Friday, 16 September 2011

Best Supporting Actor 1990: Joe Pesci in Goodfellas

Joe Pesci won his Oscar from his second nomination for portraying Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas.

Goodfellas tells the story of low level mobsters in New York.

Joe Pesci plays the violent psychopathic mobster Tommy DeVito. Pesci from his earliest of moments in the film manages to dominate the screen with his performance. Pesci from his first scene instantly establishes Tommy completely as exactly who he is, which is really a violent animal. Pesci never denies this, but rather embraces this whole idea behind Tommy which makes his performance so impressive.

There is a constant visceral aspect of his performance that always pierces right through the screen showing the utter brutality of Tommy, as well as the unpredictable manner of him. Each scene where Pesci is the focus, or at least where Pesci forces himself as the focus through his performance it is impossible not to watch him. His scenes have a certain unbearable quality to them created by Pesci becuase how well he manages to realize the cruelty of DeVito, but at the same time he makes every scene utterly fascinating because of his performance. 

It is this dynamic that makes Pesci's performance so powerful, and so effective. He makes this absolute thug someone you can't help but watch. He is cruel psychopath, with basically zero sympathy, yet there is just something utterly fascinating about him. The lack of any sort of sympathy for his victims or remorse for his crimes, in anyway simply paints a chilling portrait of this man. Pesci really is truly chilling because he never overacts with his cruelty he makes the violence in DeVito absolutely real. He never turns him into a movie villain but a real evil man who kills most people just because they insult him.

Pesci stays true to his portrait throughout the film, never letting off for a hint keeping his brutality always in the forefront, until only his last two words. Pesci probably gives the most powerful performance imaginable in the two words showing really what a waste of life Tommy has in his short final moment, it is absolutely outstanding what he does with it really. Pesci's performance is pivotal part of the entire the film and makes the most of it. He absolutely gets everything he can out his performance, this is a true example of a perfect supporting performance. Pesci only every adds to this already great film.

9 comments:

Brandon B. said...

Everyone in this movie is amazing, including DeNiro who should have been nominated.

dshultz said...

Yes Yes YES! Pesci totally for the win! I hope he maybe even makes your top 5 best supporting actors!

dinasztie said...

Amazing.

Anonymous said...

Eh, hes good but I just found him one note, other than the scenes with his mum, hes exactly the same with very little depth and complexity

RatedRStar said...

Tommy wouldnt have liked it if you gave him a bad review lol =D, i think this one of the great supporting performances ever.

Thomas said...

Well, I think that it's the one note-ness that he makes so appealing, at least in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Pesci should have won, but it was really a very weak year. He's so one-dimensional and I found the performance to be similar to his performance in Raging Bull at times and other times it was just ridiculously over the top. I guess my dislike for the film in general makes me like his performance less, but I still liked Liotta's and Bracco's.

Tanvir Bashar said...

Which actors wud u consider pescis contemporaries

Louis Morgan said...

If I had to say I guess Gary Oldman, but I don't even think he fits.

Pesci's kinda had a career all his own as he's been a critical darling and popular actor. He's also managed to be both a character actor and leading man. The most difficult thing about naming a contemporary is because of his career timeline. He came a considerable time after De Niro, Nicholson, and Pacino, but then he suddenly retired before all of them.