Thursday, 29 November 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2003: Kevin Bacon in Mystic River

Kevin Bacon did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Detective Sean Devine in Mystic River.

It is probably not surprising that Bacon received no attention for this performance, as firstly Bacon is an actor the academy just seems not to notice even when they notice the films he is in. More importantly though Bacon despite portraying one the main characters in the film. Bacon though does not "ACT" nearly as much as the two Oscar winning performances from the film given by Sean Penn and Tim Robbins. Bacon never has a scene like Robbins's vampire scene, or Penn's "My Daughter!" scene, which most certainly is not a bad thing but restrained performances are not favored by the academy.

Bacon takes an understated method through his entire performance. Even his Boston accent, which is present, is very much downplayed, but frankly is far more natural than it is rest of the actors. Bacon due to the fact he really does not get that many personal scenes, has to create his character as Sean and his partner (Laurence Fishburne) investigate the murder of Jimmy Markum's (Penn) daughter. Bacon has a few moments to himself mostly being when Sean is called by his wife over the phone, a subplot that frankly could have been dropped as the payoff does not work all that well due to the actress playing his wife, but for the most part Bacon is forced to find his character while moving along with the plot at a rapid pace.

Bacon is quite effective in portraying Sean in this way actually as he tries to find the killer while trying to keep his personal feelings behind him despite being childhood friends with both Jimmy, and Dave (Robbins) who slowly becomes a suspect. Bacon underplays the role and fittingly for the character. He shows that Sean very much has a job to do, and is quite intent and doing it. Nevertheless Bacon conveys well the personal connections Sean does feel due to his attachment to the case. He is always very collected, but through subtle reactions he portrays the way the events due effect Sean, Bacon's very small response to seeing the murder victim is Jimmy's Daughter is particularly well handled.

Throughout the film Bacon is steadfast in his portrayal that Sean is a good a detective. He believably portrays Sean as a confidant officer with an underlying passion to solve the case, and even with his personal connections he will still do his very best to find the killer. The doubt and hesitations though are equally well placed by Bacon as Sean does struggle to wave his personal thoughts with the case when some evidence points that Dave may be the killer. Bacon again keeps his performance very much contained in terms of the emotions shown, but he still powerfully brings the struggle in Sean to life. It is not something that overwhelms, but Bacon more realistically shows it to be something that presses on in the back of his mind less at some points, but heavier when he is faced more directly with his past.

This is strong work from Bacon as he still does show that even Sean has never forgotten watching Dave being taken away by pedophiles when they were kids. He is not at all overt in his depiction of this very much again establishing it as something that very much sits within Sean, it is not always on his mind, but Bacon shows that he can't ever forget it either. Bacon is great in this role because he stays so calm in the part, and stays as someone you can more easily follow along than Penn with his screaming. Bacon is the one who keeps the film grounded with his far more down to earth portrayal of Sean. Bacon despite being very much put behind the other actors in terms of the types of scenes he is given, he actually gives my favorite performance in the film by taking this fair less flamboyant approach to a story that never calls for it.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2003: Sean Astin in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Sean Astin did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Samwise "Sam" Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

The Return of the King is the third film of the Lord of the Rings telling the story among many of when the hobbit Frodo (Elijah Wood) finally gets into Mordor and onto Mount Doom to destroy the Ring.

Sean Astin portrays Frodo's fellow Hobbit and best friend who has been with him along his whole long journey to destroying the ring. In the other two films Astin offered fine support as Sam who always act loyal to Frodo being the only member of the original fellowship to go with him to actually attempt to destroy the ring. Astin is good in both he previous films, and does have some very nice moments but it is not until this film where he really gets to fully shine in the part of Samwise. In the role throughout all of the films but especially this one, where one could argue that Sam becomes the true hero of the entire film, is the perpetual optimism of Sam. Astin portrays this particularly well because unlike say the Ralph Bakshi where Sam just comes off as stupid, Astin shows it as something entirely genuine within Sam to simply try to see the brighter side of things even in the darkest of situation. Astin does overplay it any way only portraying Sam's strong beliefs in good triumphing over evil in a honest fashion that is perfect for Sam. 

What is perhaps the most important aspect of Sam in the series is his friendship with Frodo. Astin and Wood depict it in a very quiet and understated fashion that work wonderfully well. Importantly though Astin shows his love for his friend as something that endures all the pains of the adventure, and that is really what keeps him still trying his best to remain positive even as Frodo becomes slowly more and more depressed over their hardships. Astin makes their key moments together quite moving though because he just is so truthful in finding the unending passion within Sam to help his friend. Sam being the first film as rather afraid and unsure of himself so much that he hesitates to leave his home. In this film he goes all the way to taking on a giant spider all by himself. That is certainly not an easy transition to make believable, but Astin does just that. It is a well handled transition slowly through the film, but it is not that Sam necessarily becomes a different person, Astin certainly does not play it that way nor should he. Astin rather more effectively portrays a bravery that simply was always in Sam, and simply the situations is what broke him out of the hesitations he had beforehand.

One thing that certainly works in favor of the films is the down to earth performances given by much of the cast despite the fact that it is a fantasy film. This is especially true of Astin whose reactions to the situations he goes through, as well as his slow physical and mental trauma from the events, as the reactions of any man, not even necessarily a hobbit. Astin just has the utmost conviction in his part to make every moment especially the most poignant ones, such as "I can carry you", come through with the power they need for the film. It is heartbreaking as it should be and what Astin delivers is the weight not only what we see in this film, but every moment that came before. Every line that is there has this conviction from Astin though, and every moment as the character and the relationship are so well realized. When Sam is turned away by Frodo, Astin's anguish is devastating, just as when he returns it is inspiring. Astin uses that all that came, even the romance that only had a slight moment in the first film is given such gravity through Astin's heart wrenching delivery of remembering as Sam believes it will be the end. As with all the best performances in the trilogy Astin's work finds the honest humanity within the fantasy that takes the trilogy as a whole further than any fantasy film that ever came before. Astin's work here is actually one of the most remarkable depictions of friendship in any film. Astin makes Sam's loyalty to his friend not only believable but something truly special by how genuine every second of it is.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2003: Peter Sarsgaard in Shattered Glass

Peter Sarsgaard did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for and winning several critical awards, for portraying Charles Lane in Shattered Glass.

Shattered Glass is an effective film about a journalist Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen) who seems to have made up most of his stories.

Peter Sarsgaard portrays at first just another one of the writers at the The New Republic the publication that Glass writes for. Sarsgaard does not do too much in these early scene other than establish well that Lane is not impressed or entertained as much by Stephen as the rest of the staff seems to be. Sarsgaard is good because he does not show Lane to be openly hostile toward Stephen or anything, but rather just makes it clear that he is not impressed by the very popular Glass. Sarsgaard handles this properly by suggesting an opposition to the man, while certainly not being antagonistic either. 

Lane quickly is chosen to be the new editor of the magazine though after the older editor had a falling out with the owner of the magazine. Sarsgaard is good in the brief scene showing Lane considering taking the position. It is realistically portrayed by Sarsgaard in a wholly non flashy fashion. He shows most certainly an interest in the position, but does well in portraying the hesitations of Lane knowing well that the staff will not take too much of a liking to the decision since the previous editor was well liked. Sarsgaard's performance here early on is understated, but well placed setting up Lane's place in the film properly.

Sargaard becomes far more prominent when the questions regarding the truth behind one of Glass's articles comes up. Sarsgaard is excellent in portraying the way that Lane takes to the accusations towards Glass's reporting. Sarsgaard again stays very understated, and conveys well the fact that Lane tries his best to stay with his duties as editor which is to try and support his writer. Sarsgaard plays the different feelings in Lane effectively portraying both his sense of duty as he calmly tries to reassure Glass, but does well to create an underlying feelings of doubt within Lane.

