Ian Mckellen received his second Oscar nomination for portraying Gandalf the Grey in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring.
Ian Mckellen plays who is one of the most memorable of the character in the story, as the wise and powerful wizard. I must say Mckellen portrayal of Gandalf completely fit how I expected the character in the book, something I can't quite say about some of the other cast members. Mckellen though gets Gandalf spot on though, and just is the part from his first scene on screen. I never really say Mckellen playing the part I always saw the character.
In playing the wise wizard Mckellen shows consistently a calmness and ease in the part something frankly quite needed for a part like this, if Mckellen was not absolutely sure of himself this part would be unbelievable, but Mckellen is sure of his character. Mckellen also manages to infuse a great deal of humanity into his part, which again was greatly needed. Gandalf easily could have been an overly mysterious, or frankly boring character in the wrong hands but Mckellen brings him to life.
Gandalf throughout the film is suppose to be a wise always helping figure, and Mckellen manages to portray this quite effectively. Mckellen always puts a great deal of heart in his performance without making the kindly nature of Gandalf seem at all forced. Mckellen is particularly strong in the small quiet moments of comforting wisdom that realize the true wisdom and warmth of the character. Mckellen also manages to insert some humor in the part derived from the age of Gandalf, which Mckellen does with as much ease as the wisdom, and certainly adds to the whole of the character.
The part is not only wisdom though and there is a great deal of challenge actually in his big scenes such as with his confrontation with Saruman (Christopher Lee) or his fight with the Balrog. These scenes really could have been just over the top acting, but Mckellen handles them extremely well. He instead manages to put power and assurance with each of these scenes, particularly in his line readings, to make them quite memorable. This is a very good performance by Mckellen that brings his character to life.