Monday, 31 January 2011

Best Supporting Actor 2000: Willem Dafoe in Shadow of the Vampire

Willem Dafoe received his second Oscar nomination for portraying Max Schreck in Shadow of the Vampire.

Shadow of the Vampire is a movie with a interesting premise, but it also has many pointless and uninteresting scenes. It feels oddly slow despite being a fairly short film, but the last scene of the film is terrific.

Max Schreck portrayed a vampire Count Orlock incredibly well in the original silent film Nosferatu, and this film tells the story that the reason Schreck was so good in the role was because he really was a vampire. Willem Dafoe has a rather incredible an odd challenge in portraying Schreck because Schreck's original performance was so strange, and almost other worldly that it would be difficult for any actor to even attempt to imitate it. Dafoe performance is not a spitting image of Schreck's original performance that would be impossible but his imitation is still uncanny.

Dafoe utilizes his whole body to create Schreck once again, which he uses to make all of Schreck's mannerisms. Every part of his body from his bizarre odd posture that is just as Schreck's original posture, and the way Schrek would move his neck and head in its odd way, and that perfect way in which he would moves his fingers. All of these movements and motions are very odd, but they seem completely natural due to Dafoe. This is astonishing because it makes his performance all the creepier since he really seems like a vampire.

Now Dafoe's performance is not only an expert imitation though. He also develops this odd vampire quite well. He makes Schreck actually an odd somber and sad vampire in one incredible scene. Dafoe is simply magnificent in showing the age of Schreck, and the actual almost sadness he has for being a relic. He also makes Schreck want to be known through film rather interesting, with making an actual need of Schreck, an incredible desire which is almost above everything else.

Dafoe makes Schreck an entertaining villain, showing his evil happiness exceptionally well, and in a very entertaining fashion. Dafoe's performance as Schreck simply is brilliant creating a complex character out of what could be a simple monster, and somehow naturally imitating the bizarre manner of the original performance of Schreck's. I wish the film was as good as this terrific performance.

Best Supporting Actor 2000

And the Nominees Were:

Willem Dafoe in Shadow of the Vampire

Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator

Benicio Del Toro in Traffic

Jeff Bridges in The Contender

Albert Finney in Erin Brockovich

After finally getting over the trauma of watching Star! I feeling I can finally return to supporting.

