Friday, 30 April 2010

Best Actor 1941: Robert Montgomery in Here Comes Mr. Jordan

Robert Montgomery received his second and last Oscar nomination for playing Joe Pendleton a boxer whose soul is taken up to heaven to early in Here Comes Mr. Jordan.

Here Comes Mr. Jordan is about that boxer as he tries on another body as a rich millionaire. Incidentally this film was remade into Heaven Can Wait which was also nominated for Best Actor and Supporting Actor for the same roles. The film follows his times in this body and his pursuit he still has of the heavy weight championship. The film is not great, and it takes much to long for him to get into the millionaires body, but it is pleasant enough, and I did not mind watching it. It has some nice performances particularly Claude Rains as Mr. Jordan but everything could have had a little more to it especially Evelyn Keyes's character. Also that ending does not work in my opinion still. But its a nice pleasant experience I suppose.

Robert Montgomery gives a nice enough performance as Joe Pendleton, but not an amazing one. He acts basically the same way throughout the picture, as a nice guy who just wants his old body back which was in the pink. This performance does not really have highs or lows he seems to be the same emotionally throughout the film. It is not if he is dull though or distant he just keeps it relaxed throughout the film. I like how he goes through the motions but he never does anything amazing with the motions either.

The only time he really does more than his natural way of doing things is the scene were he loses his old memory. I suppose he does a good job of becoming Murdoch in this scene but again not amazing. Montgomery performance is much like the film, it is nice and pleasant but not amazing. I never had a problem with anything he did but then again I was not wowed by what he did either. I do think Montgomery could have done a little more with his performance but it is not bad. For this he Gets:

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Best Actor 1941: Orson Welles in Citizen Kane

Orson Welles received his only acting nomination for playing none other than Charles Foster Kane in Citizen Kane.

Citizen Kane is constantly hailed as the greatest film of all time. I do think because of this it is a bit overrated. They act like it does not have a single flaw. It is true it is shot brilliantly, the lightning, the angles, they are perfect, but that does not alone make a good film. It needs a good script, which is pretty good, but it also needs good acting, which is what Kane lacks a lot of. Many of the actors act in a over the top theatrical fashion such as the Everett Sloan and Dorothy Comingore, even Joseph Cotton does a little of that when he is the old man, or the act just dully which includes Agnes Moorehead in my book. Most of the players act like one or the other, but there are few good performances such as mostly Cotton's and partially Welles's.

Welles first off does have a natural charisma. He has a natural air to him that is quite effective. Welles goes through his whole life in this picture. Welles does a very good job aging actually. From his exuberant youth, his mixed middle age and then his depressed end. Welles does play all parts of Kane's life well and is properly transformation in the film. Welles properly shows the early hopes and wants of the character very well. His charisma in these scenes is very well done and his just the way he carries himself here fits the character very well.

Superior parts of the performance come from his middle aged section. When he becomes a worse and worse person Welles' performance actually gets better. Welles has many memorable scenes in this phase particularly his big campaign scene. His speech there seems just like a real politicians speech with all the proper boisterous nature, and extreme delivery. He then has the scene where he loses his chance at politics and loses his wife, by being confronted by his political opponent and his wife about his mistress. Orson Welles shows the opposite side of the character. This scene is incredibly well done where he basically is not in control for once, and Welles subtlety handles the scene until at the end where he becomes the boisterous Kane once more. Welles than as the depressed Kane has very good scenes of just his face, especially his finally one where he realizes all he has lost. He does that without saying a single word.

I do not find his performance to be perfect though, and it is far from the greatest performance of all time as some say. Welles at times particularly in his youth scenes and his middle aged scenes can seem oddly dull and distant. Unfortunately during few time in the performance he seems a little like he is just going through the motion. Also he comes off as a tad theatrical in some other scenes. For example when he says people will think what he tells them to think.  I think it is a good performance though and some scenes are very good and overall it is good, but it is not perfect. Welles certainly makes an iconic character here but I do think he could have played him even better than he did based on some of the other performances in his career.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Best Actor 1941: Gary Cooper in Sergeant York

Gary received his first Oscar out of five for playing American World War one hero Alvin York in Sergeant York.  

