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

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

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

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

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

Best Scene: Eddie's apology.


Next Year: 1991 Supporting






Christopher Eccleston did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Derek Bentley in Let Him Have It.

Let Him Have It is a somewhat decent however overly basic depiction of the story of a mentally stunted man being accused of murder after falling in with a violent thug.

Christopher Eccleston gives his debut feature film performance, although the film's aesthetic feels closer to a TV film but I digress. This performance though has the chance to depict rather tragic story of this central real life character as this young man struggling with his very existence. Eccleston is effective in the role in realizing Derek's state of being. He doesn't overplay this rather finding the stunted nature in this certain direct manner of speaking and reacting to people. Eccleston finds this narrow way of Derek of really in the way he even looks at people. There is this obvious focus that Eccleston depicts showing that Derek needs to put this certain extra energy into interacting just like a typical person. Eccleston finds this though not quite perfect and as this show that he feels almost average yet not quite. There is the right type of struggle in every moment of this showing Derek as having difficulty navigating just the normal day to day, and even then he realizes as a clear struggle. Eccleston's work is tasked even further though as Derek is not only troubled by his mental difficulties, but also physical ones as an epileptic. Eccleston to his credit is terrific in the moments of showing the fits, which could led to some wild overacting very easily. Eccleston though performs them believably while again realizing the precarious state that is Derek's life.

Eccleston, despite these clear problems, nicely doesn't always overwhelm his performance with them. He shows these moments with his family as rather sweet by showing the simple humanity even within the struggle. He is never simply a series of tics, but realizes the man within it all. He creates the right pathos through those interactions with his father, mother and sister where we can see the potential for some growth or at least some comfort. Eccleston offers the right warmth in these interactions to provide the basis for some idea of a future that are rather moving through how genuine they feel. This is against his interactions with his "friends" who are petty criminals, who frequently abuse Derek's nature. Eccleston is very good in these interactions as well though by making the right yearning in the interactions as his delivery is that of a simple man aiming to please, and in turn receive some sort of acceptance from these people. This becomes problematic though when he is pulled into a criminal endeavor, which again Eccleston excels with by conveying Derek's attempt to comprehend what is going on throughout. Eccleston though offers an earnestness and a confusion. In that he shows the man trying to be part of it, but also not really wholly aware of what he is part. When the crime turns violent, Eccleston is rather moving in realizing just the mess of the man.

Eccleston even captures the right ambiguity in the specific delivery of the titular line that could either mean for his friend to shoot the cop, or for his friend to drop the gun. Eccleston rightly balances the line by delivering it as this moment of sheer fear that could be either interpreted as plea, or the reaction of a muddled mind. Eventually the crime leaves a police officer dead with Derek and the actual murderer, a minor, facing punishment. The murderer though cannot be executed due to his age leaving Derek as receiving the full brunt of the wrath of the judicial system. The film rather rushes this period of the story however Eccleston manages to find some of the tragedy by portraying that even as he faces death Derek still is struggling to understand what exactly is going on. It is moving by reinforcing the man just trying very hard to figure what is happening right down to the execution itself where he has very little time even to breakdown because of that. This is a good performance by Christopher Eccleston however the film doesn't entirely allow Eccelston to fully sink his teeth into. The film never quite gives the time to Eccleston to truly make this a heartbreaking portrait of this man that seemed quite possible given the subject matter. Eccleston's performance is good, but the full potential of it seems somewhat unrealized by the film's underwhelming approach to the material.






William Sadler did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying death aka the grim reaper in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey.

Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey though certainly isn't a great film is perhaps the somewhat underappreciated sequel to the original film about two dofus wannabe rockers as pivotal as John Conner to the future of mankind. Or to be more fitting to the movie it's a totally tubular romp back with the dudes, dude.

Now a great deal of affection for the film comes with the creativity of the sequel which in no way rehashes the original, despite also being a designation of travel in the title. The very idea that they literally kill the protagonists in the first half hour alone is hardly the choice you'll find in the "two dumb guys" genre of films. Now another one of these choices is the inclusion of death in the film, specifically referencing the Bengt Ekerot's version of the character from Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal. The part here being played by William Sadler then probably best known for playing villain in Die Hard 2. Sadler first appears in the film after Bill and Ted (Alex Winter, Keanu Reeves) have been murdered by their evilrobotusis, a common ailment we all may face one day. Sadler initially actually appears as though he is replicating Ekerot's performance more or less with his dark and solemn stare, even some generalized Norwegian accent. A man of little to no emotion, but there is something ominous within the presence that he exudes. Of course this is quickly broken when the boys, to get away from death, give him a "Melvin", aka a forward aimed weaponized wedgie. Sadler's impeccably delivered comical cry of anguish at this assault though rather shatters such an image as he is briefly taken out of the picture.

Death returns when Bill and Ted try to escape hell by challenging the Reaper to game. A game initially it seems may have just a bit of that slightly more intense style to it as Sadler initially reappears again with that same ominous style, though perhaps a bit less effective in this attempt now we've seen him melvined. Of course it isn't one game, but several children's board games they play to challenge death to which Sadler is hilarious in very trying to stay somewhat in the realm of Ekerot, while also playing battleship. Sadler's approach is especially entertaining because he brings so much conviction within death being completely within a wholly inappropriate situation, and speaking rather inappropriate phrases. One being after his loss at battleship demanding another game to which the boys say "No way", then Sadler is comedic gold by delivering with such intensity in his eyes and his voice as retorts "yes way". The game sequence is honestly probably my favorite in the film as it focuses so closely on Sadler. Whether it be his timing of "I said plumb" when claiming to have guessed the right answer to Clue, or his frustrations as he attempts to contort impossibly while playing twister. Sadler is an absolute delight in being completely silly, yet still with the sense of some rather deeply hidden gravitas at this point.

