Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Alternate Best Actor 1996: Results

5. Christopher Eccleston in Jude - I decided against a full review, and tried as a I might I couldn't quite find an obvious alternative, other than James Woods, but...I still didn't want to watch that film again. Eccleston to his part gives a fine performance here. It isn't anything too notable overall, as this sort wistful poetic type stuck, in his view, in a more provincial life. Eccleston gives a fine portrayal of sort of the romantic needs of the character, and his low key anguish regarding his inability to seemingly find quit the right life for himself. It doesn't amount to anything truly remarkable by any measure. His chemistry with Kate Winslet as the similarly minded woman is more than fine, though not especially notable. He is in fact a bit more interesting in his sort of anti-chemistry with Rachel Griffiths, as the woman he finds himself with, but is hardly of his dreams. Eccleston carries the film, and the character, well, but it doesn't leave too much of an impression in the end.

Best Scene: Finding what his son has done.
4. Phillippe Torreton in Captain Conan - Torreton gives a terrific performance in portraying a man who fashions himself as a true warrior, doing whatever it takes to win the battle and his carry his troops through even rather questionable circumstances.

Best Scene: Ending.
3. Timothy Spall in Secrets & Lies - Spall gives a great performance here in capturing such an honesty and powerful depiction of a strictly good person.

Best Scene: Final speech.
2. Jeffrey Wright in Basquiat - Wright gives a fascinating portrayal of an artist with a striking perspective however one that leaves him lost within the world.

Best Scene: Leaving the world.
1. Max von Sydow in Hamsun - Good predictions Shaggy, Michael McCarthy and Luke. The legendary Max von Sydow delivers one of his best performance in capturing such a unique and remarkable portraits of a "great man" living beyond his time while struggling with a deafness towards the world, even beyond his physical limitations.

Best Scene: The trial.
Updated Overall

Next: 1996 Supporting


RatedRStar said...

Louis: What are your thoughts on Jude as a film?

Tony Jay - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
David Bowie - Basquiat
Michael Wincott - Basquiat
Mads Mikkelsen - Pusher
Eric Tsang - Comrades: A Love Story

Calvin Law said...

Excellent stuff Louis, and that is one strong top 5. I also find it kind of hilarious how O’Neal isn’t rock bottom, guess those performances below him are ones to avoid.

My suggestions:
Eric Tsang, Comrades: A Love Story
Ed Harris, The Rock
A review for Peter Stromare

Calvin Law said...

And Chris Penn in The Funeral if you were impressed by him.

Omar Franini said...

Glad to see Breaking the Waves fourth, your thoughts on the movie, Watson and its direction?

Luke Higham said...

So happy for Sydow. :)

Louis: Ratings and thoughts on the rest of the lead performances.

Your Wins for 1996. Your Director top 5.

Your Female Lead/Supporting top tens with ratings and other 4+ honourable mentions.

Thoughts on Ridicule and Ponette with ratings/thoughts on the performances.

Charlton Heston - Hamlet
Eric Tsang - Comrades
Bowie/Wincott - Basquiat
Chris Penn - The Funeral
Ed Harris - The Rock

And a review of Peter Stormare in Fargo.

Unknown said...

Dwight Yoakam - Sling Blade
Gary Sinise - Ransom
Vince Vaughn - Swingers
Peter Stormare - Fargo
David Bowie and Michael Wincott - Basquiat

Mitchell Murray said...

I see that Louis' ratings for the official best actor line didn't change, which I more or less expected. Personally, I've only seen Cruise and Thornton but my thoughts are more or less the same as his.

RatedRStar said...

Oh ye I had forgotten you already have done Jay.

Michael McCarthy said...

Louis: Is there any chance of a re-evaluation for Fiennes in The English Patient? I understand why you wouldn’t be in a hurry to rewatch the film, but for me he nails every scene he’s in. He’s very close to being my win for the year actually.

Calvin Law said...

Not a fan of the film but I do think that he's worth a 4.5 at the very least.

Tim said...

i don't really have a line-up; i just starve to know what you think About Sam Jackspn in A Time To Kill.

You do not Need to write a full review, i would be happy enough if you gave your thoughts here

Anonymous said...

