Saturday, 4 October 2014

Alternate Best Actor 1953: Masayuki Mori in Ugetsu

Masayuki Mori did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Genjuro in Ugetsu.

Ugetsu, although takes a little a bit to get going, becomes a rather haunting tale of two men attempting to change their lives during a war.

Masayuki Mori is a bit of the Japanese Chameleon as far as I can tell as I have failed to recognize him as the same man in his performances such as the corrupt businessman in The Bad Sleep Well, the quiet "fool" in The Idiot (A performance and film I very much ought to reexamine), or the bitter shades of a samurai from Rashomon. Mori once again seems like a wholly different individual as Genjuro who technically is a fairly average guy not really that much different than Ken Ogata's character in The Ballad of Narayama. Genjuro is a bit a different though unlike Ogata's character who was content enough with his hardship as a peasant Genjuro has an ambition to become rich through his pottery business. It's technically made even worse that both he and his neighbor in a way see the war raging around them as a chance for their own personal gain.

Mori is quite good in the role by portraying Genjuro having a bit of a simple charm in the role. He does particularly well in regards to showing Genjuro's various ideas about being rich even as their village is threatened by violent soldiers. Mori doesn't portray Genjuro's ambition as some sort of unshakeable drive in his personality, but rather presents it as something far more down to earth as well as fitting to an average man like Genjuro. Mori shows both the greed and the ambition to be pretty simple fitting the simple man as he is as just the search for the pleasure the money will bring. There is no scheming or grand ideas in his eyes instead Mori is quite good, almost like a game show contestant, in portraying this particular sort of desire. Mori handles this well because he manages to be endearing in the role even though Genjuro begins to do some rather reprehensible things.

Genjuro eventually leaves his wife and son, supposedly for their own safety, as leaves with his friend, who is ever worse in his own dream of becoming a samurai, and heads off to sell his pottery for a great profit. While there Genjuro comes across a strange alluring woman who seems to be oddly interested in him. At this point in the film Mori's performance mostly reactionary in nature as Genjuro allows himself to be manipulated by this odd woman and her servant. Mori does not get to do all that much but he's actually quite good in his depiction of Genjuro being pulled into this odd world the woman seems to inhabit. Mori's performance works especially well in tandem with the film's direction. It creates this otherworldly scene and Mori does well to amplify that through his reaction as Genjuro. Mori portrays a true astonishment and entrancement as he is brought into the woman's house and eventually seduced by her.

Masayuki Mori's performance is always consistent and allows the moments to play out well by always showing Genjuro to act as most normal man would in his situation. The ending of the film is very powerful and poignant and Mori aids in this. He always makes the situations feel real in the world allowing every revelation to have the needed impact. The moment where Genjuro believes he's met his wife again is moving as Mori portrays just a honest happiness at finding his old life again. He makes it all the more heartbreaking when things turn out differently than they appeared as Mori portrays Genjuro's sadness in such an unassuming yet so perfectly tender. This is a good performance from Mori, and I have to give credit for once again disappearing in a role. It's not a performance that makes his character standout from the rest of the film, but it is a fine work that suits the film quite nicely.

28 comments:

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Shit. Why must I always bet on the wrong horse?

luke higham said...

Louis: With Brando and Mason (WINNER) still to come. are there any performances, that you would give a 4.5 for '53 Lead. If so can I have your thoughts on them.

Michael McCarthy said...

Mori's heartbreaking in the last couple scenes, I think it merits at least a solid 4.5.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke: No I'm afraid not. From what I have seen anyway.

Michael:

I'll admit he was quite close to a 4.5 for me.

Anonymous said...

What would be your ratings and thoughts on Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday? Also, I'm curious on your ratings and thoughts on Clark Gable in Mogambo, he was pretty bad in that.

RatedRStar said...

Louis I highly recommend you seeing The Wages Of Fear,, one of the greatest thrillers ever.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Louis aside (since I think we've asked him so many times already lol), who are everyone's top 10 favourite actors and actresses?

1. James Stewart
2. Gary Oldman
3. Al Pacino
4. Daniel Day-Lewis
5. Christian Bale
6. James Woods
7. John Hurt
8. Donald Sutherland
9. Sidney Poitier
10. William Holden

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

1. Cate Blanchett
2. Marion Cotillard
3. Greer Garson
4. Uma Thurman
5. Barbara Stanwyck
6. Naomi Watts
7. Celia Johnson (based purely off one role)
8. Jane Fonda
9. Jean Simmons
10. Keira Knightley

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

And neglected to put Alec Guiness in, oops, he'd go before Day-Lewis

Anonymous said...