The later parts of the film are almost dominated by Sarsgaard as Lane as the likelihood of Glass's story being truthful becomes less and less. Sarsgaard and Christensen have a terrific dynamic in the scenes where Lane investigates Glass's story first hand. Christensen portrays Glass a very much a liar who just tries to avoid looking at anything through constant excuses as well as seeming more and more desperate as he is asked more questions. Sarsgaard portrays Lane as basically the opposite as Lane stays reasonably reserved as he becomes more and more inquisitive and incisive as Glass's story does not add up.

Sarsgaard is very good as slowly Lane pushes harder on harder on Glass. At first Sarsgaard portrays just the right degree of reservation due to how the other workers view Glass. Sarsgaard slowly yet powerfully shows that Lane cannot hold back any more. His scene where he finally fires Glass confronting him directly is terrifically played by Sarsgaard portraying well the incredible disgust he feels at a main who entirely disregarded even the slightest notion of journalistic integrity. Sarsgaard directly fulfills the role of Charles Lane, who ends up being the moral center of the film, with a strength that slowly grows in a marvelous fashion during the course of the film. 

Monday, 26 November 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2003

And the Nominees Were Not:

Sean Astin in The Return of the King

Paul Bettany in Master and Commander

Kevin Bacon in Mystic River

Albert Finney in Big Fish

Peter Sarsgaard in Shattered Glass

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1993: Results

6. Sean Penn in Carlito's Way- Penn gives a suitable enough performance that does not fall into the problems of his later work, but still it is not anything that remarkable.
5. Sam Neill in The Piano- Neill does his best to not fall into his cliches of his sort of character creating a believable portrayal of a man who simply does not understand the woman who he wants as his wife.
4. Christopher Lloyd in Twenty Bucks- Lloyd is so incredible in his short segment of his compilation film to the point that I wish the film had been solely about him. He creates a terrific portrait of a small time criminal who is as efficient as one probably could be in his line of work.
3. Ben Kingsley in Schindler's List- Kingsley gives a very quiet, but very moving performance as the man who desperately tries to save as many people as he can by trying convince another man to do the right thing.
2.Val Kilmer in Tombstone- Kilmer brings to life the role of the larger than life Doc Holliday well combining both the flamboyancy and morose qualities of the man beautifully.
1. Richard Jordan in Gettysburg- Good Prediction RatedRStar. Although this year is a spectacular year for supporting actor I can easily choose my favorite non Oscar nominated performance of the year in Richard Jordan. I really do not cry from watching films but watching Jordan's performance as a civil war General pained by the fact that he must fight his best friend is the closest I have ever come to doing so. His performance is so powerful I am very tempted to give him the whole year.
Overall Rank:
  1. Richard Jordan in Gettysburg
  2. Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List
  3. Val Kilmer in Tombstone
  4. Pete Postlethwaite in In the Name of the Father
  5. Ben Kingsley in Schindler's List
  6. Christopher Lloyd in Twenty Bucks
  7. Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park  
  8. Stephen Lang in Gettysburg 
  9. Richard Attenborough in Jurassic Park
  10. Leonardo DiCaprio in What's Eating Gilbert Grape?
  11. John Malkovich in In the Line of Fire 
  12. Dennis Hopper in True Romance   
  13. Chazz Palminteri in A Bronx Tale
  14. Michael Biehn in Tombstone 
  15. Gary Oldman in True Romance  
  16. Michael Keaton in Much Ado About Nothing
  17. Gene Hackman in The Firm 
  18. Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused
  19. Christopher Walken in True Romance 
  20. James Gandolfini in True Romance
  21. Steve Buscemi in Twenty Bucks
  22. Mark Hamill in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
  23. Robert De Niro in A Bronx Tale
  24. Tom Waits in Short Cuts 
  25. Kevin Conway in Gettysburg  
  26. Joe Pesci in A Bronx Tale 
  27. JT Walsh in Red Rock West
  28. Sam Neill in The Piano
  29. Jack Lemmon in Short Cuts
  30. Dennis Hopper in Red Rock West
  31. Joe Mantegna in Searching For Bobby Fischer    
  32. Brian Mallon in Gettysburg 
  33. Harvey Keitel in The Piano
  34. Don Baker in In the Name of the Father
  35. Clint Eastwood in A Perfect World
  36. Wilford Brimley in The Firm
  37. Joseph Mazzello in Jurassic Park
  38. Viggo Mortensen in Carlito's Way 
  39. Ben Kingsley in Searching For Bobby Fischer
  40. Saul Rubinek in True Romance
  41. Michael Rooker in Cliffhanger
  42. Martin Sheen in Gettysburg 
  43. Bruce Davison in Short Cuts  
  44. Spalding Gray in King of the Hill 
  45. Adam Goldberg in Dazed and Confused
  46. Sam Elliot in Tombstone 
  47. Laurence Fishburne in Searching For Bobby Fischer
  48. Charlton Heston in Wayne's World 2
  49. Bob Peck in Jurassic Park
  50. Peter Wight in Naked
  51. Stephen Tobolowsky in Groundhog's Day
  52. Brad Pitt in True Romance
  53. Denzel Washington in Much Ado About Nothing
  54. Tim Robbins in Short Cuts
  55. Ed Harris in The Firm
  56. Ken Page in The Nightmare Before Christmas
  57. Frank Langella in Dave
  58. Ben Affleck in Dazed and Confused
  59. Stephen Lang in Tombstone
  60. Samuel L. Jackson in Jurassic Park 
  61. Michael Wincott in The Three Musketeers
  62. Sean Penn in Carlito's Way
  63. Charles S. Dutton in Rudy
  64. Wayne Knight in Jurassic Park
  65. Bill Paxton in Tombstone
  66. John Lynch in In the Name of the Father
  67. Sam Elliot in Gettysburg
  68. Fred Ward in Short Cuts 
  69. Kiefer Sutherland in The Three Musketeers
  70. C. Thomas Howell in Gettysburg
  71. Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive
  72. David Strathairn in The Firm
  73. Walter Matthau in Dennis the Menace
  74. Chris Penn in Short Cuts
  75. Powers Booth in Tombstone
  76. Gary Busey in The Firm
  77. Bronson Pinchot in True Romance
  78. Tom Hulce in Fearless 
  79. Brian Blessed in Much Ado About Nothing 
  80. Ned Beatty in Rudy
  81. Oliver Platt in The Three Musketeers 
  82. Adrien Brody in King of The Hill
  83. Robert Downey Jr. in Short Cuts 
  84. John Turturro in Fearless 
  85. Charles Dance in Last Action Hero
  86. William Hickey in The Nightmare Before Christmas
  87. Anthony Michael Hall in Six Degrees of Separation
  88. Charlie Sheen in The Three Musketeers
  89. Chris Elliot in Groundhog's Day
  90. Ben Kingsley in Dave
  91. Anthony Quinn in Last Action Hero
  92. Matthew Modine in Short Cuts 
  93. Tim Curry in The Three Musketeers
  94. Christopher Lloyd in Dennis the Menace
  95. Christopher Reeve in The Remains of the Day 
  96. Dennis Hopper in Super Mario Bros. 
  97. Michael Rapaport in True Romance
  98. John Lithgow in Cliffhanger 
  99. John Leguizamo in Carlito's Way
  100. Joroen Krabbe in The Fugitive
  101. Peter Gallagher in Short Cuts
  102. Jason Robards in Philadelphia
  103. Luis Guzman in Carlito's Way
  104. Dylan McDermott in In the Line of Fire
  105. Antonio Banderas in Philadelphia
  106. Pierce Brosnan in Mrs. Doubt Fire 
  107. JT Walsh in Needful Things
  108. Frederic Forrest in Falling Down
  109. Steve Williams in Jason Goes to Hell
  110. T.J. Lowther in A Perfect World 
  111. Fisher Stevens in Super Mario Bros.
  112. Richard Edson in Super Mario Bros. 
  113. Ralph Waite in Cliffhanger
  114. J.J. Abrams in Six Degrees of Separation
  115. Greg Cruttwell in Naked 
  116. Mojo Nixon in Super Mario Bros. 
Next Year: 2003 Supporting

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1993: Christopher Lloyd in Twenty Bucks

Christopher Lloyd did not receive an Oscar nomination, although he did win an Independent Spirit Award, for portraying Jimmy in Twenty Bucks.

