Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Alternate Best Actor 1991: Results

5. Christopher Eccleston in Let Him Have It - Eccleston gives a good portrayal of his mentally stunted "criminal" however the film fails to utilize the potential of his performance due to the material given to him.

Best Scene: Seeing his family the last time.
4. Wesley Snipes in New Jack City - Snipes gives a charismatic yet vicious portrayal of his drug dealer with even a touch of a pathos though his film fails to realize its value to the film.

Best Scene: Killing his partner.
3. Joe Mantegna in Homicide - Mantegna manages to make his material work by giving a properly confident portrayal of a professional detective while also effectively undercutting it in his subtle realization of a man without roots.

Best Scene: Confrontation.
2. Alan Rickman in Truly, Madly, Deeply - Rickman gives an absolutely charming yet also moving portrayal of a ghost who represents both the comfort of the past, but also what is lost in time.

Best Scene: Witnessing her moving on.
1. River Phoenix in Dogfight - Good Prediction Emi Grant. Phoenix manages to make some rather tricky material work through his charismatic and complex portrayal of a marine torn between the expectations of his peers, and his more genuine good nature.

Best Scene: Eddie's apology.
Updated Overall

Next Year: 1991 Supporting


Omar Franini said...

Louis: your top 15s Female Leading and Supporting?

Calvin Law said...

Your thoughts on Lovers on the Bridge, and The Commitments?

Omar Franini said...

Louis: could you give your thoughts in Raise the Red Lantern, its direction, its cinematography and the cast too? Also ratings and thoughts on Binoche in Lovers on the Bridge, Laura Dern and Diane Ladd in Rambling Rose, and Jacob in La Double Vie de Veronique if you've seen the movie.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the cinematography of Heat and Collateral.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Louis: Has your rankings for Westworld Season 1’s performances changed in hindsight? If it has, can you post it?

Emi Grant said...

Louis: I actually won this one. Also, could I request 2 lead performances from the same film?

Michael McCarthy said...

He Saifei should be an easy 5 for supporting actress.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your Ratings for your Female Top 15s and ratings/thoughts on the rest of the Lead performances you've seen.

Rickman - Prince Of Thieves & Close My Eyes
Garcia or Jacobi - Dead Again
Strong - The Commitments

And Joe Pesci in JFK.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Could you also add 4+ Honourable mentions to those top 15s.

Grady Tripp said...

I only see 'Closet Land' in your updated overall. Where is 'Truly Madly Deeply' placed?

Luke Higham said...

Grady: He's Supporting for Truly, Madly, Deeply.

Louis' explanation is in the review.

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the ending to After Hours? And your top 10 Martin Scorsese directing moments?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: BTW, I'm pleased you got rid of that role of a lifetime tag beside Reeves in Bill & Ted.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Could you add Closet Land (#9) to the My nominations page.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the train sequence from Spider-Man 2.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: And your winners for 1991.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the following songs-
"I'm Easy"
"White Christmas"
"Take My Breath Away"
"Over The Rainbow"
"The Sound of Music"

Calvin Law said...

Robert: not Louis' list, but my ranking for season 1 would be

1. Wright
2. Newton
3. Hopkins
4. Wood
5. Simpson
6. Harris
7. Herthum
8. Collins Jr.
9. Knudsen
10. Sarafyan
11. Barnes
12. Marsden
13. Woodward
14. Santoro
15. Berdal
16. Riley
17. Nam/Slocum
19. Hemsworth
20. Thompson
21. Quaterman

Calvin Law said...

Also, I saw Solo and I thought it was decent on the whole, if extremely predicatable. For once I actually think the change in directors might've been for the better, as I think Lord and Miller's style, which I do really like, would have seriously jarred with the material they had; a workmanlike approach was probably for the best.

Ehrenreich - 4
Glover - 3.5
Harrelson - 3
Clarke - 3.5
Newton and Favreau - 2.5
Bettany - 2.5
Waller-Bridge - 2.5

Michael McCarthy said...

Ratings and thoughts on Lavant?

Scott Gingold said...

Donald Sutherland, Backdraft
Danny Glover, Grand Canyon
Ned Beatty, Hear My Song
Roshan Seth, Mississippi Masala
William Sadler, Rush & Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey

Giuseppe Fadda said...

What are your rating and thoughts on Stockard Channing in Smoke?

Robert MacFarlane said...

