? I mean, how much shock and awe should we feel towards actors who are simply doing their jobs well? The more I think about it, and about Hollywood in general, the more it seems like we've been conditioned for badness. Pull off a halfway decent accent and we'll be pleased. Cry in a realistic way and we'll buy it. Make everything look real and we'll be putty in your hands. But wait ... isn't that their job?

Of course, entertainment is an emotional business designed to push our buttons, whether those buttons be happiness, sadness, madness, fear. Something done well will appeal to us on a deeper level for this very reason. You can't not feel inspired and drawn to a perfect performance. But emotions aside, should it? The nuances of a talented actor should be praised, without a doubt. But where do you draw the line?

It's impressive when someone pulls off an accent, cries convincingly, morphs themselves in particular ways, or carries off a particular presence. But where is the line between basic job requirements and praiseworthy work? Have we, as moviegoers, come to expect too little of our actors?

Note: Hugh is merely a launchpad for this discussion. I am, in no way, implying his talents aren't notable enough for recognition.
categories Cinematical