Twenty Bucks is not too much of a film about how a twenty dollar bill goes from one person to another telling different stories. One story though is terrific though, you might be able to guess who it involves.

I was going to review Sean Penn in Carlito's Way, but after watching the film I felt no reason to. He is fine in his role as a slimy lawyer, being appropriately unstable that works for the role, but his performance is not incredible, in fact I think I preferred Viggo Mortensen in his single scene performance. It is a good performance by Penn much better than all but one of his nominated performances. I still feel no reason to give Penn another review who has had plenty thanks to his undeserved Oscar nominations, when I can instead give the underrated as well as my 1985 supporting winner Christopher Lloyd another deserved review for his performance in this film.

Twenty Bucks has many different stories, most of them are not particularly memorable, one story involves a small time grifter Frank (Steve Buscemi) who is approached by a career criminal Jimmy played by Lloyd. Lloyd commonly portrays more manic character like in Back to the Future, but here he is almost the personification of calmness. In this film we of course do not see where Jimmy comes from we only know him from his time he first approaches Frank after spotting Frank cheats a restaurant out of a few dollars. Lloyd simply is the master of his part effortlessly creating the intelligence of his character from his first moment on screen.

There is not a question to the fact that Lloyd absolutely controls the screen as he shows Jimmy to truly be a man who has learned a great deal from his career as a criminal. Lloyd is terrific in his depiction of the blunt way that Jimmy approaches Frank. He is especially blunt as he takes apart Frank's small time very petty thievery, and convinces Frank to join him in a string of old up. Lloyd does allow even a question to the way Jimmy is able to so easily convince Frank to join him. Lloyd exudes an incredible confidence here and shows that Jimmy is a man who knows exactly what he is doing.

Lloyd is brilliant in the hold up scenes as he portrays just how smooth he is in the role. He turns Jimmy into a force to reckoned with in term of efficiency. There is not a hint of hesitation in Lloyd's portrayal of Jimmy he makes it clear that Jimmy knows exactly how to handle a robbery to the point that he is even a little casual in his manner. Lloyd makes this casual manner not only believable but entertaining in the way Jimmy so calmly tells people to not look at him, or even the way he shoots someone going for the alarm. Lloyd makes Jimmy a master criminal who knows his trade so well that he really honestly can do robbery in such a particular manner.

Buscemi and Lloyd are great together as basically the protege and mentor of sorts. Their relationship is very interesting as Buscemi's portray Frank as very inexperienced, where Lloyd is terrific in the way he portrays Jimmy act as almost a father to Frank. Lloyd has a wise teaching manner, with even a little warmth in the way he talks Frank through the process, but as well tells him how to do things properly. Lloyd absolutely dominates as Jimmy carries Frank through the robberies.

What is especially striking about Lloyd performance is that his semi warmth in Jimmy is even just part of his business plan. The final scene of the two Lloyd is chilling as he so harshly ends the relationship between the two. It is quick to the point, and Lloyd shows that this end was really exactly Jimmy's plan all along. Lloyd makes his the casual manner a terrible double edged sword in that he can bring someone to join him as easily as he will dispose of them. This is a great performance by Lloyd effortlessly creating this suave criminal who is so fascinating it is a shame that the entire film was not about his character.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1993: Sam Neill in The Piano

Sam Neill did not receive an Oscar nomination, although he did receive an AFI nomination, but since Reb Brown received one of those one can perhaps question their validity, for portraying Alistair Stewart in The Piano.

The Piano is a powerful film about a mute woman Ada (Holly Hunter) and her daughter who go to New Zealand with her prized piano. She is sent to be married to a wealthy plantation owner, but ends up becoming involved with the plantation owner's friend Baines (Harvey Keitel).

Sam Neill portrays the plantation owner, and really this is a role one can probably predict quite a bit about from the moment you see him on screen. The other man in the love triangle is a role that can easily be an extremely one dimensional character. These characters sometimes can be just extremely dull straw men simply there to show how great the other romantic lead is, or they can be just one dimensional evil villains who are evil just for evil's sake it seems. Although I won't say that the part of Alistair is that complex of a character, he thankfully is not either of the two types of the other man used in lesser films.

Alistair is a character who has the tenants of these sorts of characters is that he is the richer man, he is the first man, and he really does not understand Ada very well. Well Neill should get a great deal of credit here in that he does not settle allowing Alistair to be a simplistic character in that he does a very good job in showing that Alistair's reaction to her is not something because he is too little of a character to understand, but rather he genuinely does not know what to do with her. Neill actually conveys an earnestness in his character that portrays Alistair as a man who honestly wants to understand but he can't.

Alistair is not a perfect man in any way, far far from it in fact. Neill though plays him as a man who is attempting to be some sort of husband, and father but really can't quite fit the role. One particular good moment early on in the film is when he trying to comb his hair properly as he is going to meet Ada for the first time. Neill does well in showing Alistair's attempt to turn himself into what he believes he is suppose to be, but really there is that lack of experience and fear of sorts underlying in his face. Neill creates this problem well in Alistair that works quite well later on in the film.

Later in the film when Alistair finds of the affair between Ada and Baines, Neill is quite good because he does not portray it as you might expect. Again Neill is good because he does not portray simply anger in Alistair, as he really has not become that attached to Ada, but rather he quite effective making the reaction one of bewilderment. Alistair is not at all relieved by her continuing going to Baines even after saying he knows, and later even tempting Alistair, but not allowing him to touch her. Alastair's reaction to the affair soon becomes extreme, than later becomes quite reasonable, this would seem hard to believe but Neill makes it work.

Neill makes the two actions of Alistair first one of extreme violence toward Ada, than later one of understanding. This works because Neill's depiction throughout showing Alistair as a man trying comprehend Ada. Her actions that throw him into violence is shown by Neill as the worst possible thing for Alistair, as her continued actions against his will only lead him to a worse state of inability to discern her. Neill makes his violence towards her less of actual hate, but rather of frustration. His just as extreme turnaround is actually earned by Neill because he portrays a realization in Alistair. This works because it is not of Alistair finally knows what Ada wants, but rather simply that he is better off without her because he has not idea how to understand her. Neill does exactly what he needs to in this role, making his character's action entirely believable. With all of that said though I would say while good in the role he is not what your remember from the film. Both Harvey Keitel, and Neill are overshadowed by Holly Hunter's performance. Neill is most certainly good, I must stress that but his performance simply is not where the power of the film comes from.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1993: Ben Kingsley in Schindler's List

Ben Kingsley did not receive an Oscar nomination , although he did receive a Bafta nomination for portraying Itzhak Stern in Schindler's List.

Ben Kingsley despite being nominated two years before along with Harvey Keitel in his wholly uninspired performance in Bugsy was not nominated along with Ralph Fiennes for this film. This is perhaps a little strange as the academy loved the film, clearly loves Kingsley, but since it was probably Peter Postlethwaite who took his place I am not going to complain too much about the oversight. The reason his performance perhaps though was left off is just how understated he is in the role of Itzhak Stern an accountant who takes most the responsibility in setting up and maintaining Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson)'s factory that ends up saving many Jews from the Nazis.

Ben Kingsley early on the film portrays Itzhak Stern as a man who tries to be almost a nonentity acting around Schindler. Stern does not only set up the factory for Schindler, but while doing so he helps many people find work at the factory who would otherwise likely be sent to a death camp. Kingsley is very good here as Stern is quiet around Schindler in that early on his task of saving others is really something that is hidden from Schindler who only really desires the Jewish workers to save money. Kingsley goes about his performance showing Stern as a man very much of his task, and going up trying to bring as many people to the factory carefully and cautiously.

