Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Best Actor 1934: Results

3. Frank Morgan in The Affairs of Cellini- Frank Morgan plays a Duke in this film who is always worried and nervous. Morgan tries to be funny and he is a little bit at the very beginning of the film, but then his nervous act gets old fast.

2. William Powell in The Thin Man- Powell is in top form as Nick Charles. He is a perfect Sleuth to follow because of his perfect charm and wit, and his perfect chemistry with Myrna Loy.

1. Clark Gable in It Happened One Night- This is an interesting year because all three lead performances are comedy performances, I wonder is this is the only year where all the nominees are trying to be funny. Gable wins partially because he is the funniest as Peter Warne. Every scene he is in he is incredibly charming and his comedic timing could not be better. Also his chemistry with Claudette Colbert is astounding, so a well deserved win for "The King"

Deserving Performances:
Stan Laurel in Babes in Toyland
Oliver Hardy in Babes in Toyland
Henry Brandon in Babes in Toyland

Monday, 30 August 2010

Best Actor 1934: William Powell in The Thin Man

William Powell received his first Oscar nomination for portraying sleuth Nick Charles in The Thin Man.

The Thin Man is an enjoyable mystery film, mainly due to the character of Nick and Nora Charles and the actors portraying them Powell and Myrna Loy.

William Powell  is an actor who has a certain style which I enjoy very much. He uses his that style here with his very casual manner and sardonic humor. This works very well as Nick Charles the detective who must solve the murder featured in the film. His detective is integral to the film since he is solving in the case but that is actually his only involvement. He is not really all that tied to it nor is his wife unlike almost all of the supporting characters. Instead he acts as a guide really for the audience through the case, someone the audience can trust since almost everyone else could be the killer.

Powell is the perfect man to follow through the plot because he is such an enjoyable presence in the film. His perfect casual style of going through the case is perfectly handled. I like how he always keeps his sardonic wit throughout the film even when his life is threatened. He is the perfect guide through the plot and is always enjoyable to watch. His best scene involves the standard all the suspects in the same room scene.  He handles this scene helping build the suspense to the reveal, and also keeping his usual wit and humor throughout. Nick never loses his cool or gets emotional, but he does not have to sense he is always knows the situation. This could technically be boring but sense Powell makes him so witty and charming just seeing him sleuth is entertaining.

Powell and Myrna Loy work terrifically together and it is no wonder that they made so many film together several of them playing these same characters.  They just work wonderfully together making a very effective and very amusing dynamic. Their romantic scenes are very well done since they do not seem forced, and their comedic scenes are perfect. Both know exactly how to play each other and seeing Nick and Nora together and just talking is wonderful simply due to these two great actors. Powell here does not have his greatest challenge and largely is doing his Powell thing. But I really like Powell thing and this is when he is at top form doing his thing with Loy who is also similarly in top form. Like Gable from this year he does not have the big dramatic scenes but I do not care because he is charming and very funny which is precisely what he needs to be.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Best Actor 1934: Clark Gable in It Happened One Night

Clark Gable won an Oscar from his first nomination for portraying Peter Warne in It Happened One Night.

It Happened One Night is an extremely enjoyable romantic comedy. I just love every minute of it and I am not a fan of romantic comedy.

Clark Gable here does not give a performance that bares his soul, it is not one that requires him to bare his darkest deepest emotions, no that is not what is required. But who cares he gives a great performance from something entirely different, his comedic timing and charm. Clark Gable is just brilliant here, he is just wonderful in the film from beginning to end. Every single moment he has he is always and utterly entertaining. The only thing that really requires dramatic work involves his change from only wanting to benefit from getting a story from a runaway socialite Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) to falling in loving with her. This part of the character Gable handles well,   making it very natural, but that is hardly what makes this performance so strong.

