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