Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1974: Results

5. Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein- Feldman gives an entertaining and enjoyable performance.

Best Scene: Igor says what his father would say in rough times. 
4. Martin Balsam in The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three- Balsam does a great job of humanizing his hijacker, and makes it easy to follow through his own small story within the film.

Best Scene: Mr. Brown reacts to the first murder. 
3. John Huston in Chinatown- Huston gives a great villainous performance creating a fantastic mystery within his character who acts warmly, but evil seems lurking beneath his grin.

Best Scene: Gittes first meets with Noah Cross. 
2. Robert Shaw in The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three- Shaw gives an excellent performance as a steely cold and calculated villain.

Best Scene: Mr. Blue kills the first hostage. 
1. John Cazale in The Godfather Part II- Good Prediction RatedRStar. Although I do love Shaw's and Huston's performances Cazale does fairly easily win this year for me. He too could be argued as playing a villain, but Cazale turns his character's pathetic plight into a truly heartbreaking portrait of a brother who just was never good enough.

Best Scene: " I'm your older brother Michael"
Overall Rank:
  1. John Cazale in The Godfather Part II
  2. John Huston in Chinatown
  3. Robert Shaw in The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three
  4. Richard Harris in Juggernaut
  5. Robert De Niro in The Godfather Part II
  6. Ken Takakura in The Yakuza
  7. Lee Strasberg in The Godfather Part II
  8. Michael V. Gazzo in The Godfather Part II
  9. David Warner in Little Malcolm
  10. Roberts Blossom in The Great Gatsby
  11. Harrison Ford in The Conversation
  12. Bruce Dern in The Great Gatsby
  13. Martin Balsam in The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three
  14. Robert Duvall in The Godfather Part II
  15. Sylvester Stallone in The Lords of Flatbush
  16. Eddie Albert in The Longest Yard
  17. Scott Wilson in The Great Gatsby 
  18. Ben Johnson in The Sugarland Express
  19. David Warner in From Beyond the Grave
  20. Richard Jordan in The Yakuza
  21. Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein 
  22. Harvey Korman in Blazing Saddles  
  23. Gene Wilder in Blazing Saddles  
  24. Holger Lowenadler in Lacombe Lucien
  25. Kris Kristofferson in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
  26. Christopher Lee in The Man With the Golden Gun
  27. Ian Holm in Juggernaut 
  28. Gene Hackman in Young Frankenstein
  29. Hector Elizondo in The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three
  30. John Cazale in the Conversation 
  31. Paul Williams in Phantom of the Paradise
  32. Robert Duvall in The Conversation
  33. Vincent Gardenia in Death Wish  
  34. Harvey Keitel in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
  35. Tony Roberts in The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three  
  36. Anthony Hopkins in Juggernaut 
  37. James Shigeta in The Yakuza
  38. Cyril Cusack in Juggernaut 
  39. Peter Cushing in From Beyond the Grave
  40. Gig Young in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
  41. Robert Webber in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
  42. Freddie Jones in Juggernaut
  43. Paul Sorvino in The Gambler
  44. Kenneth Mars in Young Frankenstein
  45. Lee Wallace in The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three  
  46. James Hampton in The Longest Yard
  47. Clifton James in Juggernaut
  48. Geoffrey Lewis in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
  49. James Caan in The Godfather Part II  
  50. Roy Kinnear in Juggernaut
  51. Donald Pleasence in From Beyond the Grave
  52. Denholm Elliot in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
  53. Omar Sharif in Juggernaut
  54. Michael Gorrin in The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three
  55. Allen Garfield in The Conversation
  56. Fred Astaire in The Towering Inferno
  57. John Gielgud in Murder on the Orient Express
  58. Jerry Stiller in The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three 
  59. Charles Tyner in The Longest Yard
  60. Perry Lopez in Chinatown 
  61. George Kennedy in Earthquake
  62. William Daniels in The Parallax View 
  63. Gerrit Graham in Phantom of the Paradise
  64. George Kennedy in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
  65. Dick O'Neill in The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three 
  66. G.D. Spradlin in The Godfather Part II
  67. Earl Hindman in The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three 
  68. Roshan Seth in Juggernaut
  69. Herb Edelman in The Yakuza
  70. John Schuck in Thieves Like Us
  71. Joseph Wiseman in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz 
  72. John Steadman in The Longest Yard
  73. John McEnery in Little Malcolm
  74. Raymond Platt in Little Malcolm
  75. Ian Carmichael in From Beyond the Grave
  76. George Memmoli in Phantom of the Paradise
  77. Anthony Perkins in Murder on the Orient Express 
  78. Larry Hagman in Harry and Tonto  
  79. Randy Quaid in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
  80. Morris Carnovsky in The Gambler
  81. Hume Cronyn in The Parallax View
  82. Henry Winkler in The Lords of Flatbush
  83. David Wayne in The Front Page 
  84. Jim Siedow in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  85. Kris Kristofferson in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
  86. Richard Kiel in The Longest Yard
  87. Richard Pryor in Uptown Saturday Night
  88. Gaston Machin in The Godfather Part II   
  89. Sean Connery in Murder on the Orient Express
  90. Frederic Forrest  in The Conversation
  91. Gunnar Hansen in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  92. Jack Warden in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
  93. Brian Keith in The Yakuza
  94. Richard Widmark in Murder on the Orient Express 
  95. Michael Lerner in Busting
  96. Vincent Gardenia in The Front Page
  97. Bert Remsen in Thieves Like Us 
  98. Harold Gould in The Front Page
  99. Lorne Green in Earthquake
  100. Charles Durning in The Front Page
  101. Ian Ogilvy in From Beyond the Grave
  102. Alfred Lutter in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore 
  103. Calvin Lockhart in Uptown Saturday Night
  104. David Hemmings in Juggernaut 
  105. Perry King in The Lords of Flatbush 
  106. Ian Bannen in From Beyond the Grave
  107. Michael Conrad in The Longest Yard
  108. Joe Mantell in Chinatown
  109. Harry Belafonte in Uptown Saturday Night
  110. Allen Garfield in Busting
  111. Alex Rocco in Freebie and the Bean 
  112. Ed Launter in The Longest Yard
  113. Wlater Ladengast in The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
  114. Bruno Kirby in The Godfather Part II
  115. Martin Balsam in Murder on the Orient Express  
  116. Robert Vaughn in The Towering Inferno
  117. Denis Quilley in Murder on the Orient Express 
  118. William Holden in The Towering Inferno
  119. Michael York in Murder on the Orient Express  
  120. Christopher Morley in Freebie and the Bean
  121. Edwin Neal in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
  122. Hervé Villechaize in The Man With the Golden Gun
  123. Walter Matthau in Earthquake
  124. Paul A Partain in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
  125. Richard Chamberlain in The Towering Inferno
  126. Allen Danziger in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
  127. William Vail in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
  128. Clifton James in The Man With the Golden Gun
Next Year: 2011 Supporting

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1974: Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein

Marty Feldman did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Igor in Young Frankenstein.

