Victor Moore did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Barkley "Pa" Cooper in Make Way For Tomorrow.
Victor Moore portrays the father, and Beulah Bondi portrays the mother. The film all it jumps back and forth between the two it does mostly focus on the mother during the separation, but Moore does have a few scenes as well. Moore is very quiet in the role of Pa Cooper as he is mostly seen sitting and speaks in a slow meticulous fashion. Moore is actually quite good in being older than Moore really was at the time through just the time he takes in doing just about anything, and Moore effectively conveys the age of Barkley extremely well.
The key aspect of his character that Moore really focuses on in his portrayal is how hard Barkley is on himself. He is constantly making fun of himself, as well as sadly reflecting on the past on what he really did wrong. Moore is very blunt about this, and seems to almost actively avoid being flamboyant about it. He is actually very depressing here because of just how calm he is in conveying the regret he is always feeling. It is not something that just comes and goes his guilt over mistakes is something that is always bearing down with him at all times.
Moore performance though is not only a depression though as Barkley attempts to make jokes all the time although usually it is at his own expense. Of course really this moments are just as sad as the rest as Moore shows every joke of Barkley's to be no more than a rather feeble attempt to hold off the heartbreak he feels from being separated from his wife. Moore only portrays the shortest moments of joy in his face after any moment, there is never long that the same quiet self loathing takes back over.
The most important moments of his performance come in the final act where Pa and Ma Cooper meet for one last time before separating which is very likely for the last time. Moore and Bondi have an unique and very moving chemistry together. Although they never espouse their love in loud fashion there is always an undercurrent of it created magnificently by the two actors. They are still very quiet together to the very last moment, and they never compromise the characters.
They show both the genuine love between the two, but as well the sorrow both feel even though they are always trying to hide it. Both lead to the final moments of the film wonderfully to make a very heartbreaking and memorable depiction of the two soul mates forced to separate by circumstance. Moore gives a good performance here, although I will say what makes this film as strong as it is is the uncompromising direction by Leo McCarey that never falls into sentiment or melodrama, Moore to his credit does well in aiding in the powerful whole of this film through his realization of tragic man left behind by society.