Nick Nolte received his third Oscar nomination for portraying Paddy Conlon in Warrior.
Nolte is not an actor I can ever finding myself really liking. His performances usually can be functional but for me he is always lacking that extra quality that really brings you into his character making his performance into something special. Nick Nolte here portrays the formally drunken father of the two brothers, who has a strained relationship with both of them. I suppose his role sort of has Oscar all written over it, as well as seems to have Nolte all written over it as seems certainly cast correctly for the former drunk Paddy Conlon.
Nick Nolte certainly fits the haggard history of his character with his aged face, and his raspy voice that you can almost barely hear at times. Nolte though shows mostly a man who trying to be a reformed man, and is trying to get back what he lost in his bad years. This certainly could have been an extremely flashy role, but for the most part Nolte actually downplays his performance for the most part. He shows mostly his pain rather quietly, but in way to show that Paddy has in a way accepted what he has done.
A great deal of Paddy's character though is shown in his attempts to reconnect with his sons, which he never fully does throughout the course of the film. In scenes with both sons he is always at a distance in their scenes together. Nolte is good in these scenes but I am hard pressed to say he is amazing. He puts a great deal of effort into his performance, but as always with his performances his emotions are right but his performance never becomes as heartbreaking as it should be frankly.
Nolte simply never quite has the emotional impact one would want from a performance like this even in what should be the moving scenes such as when he wants to see his grand children. In this scene Nolte is good enough in that he realistic in his depiction of the scene, but it just never has the extra quality that would have made the scene something truly special. This is really how I felt about the performance as a whole, not bad, even good , but never special.
The film also throws in an Oscar scene unfortunately where Paddy gets drunk again after a troubling scene with his son. Firstly Nolte really did not show Paddy to be that upset after his talk with his son to cause him to have such a break down, secondly the break down seemed unneeded really in the end, and almost seemed to be there to let Nolte show off. Again Nolte isn't bad in this scene though, but it rather just satisfactory enough, but not more than that.
Nolte tries to be the heart of the film, and does give a great deal of effort in his attempt at this, but in the end it he just never comes alive to the extent I would want from a performance like this. It is an entirely descent performance from Nolte, he never has a bad scene or even really bad moment. His performance never really had an especially memorable scene or moment either though.