Dustin Hoffman received his first Oscar nomination for playing Benjamin Braddock in the Graduate.
Dustin Hoffman plays the recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock who basically does not know what to do with his future. Hoffman gives a very interesting performance as Braddock. Hoffman actually does not use any natural charisma or anything like that in this star making performance. Instead he creates a finely tuned portrait of a young who is basically out to sea.
Hoffman is always at least a little awkward in this performance which is entirely the point of the performance. Hoffman perfectly shows Braddock in his inability to really connect with the older generation. The characters awkwardness is so perfectly handled by Hoffman. Everything strange and awkward sound he makes and every awkward motion he does is perfectly handled. The nature of the character is never over done by Hoffman and seems completely realistic despite how strange the behavior may be at times.
Hoffman is very good in every scene and always keeps his characterization of Braddock spot on at all times. He works enormously well with Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson. Their scenes together work fantastically. From the first scene where he very very awkwardly has to deal with her, and then later when they begin their affair and he gains a gradual more relaxed relationship. But when her daughter comes into the picture it becomes immediately strained again. Hoffman does not lose his scenes to Bancroft which he could have easily done but holds his own against her great performance. Hoffman then takes us with him to the conclusion of the film perfectly. He becomes more confidant and the change of the character is completely natural thanks to Hoffman. Hoffman creates a unique character, and carries the film very well. I did not love this performance as some do, but I can see why they do.