Jack Lemmon received his third Oscar nomination for portraying C.C. "Bud" Baxter in The Apartment.
Jack Lemmon is an actor who I do believe can go over the top, and get quite obnoxious particularly in some of his comedic performance. In the Apartment Jack Lemmon though finds the right tone for his performance throughout, never taking it too far, but keeping at the right pitch. I certainly liked his C.C. Baxter, and simply found him to be a nice fellow to follow through his rather unusual method of corporate success. Lemmon makes Baxter story a nice one we can follow and can empathize with. Lemmon does a good job of bringing us into his story, and simply enjoy what he does, and has done to him.
Lemmon has the right charm in this performance, and has the right comedic timing to be fully enjoyable. He never overstates a line, or emphasizes the wrong moment in his performance. He handles everything quite well and does his best to extract as the right amount of humor from each scene. Lemmon also finds the right tone to bring the more dramatic aspects of the film in with the comedic ones, so they naturally coincide. Thinking about it, it would be rather difficult subject matter to have an attempted suicide in the film but Lemmon knows how to play the scene to put the right gravitas to it without making it become too serious throwing off the comedy.
His chemistry with Shirley Maclaine is good, but I think the romance really mostly works because of Lemmon. He never really becomes an overly romantic figure in the film, instead he just shows the right sweetness and charm that works far better. Baxter's own internal revelation of how much he likes Maclaine's Fran, is subtly handled by Lemmon leading to his rejection of his bosses offer natural and satisfying. Lemmon could easily have gone too far with any part of his performance, but he always is enjoyable and charming. Lemmon just makes it a delight to be with him in this film, which in turn makes the film a delight to watch, it is a humorous very enjoyable performance, and possibly my favorite comedic performance from Lemmon.