I think that we can all agree on our initial reaction to the news that Ashton Kutcher was set to portray Steve Jobs in an upcoming biopic.
But after everyone settled down and it was confirmed that it wasn’t some April Fool’s joke, I started to think. To be more accurate, I started to look at the plethora of side-by-side images that various sites created to report on the news. Let’s not beat around the bush here – Kutcher looks just like a younger Steve Jobs. It’s staggering just how similar a long-haired, bearded Kutcher appears when placed next to a long-haired, bearded Jobs. Of course, physical similarities do not predict a virtuoso performance. But Kutcher has a young, arrogance that will fit the role beautifully, and I’m going to give Kutcher’s acting chops the benefit of the doubt. Just go with me on this – just for a little bit, at least.
TL;DR – I think he’s perfect for the role.
And I’m not the only one. While half of Twitter freaked out, a display that would lead you to believe that the film’s director Joshua Michael Stern had defecated on the late pioneer’s grave, some guy named Steve Wozniak spoke up. Wozniak, whose character is sure to feature heavily in the film, said that he’s “glad [Kutcher] is onboard.”
“I think he’ll put a lot into it and that he cares about this particular subject,” he said.
Apparently, the Woz is right about him “putting a lot into it.” According to an interview with The Daily, the film’s producer says that Kutcher is already highly committed to the role.
“He is already meeting with folks that knew Steve Jobs. He’s working with professionals to get inside the voice. He’s letting his hair grow out. I understand he’s canceled all meetings and actually canceled all other projects,” said Mark Hulme.
He goes on to say that Kutcher is investing a lot of himself into the role, and that he feels that the role of Steve Jobs was meant for him.
And apparently, filming on “Jobs” is set to kick off in May. They are shooting for Thanksgiving as the latest release date, so that they’ll have it in before awards season. You hear that: Kelso wants an Oscar.
And who’s to say that’s a longshot? I present to you, for your consideration: Ashton Kutcher, future Best Actor Oscar Winner.
- The resemblance. Mentioned before, but come on. You don’t really even need any Hollywood magic for this one. Kutcher just needs time for hair growth and a wardrobe change.
- Method acting. From the initial reports, the people behind “Jobs” are already planting the seed for Kutcher’s Oscar campaign. The more he loses himself in the role, the better his chances of being nominated for Best Actor. Note, I didn’t say “win,” but a great story about Method acting can at least get you in the door. I mean, Daniel Day Lewis got so into his role as Bill the Butcher for Gangs of New York, that he stopped wearing modern coats on set because they we anachronistic. He got pneumonia, and a Best Actor nod.
- He’s playing a real person. Historically, the Academy likes it when you can portray someone who was important who also really existed. In the last ten years, six of the Best Actor winners have gotten their statues from recreating an historical figure on the silver screen. Jamie Foxx playing Ray Charles, Philip Seymour Hoffman playing Truman Capote, Forest Whitaker playing Idi Amin – all Best Actor winners. The latest of this trend came last year when Colin Firth won for his portrayal of King George VI in The King’s Speech.
- The movie’s got a one-word title. You don’t think that the fact that his film is called “Jobs” is important? The last ten Best Actor winners’ films combined only have 23 words in the titles. And look at some of the films that produced a Best Actor winner: Ray (about Ray Charles). Capote (about Truman Capote). Milk (about Harvey Milk). Notice a trend?
- Jeers to Tears. I’m not assuming that “Jobs” is going to produce a lot of tears, I’m just saying that in the past, The Academy has rewarded actors who began their careers with (primarily) comedic roles – who then turned in a powerhouse dramatic performance. Not that all of Nicholas Cage’s films before he won Best Actor were laugh riots, but he was well-known for Raising Arizona, Peggy Sue Got Married, and that little tiny role in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Then he drank himself to death and screwed Elisabeth Shue and got an Oscar. Tom Hanks got laughs in Turner & Hooch, Joe Versus the Volcano, and A League of Their Own before playing a lawyer riddled with AIDS in Philadelphia, making grown men cry, and garnering an Oscar in the meantime. Kutcher definitely fits the goofy to serious mold with this film.
- The Academy can get swept up in the moment. If there’s enough buzz about a person, and they’ve generated enough chatter about their performance, they can win awards that in hindsight might seem a little off. Marisa Tomei, anybody (although My Cousin Vinny is great). Roberto Benigni? Shakespeare in Love? This is not saying that Kutcher could get a nomination or even win if he’s bad in the film just because he gets a lot of buzz – I’m just saying that popular buzz has a history of being rewarded on some Oscar years. And as one of the crown princes of Twitter, he’s going to be able to generate plenty of online buzz.
- Quentin Tarantino has nothing to do with the project. That alone should sway the Academy.
Of course, all of this is just speculation. The film could suck, or it could be completely overshadowed by its Sony-backed big budget brother – the Steve Jobs movie based on the bestselling Walter Isaacson biography. Aaron Sorkin could even be writing that one.
So, without one second of this film actually being filmed, let me be the first to predict it: Ashton Kutcher, future Oscar winner.