Now again I must give credit to the film for its creativity, which doesn't only have death as a character, but then decides to keep him on as an ally of the boys after they best him just one too many times. This thankfully gives us more of Sadler as he goes along with the boys to support them in their quest to destroy their evilrobotusis, and of course make it to the battle of the bands. I will say on re-watch I don't think the film used that as much as it could have in terms of making death part of the action however Sadler's little moments throughout the last act of the film are typically the highlights of the scenes. I thoroughly enjoy the way he plays death begrudgingly losing his more stern manner both in these amusing moments of frustrations at the boys, but also eventually in getting enjoyment out of their adventure as well. Although nothing is really made of it within the story, other than death Melvining the main villain, Sadler actually does create an arc for death in that he naturally portrays death finding his smile, and enjoying himself along with the boys. Most importantly though his realization of this is actually just funny. I also would be remiss if I didn't mention though the little gems sprinkled of Sadler throughout that are just hilarious little bit so well delivered by Sadler. My favorites being his over eagerness when guessing "Butch and Sundance: The Early Year" before switching to shame for having mentioned that film, or his so perfectly blunt yet casual way of saying "see you really soon" to a smoker he passes by. This is just an altogether, for the lack of a better word, fun performance that adds a needed extra element to this bodacious sequel. Hopefully Sadler will also "face the music" along with the boys if that third film is actually getting made.






Tom Noonan did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Sammy Barnathan in Synecdoche, New York.

Tom Noonan is one of those indispensable character actors quite frankly as there is no one quite like him. The contrast between his impressive stature, and his impressively soft voice is particularly notable. It worked to quite chilling effect in Michael Mann's Manhunter, where he played a serial killer, however Noonan's idiosyncratic presence manages to always be something distinctive, however at the same time he always disappears into his roles despite not really changing himself. Screenwriter/director Charlie Kaufman seems keenly aware of this casting him as "everyone" else in his animated Anomalisa, and here in his directorial debut. Noonan has a quite a role really needed for someone whose going to need to make some impression rather quickly. Noonan's Sammy appears once Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman) begins his gargantuan theater project to represent his own life. Sammy auditions to play Caden's double with his only qualification being that he has stalked Caden for 20 years therefore knows everything about him. The way Noonan essentially confesses a rather creepy idea is fascinating. In that there is this conviction to this passion that Noonan infuses that is brilliantly specific. In that in this audition we are given is this controlled yet raw intensity he espouses, yet with such a pleasant manner while doing so. Noonan shows the act to be Caden, and all his emotion, yet still shows the act even while capturing what is needed from it. Noonan plays him as a man who can express exactly as he needs, yet it not imprisoned by it.

Of course what Tom Noonan does here is very specific, and an essential facet of the film in that his Sammy is the double of Caden in more ways than he plays him. Obviously Noonan looks, really, nothing like Philip Seymour Hoffman. That is not the point and Noonan's performance hones in on this idea of a different kind of a representation of Caden. In that Caden is an observer rather than an actor in life, therefore it is a most curious thing for an actor to play this observer, while being an observer. That's is a strange idea to be sure, however it makes this a particularly fascinating performance to watch as Noonan realizes this act in his own way that is something rather clever. Caden is of course troubled by this state which Noonan contrasts so effectively by portraying a man in a state of calm in his own observation process. Noonan initially portrays that, despite this life, Sammy wants for nothing in his own existence of acting as the observer of the observer who is troubled by being the observer. Noonan exudes a calm in this place of strict connection, which he plays with in such an interesting way. In that he directly acts a certain moment will present the needed intensity of emotion to be Caden, yet can calmly be himself the next moment, such as so genuinely commenting on the talent of Caden's wife who is an actress.

Noonan's work here is entertaining in itself, in that his exact state is humorous to be sure, but what is so special about it is how well he finds this strange state of the man who is almost a comforting factor in the film by showing a path of the observer initially. The idea though becomes that in a way Sammy is less an observer because he is at least acting out Caden's observations unlike Caden who is simply still watching them. This does not change until Sammy's action to take action where Caden did not which in turn finally leads Caden to take action, the action Sammy had taken, how that somehow adds up is why I love the film. Noonan's work ends up being quite something even more than this curious side show though in the end, as Sammy's observation of Caden's action leads to something more. Noonan is heartbreaking quite frankly in finally attaching the emotion of the performance to Sammy finally observing by removing that initial calm in this moment of observation. This leads to a performance of Sammy, a tragic performance, which is emotionally charged as it should be to represent Caden, yet with this calm as Sammy takes his own action in the performance. It is an utterly bizarre end to the character that Noonan delivers in such a powerful way by naturally reaching this breaking point as the observer becomes the true actor in the end.






Rod Steiger did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Carl Schaffner in Across the Bridge.

Across the Bridge is a decent thriller about a European embezzler trying to hide out near the Mexican/American border only by stealing the identity of a lookalike only to find that man is a wanted assassin, a problem I think most of us know all too well.

Rod Steiger I will admit quite worried me as the film opened in a scene where his character is fielding pressing questions about his troubling business history as well as his wife's suicide. In that I've found more recently in my exploration of Rod Steiger's career that there are certain problematic tendencies that are common in his lesser performances. These Steigerisms are on display a bit here early most notably his way of doing this strange loud high pitched yell to signify anger. Thankfully though these are only very briefly used by Steiger, and in context of the entire performance it isn't too egregious as this representation of a man as a pressure cooker just on the edge of letting out his emotions given his situation. That is where his Carl Schaffner is just on the edge of being discovered and about to be liable for a prison sentence. I'll admit though I had a bit further worry, this one a bit more unfounded, in his portrayal of the German Schaffner given his future success in The Pawnbroker. Steiger uses a similair accent here, that actually just becomes a natural part of the character, and successfully further entrenches himself into the role through it.

