John Cassavetes received his only acting nomination for portraying Victor P. Franko in The Dirty Dozen.
John Cassavetes is best known today for being an experimental director, and not for his acting, although he certainly has a quite a few acting credits to his name. He also does not quite join the ranks of directors being nominated for acting like Vittorio De Sica, and Erich Von Stroheim because John Cassavetes actually did received a directing nomination eventually down the line were the other two where never recognized for the fields they were considered best in.
John Cassavetes does fit into those ranks somewhat though as the most notable thing about this nomination is that it is an acting nomination for Cassavetes who is still best known as a director. He plays one of the condemned soldiers who is quite the rebellious wise guy at the beginning of the film who purposefully questions the whole idea, and just thinks of ways that he can possibly escape, as well as complain about the various conditions that must deal with.
Cassavetes is just fine at being rebellious for the purpose of being so, and correctly conveys the idea that Franko was a career criminal before being in the army. He has the right reactions early on to suggest the way he is always looking for something to try exploit to his advantage, or something just to simply complain about. He most certainly is the character Franko should be, because I never once questioned his motives or the background of the character.
The only problem though is once the dozen becomes united into a military unit I must say I stopped really even noticing Cassavetes. Yes he was there with rest of the group, but just within nothing that he did made him standout in the least. He makes the occasional wise crack still, but his presence overall becomes quite muted. In the end this performance really is absolutely fine, but there is nothing particularly remarkable or special either.