Sergeant York is not really a great film, but I have to admit I enjoyed it a little bit because how fascinating the true story is. The directing is fine, and the story is interesting, but the acting is the problem. Almost everyone plays everything rather dully. The only actor who really does anything with what they have is Walter Brennan who gives a nice performance as the local preacher.

Gary Cooper though does not give a great performance. York starts out as a rough housing shooting and drinking rapscallion. Cooper plays this part far too broadly. He just is that nothing else. He might as well be thug number 3 sense he is barely a character here. York begins to develop more but still Cooper plays him in a one dimensional way. Cooper never shows York as a man of great depth just a shallow shape of a character. There is a little enjoyment to come out of this performance like when he beats up a guy moving on his love interest, that was amusing, but he mostly does very little. When he suppose to seem angry he just seems slightly annoyed. His brash behavior just seems forced. His romantic chemistry with Joan Leslie is basically non existent.

Later when he finds religion very abruptly so there is no transformation phase you get another one dimensional portrayal. Now he is just an all around good guy, without depth or anything interesting about his portrayal. He is just boring as the good guy, and someone can play a good guy with more dimensions than he has here. He is forced to join the army even though he wanted to conscientiously object. He never seems to passionate about anything just rather dull. Then when he gets into the field he still seems rather dull and uninterested despite what he is doing. Cooper then has his big scene where he does York performs an almost unbelievable feat in battle. In this scene a friend of his is killed by a hand grenade. York quickly sums up all his anger and asks rather kindly who did that. Cooper just is always off with his performance. The real person certainly is interesting but you would not know that from Cooper's portrayal.

Best Actor 1941

And The Nominees were:

Cary Grant in Penny Serenade 

Robert Montgomery in Here Comes Mr. Jordan

Orson Welles in Citizen Kane

Gary Cooper in Sergeant York

Walter Huston in The Devil and Daniel Webster

Who do you predict, Who do you pick, Who are you rooting for? 

Best Actor 1936: Results

5. Spencer Tracy in San Francisco- Tracy gives a nice supporting turn here, and does a good job supporting the other actors in San Francisco. He was just nominated in the wrong category.
4. Paul Muni in The Story of Louis Pasteur- Muni gives a nice performance as Pasteur but the part just never seems to be that much of a challenge.
3. Gary Cooper in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town- Cooper may not have the best voice in my book, but his silent looks are just perfect. Cooper has some really memorable scenes here, especially the court room scene.
2. William Powell in My Man Godfrey- Powell is a superb romantic lead in this screwball comedy. He gives his nice sarcastic delivery which works to excellent effect.
1. Walter Huston in Dodsworth- Huston is great as Dodsworth. His enthusiasm at first is so perfect especially when he is conflicted with his disappointment later on. Huston strikes all the right notes here.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Best Actor 1936: William Powell in My Man Godfrey

William Powell received his second Oscar nominations out of three for playing Godfrey Smith, a hobo who becomes a butler for a very odd family.

My Man Godfrey is a enjoyable enough screw ball comedy. It has all of its characters with their strange quirks, and bizarre mannerisms.

William Powell plays Godfrey in his usual way, of slightly being sarcastic when he says every single line. I always like his delivery, and I find joy out of his performance just because of his normal way of speaking. Powell gives a very enjoyable lightly comic performance here. He is the least wacky character in this crazy character feast, and he does a nice job reacting to the other over the top characters. I liked the more down to earth but still sarcastic approach he takes. Powell does a fine job hiding the hidden aspects of the character but making them believable all the same. Powell never overacts in the sea of purposeful overacting and his difference works very well. Powell does not braze his soul or anything like that but he gives a nice performance, and his chemistry with Carole Lombard is perfect. Powell is perfectly cast in this romantic screwball comedy, and just gives a nice leading man star performance.He does not really change a lot in terms of personality in this performance, even though the character changes in terms of status constantly. That does not matter though because his performance is purely for enjoyment.  For this Powell gets:

Best Actor 1936: Walter Huston in Dodsworth

Walter Houston received his first of four Oscar nominations for playing Sam Dodsworth who sells off his interest in his company and retires to please his wife, so they can tour Europe.