The strength of this performance quickly became more obvious to me as soon as the plot really kick starts as Schaffner finds himself on a train in his attempt to escape to Mexico in order to escape his prison sentence. Steiger does not portray this initially as a man on the run in a traditional sense. In that he does not portray an overt desperation within the character at first. He subtly exudes just a bit of it enough to be believable, however he introduces well the idea of the cutthroat businessman here on the run as well. This is seen through his portrayal of his initial actions which carry this definite calm in Steiger's performance, and successfully distinguishes the man from the pressure of facing actual consequences. We see the man distinctly running away from them, and the ease that Steiger depicts effectively reveals the man's amorality early on. This personal attitude continuing even as he steals the identity of a fellow passenger who closely resembles him. When Steiger first tricks the man directly, then later directly hectors him for his identity, Steiger carries this intensity with right assurance within this behavior. He delivers this cold efficiency to these two important scenes showing a man ready to avoid taking any responsibility for his actions, in fact rather determined to do so.

Schaffner's choice in identity theft though quickly leads him into trouble as he is sent packing towards Mexico to take the fall as an assassin. Steiger keeps this calm in the moments of the wrongful identification though successfully reveals this certain glint in his eye, a sense of slyness as though this is initially just part of the plan for the man to easily cross over the border. This becomes slightly more complex when the process of correcting his identity takes longer than expected. Steiger still does not depict an obvious breakdown though just a minor frustration in every one of Schaffner's claims of wrongful identification.There is still that cold incisive stare though once the opportunity for bribery and avoiding of responsibility appears. Steiger delivers the needed incisiveness through this bit of smugness in every moment as Schaffner ease away his obstacles and seems to once again avoid his real mistakes. The arrival of Scotland Yard in addition to the local authorities growing exasperation with the man requires further maneuvering from Schaffner. Steiger is consistently compelling in that he captures again that manipulators charisma in that while he is not truly charming, how much command Steiger says with every word is with the authority of a brilliant criminal.

The authorities do not stop trying to catch Schaffner though and Steiger is very good in portraying the growing exasperation in himself which he realizes well in a growing subtle desperation in his performance. This change in the man though goes further though as he sees the results of his actions where the local Mexican populace begin to openly reject any hospitality towards the man due to the fate of the man's identity he stole. The one source of consistent support comes from an unlikely place that being the dog of the same mann. Although Schaffner initially coldly shoos the dog away, which Steiger portrays with the same indifference the same way he treats any human with as well. The dog, being a dog, doesn't reject Schaffner though coming to support him even as all the humans around him having nothing but disdain for him. This relationship oddly enough is the heart of the film, and quite frankly the best part of the film. This is due to Steiger's portrayal of this relationship where he slowly depicts this quietly growing warmth in each subsequent interaction to the dog that insists on taking a liking to the man. This warmth becoming almost a direct need for any tenderness, once all other reject him for his amorality, portraying as this full attention towards the dog. Steiger's quite moving in giving it his all and finally revealing just a bit of a soul in the character. This is often just in his silent performance though in bringing such delicate and earnest physical interaction with the dog that only becomes all the more heartwarming, as the rest of Schaffner's existence becomes all the bleaker. Eventually the dog is used as a last resort by the authorities to catch Schaffner as they tie the dog just across the border where he can be arrested. This idea could have potentially been ridiculous however Steiger makes it honestly heartbreaking by having created such a convincing connection between man and dog. This culminates finally where the dog cries for the man's help, and we only see Steiger's silent reaction where he reveals such a genuine anguish that naturally finally reveals a better man than the one we saw that opened the film. In turn this leaves this performance by Steiger on quite the high note, despite my initial concerns.






Victor Sjöström did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Professor Isak Borg in Wild Strawberries.

Wild Strawberries is a beautifully told story of an aging professor reliving the memories of his life as it is nearing towards its end.

Victor Sjöström, though had acted in his time, was better known as a director of the silent era before Ingmar Bergman cast him in this film. He was evidently Bergman's only choice for the role to the point he would have not done the film without him. Sjöström's work was an influence on Bergman as a director so he perhaps he was eager to work with one of his idols but perhaps the needing the eye of a director is what helped to encourage this casting as well. Wild Strawberries, to dust off a term, is very much "director's film" in that the overarching vision of the director is what you take most strongly from the film. The acting though is still an essential facet and Sjöström's work suggests a particular awareness in terms of his role within the film. In that this story of the professor Isak Borg is one often of the observer. The observer though need not be distant or unknown at any point. Sjöström's performance seems to understand this idea most keenly. Now there is a bit of more of direct character development, however that is on the lighter side in terms of the purpose of this portrayal. We do however have moments early on where we see the man before his journey both through land and through time. This is rather brief but Sjöström's certainly captures the proper irritability of a man within his ways as he complains to his housekeeper before he goes on his way. This is short yet important in that Sjöström grants us a view of the man Borg is known as to others, and helps to explain the memories others have of him.

The dreams and memories though are pivotal in revealing a different man, a more introspective one. This is through a combination of a few facets though in that we both have the visual of Sjöström in these scenes, but these are also further underlined by his narration throughout the film. A narration that certainly has a touch of distance, as a man recounting a story rather than living it, however infused with the right touches of emotion within key moments that Sjöström still emphasizes even if they are part of a memory. There are the dreams and memories themselves that are quite different, particularly in the film's opening where the professor suffers a rather bleak nightmare where he witnesses an arm-less clock, as well as finds his own coffin which includes his own corpse. Although the images of this nightmare are particularly striking, one of the most pivotal images within this sequence is Sjöström's reaction. He captures not only the more direct fear that is to be expected, but also more important this unpleasant uncertainty from the nightmare. It is not of a man who understands wholly what he sees, but rather is perhaps most troubled by his lack of comprehension. This leaving a sense of this unknown that leaves Borg in this frame of mind that perhaps ensures a different man will begin the journey than the man who complained to his housekeeper.

