Saturday, 21 August 2010

Best Supporting Actor 1948: Charles Bickford in Johnny Belinda

Charles Bickford received his third and final Oscar nomination for playing Black McDonald in Johnny Belinda. 

Charles Bickford plays Black McDonald Belinda's (Jane Wyman) father. Black is a hard working farmer and at first believes her only to be deaf and dumb. He slowly changes his view after Belinda is helped by a caring doctor played by Lew Ayers. Bickford does a better job than I expected him. Black could have easily been portrayed as a one dimensionally harsh father but Bickford does not play him that way. He begins very tough on his daughter but he slowly changes as his daughter gains a greater ability to communicate.

I think Bickford does a good job of showing the change of his character, from to distant to more loving of his daughter even though the script forces him to do it rather quickly. He did do a good job of showing a little of that before she changed although keeping it rather subtle. He does a good job showing concern for her daughter and becoming proud of her. When later he finds out she is pregnant I felt he handled Black's reaction rather well. Of first anger and confusion, but then properly easing into trying to help his daughter. His reactions to when his daughter is giving birth are perfect. He shows his honest fear and care for his daughter. Bickford does a fine job throughout the film and I wish he was actually given a little more to do. Unfortunately Bickford's role kept fairly simple and is not given really enough to do. His transition is to short for Bickford to really do a great job and is only able to deliver a good one due to the short transition time. He is never bad though and is good throughout, but limited by the limits of the character.


joe burns said...

I suppose he'll be second or third, given that it's supposed to be a weak year. What did you think of Wyman and Moorehead?

Anonymous said...

He was alright...completely outshone by the women of the movie though.

dinasztie said...

I agree with everything you said. But I would probably pick him as I saw Huston a long time ago and haven't seen Kellaway yet.

Louis Morgan said...

Joe: Wyman was very good, and Moorehead was good.

Sage: That's True.

Dinasztie: I am glad to hear we agree.