Sunday, 26 April 2015

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1990: Robert De Niro in Goodfellas

Robert De Niro did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for a Bafta, for portraying Jimmy Conway in Goodfellas.

Goodfellas marks Robert De Niro's sixth collaboration with director Martin Scorsese and it is notable that it is the first time since their first collaboration, Mean Streets, where he does not have the leading role. Although a few critics groups and the Baftas placed him lead, I would most likely because he's Robert De Niro, since obviously the lead of the film is Ray Liotta as Henry Hill. Like in Mean Streets though De Niro perhaps has the most influential character in terms of the progression of the story. The first time Jimmy appears in the film in chronological order it is essentially as a big shot among gangsters at a party. De Niro being no stranger to playing the mob type fits into the role with the sort of ease you'd expect. As Jimmy in this scene though he brings that overt charisma to the man and creates Jimmy's presence in the moments which is much stronger than pretty much any other mobster of the group. De Niro establishes Jimmy as a man who does things his way and realizes him as the sort of guy the young Henry would aspire to be.

De Niro carries himself particularly well in the scenes where he takes the young Henry as well as the young Tommy DeVito under his wing. De Niro carries himself with almost a fatherly grace as he shows the boys the ropes even more as he runs his various criminal operations. De Niro shows Jimmy to seem like such a generous man at first as he has people doing exactly what he wants them to do for him, but we seen soon enough that it is hardly all there is to Jimmy. The first scene that perhaps makes the abundantly clear is when someone who owns Jimmy money keeps dodging the questions and even openly acts defiantly towards Jimmy. De Niro is great in the scene as he pretty much breaks down to exactly what Jimmy is behind his nice suits and his genial demeanor to those who serve his interests, which is a thug. De Niro plays it in a particularly uncompromising fashion as he shows Jimmy to bluntly brutal in the way he roughs up the man for paying up. There's no warmth, not even any reserve, its a direct violent outburst from a man who's simply not getting what he wants out of him. 

De Niro, Liotta, and Pesci as Tommy are particularly good together in just portraying the camaraderie between the three. They are terrific together in bringing such an authentic feeling ease they have together as the three enjoy all their life has to offer. They are good in their moments of enjoyment, even when ribbing one another over slight things, and what so remarkable is how they show essentially the little things in the life of the wiseguy. De Niro and Pesci are very interesting together in that as Pesci realizes the overt psychopathy of Tommy while De Niro is quite good as he shows that Jimmy really not far from Tommy in terms of nature he just happens to be better at utilizing his violent tendencies in a "useful" fashion. De Niro brings that same sort intense violent glee along Pesci when Jimmy goes about helping Tommy kill a mobster who insulted Tommy. De Niro and Pesci together are brilliant in the way they realize the very dark nature of the mobster as a man by doing it in such a convincing and casual fashion. They really are quite evil, they just happen to be able to get along in a normal way simply because of their position in the mob.

One of his best scenes is when it appears as though Tommy is about to be a made man, something Henry and Jimmy can't become because they are not pure Italian. De Niro is outstanding in the scene as he manages to create some sympathy for the psychopathic Tommy through first bringing such genuine enthusiasm as he waits for the news only to bring such honest grief when things don't go as planned. That's what so good about De Niro here as he so eloquently is able to believably show all these different facets of Jimmy while keeping him as one man. In addition De Niro actually creates some of the most chilling moments because of his creation of Jimmy's nature like this. The section that of the film that follows most closely on De Niro is after a gigantic heist masterminded by Jimmy, but for some reason every man on the job wants to try to screw up afterwards. There is one amazing moment from De Niro, as it's a silent reaction shot, but in his face you can see his mind planning the death of everyone who is trying to screw up his idea for the money from the heist. De Niro makes Jimmy especially dangerous through the way he specifically conveys his maliciousness which only makes itself known when completely necessary. The scene where he asks Henry's wife to look a dress, although clearly planning something else for her, is particularly unnerving because again De Niro keeps up a generous spirit with Jimmy while in those eyes there's that glint again of his true nature. This perhaps De Niro's best collaboration Scorsese as he knows exactly how to work within the film. He allows other actors to shine when they have their moments, amplifying their work with his own assured performance, giving so much more texture in certain scenes just by sometimes being in the background. When it is his time though De Niro delivers every moment and creates a fascinating portrait of Jimmy Conway.

