Anton Walbrook did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Captain Herman Suvorin in The Queen of Spades.
The Austrian actor Anton Walbrook who perhaps made his international name through the films of Powell and Pressburger, here stars in perhaps less complex role as a Gothic villain. I must say the plan of Captain Herman Suvorin in this film is not exactly the most sensible even for a greedy louse. He goes about by first slowly seducing a Countess's ward in order to just get access to the Countess to demand to know basically how to supernaturally cheat at cards, because he read that she should know in a book, then use that knowledge against the rich officers he refuses to usually play cards with. Captain Suvorin has a serious not being able to see the forest for the trees problem, but I digress. As little as Suvorin's plan makes a whole lot of sense we get Walbrook here acting in as a highly unsympathetic rouge, there is more than a little entertainment to be found from this. In the first half of the film Walbrook is rather successful at being a slimy creep in his method of seduction, that involves very little passion just some random threats. Walbrook to his credit somehow makes it sort of work in his own style to this as he has this persuasive quality within his essentially pretty pathetic words. Walbrook never hides that the Captain is this terrible man yet he still fashions a convincing Lothario through his unique presence as actor.
After making his way into the ward's mind though he gets to come in and threaten the Countess in order to learn her secrets. It is in this scene where we see Walbrook working up towards something in creating the vicious greed of Suvorin. This is but a warmup though when Suvorin using what he gained from the confrontation finally plays cards. Now this scene is where really is all that matters in regards to Walbrook's performance. Now to be sure Walbrook is pretty over the top here in his darting eyes, and the sheer almost drooling joy in his delivery every time he says "My win" or bets again. He's goes pretty hammy here to be sure, but I would be lying if I did not say I did not find him to be wildly entertaining in his portrayal of the mad greed of the Captain. Walbrook is a hoot throughout the scene in just going all in both literally and metaphorically as they play with Captain seemingly having supernatural help. Eventually though, given that this is a Gothic morality tale, the helps runs out leading to Suvorin losing everything. This thankfully gives us all some more of that very rare rather glorious, delicious, ham from Walbrook in his realization of the Captin's insane ramblings as he loses his mind after he loses the game. Anton Walbrook's performance is not this realization of this complex character it is rather creating essentially a straw man to be burned by the moral of the story basically. In this perhaps somewhat simplistic way Walbrook's work here is a success, it is not a great performance by any margin, however it is rather fun to watch.