In the past 15 years Jake Gyllenhaal has been steadily improving his acting prowess, while also establishing himself as an A-Lister. So far, he has already played some incredible characters in acclaimed movies such as Donnie Darko (2001), Brokeback Mountain (2005), Zodiac (2007), Source Code (2011), End of Watch (2012), Prisoners (2013) and Nightcrawler (2014).
However, Gyllenhaal has always been an under-appreciated actor when it comes to award ceremonies and despite this fact, fans were still left with the feeling that his best role is still ahead of him. Well, the waiting is over; Southpaw - a boxing drama with elements of a thriller, hits US theatees this Friday and it will finally change the disgraceful way in which Gyllenhaal has been treated and disrespected for years. The movie, which is directed by Antoine Fuqua, features Gyllenhaal as boxer Billy Hope. It is no coincidence that this is one of the most anticipated performances of the year, as it is full of energy, tenacity and emotion. Consequently, here are three reasons why Southpaw will bring Jake Gyllenhaal an Oscar nomination (and maybe even a win):
1. Gyllenhaal has shown incredible dedication to prepare for the role of Billy Hope
In a recent interview with Inside Edition, Gyllenhaal revealed that he did not know how to box prior to shooting Southpaw. Therefore, he had to not only go through a grueling physical transformation, but the Los Angeles born actor also had to learn how to think as a boxer, as well as all of the specific fighting techniques that are unique to this sport.
Furthermore, to prepare for the role of Billy Hope, Jake Gyllenhaal committed to a strenuous workout and boxing regimen. This was especially necessary because he was still in frail shape having just finished playing the captivating lead in one of last year's best thrillers, Nightcrawler, for which he dropped 30 pounds. Six months before shooting began on Southpaw, Gyllenhaal teamed with former pro boxer Terry Claybon to prepare for the role. His daily routine included: going to the gym twice a day for a total of six hours, 2,000 sit-ups, three hours of boxing and three hours of cardio and weight training. If this does not impress you, then I do not know what will!
2. By playing Billy Hope, Gyllenhaal has delivered one of this year's most intense performances
There are a lot of performances that at this point look like they are potential Academy Award nomination material. Among them are the performances of Michael Fassbender in Macbeth, Matthew McConaughey in The Sea of Trees, Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl, Tom Hanks in Bridge of Spies, Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant, as well as many others.
However, few performances have (and will) come close to the level of intensity that Jake Gyllenhaal has brought to the role of Billy Hope. This boxer is such a physically imposing character, but he also has a more humane side revealed through the deep and complex connection with his family. He is a character that the audience roots for through the course of the whole film, in spite of all of Southpaw's imperfections. The movie is kept together by all of the fascinating acting performances and Gyllenhaal is definitely the main reason for this.
3. Southpaw completes the marvelous rise of Jake Gyllenhaal from a "nice guy" to a formidable dramatic force with an impressive range and versatility
Just a few years ago no one thought that Jake Gyllenhaal is an A-Lister or could go through an excruciating physical transformation. However, it is high time everyone embraced that Gyllenhaal has become one of Hollywood's heavyweights. Unfortunately, the Academy snubbed his wonderful performances in Prisoners (2013) and Nightcrawler (2014), but believe me the same mistake will not be repeated this time.
When we bring into the mix films such as Zodiac (2007) and End of Watch (2012) it is easy to see that Gyllenhaal's performances have been under-appreciated and underrated for years.
Moreover, it seems like people have put too much emphasis on criticizing his less-successful films such as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010) and Love & Other Drugs (2010), while forgetting the solid work that the actor has put in his other awesome performances. However, by playing Billy Hope in Southpaw this is all going to change.