Thursday, 10 June 2010

Best Actor 1967: Spencer Tracy in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Spencer Tracy received his final Oscar nomination, a posthumous nomination, for playing Matt Drayton a older man who has to deal with his daughter marrying a black man in Guess who's Coming to Dinner.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is a pretty poor film, that looks very stagy and just is not very well done. It dealt with a controversial issue at the time, but it did not deal with it with really that much intelligent insight.

Spencer Tracy plays Matt Drayton a liberal man, who is suppose to not have a problem with his daughter marrying a black man, but he is finding out he is. Spencer Tracy died very shortly after filming but he never really allowed that to show through into his performance, sure he looks tired but it does not really get in the way of his performance. One side thing that has nothing to do with Tracy that I question is why did they have him wearing those glasses without the lenses. They are just distracting, and its strange that they had him wearing them.

Tracy overacts just a little at time in this performance. Some of his reactions are a little over the top.  He exaggerates his reactions to some things a little too much, such as when he hears Sidney Poitier's Character's parents are coming over, or when he tastes the ice cream and it is not the right flavor. These reactions are throughout his performance and some of them are too over the top. These to not mix well at all to make the performance correct overall since he goes for an understated performance at other times.

When Tracy is being understated though he is very good.  Such as his initial reaction to finding out about his daughter's intent to marry is very well done. His frustrations shown because he does not want to face prejudice is very well shown by Tracy. And the last speech is just plain brilliantly done by Tracy. He never misses the slightest mark with his speech, he makes it as effective as possible. It is just a brilliant performance in this one scene, Tracy ends his performance and his career on a great high note. His performance though on a whole is mixed but do to his last scene it is a good and memorable performance.


joe burns said...

He'll come in fifth, I'm pretty sure. I would give him a 4, 5/5 actually. I liked him a lot. What did you think of Bea Richards?

Louis Morgan said...

She was pretty dull.

Anonymous said...

I just don't get him as an actor, but I thought he was fine here.

Fritz said...

I really loved his performance!

Michael Patison said...

I agree that he's not a great actor, but I've always really liked his more comedic work. In my opinion, his stuff with Katharine Hepburn is great.