Marty Feldman portrays the rather strange looking Igor although wearing his black hood, having a hump that changes side, and Feldman's own bulging eyes. Young Frankenstein is of course an extreme comedy in that it is only going for comedy and lots of it. Even if there is the slightest sort of a dramatic moment in the film there will be a joke still instantly afterwards. The film though does sort of take one thing seriously which is replicating the look of the old horror films of the thirties, and to a degree does the look part partially as well.

Feldman slinks around in the film much like one would in one of those old movies, and even says yes master constantly as well. Aside from the yes masters and the way he scurries about this is a completely comedic performance. His performance mostly consists of little humorous aside to the main scene whether it is a look, or a strange comment that he makes about something about himself, or some sort of slightest pestering comment against Dr. Frankenstein.

Feldman handles his very specific role, and most of his little reactions, and quite amusing, and many of them are hilarious. Feldman has quite a bit of fun having the dichotomy of the look of his character which is very much that of the 30's monster movies, but with an entirely modern manner in his portrayal of Igor's personality. It works quite well for the part, and Feldman certainly creates some of the highlights of the film.

Technically speaking his character is the most constant in the film as his role is quite firm which is making funny and bizarre observations throughout. Feldman makes the most out of all his moments though and they are terrific. One little moment I particularly find hilarious is his remarks about what his father said in times of distress. Feldman gives an entertaining and enjoyable comedic performance in the film that hits just the right notes.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1974: Robert Shaw in The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three

Robert Shaw did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Bernard Ryder "Mr. Blue" in The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three.

Robert Shaw portrays the leader of the hijackers who controls the train in his power, and makes the contact with the authorities. Shaw takes unquestionable command with his performance here as Mr. Blue. From his very first scene where he commands the train driver that he is stealing his train, Shaw handles with such insurance. He breaths a constant intensity in the part that is absolutely cold and controlled at all times. From the start he shows that Mr. Blue is a force that is not to be dealt with lightly in any way.

Shaw is master villain here, and it is marvelous to watch him build such a threatening character yet keeping the character extremely calm and cool throughout the film. I particularly love the scene where he tells the hostages they are hostages and tells them that with his machine gun he could kill all of them before they could even get out of their seats. There is an incredible underlying intensity that shows that every threat he makes he will be able to fulfill quickly without a second thought necessary. Shaw makes Mr. Blue a truly imposing force throughout the film.

Shaw, even though Mr. Blue is indeed very calm and collected individual, never for an instance makes this a one note performance. Shaw has a great deal of fun alluding to the background, as well as motivation of Mr. Blue even though this really is not given too much time. These come in his terrific scenes with Martin Balsam's Mr. Green, and as I said in his review the two are great together. Shaw though is spectacular becuase he honestly makes the ability for Blue to go from threatening a group of people with two to casually talking about not wanting to sell insurance both entirely natural, as well as properly humorous. The same goes for every little short aside with Walter Matthau when Matthau's Garber makes a snarky comment toward, and Shaw perfectly comes back with Blue's bluntness to Garber's jokes.

Shaw also has a lot of delicious fun with just the overt Britishness of his character. Blue was a soldier in the British army and it clearly has rubbed off on him. Shaw shows that the way he handles the train is much like the way a strict commander would handle his troops, but as well he has lighter entertaining moments from his outstanding diction and his always proper use of British language. One moment in particular that is superb is when Mr. Blue tells to put two men approaching the train to put their hands in evidence, but quickly has to adjust to telling them to put their hands up. Shaw so well uses such small subtle moments to endless benefit in this performance.

In this great underrated film humor and serious moments are intertwined flawlessly from scene to scene, and Shaw aids in this along the way with the moments with Balsam and Matthau in particular, but he the strongest moments of the film due come in the more dramatic moments. For most of the time things go absolutely according to Blue's plan which he states without hesitations, Shaw presses this point especially well when he lists a long lists of demands and in his entirely confidant fashion says that he'll shoot a hostage if any of the demands are not met. There is no grey area in Shaw performance, Blue will not be convinced to do anything other than he has determined to do.

His two most powerful moments in his performance are the two scenes where Mr. Blue kill someone. The first which is retribution for one of his men being fired on is made especially chilling by Shaw because of how welcoming and pleasant he is toward the man he is leading toward his death. The actually killing is done quickly in a purely business man like fashion, but the equally strong moment of Shaw's performance is the deadly look he gives his psychotic subordinate Mr. Grey who he stares down showing clearly who is in charge. After the killing Shaw important;y does not show remorse in Mr. Blue, but rather when contacting Garber again only angry frustrations for being forced to do his own perceived duty to carry out his personal mission.

The second killing comes in the form of dealing with Mr. Grey, which Shaw again shows purely efficiently, with just the slightest distaste in his face, not for his action, but for having to ever have to deal with the sort that was Mr. Grey. Shaw makes Mr. Blue as the greatest villain he possibly could have been. A portrait of a brilliant commander who has taken on a different endeavor, than his training was for but still handles the new situation with all of his skill. Shaw makes Blue a completely imposing villain that always does things his way no matter what, even at the end of the film where it seems he has only one option Blue still goes out his way, and Shaw portrays this final act like a man who only does things the way he wants. All together Shaw makes Mr. Blue an entertaining, chilling, and imposing villain all at once.

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1974: Martin Balsam in The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three

Martin Balsam did not receive an Oscar nomination, although he did receive a BAFTA nomination for portraying Harold Longman "Mr. Green" in The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three.

Martin Balsam portrays Mr. Green one of the hijackers of a subway train who hold several passengers hostage for a million dollars. Mr. Green is the hijacker with the greatest knowledge of the subway, and is the only one who is able to drive. He also is the one who has the clearly the greatest conscience of the group, as the hijackers' threat is to kill one hostage per minute after the hour time they have given for the million dollars to reach them.

Balsam performance certainly is not the focus of the film, and really the role of Green could have been forgotten in the light of the main villain Mr. Blue. Balsam though very important does make the most in humanizing one of the hijackers very well. Balsam does not try to make Mr. Green overly sympathetic in any way in regards to any sort of pleading with the audience, Mr. Green still is doing it for the money, but the humanity of Green created by Balsam especially when compared to the others is subtly but powerfully handled by Balsam.

Balsam's performance is made up of quite a few reactionary moments that are extremely well played by him. They are mostly in when Green sees the full extent of Mr. Blue's plan, and that his threats are entirely true. Balsam makes everyone of them impact well as he shows that Green really is in it far deeper than he ever wanted to be, and he portrays an honest realistic disbelief in who is essentially just an average joe who happened to come in on a job that really is not in his line in any way. Balsam is quite moving in just these small important moments best out of anyone portraying the severity of the situation.

