James Mason received his second Oscar nomination for portraying James Leamington in Georgy Girl.
James Mason is one actor I have yet to see a performance by him that I did not like. Mason perhaps since he took almost any role he was offered genuinely loved acting, and maybe it is that joy of performance that comes through in his performances aids in this. Mason just has a unique charming presence, and something wonderful I find about him is that despite the fact he is well spoken especially classy this could easily come off as just acting superior, but Mason always has a certain likability which works perfectly for his performance as James Leamington in Georgy Girl.
James Leamington is a rich man who constantly is trying to convince his employee's daughter, who he has supported and believes she owes him, to become his mistress. Leamington certainly as written is very much a creep especially sense he considers Georgy almost as a daughter before he wishes to have a relationship with her. Mason though with his unique style some how manages avoid this and some how manages to make Leamington likable. Mason manages to show that, even in his scenes where he is upset with Georgy, that his character really has an honest enthusiasm love for her, and even more importantly he never forgets to find the humor in his character.
Mason never lets a moment slip to bring in a little dry humor into his portrayal. There is something almost endearing about Leamington simply because of the way Mason always pokes fun at his character. Mason though is perfect at this because he never winks toward the audience in any way he is invested in his character at all times, yet he finds just the right way to make fun of him at the same time. He is always very serious in all his scene, yet he stays so serious throughout everything it is actually quite funny. This is especially true when he offers his affair agreement to Georgy. He takes such a business like approach to the whole affair that i could be taken as excessively cold, but Mason brings humor to the scene because he never once shows that Leamington has the slightest sense of what he is doing and how he is doing it.
Mason's part though mostly are these short scenes of repetition with Leamington always looking for Georgy even though she is trying her best to avoid him. Later in the film though he does have a dramatic moment. The moment actually comes a little out of nowhere, but it does force Leamington to face the effects of his strange decisions. The scene is rather quick, but Mason nails it. His reaction could not be a better reaction of complete shock, as well as some grief. Yet magically Mason still even has a bit of humor in this scene as his surprised look still suggests his character naivety, as Mason's face seems to suggest that Leamington only just realized that anyone even really existed in his world beside him.
Mason only real problem is the fact that the film does not really care much for his character in the least. He is only a side character at first, and that he almost seems dispensable later on in the film when the film becomes far far more interested in Georgy's dealing with her roommate and her boyfriend. If it weren't for the ending one would wonder why it continued to cut to Leamington during the latter half of the film. Mason is always good, his best scene comes from this cutaway, but the way the film is set up it makes his character almost seem superfluous. The reason for Leamington comes in the end though in a quick scene where fulfills his role in the story. Mason is good in the very short final scene as he shows a changed man, sort of. Mason does convey enough that Leamington seems to have finally seen a way not to be completely selfish, it is quick change but naturally handled by Mason.
This is actually technically speaking a very good performance by Mason it could have been an utter failure in so many ways, but Mason does find the right way to portray the part to make the character of Leamington work, as well as actually make the ending sort of work. If Leamington had been portrayed completely without humor he would have been an awful character, and would have hurt the film and certainly would have ruined the ending. Luckily Mason does not fail with the part, and even though it is far from his greatest performance it is a challenged fulfilled.