Lead Ranking Over 200 Nominees

  1. 1962
  2. 1939
  3. 1964
  4. 1965
  5. 1974
  6. 1976
  7. 1954
  8. 1982
  9. 1972
  10. 1967
  11. 1979
  12. 1955
  13. 1950
  14. 1977
  15. 1968
  16. 2006
  17. 1943
  18. 1956
  19. 1984
  20. 1958
  21. 1998
  22. 1946 
  23. 1936
  24. 2005
  25. 1993
  26. 1947
  27. 1981
  28. 1989
  29. 2004
  30. 1937 
  31. 1941
  32. 1997
  33. 1996
  34. 2003 
  35. 1945
  36. 1985
  37. 2001
  38. 1991
  1. F. Murray Abraham in Amadeus (1984)
  2. Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront (1954)
  3. Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  4. James Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
  5. Paul Newman in The Verdict (1982)
  6. Giancarlo Giannini in Seven Beauties (1976)
  7. Edward Norton in American History X (1998)
  8. Peter O'Toole in The Lion in Winter (1968)
  9. Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot (1989)
  10. Peter Finch in Network (1976)
  11. Laurence Olivier in Sleuth (1972) 
  12. Richard Burton in The Spy Who Came in From The Cold (1965)
  13. Rod Steiger in The Pawnbroker (1965)
  14. Kirk Douglas in Lust For Life (1956)
  15. Laurence Olivier in Richard III (1956) 
  16. Robert Montgomery in Night Must Fall (1937)
  17. Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend (1945)
  18. Clark Gable in Gone With The Wind (1939)
  19. Ernest Borgnine in Marty (1955)
  20. Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote (2005)
  21. Clark Gable in It Happened One Night (1934)
  22. Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver (1976)
  23. Victor McLaglen in The Informer (1935)
  24. Ronald Colman in A Double Life (1947)
  25. Spencer Tracy in A Bad Day At Black (1955)
  26. Anthony Quinn in Zorba the Greek (1964)
  27. Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland (2006)
  28. Peter O'Toole in Becket (1964)
  29. Art Carney in Harry and Tonto (1974)
  30. Jack Nicholson in Chinatown (1974)
  31. William Hurt in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
  32. Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie (1982)
  33. Paul Lukas in Watch on the Rhine (1943)
  34. Jack Lemmon in Days Of Wine And Roses (1962)
  35. Al Pacino in The Godfather Part 2 (1974) 
  36. James Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes Washington (1939)
  37. Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
  38. Liam Neeson in Schindler's List (1993)
  39. Rod Steiger in The Heat of the Night (1967)
  40. Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  41. James Dean in East of Eden (1955)
  42. Laurence Olivier in Wuthering Heights (1939)
  43. Marcello Mastroianni in Divorce Italian Style (1962)
  44. Richard Burton in Becket (1964)
  45. Michael Caine in Sleuth (1972)
  46. Tom Wilkinson in In The Bedroom (2001)
  47. James Mason in A Star is Born (1954)
  48. Robert Donat in Goodbye, Mr Chips (1939)
  49. Laurence Olivier in Henry V (1946)
  50. Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove (1964)
  51. Marlon Brando in The Godfather (1972)
  52. Peter Sellers in Being There (1979)
  53. Walter Huston The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)
  54. Robert Duvall in The Apostle (1997)
  55. Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
  56. Emil Jannings in The Last Command (1928)
  57. Walter Huston in Dodsworth (1936)
  58. David Niven in Separate Tables (1958)
  59. Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator (2004)
  60. Bing Crosby in The Country Girl (1954)
  61. Dudley Moore in Arthur (1981)
  62. Don Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda (2004)
  63. Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond (1981) 
  64. John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  65. Oskar Werner in Ship of Fools (1965)
  66. Marcello Mastroianni in A Special Day (1977)
  67. Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate (1967)
  68. Tom Hulce in Amadeus (1984)
  69. William Powell in The Thin Man (1934)
  70. Ben Kingsley in Gandhi (1982)
  71. Ian McKellen in Gods and Monsters (1998)
  72. James Stewart in Harvey (1950)
  73. Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain (2005)
  74. Jose Ferrer in Cyrano De Bergerac (1950)
  75. William Holden in Sunset Blvd. (1950)
  76. Daniel Day-Lewis in In the Name of the Father (1993) 
  77. Cary Grant in Penny Serenade (1941)
  78. Leonardo DiCaprio Blood Diamond (2006)
  79. Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind (2001)
  80. Morgan Freeman in Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
  81. Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke (1967)
  82. Peter Fonda in Ulee's Gold (1997)
  83. Alan Bates in The Fixer (1968)
  84. Albert Finney in Under The Volcano (1984)
  85. Tony Curtis in The Defiant Ones (1958)
  86. Orson Welles in Citizen Kane (1941)
  87. Sam Waterson in The Killing Fields (1984)
  88. Sidney Poitier in The Defiant Ones (1958)
  89. Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca (1943)
  90. Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou (1965)
  91. Clark Gable in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
  92. Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan (1998)
  93. Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson (2006)
  94. Clint Eastwood in Million Dollar Baby (2004)
  95. Jack Lemmon in The China Syndrome (1979)
  96. Spencer Tracy in Father of the Bride (1950)
  97. Dan O'Herlihy in Robinson Crusoe (1954)
  98. Peter O'Toole in The Ruling Class (1972)
  99. Paul Newman in A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
  100. Roy Scheider in All that Jazz (1979)
  101. Fredric March in A Star is Born (1937)
  102. Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire (1996)  
  103. Gregory Peck in The Keys of the Kingdom (1945)
  104. Peter O'Toole in My Favorite Year (1982)
  105. Richard Burton in Equus (1977)
  106. Mickey Rooney in The Human Comedy (1943)
  107. William Holden in Network (1976)
  108. Ralph Fiennes in The English Patient (1997)
  109. William Powell in My Man Godfrey (1936)
  110. Cliff Robertson in Charly (1968)
  111. Laurence Olivier in Othello (1965)
  112. Peter O'Toole in Venus (2006)
  113. Kenneth Branagh in Henry V (1989)
  114. Warner Baxter in In Old Arizona (1929)
  115. Dustin Hoffman in Lenny (1974)
  116. Gary Cooper in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
  117. Fredric March in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
  118. Warren Beatty in Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
  119. Al Pacino in ...And Justice for All (1979)
  120. Anthony Hopkins in The Remains of the Day (1993)
  121. James Dean in Giant (1956)
  122. Burt Lancaster in Atlantic City (1981)
  123. William Powell in Life With Father (1947)
  124. Charles Laughton in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
  125. Bill Murray in Lost in Translation (2003)
  126. Jude Law in Cold Mountain (2003)
  127. Rock Hudson in Giant (1956)
  128. Jack Lemmon in Missing (1982)
  129. John Garfield in Body and Soul (1947)
  130. Ron Moody in Oliver! (1968)
  131. Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady (1964)
  132. Charles Boyer in Conquest (1937)
  133. Burt Lancaster in Birdman of Alcatraz
  134. Woody Allen in Annie Hall (1977)
  135. Paul Muni in The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
  136. James Cagney in Love Me or Leave Me (1955)
  137. David Straithairn in Good Night and Good Luck (2005) 
  138. Harrison Ford in Witness (1985)
  139. Sean Penn in Mystic River (2003)
  140. Spencer Tracy in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
  141. Geoffrey Rush in Shine (1996)
  142. Alan Arkin in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1968)
  143. Richard Dreyfuss in The Goodbye Girl (1977)
  144. Humphrey Bogart in The Caine Mutiny (1954)
  145. Michael Redgrave in Mourning Becomes Electra (1947)
  146. Nick Nolte in Affliction (1998)
  147. Mickey Rooney in Babes in Arms (1939)
  148. Charlie Chaplin in The Circus (1928)
  149. Jack Nicholson in As Good as it Gets (1997)
  150. Dustin Hoffman in Wag the Dog (1997)
  151. Paul Muni in The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936)
  152. Louis Calhern in The Magnificent Yankee (1950)
  153. Gary Cooper in For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)
  154. Walter Pidgeon in Madame Curie (1943)
  155. Billy Bob Thorton in Sling Blade (1996)
  156. Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland
  157. Albert Finney in Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
  158. Spencer Tracy in San Francisco (1936)
  159. Johnny Depp in The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
  160. Franchot Tone in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
  161. Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line (2005)
  162. Paul Winfield in Sounder (1972)
  163. Frank Sinatra in The Man With the Golden Arm (1955) 
  164. Tom Hanks in Philadelphia (1993)
  165. Gregory Peck in The Yearling (1946)
  166. Robin Williams in The Fisher King (1991)
  167. Gregory Peck in Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
  168. James Garner in Murphy's Romance (1985)
  169. Robert Montgomery in Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)
  170. Sylvester Stallone in Rocky (1976)
  171. Paul Newman in Absence of Malice (1981)
  172. Frank Morgan in The Affairs of Cellini (1934)
  173. Warren Beatty in Reds (1981)
  174. Gene Kelly in Anchors Aweigh (1945)
  175. Ben Kingsley in The House of Sand and Fog (2003)
  176. Robert De Niro in Cape Fear (1991)
  177. Jon Voight in Runaway Train (1985)
  178. Nick Nolte in The Prince of Tides (1991)
  179. Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
  180. Denzel Washington in Training Day (2001)
  181. Laurence Fishburne in What's Love Got To Do With It (1993)
  182. Bing Crosby in Bells of St. Mary's (1945)
  183. Spencer Tracy in The Old Man and The Sea (1958)
  184. Chester Morris in Alibi (1929)
  185. Jack Nicholson in Prizzi's Honor (1985)
  186. Woody Harrelson in The People vs Larry Flynt (1996)
  187. Larry Parks in The Jolson Story (1946)  
  188. Warren Beatty in Bugsy (1991)
  189. Terrence Howard in Hustle and Flow (2005)
  190. Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting (1997)
  191. Robin William in Dead Poet's Society (1989)
  192. Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
  193. Yul Brynner in The King and I (1956)
  194. Cornel Wilde in A Song to Remember (1945)
  195. Jeff Bridges in Star Man (1984)
  196. Spencer Tracy in Captain Courageous (1937) 
  197. Gary Cooper in Sergeant York (1941)
  198. Will Smith in Ali (2001)
  199. Roberto Benigni in Life is Beautiful (1998)
  200. Sean Penn in I Am Sam (2001) 
  201. Jamie Foxx in Ray (2004)
Some Random Trivia so far
Most Lead Wins: Walter Huston, Clark Gable, Laurence Olivier, Peter O'Toole and James Stewart with 2
Most Losses without win: Spencer Tracy with 6
Most Reviewed Performer: Spencer Tracy, Peter O'Toole
Best Real Winner: F. Murray Abraham in Amadeus
Worst Real Winner: Jamie Foxx in Ray
Lowest of My Winners: Bill Murray in Lost in Translation
Most 2nd places: William Powell, Dustin Hoffman

