Friday, 27 May 2016

Alternate Best Actor 1985

And the Nominees Were Not:

Aleksei Kravchenko in Come and See

Eric Stoltz in Mask

James Mason in The Shooting Party

Tatsuya Nakadai in Ran

Griffin Dunne in After Hours

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1971: Results

5. Elliot Gould in The Touch - A downright atrocious performance that fails on every level, and is quite bizarre to witness in a Ingmar Bergman film.

Best Scene: When he's off-screen. 
4. David Gulpilil in Walkabout - Gulpilil does not have a great deal to work with, but gives an honest portrayal of his character.

Best Scene: The failed mating ritual. 
3. Edward Fox in The Go-Between - Fox manages to be more than background largely in a single scene where he brilliantly realizes exactly what his character is going through.

Best Scene: Leo asks Hugh about Ted.
2. Ian McShane in Villain - McShane, despite dealing with a terrible co-star, gives an engaging and complex portrait of a gangster's closest associate. 

Best Scene: Vic goes to Wolfe after his mother dies.
1. Alain Delon in Red Sun  - Delon creates a memorable and appropriately smooth villain who acts as worthy foe for the all-star pairing at the center of the film, which is quite an achievement.

Best Scene: Catching Kuroda and Link off guard.
Updated Overall Rank

Next Year: 1985 Lead

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1971: Edward Fox in The Go-Between

Edward Fox did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite winning a BAFTA, for portraying Hugh Trimingham in The Go-Between.

The Go-Between tells a story about star-crossed lovers separated by social classes whose relationship is facilitated for some time by a young boy visiting the estate the two live on for the summer. The material itself runs thin with the film's length, though director Joseph Losey's execution of it is often intriguing.

Now the standard version of such a story would be shown from the lovers in this case the richman's daughter Marian Maudsley (Julie Christie), and the tenant farmer Ted Burgess (Alan Bates). The emphasis here is based on the go-between, the boy Leo (Dominic Guard) who delivers messages between the two in which they set up their rendezvous. This firmly maintains the perspective of the child, and we only see the events unfold through his view of them. This technically limits every other character in a way since we only see them in the way they interact with the boy, which is obviously not exactly as they are. This includes Edward Fox, despite his scarred physical appearance, which is only explained briefly by someone else as a wound he received in the Boer War. That's all there is left to it, and as with every one else the perspective of Hugh is kept very tight. However Fox still does well within this frame in the majority of scenes as just an unassuming yet charming gentleman who is more than kind and courteous to his betrothed Marian, despite that she continues her efforts to meet Ted as frequently as she can.

Fox has two strikes against from the start then due to the film's perspective, but also being the other man which is traditionally a thankless role. Fox though thrives more effectively than any other member of the cast within this confinement. Most scenes with Fox are just Hugh being a pleasant enough fellow, which he does well. There is one scene though where he gets a chance for more when Leo alludes to the relationship between Marian and Ted directly to Hugh. Fox is downright brilliant in this scene as again what he says to the boy keeps everything properly respectable in his description of Ted as a lady killer. What's outstanding about Fox's work is that he says everything else silently in the scene. In his face as he hears the name mentioned Fox reveals the pain and discomfort of a man realizing he is not truly loved by his soon to be wife, but also portraying a definite acceptance of the situation all the same. It's a fantastic scene for Fox as he wholly establishes Hugh's own view of the affair without a word being said. After that remarkable moment Hugh returns to the background for the rest of the film, but Fox with that moment makes Hugh more than just a part of the background. This is a good performance as Fox makes the most out of a thin part.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1971: Donald Pleasence in Wake in Fright

Donald Pleasence did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Doc Tydon in Wake in Fright.

Wake in Fright is rather unique and effective horror film of sorts about a middle-class teacher John Grant (Gary Bond) who finds himself in a mining town known as The Yabba.

Now the film is often described as a thriller though I don't feel that's quite accurate since those usually need more of an exact plot than this film has, although describing the film as a horror film might give the wrong impression as well. It is a horror film just you won't find your usual supernatural monsters, or even serial killers here. You'll just find people. It's all about the people though. Our main character John first enters the mining town, and is shown around by the local sheriff. The place seems like it could be harmless enough, though he finds two of the main sources of entertainment are constant drinking and gambling over a game that involves flipping two coins. As his little tour ends he comes across a man who immediately changes the tone set by the sheriff. That being Donald Pleasence who breaks any possibly positive sentiments with the incisive cynicism in his flawless delivery of his introductory line "All the little devils are proud of hell". Pleasence, as he would later prove with his performance in a Halloween as well, is a master of infusing a sense of dread in words and sets the tone for the rest of the film, which is not a horror of a single event but rather the horror of the very existence of the people in the Yabba, which again is not what you'd expect it to be.

