Clark Gable did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Gay Langland in The Misfits.
Misfits is particularly notable film as it is one of the last films of Montgomery Clift, the last completed film of Marilyn Monroe, and the final film of Clark Gable. Clark Gable portrays Gay Langland a cowboy who is still trying to keep to his old ways even as the world is so obviously changing around him, and making his independent ways far more difficult to achieve. Gable in his later performances still tried to keep his old charm, in films such as Teacher's Pet for example, while it obviously his face could not hide his age. This film is quite a bit different as Gable seems to embrace his age more here as he adjusts his performance here considerably, and although he certainly has his charm in this case he changes from his old days.
Gable still brings plenty of charm but he plays it through his character of Gay quite brilliantly. He has a rougher quality to it suggesting Gay's background as a cowboy, but as well Gable suggests the age of Gay in his performance. Gable still lights up a room with his presence to be sure but it it not quite a bright as it always was. Gable wears the right sort of somberness in his performance. It is not even anything that is even slightly overpowering in his performance but Gable brings it subtly in his performance. Gable makes it a very natural facet to Gay that is simply an essential part of the man alluding to his own history that has brought him to this point in his life. You never are told what Gay has gone through but you can see some of it simply through Gable's face.
Clark Gable carries himself very well in the film and never seems out of place with Eli Wallach, Clift or Monroe. Gable even manages to create some pretty believable chemistry with Monroe as the rather sensitive divorcee Roslyn and despite their age difference their relationship actually seems believable. Gable of course has that charm which helps in making the relationship have a foundation, but he goes even further creating some honest warmth even in the somewhat rough exterior of Gay. Gable manages the right balance between realizes both the tough individualistic qualities in Gay, but as well the softer more likable qualities that would make Roslyn fall for him. The central relationship is realized very well by Gable and Monroe and it never seems odd or wrong for Gay and Roslyn to be together.
When the men decide to round up Mustangs for a quick profit conflict arises since Roslyn learns that the captured Mustangs will be sold off to butchers. Gable is quite strong though in portraying the conflict within Gay himself as he is constantly trying to reason the use of the Mustangs to Roslyn. What Gable does so well is show the strong enthusiasm in the catch, portraying the sense of Gay living the life he wants to live for the moment. Gable brings this moments down in just the right way though by making Gay's reactions to Roslyn's reactions very natural, and most of all true to the character. Although I feel Roslyn's objections are written in too much of a heavy handed and one note fashion, Gable does make up for it by realizing a complexity in the conflict through his performance as Gay.
Gable is excellent in the final scenes of the film after the Mustangs have been released due to Roslyn's objections but Gaye still ties them up to only release them again. This might seem odd, but Gable makes it absolutely convincing with Gable conveying the undying belief that Gay has in himself to still make his own decisions. Gable is quite moving by showing a desperation in Gay that it is not even his pride that make Gay perform this seemingly odd action, it is a need to keep onto his own life that he loves so dearly. Gable personifies the old west individualism beautifully here, and I could have easily seen him in Melvyn Douglas's role in Hud. Unfortunately Gable died before this film even found release but it is a performance worthy to mark the end of the legendary career of Clark Gable.