Thursday, 15 December 2011

Best Supporting Actor 1991: Ben Kingsley in Bugsy

Ben Kingsley received his second Oscar nomination for portraying Meyer Lansky in Bugsy.

Kingsley portrays Meyer Lansky Bugsy Segal(Warren Beatty)'s old friend from childhood as well as fellow gangster. He is the more sensible one who sees the big picture, and understands crime in more terms of money refusing to take things too emotionally or personally. Kingsley really is not in the film very often but he has a few scenes that are important for his character.

Kingsley unlike his fellow nominee Harvey Keitel is not nearly as comfortable as a gangster. He tries the same trick as Keitel from the voice to his physical demeanor. Kingsley never seems to be completely natural with his gangster voice or his gangster style and it frankly seems a little too much like a performance rather than really being an embodiment of Meyer Lansky.

Unlike Mickey Cohen played by Keitel though the materials did seem to be there to make Meyer Lansky into a memorable or compelling character. The problem is though Kingsley is never able to convey any sort of inner killer, or power one would think would be in a character like this, something that Lee Starsberg was able to very well in the Godfather Part II as Hyman Roth who was based on Meyer Lansky.

Kingsley never gives more than a rather paper thin characterization of Meyer Lansky focusing far too much on the mannerisms of the character, which he does not even do well, without ever achieving any sort of deeper complexity to the character. It is is all around a rather unimpressive performance by Kingsley that never seizes any of the opportunities the role does indeed offer.


Anonymous said...

Agreed Louis, this is such a weak year its unbelievable

RatedRStar said...

Harvey Keitel was so much better than Kingsley, =D I dont even think Kingsley is that good of an actor, very overated actor in my opinion

RatedRStar said...

The golden globes now announced and their quite good ones this year, especially happy that Michael Fassbender and Albert Brooks got noms =D

Anonymous said...

RatedR I agree with you on Kingsley, I find him a bit too cold as an actor, and actory.

mrripley said...

1 word miscast!!!