Saturday, 7 August 2010

Best Supporting Actor 1979: Justin Henry in Kramer vs. Kramer

Justin Henry received his only Oscar nomination for portraying Billy Kramer in Kramer.

Justin Henry is the youngest nominated actor in this category and is child actor performance. Now a child actor can have a few problem, one thing is they can be bad and it seemed like no one had the heart to tell them, or they can just try to be cutesy all the time. Luckily Justin Henry has neither of these problems. He plays the very important role of the child whose life changes when his parents divorce and his father (Dustin Hoffman) now must take care of him.

I like his performances because Henry just seems like a real kid in this situation rather than some movie kid. He mostly is not used for cuteness except one brief scene involving a Woman Hoffman has a one night stand with. But other than Henry really plays it straight and realistically. He shows that this kid is not the perfect child but has his own flaws and anger at his mother for leaving and at his father for some of their fights they have. One especially strong scene that shows this is when the Kramer and his son fight at the dinner table and Henry's character stops listening to his father. I like how naturally he shows his characters brief bratty behavior that really makes Billy Kramer a three dimensional child. Then his crying at his father's angry reaction to him disobedient behavior is equally as important, and then finally their scene where they make up is outstanding. There barely ever is a false note in his performance, and he and Hoffman are good together. Their relationship is essential to the power of the film and they succeed in creating it honestly.

5 comments:

joe burns said...

Looks like he'll be second. What do you think of Streep?

Sage Slowdive said...

I agree...the whole cast had their moments, even Jane Alexander...

dinasztie said...

I'm not a very huge fan of this movie, despite the fact that I'm a die-hard fan of Hoffman. But the cast was excellent, including Henry.

Fritz said...

I am not a fan of this movie overall, but the acting from everyone is perfect!

Louis Morgan said...

Joe: Streep was excellent. Alexander actually was good too.

Sage: They certainly did.

Dinastzie, Fritz: Well at least it seems we can agree the acting was very good.