The rest of his performance is Gable himself who is as charming as possible as Warne. He is simply magnetic in the role, and infuses great comedic energy in every scene. His comedic timing is always spot on in every scene but I have some particular scenes that I enjoy the most. One I really like is when he gets rid of someone trying to tell on Ellie by pretending he is a gangster who kidnapped Ellie. He is hilarious with the voice he uses and pretends to act tough. Another scene that I like a lot is when he tells Ellie of his various methods of hitch hiking. His faces he makes and the way he tells about is one is just perfect, and very funny. I find that all his comedic work is just great every second of it. His charm is just strong, every scene he has is wonderful, Gable is usually a charming presence anyways but here I feel he really does out do himself. Something as simple as undressing is made into cinematic magic simply by the way Gable does it.

As for his chemistry with Claudette Colbert I would be hard pressed to name a better film couple. Again they are just perfect together in every type of scene. Their initial disdain for each other is well handled without being too much to make it so their love still makes sense. Their comedic scenes together are handled so each one lets each other be funny and the other reacts in the right way. Also when their being funny at the same time it is great such as when they pretend to be a feuding married couple to fool detectives looking for Ellie. Their romantic scenes are equally effective. Together they are absolutely right and true, their romance never seems wrong but only ever seems right. These two characters disliking each other than coming together is made seamless because of these two actors who work marvelously together. Gable does not have any scenes typical of an Oscar nominee or an Oscar winner but that does prevent this being a great performance that is just wonderful to watch, and truly deserving winner of a different style.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Best Actor 1934: Frank Morgan in The Affairs of Cellini

Frank Morgan received his first Oscar nomination for portraying the Duke of Florence in The Affairs of Cellini.

The Affairs of Cellini is one odd movie that I do not know exactly to make of. It is a comedy of sorts but it is one weird comedy.

Frank Morgan is one of the two actors that does not play it straight, the other is Frederic March who plays Cellini. Morgan does his Wizard of Oz routine in this film as the man who seems always a little nervous, and tries very poorly to be competent. This routine works better for his far briefer role as the Wizard of Oz. Here his routine which is all that he does for the entire film starts to get on my nerves. It is funny for a little bit of the time, and some of the things he says with his nervousness is funny such as saying to execute people, but overall he quickly becomes tiresome. I could see if it was part of his performance but it is the whole thing. He does not diversify his performance at all. Now it is a comedy and he is trying to be funny but it just does not work well enough for the whole time.

He technically is not wrong for the part, the duke is suppose to be incompetent, and nervous, but I think he is trying to be really funny but he just is not all that funny. Now I would say more about his performance but there is nothing more to say. He only does the same thing over and over again. He is not bad at this, but his routine is overused. It is fine for one scene, in fact it can be very good for one scene like in the Wizard of Oz, but here they overuse him. If he was only in say the first scene I probably would have liked him better because his routine works for short bursts, but here it is too much.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Best Actor 1934

And the Nominees Were:

William Powell in The Thin Man

Clark Gable in It Happened One  Night

Frank Morgan in The Affairs of Cellini

Who do you Pick? Which of the Mustached Men will win?

Best Supporting Actor 1961: Results

5. George Chakiris in West Side Story- He dances well, and sings okay, but he certainly acts very poorly.

4. Peter Falk in A Pocketful of Miracles- Falk is the only good thing about the movie, and he tries his best to be funny but his performance just is pushed too much in the background to over come the terrible film he is in.

3. George C. Scott in The Hustler- Scott is brilliant as Burt showing his manipulations in a brilliantly, realistically, and as cruelly effective as possible. He never ever false as Burt and that is what makes his performance all the more effective.

2. Jackie Gleason in The Hustler- Gleason gives a great performance through a relatively simple character by the fantastic way he creates something legendary out of simply playing pool.
1. Montgomery Clift in Judgment At Nuremberg- Clift has one scene and makes more than the most of it. He creates a true victim in his characterization of this man who was severely mistreated by the Nazis. His powerful performance creates the strongest scene in the film.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Best Supporting Actor 1961: George C. Scott in The Hustler

George C. Scott received his second Oscar nomination for portraying Bert Gordon in The Hustler.

