Monday, 5 April 2010

Best Actor 2001: Will Smith in Ali

Will Smith received his first of two nominations for playing Muhammad Ali. Ali goes through Ali's life and Smith plays him the whole time through this rather shaky biopic.

This performance is not a good one at all. Smith here falls in the many pitfalls of a bad performance a real life person. Smith never ever seemed like Muhammad Ali to me, he always seemed like Will Smith failing to try to act like him. His voice is odd and improper rather than effective. The voice does not really sound like Ali one bit, which is just one part of the performance that does not work. The mannerisms are equally faulty, lacking any real effect and they just come off as distracting and false.

Smith is on screen for most of the film and for a performance like that the actor really needs to be on the ball but Smith is not up to the task. For most of the performance Smith just gives the same dispassionate look no matter what is happening, like the scene where Malcolm X breaks down in front of him. All he does is sit there almost not noticing him, what was that exactly. He does do other things he yells but he is never convincing in those scenes either, partially because of the awkward voice. Finally there are all the big show boating sequences at the press conference again he does not come off as natural, charming or funny. For these scenes to work well Smith needed more charisma in his performance which he lacks. Not a good performance but I do not really hate Smith as an actor. He is limited it seems.


joe burns said...

I haven't seen this, but what did you think of him in Pursuit Of Happiness?

Louis Morgan said...

I have not seen him yet, I suppose I should.

Fritz said...

I really can't believe that Will Smith of all people has two Oscar nominations!

Louis Morgan said...

It is a bit surprising.