Dennis Hopper did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying the American photojournalist in Apocalypse Now.
One of the best aspects of Apocalypse Now are the surprises found in the journey. One of these surprises is Hopper who plays a photojournalist who obviously has been in Vietnam probably longer than most of the soldiers. Hopper's no stranger to unstable character and he's pitch perfect here as the photojournalist. Hopper turns the photojournalist into a man who seems completely spent in almost every way imaginable. Hopper's physical performance is flawless as his odd, yet entirely natural seeming, movements convey the idea that the man is probably under the influence of more than one substance. Everything about Hopper's manner also instantly suggests the derangement of the man as in his eyes and face you can see that this man has had probably too many experiences to count in the war, and have permanently left him a more than a little mentally off.
Hopper is also terrific in his portrayal of a different kind of worship of Kurtz opposed to the more reserved catatonic manner of the other followers. Hopper instead shows the photojournalist as a strange observer, and outsider despite technically being quite influenced by Kurtz. Hopper is brilliant in his performance of the photojournalists own admiration of Kurtz as the photojournalist seems to be completely awe struck by the idea of the man. Hopper is excellent as he makes the photojournalists own unique worship of Kurtz completely believable, as he makes it some sort of revelation for the photojournalist as if Kurtz has become something he believe in. Hopper's never makes this one note though as there is the short moments where the photojournalist points out that Kurtz is far from perfect. Hopper is great because he brings the moments of defensive doubts in the man so naturally, and never leaves the photojournalist as a simple fanatic.
Like the performances of Frederic Forrest, Robert Duvall and Marlon Brando, it is just fascinating to watch Hopper perform here. He takes on this completely insane character but never just hams it up in the part. He certainly never leaves the insanity in question in anyway, but makes it feel completely authentic to the setting of the film as well as the part. If I had a problem with Hopper's performance, and in reality don't, is that I only could have gone for more of him in the film. Hopper's overall screen time is extremely brief yet Hopper still makes his impact beautifully and realizes this character absurdly well. Hopper, despite not even getting a name for his character, creates the photojournalist in such vivid detail that he suggests that this man had his own complicated story to Kurtz's compound. This is exceptional work by Dennis Hopper as he makes his nameless supporting character really worthy of being a lead character in his own film.