Random Thoughts of the second 100:
Best Entrance by Nominee: Clark Gable in Gone With the Wind
Best Exit: Clark Gable in Gone With The Wind
Strangest Character: Peter Sellers as Being There
Most Pleasant Surprise: Robert Montgomery in Night Must Fall

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Best Actor 1979: Results

5. Al Pacino in ...And Justice for All-Al Pacino gives a good performance, and remains a realistic and emotionally powerful presence in a rather stupid film. 
4. Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer- Dustin Hoffman gives an authentic and honest portrayal of a troubled father. 
3. Jack Lemmon in The China Syndrome- Jack Lemmon gives a strong performance and shows his character emotional disintegration as his conscience grows on him.
2. Roy Scheider in All That Jazz- Scheider has the right charm and right type of presence in this film, but I do believe the self-indulgent film holds his performance back
1. Peter Sellers in Being There- Peter Sellers creates an incredibly memorable character through his finely attuned performance as Chance. He keeps his character consistent, and his whole creation of Chance is simply wonderful.

Best Actor 1979: Dustin Hoffman in Kramer VS. Kramer

Dustin Hoffman won his first Oscar from his fourth nomination for portraying Ted Kramer in Kramer VS. Kramer.

Dustin Hoffman portrays Ted Kramer a successful workaholic advertising executive who is very much surprised by his wife divorcing him, and leaving him to take care of their son by himself. The first scene is well played by both Hoffman and Meryl Streep. Hoffman's reaction is honest in his at first disbelief of the situation, than his realization, and than quick attempt at reconciliation. Both actors are well attuned to each other showing the couples history in just this one scene, showing their relationship, and clearly giving a vivid idea of it before we came in on it.

After this strong opening scene the film portrays Ted attempting to deal with his job, and raising his son at the same time.  Hoffman gives and interesting and realistic performance as we follow him through his new life as a single father. Hoffman is very good because he does not show this as easy at all for Kramer, and also he shows that he is not at all a perfect father. The relationship between Kramer and his son (Justin Henry) is made genuine by both actors. Both actors show a natural real relationship between father and son, that is not at all perfect. Their relationship changes and grows and both actors show their gradual change incredibly well. From their first moments together where they fight with one another, these scenes are incredibly well handled by Hoffman and Henry because they handle the realistically fight, but afterward are both authentic in their apologies. Their relationship is challenged though when Kramer's ex-wife returns and wants custody of their son herself. Hoffman is good in showing Kramer's passionate want to keep his son, and his anger at his ex-wife. Hoffman gives a strong portrayal in the courtroom sequences. Also very good is his final talk with Justin Henry which really shows how far their relationship and has come, and how strong the actors are in their roles. 

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Best Actor 1979: Peter Sellers in Being There

Peter Sellers received his second and final Oscar nomination for portraying Chance the Gardner in Being There.

This now is the third time I have watched Being There, and although I do like its opening very much, I think it wears its welcome as the story becomes harder and harder to believe, even though I must say they get a whole lot out of a single joke.

Peter Sellers performance here is one very much about character creation and character persistence. Chance is not a character who changes at all since he is in fact a simple mentally retarded man. Sellers' creation of Chance is perfectly done by him. Everything aspect of Chance is finely attuned, to make Chance an endearing character. His whole manner in his very particular manner of walking and moving, and that simple Stan Laurel voice amplifies the emptiness of what the character is.

Peter Sellers makes every motion and movement of character completely fit with that character, from his very gentle way of speaking, and moving, to his way of always turning toward the television. Sellers shows that is simply where Chance sees everything and knows everything therefore he turns to the television for any sort of idea or thought. He imitates what he sees in a slow, completely childlike way, in which he just follows what he seems to see it as right.

Sellers does something very important as Chance and that is because he stays completely consistent throughout the performance. He never tries to show an actual change in Chance which is important, he shows that Chance will not change in his personality for this is the way Chance is and always will be. If Chance changed at all it would be incorrect for the character, and Sellers always keeps with the character, and keeps with the proper way of the character throughout the film.

Sellers makes Chance into a fully realized and believable as a character, he makes Chance somehow real despite the strangeness of Chance. He also manages to add a certain amount of heart to Chance despite Chance never showing any overt emotion. He somehow makes Chance charming, without Chance trying to be due to his simple but incredibly effective characterization of Chance. Sellers even more amazingly actually makes the plot believable for about half the movie, because of this unique characterization. The second half not being believable is not his fault, the story just simply takes it further than it really can go.

Chance does not change really except in a very small way which is earned by Sellers, since he showed Chance slowly learn this change from others and television, which is his emotional recognition of death. Sellers slowly shows this very much earned change, which is with the character because he shows a childlike recognition of death at the end of the film which Sellers makes very effective, and consistent with Chance.

