Juano Hernandez did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Lucas Beauchamp in Intruder in the Dust.
Juano Hernandez plays the most compelling role in the film and it is a notable case of non-stereotypical role for a minority actor. Of course I suppose it is worth noting that sympathetic roles often fell to the man wrongly accused of murder, but again there is more to the role of Lucas Beauchamp than merely not being an overt the top stereotype. He's accused of the murder but the situation does not define Hernandez's performance. In fact it is very notable about his work is that he does not attempt to elicit an obvious sympathy, in that he does not make Lucas a sorrowful sort despite being in jail, as that would undercut the nature of the man he portrays. Hernandez's performance is notable from his first scene as he presents this real confidence in his work but also through the character of Lucas. When he goes about helping a young man stuck in a river, Hernandez conveys presence of not really the "local helper" but rather the strength of this man who does things his ways. Hernandez is able to find a real history in this manner of this individualistic man who stands firmly as his own man.
When he is arrested we sadly don't get many scenes of him throughout the film, but the scenes in which he appears are the best in the film. Again Hernandez just is terrific in realizing the story of the man far beyond the limits we see him through the slight plot. Throughout the story Lucas refusing any easy ways out, and mentions his difficulties of the situation yet never is overcome by them. He's great though in the nuance of his work where he recognizes his plight in a very quiet way fitting to a man who has obviously been through a lot. His eyes show a wear that hasn't worn the man away, but only seem to make him all the more seasoned and ready for the world. The years that have built this man are felt through Hernandez's work that finds the substance of the role even though the film sort of fails to do so fully. Hernandez makes Lucas a fascinating character in his time, far beyond his circumstances, and I wish we had gotten a film entirely about him. Unfortunately we are granted a narrow view of the character due to his screentime, however he utilizes every moment that is granted to him to create a three dimensional character. Hernandez to his credit as an actor develops the role beyond these certain limits to steal the film in his dynamic depiction of a one of a kind sort.
Next Year: 1974 Lead