George C. Scott is the second nomination from this film, and has more screen time than Gleason, although I would say his character technically is of equal importance. Bert is a fascinating character, he is a man who seems to love thrills, and manipulation. He is a man who is already rich but loves to play with Hustlers and gamblers because he merely loves the action. It is not only that but he also manipulates anyone he so chooses even when money is not involved. Scott initially comes into the film very mysteriously as the money man for Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason). Like his co-nominee in the film Scott's presence is incredibly strong.

Scott again like Gleason leaves for a time while the film more heavily focuses on Eddie Felson's (Newman) relationship with Sarah Packard (Piper Laurie). Bert returns when Eddie happens upon him in a bar. Their first scene together both actors are brilliant. Bert dissection of Felson is brilliantly and brutally handled by Scott. He shows that Bert basically knows just about everything about a man quickly. Scott brilliant shows how Bert is always dissecting with his eyes, he does not just look at someone he looks through them. His description of a natural character and character is played without fault, this description is a completely needed for the film entire, and Scott allowed me to understand it perfectly. Scott handles Burt manipulation with a magnificent effectiveness and efficiency just as a businessman would. He shows no remorse rather just a strict control, who refuses to lose his control.

His strongest scenes which are also Bert's most despicable, and manipulative is when he goes on the road with Eddie and Sarah. His slow manipulations of Sarah and Eddie are shown to be as cruelly effective as possible by Scott. Every remark Bert says or every little single he gives is made as terrible and chilling by Scott's brilliant delivery, and determined demeanor. Scott's most starkly effective scene is when he whispers something to Sarah. You do not hear what it is, but Scott's face tells is all, since you do not hear but you can see exactly what Bert is thinking. His specific manipulation of Sarah is almost too well played by Scott, his pushing her to her fate, is made believable, which is rather frightening, due to Scott's performance.

An especially strong scene of Scott's is his final scene with Newman. In this scene everyone is in the top of their form, Newman, Scott, somehow Gleason despite being pushed to the side. Bert tries is standard manipulations once again, but he fails reducing to threatening Eddie with physical violence. Scott backing down is handled again with his perfect realism. When Bert describes what he will do to Eddie, Scott shows Bert's evil to be just part of everyday business for him, through his casual delivery of the most despicable words. Scott never utters a false word and makes all of Bert's manipulations powerful, in a rather nasty way, and adds only to the greatness of The Hustler.

Best Supporting Actor 1961: Jackie Gleason in The Hustler

Jackie Gleason received his only Oscar nomination for portraying Minnesota Fats in The Hustler.

This I find to be a fascinating performance for several reasons. The first is Jackie Gleason is a comedian I hold in incredibly high regard, the original Honeymooners I find to bee one of the funniest shows ever due to Gleason as Ralph Kramden (and Art Carney as Ed Norton who also showed his dramatic strengths in Harry and Tonto). The other reason is because Minnesota Fats is not made the most complicated character ever but Gleason makes him beyond fascinating anyways.

Gleason is actually only in two scenes as Fats one at the beginning of the film and the final scene of the film. His total screen time is short but like Montgomery Clift of this year it does not stop his performance from being great. Gleason first off shows his physical acting ability is amazing here. If one compares his performance as Ralph Kramden to this one as Fats, one can see quite the fascinating transition. In the Honeymooners he is distraught, and has very poor posture, as Minnesota Fats his posture is perfect. His movements are tremendous. Every step Fats takes is absolutely perfect, Gleason walks around without fault and this shows Fats absolutely perfect demeanor and how his presence instantly holds commands, just as Gleason instantly commands the screen when he comes in. His physical abilities here are essential to his performance, and essential to the film itself. His physical prescene shows Fats incredibly strong character which is a key point of the film.