I still think Cruise was better than Fiennes IMO.


Justice was done for Max Von Sydow!

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the better call saul episode 'Wexler v. Goodman.'

Matt Mustin said...

I mostly just want to see Peter Stormare reviewed.

Louis Morgan said...


Textbook definition of its fine. In that it isn't bad, but there isn't anything that really distinguishes itself as an adaptation of a material. It is as you'd expect to be, not great, not bad, just fine.


Yes, Bio-Dome is best avoided at all costs.


I mean Breaking of the Waves in no way changes say my reaction to say "The House that Jack Built", although I've technically given von Trier a win prior for the screenplay to Dogville, so praise for him isn't foreign to me. Breaking The Waves honestly only makes me hate a film like "house" all the more, his comments at Cannes during Melancholia or his directorial choices for Dogville all the more. This in that he's a talented filmmaker, if he wouldn't get in his own way with nonsense. Breaking the Waves is bereft of that nonsense, even though dealing with harsh subject matter, it treats it so seriously with a consistent tone, and a sympathy for the characters even with what happens to them. It works already as an atmospheric piece with such a striking sense of place and community within the film. It expands on that in its worthy of Bergman comparison, in terms of the examination of one's faith and devotion as it intertwines with a seeming harsh reality. The fact that von Trier pulls off his own "silence breaking" moment in my view, is a bit of a miracle in it own right.

Watson - (Watson's performance is the greatest feature film debut performance of all time, just for starters I suppose. Watson's performance though is one of such confidence, yet extreme naturalism that it is rather astonishing right from the outset. This in creating the timid, yet also vibrant quality in Bess, the specificity of the personality, and the way she is attaches to her place, is so keenly felt. This though in giving this masterful portrayal of what is this mix between contrasts and impossible tight ropes, that she walks with such ease. This in presenting the state of Bess in heartbreaking detail of a woman who while seemingly is mad, yet her portrayal of the divine inspiration does deliver an ethereal and almost chilling quality within it. The "God speaking" moments are so fascinating within just the way Watson is able to play them both with ambiguity without feeling vague either. She shows this power within this voice, even while she makes you wonder what madness is inflicting her in the moment. Her performance managing though never to be a technical exercise, as she is as poignant in just portraying this shy and vulnerable moment becoming so strictly attached to her man. In both with a sense of fixation but also a real tenderness as well. Her performance capturing multiple shades within her work, while just in itself being such a striking and intensely profound performance for every moment she is onscreen.)

von Trier's directing is an example where the qualities that define his work here, are used for good instead of evil. By that there is a greater sense to them and strict conviction within staying within the story he is telling and the characters he is presenting us with. This even when showing such brutal moments with Watson, never does it feel exploitative in that regard, staying instead visceral emotion of it instead. His work though here, which one consistency among almost all his works is great performances by actresses, and this one is no different, but here we see his visual choices here coming together. This in his usual combination of gorgeous "conceived" shots, these here as the chapter setting and handheld shots, here keeping us strictly right with Beth and Jan in their moments. I love the combination of the two this time, as it gives us the glimmers of the beauty of the environment but also gives us the sense of living in the place for an extended time as we are put within Beth's sight essentially much of the time. Brilliant work that amplifies his writing through the visuals rather than diminishing it, like in Dogville.

Calvin Law said...

I do need to re-watch Breaking the Waves I guess since I really was not on its wavelength as much as yourself and Omar.

Just caught up with episode 2 of Westworld,, VERY close to jumping the shark but they seem on track for a compelling season...maybe.

Matt Mustin said...

I haven't seen any of von Trier's films. I kinda feel like he's just not for me.

Calvin Law said...

The only one I’ve loved has been Dancer in the Dark.

Louis Morgan said...


Walken - 4(It's Walken, not Walkening through a film therefore it ought to be impressive to a point, I mean even when he's Walkening it, he's typically compelling. This is even with what he is an overcooked screenplay that wears its philosophy so broadly it becomes obnoxious. Having said that Walken does give a moving portrayal of essentially a normal man dealing with trying to be a brutal gangster. Walken capturing moments of direct grief regarding his brother's death, the moments of vulnerability as he reaches out to his wife, and his attempts to be the brutal gangster he believes he needs to be. If the film had only focused on Walken it would've been better for it, as he makes the most out of some often tiresome material.)