Alright, finally finished Westworld Season 1. My rankings:

1. Newton
2. Wright
3. Wood
4. Hopkins
5. Simpson
6. Herthum
7. Collins Jr.
8. Harris
9. Santoro
10. Marsden
11. Berdal
12. Woodward
13. Sarafyan
14. Riley
15. Thompson
16. Slocum
17. Nam
18. Barnes
19. Hemsworth
20. Quarterman
21. Knudsen (I'm surprised she isn't the automatic bottom of any ranking)

Robert MacFarlane said...

I almost ranked Barnes lower since he kind overplays it, but I'll cut him some slack since he was doing his best with a broad strokes character. Hemsworth is only that low because they gave him jack shit to do.

Anonymous said...

What are your rating and thoughts on kathy bates, jennifer jason leigh and judy parfitt in dolores claiborne

Michael McCarthy said...

Robert: Quarterman is easily at the bottom of my list for season 1, but would you believe me if I told you he's actually pretty good in the current season?

Robert MacFarlane said...

Michael: Honestly, there's actually a good-sized gap between him and Knudsen on the ranking. He annoyed me, sure, but Knudsen I found to be actively ruinous.

Álex Marqués said...

I don't see what's wrong with Knudsen's performance, to be honest.

Calvin Law said...

Also for the current season my top 10 so far would be:

1. Ed Harris
2. Peter Mullan
3. Jimmi Simpson
4. Jeffrey Wright
5. Thandie Newton
6. Jonathan Tucker
7. Louis Herthum
8. Simon Quaterman
9. Shannon Woodward
10. Katja Herbers

Álex Marqués said...

Has anyone seen The Leftovers? Carrie Coon is brilliant in that show.

Anonymous said...

Alex: That show, Dexter and Twin Peaks are shows I really wanna start watching.

What do you think of the show? Ya think it's good?

Álex Marqués said...

I'm on season two, and I'm liking it so far. It feels confusing and quite depressing at times (especially given the premise), but I think it's pretty rewarding, with some terrific performances (particularly Coon and Dowd) and very memorable scenes. The first season really won me over by the end, even if it didn't really engage me until the third episode.

Also,you really should watch Twin Peaks (haven't seen Dexter).

Louis Morgan said...



1. Jodie Foster - The Silence of the Lambs
2. Juliet Binoche - The Lovers on the Bridge - 5
3. Susan Sarandon - Thelma & Louise
4. Juliet Stevenson - Truly, Madly, Deeply
5. Angelica Huston - The Addams Family
6. Geena Davis - Thelma & Louise
7. Linda Hamilton - Terminator 2
8. Lili Taylor - Dogfight
9. Gong Li - Raise the Red Lantern - 4.5
10. Sally Filed - Soapdish - 4.5
11. Madeleine Stowe - Closet Land
12. Laura Dern - Rambling Rose - 4.5
13. Irene Jacob - The Double Life of Veronique - 4.5
14. Reese Witherspoon - The Man in the Moon - 4
15. Kathy Bates - Fried Green Tomatoes - 4

Supporting Actress:

1. Judy Davis - Naked Lunch
2. He Saifei - Raise the Red Lantern - 5
3. Christina Ricci - The Addams Family
4. Judy Davis - Barton Fink
5. Ruby Dee - Jungle Fever
6. Amanda Plummer - The Fisher King
7. Kong Lin - Raise the Red Lantern - 4
8. Kathleen Quinlan - The Doors
9. Jessica Tandy - Fried Green Tomatoes - 4
10. Tyra Ferrell - Boyz N The Hood
11. Cao Cuifen - Raise the Red Lantern - 4
12. Meryl Streep - Defending Your Life
13. Angela Lansbury - Beauty and the Beast
14. Mercedes Ruehl - The Fisher King
15. Diane Ladd - Rambling Rose - 3.5

Raise the Red Lantern I found to be a wholly brilliant film in creating this microcosm of a society within the single household of a wealthy lord in China. In that it so naturally realizes not only these personal dynamics through the different personalities of the wives, and the servants that are convincing and compelling in themselves. What is so remarkable though is how naturally these correspond towards these grander scale ideas within society.

A masterstroke in Zhang Yimou's direction is to have the master of the house be almost a non-entity within the film visually, but rather realizes the power in a way in which he can represent those even grander scale ideas such as for example the idea of the fourth wife trying to find favor with the lord, for benefits, as the ambition person attempts to do so within social system. Zhang Yimou's direction is essential in general to that in that he creates such a vibrant atmosphere within such a set location which creates both this palatable sense of isolation and community through such a small area.

Louis Morgan said...