His physical movements of Fats are brilliant because both times when you initially see him he is a towring prescene, completely being the undefeatable pool game. Fats' first perfect pool game he plays is astoundingly played by Gleason. Yes he is just playing a game of pool but the way he moves around the table is as Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) says is like a perfect dancer. The way Gleason moves and shoots the game could have been just a process but Gleason shows that is much more than that do to his awesome physicallity in this role. He commands the screen with both his prescene and the strong power in his voice, he shows that Fats is always aware of what he is doing, who refuses to be played by Felson. His initial quick shut down of Felson attempted Hustle is perfectly played by Gleason because of his strict command and prescene. Gleason creates Fats as a legendary pool player, having the script win games and being said as so great does not matter so much, because must Gleason creates Fats as Legendary for the script to be believed, which Gleason does perfectly.

Later as he and Eddie play in the first game, I love how Gleason carefully shows Fats lose his command slowly as he begins to lose more. But than in their last game (in their first section of games) Gleason is brilliant as he has Fats prepare himself for the final game. He once again builds himself of and takes absoulte command of the screen showing himself as a winner and Felson as the loser. After Felson loses the last game Gleason dissapears for a long while in the film. But Gleason's prescene as Fats is always remebered, because of his impression he leaves. Due to Gleason I had no problem remebering when Bert (George C. Scott) speaks of Fats's character. Also  I had no problem understading Eddie's desire to play him again because I
myself wanted to see the legendary Fats again just as well.

The second part of Gleason's performace is amazingly even more powerful than his first half. Gleason again shows his prescene just as well and his decay as Felson plays and beats him again and again. Fats's physical and mental exhuastion is shown without fault by Gleason. But the greatest single part is when Eddie is threatened by Burt for the money Eddie has won against Fats. Gleason's sad face shows so much of Fats in just his single face in this scene. It shows how Fats really just loves the game, and hates the tactics of others, and really it also shows a history of knowledge. That Fats has probably seen this all before and that it is merely a fact of his life. It is astounding to me that Gleason shows this without saying anything, anything at all, the scene only focuses on him a little, but to me he pulls it off wonderfully despite this. Now you do not learn too much about Fats, especially if only taken by what is said out loud, but I felt I met him because of Gleason remarakable performance he takes so little and makes it into so much.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Best Supporting Actor 1961: George Chakiris in West Side Story

George Chakiris won an Oscar from his only nomination for portraying Bernardo, leader of the sharks, in West Side Story.

West Side Story is a film that I will admit holds my interest well watching it, even though there are many clear flaws in the film.

George Chakiris does two things well enough in the film, which I will say before I get to everything he does not do so well. He dances well he is right on step, and does not do anything wrong with that. Also he sings well enough, not amazingly but he is fine. Now how about his acting, well that is where the problems come from. Chakiris plays the leader of the Sharks, a rather cockey man, who hates the Jets and its members,. He has problems with America and Americans. This is the way Bernado is written and that is all Chakiris attempts for. He does nothing to even try to show more of Bernado than what is written, but again this is not his biggest problem.

His biggest problem is that he fails even to meet the written requirements of Bernado's character. He never seems really cocky to me, more of someone trying to be so. Which is surprising that the was unable to do something so simply as that. Now he never is believable in any other way such as his hatred of the Jets, he just does not really seem believable as a gang leader. He is never interesting or even really entertaining, the biggest thing which contributes to this is his incredibly dull line readings. Everything he says is just boringly said by him with little emotion shown even in scenes which are suppose to be incredibly intense. He never satisfies the needs of the part even, which to tell you the truth is not very much, and even if he did satisfy the needs of the part he still would be an undeserving winner. He adds nothing to the part and cannot even fulfill it, clearly a performance I do not like. He only dances well and sings fine that's it.

