Friday, 25 March 2011

Best Actor 1980: Peter O'Toole in The Stunt Man

Peter O'Toole received his sixth Oscar nomination for portraying film director Eli Cross in The Stunt Man.

The Stunt Man is a story of a man who hides from the police acting as the stunt man to a manipulative domineering director. The film is certainly an interesting effort as well as entertaining at times, but it sort of loses its way in the second half.

It is rather interesting that Timothy Hutton was nominated and won for his clearly leading role in the Supporting role for Ordinary People, yet Peter O'Toole here is really a supporting performance, although a domineering supporting performance. O'Toole's character knows the secret of the stunt man who is hiding from the police, and chooses to exploit him just as he exploits and manipulates the rest of his cast and crew.I really enjoyed O'Toole performance at first with the all knowing director, who always wants to get his shot, anyway he can get his shot. O'Toole really does command every moment with his domineering presence. He is very enjoyable in fact as he acts gleefully, and practically insanely around the movie set. O 'Toole always has the right demeanor, of brilliant but insane ambition.

O'Toole performance is also quite amusing early on, and certainly has the right amount of fun as well with his performance. I particularly like one moment when his crew is talking about how the film will end up being cut in the end by the studio. Eli Cross though says he knows they will not cut his film, or else he will kill him. O'Toole delivers this line with such insane glee, that is both hilarious and brilliant.

Unfortunately the performance takes a back seat to the rest of the film, and he only comes in and out, since it is a supporting performance. His scenes are the best but they are too few and far between to really allow his character to grow. His character also takes a down turn where the film decides to show him as the villain of the film which I think was a mistake. O'Toole is still entirely great as Cross becomes even more devious, and demented, but the film leaves him little to do besides this. I just really preferred when he was certainly devious and demented, but in an insane director sort of way rather than in an evil director sort of way. Still O'Toole performance is an effective, often amusing supporting performance, that is the best part of this film.


dshultz said...

Yeah, I always felt this was more of a supporting performance, and always waited for O'Toole to be on-screen, the rest of the movie be damned.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I thought he bordered on supporting too, but I liked him regardless.

joe burns said...

Would you have given him a higher ranking if he was in placed in Supporting?

Louis Morgan said...

Well that is a pivotal question in one's Oscar ranking philosophy. I still am not quite sure how I stand, although I must come to terms of this when I do Supporting and lead 1944, but I must say I would give him 4 in supporting as well at the moment. Although I do view supporting and lead performances in different manners, so perhaps I would give him higher I am not quite sure.