Dodsworth is a very interesting film even though it gets just slightly repetitive near the end. Still it is fascinating the way it shows Dodsworth and his wife growing further apart because of her growing snobbery and her growing affairs with other men. It got slightly repetitive when she went from one affair to another, but it still is a fascinating examination of European and American manners, and the way people can change.

Walter Huston is terrific as Dodsworth. The good hearten businessman whose wife mistreats him. I like his disappointment that he has given his job away but later his pure enthusiasm to see the world. Huston play very well off of Ruth Chatterton, with his "American" enthusiasm conflicting with her new found "sophistication". Huston gives his usual joyful delivery for parts of the movie which work incredibly well. He comes off as just a great guy, making it all the worse when his wife keeps betraying him. Dodsworth slow but deliberate progression to figuring out what his wife is doing is perfectly done by Huston. Huston channels his disappointment so well, yet his resentment is shown in just the right way. Every time he battles with his wife Huston is brilliant, because Huston shows how Dodsworth at first has trouble realizing it but later when he confronts her directly it is just fantastic. His scene where he confronts one of her suitors (Paul Lukas) is perfect, and  I really like the scene where he says they better start growing up since their going to be grand parents. This is just a great performance by Huston and you really follow him through the film and feel for him all the way.  His chemistry with Mary Astor also is properly effective making the ending work all the better. Huston fully realizes the character of Dodsworth and never once hits a false note. Huston gives a great performance which gets:

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Best Actor 1936: Spencer Tracy in San Francisco

Spencer Tracy received his first nomination out of nine for playing Father Tim Mullin a kindly priest who tries to help everyone in San Francisco.

San Francisco is pure old fashioned Hollywood melodrama, with all its big dramatic scenes. I thought for most of the movie it was okay in its old way but nothing that special. Than the earth quake scenes occurred and those scenes are handled incredibly well, and I don't just mean the special effects.

Spencer Tracy is completely supporting in this film. The film's leading role is the one which belongs to Clark Gable who should have been nominated for best actor instead, but I do think Tracy should have been nominated in the newly made best supporting actor category. Tracy is a nice addition to the film, and he is a charming presence throughout the film. He does not steal scenes or anything but rather supports the other actors which is what he needs to do.  He gives a fully nice and convincing performance as the priest and although he does have a lot of scenes he does add to the film. His character is just a nice person but a determined one and Tracy handles the character well so he never seems forced, or overbearing. He honestly seems to care and gives a very natural presence to the character. His scene where he confronts Blackie (Gable) is great, and Tracy plays off of Gable very well. Not an overly complicated performance but nice supporting work from Tracy.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Best Actor 1936: Gary Cooper in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

Gary Cooper received his first Oscar nomination out of five for playing Longfellow Deeds a small town man who comes to New York City to deal with the millions he has inherited.

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town follows the small town man as he deals with the strange city values with his simple small town attitude. The film is typical Capra which is enjoyable in its old fashioned way. I liked the film well enough although it is not his best film, it works well in his usual way.

Gary Cooper is an actor that does not seem to work out for me that well. A lot of his work he seems rather dull or tired looking, but that is not the case with Deeds. Well not completely, the beginning of his performance where he overplays the small town guy just a little bit, but later his performance improves greatly. When he first arrives in the city his performance still is a bit too simple but his routine did start to grow on me more though as the film progressed. I thought he did a good job showing his small time philosophy, it still comes off as a little forced but Cooper helps it along. I liked his romantic scenes with Jean Arthur and I liked when he brashly reacted to the New York snobs. He properly naive without overdoing it too much. His best scenes though are when he hears about the true nature of the Arthur character. His facial reaction is just perfect. His hidden pain from that realization are perfectly channeled by Cooper. Cooper handles all the final scenes very well. He handles the court room very well. It is completely focused on him and Cooper can handle it. Cooper is best when he is being silent, because he says the most with his expressions which hold a lot of power. His verbal abilities are slightly lacking but his physical abilities are well up to the task. It is not a perfect performance but it is one that gets better throughout the film for sure.  For this Cooper gets:

Best Actor 1936: Paul Muni in The Story of Louis Pasteur

Paul Muni won his only Oscar from his third nomination of five total nominations for playing French chemist Louis Pasteur.

The Story of Louis Pasteur follows Pasteur as he fights for the recognition of germs, discovers the vaccine for anthrax and later the vaccine for rabies. The film is not really that compelling, and although Pasteur work was incredibly important his life story is not extremely amazing. I still enjoyed the film though, just as an old fashioned biopic.

Paul Muni is not amazing as Pasteur, but he is good. He does not do a French accent, but nobody really did that back then. Pasteur as written in this film, is not really a character who requires that difficult of acting. Muni plays Pasteur basically the same way through, as a self-confidant chemist, who struggles to get support but never really loses his stature. Muni is just fine with what he has to do but he does not have really that much to do. He shows the little emotion he has to, and is properly determined but again there is nothing amazing about his performance. I still liked how Muni did everything in the film. I never thought he was not trying as hard as he needed to be. I thought he played the part as well as anyone could have played it.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Best Actor 1936

And the Nominees were:

Walter Huston in Dodsworth

William Powell in My Man Godfrey

Spencer Tracy in San Francisco 

Paul Muni in The Story of Louis Pasteur

Gary Cooper in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Best Actor 1968: Results

5. Ron Moody in Oliver- Moody gives a very enjoyable performance in Oliver. He really comes off well as Fagin and he handles his songs very well.
4. Cliff Robertson in Charly- I can take or leave Robertson's first half of his performance but his transition phase and final phase of the performance are terrific.
3. Alan Arkin in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter- Arkin gives a heartbreaking portrayal of a man trying to silently make a human connection.
2. Alan Bates in The Fixer- Bates is very effective and gives a truly sympathetic performance. 
1. Peter O'Toole in The Lion in Winter- O'Toole is plainly brilliant as Henry the second.

Best Actor 1968: Cliff Robertson in Charly

Cliff Robertson won his only Oscar from his only nomination for playing Charly Gordon a mentally retarded man whose life changes when he undergoes a radical experiment.

Charly is a semi interesting film about a mentally retarded man who becomes hyper intelligent because of a special surgery. The film is a bit too stylized for its own good such as that motorcycle montage but one thing good in it is Robertson's performance as Charly.

Robertson plays Charly through all his phases well. When he is the unintelligent Charly Robertson never overdoes his character's disability and mostly comes off as authentic. I do not find this to be great acting but instead he does just a fine job. I never saw him truly as a man like that but he came very close. I am just simply not that impressed by the actor playing this type of role anyways, although Robertson does it better than many.  The far greater part of his performance comes from when he undergoes the experiment. Robertson shows the subtle changes of his intelligence very well. it is not all done instantly but rather slowly done and it works rather well. He slowly becomes the more intelligent man and Robertson perfectly shows the frustrations from his new senses and urges. Robertson never seems unrealistic despite the procedure being so. The best part of his performance is when he becomes the ultra intelligent man. He is great in these scenes. He does not act like a brainiac but rather a man who knows more than he really wants to know. The scene with the scientist conference works very well because of the brilliant way Robertson handles the scenes. He seems perfectly dreaded by his knowledge and that works very well. Then at the end when he sees he may lose his intelligence Robertson is brilliant. His fear and frustrations that he will return to his old self are incredibly effective. A very good performance mostly due to the second half of it. The first half pushes his rating down a little but Robertson is great. For this Robertson gets:

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Best Actor 1968: Peter O'Toole in The Lion in Winter

Peter O'Toole received his third Oscar nomination out of eight so far for playing King Henry the second of England in the Lion in Winter. Interestingly O'Toole previously played Henry in Becket which he also received a nomination for.

