Herbert Marshall did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Stephen Fisher in Foreign Correspondent.
Of course in typical Hitchcock style we soon find out, even before Johnny does, that Fisher is actually the main villain of the film, the man behind the plot to kidnap a Dutch diplomat Van Meer (Albert Bassermann) who apparently knows some very important information that would help the unnamed Nazis. Although this twist is actually told pretty early on it is certainly an effective one since Marshall makes Fisher seem like such a good man. There was perhaps the potential that once the twist takes place that this whole idea behind Fisher could evaporate, and he could have become a more straight forward villain. What's remarkable about Marshall's work is that he never allows it to be that simple, in fact he never begins to start playing Fisher as a villain. Marshall instead portrays Fisher as a man who still is going about a certain duty, rather than some fiend simply trying to bring evil to the world. When he speaks of the plan Marshall reveals some urgency in his voice that of a man who seem actually passionate about what this scheme will do for his cause, opposed to what the plan consists of. Marshall adds a great deal of nuance to the character in momentary reactions as he never loses that kindness about him, it's not an act for him, particularly in regards to his interactions with his daughter where he never loses that true fatherly affection.
As the plot progresses and it takes more extreme measure to both get the information from Van Meer as well as keeping others from finding the man, Marshall is outstanding in again never making Fisher as a straight villain. His reactions are surprisingly moving, when Fisher sees what his men have started doing, as he portrays a definite regret and shame in the man due to the methods he must take. In this though Marshall realizes Fisher's actions though still with understanding and his performance suggests a man who is doing something difficult though something he believes must be the right thing to do. In the final scenes of the film when Fisher explains his actions to his daughter, Marshall again is superb because he does not make this as some sort of evil monologue. Marshall instead delivers it as an attempt to make his daughter grasp what has motivated him, which Marshall never allows a suggestion of selfishness or wickedness to even be taken into account. Marshall creates the sense of how this pains Fisher's in the explanation as though he is forcing himself to realize that his means do not justify his ends, and he has never been doing the right thing. This leads to the his last scene where Fisher finally gets the chance to do some actual good. Marshall is heartbreaking in a completely silent moment as he shows Fisher finally making the choice to do what is truly right. This is a great performance by Herbert Marshall that only improves upon re-watch as wholly earns not only the twist but also successfully makes the villain's demise a poignant loss rather than a satisfying defeat.