Sunday, 22 March 2015

Alternate Best Actor 1969: Jean Louis Trintignant in Z

Jean Louis Trintignant did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite winning Cannes, for portraying the examining magistrate Christos Sartzetakis.

Z is an excellent political thriller depicting the assassination and investigation into said assassination of a popular leftist.

Jean Louis Trintignant could easily be argued as supporting in the film, and I would not argue that point long considering her only has a brief appearance for about the first third of the film where he is very awkwardly introduced to the entourage of the politician. I'll argue for his placement though simply for the second half where the investigation takes place as it fairly closely stays with the magistrate as he attempts to decipher the facts. Trintignant's role is unique in the film in that he is in no way politically charged unlike the doomed politician and his supporters who are constantly charged with their outrage and philosophy, or the men setting up the assassination who are consistently charged by their passionate hate for what the politician stands for. The magistrate on the other hand has different concerns. This shown early on in the awkward meeting which Trintignant plays as well as he no way expresses support to their anguish, nor does he suggest any malice towards. Trintignant actually does well by showing that the magistrate hardly feels anything towards them.

The magistrate does not pop back in until after the assassination and he is called upon to investigate what the authorities want at first to be deemed an accident. I must say I cared very little for Trintignant's turn as basically the quite observant lead in The Conformist just one year later, although here Trintigant is far more effective in this understated sort of role. Trintignant manages to make himself compelling by conveying the magistrate as someone taking in the information to decipher what exactly happened. Trintignant does well with a strong incisive glare towards everyone who speaks as it is clear the magistrate is not there to take sides but find truths. Trintignant is technically the one character who has an arc in the film although not in the usual manner still. This is not a personal emotional arc that Trintignant presents rather a strictly professional one. Trintignant never shows the magistrate lose his reserve exactly. He keeps himself consistent as a professional above else as the magistrate wants to find out what happened because it is the right thing to do as well as his job, nothing else is needed for him.

The magistrate even begins taking it as an accident, and adjusting statements that claim it otherwise since there is on hard evidence of the assassination at first. Trintignant does well to keep a certain reserve as he expresses both the magistrate particular method of deriving information as well as his personal distance from the case. Trintignant carefully portrays the actual arc of the magistrate because it is technically a somewhat detached transition. What Trintignant does well is create the calculation within the magistrate and is convincing in the gradual way he realizes the magistrate figuring out what happened. When the magistrate starts allowing to be called a murder Trintignant earns it through his subtle though quite honest reactions to every bit of information that is known. Of course it is not merely about deciphering information but also about deriving it himself through his interrogation of some of the culprits. Trintignant is very effective in these scenes as he plays the magistrate always quietly in control of the situation watching for any misstep, and delivers his more incisive remarks with the utmost precision.

Although Tritignant never wholly loses his reserve in the parts he does have a few great moments where he shows what the magistrate is feeling. Of course again Trintignant does not play these again as a political thing, but rather just wholly involving what is right. In fact that is the way the character must be since it is alluded to that the magistrate's personal political views technically skew closer to the villains, and that is what leaves him protected from scrutiny by the officials. One of my favorite moments in his performance is when he gets the brains behind the operation to say the exact same line that all the conspirators say when describing part of the assassination. His slight smile is just perfect as the magistrate does take some satisfaction in knowing he's gotten the one responsible. Trintignant technically had quite a challenge with this part because the magistrate is technically on a whole different wavelength from every other character in the film. Trintignant uses that to his advantage as his work stands out through his intriguing depiction of a man whose sole motivation is justice.


luke higham said...

Louis: Ratings & Thoughts on the rest of the cast.

Michael McCarthy said...

Eh, I can get behind the rating. It's still hard for me to see him in lead, but maybe my definition of lead is too strict.

luke higham said...

1. Ventura
2. Holden
3. Caine
4. Trintignant
5. Hopper

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

I usually quite enjoy these sort of performances, like Costner in JFK, so I'll definitely check this out.

Also just wondering, what are everyone's thoughts on Alec Guinness' chances of getting a review for Our Man in Havana for Lead 1959, just wondering about my next request :D

Anonymous said...