Here are mine, in no particular order because I can't really choose how to rank them. I don't put some acclaimed actors on my 10s because I haven't seen a lot of performances by some (like Daniel Day-Lewis)
Actors:
James Stewart
Michael Fassbender
Leonardo DiCaprio
Jack Lemmon
Al Pacino
Robert De Niro
Christian Bale
Marcello Mastroianni
Marlon Brando
Dustin Hoffman
Actresses:
Sissy Spacek
Jane Fonda
Audrey Hepburn
Ingrid Bergman
Cate Blanchett
Marion Cotillard
Amy Adams
Jessica Chastain
Bette Davis
Jennifer Lawrence

RatedRStar said...

Top 10 Favorite Actors (In General) I cant really put my Hong Kong gang in the normal list so ill just do 2.

1) Claude Rains
2) Montgomery CLift
3) James Mason
4) Laurence Olivier
5) Clark Gable
6) James Stewart
7) James Cagney
8) Toshiro Mifune
9) William Powell
10) Ronald Colman

Top 10 Favorite Actresses (In General)

1) Simone Signoret
2) Vivien Leigh
3) Anna Magnani
4) Marsha Mason
5) Katharine Hepburn
6) Barbara Stanwyck
7) Olivia De Havilland
8) Ingrid Bergman
9) Anne Bancroft
10) Glenda Jackson

Top 10 Actors (Hong Kong)

1) Leslie Cheung
2) Lau Ching Wan
3) Tony Leung Chiu Wai
4) Roy Cheung
5) Chow Yun Fat
6) Sam Lee
7) Francis Ng
8) Alex Fong
9) Liu Ye
10) Lam Suet

Top 10 Actresses (Hong Kong)

1) Anita Mui
2) Faye Wong
3) Maggie Cheung
4) Gong Li
5) Tang Wei
6) Deannie Ip
7) Carina Lau
8) Sandra Ng
9) Michelle Yeoh
10) Zhang Ziyi

luke higham said...

Louis: Any new films seen recently.

Michael McCarthy said...

Actors:

1. Jack Nicholson
2. Toshiro Mifune
3. Richard Attenborough
4. Laurence Olivier
5. Daniel Day-Lewis
6. Ralph Fiennes
7. James Stewart
8. Montgomery Clift
9. Paul Newman
10. Sam Rockwell

Actresses:

1. Faye Dunaway
2. Ingrid Bergman
3. Anne Bancroft
4. Claudette Colbert
5. Elizabeth Taylor
6. Vivien Leigh
7. Glenn Close
8. Angela Lansbury
9. Madeline Kahn
10. Teresa Wright

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Everyone seems to love James Stewart :D

Anonymous said...

Louis, who's your 1983 pick for Best Actress? Meryl Streep or Debra Winger?

Anonymous said...

I am the anonymous who shared his ten favorite actors and actresses, I just wanted to say that I'd put off my Top 10 Dustin Hoffman and add Paul Newman, who may be my favorite actor ever.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Anyone else want to take a wild guess at what the Best Actor/Actress and Supporting Actor/Actress lineups will look like next year? IMO,

Actor:
Michael Keaton
Benedict Cumberbatch
Steve Carrell
Eddie Redmayne
Jack O'Connell or Ben Affleck or Timothy Spall

Actress:
Rosamund Pike
Amy Adams
Felicity Jones
Cate Blanchett
Reese Witherspoon

Supporting Actor:
Edward Norton
Mark Ruffalo
Robert Duvall
Christoph Waltz
J.K. Simmons

Supporting Actress:
Patricia Arquette
Keira Knightley
Emma Stone
Dorothy Atkinson
Jessica Chastain

luke higham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Well, I pretty much agree with everyone you mentioned. Just one thing, do you think that Cate Blanchett will be nominated for what movie? Out of the movie I've seen, I think that Woodley and Dern would be great nominees for TFIOS but it's not going to happen.

luke higham said...

Lead
Steve Carell in Foxcatcher
Timothy Spall in Mr Turner
Joaquin Phoenix in Inherent Vice
Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar
Michael Keaton in Birdman
Alt Choices: Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game and possibly Ben Affleck in Gone Girl
I doubt some of the 5 I chose will be nominated in the end, but these are the performances I want nominated for reviews sake.