Now with that introduction one might think Doc is somehow separate from the rest of the Yabba, but that's not quite the case, and with that is the brilliance of Pleasence's performance. Pleasence opens with that harsh truth of a man who has no delusions about where he lives, but in just a few moments afterwards we see Doc playing the coin toss game as though he's enjoying it just as much as anyone else. Pleasence plays this as the truth as well, which is very important to the way he develops Doc's character throughout the film. After these initial moments with Doc, where John loses all his money on the coin toss game and becomes stranded in the Yabba. This is where the horror starts which is found in the lifestyle of the men which involves brutal kangaroo hunts, gambling, and almost non-stop drinking. Despite being often in the open air there is a distinct sense of claustrophobia that amounts from the crudity of this life, which slowly seems to penetrate John's sanity. Most of the other denizens are of the place, and every moment is unexplained yet natural, as this is their existence. Pleasence though offers a different view through his portrayal of Doc, who does not quite fit with everyone else, but not in the way John fails to do so.

Again when Doc turns up again it is a card game, where there once again is plenty of drinking, and Pleasence only reveals Doc as a man completely at harmony with the other men as they go about downing yet another beer while making one crude remark after another. However the next morning when John finds himself in Doc's house, his association with the town becomes understood. Pleasence is terrific as Doc explains his enjoyment of what the town of Yabba has. There is devilish quality in Pleasence's grin as he states his ability to have all his sexual desires fulfilled and only looks down upon those who question his lifestyle. The sheer pleasure is shown by Pleasence as something more to the Doc than any of the other people who only know that way of life. Pleasence reveals instead this certain understanding and intelligence in the Doc's words actually, as he basically uses the nature of Yabba to live the life he wishes live, which would not be possible in a more savory place. the thrill Pleasence reveals of a man who has found his place, though again Pleasence does not allow this to be a simplification. Pleasence in that same smile still finds a definite self-loathing within, as he knowledge to perceive the sort of man he has to be to thrive in such a place.

Pleasence sort of takes over the film in its last act in an interesting way, in the way Doc seems to control John. Pleasence again does not do this as one would expect, in that he does not become commanding in the traditional sense. Instead Pleasence exudes an influence in an interesting, organic fashion as though the pleasure oozes from him in a way that spreads into John's mind. Pleasence is excellent as he goes full force to the point that this behavior is made grotesque, as the film intend, though he never makes it inhuman. The base qualities within it are always found deep rooted in Pleasence chilling yet always honest portrayal of this hedonist. This is pivotal to Pleasence's approach which succeeds in being more than just a personification of the Yabba. Pleasence is outstanding in his final scenes that he again subverts. This includes an implied homosexual encounter with John, which Pleasence carefully makes less exploitative than it might have been if the film had been completely left to its own devices. This is found in the surprising tenderness found in Pleasence's interactions with towards John, that again is comfortable with what he's doing, though it places John in a place he's most decidedly not comfortable in. I love Pleasence's final scene as once again presents a warmth as Doc comforts John with an apologetic tone acknowledging he went too far with him. This never feels like an inconsistency as Pleasence makes every aspect of the Doc only part of a cohesive whole. This is exceptional work for Pleasence as he helps craft the horrific atmosphere, though never simplifies his character, creating a fascinating portrait of a man who, for better or worse, has found his place in the world.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1971: Alain Delon in Red Sun

Alain Delon did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Gauche in Red Sun.

Yojimbo, Le Samourai, and Harmonica walk into a film and you get a pretty entertaining western about a Samurai, Kuroda, and a bandit, Link, teaming up to track down the bandit's treacherous partner.

The film is notable already through its pairing of Charles Bronson and Toshiro Mifune. The film ups the ante all the more by throwing in Alain Delon as the main antagonist for the film. Delon plays Gauche who begins as Link's partner in crime, and thankfully it is not long for us to see these three onscreen definitions of cool interact with one another. The three are perfectly in tune in that each take a different approach in portraying their characters so there's no override. Mifune takes an intense stoic determination, Bronson takes a sardonic approach, while Delon goes for being a personification of one word, smooth. Now all three are very physical actors, in that they can say a whole lot without speaking. This was already for Delon when he played a modern gunslinger of sorts in his most famous role. What's fascinating in potentially a similair role, Delon manages a unique approach even in this quality. Where Delon portrayed his movements in that role as very exact, almost ritualistic, Delon here instead does something that seems far more relaxed. Delon finds this innate confidence in the character of Gauche from the first scene we see him, because of how at ease Delon is in the frame. There is never a question that Gauche is in danger in the opening robbery, as Delon shows a man in his element. The most remarkable part of this is that, even as the villain, Delon earn this overconfidence.

