Ben Foster did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Charlie Prince in 3:10 to Yuma.
One of the major expansions upon the original 1957 film, which starred Van Heflin and Glenn Ford as the rancher and the outlaw respectively, is found in the character of Charlie Prince. Prince is in the earlier film as played by Richard Jaeckel, but his role is fairly simple. He's still Wade's right hand man apparently, but that film has few scenes from the gang's perspective. That's not the case here in the remake where it is obvious from the first scene that Charlie is going to have a substantial presence in the film. I suppose it helps things that he's played by the criminally underrated Ben Foster who plays the part with a considerable degree of grandeur. The fact that Charlie wants to stand out is a given, after all what other sort of outlaw would don a coat like his? Foster plays into this brilliantly though as he carries Charlie as the sort of guy who pretty much wants to build up his own image as much as he possibly can. The way he stands the way he struts around are all of a man who wants to be larger than life, and possibly worthy to stand next to the already larger than life Ben Wade. Ben Foster is marvelous as he portrays Charlie as a basically a legend in the making, but of his own making.
Foster is almost deliciously pompous in the role as he shows that Charlie is well aware of his superior abilities with firearms, and does not mind showing off. Whenever Charlie does one of his tricky shots or puts away his guns in a stylized fashion Foster always presents Charlie as absolutely relishing every moment of it. Foster suggests that Charlie is not even in the outlaw life for the money, but rather simply in it for the outlaw life. Foster carries Charlie as a perpetual showoff who loves what it is that he can do. Although for the most part Charlie is able to live up to the name he is building up for himself, that's not to say there is not a certain desperation about the whole display. In his first scene scene where Charlie confronts a man who he is neither scared or impressed by Charlie, Foster is rather effective in portraying Charlie's with perhaps just a bit of vulnerability as he tries to play it off by simply shooting the man. Now playing a role in such a way is a great risk as it certainly can misfire, or make Charlie seem to much at any time. Foster never allows that firstly by giving sense to the Charlie's whole manner, but also because he does not forget that being an outlaw involves more than simply being just a big name.
Although Foster makes Charlie a bit much so to speak, but he never makes him a joke. Even though Charlie prances around with his own personal style in the end Charlie technically speaking is someone who likes to murder people in style. Well this sound more than a little deranged and Foster portrays it as such. Foster creates a considerable menace with his presence as there is such an unpredictability about the personality he fashions for Charlie. One constant of sorts though is that Foster brings a striking intensity to Charlie which creates the sense that Charlie is quite clearly a psychopath. Foster never leaves this even as something one note, and it would have been easy enough to do so. Foster shows the glee in Charlie as he dispatches any opponent who offers little resistance, but also means very little to him. That's not quite the case though when the person actually poses any threat to him or poses a threat to his quest to retrieve Ben Wade from his captors. In this moments Foster is quite chilling in revealing an even darker viciousness in Charlie fitting for a man who will watch a man burn alive simply because he delayed him from rescuing Wade.
Of course what is it with Charlie and Ben Wade anyways. Charlie goes quite out of his way to rescue his old boss, who got captured due to his own mistake, and even admonishes the rest of the gang when they dare to suggest that they don't risk their lives for Wade. Well Foster is absolutely convincing in creating this undying loyalty Charlie has for Wade, although in perhaps a bit of an atypical sort of way. Foster takes the approach that Charlie seems to be a bit in love with Wade. Now what's so special about the way Foster does this though is he does not make it overt to the point that Charlie is like Mr. Smithers from the Simpson. Foster portrays this very effectively by suggesting that Charlie himself is probably not quite aware about just how much he loves Wade, but nevertheless he can't quite help it. Foster manages to even to give all the more sense his grandstanding as Charlie trying to earn his place Wade. Foster does not show this behavior as a way for Charlie to usurp Wade like some sort of upstart but rather Charlie's attempt to be truly worthy to stand next to the man. Foster makes the extent that Charlie goes to save Wade believable through so well realizing that particularly strong affection he has for the man. Foster creates such a captivating character here, but it should also be said that he's also simply extremely entertaining in the role. He's fun to witness every second he's on screen, as he delivers every one of his one liners with flawless timing. Well very much fitting to the gunslinger he plays Foster hits his mark every time, never letting an opportunity to make an impact pass by. I particularly love his reaction when dealing with makeshift posse who dare to think that they can stand in his way. Foster never allows these moments to compromise the more dramatic or sinister elements of the character, making all of the elements of his performance come together without fault. It's an exceptional piece work by Ben Foster as he manages to create both the most compelling character of the film as well as the most enjoyable one to watch.