My favorite human moments though come in his short little conversations with Mr. Blue as they wait for money. He and Shaw are great together in the way they play off the extreme contrasts in terms of the personality, but in at the same time there is a certain camaraderie and respect between the two as two men working on a project. The two have some nice humorous moments particularly when Balsam talks about Green's reason for firing which was a crime he did not commit. The two back and forth in the moment is terrific showing a human side to both character but not at all compromising the intensity of the later scenes in the film.

Balsam gives a very good performance by making Green likable, and he even effectively twists the audiences sympathy just to the right making it so you do not want the hijackers simply all to be killed. He turns Mr. Green into any actual normal man who embarks on a rather foolish endeavor. Balsam allows us to follow Mr. Green through this decision all the way through both the lows, and the seeming highs. He believably shows entirely genuine reactions to what Mr. Green goes through the entire film. Balsam with a character who could have been a throwaway he makes Green three dimensional, and doing so adds greatly to his film.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1974: John Huston in Chinatown

John Huston did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Noah Cross in Chinatown. 

Chinatown is a fantastic mystery and the man behind the mystery is John Huston as Noah Cross. Huston actually is in only in a total of three scenes in the film, but he makes tremendous impact in each of his scenes. Noah Cross is a rich and powerful man who owns the water department formerly with the deceased Hollis Mulwray, who just happened to married to Cross's daughter Evelyn (Faye Dunaway). He is heavily embroiled it in it in some way and for some reason and private detective J.J. Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is determined find out how and why.

Huston handles his first scene impeccably when Gittes first meets him to question him. Huston has a tremendous presence, which could not be used better than it is here. He gives an even better similar type of performance as Lee Strasberg did in the Godfather Part II. Like Strasberg Huston does convey a certain grandfatherly quality in his performance a welcoming warmth as he speaks to Gittes, an ease in his personality that makes it easy to see how he could easily convince other that he has no ill intent toward others.

Huston though masterfully brings to life the two faces of of Cross as Gittes talks to him. Through every little extra question that Cross launches back at Gittes there is something very dark beneath the surface of this man. Huston keeps what exactly it is appropriately as a mystery, but he makes a truly striking dynamic between the apparent warmth of the man, and the more calculated murky side of him. There talk is an incredible scene  for Huston and my favorite moment of it is a purely silent one. He waves at some riders with a big kindly smile, but hearing another question Huston effortlessly morphs his expression into that of a man with horrible secrets.

Next we see him is when Gittes has found much of the truth about him and attempts to confront him. Huston creates an imposing villain in the screen, and the evil of the character especially prevailing. Huston is absolutely terrifying in how calmly talks of Cross's evil deeds which Cross feels no regrets over. Huston does not compromise what he established making Cross all the more chilling of villain. Huston still has that warmth here, which he still plays as such even though he means nothing warm in the way he talks, which makes Cross an especially compelling villain. Even when he threatens Gittes it is with a quiet genial command that made as very threatening due to Huston terrific portrayal here.

Noah Cross in the end does not lose in the film, and really Huston is the one who makes there no question to why this happens. Even when Gittes is trying his best to take him down Huston never loses the command of his character who pulls right to the front of every situation, no matter what the odds might seem to be. Huston through his three scenes makes Cross an unforgettable villain that controls the film without any seeming effort, and is a very disturbing portrait of depravity. In final act of the film as Cross comforts his "granddaughter" is made absolutely horrifying by Huston due to with such ease Cross is able to hide his evil. Huston gives an outstanding performance that makes a great villain with very little time at his disposal.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1974: John Cazale in The Godfather Part II

John Cazale did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Fredo Corleone in The Godfather Part II.

In the Godfather Saga every actor who played a son of Vito, even his step son, received an Oscar nomination except for John Cazale who played Fredo. Just like in the group of brothers Cazale is the forgotten and mistreated brother, he is not considered smart like Michael, or tough like Sonny, he is seen more like a nothing. This is unbelievable though as Cazale is good in the first film even if his part that is rather limited, but he takes what he did in the film and is amazing in Part II.

It is quite strange that Cazale was completely forgotten for this film as there most certainly was a Godfather love fest by the academy, and it received three nominations in Supporting Actor. Where they honestly more impressed by Michael V. Gazzo in the same film, that seem very unlikely. Was it that he also gave a good, but less substantial performance in the Conversation the problem. Well the way his performance was in that best picture nominated film would only help his chances for this film. His snub is a true head scratcher.

In his early moments Cazale suggest the pathetic nature of Fredo, as he is unable to control the woman who has come with him, establishing his weakness. There is also perhaps a bit of naivety that Cazale has in his interactions with Michael in these early scenes. Cazale shows that Fredo really has  failed to fully grasp how much really Michael has changed, and views him as far somewhat still as his kid brother, and no longer as the cold man he has become.

One thing great about Cazale is he is never afraid to show that Fredo really is stupid. He certainly never overplays this lack of intelligence, but brings it to life without fault. In fact Cazale shows Fredo's lack of intelligence as the sad truth behind his downfall. In his phone call at night suggesting what Fredo did to Michael, Cazale is excellent portraying his complete lack of understanding of the situation as well, but as well as bringing to life the piercing guilt and fear over what he has done.

Cazale's strongest moments though all come when he directly interacts with Michael. Firstly in his small moment where he talks to Michael, and attempts to hide his guilt in an attempted hit against Michael, well showing what is a genuine love for Michael he does has as well. Cazale though shows that Fredo really is a jumble of emotions, and cannot really properly control them at any time, such as in this scene where he tries to really talk to Michael, but is unable to get over what he done either.

His single best scene though is when he finally describes to Michael why he did what he did. Fredo did not do it for anything truly malicious, but Cazale honestly portrays he wanted something something for himself, and to be able to have something that would allow him to be something other than the forgettable dumb brother. Cazale is completely heartbreaking in this scene becuase he does not show his anger toward Michael from any ambition of an evil man, but just from a sad child who wanted more.