Best Supporting Actor 1961: Montgomery Clift in Judgment At Nuremberg

Montgomery Clift received his fourth and final Oscar nomination for portraying Rudolph Peterson in Judgment At Nuremberg.

Montgomery Clift here gives a one scene incredibly short performance, there are two kinds of one scene or close to one scene performances which can be represented by the Supporting Actress nominees in 1976, there is the Jane Alexander type or the Beatrice Straight type. The type that leaves no impression or at best barely serves its function and the type that stands out incredibly well, and contributes very well to the film it is in. Luckily Montgomery Clift is most certainly the Beatrice Straight type.

Montgomery Clift plays a man who is one of the former victims of the Nazi regime who testifies against German judges involved with Nazism. Here is one of the performances where the actors personal life gives an another level of depth to a performance. The man he plays is a broken man in many ways as Clift was at this time in his life. Clift clearly is not a well man but surprisingly it not distracting and oddly adds to his performance here. Clift uses an effective German accent here that works very well with his character, showing the somewhat slow and off nature of the man without forcing it at all.

When Clift's character is first called in I instantly was interested in him. He instantly shows Peterson as a man who is nervous, scared, and not a complete man with just the way he walks and sits down at the witness stand. His way of demeanor and moving is compelling and instantly shows the nature of Peterson before he says a single word. Clift does not stand still constantly moving showing Peterson's nervousness but moving a caution fearful fashion, not in a shy fashion. Peterson is questioned at how he was mistreated by the Nazi's which he reveals that he was sterilized due to being determined as a simpleton by the Nazis. Clift perfectly shows how Peterson has incredible difficulty in retelling and even thinking about his troubled memories.

Clift shows so much of this poor man in 12 minutes than many actors do in more than an hour. He is excellent in portraying that Peterson tries not to be a victim, happily telling about his family and even jokes briefly about his dealings with the Nazi, but Clift always clearly shows this man is not complete and has clear problems dealing with his situation. His performance really is heartbreaking because how honestly he shows this simple man who was wronged by cruel people, especially when he is also mistreated by one of the judges defense attorneys (Maximilian Schell). His inability to deal with the pressure of the court is incredibly effective, and when he tries to gain sympathy by showing a picture of his mother, is as emotionally powerful as possible. His movements and face are perfect, when he wags his finger at the attorney saying he is wrong, it feels as real and powerful as film scenes get. Clift never rings a false note, every movement seems true and real despite the difficult nature of the character. Clift's one scene here is by far the best scene of the film, his performance left a far greater impression than the film possibly could.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Best Supporting Actor 1961: Peter Falk in Pocketful of Miracles

Peter Falk received his second and final consecutive nomination for portraying Joy Boy in A Pocketful of Miracles. 

I like Frank Capra films but this one might be his worst. It is boring, schmaltzy and not really enjoyable at all.

Peter Falk apparently was the only thing that got Frank Capra through the filming of this movie, and it was the only thing that got me through watching the movie. Peter Falk plays Joy Boy who is the right hand man to Dave the Dude (Glen Ford). Joy Boy is the guy who tries to do what Dave needs him to do, and plainly get the job done. Falk role here is pretty limited acting frustrated at what he has to do and what the other people are doing in the film. Perhaps he was there symbolize the audience's reaction to the film. I must say Falk does what he does in this film well almost acting in another movie, as a man who sees all the schmaltz and sort of makes fun of it.

His rough delivery works very well, and shows how lame the rest of the film is really. I liked his performance and his constant reactions which reflected my reactions to the film. Unfortunately the film was not about him at all and especially in the second half where his reactions are very much in the background. When you do see him his performance remains the bright spots in the film, but unfortunately the boring main characters are given more importance. If Joy Boy was given his own film perhaps that could have been something because I do like Falk here, but Falk here is limited by the film, making it so his performance can't quite be separated from the mess it is in.

