Crispin Glover did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying George McFly in Back to the Future.
Glover does not give off even a hint of strength in George's character here as he shows George taking the same abuse from Biff he always has been. Glover is very good here becuase although George is being entirely exploited by Biff his entire, he still portrays George reaction to it as basically a discomfort that he still tries to be pleasant about. He does not suggest in any way at this point that George could possibly do anything about Biff's constant harassment of him. Glover very importantly really does show really the end of the wrong path for George, as a man who never once stood up for himself ever, which factors in well later on into the film.
Now of course this film is never a downer despite George's predicament at the beginning of the film, and Glover adds a great deal of humor well into his performance. His laugh as the older George is just downright hilarious in just how ludicrous it is, yet Glover makes the laugh entirely into the character of George here, and although odd it does come off as natural to him. It is also important to mention that Glover is effective at being the father here, honestly portraying a certain warmth, as well as amusingly showing George is weak willed attempts at fatherly advice. I particularly like Glover's strained emphasis as George just attempts to apologize to his son for not standing up to Biff.
After Marty goes back in time and by chance meets his father in the past, and Glover brings about the younger George well loosening up on the posture, and shows not nearly as excessively pathetic of George. This is not to say he is not pathetic but rather he is on his way to becoming the George at the beginning. Although technically speaking it is more of being George being himself, Glover finds more way to make the character enjoyable in his lacking qualities. Again although pathetic Glover wears such a bright smile while still being bullied that he makes it all rather entertaining.
Glover gives just a brilliant comedic performance in every scene he is in realizing the nerdy George. Glover is a master of physical comedy here expression so well in every one of scenes the meekness of George, he only adds to it with his always reluctant voice and expression. He really truly makes a meek man here, although he makes him an absolutely hilarious man of such meekness. One moment I particularly love that is comedic gold but also with just the right amount of sadness is when Marty tries to introduce George to his future wife Lorraine (Lea Thompson), but she completely ignores him. Glover is absolutely perfect in how awkwardly he attempts to greet her, than after his failure he so quietly slinks away.
What is so special about this performance though is although consistently funny Glover always puts it entirely within his character. There is nothing forced about the humor, it all works in wonderfully with George, and amplifies his qualities marvelously. He just like Fox did in his performance finds just the right tone bringing in the right amount of comedy in the role well not losing the dramatic weight required for the role. He finds just the right harmony between the two that this performance really works, and even becomes rather moving at times because of this.
Some of the best moments of his performance are when Marty tries to push George to stand up for himself, and actually asks Lorraine out. Glover is amazing when he tries to ask her out in the diner as he prepares so awkwardly, but again hilariously finding courage through a milk...chocolate. Although he still does not have much strength in him, Glover does indicate well that there is at least a hint of it as he shakily tries to ask her out. His smile when he says his name and finally pronounces destiny instead of density it just terrific, and actually honestly quite heartwarming for the moment as actually the two indicate to each other the connection the two would eventually have.
The pivotal moment of his character comes when he is finally is forced to stand up to Biff, and that little of bit of strength is capitalized on. Glover shows that what really does force George to finally break his shell is the seriousness of the situation and his slow turn from fear to determination is handled with a fierce power. Absolutely important though is Glover's reaction after finally punching Biff out. It is a moving combination of pride, with astonishment of what he has been capable of, and moving toward sympathy and love when asking if Lorraine is okay. He does not lose his manner completely here, as he should not, but Glover flawlessly brings out the best of George here showing that he will never go back to his meekness of before.
Glover again is appropriate in his final scene. This is actually the least notable of all of his scenes as the flawed George is clearly more interesting of a character, but nevertheless Glover handles it well. In the new present he portrays George with a proper posture, life, and confidence in himself. From his absolutely great moments from the end of the past part of the film, Glover manged to make it entirely believable that George would become this man in the end. This is just a great performance in every regard, being both a laugh out loud depiction of nerdy incompetence and lack of confidence, but as well a genuinely moving portrayal of a man overcoming his fears and weaknesses for the better.