Now Sellers is not given an exact character arc and Chance really only has one very minor change throughout the performance, and one could easily say this is not really an extremely challenging character, since he does not change. Chance is a simple character but he could have easily gone completely wrong with another actor. Sellers though finds the right tone for his performance, and brilliantly creates Chance into an endearing and effective character.

Best Actor 1979: Jack Lemmon in The China Syndrome

Jack Lemmon received his sixth Oscar nomination for portraying Jack Godell in The China Syndrome.

The China Syndrome is not a great film, as it is message is heavy handed at times, but it does make for a fairly effective thriller at end.

Jack Lemmon portrays Jack Goddell who is one of the main supervisor who works at a Nuclear power plant. He is first introduced in the film when the plant has what seems to be a minor problem, and he appears to help deal with it. Slowly the problem escalates into a full threat to the entire plant. Lemmon gives a terrific performance in this opening scene, as he goes from taking care of business as usual, but slowly begins to freak out as he sees the problem becoming worse. Lemmon's performance is excellent here because it exemplifies the escalation  of the problem with his emotional disintegration.

After his rather strong opening scene Lemmon comes in and out of the film, as he at first takes his company's stand on the incident which is to pretend that almost nothing really happened, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the plant itself. Lemmon is very strong in a moment where he has to lie to a news reporter (Jane Fonda). Lemmon is very strong in showy the facade he puts on but with the clear indication that he really knows he is lying and that he knows there is in fact something very wrong with the plant.

Slowly though he soon finds out that the plant has serious problems which the officials of the plant know. Lemmon presents Godell growing frustrations brilliantly since he shows the frustrations effect him very deeply, since it basically challenges his own life's work. This leads to a climatic scene where he tries to get the truth out about the plant rather dramatically by taken command of the central control room. Lemmon is absolutely terrific in these moments as attempts to control the situation to get the word out, but also starts to break down due to all of the pressure around him. His last moment in which he freaks out at the end very end is chilling due to Lemmon. Lemmon gives a strong realistic performance which succeeds in properly amplifying emotional strength of the film by really becoming the soul of the film.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Best Actor 1979: Roy Scheider in All That Jazz

Roy Scheider received his second and final Oscar nomination for portraying Joe Gideon in All That Jazz.

All That Jazz has interesting moments, but it is a rather self-indulgent semi-autobiographical effort by Bob Fosse, especially at the end of film.

Scheider portrays Joe Gideon who obviously is suppose to be Bob Fosse himself. Gideon is a talented choreographer, and musical director, but also a womanizer, and indulging in far too many drugs, drink, and smoking. It is certainly stranger to Scheider in this role as this manic flamboyant man, which is an extreme far cry from some of his other far more straight laced character such as the detective in the French Connection, or the Police Captain in Jaws. Scheider is very much against type, but he does not seem to be miscast though.

I think Scheider actually fits the role well enough, and is believable with the technical aspects of the performance. He completely is believable as Bob Fosse, and he does show the right amount of semi slimy charm, along with the right amount of energy he puts into everything. I really had no problem whatsoever with what Scheider did I thought it always lined up well with the character and just seemed right in the part in his various situations. He also handled the characters disintegration well at the end.

Now I did not think this was an amazing performance though, and I think that this is because this really is a director's film. All the actions, all the characters are always completely moved sometimes almost randomly by Fosse. Now most films are in control obviously not by the actors, but a film like this and its stylistic flourishes really almost seem to put the actors in a back seat in a way, and this includes Scheider. His performance never controls the film, and I never really felt an emotional drive with his performance because Fosse clearly drove for particular emotions with the direction and not the acting on the forefront, especially at the end of the film. Not that Scheider is not good he is, but the film just limited his performance for me.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Best Actor 1979: Al Pacino in ...And Justice for All

Al Pacino received his fifth Oscar nomination for portraying lawyer Arthur Kirkland in ...And Justice For All.

...And Justice for All is a very stupid movie, which hammers in its point very heavily with a blunt point. It strangely wants to be a serious court room drama but with wacky court room antics, and a wacky suicidal judge, now wacky and suicidal usually do not go together except in maybe crazy comedies, but they do in this movie. Now the movie is definitely stupid, but I will admit I sort of enjoyed it, despite many one dimensional characters, constant cliches, and its serious tonal problems.

Al Pacino plays a real crusading lawyer one that might just be a super lawyer. He cares about the real justice, the search for truth for everyone. He does not like miscarriages of justice, he does not like mistreatment of prisoners, he does not like mean judges to the point of punching them, and he does not like moral law commissions which do not go after the real problems within the system. Pacino actually is fine even if his character is really written in a very unspectacular fashion at the beginning of the film. Pacino has his work cut out for him to not make his character seem like a really pretentious jerk Well Pacino can't stop him from being still far too pretentious, but he makes him somewhat likable pretentious guy.

Pacino is fine with his dealings of the wacky court dealings in the first half of the film, from his comedic law partner, to freaking out on a helicopter ride with the suicidal judge (Jack Warden), to romancing a woman on that law commission he dislikes so much. All of the court dealings, and the romance especially are contrived in someway, but Pacino does do a fine job in keeping at least some sort of reality no matter how unrealistic some of the scenes can be. Pacino is never really amazing here, but it is interesting to see Pacino be able to do more of a star leading man performance which a little unusual for Pacino especially portraying such just a super guy like Arthur Kirkland.

