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