Best Supporting Actor 1961

And the Nominees Were:

Montgomery Clift in Judgment At Nuremberg

Peter Falk in Pocketful of Miracles 

George Chakiris in West Side Story

Jackie Gleason in The Hustler

George C. Scott in The Hustler

Who do you pick? What do predict my ranking will be?

Monday, 23 August 2010

Best Supporting Actor 1948: Results

5. Jose Ferrer in Joan of Arc- Ferrer does basically nothing with his performance as the Dauphin, being an incredibly dull presence, while still being overly theatrical in his way of speaking.
4. Oskar Homolka in I Remember Mama- Homolka overacts very heavily in his scenes being far too obvious in his performance. I did like his last scene where he toned it down but that was not enough.

3. Charles Bickford in Johnny Belinda- Bickford is good showing the transition of a father from believing his daughter to being dumb to truly loving her despite the fact the film and script are really built away from him.

2. Cecil Kellaway in The Luck of the Irish- Kellaway fulfills his role perfectly, he just seems right as a Leprechaun. Even though the part is not the most complicated Kellaway still gives a very nice performance.
1. Walter Huston in The Treasure of Sierra Madre- Huston tops the list once again, making him the biggest winner for me with three wins so far. Huston is just terrific from beginning to end, adding so much to the film with his energetic presence. He is brilliant at creating Howard the old prospector with his voice and manner, and creating the depth of character showing so much more to the character than what is spoken aloud. (Good Prediction Dinasztie) 

Best Supporting Actor 1948: Cecil Kellaway in The Luck of the Irish

Cecile Kellaway received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Horace, a Leprechaun, in The Luck of the Irish.

Luck of the Irish is an okay film about a man torn basically between the country values and the city ones.

Kellaway is a key to the Irish roots of the main character by being a Leprechaun named Horace he meets while there. Kellaway's character here is not the most complicated ever, he is a typical Leprechaun, and serves the purpose of pushing the old timey sentimentality sort of thing. Kellaway really is perfect in the role even if the role is not all too complicated. He just seems perfect as a Leprechaun, Kellaway who actually is not Irish just seems to fit the part so well anyways.

His whole demeanor and voice just work perfectly for the part. He just plainly seems and is the Leprechaun because of his manner. Kellaway never needs to be believed he just is, He is just nice presence throughout the film. His performance never becomes a great one but just a nice one which is what he needs to be. He needs to be a pleasant remainder of the pleasantries of the old country life in Ireland. Kellaways does this completely without fault, and makes a Leprechaun as natural as possible.

Best Supporting Actor 1948: Walter Huston in The Treasure of Sierra Madre

Walter Huston won his only Oscar from his fourth and final nomination for playing gold prospector named Howard in The Treasure of Sierra Madre.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a great film in my book, telling a fascinating story of three prospectors who find a lot of gold but find keeping it is harder than it seems, due to roaming bandits and the greed of one of the three named Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart in his best performance).

I clearly am I a fan of Walter Huston, giving him wins for both of his lead nominations. There is something about his presence and manner that I always enjoy watching especially when he is given a good character. In Treasure I find his performance is rather interesting and is usually not given credit for his technical prowess in this particular film. Huston played the Devil, and a rich businessman as believably as possibly, but here he plays a grizzled old down and out prospector and he is just as believable. I really enjoy his mannerisms in this film. He is perfectly made up in the film with the suspenders, and hair but Huston only adds to it using very effective voice and effective mannerisms such as his posture, and the way he squints his eyes, that only add to his character, and makes Huston even more believable as the prospector.

Huston adds a lot to this film as usually does (heck he even adds something in his 5 second cameo in The Maltese Falcon) his presence is always very strong and always adds some energy to his films. I feel he adds more energy than usual with his performance here. I love every minute he is on screen always making the scenes move along do to his movements and his perfect way of speaking. He never in this film lets a film become dull automatically begins Huston never is dull for single moment in this film. Huston has the several scenes where he is required to show rather extreme joy and loudness, in say the last scene where Howard is laughing or the earlier scene where he laughs at his fellow prospectors for not recognizing gold below their feet. These scenes almost have to be played over the top, but I still do not think Huston does. Yes he is laughing, dancing and loud, but Huston does this so well that it seems as a natural part of Howard's character opposed to it being an actor forcing it to be something the character does.

