Mark Wahlberg received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Sgt. Sean Dingnam in The Departed.
The Departed tells about two police officers one an undercover cop (Leonardo DiCaprio) trying to bring down a crime boss (Jack Nicholson) and another (Matt Damon) working for the very same crime boss.
Out of the eventual best picture winner The Departed only one actor was nominated for an Oscar. Wahlberg was this actor, for whatever specific reason. Jack Nicholson as the film's villain was possibly the choice many would have thought would have been nominated, but maybe the Academy thought he should stay at least a little longer as tied for the most supporting actor nominations with Arthur Kennedy, Walter Brennan, and Claude Rains. I imagine though he was probably nominated by the nature of his character which is purposefully loud, and the whole point of his character really is to be a scene stealing character.
Wahlberg's whole point in the film as the Sgt. Dingnam is just to basically yell in a comedic fashion until just about the end of the film where he gets to quickly commit an act of wraith and vengeance. Dingnam really is a limited character, and Wahlberg really is not a great actor, in fact he seems to be a rather limited actor, but I will say one thing he does seem to do well is yell loudly and in a comedic fashion. This means he certainly fits for the role of Dingnam, his limits do work for the limited Dingnam. He actually is good enough at being a sort of a comedic relief for the film.
Wahlberg in all of his scenes talks loudly, and always has an abrasive thing to say about someone whenever he is on screen. He certainly is enjoyable enough in the role of Dingnam, and brings to life this abrasive quality certainly well enough. He also does do it in a humorous enough fashion that certainly works for the film, and the role without overplaying too much. He still does make Dingnam a man in the same film as the rest of the characters. He still shows Dingnam to be a cop who wants to do his job correctly, but he merely happens to show that he is does it in his only particular way.
This is not a great performance by Wahlberg by any means, but he serves his performance, even though it is rather limited. He does have his final very short scene showing a little bit of a different Dingnam clearly changed by the events of the film. There is no transition shown since Wahlberg is unapparent for a great deal of the film, but nevertheless Wahlberg handles the moment well. This is not an incredible performance but it is an entertaining one that achieves its rather limited goal. It will not be the performance that you really remember from the film, but it still does add to it in its own small way.