Thursday, 13 August 2015

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1959: Joseph Schildkraut in The Diary of Anne Frank

Joseph Schildkraut did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for a Golden Globe, for portraying Otto Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank.

Joseph Schildkraut was not nominated for the film, despite Ed Wynn being nominated in the supporting category for the film, as he was likely positioned in the leading category, the category he was nominated for at the Globes. I would disagree with this placement since the focus, barring the bookends, focuses on Anne (Millie Perkins) with everyone else in the attic supporting her story. Schildkraut though certainly has a pivotal role as Anne's father. Chronologically speaking the earliest scenes we see Otto is when he, his family including his wife and two daughters, and another family enter a hidden attic in a factory where they will be hiding from possible Nazi deportation. Schildkraut exudes a proper dignity fitting for the description of Mr. Frank. Schilkraut carries himself simply with quite the likability in the role of Mr. Frank, and establishes a certain optimism in this first scene. Even though the two families are going into hiding, which involves not moving for several hours of the day, Schildkraut portrays Otto as having a particularly bright outlook as in his view this drastic measure will save his family from the Nazi regime.

Although Anne has a fairly cold relationship with her mother she has a far better relationship with her father. Schildkraut is terrific in helping to establish this so well with his performance. There is such a generous amount of warmth that he brings out, that feels all the more special in the somewhat timid way he expresses himself. Schildkraut portrays Otto as somewhat unassuming but always so very welcoming in his manner. This is particularly well reflected in his relationship with Anne as merely take the early scene where they wait out the work day the first time before they are allowed to move and actual live again. Schildkraut effortlessly depicts just how naturally loving Otto is towards his family and Anne. There is nothing even to be said about it as there is never but this in his eyes in any given moment, and Schildkraut is able to find this in such a wholly genuine way which is essential for his character. Schildkraut is great though because he makes it feel like such a real affection with Mr. Frank, as there is nothing overbearing or too forceful about. It is something that simply exists through Schildkraut's performance and he makes it abundantly easy to understand why Anne is so attached to him, over her mother.

The Diary of Anne Frank is a long film as it focuses on various moments and interactions with Anne and between the other people in the attic, which eventually added one more via Ed Wynn's Mr. Dussel. Although Anne is kept as a focal point the film focuses very much on the ensemble wherein lies a bit of a challenge in which to stay noticed without seeming to try forcibly to become the center of attention. It could be argued that a few of the other performers. Well this is opposed to the character of Otto as well as opposed to Joseph Schildkraut's performance. Schildkraut though he was one of those reprising his stage and had not made a theatrically released film in over ten years before appearing in this one gives a particularly reserved portrayal of Otto Frank. It's quite outstanding then that Schildkraut is never overshadowed in any scene, despite never once trying to actively steal any scene from any other actor in the film. If he's onscreen he manages to hold some attention through his particularly honest depiction of a man leaving through this situation with his family. In simply his silent reactions Schildkraut always adds some power to the proceedings because of how natural he is in every scene.

When a scene focuses closer on Otto Schildkraut makes the most of this as well. There is one particularly great moment where he comforts Anne after a nightmare. Schildkraut brings out the tenderness of Otto comforting his daughter in such a moving fashion, but within that he effective portrays the way Otto is attempting to coax Anne into being showing more love for mother. The love is never in doubt but Schildkraut is terrific in the way he does not let it be only that as in his eyes he manages to convey the disappointment still in his daughter for her problematic behavior. Otto is always the calm center of the attic, who always tries to find the most peaceful solution for everyone. In this point Schildkraut is great simply because he never feels any less than pure in his character's goodness. It always feels the truth. There is another particularly strong scene for him when the attic is breaking apart due to one of the occupants stealing from the rations. While everyone else is falling apart Schildkraut realizes only a true goodness in Otto's disbelief at the anger of the others, and once again that reassuring quality, although slightly weakened over time, that comes from the considerable optimism that never seems to leave the man.

This optimistic man is not he one we first meet in the film as it opens with Otto after the war as he makes his way back to the attic alone. Schildkraut in this scene shows a man without optimism, there have been time of suffering in the meekness, and cold way he approaches the building. He has suffered a great deal, and Schildkraut realizes this in the almost unbearable somberness just before the film jumps back as Otto begins to read his daughter's diary. Even though the time in the diary's timeline ends with one last moment of Schildkraut so well showing that perseverance in Otto as they are about to be arrested, this makes it all the more devastating when it cuts back to Schildkraut depicting Otto as almost a broken man. Schildkraut is so haunting as he lists off learning of the deaths of the people in the attic as the painful memories seem to inflict him with such sadness, until he reaches Anne. Although we are not shown any of the deaths of the others Schildkraut's performance makes every one keenly felt. Schildkraut is absolutely heartbreaking as he so quietly tells the story of how he found out that Anne also had died, because in his breaths the last moments of hope seems to go out of his voice as he seems to accept that he is all that remains from the once life filled place. Although I do think the film has some missteps along the way the power of the story is never lost in a large part due to Schildkraut's work. He creates that sense of loss by so well creating such a warm and loving portrayal of a devoted father, only to strip it away to a man whose seemed to have lost all faith in humanity.

