Walter Huston received his third Oscar nomination for portraying Jerry Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy.
Off the stage Huston portrays Jerry as an entirely nice man who's only negative quality is perhaps he is slightly jealous of his son's greater success. Nevertheless Huston just portrays Jerry charmingly, as a good man who loves his family, and work hard to make them successes. It is a rather limited his portrayal and his most substantial scene is probably when he tries to tell the young George that it is better to be a great man than a great actor. Huston is good in that scene showing the fatherly wisdom and warmth of Jerry well. Huston basically gets everything he can out of the part through his typical energetic and charming approach he used in all of his roles.
The only problem with Huston's performance really is his role. The film is absolutely about George M. Cohan, and only about George M. Cohan. The only time he is really the focus at all is at the very beginning of the film. As soon as Cagney appears he fades into the background even in many of the vaudevillian scenes. He does have a single scene where he reads a letter from George, which Huston handles well and brings genuine heart to the scene. After this scene though he fades once again even his final death scene is about Cagney's performance not Huston's. There just is not a lot of material for Huston to turn this into a classic Huston performance, it is fine work from Huston nevertheless though.