Louis why do you think Z is an excellent film exactly?

Anonymous said...

You said you'd put Cannon as lead but if you had to pick out of the actual nominees would you pick Cannon in B&C&T&A or Susannah York in TSHDT?

luke higham said...

GDSAO: I'm a fan of Guinness, so by all means, request him.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Also I have just watched The Damned, what the hell what was that, don't get me wrong I actually thought it was a pretty effective film but wow is it fucked up.

Thulin and Bogarde are excellent (they would make my Lead lineups for 1969). But some of those supporting performances were just way way pver the top though they worked in a grotesque sort of way.

Michael Patison said...

Redoing it:
1. Dennis Hopper
2. William Holden
3. Lino Ventura
4. Michael Caine
5. Jean-Louis Trintignant

A few days ago I used both of my winning requests (for Rickman in S&S and Cregar in IWUS). I have since remembered something else I'd prefer over Rickman (whose performance I love but know most think it's only good). If I haven't requested PSH in Synecdoche, New York, then replace Rickman with him for the bonus rounds.

Michael Patison said...

Also, bloody fantastic movie. My picture win for the year.

luke higham said...

Louis: Can I have an update on all of the remaining requests.

mcofra7 said...

1. Holden
2. Ventura
3. Hopper
4. Caine
5. Trintignant

Louis Morgan said...


I'll save Marcel Bozzuffi for the moment.

Montand - 3.5(His casting seems almost half of it as the Italian Humphrey Bogart does have a bit of a star quality needed for a politician of his character's stature. Montand certainly follows suit as well by being suitably charismatic and delivering his speech with the appropriate sort of passion. He also though does well in the short little moments suggesting the man in the figurehead particularly the very brief flashback involving his wife)

Papas - 3.5(She has a very small role here though she's very good with the little time she has. On one end she delivers the appropriate grief and is moving in that. What I like most though is how she quietly conveys a certain bitterness about suggesting the troubled relationship with her husband even though she has to mourn him)

Perrin - 3.5(I like his work here because he does not exactly play the journalist as a true crusader for the truth exactly. He does that but Perrin nicely shows it as almost a bit of a game of it. He's clearly having fun helping to uncover the plot, and he adds just a nice bit sleaze to the character)

Denner - 3(Fairly simply though he delivers in creating the passion of the character while still making him see more than that even though the current situation forces him to be of one mind)

I should note its wholly a good ensemble in even the bit players add a nice bit of character in their short scenes.


Peter Mullan - Tyrannosaur
Jake Gyllenhaal - Source Code
Ralph Fiennes - Coriolanus
Jakub Gierszal - Suicide Room


PSH - Synedoche New York


Brad Pitt - Assassination of Jesse James
Lau Ching Wan - Mad Detective
Joaquin Phoenix - We Own the Night
Casey Affleck - Gone Baby Gone
James McAvoy - Atonement
Chris Cooper - Breach
Cillian Murphy - Sunshine
Christian Bale - Rescue Dawn
John Travolta - Hairspray
Morgan Freeman - Gone Baby Gone
Ed Harris - Gone Baby Gone
Sam Rockwell - Assassination of Jess James
Robert Downey Jr. Zodiac


Lie Ye - Lan Yu


Joaquin Phoenix - The Yards


Lam Suet - The Mission


Jonathan Pryce - Carrington
Ethan Hawke - Before Sunrise
Kevin Spacet - Seven


Leslie Cheung - Days of Being Wild
Johnny Depp - Edward Scissorhands
Armand Assante - Q & A


Raul Julia - Romero
James Spader - Sex, Lies & Videotape
Bruce Dern - The Burbs


Roy Cheung - Prison on Fire


Gregory Peck - The Omen
Marty Feldman - Silent Movie
Ron Howard - The Shootist


Helmut Berger - The Damned


Laurence Harvey - The Manchurian Candidate
Montgomery Clift - Freud
Robert Duvall - To Kill a Mockingbird


Dean Stockwell - Compulsion
Anthony Franciosa - Career


Laird Cregar - I Wake Up Screaming


John Carradine - Grapes of Wrath


Lee J. Cobb - Golden Boy


Charles Laughton - Sidewalks of London


Well what can I say, I think it has an interesting story, it's told in a compelling fashion, it creates the atmosphere of its setting particularly well, and although it maintains its pace as thriller it still develops enough character along the way.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I'm pretty sure I requested Jeff Bridges in The Fabulous Baker Boys.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

I can vouch for Robert here.