27 comments:

Calvin Law said...

This is such a moving film. Imperfect, yes. Overlong? Perhaps. But just so, so very powerful and Schildkraut is the best part of it. He's my win for 1959 and it's not particularly close.

Thoughts and ratings on the rest of the cast?

luke higham said...

Louis: Have you rewatched The Nun's Story. :)

luke higham said...

2000-10s Supporting
2000 - Oliver Reed
2001 - Sean Bean
2002 - Bernard Hill
2003 - Sean Astin
2004 - Willem Dafoe
2005 - Ed Harris
2006 - Michael Caine/Mads Mikkelsen
2007 - Timothy Dalton
2008 - Heath Ledger
2009 - Christoph Waltz
2010 - Ben Mendelsohn
2011 - Mark Strong
2012 - Javier Bardem
2013 - Ben Foster (Ain't Them Bodies Saints)
2014 - Gary Poulter
2015 (So Far) - Oscar Isaac

2000-10s Lead
2000 - Guy Pearce
2001 - Gene Hackman
2002 - Adrien Brody
2003 - Choi Min-Sik
2004 - Bruno Ganz
2005 - Ray Winstone
2006 - Ulrich Muhe
2007 - Casey Affleck/Daniel Day-Lewis
2008 - Brendan Gleeson And Colin Farrell
2009 - Viggo Mortensen
2010 - Choi Min-Sik
2011 - Gary Oldman/Michael Fassbender
2012 - Joaquin Phoenix/Mads Mikkelsen
2013 - Oscar Isaac
2014 - Jake Gyllenhaal
2015 (So Far) - Ian McKellen

Lead 1970s
1970 - George C. Scott
1971 - Richard Attenborough
1972 - Al Pacino
1973 - Edward Woodward
1974 - Gene Hackman
1975 - Jack Nicholson
1976 - Peter Finch
1977 - Harvey Keitel
1978 - Robert De Niro
1979 - Peter Sellers

Michael McCarthy said...

Louis, do you consider Oscar Isaac lead or supporting for Ex Machina? Because I have him in lead but the fact that the film sort of manipulates how you're supposed to feel about his character makes me think I should switch to supporting.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I actually consider all three principles in Ex Machina Lead. Even though POV never leaves Gleeson, the other two are arguable more thematically relevant to the film.

omar! said...

Those are my choises:
Leading
2000: Guy Pearce
2001: Gene Hackman
2002: Jack Nicholson
2003: Choi Min-sik
2004: Javier Bardem
2005: Viggo Mortensen
2006: Leonardo DiCaprio
2007: Daniel Day Lewis
2008: Mickey Rourke
2009: Viggo Mortensen
2010: Robert Duvall
2011: Michael Fassbender
2012: Joaquin Phoenix
2013: Matthew McConaughey
2014: Jake Gyllenhaal

Supporting
2000: Takeshi Kitano
2001: Luke Wilson
2002: Bernard Hill
2003: Sean Austin
2004: David Carradine
2005: Ed Harris
2006: Ben Affleck
2007: Casey Affleck
2008: Heath Ledger
2009: Christoph Waltz
2010: Ben Mendelsohn
2011: Brad Pitt
2012: Philp Seymour Hoffman
2013: Jared Leto
2014: J.K. Simmons

Anonymous said...

I'll do my 1920-1929 Best Actor
1920- Veidt/Barrymore
1921- Chaplin (Easily a 5 for me, Bogart's my 2#, Robinson's my 3#)
1922- Schreck
1923- Lloyd/Chaney
1924- Keaton
1925- Chaney
1926- Keaton
1927- Dieudonne
1928- Veidt
1929- Colman
30-39
1930- Ayres
1931- Lorre
1932- Muni
1933- Laughton
1934- Gable
1935- McLaglen
1936- Chaplin (Laughton's my 2#, Arnold's my 3#)
1937- Grant/Montgomery
1938- Cagney
1939- Gable

Anonymous said...

1940-1949
1940- Olivier
1941- Welles (Easily a 5 from me, Bogart's my 2#.)
1942- Bogart
1943- Cotten
1944- MacMurray
1945- Milland
1946- Stewart
1947- Attenborough
1948- Bogart/Olivier
1949- Douglas (Cagney and Mifune were also great)
1980-1989
1980- De Niro/Hurt
1981- Gibson
1982- Newman (De Niro's my 2#, Farnsworth's my 3#, Hoffman's my 4th.) Kingsley is my 6th.
1983- Duvall
1984- Abraham/Hulce
1985- Hurt/Julia
1986- Hoskins
1987- Lone
1988- Irons
1989- Day-Lewis

Calvin Law said...