Sjöström naturally captures this state of an uncertainty, and even a confusion that creates the right understanding to the more pleasant man we see as he begins his road trip, to receive the degree of Doctor Jubilaris from his old university. A journey that he is joined first by his daughter-in-law Marianne (Ingrid Thulin). Their interactions is well realized by both actors in carrying this surface pleasantry yet underlined by a certain distance from Sjöström, but a touch of passive aggressiveness from Thulin. As she quietly airs her grievances towards him Sjöström passively, yet sympathetically listens to her. In this Sjöström effectively captures both the state of the past and the present in this single interaction. In one he is not taken aback by her unpleasant words, and is almost accepting of them. This might seem strange what Sjöström exudes is a man more of finally listening suggesting a man in the past too saturated by his own insecurities to really to listen to his own family's problems, or even their problems with him. The unpleasantness though is combated in a way though from other memories that appear when visiting his childhood home. It is here where Sjöström is a striking part of a sequence, certainly a facet of it only, but also an essential facet to be sure. Sjöström very seems realize this understanding, of the director's viewpoint, as he allows himself to be only part of the scene, yet makes the right impact in being only a part of it.

There is nothing simple about the memory, and again Sjöström's performance is keenly aware of the importance of the complexity of the memory. In that as he watches his old days of his own past, his family, and his old sweetheart it is not a single emotion elicited when he watches. There is certainly a nostalgic joy at times, a certain joy from getting to relive the old times. There is though still an uncertainty as he watches the less perfect moments of the past. Sjöström is downright haunting in a moment portraying this moment of analyzing a solitary moment of insight into a part of the past he did not witness but is now living. A parallel observation appears in the present as they continue their journey picking up a group of youthful hitchhikers, and, briefly, a bickering middle aged married couple. Sjöström's work again is of reaction yet distinct, and frankly less dramatic to those of the memories. This is fitting towards the idea of social circumstances but also his own barrier from them. His reactions though and even interactions still reveal a man living within his own past in these interactions. In that he finds this playfulness with the young couple, again infusing a nostalgic bliss and appreciation towards youth. This is in contrast to the bickering couple where again we have that uncertainty, though less severe in this instance, as Sjöström shows the man's own marriage being represented with their horrid relationship. 

The middle of his life is further explored through two pivotal scenes one of the present one of a manipulated past created through a nightmare. The nightmare is of seemingly his failure as a doctor, and witnessing a horrid time of his past. Again in this scene Sjöström is mainly just watching his past, but again there is such power in this. His eyes evoking not only an awareness of this past wound, but also the pain in processing this over again. Sjöström's work is quite of the moment, but rather finds such a power within the idea of this observation. His reaction seems bone deep as his whole body gripped state of being forced analyze his life and the pain that it entailed. This is against his interaction with a friendly gas station owner (Max von Sydow) who is more than happy to remind the professor of his deeds of the past, and his gratitude towards him. I love how Sjöström shows this almost moment of Borg being taken aback by this idea of his past having worth, leaving his reaction of this slightly pleasant bafflement that he portrays as almost unsure what to do with. The film doesn't end with a single memory or event that fixed everything for the professor by any measure. Sjöström captures instead this sense of man content with rather understanding of what has come, and what he can take with what is still there. We have a slightly reformation, not quite Scrooge level, as Borg is far pleasant towards his housekeeper, his son, and daughter-in-law than he was before. Sjöström finds the right naturalism within this change by just delivering these remarks now spoken as a man with a sense of joy in what was had, and a willingness to connect to those standing in front him. It isn't portrayed as a true revelation, but just this nuanced depiction of sense of appreciation of life in general. Sjöström doesn't leave a man lost in joy, but just able to have those moments as well as still live with his heartbreaks of old. Sjöström's work is not always the center of a scene, it is always the center of the true emotion in terms of the reflection of a scene, and what the scenes means in a greater context of the professor's life. Sjöström's subdued performance captures the emotion of this journey beautifully being an essential facet to every captivating image and sequence by properly establishing the meaning to each one.






James Cagney did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Lon Chaney in Man of a Thousand Faces.

Man of a Thousand Faces, I suppose rather fittingly, is rather like Richard Attenborough's Chaplin, except a bit more era appropriate in terms of delving into the "dirt" so to speak, following a famed silent actor/director through his success on stage/screen, and the struggles in his personal relationships.

James Cagney was obviously no stranger to the biopic having most famously played George M. Cohan in his Oscar winning role in Yankee Doodle Dandy. Although this film is certainly still a biopic of its time, it does differ from that earlier film in delving into some darker material fitting to the famed horror actor. What may seem less fitting is perhaps the casting of Cagney who was about ten years older than when Chaney died when this film was made. Cagney overcomes any such second thoughts though just by being what he is, which is a great actor. Cagney though is particularly tailored made for the role as in some ways Cagney was a silent leading man, even in his great success in sound. Cagney though missed the silent era basically by just a year or so, however the sort of physicality needed for a silent actor was often one of his greatest assets as an actor. Cagney very much has what are the tools to play Chaney even if from the outset he doesn't seem like the first choice for the role, Cagney makes himself the first choice, just as quite honestly what he did with Cohan as a well. In that Cagney's way of specifically performing a "performance" is particularly important for this role as Chaney, as it was for Cohan.

Now part of this performance is just fulfilling the elements of a more typical biopic, although with some unique elements at least for the time. This gives Cagney very much the chance simply to deliver an, as per usual, terrific charismatic leading turn. The personal side of the story mostly involves his relationships with his two wives which also extend towards the relationship with his parents and later his son. His first relationship being problematic with his shallow first wife Cleva (Dorothy Malone) who is troubled by Chaney's parents who are both deaf. Cagney is fantastic in these interactions in portraying effectively an understood infatuation with his wife in the early scenes though that quickly develops to this growing frustration. He properly makes this more overt in the moments where she directly questions his "biology" essentially due to his parents, which Cagney's reaction realizes the sense of harm this does to Chaney. This further realized through the moments between Chaney and his parents alone which are brilliantly played by Cagney. He brings such a direct and pure sense of love for both parents. Obviously these are purely silent moments of sign language, and in each instance Cagney conveys the earnest care Chaney has for both of his parents.