This a truly tragic depiction of a character, and it certainly is one of the most powerful ever portrayed. Cazale gives a flawless performance here, that is only ever is genuine. His performance stays honest as he never does seem to try to steal the spotlight as Fredo, as that would be incorrect to the character, yet he manages to do it in his own quiet and very moving fashion. This is simply one of the greatest most poignant supporting performances ever given, and the fact he was nominated is one of the biggest mistake in the Academy's history.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1974

And the Nominees Were Not:

Martin Balsam in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

Robert Shaw in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

John Huston in Chinatown

John Cazale in The Godfather Part II

Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein 

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1999: Results

6. Laurence Fishburne in The Matrix- Fishburne is mysterious in his first scene, and a fine mentor in the rest of the film.
5.  John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich- Malkovich playing Malkovich is rather enjoyable to watch as he portrays Malkovich no matter who happens to be in his head.
4. Christopher Plummer in The Insider- Christopher Plummer gives a strong performance as Mike Wallace portraying the differences between the performer and the man in the case of a television journalist.
3. Alan Rickman in Galaxy Quest- Rickman gives a very entertaining deadpan performance that delivers.
2. Philip Baker Hall in Magnolia- Hall gives a powerful performance as a dying regretful man that stands well among the greatness of his film. 
1. Sam Rockwell in Galaxy Quest-Well no one predicted Rockwell would win so no one wins! Just Kidding. Good Prediction koook160 (Robert MacFarlane). Sam Rockwell actually was easily chosen by me as I loved every moment and every facet of his performance. He makes the most as the former red shirt, who does not want to go as quickly as his character. He is absolutely hilarious in every scene, but even manages to be honestly believable in the fears of his character as well.
Overall Rank:
  1. Sam Rockwell in Galaxy Quest
  2. Tom Cruise Magnolia
  3. Philip Baker Hall in Magnolia
  4. Alan Rickman in Galaxy Quest
  5. John C. Reilly in Magnolia 
  6. Jude Law in The Talented Mr. Ripley
  7. Philip Seymour Hoffman in Magnolia 
  8. Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green Mile
  9. Robert Carlyle in Ravenous
  10. Gary Cole in Office Space
  11. Michael Jeter in The Green Mile
  12. Harry Dean Stanton in The Straight Story
  13. William H. Macy in Magnolia 
  14. Sam Rockwell in The Green Mile
  15. Christopher Plummer in The Insider
  16. John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich
  17. Jason Robards in Magnolia 
  18. Doug Hutchison in The Green Mile
  19. Hugo Weaving in The Matrix
  20. Bruce McGill in The Insider
  21. William Sadler in The Green Mile 
  22. Tony Shalhoub in Galaxy Quest
  23. Peter Sarsgaard in Boys Don't Cry
  24. Paul Giamatti in Man on the Moon
  25. Jefferey Jones in Ravenous
  26. Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Talented Mr. Ripley 
  27. Jeremy Blackman in Magnolia 
  28. Donnie Wahlberg in The Sixth Sense 
  29. Chris Cooper in American Beauty
  30. Stephen Root in Office Space
  31. James Coburn in Payback 
  32. Greg Kinnear in Mystery Men
  33. Enrico Colantino in Galaxy Quest
  34. Tom Waits in Mystery Men
  35. Orson Bean in Being John Malkovich
  36. James Cromwell in The Green Mile 
  37. Geoffrey Rush in Mystery Men
  38. Daryl Mitchell in Galaxy Quest
  39. Danny Devito in Man on the Moon 
  40. Wes Studi in Mystery Men 
  41. Laurence Fishburne in The Matrix
  42. Philip Baker Hall in The Talented Mr. Ripley 
  43. John Tormey in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
  44. Chris Cooper in October Sky
  45. Kris Kristofferson in Payback 
  46. David Herman in Office Space
  47. William Devane in Payback
  48. Isaach de Bankole in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
  49. Barry Pepper in The Green Mile
  50. Michael Gambon in The Insider
  51. David Morse in The Green Mile
  52. Philip Baker Hall in The Insider
  53. Joe Pantoliano in The Matrix
  54. Henry Silva in Ghost Dog; The Way of the Samurai
  55. Dan Hedaya in The Hurricane
  56. Delroy Lindo in The Cider House Rules
  57. Ajay Naidu in Office Space
  58. Anthony Ray Parker in The Matrix
  59. Michael Caine in The Cider House Rules
  60. Meat Loaf in Fight Club
  61. Jared Leto in Fight Club
  62. Wes Bentley in American Beauty
Next Year: 1974 Supporting

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1999: Laurence Fishburne in The Matrix

Laurence Fishburne did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Morpheus in The Matrix.

The Matrix although certainly is not a favorite film of mine, I will admit it is pretty well done.

Laurence Fishburne portrays the elusive Morpheus who tries to convince Neo (Keanu Reeves) that he is in fact not living in reality. At first Fishburne is heard only over the phone, finding very little about him, until then he finally meets Morpheus in a strange dank room, with Morpheus dressed in black, with even darker sunglasses. I will give Fisburne credit in this scene in that he conveys a great deal of mystery with his delivery of every line, and certainly make the scene very compelling, as well making Morpheus a character you want to learn more about.

As soon as Neo wants to learn more of the truth though, in fact right after he chooses the pill Fishburne completely changes his performance from that of mystery man or mentor. Although to be fair to Fishburne this does fit Morpheus's motivation, since once Neo will join him, he really does not need to draw him anymore, and just needs to train him. Fishburne though drops all the mystery and becomes a tough, but still warm mentor in the film. He handles it well in that as he tells basically the whole plot of the film to Neo he does it with a considerable degree of conviction.

Through the rest of the film he is the Mr. Miyagi offering advice, and training Neo. Fishburne does this well enough always delivery the way he needs to in his role, even if there is anything particularly special about his method though. Later on in the film he has the scene where he is psychologically tortured which again Fishburne does handle well, but it is not exactly an amazing scene. Fishburne is consistently fine in his role from one scene to the next, and fulfills the mentor fairly well. It never amounts to much more than just performing the role well enough. 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1999: Alan Rickman and Sam Rockwell in Galaxy Quest

Alan Rickman did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest.

Galaxy Quest is quite enjoyable Star Trek parody about a group of has been actors who find themselves in a situation much like one they would have been in their old show.

Alan Rickman portrays Alexander Dane a former Shakespearean actor best known by his role of Dr. Lazarus on the Star Trek like show Galaxy Quest. Long after the end of the show he only finds work doing appearances as the character with the rest of the cast. Although none of them are especially happy, Rickman portrays Alexander Dane as particularly frustrated by his lot. Rickman's performance emphasizes just how much Alexander hates having to best known for his role that he hates, despite what he believes he was capable of. Rickman is deliciously dead pan with his role as the actor who can barely hold back his disdain for his job of repeating his character's famous lines he despises, and as well for Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen) the actor whom he has no respect due to Nesmith's pompous self absorbed attitude. Rickman performance for quite awhile is filled with exasperated angry remarks, or reactions of the very same. Rickman technically speaking does not go for laughs with his part obviously, yet Rickman is hilarious with his performance utilizing excellent timing throughout the film.