The second half of the film just about everything that could go wrong for Arthur does go wrong for him. The film really lets Pacino's character have it here, ruining basically everything he is trying to do, and trying to ruin the character's whole career. Pacino is good as he slowly becomes more and more stressed out, due to everything basically crumbling around him, he shows his character's passion and sadness well, and I gotta say his pretentiousness really started to be less annoying closer to the end. Anyways the film sort of haphazardly leads to a big dramatic opening statement by Pacino. Pacino delivers the big scene incredibly well, and makes it a satisfying ending, even if it is a stupidly written one. Overall Pacino gives a good performance in a dumb movie.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Best Actor 1979

And the Nominees Were:

Jack Lemmon in The China Syndrome

Peter Sellers in Being There

Dustin Hoffman in Kramer VS. Kramer

Roy Scheider  in All that Jazz

Al Pacino in ...And Justice For All

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Best Actor 2004: Results

5. Jamie Foxx in Ray- I find Foxx's performance just to be a complete failure. He mostly relies on mannerisms that seem incredibly labored, and his performance just results in not a single convincing moment.
4. Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland- Depp is surprisingly subdued most of the time in this performance. I found he was nice enough I guess, but his performance never really amounted to much.
3. Clint Eastwood in Million Dollar Baby- Clint Eastwood is actually very good in a role that no one else could have played as well besides him. I just find that I never really got an emotional charge out of his performance, which I will admit is probably since the film never did this for me either.
2. Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator-Hughes was such a strange larger than life figure that it would be challenge for anyone to take on this role. I will say DiCaprio never seems to completely be Hughes but he certianly comes close which is quite an achievement anyways.
1. Don Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda- Don Cheadle gives a very powerful performance, and creates a human portrait. He adds to the power of the film, making the story of genocide, somehow inspiring.
Deserving Performances:
Paul Giamatti in Sideways

Best Actor 2004: Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator

Leonardo DiCaprio received his second Oscar nomination for portraying Howard Hughes in The Aviator. 

The Aviator is a very good biography picture of Howard Hughes because it focuses on specific moments of Hughes' life rather trying to fit his whole story, which I find is a failing of many similar films.

Leonardo DiCaprio is usually a charming, and very energetic screen presence.  This is true for his performance as Howard Hughes which is an incredibly challenge role. He uses his usually charm in the right way though, and does adjust it to fit Hughes' personality, which makes him change it to a sort of a quiet charm. He is never obviously trying to be charming in his romantic scenes at all, DiCaprio makes it clear that Hughes simply just asserts himself in command, even when he looks like he is not trying to do this. DiCaprio is perfect in showing Hughes' quiet determination in a fashion that fits Hughes perfectly.

DiCaprio properly loses his charm though throughout the film though as Howard Hughes' obsessive compulsive disorder slowly gets the better of him. DiCaprio handles the disorder very well, and how it causes Howard's disintegration. DiCaprio handles the small indications at first, as something clearly effecting Hughes inside, but outwardly it seems just an odd quirk that Hughes does. Later though a minor dirty spot can cause Howard just to stare at it until it is gone, and DiCaprio makes this a really problem that effects Hughes so much he is almost unable to function because of something so minor.

DiCaprio handles this whole part of Hughes expertly, because he does not only ever focus on the direct effects of the disorder, but also the other effects. DiCaprio slowly loses Hughes charm, very realistically as he becomes more paranoid about just about anything around him. He loses all of his positive aspects slowly, as his disorder becomes worse. All the mannerisms that Hughes slowly gains such as his injury, and his obsessive repeating of sentences are well handled by DiCaprio not all making them seem forced but completely natural to the Howard Hughes.

DiCaprio does something interesting in his performance which is show his possible recovery since he slowly loses what he has but never completely during this film, even though it is quite clearly suggested at the end that he is going to lose everything. It is fascinating because DiCaprio shows him at the brink when he sits naked in his room urinating in bottles, which DiCaprio actually makes it believable that he is doing it, because he showed that Hughes disorder slowly brought him down to this point. But at the same time DiCaprio manages to show that Hughes partially pulls himself up to face his war profiteering charges. DiCaprio is particularly strong in these moments because he shows his pain in performing the slightest task because of his disorder, but also shows that Hughes is not completely gone, and still has his quiet persuasion, and charm left in the hearing scenes, which DiCapario handles simply brilliant.

I really do not want to sound negative because this is a great performance but I never fully saw him as Howard Hughes I did in a way someone rather just like Howard Hughes. Being completely Howard Hughes though is something no actor probably could do entirely, and DiCaprio became very close which is incredible achievement considering the incredible challenge of Howard Hughes.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Best Actor 2004: Clint Eastwood in Million Dollar Baby

Clint Eastwood received his second acting Oscar nomination for portraying Frankie Dunn in Million Dollar Baby.

Million Dollar Baby is a film that impresses me less and less every single time that I watch it.

Clint Eastwood's performance as Frankie Dunn is in many ways the later career Clint Eastwood character. The no nonsense tough aging guy, who doesn't take crap from no one but still is beaten down anyways in his own way, and has poor relations with his immediate family. Trust me later in his career Eastwood played a variation on this character several times, other examples include later in Gran Torino and earlier in Heartbreak ridge. Clint Eastwood really tends to be a guy who does not need to act to be tough he generally simply comes off that way.

His tough nonsense persona fits the character of Frankie Dunn well, but for some reason now and again during his performance I felt Eastwood trying extra to make him seem even gruffer. He is Clint Eastwood he does not need to seem any gruffer, he is gruff enough as it is causing his performance to feel for me a bit forced at times. This does not really hurt his performance, I just feel he did not need to do that, he's Clint Eastwood after all. Most of the time though he is just his normal gruffness which works well for his performance, and Clint Eastwood, is completely believable most of the time as Frankie even when some his dialogue is a bit cliched such as everything about his belief that women can't be fighters.

Sometimes  I feel Eastwood is a better screen presence than an actor who really tries to develop a unique character. I was never amazed by Eastwood's performance really even though he did just a fine job most likely better than anyone else could do early on since Eastwood fits the character very well. I still though never felt he made Frankie a really compelling character especially through the first half.

I really felt he was doing a usual Eastwood performance which is good, and something only Eastwood can do, but still it does not make it a great performance. Later after the big change in the film, I thought his performance was emotionally correct, as in he did not express the wrong emotions, nor did ever ever express these emotions in a false fashion. I though never felt his performance became that emotionally powerful though. The result of his whole performance was just fine technically hitting  the right notes, but never generating truly great moments for me anyways.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Best Actor 2004: Don Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda

Don Cheadle received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Paul Rusesabagina in Hotel Rwanda.