That creates the problematic relationship with his wife, who can't get over Chaney's parents, which Cagney illustrates so well in each successive scene by slowly realizing this underlying distress towards her behavior. He creates the right inherent tension, and this sense of betrayal in every interaction to essentially realize the divorce in Chaney's mind even before it is realized. This is in stark contrast to the relationship between Chaney and his second wife Hazel (Judy Greer). In their scenes Cagney strikes up just a far unassuming yet much more genuine in a way sense of love between the two that both actors establish well as this simple given through their quiet yet potent interactions. This is similarly found in Chaney relationship to his son Creighton. Obviously there are many stages of this however Cagney is terrific in portraying actually more depth towards this than to even be expected from this type of biopic. In that in part he is very good in bringing such a sense of tenderness in the interactions with his son early on, bringing so much warmth in his eyes that he manages to make rather moving when Chaney briefly loses guardianship of him. That is not simplified though as Cagney later just as firmly portrays a real distaste, and anger, that he portrays as a reflection of his old frustrations when Creighton decides to see his biological mother against Chaney's wishes. Cagney doesn't hold back in these moments offering a proper intensity that is fitting towards the earlier troubled relationship, that in turn makes the later unconditional reconciliation with his son all the more moving.

As good as Cagney is in the more traditional narrative elements of the film, what makes this performance standout though is his recreation of what made Lon Chaney the titular man. Obviously Cagney is aided by some proper recreations of Chaney's old makeup but this performance goes far beyond that. Cagney's immense physicality as an actor heavily plays into this as he has that certain energy of his very being that essential to bringing Chaney's creations to life. Although I think the film itself would have benefited with a deeper delving into Chaney's career, nonetheless Cagney is brilliant in recreating the every specific scene depicted within his career. Cagney's physical work is outstanding as he never simplifies any of the creations we see. This includes his moments as this vaudeville clown, which is not a simple thing, but a fully bodied performance. He is both entertaining as seen, but also so good in creating this distinct style of performance so naturally. The same becomes true for Cagney in creating some of Chaney's famous roles including the Phantom of the opera and the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Cagney brings to life, albeit briefly, these characters so effectively to the point one could have imagined Cagney perhaps should have done more of such overly mannered physical turns in his own career. In each he creates the "creature" as a character more than just an image. My favorite single moment of this is Cagney's depiction of Chaney's portrayal of a handicapped man walking again. It is just a brilliantly performed piece of physical acting by Cagney as he creates the whole scene just within his own work, and is compelling just to see him perform this act. Although I obviously would have loved to have seen the film delve deeper into the man's life and career than the film does, Cagney is more than up to the task of the man even in this somewhat limited perspective. He is gives a striking turn that not only is a moving portrayal of the man, but a convincing depiction of what made him famous.






5. Ben Gazzara in The Strange One - I decided against granting this performance a full review as there is just not much to it. In one part it is a shaky film debut by Gazzara, something he thankfully shook off rather quickly in just a few years, that I would probably ascribe to weak direction. His performance though makes little use of really the cinematic perspective only garnering actions or reactions when absolutely needed for the character. His performance is oddly indifferent for what is as described to be by the other characters this near dictatorial character. There is no sense of charismatic persuasion, nor even a weasel trick in his work. He's mostly just there with the same dour expression until the very end where he gives a fairly standard melodramatic breakdown. This is part the fault of perhaps the adaptation which leaves too much merely stated about the character as the film fails to create a real sense of the cadet's toxic influence within the barracks. Gazzara though doesn't create this in the few instances he has a chance with either, and this is rather underwhelming work from an actor who thankfully quickly improved after this film.

Best Scene: The opening....I guess.
4. Rod Steiger in Across the Bridge - Despite some initial concerns, Steiger gives a rather effective depiction of a cold amorality, that slowly segues to a pained desperation as he naturally discovers the character's morality.

Best Scene: The dog across the bridge.
3. James Cagney - Man of the Thousand Faces - Cagney proves himself once again to be one of the very best actors of his period giving a moving, and more emotionally complex than you might except given the period, portrayal of Lon Chaney's personal struggles, but also a rather remarkable recreations of the man's legendary work that made him an early screen legend.

Best Scene: The handicapped man.
2. Victor Sjöström in Wild Strawberries - Sjöström's performance suggests an understanding of the film's nature giving a moving despite being a largely reactionary turn that grants an even greater power to the imagery and themes presented by the film's notable direction.

Best Scene: The dream of failure.
1. Robert Mitchum in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison - Good prediction John Smith. Robert Mitchum gives one of his most charming performances that makes for a truly endearing action hero of sorts, but he goes even further in his rather effective realization of the changes of his character through his particularly potent and complex chemistry with his co-star.

Best Scene: Allison's apology.




Next Year: 1991 Lead






Richard Jenkins did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Robert Doback in Step Brothers.

A critic once believed that one could not examine a symbiotic relationship more eloquently or more intricately than Ingmar Bergman's Persona, that critic obviously never saw Step Brothers the worthy successor that defies all expectations in its penetrating exploration of the psyche of man.