As the situation becomes far worse for the actors Rickman actually stays firm in his portrayal for quite, awhile. Although he keeps up fairly the same manner, except with some moments where he must in genuine horror or concern for his own being, he still stays pretty dead pan. Rickman's act is so enjoyable though it never does get old. His performance manages to stay consistently funny through every situation, and he shows how a performance like this is done. Fairly late in the film as the situation becomes very dire though, and for a key moment Rickman brilliantly breaks the dead pan completely to deliver the line Dane hates, but due to the extreme circumstance delivers it with all his heart. It is a masterful moment for Rickman because he manages to make the moment both still very funny, but oddly poignant as Dane becomes his role in that moment. This is a very enjoyable performance by Alan Rickman, who takes his approach and goes with it marvelously. I can't say after watching it again that this is the best performance in the film.
As Sam Rockwell also did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Guy Fleegman in Galaxy Quest.

Now this is simply a problem that can happen when watching a film in the first time, or in this case watching a film for the first time in quite a while. Watching the film again I saw that it would be quite the injustice not to review his performance as well, as if I watched the film before I listed the nominees I would have chosen Rockwell actually instead.

Sam Rockwell actually does not play one of the has been actors, although Guy was on the show but only as crewman number 6 killed in the first act of episode 81. He actually seems to be a wannabe has been star himself when he first approaches the crew. Rockwell is very enjoyable as he tries his best to attempt to act cool, and be part of the crew even though being part of the crew really is not something particularly to be part of. Rockwell combines an honest enthusiasm with just the right amount of a pathetic quality. Rockwell really starts to shine though when his character gets far more focus when the crew, who he decides to join, go on the alien craft designed based on the old show. Rockwell proves from the first instant on the craft as four of the crew react in horror to meeting the aliens in their true form, how he will be the best part of the film. As his reaction is an intense but hilarious scream of horror that absolutely steals the scene, which certainly will not be the only scene that he steals.

In every scene that he is Rockwell is extremely enjoyable in each and every moment that he comes in. Just one great example of this is when they first take the ship off from a star base, and pilot is less than successful. Rockwell though to me acts as the funniest part of the entire scene in just his reaction of telling the pilot to move right. His little gesture is just perfect, and Rockwell consistently has great moments like that all through the entire film. The basis of Rockwell's story in the film is that the aptly named Guy believes that since he was just a nameless crew member on the show who was quickly killed off that he will likely be killed as well. Rockwell is just fantastic in his portrayal of Guy's fears, that keep him on a manic edge through a great deal of the film. Although the fear is a prevailing factor Rockwell's performance never becomes repetitive or one dimensional but instead is always entertaining.

One reasons this is that Rockwell plays with all the facets of this fear so well. Whether it is his more depressed, and hopeless screaming scene asking the rest of the crew if they even know his last name, which could come across as annoying but Rockwell method is only ever comedic gold. His screams of pains although are entirely convincing as screams of pains also are done in just the right way by Rockwell to make me laugh every single time. He just as efficiently more subtly portrays the fear as a internal dread within Guy as he goes on a ground mission with the crew. I particularly love the moment in which he looks at another alien species instantly recognizes what will eventually happen, with his great delivery of  "Did you guys ever watch the show?" to the rest of the crew due to his this time in a quietly intense and frightened manner that again still manages to be very funny.

Rockwell even manages to bring this fear into a rather strange heroism when the situation becomes quite dire. His speech about might as well go out a hero rather than a cowardly red shirt is superbly handled with strange by effectively degree of passion and fatalism. This is just a wonderful performance by Rockwell in every way though because he is able to be an entirely comedic performance while still managing to be entirely believable considering Guy's situation. I absolutely love this performance that is incredible in the scenes that focus on him, but as well by the way he seems to steal almost every other scene he is in through just the slightest reaction. He is the best part of the film, and I just had to review him.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1999: John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich

John Gavin Malkovich did not receive an Oscar nomination or portraying John Horatio Malkovich in Being John Malkovich.

Being John Malkovich which has quite a bit going on it is mainly about a puppeteer (John Cusack) who finds a portal in the mind of John Malkovich. I like parts of the film, but I do think it takes too many indulgences.

Despite getting some recognition for the role it should have been no surprise that John Malkovich was not Oscar nominated for the role of playing John Malkovich. After all a common, usually mistaken, criticism of many performances of certian actors is that they are merely playing themselves and deserve no credit. Well Malkovich seems to play himself, except of course for the fact that this movie John Malkovich has a different middle name from the regular Malkovich. Malkovich is suppose simply be Malkovich though in the film, but that does not mean this is a do nothing performance.

Although the film is certianly does not mind deprecating Malkovich in the way no one seems to know who he is, and do not really think much of him as an actor, as well as the scene where we go into his subconscious, Malkovich still plays the part of himself in a rather straight fashion early in the film. It really should be noted that the actually personal life of this Malkovich really is not gotten into, where only see him really reacting to everything else in the film, and being used by the other character. He really is not a particularly active character.

In the first half or so of the film Malkovich actually goes for playing himself in a rather realistic fashion, and there is not anything strange or out of the ordinary about his portrayal, other than of course he is John Malkovich which means this is a least some degree of strangeness anyways. Malkovich though actually is quite good in being how one would imagine a man in his very bizarre situation might be. Malkovich is not boring in anyway though, and through being a more realistic man standing within the oddness he actually able to effortlessly bring a great deal of humor in his performance.

Malkovich honestly shows a confusion at first as the strangeness goes on around, than slowly morphs into some degree of horror and anger over finding about the portal to his mind. Malkovich does well in portraying in a believable fashion while making it quietly funny, although he does this without ever making any jokes with his performance. It is not obvious comedic performance by Malkovich, but it work extremely well, although later on in the film Malkovich gets to do that sort of performance after the puppeteer takes control of Malkovich's body.

Malkovich has a lot of fun in the role embodying Cusack's performance from the film, although with one key by very brilliantly handled by Malkovich. The difference from Cusack's is that he is quite enthusiastic where Cusack was consistently depressed although it fits because the puppeteer has reached his dreams within Malkovich. It is an enjoyable and energetic performance by Malkovich playing a lot with the overly pretentious quality within the puppeteer as well as his amusingly emphasizing the pathetic qualities of the character.

Despite being quite tossed around in the role particularly at the end when he goes through three personalities in a matter of minutes, Malkovich makes all of it work out for the best. Although I do feel aspects of the film do go into self indulgence mostly on the part of Charlie Kaufman, but Malkovich despite the fact that he is in fact portraying John Malkovich falls into these problems with his personality. He seamlessly moves between the personalities that Malkovich must undergo, and makes sure to give an engaging performance no matter who happens to be using Malkovich at one time.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1999: Christopher Plummer in The Insider

Christopher Plummer did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Mike Wallace in The Insider.

Christopher Pummer despite winning and being nominated for several critical awards for his performance in this film. The academy though apparently did not find Plummer was someone who needed to be awarded for another ten years. This made particularly strange in that the film was nominated for best picture, so it is not that he was not on their radar. I suppose the veteran spot was merely taken by Michael Caine's wholly undeserving work in The Cider House Rules.