Now that idea though is of course aided by the stunning cinematography featured in the film. Now the film is gorgeous in general as the film looks pristine, however it goes far further than that in terms of its value in the film. One key aspect is the titular lanterns, and their appeal within the story. This is wholly earned through the cinematography which grants any scene with them such a luscious use of red. A red that contrasts so perfectly with either the other colors in a given scene, or the other scenes without them. That red has such warmth and vibrancy, which stands so well against the other colors used which are pristine to be sure, yet have a purposeful cold distance to them, that in turn show the reward that are the lanterns. Further though the framing and composition is immaculate. This again isn't only in terms of pleasing to the eye, but in terms of further amplifying the thematic ideas of the film. Each character is isolated within the frame either alone, or due to the distance from the lens. When even the characters are physically touching one another it is then shot from a distance which again creates that effective sense of separation. This while also granting such enormity to every room. Every composition of them creates this sense of expansion as though the house is indeed its own world, however this is contrasted by the genius way almost every shot allows this grand scale yet also only ever shows this artificial world where the natural world cannot be seen. I especially love that overhead shot of courtyard which constricts any view beyond the walls, while also making those walls seem so impressive.

Gong - (Gong is compelling in the role in terms of creating the roles that the fourth wife plays within the story. In that she begins by creating this believable sense of naivety as she conveys a certain fear of the new place, which a simple sense of joy at the pleasures that are granted within it. As that goes on though she creates that growing sense of a maturity though with a certain unpleasant petulance by finding this certain glint in her eye that is the growing ambition. The ambition that leads her to become a more complex individual, which Gong also shows properly to be a far worse one. She presents the game she plays in her moments of falsely returning back to that naïve stance, to the more overt moments of the manipulation whether it be through fierce vindictiveness, or a false eagerness to please. Gong does well by showing that either idea comes from the exact same place of that ambition towards becoming the favored wife. Eventually when this flies in her face, in a variety of ways, Gong naturally segues this again through another painful maturation towards a nihilism as she gives up on the world. Gong is quite powerful in these scenes though by delivering these moments of a more earnest concern and understanding, even while creating the overall sense of a complete loss of any passion to truly participate in her "world" anymore.)

Louis Morgan said...

He Saifei - (Her performance captures so well her particular place within the house. In that she does deliver this powerful allure within the character and this capable command of herself, even while in the subservient role. She delivers the needed charisma to essentially to convey not only her past as an opera singer, but also to show why the newcomer would mistake her as the ambition obstacle. Her performance though makes the revelation of the truth of her wholly natural as that confidence she brims is fitting not towards ambition but rather someone with an awareness of how to make the most out of her situation. This is not through an ambition of her own but rather this comfort and sense of mind that He exudes so well. This whole aspect of her the more we see the more overtly charming she becomes as she realizes the third wife seemingly above it all, though underlays within that this simple determination to find her way of dealing with this existence that she can live with. This essentially alludes towards not getting sunken by the inner politics of the house while having some of her agency through an affair with the local doctor. The more this underlying truth is revealed the more endearing He is as she brings such an honesty to every moment of her character's way of even engaging and trying to genuinely educate the forth wife. It's fantastic work though as He makes it that the more we learn about the more sympathetic she becomes to the point that her final scene is truly heartbreaking.)

Kong - (She gives a strong performance with the needed rebellious edge as a constant. This is even when she is even doing as she is told as her eyes deliver just that frustrated hatred particularly towards the increasingly vapid mistress she has to serve. Her performance is defined effectively by building this frustration from just a dynamic element to something all the more overt when she finally refuses to obey. She reveals this state so well as this sheer exhaustion since she cannot truly get out of the world, but essentially can be wholly fed up with it.)

Cao - (Her performance works as this essentially shadowy reversal of Gong Li's performance. She too portrays a seeming naivety of sorts though slowly reveals itself towards this clear vicious ambition. Cao switches though from Gong Li's work though by presenting that naivety as rather hallow until it breaks to show itself to be the act, and that her mistress was in fact was defined by ambition the entire time.)

Louis Morgan said...