He switched from Polito to Bridges.

Michael Patison said...

I'm almost positive about that too, Robert

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

It's a fascinating list of requests, and I've seen quite a few of them actually :D

Lau Ching Wan-4.5 (clsoe to a 5)
McAvoy-4.5 (a re-watch brought him down slightly)
Ed Harris-4
Downey Jr.-4.5
Lam Suet-4
Hawke-4.5 (verging on a 5)
Cheung-4.5 (very, very close to a 5)
Franciosa-3.5 (verging on a 4)

luke higham said...

Louis: Mcofra7 requested Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Mysterious Skin for 2004.

luke higham said...

I think its a guarantee at this point, that were getting ten reviews for both '07 Lead and Supporting.

Brad Pitt - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Lau Ching Wan - Mad Detective
Joaquin Phoenix - We Own the Night
Casey Affleck - Gone Baby Gone
James McAvoy - Atonement
Chris Cooper - Breach
Cillian Murphy - Sunshine
Christian Bale - Rescue Dawn
Philip Seymour Hoffman - Before The Devil Knows Your Dead
Tony Leung Chiu Wai - Lust Caution
Josh Brolin - No Country For Old Men

John Travolta - Hairspray
Ben Foster - 3:10 To Yuma
Sam Rockwell - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Robert Downey Jr. - Zodiac
John Carroll Lynch - Zodiac
Ed Harris - Gone Baby Gone
Morgan Freeman - Gone Baby Gone
Timothy Dalton - Hot Fuzz
Albert Finney - Before The Devil Knows Your Dead
Tommy Lee Jones - No Country For Old Men
Steve Zahn - Rescue Dawn

mcofra7 said...

Luke:thanks for that

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Who do we think will be the top 5 for 2007 lead and supporting? I have no idea but if I had to take a wild guess

Bale or Phoenix or Mortensen

Carroll Lynch

luke higham said...

1. Affleck (Jesse James)
2. Affleck (Gone Baby Gone)
3. Wan
4. Bale
5. Hoffman

1. Lynch
2. Finney
3. Rockwell
4. Bardem
5. Foster or Dalton

luke higham said...

GDSAO: I'm predicting 5s for Affleck in GBG, Wan and Bale in Lead & Lynch, Finney, Rockwell and in my personal opinion, Timothy Dalton for Supporting.

RatedRStar said...

I am surprised but happy that some of you think Lau Ching Wan will do well, I think he is Hong Kongs best actor, the most consistent actor definitely.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: What do you think will be the overall top 5s for '07 Lead & Supporting.

RatedRStar said...


1. Affleck (Jesse James)
2. Affleck (Gone Baby Gone)
3) Bale
4) Hoffman
5) Day Lewis

1. Lynch
2. Finney
3. Bardem
4. Rockwell
5. Foster

luke higham said...

GDSAO & RatedRStar: Louis's favourite Female Lead & Supporting Actress performances from '07 as well.

Mine are
Lead: Marion Cotillard in La Vie En Rose 2nd - Julie Christie in Away From Her
Supporting: Cate Blanchett in I'm Not There 2nd - Amy Ryan in Gone Baby Gone

RatedRStar said...

@Luke: The same, I really cant think of anyone else, I dont even know if he did like Marion, I know he liked Blanchett though.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: He hasn't seen it yet, but I'm predicting it nonetheless.

Michael Patison said...

Blanchett is one of his 5s

luke higham said...

Michael Patison: I apologize, if I confused anyone, I meant Cotillard in La Vie En Rose.

Louis Morgan said...

The ones I missed have been noted.


York by the way.

RatedRStar said...

Anthony Franciosa hehe =D.