There are many scenes where Stern is a man among others quietly observing as he stays out of the way of death, such as a certain scene where he slowly walks as someone is killed by sniper fire near him. Kingsley is always very powerful in these scenes. He is able to create this man who is a powerful internal strength that keeps him together through all of the horrible events that transpire around him. Kingsley poignantly though does portray the very honest small reactions of Stern as he sees the horror. A great deal of credit must be given to Kingsley as he does convey the emotions so genuinely yet handles them in the appropriate restrained fashion caused by the precarious circumstances his character is in.

Kingsley is effective in that he does not show Stern as a man who changes during the film, whereas that is the main focus with Schindler in the film, instead he portrays well the slowly changes how Stern views and reacts to Schindler. At first Kingsley has Stern treat Schindler in a business like fashion, even though he does well to portray the very real concerns that always weigh on Stern, but he is rather cold to Schindler who he is using in the same way Schindler is using him. Kingsley eases into Stern treating Schindler as someone who can be exploited, for good ends but exploited nevertheless, to something a little more.

The change in the relationship is brilliantly handled by both actors. Kingsley does well because he never does rush it as first really Stern comes closer to Schindler in that the situation for Stern and the other Jews becomes more and more dire. Kingsley is terrific in emphasizing the earnest want in Stern to save as many people as he can, as well as his very serious concerns due to the deaths all around him. He shows well the pressures Stern is under as well as the way he channels these pressures to Schindler as keeping safe becomes slowly more difficult.

Stern stands as a constant of morality during the film. Kinglsey is able to effortlessly bring to life this genuine goodness throughout the film, and in a way his performance actually allows the transformation of Schindler entirely earned. At the end of the film the two really become true friends, and Kingsley is moving in showing how he finally opens up to Schindler in his beliefs in regard to what is right. Kingsley is very powerful in the moments of realization for Schindler, as he stands firm and reminds Schindler what a great thing he has done, as well as what his actions truly mean. Kingsley simply is outstanding through the film bringing to life the righteousness of his character in all honesty without having a single false moment in his entire performance.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1993: Val Kilmer in Tombstone

Val Kilmer did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying John Henry "Doc" Holliday in Tombstone.

Tombstone is an entertaining film depicting the violent feud between gunfighter Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell)’s group of men, against a group of criminals known as the Cowboys.

The role of Doc Holliday certainly is one that requires an actor to really sink his teeth into the part. Doc Holliday by his very nature is going to be a bit of a larger than life character, despite being a very real person. Holliday not only had a medical background he as well is a fast gun, a drinker, a compulsive gambler and to top it off he is slowly dying from Tuberculosis. There just is not anything particularly subtle about this man, and Val Kilmer certainly takes a flamboyant approach to the part which makes absolute sense.

Kilmer here takes on a very particular accent that quite well used, and accentuates the history of his character fabulously. It does well in showing the cultured fellow that Holliday is, and it perfectly displays the manner in which Holliday approaches his life. Kilmer properly plays Holliday as a man who very much is aware that he will not be living particularly long. Kilmer is excellent in creating the underlying melcholia that understandably is within Holliday at all times, but this is never a depressing performance. Kilmer avoids any notion of depression through the fashion in which he portrays the way Holliday tries to get the most out what life he has left.

Kilmer takes on most scenes with a slight well placed comedic touch as he shows that even in situations of life and death Holliday tries to find some enjoyment in them. The idea of having a character who doesn’t even seem to take the most serious of situations seriously is certainly a tricky one to portray well, but Kilmer manages to handle it with a wonderful ease. Kilmer finds just the right tone for his character believable portraying his constant bemusement while still managing to bring the necessary weight to certain scenes. He never compromises any side of his character bringing all of these different emotions into one man.

Kilmer’s Doc Holliday is always entertaining, but Kilmer especially shines whenever Holliday is challenged. Kilmer absolutely commands these scenes with a quiet assurance. He does it with considerable style as he shows the way that Holliday both mentally and physically controls the situation. He is great in every one of these scenes, but his best is when he duels Johnny Ringo. Kilmer plays the scene out almost in a dance he does it all so beautifully. He unquestionably brings to life the intense, uncompromising power in the man about while handling the scene still so casually, the scene is terrific and made so by Kilmer’s brilliant performance.

The character of Doc Holliday is made the most moving part of the film through Kilmer’s portrayal, that just hits the right marks through the entirety of the film. This is a strong piece of acting by Val Kilmer, that shows a range from him which viewing some of his other performances one would probably not be aware of. He fills the part with such genuine humor, and poignancy. Kilmer completely steals not only every scene he is in, but as well the whole film. Frankly it is very likely the film would not even have worked without Kilmer’s depiction of the dying gunfighter. Doc Holliday is a larger than life character, and Kilmer manages to be the larger life character Doc should be but as well still keeps him within an appropriate reality.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1993: Richard Jordan in Gettysburg

Richard Jordan did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Brigadier General Lewis A. "Lo" Armistead in Gettysburg. 
Gettysburg is an excellent film that depicts the pivotal three day battle of Gettysburg that turned the tide of the American Civil War.  

Gettysburg as a film depicts both the Union and Confederate sides of the war. The Union side is shown mostly through Jeff Daniels's strong performance as professor turned soldier Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, but on the confederate side there are many men spotlighted the most compelling one being General Armistead. Armistead is a General in the Confederate army. He is an important General but he is below several others in terms of rank. His part acts as one of the most poignant though due to the fact that his role portrays well what exactly the struggle of the Civil War truly was. 

What is persuasive throughout Jordan's performance is the anguish in Armistead knowing that his friend Winfield Scott Hancock (Brian Mallon) is a general in the Union army and is on the opposite end of the battle field. The two personify the terrible divide caused by the war, and Jordan makes the most in showing just how terrible of thing the war really was in the way he separated friends and brothers. Even though we never see anything that takes place before the battle or any events in the lives of these men before this time Jordan still with an aspiring ease creates this history between Armistead and Hancock. 

What is spectacular is that Jordan really just through his own performance which never interacts with Mallon ever in the film, he creates one of the most powerful friendships in a film. Jordan does this especially well in just the sheer enthusiasm that he displays within Armistead from his very first scene as he asks one of his superiors if he knows anything about the whereabouts of his friend. Although Hancock is very much so his enemy on this battlefield, Jordan genuinely portrays the love within Armistead that even despite his current divide the friendship still lies well in his heart. 

Importantly in Jordan's performance is the fact that he does not try to portray Armistead as a man who is not very much for his cause. Jordan not only shows that Armistead very much believes in the fight right to the end of the battle, but in fact gives the most stirring moment in the film on the confederate side of the battlefield. His speech at the end of the film is very well portrayed by Jordan and is able to honestly create the sentiment that was able to lead all of the men into an ultimately fatal charge. Jordan does not create this sentiment as something foolhardy but more properly is able to convey the conviction of their beliefs that compelled them to their demise. 

The friendship aspect of Armistead is the most important one though, and Jordan absolutely does his best to realize just how deeply this weighs on Armistead. In the scene where Armistead tells his superior General Longstreet (Tom Berenger) about the last time he talked to Hancock. Jordan is incredible in this scene as he so well brings vividly to life the moment in which the two saw each other for the last time. Jordan beautifully creates the jumbled emotions that Armistead is going through in his mind as he does his best to try and get through the story. There is only an emotional truth in this moment from Jordan that is just a stunning scene from Jordan showing exactly why Armistead cannot lose his anguish. 