Binoche - (Love her here as it appears that I do in most things. Her performance though is brilliant as revealing a different sort of desperation that defines her character's journey and its state. She brings in the early scenes a greater intensity within creating the sense of her depression within both her failure of relationship and anxiety over her condition. She cleverly only really gradually represses when she shows her connecting all the more to the consistently desperate world of the homeless, particularly in the central relationship with Denis Lavant's Alex. Binoche is fantastic in the realization of these interactions which she never simplifies within the idea of the love story at the center of it. She portrays certainly well that comfort coming from this attempted connection. She always though portrays this certain idea of daze that reveals itself from a detachment, naturally alluding to her motivations as well as supports the idea of how she is new to this life. This also reveals itself within the moments, that are just incredible in terms of the film and her performance, where they embrace their lives in almost a form of hysteria. Their dancing firework scene in particular is something incredible though as it is magical in a way, but is perhaps all the more potent by the way both performers do create the sense of it as this fervent need for this expression given the nature of their lives. She changes her performance well though when she is separated, and gains back her eyesight where Binoche excels in bringing essentially the woman who likely lived her life before her troubles. She carefully doesn't play it too coldly, but starkly reveals the difference it makes. In the end though the final reversal is made natural by having had so well cemented that genuine affection, even within all the troubles, that powerfully reveals itself so purely in the final scene of the film.)

Dern - (Dern deserves a great deal of credit for making this character work as well as it does since so much of the role could have fallen towards extreme and frankly ridiculous caricature very easily. Dern, perhaps using her David Lynch training, sort of owns those more overt elements in way that wholly not only make them properly feel of a character, but allow the character to project so well. She delivers so well with this somewhat stylized manner, but never overtly so to feel outside the tone. I love the sweetness she brings within the character rather than every making her a one note sex pot which she easily could have been. Dern balances this though also with still finding the right substance within the quieter moments to find that certain understanding within her specific needs, rather than just portraying her as unaware. As written I think she could have just become the object of the affection of the men, but Dern makes that step to create character rather than just a caricature.)

Louis Morgan said...

Ladd - (Her performance is somewhat limited within the scheme of the film, she isn't even given even a wrap up moment. Ladd though is effective in her smaller role in terms of portraying this certain natural warmth of the loving mother character, and loving surrogate mother at times. She creates within that effectively this certain jealousy and anger towards the men's view of Rose, which she portrays so well by even depicting that with this certain sunny disposition even though it reveals a real pain underneath it.)

Jacob - (I will admit the film itself didn't quite grip me in perhaps the way he needed to be for this film. Having said that Jacob's performance is interesting particularly as dual performances go as there really is not the typical tricks involved since the point is the connection between the two identical people rather than differences. Her performances of sorts then are not polar opposites but rather defined in her work by the experiences that are similair yet do have differences within them. Jacob's performance then is this representation of the lives of the women which is effectively realized oddly in this way that is disconnected almost through the similarities revealed within the two character. This is an effective atypical portrayal, portrayals, really that does work in a strange intriguing way even if not in the typical way.)


Lovers on the Bridge I found fascinating and often invigorating as this non-musical, musical, though directed with that sort of vibrancy by Leos Carax. This approach takes this story, that could potentially be a rather dour tale about two different homeless people coming together, and grants it this vigor in that romance while never feeling as though it shies away from the darker aspects of the story, as well as the character.

The Commitments is a film I must say has oddly been forgotten, despite its then great success with the BAFTAs as well as Globe nod for best musical/comedy, as well as its similarities to the films of John Carney, despite his claims to the contrary. It isn't as impassioned as his films in a way, though there certainly is that same passion for music realized in the film, it takes a more overtly comic approach in examining the extreme personalities to essentially make a truly successful band and how quickly this leads to the dissolution of it due to the strain on the relationships between the members. This creates a rather winning film that is just rather entertaining to watch that process, but also does find that needed joy within the performance music.


Dante Spinotti's cinematography and collaboration with Mann's is good example of the Mann style. A style that does always threaten under lighting in outdoor scenes where Mann seems to favor natural lighting, and doesn't seem like a Stanley Kubrick to get that extra perfect shot of daylight. Heat mostly avoids that as well as has a few those, semi-random, though always welcome beautiful shots where the lighting is more pronounced and dynamic. What more defines the work though is matching sort of the attempted efficiency of shots. This is where Spinotti's work excels in being effective, dynamic though always very to the point. Here is where there is overt stylization however it is always done in a way where it never seems purposeful, though it obviously very much is, as it always is part of that efficiency.

Louis Morgan said...

Collateral is brilliantly shot and a notable achievement in its use of digital. The work itself is notable in its capturing of the very low light, which is rather fascinating as even though it is almost all set at night it seems far more properly lit than a lot of Mann's films because of that ability. The style though matches the film's style perfectly in that it captures very much this within the city claustrophobia however never uses that an excuse to be ugly. The same goes for the work in terms of movement, which is quite frequent, and handheld style yet never seems jumbled. It is exceptional work as so much of the techniques shouldn't work, or at the very least go wrong (which it did for Public Enemies), however everything comes together so well here.


