With any luck, several of this year's acting Oscar nominations will go to actors playing characters with Boston accents. Maybe the Academy should even have a separate category for this, because the roles are becoming almost a cinema stereotype. On a scale of one to four scally caps, we rate the contenders, from pure townie to "Go back to Brentwood, scumbag." The criteria:
1. Borderline psychotic
2. Criminal behavior and/or jail time
3. Problematic sibling
4. Addict or alcoholic
6. Local sports reference
And here's how the leading candidates stack up:
JEREMY RENNER | THE TOWN | JEM
1. Ranges in stability between his bomb-squad character in The Hurt Locker and his serial killer in Dahmer.
2. Did time for murder. Robs armored cars and banks. And that's when he's being nice.
3. Very tight with his crack-addicted sister, the mother of his best friend's child.
4. Likes beer but is mostly addicted to testosterone and rage.
5. Leaves Charlestown only to pull off heists.
6. Beats the shit out of someone while wearing a goalie's mask. Robs Fenway Park.
7. Better than local co-star/director Ben Affleck's.
RATING: 4 out of 4 scally caps
SAM ROCKWELL | CONVICTION | KENNY ROBERTS
1. Stay away from him when he's drinking. And he's always drinking . . .
2. . . . except when he's serving time for a murder he didn't commit.
3. He and his sister are inseparable, so when he goes to jail, she gets a law degree to get him out.
4. See #1.
5. His home town is the local bah and packie.
6. Can't think of any, though the film does mention Martha Coakley, whose ignorance about Curt Schilling may have cost her a Senate seat.
7. If there's an Ayer, Massachusetts, accent, he's nailed it.
RATING: 3 out of 4 scally caps
JULIETTE LEWIS | CONVICTION | ROSEANNA PERRY
1. Is it madness or love to stay with a guy who knocked your teeth out?
2. Probably yes, which is why the Ayer cops can pressure her into testifying against Kenny (see above).
3. Comes between Kenny and his sister.
4. It's nine in the morning and she's giving a legal deposition and she's already drunk.
5. Home town is a trailer park.
6. See previous #6.
7. Despite being on screen for just 10 minutes, she deserves a nod, if only for the way she says, "I was rail ROWED!"
RATING: 2.5 out of 4 scally caps
CHRISTIAN BALE | THE FIGHTER | DICKY EKLUND
1. Taking on the Lowell police force and getting your boxer brother's hand broken while acting as his trainer isn't crazy, is it?
2. Oh, and that resulted in his being finally put away after having been arrested some 30 times before.
3. Taught his kid brother Micky everything Micky knows. And his seven psycho sisters would kill for him.
4. When not working hard getting arrested or getting his brother's hand broken, he's taking it easy at the local crack house.
5/6. The "original" Pride of Lowell, he knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard in a fight at Hynes Auditorium back in 1978. Okay, so maybe Sugar Ray slipped.
7. Take Renner's on-the-money accent and multiply by every hit he takes on the crack pipe.