I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Josh Hutcherson is the best Peeta. I know everyone is always going on about Jennifer Lawrence and her talent. But I'm just going to say it, I think Josh Hutcherson's Mockingjay Part 1 role is Oscar worthy. Traditionally the Academy Awards are given to "serious" movies, and unfortunately no one would ever dream of letting a YA film into the ranks for anything more than Best Sound Editing and the like. But Hutcherson deserves an award for his portrayal in the third Hunger Games installment, because playing hijacked Peeta requires a whole new level of talent.
Hutcherson has been acting since he was 10, and his 12 years of experience has allowed his screen presence to blossom. I'm blown away by his talent. Even from the moment I saw the first trailer I knew Hutcherson had really stepped up his acting for the part. Then came the short teaser clips that showcased his emotional range, and I was sold. I feel that if you're impressed by only a few movements of an actor's face, that's really saying something. So, here are five major reasons why Hutcherson deserves an Oscar nod.
HE CAN CONVEY EVERYTHING IN ONE LOOK
When the first teaser trailer came out I was floored by Hutcherson's acting. He says nothing in the 30-second clip. But the turn of his head and the look in his eyes say exactly what is happening to him. He's losing his sense of self as the Capitol turns him into a weapon and his eyes convey the desperation, fear, and ultimately the emptiness you would expect from someone tortured the way he was. It's a seriously chilling moment.
THERE'S NO ROADMAP FOR THE CHARACTER HE'S PLAYING
Although being hijacked is vaguely like being brain-washed or having mental disorientation, for the most part this is a new infliction. Suzanne Collins invented the term and all Hutcherson had to go on was the way hijacking was described in the book. “It’s a type of fear conditioning … Memories can be changed. Brought to the forefront of your mind, altered, and saved again in the revised form.”
Essentially Hutcherson has to play the part of someone whose memories have been altered to have him fear what he previously loved. That inner struggle of your heart competing with your brain is unimaginable. I have no idea how Hutcherson approached the role, but from what I can see he nailed it.
HE CONVINCED HIS FRIENDS
When they filmed the scene where Katniss first sees Peeta alive, they literally played the footage of Peeta's interview and Director Francis Lawrence said that it even made Jennifer Lawrence upset to see him in that state. If Hutcherson could get his own cast misty-eyed, imagine what he's going to do to the audience.
HIS PERFORMANCE IS BELIEVABLY EMOTIONAL
Hutcherson really captures Peeta's emotional state. His interview with Caesar after he's captured by the Capitol and is undergoing his hijacking ... that single tear that runs down his face and the fact that his eyes are permanently red and threatening to spill over at any moment is so hard to watch. That means it was probably 10 times harder to do. I think convincing crying is one of an actor's most important skills. If you can make the audience feel your distress, that's all you need.
THE AUDIENCE IS RESPONDING POSITIVELY TO HIS PORTRAYAL
Fans who have seen the film are obsessed with Hutcherson's acting. Many have also suggested he should get an Oscar and most are talking about how convincing his inner turmoil was. Viewers really believed he was hijacked and it made them upset to see him be in such a state. If you can get the audience on your side, you've succeeded as an actor. Anyone can recite lines, but when you can move a crowd of people that's true artistry—and it deserves equal recognition.