Johnny Depp did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for a Golden Globe, for portraying the titular character of Edward Scissorhands.
Edward Scissorhands marks the first collaboration between Depp and director Tim Burton. A relationship that I suppose was promising, after all their second film was Ed Wood, but now the two are in serious need of a dudevorce. Any who this is about the past when Tim Burton was seen as some sort of visionary, and Johnny Depp was seen as one of the most promising actors. The film essentially takes the approach of having sympathy for the monster from Frankenstein except Edward does not even have Frankenstein's violent reactions to violence. The biggest danger Edwards has is perhaps a minor cut, but that's hardly his intention. The character is not even viewed by most of the suburbanites as a monster at first despite coming from a dark castle and obviously being quite unusual in appearance. Depp's performance here is in a similar vein with some of his later works with Burton, as the character is heavily made up while being purposefully strange with Depp technically giving a very mannered performance. The difference here though is there seems to be a lot more heart in terms of Depp's performance.
In terms of the mannerisms Depp plays the part by accentuating the fact that his body's basis was that of an automaton. Depp steps with each foot after the other and everything about his movements are particularly stilted and forced looking. This works though as Depp does suggest really what's underneath Edward's skin and in addition there's something very important that Depp does not do here that he would go on to do later on his career. That being that Depp does not overindulge in terms of the mannerisms as there is never that quality of having them just for the sake of it. It feels true to the character and only helps to establish what Edward is. In contrast to this Depp does not bring a hint of artifice in terms of Edward's facial expressions. This is where Depp brings out the gentle of nature of the character quite beautifully. He only ever brings a very unassuming quality to Edward and very specifically as naivety. There's an innate shyness as Depp conveys the way Edward is not use to interacting with so many people, and in addition though he brings out that curiosity of a child making new discoveries in a world that's very different from his dark castle.
Depp is particularly effective in bringing out such genuine sweetness in the character even while still bringing those odd physical mannerisms of Edward. In his face though there is only an emotional honesty about the character as Depp presents Edward as basically incapable of being anything other than a trusting and understanding sort. Depp actually has very few lines in the film. It's not that he does not talk, but rather Edward just happens to be particularly meek. Again Depp realizes the gentleness of the character through his timid voice that almost seems to squeak out that once again reinforces just how wholly harmless Edward is. Depp makes Edwards the sort of fairytale character he needs to be as he is only ever endearing and wholly sympathetic while still showing how Edward was made in the end. He really flawlessly creates the "monster" the film needs and is consistent in the way the character should be. He makes both the joy of his early acceptance by the community and the sadness of when he rejected quite palatable. The whole romantic wonder of the character in his scenes with Winona Ryder's character also work because of Depp's creation of Edward brings that wonder. It's very good performance by Depp as he makes Edward and frankly does not show the performance which is often case with his later work. I don't love his performance here as some obviously do, perhaps because I don't really care too much for the film, but I'll give credit where it's due, this is fine work from Depp.