What is amazing though is the scene I referred to before is not the most powerful one. At the end of the film Armistead leads a group in the fatal charge, but his severely wounded during it. As he lays most likely going to die he tries to get a message through to his friend only learning that his friend has also been wounded. Jordan makes this final scene of his performance as well as his career one to be truly remembered. Jordan is utterly heartbreaking as he portrays the intense pain and overwhelming regret he feels in what seems to be his last moments knowing he will never sees his friend again. It is a devastating end to his character that is portrayed so perfectly by Jordan, he makes it the most moving moment in the entire film. This is an outstanding performance by Robert Jordan that pierces through the whole of this over four hour film.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1993

And the Nominees Were Not:

Richard Jordan in Gettysburg 

Sam Neill in The Piano 

Ben Kingsley in Schindler's List

Val Kilmer in Tombstone

Sean Penn in Carlito's Way

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1954: Results

5. Clifton Webb in Three Coins in a Fountain- Webb is a bit wasted in his film, but he does well to create a warmer take on his most frequent role as a snobbish intellectual.

Best Scene: Shadwell confesses both his love and the fact that he is dying. 
4. Raymond Burr in Rear Window- Burr certainly gets help from his director, but in very key moments his performance as well amplifies power of his character within the film.

Best Scene: Thorwald notices Jeff.
3. Fred MacMurray in The Caine Mutiny- MacMurray makes for an excellent villain playing the part with such charm that he tricks you into thinking that he is not even the villain.

Best Scene: Keefer suggests the officers mutiny. 
2. Peter Lorre in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea- Lorre is a very likable and lends some very nice lighthearted relief in his film as the endearing sidekick Conseil.

Best Scene: Any scene between Conseil and Ned Land.
1. Van Johnson in The Caine Mutiny-Johnson gives the best performance not nominated for an Oscar this year through his moving down to earth portrayal of a man who tries to do the right thing despite tremendous pressures all around him.

Best Scene: Maryk takes the stand in his court martial. 
Overall Rank:
  1. Toshiro Mifune in Seven Samurai
  2. Rod Steiger in On the Waterfront
  3. Lee J. Cobb in On the Waterfront
  4. Karl Malden in On The Waterfront
  5. Alastair Sim in An Inspector Calls
  6. Humphrey Bogart in The Caine Mutiny
  7. Fredric March in Executive Suite
  8. Peter Finch in The Detective
  9. Van Johnson in The Caine Mutiny
  10. Peter Lorre in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  11. Kuroemon Onoe in Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto
  12. Richard Basehart in La Strada
  13. Fred MacMurray in The Caine Mutiny
  14. Raymond Burr in Rear Window
  15. Van Johnson in Brigadoon 
  16. Geoffrey Keen in Carrington V.C
  17. John Williams in Dial M For Murder  
  18. Eitaro Shindo in The Crucified Lovers
  19. Jose Ferrer in The Caine Mutiny 
  20. Geoffrey Keen in Doctor in the House
  21. Louis Calhern in Executive Suite
  22. Clifton Webb in Three Coins in a Fountain
  23. Edmund Gwenn in Them!
  24. Rene Dary in  Touchez Pas Au Grisbi
  25. John Williams in Sabrina 
  26. Allen Cuthbertson in Carrington V.C
  27. Brian Worth in An Inspector Calls
  28. Robert Cummings in Dial M For Murder
  29. Minoru Chiaki in Seven Samurai
  30. Bryan Forbes in An Inspector Calls
  31. Isao Kimura in Seven Samurai  
  32. Lee Marvin in The Raid
  33. Emile Meyer in Riot in Cell Block 11
  34. Broderick Crawford in Human Desire
  35. John Hamilton in On the Waterfront 
  36. Paul Fix in The High and the Mighty
  37. Walter Pidgeon in Executive Suite 
  38. Otto Kruger in Magnificent Obsession
  39. Seiji Miyaguchi in Seven Samurai
  40. Pat Henning in On the Waterfront 
  41. Alexander Knox in The Divided Heart
  42. Yoshio Inaba in Seven Samurai 
  43. Lino Ventura in Touchez Pas Au Grisbi
  44. Robert Newton in The High and the Mighty 
  45. Geoffrey Keen in The Divided Heart
  46. James Robertson Justice in Doctor in the House
  47. Walter Brennan in The Far Country
  48. Paul Douglas in Executive Suite
  49. Rentaro Mikuni in Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto
  50. Richard Widmark in Broken Lance
  51. Ernest Borgnine in Johnny Guitar
  52. Donald Houston in Doctor in the House
  53. Arthur Young in An Inspector Calls
  54. Walter Hampden in Sabrina
  55. Dean Jagger in Executive Suite 
  56. Edmond O'Brien in The Barefoot Contessa
  57. Wendell Corey in Rear Window 
  58. Brock Peters in Carmen Jones
  59. Harry Morgan in The Glenn Miller Story 
  60. Charles Bronson in Vera Cruz
  61. Ernest Borgnine in Vera Cruz 
  62. Robert Stack in The High and the Mighty
  63. Paul Muller in Journey to Italy
  64. John McIntire in The Far Country
  65. William Holden in The Country Girl 
  66. Cesar Romero in Vera Cruz 
  67. Jack Carson in Phffft
  68. Dean Jagger in White Christmas
  69. Charles Bickford in A Star is Born 
  70. Cecil Parker in The Detective 
  71. E.G. Marshall in Broken Lance
  72. Russ Tamblyn in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
  73. Noah Beery Jr. in The Black Dakotas
  74. Rory Calhoun in River of No Return
  75. Tom Tully in The Caine Mutiny
  76. Sidney Blackmer in The High and the Mighty
  77. Louis Jordan in Three Coins in a Fountain
  78. Jack Carson in A Star is Born 
  79. John Broomfield in The Black Dakotas
  80. Rossano Brazzi in Three Coins in a Fountain
Next Year:  1993 supporting

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1954: Clifton Webb in Three Coins in a Fountain

Clifton Webb did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying John Frederick Shadwell in Three Coins in a Fountain.

Three Coins in a Fountain is a very breezy film about three women trying to find love in Rome. I can't say it is particularly compelling especially since two of three relationships in the film are quite dull.

Clifton Webb here once again portrays a upper crust character who certainly has a high opinion of himself. I would say that the writer John Frederick Shadwell is considerably less into himself than Waldo Lydecker, his character in Laura, or that of Mr. Belvedere in Sitting Pretty. In fact this is very much a character in the vein of the type Webb tended to play, but actually Webb shows his ability to soften his characterization quite well. Shadwell still is very assured of his own intelligence, but Webb does well in softening the edge of his usual manner here.

John Frederick Shadwell does not appear all that often in the film, and certainly has the least amount of screen time out of the three men. This is unfortunate as he is the most interesting of the three, he as well does not really get his part in the film until late into the last third of the film. Webb actually does well in doing his usual thing, because like John Gielguld he was simply very good at being the upper crust sort so why not cast him in such a role. The role simply suits Webb's style perfectly, but he does well in not giving the exact same performance as his other earlier performances.

Webb actually is quite good in being a warmer sort of intelligentsia. He still critiques and constantly presents his opinion in an incisive manner, but here Webb dials back the cynicism taking an honestly more charming approach. Webb shows that Shadwell does not mind flaunting his knowledge by he tries to be nice and considerate about it as much as he is able to do so. It actually is quite difficult to make what is a very snobbish character likable, but Webb does here in a similar manner to the way John Gielgud did in Arthur. He is not quite on the level of that performance here, but he does the nicer snob well.

Webb does not really become a part of the romance aspect of the film until very late in it when his secretary Miss Francis (Dorothy Maguire) finally indicates her love for him, but at the same he finds he is in all very likely hood he is terminally ill. I must say despite being given the least amount of time I actually cared about this romance far more than the other two. Webb and Maguire are actually quite nice together because they do not try to push on the romantic elements of their relationship, and because of that their relationship feels a little more natural actually.