The greatest part of his performance involves the utmost subtlety form Huston which works marvelously. Howard is a knowing prospector and is the wisest of the three prospectors in the story even though he is not a genius. Huston shows Howard deeper knowing of gold, greed and men perfectly. From first the slightly more obvious time in his entrance scene where he tells everyone of gold, where Huston tells of Howard history setting up the character, to later when Howard knows more than the others about greed. From his first reaction to Dobbs' and Curtin's (Tim Holt) handshake, where Huston through his face shows Howard knows the trust of the men will not stand the test of greed well, to later when he is dealing with the fighting among the prospectors. Huston as Howard always shows a certain wisdom while still showing that his character knows he is not really that smart. He also excels at showing that Howard tries to do the right thing but still is not a good enough man to stand up for what is truly right. Huston does all this without saying a thing he shows it through his face which he without fault makes completely into Howard's face. Huston excels in every one of his scenes, and gives a very effective performance.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Best Supporting Actor 1948: Oskar Homolka in I Remeber Mama

Oskar Homolka recieved his only Oscar nomination for portraying Uncle Chris Halverson in I Remember Mama.

I Remember Mama is a okay film at times about Norwegian immigrants but a little too long, and never that good really.

Oskar Homolka plays Uncle Chris the somewhat wacky Uncle who is related to the main Hanson family of the film. Homolka initially comes into the film as wacky and over the top as possible. He yells all the time, gives over the top expressions and gestures, he is the only cast member from the original play, and it shows. He is almost always too theatrical in his performance, making wide eyed looks, and it never really works all that well. His character is suppose to be loud and a little over the top anyways but Homolka went a little too far with the way he handled a lot of his scenes. He was not particularly believable, and his whole demeanor really does not work. He is not terrible his wackiness works a little bit at times but on a whole it seems false. His last scene though feels a bit a different from the rest of his performance though. He tones down his wackiness and his over the topness for his one last scene. He actually does a good job in giving a heartfelt scene at the very end. He gives a very tender moment where he gives a very honest performance, that works well. The one scene, although is well handled does not really make up for his over the topness of the rest of his performance.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Best Supporting Actor 1948: Charles Bickford in Johnny Belinda

Charles Bickford received his third and final Oscar nomination for playing Black McDonald in Johnny Belinda. 

Charles Bickford plays Black McDonald Belinda's (Jane Wyman) father. Black is a hard working farmer and at first believes her only to be deaf and dumb. He slowly changes his view after Belinda is helped by a caring doctor played by Lew Ayers. Bickford does a better job than I expected him. Black could have easily been portrayed as a one dimensionally harsh father but Bickford does not play him that way. He begins very tough on his daughter but he slowly changes as his daughter gains a greater ability to communicate.

I think Bickford does a good job of showing the change of his character, from to distant to more loving of his daughter even though the script forces him to do it rather quickly. He did do a good job of showing a little of that before she changed although keeping it rather subtle. He does a good job showing concern for her daughter and becoming proud of her. When later he finds out she is pregnant I felt he handled Black's reaction rather well. Of first anger and confusion, but then properly easing into trying to help his daughter. His reactions to when his daughter is giving birth are perfect. He shows his honest fear and care for his daughter. Bickford does a fine job throughout the film and I wish he was actually given a little more to do. Unfortunately Bickford's role kept fairly simple and is not given really enough to do. His transition is to short for Bickford to really do a great job and is only able to deliver a good one due to the short transition time. He is never bad though and is good throughout, but limited by the limits of the character.

