Harry Dean Stanton did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Bud in Repo Man.
Harry Dean Stanton plays Bud the man who randomly recruits Otto to repossess a car on the street through a lie saying his wife's in labor and he doesn't want to leave her car in "bad area". Now just the way Stanton says bad neighborhood told me that I was going to be in for quite the treat with this performance. Although I guess the fact that it's Harry Dean Stanton in a prominent role should have already tipped me off of that. In fact old Stanton is even top billed here, though he is indeed supporting to Estevez's Otto. Stanton's bud though acts as the access point to the strange world of repossessions. Stanton's old scraggly mannerisms perfect for the seedy world of the repo as he dulls out his advice with this rough certainty. It is quite something just to have Stanton being the mentor character of sort to Otto, as Stanton does fulfill this though not in the way you may expect. Stanton's certain type of world weariness, although I'm not certain is quite the right word as Stanton doesn't suggest Bud's tired of the world just rather he's not terribly impressed by it.
Stanton's performance makes bud as though he's this hardboiled detective giving out information on the job though of course he's not a detective. Stanton's approach though makes what this advice is quite something to say the least such as telling Otto he needs to wake up early but also that all repo men are on speed which is then shown through Bud snorting drugs up with Otto. This performance is as bonkers as the film yet it's so special because of how down to earthish Stanton plays the role. Stanton is consistently hilarious in everything he does in this film in portraying Bud's gruff, rough yet fairly casual demeanor towards his job. Stanton's so funny in just being this hard ass type which is perhaps most evident when he comes across his rival repo man and whenever Stanton delivers a salty insult their way it's a little gem. One of my favorite moments though is perhaps his annoyed scoff when the two men threaten to sue them after he gets revenge by crashing into their car.
The consistency is perhaps though what makes this performance so good as Stanton's portrayal of Bud's unflappable attitude is what is so terribly amusing about his work here. I love the way that even when he gets ready to take on some store robbers he still deals with it like it's just part of his daily routine. This even includes when things begin to get stranger around one car that seems to have an alien presence within it. Ol' Bud decides to commandeer it despite it risking his life for it. When Otto presses him on his hypocrisy in regards to his earlier advice, that no car is worth dying for, Stanton makes it a moment of comedic gold as he portrays the anger specifically in Bud over being called an asshole indirectly by Otto since that's what he referred to people who risked their lives over cars. I loved everything about this performance to the point that I loved every second Stanton was onscreen. He's always doing something that is at least a little entertaining through his pitch perfect portrayal of the caustic Bud. Although this is a bigger role in ways, it's another of Stanton making such an impact with fairly limited resources. Every line delivery, every reaction, there's just that extra little something that could only be brought out by Harry Dean Stanton.