John Hawkes is generating a flood of praise and Oscar buzz for his performance in “The Sessions,” in which he plays the Boston-born poet Mark O’Brien, who was left paralyzed from the neck down by childhood polio and spent much of his life in an iron lung. Awards are nice and all. But the viewers Hawkes cares about most aren’t the ones judging him just on artistic merit. They’re the people who knew and loved O’Brien, who died in 1999.
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