Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Best Actor 1997: Peter Fonda in Ulee's Gold

Peter Fonda received his only Oscar nomination for playing Ulee Jackson, a beekeeper who has do deal with the problems involving his convict son in Ulee's gold.

Ulee's gold is a fairly interesting film, but it one of those films that focuses on a single man so much, that the actor really needs to be up to the task to sell the film.

Fonda is up to the task in this film, and gives a very interesting performance. Fonda's character leaves him at a natural distance, and restrained. Ulee is a loner and proud of it, and Fonda therefore stays quiet most of the time. This works well for Fonda who does an excellent. job fully realizing this restrained character. This is a performance where almost everything is in his face.  He really does not ever have the "big" moment where he burst out of his normalized shell. Instead he keeps it quiet. It is not that he is a repressed man at all, but just not one who just does not wish to be really emotional or depend on others.

Fonda is terrific in every scene being exact and powerful in every possible way. He fully realizes the nature of the character and really presents the history of the man with only the slightest of gestures. Ulee could have come off as overly gruff, or a typical curmudgeon, but Fonda finds away around that to make Ulee his own original character. He seems like a person you could meet because he is not obtuse nor is he unremarkable. Instead he is like a real man, who is not perfect but tries his best with what he can. He never overplays a moment and goes into sentimentality and instead seems utterly real. Fonda apparently used a lot of his father for this role, and that certainly shines through, with that he makes a completely memorable, and original character which gets:


Anonymous said...

He should have won :)

Louis Morgan said...

He certainly would have been deserving, and he was the only one of the nominees without an Oscar already, since Damon won the screenplay Oscar.

joe burns said...

I think he'll come in second! Great writeup!

Louis Morgan said...

Thanks Joe.