Elliot Gould received his only Oscar nomination so far for portraying the titular Ted Henderson in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.
Dyan Cannon as Alice and Elliot Gould as Ted were both nominated in the supporting category in the film but they are just as much of leads as Natalie Wood and Robert Culp are as Carol and Bob since it is as much about the free love sharing couple as the one reacting to it. It certainly makes since though that the two were nominated for their roles since the academy most likely did indeed prefer the greater degree of emotions presented by the two in their performances, since for a great deal of the time Wood and Culp are just rather sure of themselves.
Elliot Gould's performance is mostly on one note of many notes really. One is not really a problem with this performance though as the one note Gould keeps with for most of his performance is confusion, and the many facets that come with this confusion. Ted reacts to Carol and Bob actions with a great deal of mixed emotions that do not leave him as a particularly clear thinking individual. Gould shows Ted reactions to Carol and Bob quite well showing a mix of bemusement, as well as intrigue that only really causes confusion within himself as well as his feelings to his relationship with his wife Alice.
Gould goes for a semi comic approach with his performance as Ted that actually does work effectively for his character. It is never that he goes over the top or even obviously for a laugh even, but Gould never makes Ted confusion overbearing, but rather something a bit more lighthearted. Gould never makes Ted really sure of himself in anyway and derives from the natural humor that comes from that. Gould never makes Ted into someone who knows what he is doing or what is going on even for much of a moment, even when he does have some confidence it comes from a confused effort.
Gould stays consistently inconsistent with his performance effectively throughout. Ted does undergo changes throughout slowly becoming more impressed by the ideas of free love, but Gould performance works even as he moves closer to the idea of having an affair for example he is never assured of the idea or if fully understands why exactly he desires to even do that exactly. Gould gives a pretty good performance actually in his way despite the challenge of his character's confusion, but Gould realizes the confusion very well. Although he never achieves the heights of Dyan Cannon's performance as Alice, who is by far the best of the far, he does give humorously effective portrayal.