Robin Williams received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning Vietnam.
Robin Williams has not had the best Oscar record with me, having been under 3 for every single of his nominations so far. Well what do I criticize, well his breaking of character to do his comic routine every so often in his other performance. I also criticize as well just a lack of dramatically convincing portrayal of a character.
What about this time though, well firstly the breaking out of character to do his comic routine is not a problem this time, since the character is a comedian who does a comedy routine just like Williams' own routine. Williams is constantly making his jokes, with his various voices he does, and well as mannerisms, but they are all in that of the character of Adrian Cronauer.
I think how much one enjoys this performance than all depends on how much one likes Williams' comedy routine on a whole, and in particular his material in this film. Well I have never been a huge fan of Robin Williams' comedy, I find some of his work his more enjoyable than others. In this film I would say all his routines are enjoyable, but I never really laughed out loud about them either.
The whole comedy of the character is shown to be a bit of a defense mechanism for Cronauer, as instead of every facing anything completely he tries to change the subject, or defuse a situation with a joke. Now this is displayed, but I did not think the film presented or Williams as some sort of deep pathological problem of Cronauer, but I guess it was still shown. It could have been far more interesting though if Williams had presented his constant use of comedy as something deeper.
The film attempts to become deeper, in the relationship between Williams' character and a young Vietnam man, as well a young Vietnam woman. Williams though still is not really required to show all that much dramatic weight, except for two key scenes. One after a bar he was in was bombed, and Williams is good in showing his struggle to keep up with his good humor on the radio, well clearly thinking of what happened. The other scene concerns him finding out that his Vietnamese friend was the one who bombed the bar. Williams is again good in the confrontation scene but not amazing.
This is not a great performance, but it is well attuned for Williams. Williams mostly uses his comedy, which is his forte, making it so his performance is actually effective enough. His whole character though technically is not a giant challenge for Williams, but at the same Williams is probably the only actor who could have really portrayed the part with his particular amount of energy, and constant comedic attempts. This is not an amazing performance, but it is technically a good displays of Williams' abilities.