Hotel Rwanda is an effective film which does have many similarities to Schindler's list in its story of one man against genocide, but also in its emotional intensity, and strength. It is not quite as good as that film, but few films are.

Don Cheadle's Paul Rusesabagina character is in some ways similar to Liam Neeson's Oskar Schindler in that they are both runners of a business which they use to save people facing genocide otherwise. They both initially are not devoted to this cause but Paul is not just a selfish profiteer like Schindler really, but rather a man who doubts people could really could commit such atrocities, and at first seems to be more concerned with his family's safety mostly. As soon as he is pressed to help others in a potentially deadly situation he does, proving a that he was a good man all along. Cheadle does handle Paul's good nature well, by not over doing it at all. He still makes him a common man who does his best in completely uncommon circumstances.

A rather interesting part of the film and Cheadle's performance is the specific scenes in which he deals with the violent threats, and helps to save the people in his hotel. His method is an interesting contrast to the method of Liam Neeson's Schindler. In Schindler's list Schindler many times dominated the Nazi's he was manipulating to serve or save his workers, on the other hand Paul never really shows off a larger than life presence to manipulate people. Cheadle shows that Paul who is just a normal man who very modestly convinces them through bribes, and quietly laid threats. Cheadle handles the pleads and manipulations of Paul exceptionally well, since I found every success Paul made completely believable.

Cheadle acts well as a very human guide through the atrocious circumstances of the genocidal Rwanda. Cheadle is compelling to watch, and he allows us as the audience to follow him through his hardships and dangerous circumstance. He acts as an emotional core to the film who does his best to stand for what is right despite the odds against him, and gives a quietly passionate performance that works well for Paul as a man. Cheadle's performance allows us to really empathize with him throughout his circumstances, and Cheadle makes the most emotional scenes of the film even more so.

Cheadle gives authentic emotions throughout the film, which gives the film an honesty that somehow becomes inspiring despite the subject of the film. Cheadle makes every emotion all the more effective because of his honesty in his performance. I think particularly strong moments are when he tells his wife to commit suicide if the the Hutus ever attack, and his reaction scene after he gets back to the hotel after he accidentally stumbled across a scene of a massive massacre. Cheadle's performance makes these emotional moments completely heartbreaking because of the honesty of his performance. Cheadle performance is strong authentic modest piece of work, that works impeccably well with the film it is in.

Best Actor 2004: Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland

Johnny Depp received his second Oscar nomination for portraying J.M. Barrie in Finding Neverland.

Finding Neverland is a somewhat enjoyable film I suppose, I do think the fantasy scenes work as well as they really should, but I still did not mind watching it again.

Johnny Depp who usually plays rather strange fellows, many times with a whole lot of mannerisms, which attempts to usual bring a whole lot of attention to his performance. This is a rather unusual Johnny Depp performance because he portrays J.M. Barrie in generally a rather quiet performance. He portrays Barrie in an extremely modest fashion which does not at all try to stand out all that much most of the time. Now I appreciate Depp for not trying to make Barrie flamboyant, but at the same time perhaps his performance is a little too understated.

Depp performance really at times is barely noticeable. He really is an always nice man, who just likes to have a quietly good time with the children of a sick mother (Kate Winslet) well he is quietly writing Peter Pan. Depp I must say does not really suggest must of a man, just a quiet unassuming man. The only time he really acts out at all are the fantasy scenes, but even the he still remains fairly understated. The biggest in terms of acting non-quietly is when he plays pirated with the children, and does a little bit of his Jack Sparrow bit, I did not have a problem with that or how he handled any of the fantasy moments, but I also did not find his performance particularly amazing ever.

Overall Depp's performance really is nothing special. I think it is okay, it serves its purpose in that it allows for a nice scene here and there, but overall really his performance never amounts to anything really worth noting. It is a nice quiet performance, which really fits how Barrie is presented in the film as a nice quiet man. It never really gets deeply into much depth hidden or otherwise about Barrie, he is written simply just to make a simple sweet story, therefore Depp method of portraying him is fine, just not very special.

Best Actor 2004: Jamie Foxx in Ray

Jamie Foxx won an Oscar from his first lead nomination for portraying Ray Charles in Ray.

Ray I must say was I film that I hard time sitting through. I mainly had this problem because how boring the film is. It lacks anything really interesting about it, and I feel it fails to show the larger importance of Ray Charles in any meaningful fashion.

Jamie Foxx's performance really astounds me not because it is good, but because of quite the opposite. I will say first of all I never at all believed him as Ray Charles, even a movie rendition as Ray Charles. I always felt I clearly saw him acting throughout the film, which exactly what an actor does not want to do, especially when portraying a real life person in a serious fashion. Actors can usually employ mannerisms in a performance, and when used well they can help amplify aspects of a performance, or more fully realize a character. Foxx though seems to focus far too much on the mannerisms, using them for his performance at times rather than with his performance.

His mannerisms seem rather forced to me anyways, particularly in trying to give the perpetual Ray Charles facial expression which looked rather stiff at times, like he was really trying to get that look rather just merely having it. I felt about the same about his physical mannerism which again looked like a rather imperfect imitation, rather than something natural. I again felt the same way of his Ray Charles voice which again seemed like a obvious acting technique used by Foxx, that did not sound natural at all.

