Gene Hackman won his first Oscar from his third nomination for portraying Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle in The French Connection.
There are certian types of performances, that certainly can be written off quickly, because perhaps there are not constant dramatic scenes involved in their performances, a performance like this is by Gene Hackman's in the French Connection. A performance like his should not be written off as a lacking or unspectacular because it is not filled with scenes which main purpose is to simple allow him to dramatically act out a scene. Gene Hackman's performance here I find is quite strong as the tough, loud, narcotics detective "Popeye" Doyle. I find part of what is so strong about his performances is that it does not have scenes that are there to develop his character, yet I find his character is incredibly well developed nonetheless. Hackman develops Popeye as the film the proceeds rather doing it in specific scenes just for that. Hackman manages to do it well the plot proceeds forward through the film, and quite well, because I felt I found out a lot about Popeye from his time in the film.
Hackman portrays Doyle's tough complete command of the street particularly well. Now I think this is something that is generally not given enough credit. Being tough, and really being street smart is something is not really as easy as some might think, and to seem really authentically a cop like Popeye is an achievement. Hackman does this quite well, and I particularly find him strong in this aspect when ever he is dealing with a suspect. His dominance over them is appropriately controlling, commanding, and most of all realistic. Also something else I think Hackman really does well is give charming memorable performance that one can easily follow through the complex story of finding the crime. He is simply a charming strong presence that permeates throughout the film quite well. Due to Hackman I could easily follow along with him to the end of the crime, and more thoroughly feel the set backs and the successes of the investigation.
The strongest part of his performance though perhaps is the incredible drive he shows in Popeye. Perhaps an insane, obsessive drive to get what he wants. I really like Hackman whole process through Popeye's obsession from the start of the crime to its end. From the beginning where he obsessively searches for suspects although interestingly in a casual fashion. The obsession grows in Hackman's performance quite well. He pretty subtly shows it through earnestness for awhile until near the end of the film where it is sparked the most. When his full on obsession comes out Hackman becomes quite chilling in the role, showing the full extent of Popeye's uncontrolled need for closure and control of the case. Overall Hackman gives a performance I enjoy very much, an interesting, effective and most of all memorable performance.