Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Best Actor 1948: Clifton Webb in Sitting Pretty

Clifton Webb received his third and final Oscar nomination for portraying Lynn Belvedere in Sitting Pretty.

Sitting pretty tells the story about a husband and wife (Robert Young, Maureen O'Hara) who have trouble with their three rowdy kids. No one will be a nanny until they find one Belvedere, and it turns out he's a man, oh boy hi jinks ought to ensue especially with the gossipy town they live in.

Clifton Webb plays the male nanny Lynn Belvedere who only takes the job because he sees it as a challenge, and he is up for it being professional genius after all. It turns out Belvedere is the perfect nanny whipping those children into shape just about as soon as he gets there.Webb's performance is technically one note, a one note of a complete deadpan performance. And I will say I most certainly liked his performance because he stuck to his note so well. Webb never lets up with Belvedere always portraying as a none too modest fellow, who takes joy in the fact that he is a genius and no one else in town is.

Webb's performance is really thoroughly enjoyable and I got a kick out of several moments of his performance. This came mostly from some his reactions and eye gestures, with his bemusement over the more panicky attitudes of everyone else in town. I like the fact that Webb never lets up with his characterization, having Belvedere always look down upon everyone else, and having the perfect restrained delight well doing it. I never got bored, or annoyed by characterization, but instead I felt Webb really managed the a bit too into himself way of Belvedere in just the right fashion. I can't say this is all that complicated performance, since it is a dead pan performance. I think it was the perfect way to play the character though, in showing that Belvedere stays exactly the same no matter what. Certainly not an amazing piece of acting but an appropriately enjoyable one.

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