Mickey Rooney received his fourth and final Oscar nomination for portraying Henry Dailey in The Black Stallion.
Mickey Rooney plays Henry Dailey a character who does not show up until the second half of the film. Henry Dailey is a retired horse race jockey who befriends and helps the boy. He helps him by trying to teach him to be a good jockey, and being able to compete in a horse race with his incredible fast horse. He is a mentor character who has his various scenes of training the boy and the horse and giving little motivational speeches. But do not forget he had his past in horse racing and has a possible regrets involving that.
Rooney plays a fairly standard role here but I like how he played it. He never over did the character. He never tried to over do the niceness of him or the way he trains. Rooney never tries to show off or steal scenes in this performance. He just wants to be a nice presence which he is. He never is great but he is always very realistic in his portrayal. He acts as warm and kind but never becomes an overly sentimental character. He shows the past of the character well, but does not over do his character's feeling about his past. Rooney never becomes amazing in his performance nor does he have to. He needs to be just a nice part of this nice story and that is exactly what he is.