Webb and Maguire are given the short end of the stick as they are forced to do something with the extremely limited amount of time they have. They do make the most of it in that I found their's far more moving than the other two in the film, which felt rather forced. The limitations of the role do bare down on Webb's performance which never becomes as substantial as it might of been if the film had not put him in the back seat in favor of lesser performances. This still is a good performance by Clifton Webb, and it does well in showing that there is more than just one way to play a snob.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1954: Peter Lorre in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Peter Lorre did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Conseil in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Peter Lorre despite his long career as an actor was never nominated for an Oscar. Although to be sure he probably was not in consideration for this performance it is still worth looking at. When one refers to playing against type one would usually says a villainous performance from a actor who tends to play heroic performances. Peter Lorre in this film is the opposite case who commonly played monsters villains even apparently commenting that the giant squid in this film had the role that was usually given to him. In this film though Lorre does not play a villain by any means in fact one could easily argue he is the most positive character in the film.

Where James Mason's Nemo is too hell bent on his revenge, Kirk Douglas's Ned Land perhaps is a little to quick to becomes an adversary to Nemo, and Paul Lukas's professor is perhaps just a little too eager to sympathize with Nemo, Conseil for the most part just wants to do what is best for all of three of them who ended up on Nemo's submarine. This is a supporting performance in the most traditional way, in that Conseil is a wholly supportive character. He never has his own personal scenes and he is always very much a sidekick at first of the professor than later Ned's.

Lorre simply is adorable in the role as Conseil and is just a warm very likable presence throughout the film. He might be the least important figure out of the four stars of the film, but he still leaves his own mark on the film in his own way. He is a very nice warm presence and it is really something special within in the film. He lightens things up in the film in just the right way despite never really feeling like an sort of comic relief. Lorre though shows well his under utilized talent of some nice comedic timing here and there in his down to earth reactions to the strange events occurring around. I particularly like when he demands a "fair trial" aboard the submarine.

His two relationships in the film are with the professor and Land. His relationship with the professor is appropriate enough, but he becomes Ned's friend when he sees that the professor is too wowed by Nemo's discoveries for his own good. Lorre and Douglas have excellent comedic chemistry with one another, and their interactions are some of the more enjoyable parts of the film. Whether it is the two of them running from cannibals, the repeated hair tossing gag, or when Douglas lets Lorre do a retribution punch to confirm their friendship they are always a great deal of fun together. Their lighthearted moments really work well, and are effective in the way they properly balance against some of the weightier scenes involving Mason's Nemo.

Lorre here is a quiet charmer with this performance and does well to make Conseil a low key but entertaining part of the film. His moments are small and short in regards to film, but I have to say I liked everything Lorre did in the role. This certainly is far from his more complex performances earlier in his career, but that does not mean this is not a performance worth mentioning. Lorre does his very best in making what could have been a truly throwaway side kick character, but instead makes Conseil a very warm and endearing character in the film. This simply is a treat for any Lorre fan as one can see that he could be just as much of a loveable teddy bear, as he could be a fierce monster.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1954: Raymond Burr in Rear Window

Raymond Burr did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Lars Thorwald in Rear Window.

This is not a usual performance by any means as Lars Thorwald is at first just one of the many people being watched by James Stewart's L.B. "Jeff" Jefferies as he tries to pass the time as his broken legs slowly heals. At the beginning not one of the windows really stands out especially as they are all seem to do their own thing, but slowly something odd seems to come up when Lars the man in the apartment across from his window seems to no longer have his invalid wife with him.

In many ways this is an impersonal performance as we seem Thorwald only from a great distance from Jeff's apartment and we rarely hear him. When we do here Thorwald it is distance and faint. For the most part it is easy to argue that really all of the performances out the window are very much a product of Alfred Hitchcock the director and not as much by the actor. I would say that is possibly quite true for some if not most, but I would not say that really is that case as Thorwald who becomes the most interesting person out the window.

Thorwald of course becomes the most fascinating when Jeff suspects that Thorwald may have killed his wife. Before the suspicions we just see Thorwald which Burr does well as a tired and not particularly happily married man of his wife. There is nothing that one should expect really expect from him, as he may be just a normal unhappily married man. After suspicions arise though Jeff starts to look more closely, and more comes from Burr's performance as Thorwald. After the murder Burr does just right with his part as a man doing some sort of job, but the question is what he is doing.

Burr creates the mystery of Thorwald well suggesting something very dark about Thorwald, but still leaving it entirely open that Jeff just might have too much free time on his hand. This becomes less likely though as we see more of Thorwald, and more of Burr. In the close up moments Burr does his best to make the most out of them to actually create Thorwald into a villain that works well for the film and actually even a more in depth character than one would expect given the circumstances.

In his very short moments where we see his reactions to the accusations, Burr does not portray just a blunt one dimensional villain, but more effectively portrays a very scared man suggesting that perhaps Thorwald's murder was something quite sudden and hasty. This is not to say though that Burr does not make Thorwald a proper threat. In his face he conveys a certain instinctual violence that is properly freighting. It is not that Thorwald is exactly a serial killer, but Burr shows that he is certainly capable of murdering to protect himself.

My two favorite two moments of his performance sum up the success of his performance. The first moment being when Thorwald finally looks and sees that Jeff is watching him. Burr's look of contained anger, and fear is very chilling creating a great deal of dread as he leaves his apartment and goes to Jeff's. The second moments is finally when he confronts Jeff and Thorwald asks Jeff why he is doing this. Burr is terrific in this moment as Burr does not deliver the questions so much like threats but rather like pleads. In strange way Burr actually makes you feel a little sorry for him, becuase he actually manages to humanize Thorwald. He makes Thorwald honestly a character, but as well still a proper villain for the film.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1954: Fred MacMurray and Van Johnson in The Caine Mutiny

Fred MacMurray did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Lieutenant Tom Keefer the communications officer in The Caine Mutiny.

Fred MacMurray did not find himself nominated for this role despite Tom Tully being nominated for his wholly unimpressive performance. MacMurray like he did later in the Apartment manages to show his ability to portray a slimy character with a certain style all his own. I guess maybe the academy never nominated MacMurray was that most of his work was too lightweight for their tastes, than perhaps his best work was always as too much of a despicable character for their tastes.

MacMurray though excels with the character of Tom Keefer a man who is only in the navy in the moment and seems far more interested in writing his novel than really doing a proper job on his ship. MacMurray is excellent because his naturally warm presence makes it so you really do not suspect that Keefer is nearly as lowly as one might think. He cynical behavior never really comes off as one would imagine, and he really manages to make the character of Keefer work through his distinctly Fred MacMurray manner.

Keefer role in the film ends up being the one who lays the seeds in his fellow officers mind that the Caine's new Captain Queeg (Humphrey Bogart) is mentally unstable. MacMurray is really perfect in the role because although his character is devious from the start of Queeg's command, MacMurray shows it his eyes, but not in his way. When he tries to convince his other officers of the Captain's problems MacMurray is entirely convincing that he could sway them due to his charm that absolutely works for the character of Keefer.

When his true colors come out near the end of the film MacMurray is very good because he doesn't compromise the rest of his performance. In the moment where he even admits his pitiful actions, MacMurray is good in that he portrays the fact that Keefer still never seems to feel that much shame. MacMurray instead stays true to his self indulgent character who only really feels shame for the fact that he ended up being caught on his behavior. This is a good performance from MacMurray that succeeds in portraying well the tricky character of Keefer who needed to be a villain without ever seeming one.
The only performance better in the Caine Mutiny than MacMurray's is found in Van Johnson's who was also not nominated for his turn as Lieutenant Steve Maryk.

Van Johnson portrays the executive officer Steve Maryk who really is the heart of the film, and actually feels like he should have been lead of the film. Well that would at least make the film better since it would spare us the very dull performance by Robert Francis as Ensign Keith, and the even duller romantic subplot that could have been excised completely from the film. It also would have also been made better because Van Johnson as Maryk, who seems to be the only one of the officers who seems to treat the Naval institutions properly in the film, is clearly the standout of the film.