The Lion in Winter is a fairly interesting film about the power struggles between Henry, his wife, and his three sons. It follows them as they argue and deceive one another in an attempt to gain power or something else. It is interesting to see where it goes and the interactions between the different characters.

Peter O'Toole is completely brilliant as Henry. O'Toole plays Henry rather differently than he did in Becket but I still believe he does in a way so it it a continuation of the character. He does not copy his original performance by any means but I think he shows the aged and tired Henry. Every scene O'Toole is on the mark. His Henry is sad man who sees he has not much time left, yet still has great ambition in his soul. He channels every facet of Henry perfectly. His scenes of argument and anger are very effective. He combats perfectly with Katherine Hepburn as his wife for some extremely effective scenes. O'Toole never goes over the top in these sequences but instead stays in the right area of realism. O'Toole has scenes that are hard to forget thanks to his performance. Such as when he describes that he never had a son, or when he "sentences" them at the end of the film. Many great scenes consist of the more subtle scene of the performance. His moments of grief over his eldest son and the "loss" of his other sons in his eyes are truly effecting. His "romantic" scenes with his wife are just as good as the big arguing scenes. Both actors such depth of their characters without relying only on the script. Both lead performances in this film are incomparable really. O'Toole has incredibly difficult character that he fully succeeds with. He shows himself like a King, but still shows the pitiful relations with his sons and his wife. Never making a single mistake O'Toole easily gets:

Monday, 19 April 2010

Best Actor 1968: Alan Bates in The Fixer

Alan Bates received his only Oscar nomination for playing Yakov Bok a Russian Jew who is falsely accused of ritual killing a young boy.

The Fixer is a somewhat interesting film which follows the Jewish man who tries to hide his religion, to later his arrest. An arrest that is a completely churned up charge that is completely false Then it follows his time in prison, and the constant antisemitism he faces. Also it shows the way he has changed during his time in prison.

Alan Bates's performance is the whole of the film. Bates is completely up to the task in the film, and creates fully realized character here. Bates takes the viewer through everything he goes through in the film very effectively. Bates does not try to do a Russian accent no one does in this film, it would just be distracting. Instead he focuses on the emotion of the character. Bates gives a very emotionally effecting performance. It creates his character with the utmost subtlety, and strength. The man is worn down by his situation but he does not go into a performance of one tired face which would be the easy way. Instead Bates keeps the power of his performance throughout the film. His constant defense of his innocence is completely felt during the film. I like how he never lets his performance become only a one note victim performance. Bates shows the defiance of the character with the pain perfectly. He pleads for help, and his cries of pain are truly felt. Bates holds the film together because of the humane portrait of the man he gives. Even though the film gets a little too heavy at the end. He never falters even though he treads on a line the whole time which could lead to either overacting or underacting. Bates never fails.  A great performance from Bates which gets:

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Best Actor 1968: Ron Moody in Oliver!

Ron Moody received his only Oscar nomination for playing Fagin in Oliver!. Fagin is a strange old criminal who gives shelter to boys so they can pick pocket people for him.

Oliver! is the musical version of Dicken's tale Oliver Twist. Many people hold great disdain for the film, not me. I do not love it by any measure but I do enjoy watching it, even though it is so over the top. But that might be part of the reason I enjoy it. Fagin is not truly the lead but he might as well be because Oliver himself is rather boring, and boringly played by Mark Lester. Fagin is actually one of the few characters I cared about and might as well be the lead then.