Clooney - 4(This is Clooney's breakout for a reason, as he is on point here, even as the film falls apart as the Vampire picture stuff is extremely goofy more than anything, and oddly kind of cheap feeling. Clooney in the crime and vampire picture is a rock solid lead however. This in finding the right combination of charisma and a real hardbitten intensity within the part. He's got some great moments in there, particularly his "be cool" line where Clooney has a Steve McQueenesque cool quiet honestly. It is really strong work from here where he wields his confidence well here.)

Skarsgard - 4(The secondary role of course, and only kinda sorta lead. He's good though, if obviously overshadowed, in portraying sort of the right nuance in the relationship in the early scenes. In he does bring a real warmth but also a sense of concern in his interactions with Beth showing an understanding of her state, and also an understanding of his possible lack of understanding. Then in hospital, he's just good in portraying the dazed state of the man, as this certain madness.)

Pantoliano - 4(Okay this is Pantoliano's best performance, but in a way that shows his limits as an actor. In that Pantoliano isn't bad, but he's too much of an expected commodity who struggles to truly surprise you. In that he's a performer who kinda often falls on the old for any given performer, not that he doesn't work more often than not, but it leaves him so he only can go so far. This is an example where his approach is already on the right track so that helps, and for him it is a great part. He does a good job, and is even effective in showing just a bit more range than usual. Having said that, I do think the role had kind of "5" potential around it, Pantoliano in the part mind you, but he doesn't quite surprise as I was hoping for.)

Svěrák - 4(Just a quietly earnest and charming performance to be sure. He offers sort of the quiet dignity well without being boring. It is a nice sweet work that manages to find the right sort of low key humor and charm to it.)

Berling - 4(Another one like Pantoliano where I think this is a good performance, I just think a great one was possible. Berling is good in particularly portrayal the disgust of the game he must play to try to perform a humane act. There are moments though where he just seems a little out to sea and he loses the character a little at times. There is an inconsistency when he is not being the firebrand, or just quietly charming do gooder. He doesn't blend them with the amoral man of the court, unfortunately, not that he is terrible in those scenes he just isn't as good.)

Louis Morgan said...

Washington - 3.5(He is minor within the scheme of the film, despite being lead, this as it really is about the severely miscast Meg Ryan. Washington though offers expected gravitas in his scenes, and does well in portraying the festering guilt of his character. He's also very good though in his reactionary work in showing the way the stories push on his mind, and change him a bit throughout.)

Renier - 3.5(He really should stop wincing. He tried to rob Ray, he had a knife, and got shot with a blank, which I imagine you'd have to be pretty close to it. By that I mean this is a fine performance, in just bringing a sort of naturalism in portraying a combination of an earnest concern and slowly building guilt of his character in his odd situation.)

Sen - 3(Just kind of the stoic type, and not a terrible example of it. At the same time I didn't think it was a great example of it.)

Malkovich - 3(On the border of lead/supporting, and basically a less complicated reprise of his work in Dangerous Liasons.)

Spader - 3(Okay, I HATED Crash, it's like Naked Lunch (though I prefer that film), in that Cronenberg made the film he wanted to make, that doesn't mean I have to like it. Spader, gives a purposefully distant and detached performance. He is distant and detached, well done...I guess.)

Cacho - 3(I HATED this film once it started playing the murder scenes with a joking manner, given their true subject matter, if you're going to do that you better be great and this film was not great. Cacho is fine though in portraying sort of a sleazy and smarmy manner of a very deranged man. He is properly sickening I suppose, although I did not garner any sympathy which the film seemed to wish us to have.)

Bodnia - 3(You know I was kind really liking Pusher then Mikkelsen stopped being in the film. Bodnia is good in his scenes with Mikkelsen as they have a proper chemistry. Sadly once he's gone Bodnia becomes a little dull, not bad, but he doesn't really carry on without the wildcard that is Mikkelsen performance, that he played well off of.)