Supporting
Edward Norton in Birdman
Josh Brolin in Inherent Vice
JK Simmons in Whiplash
Channing Tatum in Foxcatcher (Category Fraud)
Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher
Alt Choice: Christoph Waltz in Big Eyes (Category Fraud x2)

Michael McCarthy said...

GDSAO: I would say I agree with your Best Actor lineup, with Spall (though I'd love to see an upset by Phoenix) looking like the most likely of the last three.

For Best Actress, I think Julianne Moore has a very solid shot for Still Alice, probably more so than Blanchett.

For Supporting Actor I think Simmons, Norton and Ruffalo are very likely, as well as Ethan Hawke. The fifth spot is up for grabs, I'd like to see it go to someone in Inherent Vice or maybe Albert Brooks in A Most Violent Year.

For Supporting Actress I definitely see Arquette, Stone, and Knightley making it in, as well as Laura Dern in Wild. If Meryl Streep plays the Witch in Into the Woods as well as the role deserves, I'd put her in the lineup as well.

Anonymous said...

Cate Blanchett? What movie is she even in this year lol? I'm gonna take a stab and assume you guys meant Jessica Chastain or Amy Adams..

Michael Patison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Patison said...

Actors:
1. Paul Newman
2. Daniel Day-Lewis
3. James Stewart
4. Alec Guinness
5. William Hurt
6. Gary Oldman
7. Robert Duvall
8. Claude Rains
9. Philip Seymour Hoffman
10. Clark Gable
Honorable Mentions: William Powell, Humphrey Bogart, Orson Welles, George C. Scott, Michael Caine, Al Pacino, Albert Brooks, Brendan Gleeson

I left off the likes of Montgomery Clift, Toshiro Mifune, Richard Attenborough, and Laurence Olivier (among a few others) because I simply have not seen enough of them to be able to legitimately speak to my feelings on them.

Actresses:
1. Bette Davis
2. Emma Thompson
3. Faye Dunaway
4. Maggie Smith
5. Holly Hunter
6. Teresa Wright
7. Olivia de Havilland
8. Anne Bancroft
9. Glenn Close
10. Mary Astor
Honorable Mentions: Jean Arthur, Ingrid Bergman, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, Frances McDormand

I left of the likes of Sissy Spacek, Jane Fonda, and Angela Lansbury, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Crawford, and Simone Signoret (among others) for the same reasons I left of the men above. Vivien Leigh is not listed because, while I think she is arguably the most talented actress ever, I would not consider her one of my favorites.

GM said...

Actors:

1. Gene Hackman
2. James Stewart
3. Cary Grant
4. Ewan McGregor
5. Gene Wilder
6. Max Von Sydow
7. Bill Murray
8. Dustin Hoffman
9. Robert De Niro
10. Marlon Brando

Actresses

1. Julianne Moore
2. Simone Signoret
3. Geraldine Page
4. Olivia de Havilland
5. Sissy Spacek
6. Katharine Hepburn
7. Joan Fontaine
8. Audrey Hepburn
9. Glenda Jackson
10. Helen Hayes

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Peck - 3.5 (Probably his best performance where he relied wholly on his charm. Peck I can find often bland but here I thought he was rather endearing. He also has some rather sweet chemistry with Hepburn)

Gable - 2.5(One of the weakest performances I've seen from him since he usually can get by on his charm even when the role or film is kinda weak. It seemed like he was just kinda phoning it in with this one)

RatedRStar: I'll definitely check it out since I've liked everything I've seen from Clouzot so far.

Luke:

The Zero Theorem

Anonymous:

Streep although I still need to see Alexander.

luke higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the film, as well as your ratings & thoughts on Waltz, Thewlis & Thierry.

Louis Morgan said...

I rather enjoyed the film as a companion piece to Brazil. Although it took similair themes from that film I never thought it seemed like Gilliam was repeating himself. He weaves again an off-beat and fascinating world. I thought it was quite splendid as it managed to be rather humorous while still having quite the heart beneath it all.

I'll hold on to Waltz, and even Thewlis since supporting has been fairly thin so far.

Thierry - 4(She gives a rather lovely performance. She's never over does her quirk instead bringing a wholly endearing quality to her character, and has surprisingly strong chemistry with Waltz despite the nature of Waltz's performance)