Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2001: Steve Buscemi in Ghost World

Steve Buscemi did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for a Golden Globe and being nominated for and winning several awards from critical awards including the NYFCC and NSFC, for portraying Seymour in Ghost World.

Ghost World is an enjoyable enough quirky film about social outside Enid (Thora Birch) who after playing an anonymous prank on a a middle aged man she strikes up a friendship with him.

The still never nominated Steve Buscemi must have been close to being nominated for this performance considering his Golden Globe nomination and great number of awards he received for his performance. He certainly was the closest of the five I have chosen to review as Law played an android in a science fiction film, the Fellowship was apparently covered by Ian McKellen only, and despite the critical love Brian Cox was never going to be nominated for his performance in that film. Putting all that aside though just what is so great about Buscemi's performance in this film.

Well nothing especially comes off great about this performance. Steve Buscemi plays Seymour a middle aged man who loves his record collection and has a hard time connecting with anyone or finding himself in a romantic relationship despite wanting one. Buscemi goes about making a particular characterization than sticking with it. He makes Seymour a likable enough fellow though one who always seems to have a certain malaise due to his loneliness yet Buscemi does portray him as being able to compensate for it well enough due to his little joys that gets from listening and collecting vintage records.

When the other younger outsider Enid starts spending time with him Buscemi stays consistent in his portrayal. In their relationship Buscemi shows Seymour to certainly like the fact that she is interested in his interests yet still has a certain unease about the whole thing suggesting properly that Seymour does not exactly know how to deal with the attention she is giving him. He continues on in this fashion pretty much throughout the film, and even when Seymour has some changes like getting a girlfriend, or getting frustrated when learning that how he met Enid was due to a cruel prank he still stays pretty much the same man.

Buscemi handles the highs and lows of Seymour's personal journey pretty well and is believable in the way he shows him as he'll spike one way or another but can easily settle to his usual self. It's a good performance because he finds just the right characterization for Seymour to make the fact that Seymour does not really learn anything both seem natural and even satisfying as he shows that is simply the way Seymour is. This is solid from Buscemi, enjoyable with a certain charm and realizes exactly who Seymour should be. At the same time though this never feels like a great performance in anyway, and it is far from Buscemi's best work.

20 comments:

Michael Patison said...

This is rather surprising, at least for me. Also, Psifonian is the only one whose predictions aren't necessarily wrong now.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I should have went with my gut on this one. My gut told me "Hm, maybe he'll have the same opinion for Buscemi in this movie like I did". Dammit, you did. So much for my predictions.

Maciej said...

Same here, I thought he was the best of all alternate nominees (except Cox, who I haven't seen)...

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

No, I meant I agree with Louis's take on Buscemi in this movie almost entirely. My score for him is either a 3.5 or 4. I thought that he would agree with the overabundance of critics with this one, not me.

RatedRStar said...

ive never seen Ghost World but, Buscemi usually does great so I automatically thought hed score high, he has a pretty cool voice.


Top 5 actors with cool voices in my opinion

Andrew Scott (Moriaty from Sherlock)
Benedict Cumberbatch
John Simm (Sam Tyler from Life On Mars)
Michael Fassbender
Laurence Olivier

Michael Patison said...

I like how you picked 5 actors with British accents. I don't know about Andrew Scott, though. He does have a brilliant voice that he uses for Moriarty and it comes off to brilliant effect, but I've never seen him in anything else so I'm wary to say that his regular voice is cool.

RatedRStar said...

well he sounds kinda similar when he won his bafta for Sherlock except he is a bit more nervous lol, and I didnt think anybody else had heard of John Simm lol except Doctor Who and Life On Mars fans

mrripley said...

I woulda nommed him and peter boyle who was fantastic in monster's ball.louis what did u think of boyle.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

For cool voices, I'm going with Keith David and John Carradine.

RatedRStar said...

hehe I giggled at Keith David =D.

Michael Patison said...

Yeah, I had only heard of Simm from his stint on Doctor Who.

RatedRStar said...

ye he usually is a television actor, the most famous film he was in was the cult film Human Traffic.

Anonymous said...

Great voices. Alan Rickman. I win.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Christopher Lee.

No, I win.

Anonymous said...

Christopher Lee does indeed win.

Lezlie said...

Christopher Lee, period, no question. And James Earl Jones is legendary as well.

Louis Morgan said...

mrripley: I thought Peter Boyle was pretty good adding some nice texture to his relatively simple role.

As for the great voices I'd also add:

Robert Shaw
James Mason
Orson Welles

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Orson Welles seemed too obvious, so I didn't say him. Keith David has those underrated golden pipes. Then again, I also grew up listening to his voice acting on Gargoyles, so I have nostalgic bias. As for some other actors:

Jude Law (I may not be a big fan, but he has an oddly distinctive voice)
Bill Nighy (That man is a God among enunciations)
George Takei
Jason Statham (Shameful Secret #3,908: I think he's a decent actor with that cockney accent alone)

Michael Patison said...

Why has nobody mention James Stewart and Sean Connery?

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Again, Connery seemed too obvious, like George Sanders or Jeremy Irons.