And by that I mean Step Brothers is about two idiot man children (Will Ferrell, and John C. Reilly) who come to live together as such a titular pair when their respective single parents are married while both still live at home with them. Reilly's father is Richard Jenkins's Robert Doback who often seemed to be my own personal representation during this film. The film itself following this pattern of being kind of funny then really annoying then kind of funny then really annoying and continuing in that savage circle throughout. One aspect that differs from that pattern is Richard Jenkins, who is continually on some sort of point throughout the film. Where his counterpart, Ferrell's mother in the film, played by Mary Steenburgen still mothers her overgrown son, there is less of a cordiality within the character of Robert which Jenkins beautifully realizes. His performance is essentially this slowly erupting nearly apocalyptic volcano of passive aggression that becomes just full grown aggression at his two "sons". Jenkins in a way becomes this trick artist always hitting his marks even when the scene does not. He is consistently hilarious in creating such a raw, and to the point exasperation in each and every one of his reactions. An exasperation that only grows in every moment and settles itself in this intensity of this certain loathing that is particularly great in their Christmas dinner where Jenkins reveals a man retching in the sheer degree of his intolerance. This almost an antidote at times because of Jenkins representing a proper reaction to when the antics are not working at any level, and brings some comic gold by how little "playing up" Jenkins does.

The most consummate professional Jenkins's real intensity he brings is what makes it so funny, as he makes it seem as though Mr. Doback's spirit honestly is seeming to break to his very core. This naturally leads to events that leads the sons to be kicked out of the house, and finally fulfill their roles as adults. Of course that all gets twisted for the climax where at the Catalina wine mixer they must cover for a cover band, but not without a few words of wisdom from old Mr. Doback. This is where he has a change of heart to reveal his own juvenile dream to be a T-Rex. Honestly I can't praise Jenkins enough for the amount of conviction he brings in this most unorthodox speech. He even makes it work in context with the rest of the character, but showing it as almost this mad recall of a past lost dream. In turn it is hilarious as Jenkins acts out his dream a bit by again how seriously he plays it. Jenkins wants you to believe in Mr. Doback's dream, and you'll believe a man can't believe he could be a T-rex. Jenkins inflicts proper hilarity to that moment, and soon afterwards through the sheer eagerness of his delivery as he encourages his son to play his heart out with "Rock the fuck out of those drums Dale". Jenkins steals this film with ease, which some might balk at in terms of an accomplishment, but Jenkins doesn't only steal the film he just sprinkles a little something worthwhile into every one of his scenes.






And the Nominees Were Not:

Jason Butler Harner in Changeling

Mathieu Amalric in A Christmas Tale

Tom Noonan in Synecdoche, New York

Lee Byung-hun in  The Good The Bad The Weird

Richard Jenkins in Step Brothers






Robert Patrick did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Terminator 2 is the effective follow up, though I still don't view in quite as highly as most seem to, to the first film about a machine designed for death being sent back to kill the future leader of mankind.

The difference this time around is the machine is this time sent to kill the boy John Connor (Edward Furlong) rather than his mother Sarah (Linda Hamilton), and that the original type of terminator the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has been sent back also to protect the boy. In this we have the advancement of the villain, but also the advance of the performance of the murderous android. An early instance of that being Yul Brynner in Westworld which was a heavy influence on Arnold Schwarzenegger's performance in the first film. In both of those instances they were playing personifications of bulky brute force who were more intended to intimidate rather than blend in. Notably the performances of both mostly stressed though the idea that these were machines acting the role of a human not a mix of the two, again other than a few minor hints to the contrary. Robert Patrick is allowed to continue this tradition, though in a very different way as the T-1000. What is continued in the tradition is that idea of the machine being the overarching characteristic, which Patrick also uses in his performance, but the thin Patrick, a far cry from the bulky Schwarzenegger, requires a rather different approach to create a menace within the machine.

Now one form of this is the ability of the T-1000 blend in not only in terms of taking the form of some of his victims as a disguise but also to pretend to be a normal human being. This is shown initially within the film when we are first introduced to the character, which I believe was even an intended twist ruined by marketing, that there are no early indications that the T-1000 is a machine as we see him operate looking for John Connor as a police officer. Patrick is terrific in terms of realizing this sort off strange style of T-1000 as he assumes human interaction which portrays as good enough, but not quite. In that he shows that while you'd probably accept the T-1000 as human in a quick conversation things would seem a little off once you spend a bit more time with him. Patrick though does some careful here within his physical performance, which is a major facet of his work here, which a lack of aggression. He moves and speaks with almost too much ease and calm to the point it is unnerving knowing he is an evil machine, though it wouldn't immediately raise any flags for a normal human. Patrick efficiently creates a disturbing illusion as it isn't quite right, a machine assumption of what a human want to see rather than the genuine article. The highlight of this side being his horribly off-putting yet soft delivery of "Say, that's a nice Bike" to a police officer he's likely going to rob and murder.

Nearly the rest of his performance though is defined even more fully about this machine with the one purpose to kill his target with no regard for anyone or anything in its way. Patrick's physical performance brilliantly embodies this idea in every aspect. He creates an artificiality, however notable as this unique artificiality against say the more bulky machine movement previously seen in Schwarzenegger, and Brynner's performances. Patrick develops this idiosyncratic style within the entirety of his physical work that rather fascinating. He moves not efficiently though as human would move, but in his own way. This right within his running in particular that Patrick makes it seem appropriately swift yet wholly unnatural within how precise his movements are, but also how they are not of a typical runner either. This of course amplified by his complete lack of fatigue, but the very motions help to create the menace of the run that is unnerving. My favorite aspect of this though is probably the consistent face that Patrick bears. Patrick fashion a terrifying grimace that feels that of a bird of prey, and again is perfectly inhumane. He makes it this horrible creation of a machine fashioning this expression to put terror in his targets, and how he keeps it with only this singular emotion of a distant hate makes both his work remarkable but also likely contributed towards the iconic nature of the character. Of course this is not a great deal of variation beyond that, but nor should there be as Patrick is playing a machine with a singular purpose.  There is perhaps one moment that suggests otherwise at the very end of his performance where has been repeatedly shot by Sarah Conner and nearly killed until she runs out of bullets. This leaves his one action one could argue has some sentience as he does not simply go to kill again but first wags his finger seemingly to indicate his dislike of what she did. An outlier, though perhaps Patrick's greatest moment. It not only is creepy as Patrick maintains his unique expression, but even the finger wag is actually a great bit of acting by him strangely enough. He doesn't wag it only using the finger as human would, but rather more machinesque using the entirety off his hand to give the menacing gesture. I'll admit that's a lot on a single moment but I adore that moment. This performance, despite being in a bit less of the film than I remembered, I find it more impressive the more I think about it. Patrick completely reinvents this type of villain into a brand new original form, that uses ideas of his predecessors however in a brand new and wholly distinct villain.






