Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Best Supporting Actor 1977: Alec Guinness in Star Wars

Alec Guinness received his third acting Oscar nomination for portraying Obi-wan "Old Ben" Kenobi in Star Wars.

Alec Guinness portrays Obi-wan Kenobi which many people might say is his most memorable role, although I personally say nonsense that most certianly is Col. Nicholson but hey Guinness is one of my favorite actors and I would naturally say his best performance is his most memorable role. Either way though I will agree the old master Obi-wan certainly is a well remembered performance, and a very much iconic performance from Guinness. Of course as always a performance being iconic does not mean it is great.

Obi-wan certainly is less of a challenge for Guinness than so many of his performances. I mean he is not playing eight different characters in the same film, nor is he given a very layered and complex character to handle with absolute ease. Old Ben almost seems like a walk in the park if you look at it among the rest of Guinness' repertoire. Still though even a relatively simple role like this Guinness can still manage to make special in its own way.

Obi-wan is the old Jedi who knows the ways of the force and takes his duty to help young Luke Skywalker rescue Princess Leia as well as teach Luke about his past and the force. From his first scene Guinness is effectively mysterious in his performance. He conveys a past of some sort in every moment of his performance. Guinness with an absolute ease is able to show that Obi-wan is always under full control of the situation, through a quiet intelligence which Guinness is able to show with seemingly no visible effort.

Guinness is able to bring to life the whole idea of the force as well as possible simple through the conviction in his performance. Do to the fact that he shows such a complete belief in his teachings of the force Guinness is actually brings much needed believability to the whole entire concept. Guinness never really winks to the camera or anything like that but instead stands steadfast showing Obi-wan genuine belief in the idea.

Guinness has a strong presence that adds to the film very effectively in his quiet way. He is able to be the mentor perfectly without ever making Obi-wan seem false or forced in his wisdom, but rather actually an honest wise man. There is not anything extraordinary about his performance, but it is a fine effort by Guinness nonetheless. Yes as I said before when it comes to Guinness this character seems hardly a challenge, but credit goes to where credit is due. Guinness shows here that he always seemed to manage to bring life to all of his performances and characters no matter how big or small, or even whether or not he even liked the film itself.


dshultz said...

Wait, so, you only gave him four Walts because the role was easy for him? Cause I'd give him 4.5 at least. He left the biggest impression on the film in my opinion, standing out among other flashier and frankly more interesting (on paper) characters. I hope he wins.

Louis Morgan said...

Actually we are in full agreement, I thought I had given him a 4.5 the 4 was by accident.