Jamie Foxx's performance never at all has authenticity, whether it is with his mannerisms, or just his emotions he is trying to convey. I felt every time he tried to convey an emotion he would always overplay the emotion immensely. I thought everything he did in the film range falsely in at least someway, and I must say he did not at all make the lip syncing at all believable, this looks especially wrong in the later scenes, which just simply do not look like Foxx is at all singing the songs. Although even if he sang himself it would not make his performance at all more convincing or less obvious. Foxx's performance simply just never impresses me, and fails with many of the basic needs of a realistic performance.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Best Actor 2004

And the Nominees Were:

Don Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda

Clint Eastwood in Million Dollar Baby

Jamie Foxx in Ray

Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Best Actor 1954: Results

5. Dan O'Herlihy in Robinson Crusoe- O'Herlihy- is very good at his often one man show performance. He remains interesting even through the minimal tasks of survival, and shows the growth of the character very well.
4. Humphrey Bogart in The Caine Mutiny-Bogart gives a strong performance that creates the insecurities of the character but finds a certain sympathy within those flaws all the same.
3. Bing Crosby in The Country Girl- Crosby is incredibly strong in his performance as the beaten down has been actor. He shows a very powerful emotional strength, and creates an interesting portrait of a man broken down by his guilt, and his feeble attempts to not face up to the facts.
2. James Mason in A Star in Born- James Mason gives a very charming performance as Norman Maine, and he works perfectly along with Judy Garland. He makes Normain Maine a likable and memorable character, which makes his fall all the more heartbreaking.
1. Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront- Although I thought Mason was truly terrific, I never had a question who the best of this year was. Brando simply stands alone with his tremendous performance which is simply an extraordinary performance. A perfect performance that is completely honest, charming, and simply one of the most effective screen performances I have ever seen. (Good prediction Dinasztie)
Deserving Performances:
James Stewart in Rear Window
Ray Milland in Dial M for Murder
Toshiro Mifune in Seven Samurai

Best Actor 1954: Dan O'Herlihy in Robinson Crusoe

Dan O'Herlihy received his only Oscar nomination for portraying the titular character in Robinson Crusoe.

This is an just fine adaptation of the well known story of the ship wrecked Robinson Crusoe.

Dan O'Herlihy performance here is basically a one man show for a good amount of the picture. He portrays Crusoe quite well, because he stays interesting throughout his performance. He is able to stay interesting and is able to be easily followed through what he does to survive on the island. O'Herlihy importantly never becomes boring as Robinson Crusoe moves through his tasks to survive his ordeal. He importantly acts as perfect guide as he goes through the motions of survival.

Robinson Crusoe though is not a completely simple character who does not at all change through his ordeal. He indeed matures throughout his time alone. He moves from a man who is slightly lost almost in his survival but slowly grows to fully triumph in his ability to achieve survival alone. O'Herlihy shows the change well without over showing his changes. I think even more effective are when Robinson Crusoe examines his own life, and faith in key scenes that really show O'Herlihy skill well. His fever scene where he hallucinates of his father is incredibly effective due to O'Herlihy who manages to show a lot of the man Crusoe was before his predicament in this single scene. His scene of examining his faith, and facing it are again very well portrayed by O'Herlihy putting a lot of strength and power into these moments.

O'Herlihy always remains believable in his role, and adds the believability needed for the story, even in scenes that sort of stress this very hard such as his first encounter with Friday, or the scene where Friday puts on a dress, or in fact just about anything with Friday. Even in scenes like the ones with Friday being rather prominent O'Herlihy stays true to his character he has developed well, and since he stays steadfast in his portrayal he causes the film to be far more effective, and believable. I would never say O'Herlihy's performance is amazing but it always works well for the film, and completely serves its purpose.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Best Actor 1954: Bing Crosby in The Country Girl

Bing Crosby received his third and final Oscar nomination for portraying Frank Elgin in The Country Girl.

The Country Girl is a rather melodramatic film, and with a taked on love story, not between Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby but between William Holden, and Grace Kelly. It still has a good moment here and there though.

Bing Crosby is usually not touted for his acting talent, usually only for his singing. There are few that mention a great performance by Bing Crosby, since most of his performances seem to consist of a lot of smiling and singing such as his nomination performance in the Bells of St. Marys. In this film though he does not give his usual Crosby performance, even though he does still sing, he does not do all that much smiling.

This performance is rather interesting to see because it shows a different side of Crosby. The character of Frank Elgin as in the film is sort of a has been Bing Crosby, a Crosby that has lost most of his old charm. Crosby strangely excels with this character something I would not have at all expected from him before I first saw this performance. Crosby shows the simple desperation of character incredibly well, I think it is made even stronger because it does show the old Elgin in a Flashback in Bing's old charming self, which has a great effect showing the loss of the basically the whole of the character. 

Crosby's displays Frank's own inner hatred of himself, and regret quite well. I think he is brilliantly shows it through his properly subtle expressions incredibly well. He presents Frank's loss, exceptionally well showing that Frank's problems are truly internal problems that haunt Frank very deeply. I find something he does something rather interestingly because he does not make try to make Frank solely a heartbreaking guy we feel for, but he shows a rougher in many ways a devious side of Frank.

Crosby shows the devious side well without over doing it, because he does not really show as Frank being an evil guy or anything but rather that is a defense mechanism that he employs to cover his insecurities from other people. The change of behavior from his real anxiety in front of his wife (Grace Kelly) and his lies to hide his actual problems in front of his director (William Holden) is handled exceptionally well by Crosby. His honest emotions and his fake, positivism always with a small sense of the anxiety below it, are brilliantly shown against one another by Crosby.

As with the first time I was very much amazed by the honestly strong emotional power shown by Crosby, the only parts of the film that I really that were at all compelling. I found this especially since all the scenes with Kelly and Holden did not work because Holden's character is so incredibly underwritten. I think his best scene showing the vulnerability of Crosby is one his old charm comes back briefly in a bar briefly showing his old charm, but than disintegrating due to his guilt over the death of his son. Crosby disintegration in this scene is perfect, as his moments later when he is completely beaten down after a long drinking binge. His whole long moments revealing about the truth of himself is a real achievement from Crosby since the film itself I think doe not write the reveal particularly well, but Crosby performs it incredibly well. The Country Girl shows that Crosby was in fact a talent dramatic actor after all, but just simply rarely ever showed his talent in this capacity.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Best Actor 1954: Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront

Marlon Brandon won his first Oscar from his fourth Oscar nomination for portraying Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront.

On the Waterfront is a terrific masterpiece in my opinion. It certainly is Elia Kazan's best work, which tells a truly powerful story with a tremendous sense of place and atmosphere.