In the robbery Gauche sets himself up as the chief villain by taking two actions. The first by killing Kuroda's friend in order to steal a gold encrusted samurai sword the second by trying to literally blow up his partner in crime Link in order to steal the bounty from the robbery for himself. What I love about Delon's approach here is in the moment where he kills Kuroda friend is that he does not play it as pleasurable for Gauche, nor is it an exact psychotic detachment. Delon instead keeps with the calm cool of the character as Delon shows that Gauche kills since they happen to be in his way in some way. Delon though creates the right sense of danger in this by portraying not even a second thought in the character, creating an effective sense of a selfish view that best defines the man. Delon is excellent by being just so despicable, yet doing it in such cool way somehow, that he leaves the right impression. This impression being pivotal to the film since Gauche only infrequently appears after this point, but remains as the objective for our two leads for the rest of the film. Delon is often missing but never forgotten as he does not waste an instance of his screen time in the first act.

The film proceeds with a very enjoyable road trip between Bronson and Mifune to try to find Gauche. Delon occasionally appears though only in brief cutaways in order for the film to remind us of what a badass he is, which Delon delivers with every time, it must be said. Eventually though Kuroda and Link come across him,  Delon's entrance in the final act is pretty amazing thanks to again that ridiculous confidence that Delon projects so well, which only is multiplied by Gauche's casual twirling of his pocket watch. Another party though interrupts the three's showdown, leaving the three to team up against a common foe. Delon's performance makes this action particularly convincing since the self-absorption was always at the center of the character, which would of course include self-preservation. Delon's little asides to his two opponents throughout the scene are great since there is such a lack of concern in his expression. Once again this should not work, yet Delon realizes Gauche's personality so well that this in the end should be his only reaction. This is terrific villainous turn from Delon as he earns his place as a worthy opponent for Bronson and Mifune, which is already quite an achievement, and crafts a memorable villain out of a role that in the wrong hands, considering the character is rather thin as written, would have been forgettable.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1971: Ian McShane in Villain

Ian McShane did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Wolfe Lissner in Villain.

Villain tells the story of a violent cockney gangster Vic Dakin (Richard Burton), it probably would be a decent enough crime film if it were not for its rather atrocious central performance.

Well even though the film stands as yet another example of the cinematic law of the more performances you see from Richard Burton the worse actor he becomes. This is one horrible example of this as any scene with Burton is tainted despite there being a saving grace often around him in the form of one Ian McShane. McShane is one of those actors whose been around for a long time while only having a pseudo breakout later in his career via the television series Deadwood (which I've yet to see). McShane's abilities as an actor though were evident early on such as here where he plays Wolfe Lissner one of the members of Vic's criminal organization. Wolfe's unique within the organization though not only in terms of his actual activities, which involves handling a prostitution ring which he also uses to garner blackmail material against powerful officials, but also in terms of his relationship with Vic, since he just happens to be his lover as well.

McShane owns the role in a way that is very much needed for the film. McShane carries himself with a certain style, which while realistic gives Wolfe's the right flair as a character. McShane is rather smooth in the role in that he so well realizes the distinct sort of charm that Wolfe's possesses. McShane utilizes this to portray Wolfe's methods particularly well at every front. This includes convincing women to do "favors" for him, which McShane carries this quiet elegant warmth in his statement that makes his way of swaying them to sell themselves believable. The same is true for Wolfe as he paints the men of power into a corner as well. McShane so delicately plays these scenes as he always makes Wolfe seem so earnest as he tells the women, or the men that the arrangement that he has made is mutually beneficial for all. McShane's approach is to project this innocence of sorts that understandably puts all at ease, despite the fact that Wolfe is anything but.

Now the main crux of the film probably should be the relationship between Vic and Wolfe. The film always comes back to them, and it is quite possible that this is properly set up on the directing and writing fronts. The problem is found in Burton's performance which is so hammy in the worst possible way that Vic never is more than a one dimensional caricature. Again though McShane comes in to pick up the slack left by Burton. McShane is brilliant in his depiction of the various scenes where Wolfe interacts with Vic, since he never leaves it as simple as it could have been. McShane instead finds a definite complexity in this relationship. On the surface McShane expresses the certain manipulative side of Wolfe in his interactions towards Vic, as he does not shy away of showing the blunt pleasure he seems to get from colluding in Vic's schemes. He still conveys certain limits to this as Vic becomes more possessive. McShane's excellent as he presents Wolfe as not having the same singular obsession, especially in one moment where the bi-sexual Wolfe is interrupted with his girlfriend by a desperate Vic. However McShane does not leave it a wholly shallow relationship despite some questionable elements within it. McShane subtly alludes in pivotal moments a genuine side to Wolfe, that is particularly striking against his false earnest side, when Wolfe shows actual concern for Vic's mental state. McShane finds this never to be a contradiction, instead even allowing a real complexity in the relationship between Wolfe and Vic. This is wasted in terms of the film due to Burton, but on McShane's end it's there. McShane's performance is rather wonderful here as any scene in which he appears has at the very least a spark of energy to them. In the scenes without Burton, McShane only excels all the more, and there was quite possibly a great film if it had been all from Wolfe's perspective or at the very least Vic had been played well.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1971: David Gulpilil in Walkabout

David Gulpilil did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying the boy in Walkabout.

