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.
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.