Eric Roberts received his only Oscar nomination for playing Alaskan convict Buck in Runaway Train.
Eric Roberts gives possibly one of the most undeserved Oscar nominated performances here ever. He is over the top from beginning to end in this film. He does a voice that sounds like the voice Jim Varney did when he played Ernest in those Ernest movies. I am serious to that is what he sound like, except Varney was trying to be funny, I suppose Roberts comes off as unintentionally funny though. Here is the worst type of performance really because it is bad and over the top. If it were just bad and off to the side in the film whatever, but Roberts seems like he is trying to do a scene stealing performance. Well he does not steal any scenes but he does make a lot of them a lot worse than they needed to be.
Roberts never really realizes Buck as a character. He tries all these sorts of mannerism and tics that just come off as odd and strange. They never pull together to seem natural and Roberts performance is even worse because he is trying the mannerisms and that terrible voice. Now if Roberts had pulled an emotionally honest performance from underneath everything else he could have been okay but no. Roberts is just one dimensional with his emotions in his performance. He just has the same stupid expression and emotion basically throughout the performance. Roberts's performance is so bad I made the mistake in giving Jon Voight a 3 at first because he was so much better than Roberts. But in fact they are both poor and Roberts is just even worse.