Ewan McGregor did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for a Golden Globe, for portraying Christian in Moulin Rouge!.
Speaking of the headache I had it was not helped by many of the performances found in this film. John Leguizamo's performance probably had both Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Jose Ferrer rolling in their graves, and Richard Roxburgh well uhh what can one say about that performance other than his delivery of "I JUST DON'T LIKE PEOPLE TOUCHING MY THINGS" would be great for a security alarm system to protect your possessions. These performances are insanely over the top without being entertaining which is always a problem and it seems for an actor to be able to give a good over the top performance they need to be capable of a subtle one as well.
Those performances as well as many others did not alleviate my headache, and I was ready to give up, but then Ewan McGregor finally got his first solo number, and I have to admit my headache went away. Where too many of the other performances basically act like they know their in an over the top affair and are rather obnoxious because of this Ewan McGregor throws himself into his role with such profound conviction. He doesn't wink or do anything even close to that in his portrayal of Christian, Christian is suppose to be a love obsessed writer filled with passion, and McGregor plays him just that way particularly the part about being filled with passion.
McGregor is uncompromising in his depiction of the hopelessness of this romantic. Honestly if Christian had been portrayed with the wackiness that too many of the other performers rely on his whole constant mentioning of love would seem as stupid as it is. McGregor though because of just how much he gets into the part makes it that even if Christian's unwavering beliefs may be a little too much, at least they are genuine thanks to the fact that is all McGregor ever gives it. McGregor just plays his part with such earnestness that he even manages to keep his head up throughout the whole film, even late in the film when his character makes his rather strange actions in which he becomes rather hateful albeit briefly.
This is of course a musical and McGregor voice is something to behold on its own and only continues to show the amount of effort he puts into the part. McGregor with each and every song sings about love pushes the idea to the utmost that supports the level of belief Christian should hold. Each of his songs where highlights for me throughout the film because again how much he goes for broke with them. The intensity of his singing the expressions they all work so well, and really make the idea of the story of love and he is able just to go with the simplistic. McGregor never seems to care if the love is simplistic and shallow he belts it out to the back row anyways.
The film did manage to cause me literal pain but McGregor acted as my aspirin for the film, his performance was something I could hold onto to get through it. His investment in it is so great that he even managed to make me invested in it a little. There is not a halfhearted moment in his portrayal even in that late act poorly written out of character turn at the end of the film. This is just a sweet entirely charming performance that knows how to make the material move even when the material isn't even all that great. It is a true shame that the film which was nominated for eight awards but not one was left for the leading man who puts his all into lighting up every moment in which he is onscreen.