Bridges - 3(By the way not a terrible "throwaway" Ridley Scott film, though the film piles it on way to thick in the ending. Bridges though gives a more than decent performance as sort of the confident, strict yet supportive Captain type. Straight forward, but good work.)

D'Onofrio - 2.5(His quiet romantic scenes with Zellweger, as the lonely poetic soul, are decent enough. His "conan" scenes though are kind of ridiculous rather than profound which the film seems to be aiming for.)

Gallo - 2(Dull and boring work from him. He really hurts the film as well as his work does not create any real impact in any way regarding his character. You just feel he was a dull man, and that is all.)

Bridges (Mirror) - 2(Severely miscast as the non-sexual nerd type. He can't make up for it either. The film in general needed a more screwball approach rather than the corny sentimentalism Streisand goes for that makes the film repetitive. Even with that approach the role needed someone who you should believe a bit as a nerd, even as a handsome nerd, like Richard Dreyfuss, Robin Williams or a Jeff Goldblum.)

Will get to the rest of the requested thougths soon, taking a break.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis: Could Mark Rylance be a good choice for Archie Rice if they to revive The Entertainer on stage?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

I know it's unlikely given how much Louis loves Buscemi and Stormare, but I'd be really glad if Norton took the Supporting overall.

Luke Higham said...

Bowie/Wincott (Basquiat)
Mikkelsen (Pusher)
Tsang (Comrades)
Rochefort/Giraudeau (Ridicule)
Harris (The Rock)

Reviews of Peter Stormare in Fargo and Charlton Heston in Hamlet (I might request him for a bonus write-up if he doesn't make it in).

Anonymous said...

Louis: Thoughts on Deakins' work in Courage Under Fire?


For me Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves wins best actress.

Anonymous said...

Louis speaks of the best actress and supporting actress lineups of 1996.

Louis Morgan said...


Ridicule is a great spiritual predecessor to The Favourite, this in being also a story of attempting to play the game of court by going up through the ranks. Though here, more noble of a cause behind it perhaps. Either way though it manages to find a proper entertainment and completely bereave itself of the stuffiness of any period piece, deserving mention with that film and Amadeus in regards to granting a modernist bent, without going just fully modern. Just a wonderful satire, though with a bit more of a heart that is well realized.

Ponette isn't bad but it is quite repetitive. In fact extremely repetitive. Impressive child acting to be sure, but that really is its most defined feature.


Frances McDormand - Fargo/Emily Watson - Breaking the Waves (Not a tie, just need to watch Fargo again.)
3. Brenda Blethyn - Secrets & Lies
4. Victoire Thivisol - Ponette - 4.5
5. Ghita Norby - Hamsun
6. Juliet Binoche - The English Patient
7. Marianne Jean-Baptiste - Secrets & Lies
8. Gwyneth Paltrow - Emma - 4
9. Regina Orozco - Deep Crimson - 3.5
10. Kate Winslet - Jude - 3.5


1. Courtney Love - The People vs. Larry Flynt
2. Kate Winslet - Hamlet
3. Fanny Ardant - Ridicule
4. Joan Allen - The Crucible
5. Renee Zellweger - Jerry Maguire
6. Phyllis Logan - Secrets & Lies
7. Katrin Cartlidge - Breaking the Waves
8. Rachel Griffiths - Jude
9. Diane Wiest - The Birdcage
10. Judith Godreche - Ridicule


Alice Krige - Star Trek First Contact


Probably not, only in that I doubt I'll watch it again.


Amazing episode in seeing a real clash finally, with some exceptional acting therein, particularly in the final scene. Mike/Cartel elements were also captivating as per usual, particularly liking the interaction between Mike and Nacho.


Courage Under Fire is lesser Deakins, but its still Deakins. Zwick doesn't push him much, nor seems to allow Deakins to push him, but it is still a showcase in terms of a standard shot film. In that every scene is as you'd instantly imagine in essentially. Even in that Deakins delivers such pristine work in terms of lighting, that adds just a bit more substance to a scene, and as usual his framing and composition work is immaculate, even when the filmmaker doesn't seem that interested in the idea.

Louis Morgan said...


Most definitely.