54 comments:

luke higham said...

Fuck yeah, I knew, you'd give him a 5.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

1. Stanton
2. De Niro
3. Finney
4. Oldman (have a feeling this will come to bite me in the backside)
5. Assante

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

1. De Niro
2. Stanton
3. Finney
4. Oldman
5. Assante

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

I still think Pesci will take the overall though.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Also Louis in your comments on Pesci and Stern, were yoy referring to Roberts Blossom by any chance :)

luke higham said...

GDSAO: There is no chance in hell Pesci's losing the overall.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Or did I speak too soon...:O

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Also before I nod off, some more retroactive castings:

Dr Zhivago (2010s)
Zhivago: Matthias Schoenaerts
Lara: Elizabeth Debicki
Pasha: Ben Whishaw
Komarovsky: Mark Strong
Tonya: Rooney Mara
Uncle Alex: Timothy Spall
Yevgrav: Andrew Scott

Goodfellas (1960s, I know it doesn't really work that way but bear with me)
Henry Hill: Robert Blake
Jimmy Conway: George C. Scott
Tommy DeVito: Eli Wallach
Karen Hill: Ellen Burstyn

luke higham said...

Louis: For your top ten scorsese performances list, is De Niro 2nd or 3rd.

Anonymous said...

Louis , Thoughts/Ratings on the cast of New Jack City?

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Out of curiosity, how close are Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker and Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network to 5's?

JackiBoyz said...

1. De Niro
2. Stanton
3. Finney
4. Oldman
5. Assante

RatedRStar said...

I will take a risk and say that I think Stanton and Finney will get fives.

1)Stanton
2)Finney
3)De Niro
4)Oldman
5)Assante

luke higham said...

1. De Niro
2. Stanton
3. Finney
4. Oldman
5. Assante

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

So I just re-watched Wild at Heart, and wow it's really grown on me since the last time I watched it, it's an unbelievably close second place to my tiebreaker between The Elephant Man and Blue Velvet. Cage is great, Dern is actually amazing and my new win for 1990 lead, Ladd is terrific and of course Stanton is just wonderful, even Crispin Glover of all people is great. I also hope, if Louis is as impressed with Dafoe as I was that he'll review or at least mention him alongside Stanton.

On a separate note. Louis, was John Hurt at any point a 5 for The Elephant Man, I seem to have a recollection of seeing him with that rating although I may be much mistaken, it's probably the only rating here which I strongly disagree with in any form.

RatedRStar said...

Wild at Heart is a curious film because Roger Ebert hated the film, Siskel didnt like it either although he was kinder to it, with the exception of Mulholland Drive, Ebert didnt seem to like any Lynch films at all. I am stunned he disliked The Elephant Man.

luke higham said...

GDSAO: I don't have any recollection of John Hurt being given a 5 initially for The Elephant Man, but I do remember:
(Initial Oscar Nominated Reviews)
Liam Neeson - Schindler's List
Marlon Brando - The Godfather
Michael Caine - Sleuth
David Niven - Separate Tables
Edward Norton - American History X (recent)
Robert De Niro - Taxi Driver (recent)
Sean Penn - Dead Man Walking

He also gave Klaus Maria Brandauer a 5 for Mephisto by mistake and changed it to a 4.5 on the following day.

Louis: Your Thoughts on the latest episode of Game Of Thrones.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

@RatedRStar: Yeah Ebert had a strange dislike of Lynch.

@Luke: Thanks. Interesting to note some of these changes. I never realised Niven had dropped from a 5 to a 4.5, and now to a 4. As for Penn it's a shame as I find it's easily his best performance, I wonder what made Louis lower his score (same with Neeson)

luke higham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
luke higham said...

GDSAO: Well, due to gaining more experience & confidence as a writer, I think his criteria has drastically changed over the years and is less likely to buy into the hype for some performances, which he, (his personal opinion) did during his first year or two of writing.

