John Hawkes received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Teardrop in Winter's Bone.
John Hawkes portrays Teardrop who is the uncle of Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) who is looking for her father dead or alive to save her house. Hawkes early in the film sparingly appears. As at first he is unwilling to help Ree in her search, and acts in quite a hostile fashion to her. Hawkes is terrific in portraying Teardrop because as soon as he steps in just is the part from there on. Hawkes simply has the right quality of his performance that is just right for Teardrop.
Hawkes' performance in incredibly effective due to the intensity of his performance. The intensity he brings to the part is rather interesting because it is rather quiet intensity. Hawkes shows this to be something Teardrop has learned to use, and has grown to know through his life. Hawkes has the right air about him that there is always just a feel of tension when he is in a scene merely due to the way he carries himself. This specific quiet intensity Hawkes utilizes makes the fear others have for him no doubtless. Also the fact that he he is quiet most of the time, when he does briefly break out more violently much more effective.
The most interesting part of Hawkes' performance though does come when he finally decides to help Ree out. Hawkes quite interestingly shows a certain amount of restrained warmness that he does actually have for his niece. This is very difficult part of Teardrop to show as it could by very unnatural especially considering how Teardrop acted before in the film, but Hawkes manages to make it work.
I think two scenes in particular show the strength of Hawkes, and how fully he realized Teardrop as a complex character. The first being his showdown with the Sheriff he is downright chilling in this moment, but it is incredibly interesting to see this scene compared to his last scene where he spends a little bit of time with his family. The difference between his coldness in the first scene, and his warmness in the latter is incredible, but Hawkes weaves both of these aspects together to make one very compelling and very interesting character.