Walkabout is at the very least an interesting film about a sister (Jenny Agutter) and her younger brother (Luc Roeg) who become stranded in the outback after their father commits suicide.

David Gulpilil plays an Aboriginal boy the two come across, who is roaming the outback on his Walkabout in which he fends for himself. The boy though takes the two along with him, or at least he allows them to follow him. Gulpili speaks his own native language throughout the film, and the film purposefully eliminates the possibility of understanding him. No subtitles are ever granted to him, and there are very few moments in which the siblings manage to create a direct understanding with him. We are placed in the view of the siblings in this respect as even when the boy does speak it rarely focuses upon in a way in which would even allow one to decipher the words. Of course the film itself does not focus on any of the actors in really the traditional sense. The film seems to care more about the atmosphere of the location and the behavior of those within it more than precisely who they are as people, to the point that it feels like the siblings are supporting as well even though they technically are not in terms of traditional definitions.

Gulpilil therefore has an unusual challenge in that he's not silent, but he's also left without much in terms of verbal communication with the other characters or even the audience. The challenge only becomes more severe due to the nature of the director Nicolas Roeg's approach throughout the film. Gulpilil's performance works well within this structure though as he act natural to be as blunt about it as possible. He never seems to be pantomiming the role of the native, nor does his performance ever seem to be that clich├ęd restricted view of the native despite the fact there is only a rare occasion that we are given the chance to even know what it is that he is saying. Gulpilil succeeds in being what he should be in that the boy very much becomes sort of the natural expression of the nature around him. This is helped by Gulpilil having a natural charisma of sorts as he manages to have a certain magnetism about him even though this is never a forced intention by his performance. Gulpilil is able to produce this quality without ever seeming to try, which is essential for the role and the film.

Once again the nature of the film and the role does place upon a few severe restrictions on all the performers, since again we mostly witness their behavior with only some emphasis placed on the actual growth of the trio as characters. The major transition is given to Gulpili though in the final interactions between the boy and the siblings, well in this case more of just the sister. This is when the boy decides upon the sister as being more than a travel companion. Gulpilil is quite effective in this scene as he portrays the gradual change in the boy from a mere curiosity in the sister to something far more intense. This leads to the eventual point in which the boy tries to take her as his mate by performing a ritualistic dance after he stumbles upon her half naked. Gulpili is terrific in this scene in that he portrays the moment as more than a primal dance, but also a breakdown of sorts for the boy as the sister outright rejects his advances. Now even this breakdown is still muted in a way by Roeg's choices, despite being well played by Gulpilil. This is a good performance by Gulpili that stands well within the film, even if it does not exactly standout all that much beyond it.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1971

And the Nominees Were Not:

Alain Delon in Red Sun

Edward Fox in The Go-Between

Elliott Gould in The Touch

Ian McShane in Villain

David Gulpilil in Walkabout

Monday, 2 May 2016

Alternate Best Actor 1971: Results

5. Jon Finch in Macbeth - The film purposefully restricts his ability to explore the character, but Finch still manages to give an effective portrayal of the transformation of Macbeth particularly in the way he suggests his misdeeds age him.

Best Scene: Learning about the Lady
4. Al Pacino in The Panic in Needle Park - Pacino, unlike the film itself, creates an understanding in his character's disjointed nature effectively showing the different sides of such a man whether he's revealing an abundance of charm, or simply wasting away.

Best Scene: Bobby asks Helen to score for him.
3. Max von Sydow in The Emigrants -I apologize as I did not mean to shortchange this great actor, but I chose not to review the performance only because I felt I could not add anything to what I wrote about his work in the sequel where I felt he had a more dynamic character arc to realize since everything that's great in this performance can be seen there as well he only gets to explore the character further. This is also a very strong performance though that once again works through the sheer simple honesty he brings to the role, along with his marvelous chemistry with Liv Ullmann(who once again is perfection by the way) that works so in tandem with the wonderful vision realized by the film.

Best Scene: Watching over his sick wife.
2. Oliver Reed in The Devils - Reed gives a great performance as he stands as a needed straight man for the film, but also creates an affecting portrait of a priest devoted to his specific ideals.

Best Scene: Defending himself in court.
1. Paul Scofield in King Lear - Good Predictions RatedRStar, Michael Patison and Luke. Scofield more than proves his ability with the words of the bard, through his daring and truly powerful portrayal of the tragic king.

Best Scene: The storm.
Updated Overall (with a few extras):

Next Year: 1971 Supporting