By the way, I've upped Bettany's score to a 4 for The Avengers 2, and I'm close, in doing the same for Renner. I'm still sticking to my opinion on Johnson (I've never liked him as an actor personally), although, I've decided to give him an extra .5, since he did have a couple of decent moments, but nothing on par with the Slo-Mo Pentagon scene in Days Of Future Past and still much prefer Evan Peters interpretation of Quicksilver.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

http://actoroscar.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/lead-ranking.html
http://actoroscar.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/best-actor-2014-results-215.html

I think it's most interesting to compare these two to see Louis' development into the critic he is today, gosh look at some of these developments:

Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest from 41 to 12
Bob Hoskins in Mona Lisa from 79 to 29
Paul Newman in Hud from 82 to 31

@Luke: I'm glad you liked Bettany and Renner as well, they were both awesome.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

@Louis: Sorry to bother you again, but one more change of request,

Mathieu Almaric in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, to James Stewart in The Shop Around the Corner for 1939/1940 Lead depending on your criteria.

I just thought, since you've already been so overloaded with 2007 requests, why not go request a performance I absolutely adore in a year (1939/1940) which hasn't been absolutely bombarded yet, who knows we may start to pile up our requests for 1939 and 1940 and make you do more than five reviews for lead and supporting Louis :D

luke higham said...

GDSAO: I'm glad you enjoyed it too.

I think its a guarantee, we'll be getting 10 reviews for '07 Lead and Supporting plus, I'm fairly confident, we'll be seeing ten reviews for '39 and '62 Lead, since Louis and a couple of others have held those years in such high regard.

I'm kind of glad you changed your request, because I think Amalric would be a good one for the bonus rounds instead and Louis hasn't seen the film either, which bodes well for him.

luke higham said...

GDSAO: Or at the very least have more than 5 for '39 Lead.

luke higham said...

GDSAO: Please keep Bale.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

@Luke: Don't worry I will, I left Almaric out precisely for that reason, because Louis hasn't seen the film yet.

Also, Bale does not really have that many more performances for Louis to review, I can only think of The Machinist (which he is amazing in, although I do prefer him in Rescue Dawn and The Prestige). He's good in All the Little Animals although John Hurt is the highlight of that film, and I think he will do well in Knight of Cups.

He is one of my favourite actors so don't you worry Luke, I won't foresake him :D

luke higham said...

GDSAO: Yay :D

luke higham said...

GDSAO & RatedRStar: What suggestions do you have for 2012 Lead.
Mine are:
Mads Mikkelsen in The Hunt
Mads Mikkelsen in A Royal Affair
Toby Jones in Berberian Sound Studio
Charlie Creed-Miles in Wild Bill
Sacha Baron Cohen in The Dictator

If Louis doesn't find 2012 strong enough for a full lineup, then my suggestions limit down to Mikkelsen (Hunt & Royal Affair) and Jones.

Michael McCarthy said...

1. Robert De Niro
2. Gary Oldman
3. Albert Finney
4. Armand Assante
5. Harry Dean Stanton

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Mads Mikkelsen in The Hunt (I remember really liking him and giving him a 4.5. I really need to give it a re-watch, for I'm sure I missed something the first time round since I've only seen it once and not even in the best circumstances)
Charlie Creed-Miles in Wild Bill (he is terrific in this, a 4.5 verging on a 5 for me, Louis should also check him out in Nil by Mouth with Ray Winstone)
Toby Jones in Berberian Sound Studio (I haven't seen him but I do always like Jones, and it'd be nice to see him get a review on here)
Tom Courtenay in Quartet (He is terrific here, I gave him a 4.5 the first time I watched him but yes, again I need a re-watch, he has amazing chemistry with Maggie Smith and is both funny and moving throughout)
Terrence Stamp in Song for Marion (similar to Courtenay in some ways but it's a wonderful performance, Stamp is so severely forgotten nowadays but this is a lovely piece of work by him, he is both loveable and yet shows the pain and bitterness in his character extremely well)



luke higham said...

