Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Best Supporting Actor 1973: John Houseman in The Paper Chase

John Houseman won his Oscar from his only acting Oscar nomination for portraying Professor Charles W. Kingsfield Jr.

The Paper Chase depicts the troubles and the success of a first year Harvard Law student.

John Houseman was better known as a film producer than a film actor before his performance here. He was only in a single feature length film before this one in a rather small role. Here though it is no surprise that Houseman was nominated and won since the Oscars do seem to like it when people act even if that person is better known for something else and the role of Professor Kingsfield is an incredibly showy role.

Kingsfield rules over his room with absolute control with his loud distinct voice, and commonly humiliates those who do not meet the requirements of his questions during the class. After this there is little to say actually about Kingsfield you learn very little of him outside the class, what you do learn is never portrayed by Houseman's performance instead they are merely said by others. When you do see him outside the classroom he acts just as he does inside the classroom with the same superior attitude.

Houseman is calm cool collected as well as commanding in the role I can't say he is all that much more than that. He always gives the same smug glances the same piercing looks in every scene there is no change in behavior ever nor should there be as that exactly how Professor Kingsfield is written to be. That does not mean he is amazing at all, I always felt he was just fine, but this never became that entertaining or interesting performance as relatively simple performances like this can be sometimes. I do frankly think though many scenes he could have brought out an appropriate degree of humor in his performance something that someone like John Gielgud probably could have done with ease. He is most certianly never bad, but I just never really found him to be worthy of acting awards good either.

3 comments:

Sage Slowdive said...

Insane win.

RatedRStar said...

I agree Sage awesome =) haha

Louis Morgan said...

Sage: Especially over Miller.