Roberto Benigni won an Oscar from his only acting nomination for portraying Guido Orefice in Life is Beautiful.
Who was the first actor to win in this category for a foreign language performance, was it Giancarlo Giannini's brilliant performance in Seven Beauties, or perhaps one of Marcello Mastroianni's performances, no not one of those who could have been incredibly deserving no the first was for Benigni.
There is not that much to his performance really. All he really does is smile, and clown around throughout the film, with the occasional sad face. He really just keeps smiling throughout doing his clown act, and that is it no matter what the situation is. I understand that this is what Guido's character is suppose to be, but even if that seems right for the character it does not make his performance here an impressive one.
Now after the fact that he does the same thing over and over again, does this thing that he does over and over again work? Well not for me really. I never found him to be all that funny or charming. I will grant him that he tries very hard to get a laugh, and to seem really really charming but I never really found him to be. He did not grow on me in the least, and his performance does not make his own film work either, despite being essential for it to. He never made the story convincing for me even in a fantastical sort of way, his performance simply failed to work.