Van Johnson who bears his very real scars in the film, which he usually covered up with makeup, realizes the character of Maryk beautifully. Johnson plays Maryk as a friendly officer who genuinely enjoys doing his duties on the ship, but as well takes his job with the appropriate seriousness. Johnson is pretty much the exact opposite of MacMurray's portrayal. Where MacMurray's portrayal was really one of underhanded cynicism, Johnson on the other hand is one of openness and honesty. He makes the positive aspects of his character of truthful, and easily makes Maryk the most likable character in the film.

When Queeg comes on board Johnson is very good because unlike MacMurray there is not a hidden hostility portrayed, but instead a genuine concern for Queeg's methods. There is nothing false about Johnson's portrayal of Maryk caring for his men, as well as running the ship in a way that works, he makes his problems with Queeg's methods ones of true concern opposed to Keefer's far petty problems with Queeg. Johnson is already very good but his performance only becomes better when Keefer starts to push the issue of Queeg's mental instability. Johnson's portrayal of Maryk's struggle with the issue as a highlight of the film.

Van Johnson is very effective in portraying Maryk's approach to dealing with Queeg's problems as well as Keefer's persistence. He keeps Maryk as a man who is very much still devoted to the Naval code, and method as evidence by the scenes where he stops the extreme mocking of Queeg. Johnson is moving because he portrays well the strong persistent beliefs in the naval tradition and does well in showing the degree of disgust Maryk feels of the other men's over zealousness in dismissing Queeg. He as well though does properly convey the internal feelings of doubt in his mind over Queeg's performance.

It is Johnson who delivers on the central conflict of the film which is to break naval protocol and mutiny to save the ship. It is Johnson's ability to give weight to the conflict within Maryk own mind that makes us sympathize with him with the mutiny, and importantly we stay with Maryk through the court martial. Johnson makes us very concerned for Maryk because he only ever showed genuine concern on the ship. Johnson creates the most powerful moments of the film during the court material through his moving heart wrenching reactions to some of the testimony that could put him at the end of a rope.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1954

And the Nominees Were Not:

Peter Lorre in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Raymond Burr in Rear Window

Clifton Webb in Three Coins in The Fountain

Van Johnson in The Caine Mutiny

Fred MacMurray in The Caine Mutiny

Alternate Supporting Actor 1947: Ranking

 The simple truth about this year is that there are not a great deal of performances that really stick out that need to be nominated. The lead performances just stand out with far more strength than the supporting ones. Even in a film like Odd Man Out, which has a solid supporting cast none of the supporting players hold attention nearly as well as James Mason's lead performance. That is the case for almost every film this year. I will instead just do five short reviews of some fairly random performances, since this year in film there just are not a great deal of supporting performances that stick out as something that really must be reviewed.

Kirk Douglas in Out of Past- Douglas gives an an appropriately devious performance as the film villain. He has a great deal of fun when his character is in control of the situation, but he dials it back properly when he is not. This is not on the level of Richard Widmark's work from this year, since Douglas is not in the film all that much. It is an effectively handled slimy characterization though, and Douglas adds a great deal to his film with his presence. 4/5

F.J. McCormick in Odd Man Out- Odd Man Out has a great deal of fine performances from Robert Newton as a lunatic painter to Robert Beatty's loyal man who tries to help the injured IRA operative Johnny McQueen (James Mason). My favorite though is with McCormick as a slightly daffy bird keeper who tries to profit from finding the operative, but is quite in over his head in the whole affair. McCormick gives a enjoyable performance, that lights up the latter half right when the film needs it. He is quite a bit of fun, and is an effortless comic relief. He also quite effectively brings about a conscious in his character even if it is hasty, McCormick believably handles it. In fact he eventually almost becomes a moral compass of all his own as he sees where the story goes. McCormick's final reactions to end are particularly moving, and powerfully handled. He frankly makes far far more out of his part than really ever seemed required of him. 4/5
Gene Lockhart in Miracle on 34th Street- Gene Lockhart is quite enjoyable in this film as the judge who presides over the trial to prove whether Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) is Santa Clause or not. His motivation almost entirely comes form his election prospects which he is reminded of constantly by his political manager (William Frawley, doing his usual thing but doing it well). Lockhart's reactions throughout the trail scenes are quite enjoyable, and I particularly enjoy his direct conversations both verbal and non verbal with Frawley's character. This is a nice enjoyable part of the film that is appropriately entertaining. 3.5/5
David Farrar in Black Narcissus- Farrar's character in this film acts as a temptation for the Nuns who have recently come to the Himalayas. Farrar's performance is appropriately virile in his own way, and he makes the problems that develop because of him believable. The main reason for this is that a coldness perpetuates within his performance, though as he both seems to encourage as well as discourage Nuns to have interest in him at the same time. He is not incredible but he serves his function well within the film. 3/5

Charles Coburn and Charles Laughton in The Paradine Case- The Paradine Case is not a very remembered Alfred Hitchcock thriller for a reason. It is rather poorly handled, the leading performance by Gregory Peck does not carry enough of an internal conflict necessary for the film. There is some of Hitchcock's trademark directorial flair but not enough to make up for the lackluster story. The film does have two great character actors in it, Charles Coburn and Laughton who besides sharing a first name also share similar ability to steal scenes through their witty styles. I would say though that Coburn always comes off as a much warmer personality, and Laughton as a colder one. In this film Coburn is the legal adviser for Peck's character. Coburn is his usually charming self, and does his best to add some life to the proceedings. Although he does not save the film he successfully steals all the scenes from Peck that he is given the chance to effectively bringing to life the great legal mind his character is suppose to be. Laughton is given an odd role in that he has a subplot that is bizarre and really does not go anywhere about his character seeming disinterested with everything. Laughton tries to do something with his part, and with his natural charisma does his best, but unfortuantely nothing really comes from the part due to the bizarre requirements of it. Coburn 3.5/5, Laughton 2.5/5

Overall Rank:
  1. Louis Jouvet in Quai des Orfèvres
  2. Richard Widmark in Kiss of Death
  3. Toshiro Mifune in Snow Trail 
  4. Walter Slezak in Born to Kill
  5. Kirk Douglas in Out of the Past
  6. F.J. McCormick in Odd Man Out
  7. Robert Ryan in Crossfire
  8. Hume Cronyn in in Brute Force 
  9. Everett Sloane in The Lady From Shanghai
  10. Thomas Gomez in Ride the Pink Horse
  11. Charles Bickford in The Woman on the Beach
  12. Gene Lockhart in Miracle on 34th Street
  13. Van Heflin in Possessed
  14. Lee J. Cobb in Johnny O'Clock
  15. William Frawley in Miracle on 34th Street
  16. Ray Collins in The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
  17. Charles Bickford in Brute Force 
  18. Sam Jaffe in 13 Rue Madeleine 
  19. Ian Keith in Nightmare Alley
  20. George Sanders in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
  21. Arthur Kennedy in Boomerang! 
  22. Richard Conte in 13 Rue Madeleine
  23. Elisha Cooke Jr. in Born To Kill 
  24. Robert Beatty in Odd Man Out
  25. Akitake Kono in Snow Trail
  26. Charles Coburn in The Paradine Case
  27. Jerome Cowan in Miracle on 34th Street 
  28. Clifton Young in Dark Passage
  29. Monty Woolley in The Bishop's Wife 
  30. Robert Newton in Odd Man Out 
  31. Patric Knowles in Ivy
  32. Lee J. Cobb in Boomerang!
  33. Robert Mitchum in Crossfire
  34. Edmond O'Brien in A Double Life
  35. David Farrar in Black Narcissus 
  36. Raymond Massey in Possessed
  37. Philip Tonge in Miracle on 34th Street 
  38. Fred Clark in Ride the Pink Horse 
  39. Ted De Corsia in The Lady From Shanghai
  40. Tom D'Andrea in Dark Passage
  41. W.G. Fay in Odd Man Out 
  42. James Gleason in The Bishop's Wife
  43. Denis O'Dea in Odd Man Out 
  44. Herbert Marshall in Ivy
  45. Harry Davenport in The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
  46. Percy Kilbride in The Egg and I
  47. Porter Hall in Miracle on 34th Street 
  48. Cedric Hardwicke in Ivy
  49. Boris Karloff in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
  50. Rudy Vallee in The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
  51. Keenan Wynn in The Song of the Thin Man
  52. Charles Dullin in Quai des Orfèvres
  53. Art Smith in Ride the Pink Horse 
  54. Charles Bickford in The Farmer's Daughter
  55. Charles Laughton in The Paradine Case
  56. Leo G. Carroll in The Paradine Case
  57. Raymond Massey in The Mourning Becomes Electra
  58. Louis Jordan in The Paradine Case
  59. John Garfield in Gentleman's Agreement
  60. Kirk Douglas in The Mourning Becomes Electra 
  61. Bruce Bennett in Dark Passage
  62. Philip Terry in Born to Kill
  63. George Cooper in Crossfire
  64. Brian Donlevy in Kiss of Death 
  65. Rory Calhoun in The Red House
  66. Leo Genn in The Mourning Becomes Electra 
  67. Glenn Anders in The Lady From Shanghai 
  68. Sabu in Black Narcissus
Next Year: 1954 Supporting