I'll replace Cohen, with Courtenay, he was great.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

For 2012 I would recommend Clarke Peters in Red Hook Summer. It's a schizophrenic mess of a film and his co-stars are awful, but he's aces. He even manages to make a bullshit twist at the end almost work.

luke higham said...

GDSAO & Louis: Stewart is 1940 for The Shop Around The Corner.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Cheers again, Luke!

Louis Morgan said...

Luke: Let me keep that a secret for the moment.

Also Niven was never a five he just went from 4.5 to 4.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar:

No to Blossom but he actually would be my second favorite supporting actor in the film.

Anonymous:

Haven't seen New Jack City.

Robert:

Their rating feels just right to me for both. Although I'll admit Eisenberg has only benefited from re-watches so if I watched it again it could move him up a notch.

luke higham said...

Louis: I stand corrected, although I could've sworn you did, It might have been a similar case to Brandauer.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Ah. I have an inkling about who you're talking about, Louis. :)

I hope you don't mind these questions, but could John Hurt's rating in The Elephant Man potentially go up to a 5 after re-watch.

luke higham said...

GDSAO & Louis: John Candy.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else seen Mommy? Because it's an amazing movie, easily one of the best of 2014. It's such a moving and compelling picture, and the performances from Anne Dorval and Antoine-Olivier Pilot are astonishing (Dorval is my winner for Best Actress). Also, Xavier Dolan's direction is top notch.

luke higham said...

GDSAO & Louis: Or, although it doesn't make much sense to me, Ralph Foody as the gangster in the fictional film.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

@Anonymous: Haven't seen it but I remember watching Laurence Anyways a while ago and quite liking it, so I'll check Mommy out definitely.

Luke: Indeed Candy is my inkling.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Actually it is Foody.

Anyways since I forgot Game of Thrones. I really liked this episode as well as I feel their really building up the tension of every storyline while giving natural progression to every character. Also I quite liked Jonathan Pryce's introduction and I'm glad it seems like he'll have an interesting part to play. My favorite part of the episode though was probably Brienne telling her back story with Gwendoline Christie giving her best work yet in the show.

luke higham said...

Louis: Your ratings & thoughts on Candy, Blossom and Foody in Home Alone.

Game Of Thrones had another great episode, with quiet possibly (my opinion) the most satisfying scene in the show so far, which depicts a certain execution, although I can't say I felt sorry for the bloke.

luke higham said...

R.I.P. Andrew Lesnie
Cinematographer of one of the greatest trilogies of all time, which also, is one of my all time favourite films as well.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Can I just say Dean-Charles Chapman is probably the luckiest 17 year old on the planet right now lol.

Also RIP Lesnie. Unparalleled brilliance. I must confess that I had never looked up his name before today, but really his body of work speaks for itself.

Deiner said...

Great review! This is off topic Louis but what are your thoughts and rating of Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener, I don't know if someone asked you this before but I can't find it.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Can you give ratings and thoughts on Martin and Moranis in My Blue Heaven and Gere in Pretty Woman?

RatedRStar said...

@Luke: I forgot to reply to that 2012 question, um I would only add Nicholas Tse and Lau Ching Wan from The Bullet Vanishes to that list.

John Smith said...

Just saw the Diseaperance Of Eleanor Rigby and James Macavoy and Jessica Chastain are my lead winners for 2014.

Louis and everyone else please give ratings and toughts on James Macavoys and Jessica Chastains performances in The Diseperance Of Eleanor Rigby.

luke higham said...