And the Nominees Were Not:

Joe Pesci in JFK

Donald Sutherland in JFK

Robert Patrick in Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Alan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Patrick Swayze in Point Break

William Sadler in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey 

For Prediction Purposes:

Pesci From JFK






And the Nominees Were Not:

Alan Rickman in Truly Madly Deeply

River Phoenix in Dogfight

Wesley Snipes in New Jack City

Joe Mantegna in Homicide

Christopher Eccleston in Let Him Have It






Kevin Bacon, John Candy and Jack Lemmon did not receive Oscar nomination for portraying Willie O'Keefe, Dean Andrews, and Jack Martin respectively in JFK.

One of the great assets of JFK is its large ensemble. A technically star studded cast, however what is important here is this is less towards making cameos, and instead is about  granting importance to every individual within the film no matter how small the role. The performances back this up in terms of giving the film this certain vibrancy within the characters, even though the plot is the central thrust of the film. This is to every minor character, even the most brief of witness. Three notable witnesses within the film are of very different men that lead New Orleans DA Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) onto the trail of a mysterious man Clay Shaw (Tommy Lee Jones), who he eventually attempts to prosecute for the assassination of the president. All three are played by notable actors of the time, with two being potential distractions, but never as such due to the strengths of the work of the actors. The first being Jack Lemmon who appears as a low grade private eye Jack Martin who claims to have been pistol whipped by his partner, and former FBI man Guy Banister (Ed Asner) shortly after the JFK assassination. Lemmon's performance is a proper representation of the strength of the ensemble though through a specific type of approach. In one part Lemmon's natural presence offers a sense of who is Jack Martin is even beyond the small perspective we see him in. Lemmon brings the right bafflement and general awkward demeanor not only of perhaps a bit of sous, but even more so a man of no importance who is bearing witness to something very important. Lemmon's simple reaction in the flashback scenes are notable of a man completely out of his element if not a little scared. His essential scene though is his words to Garrison which Lemmon delivers so effectively in this paranoid, and hesitating delivery, not of an insane man, but rather coming to understand what he was indirectly part of. Lemmon's work vividly recalls these moments, but also importantly delivers this growing sense of dread through this witness.

Now a rather different witness though comes into play with Kevin Bacon Willie O'Keefe a male prostitute who Garrison visits in prison, and who also claims to be able to connect various men within the conspiracy. Again what is remarkable here is that what is offered in the character, and Bacon's performance is not just this bland slate there to deliver some important information. There is so much more there even though most of what he says is important for the plot. Bacon though fashions his own personal style as Willie brandishing a certain level of flamboyance fitting for such a man who openly brags about his life choices. The swagger that Bacon brings though is only a facet that naturally realizes the man who ostensibly wants to show off a bit towards the government men who have come to visit him. This is a bit different from the Willie Bacon plays in the flashbacks where he is more or less a "boy toy" for Clay Shaw. Bacon actually creates this minor, very subtle, arc within these scenes as we see him very much put up this overt pleasantries and lustful attitude in these interactions. He plays the man trying obviously just to please his John in a way, but there is more when the conversations turn towards the assassination/philosophy. In these moments Bacon effectively breaks that showing this very naive curiosity in his reactions of someone who really doesn't fully understand what he is listening to, but wants to be part of it. This in turn gives a logic towards his explanation for his motivations for coming forward not to expose the truth for justice, but rather to allow the world to know why Kennedy was killed in his mind. Bacon recites this speech as a true fervent zealot, but that of the simple student who believes he's learned something from his master.

Another performance in service of kicking off the case comes with John Candy as New Orleans lawyer Dean Andrews who claimed to have been hired by a man named Clay Bertrand to represent Lee Harvey Oswald. This casting is perfect actually in terms of Candy as Andrews, however it is very much out of the type of roles Candy typically played especially at that time in his career. It was a bit of a departure, but also a sad reminder of the under appreciation of the star's dramatic talents before his untimely death. This is a dramatic character role that Candy excels with in his two major scenes. The real Andrews had a style all his own, very much steeped in New Orleans, and Candy realizes this beautifully. He brings the right tempered style within his accent but his whole demeanor as sort of this southern dandy lawyer. Candy makes him properly a strange character though with a definite charisma who either might just be part of a vast conspiracy or just be willing to make up a phone call. Either way Candy is a proper "character" in the best sense of the word bringing to life such a strange sort of man, yet in a convincing fashion. Candy particularly excels with Andrews's somewhat more stylized dialogue. He does wonders with it first outlining it with this breeziness of a man just enjoying his own eccentricities until Garrison continues to pester him for more concrete information. There Candy brilliantly segues to bringing this serious emphasis by dropping just a bit of the more surface flamboyance. Candy conveys so effectively the severity of the real knowledge Andrews has in this shifting of tone, and reveals the man terrified for his own well being underneath all the false bravado. Candy proves his talent beyond what he knows for and this performance is another sad testament of the lack of appreciation for that talent while he was alive. Candy, Bacon and Lemmon, other than all being all named after delicious foods, show the strength of the ensemble. Not one of them has a lot of screentime yet in each they offer a distinct and memorable witness who live beyond the conspiracy, while also adding their own important contribution to the central thrust of that element of the film.
Michael Rooker did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying New Orleans Assistant District Attorney Bill Broussard in JFK.

