Saturday, 25 April 2015

Alternate Best Actor 1990: Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands

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 tells essentially a fairytale about a man created with scissors for hands.

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.


luke higham said...

Louis: I'm so glad you liked him, A 4.5 was the best I was hoping for.

Ratings & Thoughts on the rest of the cast.

luke higham said...

'The Two are in serious need of a Dudevorce'.

Almost everyone's thoughts exactly.

luke higham said...

Louis: Your Top 5 Female Lead & Supporting Performances for 1990.

luke higham said...

Louis: Plus ratings.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

4.5 is great, I'm glad you liked him Louis. Is this your favourite Depp performance?

Also Louis Luke or anyone else,

Would this be a 1939 or 1938 release via Louis' criteria?

luke higham said...

GDSAO: I think his performance in Ed Wood will still be his favourite.

The Four Feathers is '39 by Louis's rules.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

In which case I'd like to change a request:

Dean Stockwell in Compulsion to Ralph Richardson in The Four Feathers

RatedRStar said...

I am so looking forward to 1939, the greatest year in film history.

There are so many legendary films from 1939, I dont even mind a certain Oscar loss from that year because the year was so great for film.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: Well your going to have to wait till the very end of the alternates, since it wouldn't make a great deal of sense for it to come before '36 and I'm sure Louis wants to end it on a very high note.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Hey, I'll totally take a 4.5.

Louis Morgan said...


Ryder - 3(She's good in the scenes with Depp as she gets kinda that whole dreamy romantic quality down. Otherwise than that she's fine although does not get a great deal to do)

Wiest - 2.5(She's good but does not get much to do)

Arkin - 2.5(He's not quite as funny as I think he's trying to be. Not bad but not great)

Hall - 2.5(He's no Gaston)

Baker - 2.5(Much like Arkin)

Price - 3(Rather liked that sweetness he brings in a role that would have been an evil scientist in his older performances. I wish there had been more of him)


1. Kathy Bates - Misery
2. Glenn Close - Reversal of Fortune
3. Joanne Woodward - Mr. and Mrs. Bridge - 4
4. Meryl Streep - Postcards from the Edge - 3.5
5. Winona Ryder - Edward Scissorhands

Yes I have seen the Grifters.

Supporting Actress:

1. Lorraine Bracco - Goodfellas
2. Shirley MacLaine - Postcards from the Edge - 4.5
3. Helena Bonham Carter - Hamlet
4. Whoopi Goldberg - Ghost
5. Catherine O'Hara - Home Alone - 3.5


Luke is correct.

RatedRStar said...

@Luke: Oh I know that =D I look forward to it being possibly last or one of the last ones.

For 1939 there shouldnt be a top ten films of the year it should be top twenty =D.