Best Supporting Actor 1948: Jose Ferrer in Joan of Arc

Jose Ferrer received his first Oscar nomination for portraying the Dauphin in Joan of Arc.

Joan of Arc is a pretty poor telling of the story of Joan, that always seems unrealistic and over the top, and never becomes very interesting or very good.

Ferrer is not in the film for very much of the time but when he is he makes little to no impact. He plays a Dauphin who is a poor ruler in all regards who is incompetent and basically sells out Joan for his own gain. Ferrer shows the Dauphin's incompetence well enough but that is all he does well enough. I will admit he does not seem kingly at all or in charge and he is not suppose to. But Ferrer really does very little to show this except read the lines that say this. He does not really do anything with this performance at all. He adds no depth to his character, he is just the incompetent Dauphin in the script and he adds nothing to the character from there. He leaves everything really to the script never giving little hints to more or adding anything interesting about the character. He is a bit theatrical in his way of speaking yet somehow he is always incredibly dull at the same time. He made no impact on the movie at all and is one of the weakest parts in a movie that is already weak. Ferrer does not give a very interesting or well played film debut. He clearly seemed to be inexperienced in film acting and shows really none of abilities that would be seen in later films, such as his brilliant single scene in Lawrence of Arabia.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Best Supporting Actor 1948

And the Nominees Were:

Cecil Kellaway in The Luck of the Irish

Jose Ferrer in Joan of Arc

Walter Huston in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Charles Bickford in Johnny Belinda

Oskar Homolka in I Remember Mama

Who do you pick? What do you predict my ranking will be?

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Best Actor 1928: Results

2. Charlie Chaplin in The Circus- Chaplin does his usual routine which consist this time of the typical silent overacting, but his physical movements are well done enough to a least be admired even if they did not make me laugh.

1. Emil Jannings in The Last Command- Emil Jannings gives a great performance which relies on subtlety and expert physical command to create an incredibly powerful performance.

Ranking of films
1. The Circus
2. The last Command

Best Actor 1928: Emil Jannings in The Last Command

Emil Jannings won the first best actor Oscar for portraying Gen. Dolgorucki / Grand Duke Sergius Alexander in The Last Command.

The Last Command is a more interesting film than I expected it to be, a film about a Czarist Russian General who goes an becomes a movie extra after the revolution.

 This film presents some astoundingly subtle acting from Emil Jannings in this role. With Jannings you will not see the over done motions and gestures usually seen in silent acting, but instead subtle gestures to greater effect. Jannings begins in the film just perfectly as the proud Russian General who loves Russia and must try to keep control during the turbulent time of the Revolution. His presence is just right always having the right pompous movements in his steps and a right clearly controlling nature in the way in which he moves.He never forces himself to look like the General he just is the General, always perfect and completely fulfilling the look of the part as a silent actor needs to. There is never a doubt in his performance which makes the General's own confidence all the more believable.

He is amazing in this part really because even when many around him overact with their faces and movements Jannings never really does. The closest he comes is when he laughs, but than again he is laughing. He has strong scenes throughout the film because he shows his emotions only with his face, because that is all he can really do in a silent film, and shows the emotions always incredibly well. Especially strong scene is when he attempts to romance a woman, where Jannings clearly shows an interesting romantic side of the General. Showing an actual warmness and passion into his performance with his subtle facial gestures.

His strongest scenes though is the one where he is attacked by revolutionaries and another in his final scene. The scene where he is attacked by revolutionaries is brilliantly handled by Jannings, showing the General attempt to keep power and order is effectively handled. But than after being attacked by the mob his face of surprise and anguish is spectacular. He shows not one obvious emotion but rather allowing us to see what the General is thinking. His change to great general to a lowly film extra is perfectly handled showing his depression and loss clearly. His last speech where he finally gains his old command (although fictionally in a film) and passion back is expertly done by Jannings giving a great performance, and showing that silent performance can be subtle and truly effective.