Louis's Ratings & Thoughts

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby:

Him:

McAvoy - 3.5(McAvoy has perhaps the more difficult role out of the leads of the separate films (which I will consider separate in rankings since they only share a few scenes) in that his character Connor is less emotionally volatile due to his son's death. McAvoy is effective enough in still conveying Connor much quieter grief and eventually confusion over his wife running away. His film actually is a bit more comedic which McAvoy handles well enough, and I liked his performance even though I never loved it)

Hinds - 3.5(He provides both the right distance yet with still a warmth. He manages to suggest the history between the father and son)

Hader - 3(He might be a little too broad a times, but I certainly did not mind his performance)

Chastain - 3.5(Portions of a better lead performance)

Her:

Chastain - 4.5(Chastain gives a very effective depiction of Eleanor Rigby's overpowering yet very understated grief. She very good in bringing out the intensity of her emotions well staying quite subtle and natural with her performance. She expresses the confusion of her character while never seeming too vague. She is helped much more by the writing than McAvoy is I think, but either way she makes the most of that fact)

Huppert - 3(Like Hader actually I feel she might overplay it a bit. Again I don't mind her performance still as it does work well enough)

Hurt - 3.5(I feel the two father characters were written a little too closely. I think Hurt and Hinds frankly could have given the same performance in each other's role nothing would have been lost. Hurt is good in basically the exact same way as Hinds)

McAvoy - 3(Makes less of an impact in the supporting role than Chastain does but the more positive aspects of his performance still stand)

Hasn't seen Them yet.

moviefilm said...

I have only seen Them and Chastain is a 5 for me (though she's not my win, her presence is fantastic. She has something like Meryl Streep has, her I couldn't take eyes of her and she knows what she's doing) and McAvoy is 4 (very fine performance, though I had a feeling he had less to play, he somehow doesn't have enough charm for this role).

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

For 1943/1944 alternates, two years which Louis has many spaces to fill out, what are going to be your recommendations :)

Lead:
Ralph Richardson in The Silver Fleet (a very strong 4.5 from me)
James Mason in Fanny by Gaslight (also a strong 4.5)
Robert Newton in This Happy Breed (a strong 4 verging on a 4.5, brilliant chemistry with Celia Johnson who is great as always, very different sort of role to his usual type)
Orson Welles in Jane Eyre (a solid 4, he is a solid Mr Rochester)
Charles Laughton in The Suspect (haven't seen him but sounds like a great performance, only problem is it might be hard to get a copy of this film anywhere)

Supporting:
James Donald in The Way Ahead (a solid 4 in a very solid war movie)

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Louis: Have you seen Jane Alexander in Testament, I know you don't usually like her at all but she's brilliant there.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Candy - 3.5(Very funny couple of scenes from him especially his not particularly comforting telling about leaving his own kid behind)

Blossom - 3.5(He fulfills the need of being foreboding in a natural way that would scare kids, but likely would not have any truth to it. He's great though in the scene where he talks to Kevin about his problems with his family, and really is quite moving as he gives depth to the scary old man so well. He really earns that final heart tug moment)

Foody - 3.5(It's only like a minute of original screen time, but I love the minute. His evil John Wayne voice is great as he really brings a real menace in his face when he speaks about Acey taking a bath (in his own blood no doubt). Then is hilarious with how much psychotic glee he brings to mowing poor Snakes down with his perfect delivery of "Keep the change ya filthy animal" to top it all off)

And yes the execution scene was great.

Deiner:

Weisz - 2.5(I've never cared for her performance in this, I've always felt Fiennes made her loss more palatable than she does. It's a very actory performance in a way it does not to be. Her passion and everything about her character I felt was handled to an excessive point by her as though to make her character even more flamboyant than she needed to be. I never felt the real motivation in her as she always portrayed her character as kinda thin)

Robert:

Martin - 3(He's one note doing a excessively gangster gangster shtick, but I found him enjoyable enough in the role. He never became that funny but he was the best part of the film)

Moranis - 2(I'm usually quite like Moranis but I can't get behind him here. He let's Martin overshadow to almost an insane degree. In addition his wimpy routine did not bring much here nor did his transition to pseudo tough guy. It's just kinda boring performance from him)

Gere - 1.5(His performance here is just all wrong. It's really a strange performance in that it seems like his character is suppose to be nebbish, considering the way he meets Roberts, yet Gere does not fit this, but nor is he at all charming here. In addition to this though he let's the character just seem random because he's so out of touch with his performance. His personal struggles, his growing relationship with her are so thin because he does not bother to really come up with what type of man his character is even suppose to be.)

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar:

Haven't seen it.