William Demarest received his only Oscar nomination for portraying Steve Martin in The Jolson Story.
William Demarest has a nice warm presence on screen as Steve Martin who acts a mentor to Jolson. There really is not much to his part though other than either giving Jolson supportive talks, or trying to convince that he should probably try to take it easier. Demarest does all of this well enough. He is supportive as he should be, and as mentory as he should be, but none of what he does is amazing.
Demarest really though does gives my favorite performance in the film although that is not saying much. He does his best with his character with the limited amount he is given which only lessens as the film continues on. It is not a great performance just one that is as it should be. There are no special moments, but Demarest is consistently competent throughout.