Well using hindsight, and refusing season 2 sight (since I really like Quarterman this season)

1. Jeffrey Wright
2. Thandie Newton
3. Anthony Hopkins
4. Evan Rachel Wood
5. Jimmi Simpson
6. Ed Harris
7. Louis Herthum
8. James Marsden
9. Clifton Collins Jr.
10. Angela Sarafyan
11. Shannon Woodward
12. Sidse Babett Knudsen
13. Rodrigo Santoro
14. Ptolemy Slocum
15. Ingrid Bolso Berdal
16. Luke Hemsworth
17. Leonard Nam
18. Ben Barnes
19. Simon Quaterman
20. Tessa Thompson

Emi Grant:

No, however if they are in the same category there is always a good chance that I will review both.


Proper wrap around ending for the circular puzzle not only in his way of arriving just where he began, but also escaping via being the stolen property that was not in fact stolen by the thieves he was mistaken for being that caused him to be on the run.

1. "Layla" - Goodfellas
2. Crucifixion by the sea - Silence
3. Back Entrance - Goodfellas
4. Gangs of New York - Opening (Just before the fight)
5. Break of the the silence - Silence
6. One day - Goodfellas
7. Jake's beat down - Raging Bull
8. Tommy gets whacked - Goodfellas
9. The Ending - The Age of Innocence
10. Quaaludes - The Last Temptation of Christ

Difficult as it would probably be easy to do a top 50 for him, as even some of his lesser efforts have some great moments in terms of direction.


"I'm Easy" - (A strange sort of perfection from Keith Carradine, and fascinating as he did not have a prolific career as a songwriter otherwise. The lyrics are perfect in their simplistic, let's say easy, style that also is so rich even terms of the context of the film. This supplemented so flawlessly with the quite yet rich strums of the guitar with its subdued melody. What does make all perfection though seemingly is Carradine's impassioned performance, which again makes it seem so very easy but just so very special.)

Louis Morgan said...

"White Christmas" - (Not even looked upon as a movie song since it has become a staple of the ole' Christmas selection. It stands as both a great Christmas song and just a great song in general by Irving Berlin. The song after all just is that perfect evocation of really a pleasant nostalgia in the best of ways in the lyrics, which are made so perfect though by the gentle strings, and quietly supportive voices. It is even technically repetitious in its original form. It does not matter in part through its new ways to repeat the lyrics with the change in voices, but also the lyrics and melody are just that good.)

"Take My Breath Away" - (Did someone say 80's, to the extreme (no that was the nineties), but this is quintessential 80's just as the film it comes from is. A love ballad that expresses itself in such over the top way right from the lyrics themselves, but that marvelous synth bass that perpetuates throughout. This is of course only supplemented by more synth, and more words that dissolve into each other. Of course what I mean by all that is I love the song, even the strange inclusion of an off-key note in the second chorus. This song just is the 80's love ballad to end them all, in the most 80's of ways.)

"Over The Rainbow" - (Now here is just quintessential music I think in general in terms of its permanence in culture in general. That is for a reason as the song is an example of a modest treasure. Its so special in the eloquent way though it creates its sense of dreaming for more with a warmth in the words, and also creating this powerful melancholy with its mild yet luscious instrumentation. The vocals and the instrumentation actually don't even form a more typical dynamic but its specific quiet under lacing feels like perfection. It is a bittersweet masterpiece, and perhaps that bittersweet is what lead to its status.)


Channing - 4(Her performance is effective in terms of quickly creating the initially hostile chemistry with Keitel but does so in a way that feels natural. She doesn't overdo it alluding more to the idea that it has settled towards a past though it still certainly exists. She effectively then moves on towards the more somber moments in her remarkably genuine delivery of her pleas towards helping "their daughter" then in their little reconciliation after their rather failed attempt to reach out.)

Lavant - 4.5(Lavant is a fascinating performer just to watch even approach the part through the physicality he brings. He is at times down right mesmerizing in how he so naturally just makes it part of his performance that his character moves technically so strangely yet it just seems to give you a natural understanding of who this man is. Lavant grants this oddball energy that works in creating a certain charisma but also shows sort of the decayed mental state. I love though how he juxtaposes the extroverted nature of his physical work against his very subdued, and rather subtle portrayal of the character's emotional state. He is captivating, even Binoche is given the more dynamic character arc, as this constant though of this man filled with life but also filled with this constant need.)


I think I might have covered them before.