Bill Murray received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Bob Harris an American Actor in Japan in Lost in Translation.
Nominations like Bill Murray's here rather frustrate me, because of the idea of only nominating comedians when there not being comedic. They could not nominate him for what might be his best work in Groundhog's Day which is both funny and actually holds some dramatic weight, they can only nominate him for complete dramatics. This apparently is suppose to be a comedy but I never even sort of laughed at it. There was only one overt attempt at comedy from the film really and that failed miserably in my book. Anyways Murray is not allowed to use his real true comedic abilities and is forced to be quieter. But you know what I like Murray being a little louder and funnier. Not that he is exactly loud when being funny but he is being funny that's the point. Now that does not make his performance here bad here, I am just annoyed by that comedians can never be nominated for what they do best.
Bill Murray's performance here can be interpreted in two ways one way is a bit more negative in that he really is not acting and is giving almost a sleep walking performance or the other way is it is a brilliant portrait of extreme subtlety like none other ever seen. Well I myself I am in about the middle of these two thoughts. I do not think he is not acting at all but I do not think he is always being perfectly attuned in a brilliant performance either. I find he has both the criticism worthy parts of his performance and the praise worthy parts of his performance. I do not think he ever is lazy about his performance so much that he is not trying at all, but I do feel that a lot of his performance he really is just being Bill Murray. This though is not nothing since Murray himself is a nice presence that really cannot be imitated by anyone else. His rather relaxed charm really is something only Murray can do as well as he does.
There are also sections of the performance where he does more than just being himself which are limited but I feel still present in the performance. There are these short moments where he really shows really the history of Bob Harris. These are very well done because of the way Murray shows this very carefully a hidden regret in the character and a certain sadness reflected by his reactions to certain scenes. He does not do this all the time unfortunately and his performance would have been great if he had. Instead there is strength in his performance in some scenes, and when he his not brilliant he is just Murray which is good anyways. He never is never bad and works quite well with Scarlett Johansson. My only real problem with the performance was Murray could have been absolutely brilliant if he stayed with the character at all times, instead of just good.