Rutger Hauer did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Roy Batty in Blade Runner.
One of Rutger Hauer's earliest major English language films was as the chief bad guy in the action thriller Nighthawks starring action hero mainstay Sylvester Stallone. In the earliest appearances of Roy Batty in the film it seems that in Blade Runner Hauer is again playing a role in the same vein. Once again here he is playing the seemingly main villain against another action star of the 80's this time Harrison Ford. Roy Batty seems set up to be the antagonist for our hero here as Roy is the defacto leader of the renegade replicants, as well as considered to be the most dangerous as his model was made for military service therefore he is both highly intelligent and extremely dangerous. Even in his first scenes that seems like that might be the case for the character of Roy with his dark leather coat, really his particular name, the ominous way he appears as well as one of his earliest scenes where he goes to interrogate one of the men involved with the process of making replicants which seems to set him up as villain, and of course that Roy is played by Rutger Hauer.
Rutget Hauer happens to be an actor who just is naturally a bit imposing to begin with so smartly here Hauer knows that he does not need to overplay things. Hauer carries a palatable menace with such particular ease here as Roy. Hauer makes Roy seem quite dangerous without even needing to commit any actual onscreen violence until fairly late into the film. Hauer's whole manner is quite effective here as he brings such a confidence around Roy. The threat is not even what Roy might do but rather what Roy can do and when he will do it. Hauer shows that Roy is well aware that he was basically made to be the ultimate weapon, and likely has had experiences to support this fact, and this sort of knowledge is shown in Hauer's performance. When he goes about terrorizing the technician early on in order to derive some information from him, Hauer does not at all actually try to be actively imposing, he just simply is. Hauer creates the threat of Roy so delicately by making the threat of Roy being that Roy is merely well aware of the threat he is, and has no reason whatsoever to second guess this thought so kinda casually prods the humans he encounters with this idea.
Hauer actually does not have that many scenes for the first two thirds of the film as the film more closely follows Deckard's effort to kill Roy's fellow replicants. Hauer though makes a considerable impact in his few scenes early on that his presence is never forgotten and he carries some potential of danger when he does appear. Of course what it is that Roy is actually after is hardly the standard desire of the villain. He's after no gold, or glory he does have a desire to be sure but the only desire of his is merely to live. All the replicants are given a death sentence in that they have four years to live and the reason Roy is tracking down the people in the corporation who made him is to find if there is a way for him to extend his life as well as the lives of his fellow replicants. In fact all the replicants did before, to cause them to be marked for death, was to rebel against there owners as they were no more than slaves before it. In fact what is the most remarkable about Roy Batty and Hauer's excellent execution of this strange idea which is that well maybe Roy is the hero and Deckard is the villain. After all what's Deckard's motivation to kill the replicants, nothing, other than that he's doing his job.
Early on Hauer creates the sense of Roy being far more than simply the robot made for killing that he was essentially made to be. There is a subtle though strong passionate drive that Hauer conveys in Roy as he inquires about the due date and what can be done about. There is a quiet sense of urgency that Hauer conveys in portraying the desperation in Batty not of some rogue android without purpose but a sentient creature who does not want to lose his life. This is not even a selfish desire though as shown by the moments after one of his fellow replicants dies. The scene where Roy talks about how few of them are left after the deaths of two more of them Hauer is quite moving in portraying only genuine loss in Roy's expression. When he speaks their names Hauer conveys a sadness in Roy as he reflects how Roy is truly hurt by their demise as well as the fact that he has lost the only things he has ever connected with. Hauer is outstanding in the moment where we see Roy directly react to the death of one of his comrades. There's no evil in Hauer performance but rather he expresses the striking humanity in Roy so beautifully as he simply mourns the death of someone so close to him.
An incredible scene for Hauer is when Roy comes face to face with his creator Dr. Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkel) who is his last hope for salvation. Hauer is amazing in this scene as he loses much of that confidence as he suggests the gravity of someone meeting that which gave them life. Hauer is astonishing in portraying the repentance of a prodigal son who's returned home with again that desperation of a dying man, and Hauer almost shows him to be a man praying to technically his God for a reprieve from his ultimate fate. When Tyrell rather bluntly puts it that there is nothing that can be whatsoever Hauer presents Roy as nothing at all simply. Although he bring a frightening intensity in Roy as he realizes that he is indeed doomed and lashes out at the doctor. It is not only hate that Hauer expresses though. Roy kisses the doctor before he brutally murders him and Hauer makes sense of this odd sentiment. On one end Hauer expresses a final love Roy is giving to the man who technically gave him a life he would never have had, but at the same time he viciously expresses the anger at the man who technically gave him only short life where his only purpose was one of violence and servitude.
As great as Hauer is in all his previous scenes that seems only the warmup to the final scene where he confronts Deckard after all his friends are dead, and he knows he will die soon. This is not a typical villain hero face off. What Hauer does here is spectacular as he portrays Roy basically going down to the basics as he goes about chasing Deckard through an abandoned building. What is so notable about this is how Hauer suggests that this is a game for Roy. Hauer shows that Roy, knowing his end will be soon, that he might as well have some fun in his final moments since he seems to know quite well that he can kill Deckard without much trouble. Everything about Hauer in this scene is spellbinding as he almost brings Roy to his most basic physically in his animalistic manner while he chases and taunts Deckard down. Hauer conveys the joy in Roy as he takes pleasure in making Deckard suffer getting some revenge for his comrades while perhaps putting Deckard in his mindset which is waiting to die. In the end though when Deckard is about to fall to his death Roy actually reaches out and saves him as he falls. In the moment Hauer suggests a bit of compassion as though Roy is almost rejecting what he was made for with this final act. With Deckard saved we have the final scene where he pays witness to Roy's final moments. Well this is the scene of Hauer's performance for a reason because it is a thing of beauty.
"I've… seen things you people wouldn't believe" is not Roy gloating at Deckard but rather seems to be him stating the worth of his experience of life. Hauer describes Roy's experiences with such magnificent eloquence of man looking into his past one last time while he has no future left. There is even a smile Hauer brings to Roy's face glad perhaps that at least Deckard has heard him and will witness his demise. Roy's final line, which Hauer came up with himself "All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain" is heartbreaking as Hauer realizes Roy's death as the death of a villain, or even the death of a replicant but as the death of a man whose life did have value.