Christopher Lloyd did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Doctor Emmett "Doc" Brown in Back to the Future.
Lloyd in his first scenes shows off a manic approach to Doc Brown, that is a very enjoyable and endearing method to his performance. Every line he says has an incredible energy behind it, as does the physical aspect of his performance. There is something very special to Lloyd take on Brown's style that never seems forced, and effectively helps to amplify the idea that his character is the eccentric scientist. He never overplays the mannerisms, but rather he works all of them within his performance wonderfully to help make Doc Brown as memorable of a character as he is.
Lloyd just makes an endearing character in the wacky but goodhearted Doc, and he makes Doc very likable from the instant we see him. There is just a charm he brings out to his performance that like Crispin Glover, and Michael J. Fox in this film he does this by adding a great deal of humor in his performance as well. A great example of how this works is when he forces Marty to video tape the time travel experiment directly in front of the car which will run them over if his experiment does not work. His reaction as he looks at Marty to stand properly in line, although technically devious never feels so due to just how amusing Lloyd's look is.
One of the best aspects of Lloyd's performance is the pride in his character, but just as well as the way he shows that really Brown is not much of a scientist, and just happened to be able to invent the time machine. There is though a profound wonderment when he first sees his machine work, as well as when the past version of himself finds out that he has actually discovered something has work that Lloyd brings to life with a great deal of joy, but always wonderment that he actually could invent something in the end. After all one of my favorite moments in his performance is when he tries a clearly shoddy machine, and his hilarious frustration at it shows a long standing history of such frustrations.
One of the most important parts of his performance though is his relationship with Marty played by Michael J. Fox. As I said in Fox's review the two absolutely make this friendship work together as well as it could. Although again there is no explanation between Marty and Doc, the two just have a natural chemistry together that absolutely makes the most of it. Although the idea of the friendship might of seemed unbelievable in the hands of any other pair of actors, the two absolutely do not leave the viewer questioning the friendship between the two. They succeed together both in a comedic fashion, as well as even in a more serious fashion.
Together the two play off each other wonderfully with Lloyd playing it up and Fox playing it down, as well as in the past Lloyd playing up the 50's sentiments, and Fox playing up the 80's. Both actors just match each other perfectly every reaction and line that work off each other just hits the mark. For example the exchange between the two as Marty says their situation is heavy, and Doc question the statement believing there something to be wrong with the earth's gravitational pull, to Marty ending it with a huh. The two just have excellent timing and they just are an excellent duo, it is no wonder they continued for two more films after this.
Lloyd and Fox just as easily create an honestly moving relationship between the two which is largely based on that Marty knows that Doc was killed just before he went back in time. Although at first somewhat hostile due to a humorous disbelief as portrayed by Lloyd, the past Doc and Marty quickly becomes friends as well. The two genuinely create a believable caring the two have for each other that absolutely works with each other. Both actors actually make their arguments over Marty wanting to tell Doc, but Doc wanting to avoid messing with time honestly poignant particularly their final goodbye to one another.
Christopher Lloyd gives a terrific performance creating Doc Brown into a memorable entertaining character. He just lights up every scene he is in with his great vigor that never lets up. He successfully never stops being both consistently funny in the role, but as well creating an honestly moving portrait of this rather strange character. Lloyd just effortlessly creates this manic and incredibly fun performance that realizes the character marvelously. Doc Brown could easily have not been nearly as remembered as he is, but every mannerisms every reaction that Lloyd gives in this performance works and only succeeds in making this one of the great characters of the 80's.