The Ashton Kutcher led biopic of Apple CEO and founder Steve Jobs has hardly made a critical impact and is actually being panned by virtually everyone that sees it. But one saving grace in the film appears to be supporting actor Josh Gad who plays Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak. According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, Gad is being looked at not only as the best thing in the film but an early sleeper pick to grab some Supporting Actor nominations come awards season.
THR writer Scott Feinberg points out in the piece that Gad received a loud ovation when the film was screened for the Academy during it’s official screening. Gad’s role is something that reminds Feinberg of another comedic actor who got serious in an independent biopic and found himself with an Oscar nomination.
Gad’s function in the film strikes me as not unlike Jonah Hill‘s in Moneyball (2011), for which Hill received a best supporting actor Oscar nom: he’s largely there to be his usual witty self and provide comic relief, via quick one-liners, nervous stutters and cutaway-shots — but he also has a few dramatic scenes that allow him to show off some real acting ability. He takes the air out of the room on the two somber occasions when his character quietly and emotionally confronts Jobs about the ways in which he has changed (not for the better), the second one tearfully.
Gad isn’t quite as larger than life as Hill was when he burst onto the scene with Superbad but Gad has a resume that suggests the Academy may look his way. Gad won a Tony Award for his role in The Book of Mormon and he’s now seeing high profile work roll in, including the lead role in the upcoming Sam Kinison biopic.
He’s a long shot at this point to grab a Supporting Actor nod, but don’t count it out. Not only does Gad own the role he has, he manages to make a drastically underwritten role one of the stand out performances of the film — if not the stand out performance of the film.