Christopher Plummer portraying 60 minutes interviewer Mike Wallace who works with Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) to bring hard hitting news stories like that of a tobacco company whistle blower Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe). Plummer really does not necessarily try to imitate Mike Wallace in his performance exactly, instead he more effectively becomes the role that Mike Wallace should be. Plummer has quite a well handled voice, and presence he puts on into his scenes in the film particularly when Wallace is in the process of interviewing someone.

Interestingly Plummer shows Wallace to actually put on a bit of a show when he is in action as an interviewer. It is not that it is a facade, but Plummer makes it abundantly clear that Wallace does in a way give a performance when he interviews someone. Plummer has a particularly strong method in the interview scenes as he creates a certain warmth within Wallace that would pull you into listening to him, yet underneath the warmth there is a great deal of sharpness as well that portrays well the way Wallace gets to the fact of the matter.

Christopher Plummer actually rather well even pulls in the performer of Wallace in other moments presenting the idea that Wallace's on screen persona comes in at times even off screen when it is required. Plummer handles this especially well, and it feels entirely natural since Plummer only does it when it fits the moment. For example when Wallace greets someone in public, or quite brilliantly when Wallace becomes the great newsman he claims to be near the end of the film, when he tells his boss he is going to do the right thing after all.

When Wallace is not on Plummer paints a different portrait of the man. What really becomes missing in his portrayal is the warmth of the interview scenes, and Plummer actually portrays him in what is a more down to earth, and flawed manner. Plummer does not strive from the flaws, although importantly he does make it clear that Wallace is an intelligent man, and the sharpness of his style is still apparent although in a far less charming fashion.

An important aspect of the film is that Wallace does not keep with Bergman all the way, when legal threats mount from telling Wigand's story. Plummer believably shows that Wallace does not really want to screw Wigand over, but rather he plays it as Wallace simply taking the easy way out. There is some redemption for Wallace as he does eventually try to show his protest through an interview even though even that is squashed, although Wallace does not take this lightly. Plummer makes the scene where he tells his distaste to the corporate weasels especially passionately and powerfully, making the scene a highlight of his performance and the film.

Technically speaking this performance is not one that is given a great deal of time within the film as the film is not the story of Mike Wallace after all. Plummer though makes the role his own, by firstly not just being some sort of imitation but in a far more striking fashion by giving his own take on the character. Secondly though whenever Plummer is on screen he does his best to give a compelling portrayal of the journalist that succeeds in pulling Wallace out of being just part of the background as he very easily could have been. If Plummer had to win an Oscar it most certainly should have been for this performance, since with this performance it would have been a much more deserving veteran win.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1999: Philip Baker Hall in Magnolia

Philip Baker Hall did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Jimmy Gator in Magnolia.

Magnolia interweaves several stories, and the reason it is such a great film though is that almost all of the stories are interesting and contain some strong performance from the great ensemble. Philip Baker Hall story is that of a legendary game show host who is dying from cancer. Jimmy Gator unless some of the other characters really is not man of transformation in any way, he certainly is not changed by the occurrence at the end of the film other than in a purely physical fashion. Gator's transition really has already occurred before we first see him.

Philip Baker Hall portrays Jimmy as a man really on his ropes end, but tries to continue on his life while knowing that he is dying. Hall is very effective as he shows Jimmy do his best to try to be his game show personality on the air, even as his past, and his current pains from the cancer are barring down on him. Hall though is very believable as he has Jimmy pushing through as well as he can, still having the energy for the job as the host of the game show, yet he subtly portrays that all is weighing down on him slowly becoming worse and worse.

Hall is particularly powerful though when his thoughts about his cancer and his past actions eventually come through. The seemingly far more competent and in control man of before losing everything about him, and Hall becomes a very sad portrait of the true distraught and regretful man Jimmy really is. His breakdown scene as he tries to continue hosting the show, but is unable to keep his thoughts together is made especially moving by Hall. It is a brilliantly played moment by Hall, as he is entirely genuine in the emotion of the moment.

The truth of Jimmy though is not exactly heartbreaking so to speak in that Jimmy is absolutely a bad man, and all of the regrets he does feel are caused by his own selfish and immoral actions. Hall though does not just portray Jimmy's regrets as something that is actually honest despite his past. What makes his performance stand out though other than the brutal emotional honesty, is as well that he still shows even in his regretful state that Jimmy still is too weak of a man to truly face his flaws as a man.

As with all of the stories within the film Hall comes in and out of the film, and he always manages to make to make a striking impact in all of his scenes. He creates in his interweaving scenes a complex portrait of the heavily flawed Jimmy. Although I would not say that Philip Baker Hall gives the strongest performance in the film, after watching it again that definitely goes to Tom Cruise, but Hall effectively makes his moments meaningful adding to the strengths of film.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1999

And the Nominees Were Not:

Alan Rickman in Galaxy Quest

John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich

Christopher Plummer in The Insider

Philip Baker Hall in Magnolia

Laurence Fishburne in The Matrix

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1960: Results

5. Gene Kelly in Inherit the Wind- Kelly plays with his type once again playing a loud showman, but this time with a deep rooted cynicism.

Best Scene: E.K. Hornbeck's cynicism is questioned by Drummond. 
4. Charles Laughton in Spartacus- Laughton gives a nice enjoyable performance that creates a believable portrait of a politician who uses quiet methods of persuasion.

Best Scene: Gracchus shares a meal with  Lentulus Batiatus.
3. Fred MacMurray in The Apartment- MacMurray is quite good in role giving a commanding presence that revels to just the right degree in his character immorality.

Best Scene: Sheldrake tries to bribe Baxter one more time. 
2. Laurence Olivier in Spartacus- Olivier as usual gives a great performance here as the main villain of the film. He is effectively a tremendous force of evil, but as well still creates a three dimensional character out of the tyrant that is his character.

Best Scene: Crassus tries to understand Varinia's love for Spartacus.
1. Eli Wallach in The Magnificent Seven- This was a very close one for me, and yes I was ready to give Olivier by lead and supporting for this year. Wallach though is equally excellent in his role in the Magnificent Seven, and manages to do basically anything he possibly could with his role. Even with his role being very limited Wallach never makes it feel that way giving an extremely entertaining as well as being appropriately menacing as well.

