Albert Brooks received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Aaron Altman in Broadcast News.
Brooks actually has a great challenge in this role, a challenge that is often failed at which is to portray a character who is written to be annoying in some way but succeeding in making the character likable still. Brooks is quite capable in this regard as Aaron who is purposefully written to be a bit of a know it all as well as someone who does not mind espouses his views fairly loudly and with as much condescension as possible. Brooks though is able to balance this aspect of Aaron with his more charming traits just about perfectly though.
Brooks in Aaron more potentially annoying qualities does well because he effectively enables his slight sense of superiority to be both appropriately humorous as well as sincerity in his performance. Brooks is able to show that Aaron honestly does believe in what he does and what he attempts to do, and it it is almost that he can't help but be at least a little snarky to those who are willing to compromise their values rather than do what it right.
Brooks with this though also does manage to make Aaron charming in his own particular way. Brooks is interesting actually in that he shows that what Aaron tries to do really is always attempt to be charming as much as possible really, because it does not come to him naturally. Brooks is able to show naturally actually able to realize Aaron's repeated attempts to try to charismatic and naturally he does succeed somewhat, but Brooks shows always there is that effort that stops Aaron from being able to be his rival Tom Grunick (William Hurt).
What really is effective about his performance though is in Brooks of portrayal of Aaron relationship with the television producer Jane (Holly Hunter). Brooks is terrific in these scenes as he shows Aaron's obvious love for Jane even though Jane refuses to see Aaron anymore than just a friend. Brooks is great in showing just how much he honestly does love her particularly in his body language that is always tuned toward's Hunter's in a way that he is always waiting for just to reciprocate.
Brooks is very moving really in his scenes with Hunter later on after Jane has fallen for Tom. Brooks realizes so well the various emotions Aaron goes through from his obvious love for Jane that he finally absolutely comes out with, but also with his own anger toward her since she can't return it and is instead falling for a man who represent everything he sees that is wrong with the news. Brooks gives a moving performance that really realizes the painful dilemma of Aaron's life.
Brooks is also great in his very important moments with William Hurt as neither of them treat each other in really a hostile a fashion but rather have a dynamic of rather hidden mutual jealousy, disrespect but with a bit of admiration at the same time. What both actors do work exceedingly well for their scenes together which realizes both their professional and personal struggles in an interesting effective fashion. I was very much surprised by just how much I liked him this time around, but Brooks really gives a great performance that succeeds completely with his character.