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2011: Results

5. John Hawkes in Martha Marcy May Marlene- Hawkes combines effortlessly a charming and threatening personality in his portrayal of a cult leader.
4. Viggo Mortensen in A Dangerous Method- Mortensen gives a strong performance as Sigmund Freud succeeding well in creating the charismatic and persuasive personality of the man.
3. Bryan Cranston in Drive- Cranston even with his limited screen time creates both an enthusiastic as well as tragic presence in his film.
2. Brad Pitt in The Tree of Life- Pitt gives an astonishing performance and fully realizes his character despite limitations created by the direction of the film.
1. Mark Strong in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy- Strong wins this year for me, even with Brooks who on re-watch I still love, and  would give a 5, but he is no longer my favorite of the year. That goes to Strong even though it is close very close among the top three. Strong is my favorite though who gives an absolutely masterful performance, there is not a wasted moment or even a single facial gesture in his portrayal.
Overall Rank:
  1. Mark Strong in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  2. Albert Brooks in Drive
  3. Brad Pitt in The Tree of Life
  4. Brian Cox in Coriolanus
  5. Bryan Cranston in Drive
  6. Tom Hardy in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 
  7. Viggo Mortensen in A Dangerous Method
  8. John Hurt in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 
  9. Don Cheadle in The Guard 
  10. Benedict Cumberbatch in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 
  11. Sam Worthington in The Debt
  12. John Hawkes in Martha Marcy May Marlene
  13. Ben Kingsley in Hugo
  14. Kevin Spacey in Margin Call
  15. Gerard Butler in Coriolanus
  16. Tom Hiddleston in Thor
  17. Colin Firth in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 
  18. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in Headhunters
  19. Oscar Isaac in Drive 
  20. Kenneth Branagh in My Week With Marilyn
  21. Max Von Sydow in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close 
  22. Corey Stoll in Midnight in Paris 
  23. Patton Oswalt in Young Adult
  24. Shahab Hosseini in A Separation 
  25. Jared Harris in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
  26. Toby Jones in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy  
  27. Bobby Cannavale in Win Win
  28. Jeremy Irons in Margin Call
  29. Christopher Plummer in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo 
  30. David Dencik in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 
  31. Alan Rickman in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part II
  32. Ron Perlman in Drive  
  33. Liam Cunningham in The Guard
  34. Paul Bettany in Margin Call
  35. Kevin Bacon in X-Men First Class
  36. James Cromwell in The Artist
  37. Mark Strong in The Guard 
  38. Ben Foster in Rampart
  39. Bill Nighy in Rango
  40. Eddie Marsan in Tyrannosaur 
  41. Kiefer Sutherland Melancholia
  42. Kevin Spacey in Horrible Bosses 
  43. Jesper Christensen in The Debt
  44. Krzysztof Pieczyński in Suicide Room
  45. Jeremy Renner in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
  46. Stephen Fry in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
  47. Paul Giamatti in The Ides of March
  48. Stellan Skarsgard in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
  49. Laurence Fishburne in Contagion  
  50. John Slattery in The Adjustment Burea
  51. Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Ides of March
  52. Philip Quast in The Devil's Double
  53. Chris Cooper in The Muppets
  54. Matt Damon in Contagion  
  55. Terence Stamp in The Adjustment Burea
  56. Christopher Plummer in Beginners
  57. Matthew Lewis in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part II
  58. Ciaran Hinds in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  59. Jeffrey Wright in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close 
  60. Robert Forster in The Descendants
  61. Anthony Mackie in The Adjustment Burea
  62. Nick Frost in Attack the Block
  63. Jan Cornet in The Skin I Live In
  64. George Clooney in Ides of March
  65. Simon Pegg in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
  66. Yorick van Wageningen in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
  67. Nick Nolte in Warrior
  68. David Wilmot in The Guard  
  69. Stanley Tucci in Margin Call
  70. Burt Young in Win Win 
  71. John Hurt in Melancholia
  72. Toby Jones in Captain America 
  73. Eric Bana in Hanna  
  74. Jamie Bell in Jane Eyre 
  75. Ned Beatty in Rango
  76. Jeffrey Wright in Source Code 
  77. Anthony Hopkins in Thor 
  78. Ciaran Hinds in The Debt
  79. Ned Beatty in Rampart 
  80. Stellan Skarsgaard in Melancholia
  81. Brian Cox in Rise of the Planet of the Apes 
  82. Sam Rockwell in Cowboys & Aliens   
  83. Stellan Skarsgard in Thor
  84. Zachary Quinto in Margin Call
  85. Dwayne Johnson in Fast Five 
  86. Sacha Baron Cohen in Hugo 
  87. Tom Wilkinson in The Debt
  88. Vincent Cassel in A Dangerous Method
  89. Tom Hiddleston in War Horse 
  90. Sean Penn in The Tree of Life
  91. Matthew Lillard in The Descendants 
  92. Jonah Hill in Moneyball
  93. Jude Law in Contagion
  94. Tom Hiddleston in Midnight in Paris 
  95. Tom Felton in Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  96. Anton Yelchin in The Beaver
  97. Michael Nyqvist in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
  98. Philip Seymour Hoffman in Moneyball
  99. John Goodman in The Artist 
  100. Philip Baker Hall in 50/50
  101. Bryan Cranston in The Lincoln Lawyer
  102. Beau Bridges in The Descendants
  103. William H. Macy in Lincoln Lawyer
  104. Josh Lucas in J. Edgar
  105. Michael Sheen in Midnight in Paris
  106. Tom Hanks in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  107. Tommy Lee Jones in Captain American 
  108. Jamie Foxx in Horrible Bosses
  109. Nicholas Hoult in X-Men First Class
  110. Dominic Cooper in Captain America 
  111. Donald Sutherland in The Mechanic
  112. Seth Rogen in 50/50
  113. Ralph Fiennes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part II 
  114. Colin Farrell in Horrible Bosses
  115. Hugo Weaving in Captain America 
  116. Armie Hammer in J. Edgar 
  117. Hugh Dancy in Martha Marcy May Marlene
  118. Peter Mullan in War Horse
  119. David Thewlis in War Horse
  120. Nick Frost in Paul
  121. Jim Broadbent in The Iron Lady 
  122. Marton Csokas in The Debt
  123. James Badge Dale in Shame
  124. Joaquín Cosio in A Better Life 
  125. Niels Arestrup in War Horse 
  126. Ryan Phillipe in The Lincoln Lawyer
  127. Michael Arden in Source Code
  128. Robert Alamo in The Skin I Live In 
  129. David Oyelowo in Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  130. Goran Visnjic in Beginners 
  131. Ezra Miller in We Need to Talk About Kevin
  132. Nick Krause in The Descendants 
  133. Matt Milne in War Horse 
Next Year: 1947 Supporting (I might do this year differently)