Best Scene: Calvera's introduction. 
Overall Rank:
  1. Renato Salvatori in Rocco and His Brothers
  2. Eli Wallach in The Magnificent Seven
  3. Laurence Olivier in Spartacus
  4. Peter Sellers in Never Let Go
  5. Peter Falk in Murder, Inc.
  6. Peter Ustinov in Spartacus
  7. John Mills in Tunes of Glory
  8. Masayuki Mori in When a Woman Ascends the Stairs
  9. Robert Mitchum in Home From the Hill
  10. Fred MacMurray in The Apartment
  11. Steve McQueen in The Magnificent Seven
  12. James Coburn in The Magnificent Seven
  13. Peter Ustinov in The Sundowners
  14. Roger Livesey in The Entertainer
  15. Takeshi Kato in The Bad Sleep Well
  16. Charles Laughton in Spartacus
  17. Sal Mineo in Exodus
  18. Tatsuya Nakadai in When a Woman Ascends the Stairs
  19. Martin Stephens in The Village of the Damned
  20. James Mason in The Trials of Oscar Wilde
  21. Ralph Richardson in Oscar Wilde
  22. Woody Strode in Spartacus 
  23. Michael Craig in The Angry Silence 
  24. Richard Attenborough in The League of Gentlemen 
  25. Max Cartier in Rocco and His Brothers
  26. Spiros Focas in Rocco and Brothers
  27. Tatsuya Mihashi in The Bad Sleep Well 
  28. Alan Bates in The Entertainer 
  29. Bryan Forbes in The League of Gentlemen
  30. Geoffrey Keen in The Angry Silence 
  31. Roger Livesey in The League of Gentlemen
  32. Gene Kelly in Inherit the Wind
  33. Arthur Kennedy in Elmer Gantry 
  34. Nigel Patrick in The League of Gentlemen
  35. Martin Balsam in Psycho 
  36. Bernard Lee in The Angry Silence 
  37. Daisuke Kato in When a Woman Ascends the Stairs
  38. Takashi Shimura in The Bad Sleep Well
  39. Trevor Howard in Sons and Lovers
  40. Paolo Stoppa in Rocco and his Brothers
  41. Robert Coote in The League of Gentlemen
  42. Hume Cronyn in Sunrise at Campobello
  43. Masayuki Mori in The Bad Sleep Well  
  44. Herbert Lom in Spartacus
  45. Jack Kruschen in The Apartment 
  46. Norman Bird in The League of Gentlemen
  47. Maurice Ronet in Purple Noon
  48. Ray Walston in The Apartment 
  49. John Mills in Swiss Family Robinson 
  50. Ed Wynn in Cinderfella
  51. Dennis Price in Tunes of Glory 
  52. Michael Gwynn in Village of the Damned
  53. Harry Morgan in Inherit the Wind 
  54. Brad Dexter in The Magnificent Seven
  55. David Lewis in The Apartment
  56. Albert Finney in The Entertainer
  57. Richard Conte in Ocean's Eleven
  58. Adam Faith in Never Let Go
  59. Andre Checchi in Black Sunday 
  60. Laurence Harvey in The Alamo
  61. Charles Bronson in The Magnificent Seven 
  62. John Neville in Oscar Wilde
  63. Laurence Naismith in Village of the Damned
  64. Tony Curtis in Spartacus
  65. Richard Widmark in The Alamo 
  66. Robert Vaughn in The Magnificent Seven 
  67. Dick York in Inherit the Wind
  68. John Wayne in The Alamo
  69. Alan Young in The Time Machine 
  70. Alexandre Rignault in Eyes Without a Face 
  71. Billie Kearns in Purple Noon
  72. Dennis Weaver in The Gallant Hours
  73. Miles Malleson in Peeping Tom
  74. Katamari Fujimara in The Bad Sleep Well 
  75. Ivo Garrani in Black Sunday 
  76. Joseph Wiseman in The Unforgiven 
  77. Cesar Romero in Ocean's Eleven  
  78. Cecil Parker in Swiss family Robinson
  79. John Fraser in The Trials of Oscar Wilde
  80. Francois Guerin in Eyes Without A Face 
  81. Nigel Davenport in Peeping Tom 
  82. George Peppard in Home from the Hill
  83. Albert Salmi in The Unforgiven
  84. Horst Buchholz in The Magnificent Seven
  85. Ko Nishimura in The Bad Sleep Well 
  86. Everett Sloane in Home from the Hill
  87. Charles Bickford in The Unforgiven
  88. John Dall in Spartacus
  89. Dean Jagger in Elmer Gantry
  90. Sammy Davis Jr. in Ocean's Eleven
  91. Dean Martin in Ocean's Eleven 
  92. Edward Chapman in Oscar Wilde
  93. Michael Anderson in The Sundowners
  94. Akim Tamrioff in Ocean's Eleven 
  95. Sessue Hayakawa in Swiss Family Robinson
  96. Chill Wills in The Alamo
  97. John Ireland in Spartacus
  98. John Gavin in Psycho
  99. John Gavin in Spartacus
  100. Kevin Corcoran in Swiss Family Robinson 
  101. Paul Lukather in Dinosaurus!
  102. Claude Akins in Inherit the Wind
  103. Vladimir Sokoloff in The Magnificent Seven
  104. Alan Roberts in Dinosaurus!
  105. The Rest of the Villagers in The Magnificent Seven
Next Year: 1999 Supporting 

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1960: Fred MacMurray in The Apartment

Fred MacMurray did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Jeff D. Sheldrake in The Apartment.

Fred MacMurray despite portraying three important roles in best picture nominees like Double Indemnity, The Caine Mutiny, and best picture winner The Apartment he was never nominated. This is particularly odd for the latter two since he was not nominated in favor of actors in far smaller simpler roles who gave far less impressive performances. I suppose one could say perhaps the snub came from the lowly nature of his character compared to Jack Kruschen's, but that would be hard to say since in the same year they nominated Peter Falk, and Peter Ustinov who played a hit man and a slave holder respectively.

Perhaps what really hurt MacMurray though was that what he was good at was too problematic. MacMurray in most of his less famous roles portrayed usually kindly likable fellows, here and his other darker turns he does not entirely refute his other performance even though he is playing despicable characters. MacMurray even in this role as the amoral womanizing insurance executive still has the same sort of Fred MacMurray charm, yet he brilliantly redirects here to show it being used to troubling end. Although Sheldrake is a very reprehensible sort, MacMurray portrays the part through the film showing that he either does not care or is not aware how bad of a person he is.

Fred MacMurray carries the part excellently as he makes the command of Sheldrake entirely believable in both the business sense and the personal sense. In the business sense Sheldrake pushes everyone around in the office apparently, and gets his way doing so. MacMurray with his sly grin, and his casual but no nonsense approach fully controls the scenes he is in during the early parts of the film. MacMurray equally is effective in his scenes with Shirley MacLaine. He makes the affair believable because again there is a certain charm in his performance and even a dominance in his performance that makes it so the affair can actually be believed. 