Haven't seen enough to comment on 1920s but Veidt and Chaplin would definitely be multiple winners.

Calvin Law said...

1930: Lew Ayres in All Quiet on the Western Front
1931: Peter Lorre in M
1932: N/A
1933: Charles Laughton in The Private Life of Henry VIII
1934: Clark Gable in It Happened One Night
1935: Robert Donat in 39 Steps
1936: Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times
1937: Robert Montgomery in Night Must Fall
1938: James Cagney in Angels with Dirty Faces
1939: Robert Donat in Goodbye Mr Chips
1940: Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator/James Stewart in The Shop Around the Corner/Laurence Olivier in Rebecca, it's a tight race
1941: Gary Cooper in Ball of Fire
1942: James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy
1943: Roger Livesey in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
1944: Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity
1945: Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend
1946: James Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life
1947: Richard Attenborough in Brighton Rock
1948: Ralph Richardson in The Fallen Angel
1949: James Cagney in White Heat

Anonymous said...

Calvin: Another worthy nominee for bonus 1948, Richardson in The Fallen Angel. What rating do you predict for him?

Calvin Law said...

1980- John Hurt in The Elephant Man
1981- Jürgen Prochnow in Das Boot
1982- Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie
1983- Tom Courtenay in The Dresser (followed closely by Christopher Walken in The Dead Zone)
1984- F. Murray Abraham in Amadeus
1985- Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future
1986- Bob Hoskins in Mona Lisa/Richard E. Grant in Withnail and I
1987- John Lone in The Last Emperor
1988- I need to see Dead Ringers, but for the timebeing John Malkovich in Dangerous Liasons
1989- Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot

Calvin Law said...

Anonymous: I made a typo haha, I meant The Fallen Idol and Louis already reviewed him, he got a 4.5

Anonymous said...

Calvin: Oh, I forgot Richardson was already reviewed and he got a 4,5. Hahahah! I already knew that. Richardson is likely going to be reviewed for 1939 Alternate Supporting.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: I think Calvin requested him for that year, or at the very least made a plea for him.

Anonymous said...

Luke: He's likely now going to prefer Richardson over Gielgud.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: Calvin requested Stockwell initially for Compulsion, then switched it to Richardson.

http://actoroscar.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/alternate-best-actor-1990-johnny-depp.html

luke higham said...

Anonymous: Do you mean as an actor, because, he has said on quite a few occasions that Richardson's one of his favourite actors.

Anonymous said...

Luke: Really? He told me he preferred Gielgud over Richardson as an actor. What I said before was that he could prefer Richardson over Gielgud if he sees more of him. Long Day's Journey Into Night's review shall be interesting.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: Alright then, though Richardson has hit the highest heights for him, with The Four Feathers and The Heiress. :)

Calvin Law said...

Yep I did request Richardson for The Four Feathers, check him out y'all :)

I don't think Louis will ever love Richardson as much as I do, but still I hope he'll like Richardson in The Four Feathers, and A Long Day's Journey into Night. I think he'll still prefer Gielgud though.

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

Anonymous: Were you referring to Louis, because I thought you were referring to Calvin.

Anonymous said...

Luke: I was referring to Louis. If he gives Richardson a 5 for Long Day's Journey Into Night, then he'll likely put Richardson over Gielgud. But, Richardson's performance is a divided one.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: Apologies :). He'll stick with Gielgud.

Anonymous said...

Luke: Well, we'll see about that. :)

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Perkins - 3.5(I've always felt that she is miscast by being too old for the part, but I'll grant that I've grown to appreciate some aspects of her performance nevertheless. Of course the bratty emotional behavior comes off as much more ridiculous from a young woman than a young girl, Perkins actually portrays this well, and gives a fairly engaging depiction of Anne's fears, hopes and certain maturation throughout the story)

Beymer - 2.5(He also is far too old for his role, and as usual there's a certain blandness about him. I don't think he's terrible, but I don't think he's particularly good either)

Huber - 4(I do think a few of her moments come off a bit too much on the theatrical side that being said though I find she still gives a fairly effective realization of this mother who's colder, and more demanding, yet still depicts a certain warmth behind this sternness)

Baker - 3(She's given the least to do out of those in the attic, but she's good in giving a very modest performance fitting her very modest character)

Jacobi - 3.5(He's also not given too much but he is great in his fighting scenes with Winters as the two have a natural and humorous chemistry with fighting one another)

Luke:

I re-watched it. I'd up Hepburn to a five.