Marlon Brando's Terry Malloy is a completely vivid person to me, and always seems that way with every viewing of the film. Terry's humble beginning at the film of doing a simple job for the local crime boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb), which is to tell a friend of his Joey Doyle to meet him on the roof of Joey's building. This actually leads to Doyle being confronted by Friendly's thugs, and ends up with the death of Doyle. Terry is greatly shaken up being this because he thought they only wanted to talk to Joey. This action causes Terry to go slowly down the rode of examining his own life, and his involvement with Johnny Friendly.

Terry's struggle with his conscience, and dealing with life around the docks of New York City is fascinating to watch for yes the script is brilliant, but perhaps Brando as Terry is even more so. He makes Terry such a believable man, and one that for me anyways causes a great deal of empathy. I really instantly felt for and with Terry through his story. Now Brando never seems to be forcing this, but it comes with his completely natural performance.

The naturalism of Brando's performance is rather fascinating, because in a lot of ways this is not a self contained performance, that is all simple. Brando has a lot of certain movements, and does certain things with his performance which with a lesser performance may have seemed mannered, or obvious acting, but there is none of this with Brando's performance. All of what Brando does in terms of his movements as Malloy are seem completely along with the washed up beaten down ex-boxer. Every physical motion, only further suggests the nature of Malloy, furthers the performance, and every part of performance still seems to never have a single scene of noticeable acting, Brando is simply that good here. 

Brando is wonderful in every moment of this film, and always keeps Malloy an interesting character despite Malloy being in ways a simple guy. Brando makes the most of every moment of screen time he has always adding layers to his character which are expertly handled by Brando. He makes Malloy, a person I feel I really knew after the film was over, because Brando performance as I said was completely vivid, and absolutely realistic.

Brando is excels in every different type of scene he is in. One being his romantic scenes with Eva Marie Saint as Edie Doyle. Their moments are terrific together. One could say Brando overshadows Saint with his performance, and perhaps he does, but it does not stop their romance to feel completely truthful, and wonderful to watch. Brando excels in these moments because he is interestingly incredibly charming, even though Terry Malloy is not exactly an extremely charming guy. This may sound quite odd, but Brando simply brings out charm in a not wholly charming character which is another achievement of this performance. Brando balances well Terry attempt at finding love, along with dealing with his own guilt over the death of Edie's brother Joey. Brando manages the balance with the utmost care, to make both the romance, and the guilt resonate even more effectively.

Brando though also shines incredibly in scenes of simply non-stop emotional power which first begin with he famous car scene. The scene in the car I think is one of the best scenes ever, in any film ever made. Everything in this one scene comes together so well, from the whole small set up in the small back seat of the car leaving only the emotions to see, the haunting music of Leonard Bernstein, and the great performances from Rod Steiger as Charley Terry's brother and Marlon Brando. The actors together create a truly incredible moment. Their moments here are simply unforgettable, they make this scene incredibly emotional and effective. Brando perfectly displays the inner harm of Terry's so well, and really the delivery of the famous line could not be more honest, more truthful, or more powerful than the way Brando displays it through Terry.

After the great scene I feel the film never stops in its strength and power and a whole lot should be credited to Brando. He displays Malloy nonstop changes through these scenes amazingly, and he never loses any of the power of the performance, from his want for revenge, combined with sadness, and need of love. Brando combines all of the emotions of Terry's struggle, and I feel he makes the audience feel them with him. I really was with Terry all the way especially in his final confrontation with Johnny Friendly. His passion, and his final stand up against corrupt is resonates fully, because of Brando's greatness in this perfect performance.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Best Actor 1954: James Mason in A Star is Born

James Mason received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Norman Maine in A Star is Born.

A Star is Born is the best type of remake in that it is better than the original in every way possible. It is an entertaining and very effective musical version, that works well despite being almost three hours, and having some sequences being stills with only sound.

James Mason is the second actor to be nominated for Norman Maine the first was Fredric March in the original. I thought he was good as Maine, but I also felt he basically treated the film better than the film treated him, since although his performance was good the film forced his character to make leaps, and did not give him as much time for development as needed. Luckily for Mason Norman Maine is given the proper time for proper character development, and luckily for the film Mason is more than up to the job of exploring the character of Norman Maine.

James Mason first of all gives an insanely charming performance in this film. Mason who actually really was not a Norman Maine type of star in terms of the romantic lead, Fredric March was, is instantly believable in the role as this type of star. I never at all doubted him as the original Norman Maine which is quite interesting because Mason could be as equally effective in slimy villainous roles. Here though Mason's charm simply is incredible. It is a simple very effective movie star charm that makes his performance completely wonderful to watch.

His chemistry with Judy Garland is equally wonderful. There relationship together is almost perfectly done, the way he first believes in her, than helps her succeed to become a star, than start a relationship, and get married is made completely natural throughout the whole relationship. There relationship just seems like real love between each other that is properly warm, and always feel authentic. I think one scene in particular shows the strength and honesty of their chemistry. That is the big musical number where Vicki (Garland) tells Norman about her new movie at home. This scene they have such a fun loving scene together that simply work wonderfully because Garland, and Mason are simply so natural together.

Norman Maine is a fading star though because of his alcoholism. Maine's alcoholism is something I thought was not given enough time actually in the first film, but it is in this one. Mason correctly shows Maine's alcoholism in the best way. He mostly subtle hints it as a disease, that adversely effects Maine, not all the time, but far too much of the time. He makes Maine descent into his alcoholism properly heartbreaking, because Mason shows Maine deterioration incredibly well.

I think two moments Mason particularly shines with this aspect of the character. The first being when he accidentally slaps Vicki at the Oscars, Mason reaction is  completely effective, because again it feels so authentic. Even more powerful though is his reaction in bed, to Vicki saying she will give up her career for him. Mason's reaction is completely heartbreaking because of how truthfully he shows Norman's pain. Mason's performance is excellent throughout giving a likable, heartfelt performance, that works perfectly along with Judy Garland's equally strong work.