Moody plays Fagin in a fully immersed sort of way, with all the mannerisms, and gestures that go with Fagin. I like what does with the role, and find most of the mannerisms work such as the as posture and the hand gestures. Although at times it can seem a bit theatrical but then again its Oliver!. I like his musical numbers, and his performance is entertaining and enjoyable as Fagin, but not mind blowing. I enjoyed his songs the most and I did think he went a little beyond just entertaining when he is talking about his old age, but still he never went extremely deep. Then again he does not really need to. I liked this performance for its entertainment value, and the few subtle qualities about it. Not amazing but I do like the performance.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Best Actor 1968: Alan Arkin in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Alan Arkin received his second best actor nomination for portraying John Singer in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

The Heart is Lonely Hunter is a moving modest film about a deaf mute man moving into a new town and attempting to help the lives of those around him.

Well I am quite certain I have no idea what I was talking about in that original review. In that I seemed to miss the entire intention of Arkin's performance the first time I watched the film. Although the film is on the surface the "different" man helping the "normal" people that is not the simple truth to Arkin's portrayal of John Singer. From the outset of the film he establishes a palatable loneliness that defines his performance, something I somehow did not pick up on the first time around. This is what Arkin uses though to effectively define his character as we see in his earliest scene where he interacts with his fellow mute Spiros. Arkin provides the direct joy just in the act of the interaction but without that moments of interaction Arkin shows that Singer recedes into a certain depression. A voiceless depression of course that Arkin effectively internalizes in his work as such an essential though unfortunate part of the man as well as Arkin's performance. Arkin creates that need necessary to make it convincing that Singer moves a great distance to be closer to Spiros, after he is committed due to his erratic behavior, and Singer begins a new life in that town.

Arkin's establishment of Singer's motivations is pivotal in that he shows that he's neither some otherworldly helper nor is some strange user of people. Arkin finds the right method within his portrayal of Singer's manner when he interacts with the various people he comes across. Singer is always trying to help just about any one who needs it. Arkin doesn't depict this at a saintly distance, even with the lack of speaking, nor does he portray it as any sort of unnatural need from Singer. Instead Arkin depicts the very humble yet deeply humane behavior as Singer's ways of just trying to connect with other people, and share life with them. The is a simple appreciation that Arkin reveals in Singer of just any moment of communication as he reveals Singer being able to enjoy that connection for a moment. When he is not doing so Arkin reveals the man stuck in his unfortunate literal silence, and Arkin offers such poignancy by infusing into Singer's behavior such a honest desire for a bit of human companionship. Arkin never allows himself to be a caricature, or overly saccharine through creating that intense need while never making it off putting either.

Throughout the film Singer does his best to try to help others sometimes he succeeds sometimes he does not. There is something interesting in this though in that Arkin is simultaneous heartwarming and heartbreaking in every single one of his causes. The reason being Arkin does depict that most generous of attitudes with such genuine earnestness as well as so honestly realizes that bit happiness when the people pay him mind. The problem is though even as he helps them the others are often so caught up in their own problems that they still pay little attention to Singer, even when he has helped them. A few of Arkin's reactions are absolutely devastating because he does not depict any hatred or anger as they ignore him, but just that quiet return to somberness as they leave him out of their lives once again. The only guarantee for companionship is with Spiros, but even this Arkin sadly reveals also as still often one sided. What Arkin does throughout his performance, and again I don't know how I did not see it the first time, is set up Singer's downfall by making his sorrow from his loneliness a constant. He shows it being alleviated at times, but never gone. When he loses Spiros, Arkin reveals the man left without even his final safety net expressing the full extent of anguish in his eyes as he looks over his only friend's grave while leaving his final act a terrible inevitability.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Best Actor 1968

And the Nominees were:

Alan Arkin in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Alan Bates in The Fixer

Cliff Robertson in Charly

Ron Moody in Oliver

Peter O'Toole in The Lion in Winter

Best Actor 1989: Results

5. Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July- I will give Cruise credit for trying but he never quite succeeds.
4. Robin Williams in Dead Poet's Society- Williams is okay as the supporting part of the inspiring teacher but his character just does not have a lot of depth.
3. Kenneth Branagh in Henry V- Branagh is very good as Henry, although he is slightly too theatrical in a few scenes, but he also has some truly great scenes that make up for it.
2. Morgan Freeman in Driving Miss Daisy- Morgan Freeman is incredibly good, and his chemistry with Jessica Tandy is perfect. He gives an incredibly charming and entertaining performance.
1. Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot- Day-Lewis is brilliant and completely compelling in the challenging role of Cristy Brown. Day-Lewis succeeds in every way and gives one of the greatest performances put on film.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Best Actor 1989: Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot

Daniel Day-Lewis won his first Oscar from his first nomination for playing Christy Brown a man from an Irish family of 13 children who suffers from cerebral palsy. Which causes Brown to physically disabled but not mentally.

My Left Foot is an interesting film about Cristy Brown who became a great artist and writer despite only being able to do anything with his left foot. The story works because it does not romanticize or sentimentalize Brown. Instead it shows him as not a fully positive character but a man with own faults and problems that have nothing to do with his cerebral palsy.

Daniel Day-Lewis is simply brilliant as Cristy Brown. First of all he gets the technical features of the performances perfectly. His mannerisms and movement never seem forced or awkward but rather completely natural. Doing a voice as Lewis does can become repetitive but it never does with Lewis is works and it fits. I like the way he develops the voice when he is in his early stages of speaking and then later when he develops greater vocal skills. But the technical aspects do not matter if the performance is not emotionally convincing.

 Lewis though is able to convey a fully emotional effective performance through all the physical requirements of the role. Every scene Lewis nails as well as possible. Lewis goes through so much in this performance that he could have fallen at his face at anytime but he never does. I love the joy he shows in his scene when he gets the coal with his brothers. His face is just perfect that he makes with such a limited ability in terms of body movement, yet he conveys more with his eyes and restricted mouth than most performances do with their entire body.

 Lewis has some brilliant stand out scenes that are basically incomparable such as his scene where he reacts to the doctor not returning his love. Lewis is so effecting in that scene. His emotion is just properly raw and realistic, despite his characters handicap. Lewis makes Brown into a fully realized person who it seems you meet and know from watching his performance, he is that good. My favorite scenes of his though my be at the end where he tries to ask the nurse out at the end of the film. His pleading to her, and frustrations are handled with the utmost brilliant care of Day-Lewis. When he finally convinces here it is perfectly satisfying and a great end to a great performance.

Best Actor 1989: Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July

Tom Cruise received his first nomination for playing Ron Kovic in Born on the Fourth of July. Kovic is at first gungho to join the marines, then he is injured and wheel chair bound becoming one of the two handicap nominees from this year.

Born on the fourth of July follows Kovic from his hopeful days, then to his tragic days as a soldier in Vietnam, then to his return. He becomes incredibly depressed, suffers from Post traumatic stress, and then finally returns to become an anti-war protester. I am not a fan of Oliver Stone, and I like few of his films. I find he usually is too heavy handed and obvious. Born is included as one of the overly heavy handed ones in my opinion. Born depends a lot on Cruise who is almost every second of the film, which means Cruise really needs to be on the ball the whole time.

Which he is not. Cruise is not one of my favorite actors I will admit, I do not really like him when he doing lighter fair. He never seems very confidant in his performances, especially many of his early ones. Cruise was a big star when this film came out and this is his "give me an Oscar!" performance from that time. Cruise's performance always comes off as the "I'm acting" sort of way. I always saw him trying to be Ron Kovic rather than being Ron Kovic. He is always over acting the pain rather really seeming to have the pain. In his big yelling scenes like with his mother, all those scenes came off as false for me rather than realistic. Cruise just over did it, and rather seeming to be truly disturbed, he is trying to act like being disturbed but really is not. Cruise never gets the proper tone to these scenes at all. When he seems more into the war and saying love it or leave it, he is acting in a one dimensional character, and again everything rings false. His conviction to the role just does not seem to be true. Every different phase of Kovic Cruise goes through, Cruise fails to succeed in a single phase of the character. I will give him some credit that he tries he tries a lot with every scream and every fall the character has, but he never succeeds.