Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Best Supporting Actor 1981: James Coco in Only When I Laugh

James Coco received his only Oscar nomination for portraying Jimmy in Only When I Laugh.

Only When I Laugh depicts the story of an alcoholic stage actress who has trouble staying sober while dealing with problems with her friends and her daughter.

James Coco is the one of only two actors, the other being Amy Irving, to receive both an Oscar nomination and a Razzie nomination for the same performance. I must say first off that Coco should never have had this distinction because this is not a bad performance and most certainly not one of the worst supporting performances of the year. James Coco gives an relatively early example of a flamboyant gay character who admits to be such. The idea of a flamboyant gay character can commonly lead to some big overacting, but not automatically as shown by say William Hurt in Kiss of a Spiderwoman. This is actually less acting by Coco though as if you see him in an interview he actually has basically the same mannerisms, just  he talks with less one liners.

Coco really though never becomes just a caricature though and manages to make Jimmy an actual person who happens to be flamboyant rather than just a series of flamboyant mannerisms. Coco does well giving his one liners putting a great deal of energy in each of his scenes. The snappy comeback friend is most certainly a cliche but Coco does a fine job with that sort of character nonetheless. His best scenes though are his more dramatic ones such as where he attempts to comfort Georgia (Marsha Mason). He really shows an honest caring for her that works well for the film. His single best moment though most certianly comes when he is distraught over losing an acting part he thought for sure he had. Coco really shows the heartbreak in Jimmy and effectively portrays how it saddens him. Coco manages to find the comedy in the part as well as the drama. Although I can't say they are perfectly balanced as I greatly preferred his dramatic moments over his comedic ones he effectively kept both aspects within a single character. This is not an amazing performance by any means it is most certainly a good enough one that well maybe did not need to be Oscar nominated but it certainly was not at all deserving of its Razzie nomination.

8 comments:

Tom said...

Never saw the film.

mrripley said...

I love this film and would have handed joan hackett my supporting actress ward and marsha mason is great too,kristy macnicol's ok and coco just fine but not nom worthy but not razzie worthy either.

RatedRStar said...

I just saw this now, I have to say, if Coco was undeserved of this razzie, why didnt they give Robert Preston one for Victor/Victoria, cause that was way over the top lol =D

moviefilm said...

I´ve also wanted to do this year before, but I´ve never found Only When I Laugh anywhere. Where did you see/get it?

dinasztie said...

I liked him.

Louis Morgan said...

moviefilm: I rented it.

Anonymous said...

His sexuality was known by his family, friends and show-biz "inner-circles." However, he was not "OUT" in the broader sense to the public. One has to also realize, he died in 1987. That may not seem like a very long time ago, however, it's 27 years and back then, gay visibility was not like today. Now we have "Marriage-Equality" in 16 states and counting. Back then, the concept was advocated by few and would have been seen as absurd by most.

Anonymous said...

James Coco was my favorite actor on "The Muppets" in the 1970's. Sadly, he died in 1987 suddenly of a massive heart attack at only 56. He was gay, but was not "Out" publicly. One has to remember, he died 30 years ago, and it was not fashionable to be labeled a homosexuality back then, the way it is today. He lived with his longtime companion Jack of over 20 years in their spacious pre-war apartment at 45 Christopher Street in New York's gay Greenwich Village. At the time of his death, he was survived by his sister Lucia Coco. She passed way in 2014 at 96. TMZ reported in 2014 that his great niece Donna Ferguson inherited the bulk of his fortune at the time of his sister's death. His estimate net-worth in 1987 was approximately 5.5 million plus his condominium, worth approximately 1.5 million in 1987. His fortune grew to over 20 million in the 24 years since his death and his great niece was reported to be the sole heir upon the death of her grandmother, Lucia Coco, the sister of actor James Coco.