Toby Jones did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Gilderoy in Berberian Sound Studio.
The film is centered around Toby Jones, the reliable one of a kind character character, whose pretty much guaranteed to bring something to the films he's in no matter the size of his role. It's always a pleasure to see whenever a character actor of Jones's pedigree gets a leading role. It's funny here though that Jones sort of plays what would often be a supporting character in a film about film making, though this film focuses on the sound design for an Italian giallo film never seeming to leave the studio where they are making the tracks for the film. The role of Gilderoy even with the film is a curious one, as even though he's the main character, his presence within that is often off to the side against the diva actress, the mean producer, or the sleazy director since he is often unaware of their internal conflicts by the group since they are so often speaking in Italian around him. This leaves Gilderoy in a very strange position as he attempts to do his work on the film.
Jones also acts as our entry point into the Italian studio as he tries to discover what he'll being doing exactly, while we try to see what the film is about exactly. Jones is very good in these early scenes as he realizes the unease of this unknown as Gilderoy tries to acclimate himself to the studio. This is made all the more difficult through Jones's realization of Gilderoy's introversion. Jones is terrific in this regard as he makes it such a natural element to his work which he doesn't overplay though. He shows the way that Gilderoy never quite looks anyone else in the eye, and Jones delivers his lines often with a rush as he struggles to pace his speaking to the normal societal standard. Jones doesn't though go so far as to make Gilderoy this creep though, and does offer a sympathetic bent to this state of the man. Jones makes the awkwardness unintentional as he should be, and shows well the way that Gilderoy does attempt to speak with a greater ease, he just struggles with it.
Jones is pivotal in creating the atmosphere of the film as he manages to offer that outsider's state of mind in the place, which is made worse through his introversion. Jones reveals that difficultly in trying to even be part of the group he's working with, which extends further than his personal awkwardness. Jones conveys that underlying, quiet fear, of the unknown as even his reactions to the Italian speaking is important as Jones so well shows that state of disconnectedness. Jones creates this so well as he does allow Gilderoy to be an empathetic figure through the honesty of many of his reactions. One in particular is when Gilderoy is seeking a little reimbursement for his airplane ticket from the producer and he is brutally chewed out. Jones portrays so well the way this only worsens Gilderoy's state and only seems to further place him on the outside while being stuck within the studio that slowly seems to be some of purgatory if not hell for Gilderoy.
The only reprieves that Jones shows are in the form of letters from his mother, about chicks, and at times when he is left to work all alone. Jones subtly in his eyes conveys so well the bits of solace Gilderoy finds in these moments yet he even makes these somewhat cruel by the brevity of this time. Jones will show this only lasts when Gilderoy is left to himself but the moment matter of the film comes back, he backs into that state. Jones not only helps to create the atmosphere but also balances it with the pivotal human factor through his depiction of Gilderoy's experience. He offers an understanding to the man and the situation even as he becomes more and more unwieldy. A great deal of the horror comes in Jones's reflection of the oddly painful situation, as he is able to show that terror that is most unpleasant as he's not even quite sure what it is he's afraid of. There though seems to be something off and Jones grants this all the more power by offering such a genuine, even if unique, presence. One of the most unnerving moments is when Gilderoy has a call to the outside where he is told his plane ride he took to Italy supposedly never happened. Jones makes it such a chilling moment by finding the confusion within Gilderoy as the fear in the man begins to surface. I will say the film doesn't wholly make use of what Jones is doing as it begins to get swallowed up by its own style, though at least that style is good, and loses its way a bit. Jones maintains his compelling performance right until the end as he brings Gilderoy at least to his end in his strange hell. Jones internalizes the emotional desperation in Gilderoy as he becomes all the more broken, yet all the more silent in his pain. Jones's performance is worthier of a stronger film, though this isn't bad one. I do feel a better film could have allowed Jones to take this role even further. As it stands though he amplifies the film's best elements through his ability to realize the horror and humanize it.