Sheldrake is a constant in the film though in that he never changes really in tone, or even in his own sense of morality. When he does something that hurts someone else MacMurray portrays as only interested to a point of pure selfishness. Even when his actions hurt himself there is no change portrayed by MacMurray, but MacMurray entirely earns the lack of change. MacMurray is steadfast in making Sheldrake the unrepentant selfish jerk he should be. There is nothing learned, when something does go wrong MacMurray portrays it as only an internal annoyance for Sheldrake, that he only really cares about how it harms him. MacMurray plays the part straight and works just as it should for the part, and the film as a whole.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1960: Gene Kelly in Inherit the Wind

Gene Kelly did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying E.K. Hornbeck in Inherit the Wind.

Gene Kelly's on screen performances for the most part are very similar. They are basically only slight variations on the performance that he gave in his Oscar nominated performance in Anchors Aweigh. Kelly though plays a far more dramatic role here as the news paper writer who comes to town to cover the story of a teacher put on trial for teaching evolution in the classroom. Kelly portrays Hornbeck who is based on H.L. Mencken, who was interestingly also the basis for Arthur Kennedy's character in Elmer Gantry, although his character in that film is given a little less focus than Kelly here.

Kelly plays his part as a cynical showman, and actually he uses well his usual screen persona well refuting it in a way at the same time. He of course as the same voice, and one could argue almost the same delivery as in his musicals as Hornbeck, but with Hornbeck there is always an underlying deep rooted cynicism that always prevails. Kelly infuses every line he has with a great deal of enthusiasm and well showmanship, but below everything that he says there is always an unmistakable amount of venom within it.

This is a fairly limited role for Kelly actually after his speeches early in the film he mostly just has a quick reaction that only ever is brief, which is especially true in the court room scenes where he takes a back seat. That is not to say Kelly is forgotten, and he is good in coming in whenever he can bringing about the sharp wit of his character very well. He does not do a great deal though more until the end when Spencer Tracy's character questions his cynicism. Kelly is quite good in this scene as he shows Hornbeck feign any feelings of self-doubt, and quickly go back to his old ways. This is a pretty simple, Kelly does play it well though, and it shows that he had more in him than the Gene Kelly musical character.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1960: Laurence Olivier in Spartacus

Laurence Olivier did not receive an Oscar nomination although he did receive a globe nomination for portraying Crassus in Spartacus.

Crassus is the main villain of the film a powerful Roman military commander who tries to seize all the power in Rome. He is a powerful man who tries to manipulate all to get the power he desires. Laurence Olivier here takes on the part with a forceful presence. He is very different from Laughton's Gracchus in that Olivier shows that Crasssus is one who directly forces his will on another through his own incredible force of will, something Olivier is simply incredible at doing. In every scene that he is in Olivier leaves not questions to who the commanding presence is, he is always controlling in almost every way as Crassus.

Olivier conveys especially well the pompous superiority in Crassus, that almost never ceases, especially since he is never truly defeated in the film. Even though Crassus repeatedly claims that he is a Roman true and true, and his passion for Rome comes from his own heritage as a patrician, Olivier is keen in showing that really his since of honor is entirely about himself. Olivier is terrific because he tells both a lie and the truth when telling others about his belief in Rome, and his love of his heritage. Olivier appropriately puts the conviction that makes it believable to all others would buy his sentiment, but Olivier brilliantly in his eyes suggests the truth that Crassus only cares of himself. 

As a villain Olivier is excellent in portraying the brutal intelligence of Crassus quietly. He is able to create the brilliant strategist that is Crassus in both quiet and louder moments. In the louder moments he is the dominate personality that makes Crassus a true dictator who has absolute sway. In the quieter moments Olivier never fails to still pull you in with a great intensity. In the final battle scene for example Olivier almost barely moves but nevertheless the intelligence, conviction, and even is brutality is all shown in Olivier's pronounced and unwavering expression.  He make Crassus simply a force that is not to be reckoned, Olivier actually makes Spartacus's eventual defeat an inevitability.

Now importantly Olivier never plays Crassus as just a one dimensional evil tyrant, he certainly portrays him as an evil tyrant but never a one note one. Olivier does this best in the scenes where he interacts with Spartacus's love interest and later wife Varinia (Jean Simmons). Olivier who so perfectly showed the power of the man in the political arena now just as effectively portrays the weakness of the man in the personal arena. Olivier is astounding as he honestly brings to light the pain in Crassus over his inability to understand how she can love Spartacus and not him. It is a entirely genuine struggle and fear in Crassus that Olivier conveys within Crassus over her inability to love him in that same way.

This is just a brilliant performance from the great Olivier. He only succeeds in the role of Crassus creating a fascinating villain that can't help but be a villain. One of my favorite moments of this performance is when Crassus is trying to woo Varinia, and he threatens his child. Olivier plays it so wonderfully because he doesn't pile on the menace like Crassus is just trying to be evil, no instead he does it entirely casually as if Crassus do to his life as a Roman can't help but be evil. This is a terrific work by Olivier as he masterfully creates Crassus into an overpowering villain, and he never once fails to be the worthy adversary needed for the film, but just as well always succeeds in making Crassus a three dimensional character as well as a villain.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1960: Charles Laughton in Spartacus

Charles Laughton did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Gracchus in Spartacus.

Charles Laughton portrays Gracchus the powerful Roman senator who is described as the head of the mob. He stands as the most powerful opponent to the wannabe dictator Crassus (Laurence Olivier), but he himself is not exactly opposed to certain vices like making somewhat shady deals to get his ends.Watching the film once again I must say that I ended up being a little less impressed by Laughton and more impressed with Peter Ustinov who Laughton appears in many scenes with. I must say in fact I upped Ustinov to a 4 and he now stands second place out of the nominees.

Laughton though is certainly is usually enjoyable self in the role of Gracchus bringing his usual sly manner and wit to the part that is fitting for Gracchus who is constantly playing the politics within Rome to try get what he wants. Laughton makes Gracchus a likable, quietly charming sort, although he effectively inserts the technically unsavory qualities of his character in the usual Laughton style. He is an enjoyable character when he is on screen and his scenes with Ustinov are particularly entertaining as the two play off of each other splendidly.

Laughton is properly believable though in the scenes of the political fighting. Laughton takes the opposite approach to Olivier in that he shows that Gracchus moves to get his way through indirect manner. He does not push his personality on the others rather Laughton shows a far more calm sort of charisma that shows the presence and strength of Gracchus in the political setting well. He creates an interesting contrast with the forceful performance by Olivier, and makes their scenes where they go head to head quite powerful.

This is not quite an incredible performance by Charles Laughton but it is most certainly is a good one. Laughton makes Gracchus a worthy opponent to Olivier's Crassus. He as well creates some of the most entertaining moments in the film through his fun scenes with Ustinov that are work especially well. This is a worthy performance that adds well to his film working well to make the political aspects of the story just as  if not more interesting than the slave revolt.