Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Best Supporting Actor 2003: Ken Watanabe in The Last Samurai

Ken Watanabe received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Katsumoto the head Samurai leading a rebellion against the modernization of Japan in The Last Samurai.

Ken Wantanabe I find is far more interesting in this performance then he really had to be. Katsumoto could have been played extremely one dimensional fashion or too stiffly, but Watanabe does not play him this way. Watanabe effectively shows that Katsumoto has a certain knowing about himself. He shows well that Katsumoto is in fact intelligent and knows his way of life is being lost, but that he still fins his way is the right way. He is effective because he does not show Katsumoto to be just a single minded warrior but one with his own thoughts and a sense of humor. He handles this well because he adds this to his character without making making his performance merely farce.

He does this by always being believable as the leader of the samurai and I found his screen presence here to be always very strong. I felt scenes with him in it were always better than other scenes, and that his last scene is very well handled by Watanabe making it strong as possible. But still a lot of what he is doing here is not overly amazing but rather standard going through the motions sort of acting required of the part during certain scenes. Even his greatest scenes are not the most amazing feats of acting either, but Watanabe though is always good in the film and tries his best to get more out of the character than perhaps even the script allowed for.


joe burns said...

I guess he'll be second or third.

Sage Slowdive said...

Forgettable performance...