Well changing gears a bit in terms of performances we have the very talented Michael Rooker who plays one of Garrison's team of investigators who are trying to make the case. The role of Bill is a composite character and is technically there to serve a purpose that actually feels expanded upon because of Rooker's performance. At first though Bill seems to be just one of the team working with the other members in an attempt to trying to unlock the secrets of the conspiracy. Rooker though is effective as such in essentially presenting a blunter aspect within these scenes who is not quite as squarely in line with Garrisons's thinking as the rest. Rooker's interactions and reactions say a lot more than just merely being part of the scenes. He firstly properly shows the genuine weight of certain moments to create the right sense of the investigators motivation from moment to moment as he tries to understand the plot himself. There is an overarching difference though where Bill is often a voice of dissent, and some would say reason, even in the early stages of the investigation such as even pointing out the lack of credibility of some of the witnesses he has found. Now this is key in Rooker's performance because there was a chance, particularly with Oliver Stone at the helm (though he's particularly on point as a director with this film), for a simplification of this character.

What I mean by that is the specific delivery of the objections, and points of reality brought on by Bill as the "devil's advocate" for many of the early scenes, even as he is shown still to be pretty dogged investigator. Rooker does not for a moment allow Bill to be some simple straw man by providing such straight forward quality within his delivery of his objections and concerns. Rooker doesn't show them as this perpetually naysayer, but rather provides the right substance of consideration just for the facts when he does so. He creates that right basic ability for doubt, but Rooker wisely portrays this as Bill just being less fervent in his belief in the conspiracy rather than in support for Garrison. Rooker creates the right dynamic as this force of dissent in the scenes of Garrison's group discussions. He offers the alternate viewpoint as this convincing perspective by making every initial frustration and reaction of disbelief as something wholly genuine. Rooker by taking this approach makes the pivotal choice in terms of Bill's transition as he is approached to essentially spy on Garrison lest his own law career be sacrificed. Rooker is great in this offer scene as he does not present as this the easy choice of a weasel. Rooker instead finds in the emotional intensity of the moment the right conflict as he speaks. He delivers the sense of a real unease with considering the offer as it mean betraying his boss, but also a frustration knowing that he doesn't want to sacrifice his own career for an investigation he doesn't fully believe in. Although it is a somewhat brief moment Rooker captures so effectively the conflict in Bill in that moment, and again offers more substance within the role than there may have been otherwise.

Bill stays on a spy however Rooker thankfully does not immediately become this villainous force. When espousing on his new discoveries though there is this slight half-hearted quality within Rooker's delivery that properly alludes to his state of mind. He also brings this when he is questioned about his devotion, where Rooker brings the right extreme snap back at any accusations that isn't over the top rather the expected reaction of a man with a guilty conscience. Rooker's best moment comes though as Bill launches into his own alternative theory that involves the mob rather than the entire U.S. government as Garrison proposes. Rooker is great in this scene though as he passionately advocates Bill's view in two frames of mind. One being a genuine passion towards the idea but also this unease towards accepting such a nihilistic view of the government. Rooker fashions another layer though even beyond that to show this certain desperation in his delivery not in terms of selling his idea, but rather towards Garrison's own safety. Rooker does not make it this selfish diversion, but rather shows some better side to Bill making the alternate conspiracy as much of a plea as anything else. Rooker in this way does not make Bill's turn this simple revelation of a bad guy in the wings. Rooker instead offers a real humanity in the changes by showing Bill painfully taking each step from the doubting Thomas before becoming the full blown Judas. It's a terrific performance as Rooker realizes this arc so well within essentially the margins of the film.
Joe Pesci did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying David Ferrie in JFK.

Joe Pesci plays one of the most pivotal roles in the film, technically as important as Jones's Clay Shaw, as one of the men alleged to be part of the cabal who helped to execute Kennedy's assassination. His first appearance though is when he is brought into Garrison's office, long before he begins his formal investigation, stemming from a vague clue about the man David Ferrie for having taken a trip to Dallas the day Kennedy was killed. Pesci in a way has a challenge from the outset with the rather, different, appearance of Dave Ferrie with eye brows of an odd sort, and his ill-fitting blonde wig. Pesci of course is more than up to the task being rather idiosyncratic himself. Pesci is a unique quantity as an actor, indispensable when it comes to comparison, as there is no one who can deliver what Pesci delivers quite like Pesci. This is essential for the role of Ferrie who is suppose to stick out like a sore thumb both in terms of appearance but also really everything about the man. Pesci doesn't just play into this but owns it with his New Orleans accent he uses to only amplify the jarring style of the man. Pesci makes Ferrie very much a man who not only might be part of an assassination plot, but also would probably be the easiest to identify due to his personal style which is anything other than subtle. This is clear from his first scene which Pesci is sheer perfection in every stumbled delivery, and nervous reaction, or false interaction, setting up as a man with clearly something to hide though just smart enough not to fully blurt it out.

After that scene though we see Ferrie in two distinct lenses though those of the past from the recollections of Garrison's witnesses, and the present with Garrison's few interactions with the man. In the flashback scenes we get quite a lot of classic Pesci in his realization of Dave Ferrie as the homosexual "bon vivant" and a military conspirator. Pesci portrays this in an interesting way as this mess of a man though in his mind yet somehow comforted within his place in his world. As the "bon vivant" Pesci actually elicits this overt comfort in the life projecting as a peacock showing Ferrie essentially where he seems most at home wholly being himself in the homosexual underground of New Orleans, rather than the awkward man we meet in Garrison's office. As the military conspirator Pesci is fantastic in delivery that trademark intensity of his of course in the moments of Ferrie going on his long flights of mental fancy that both take him towards killing Castro and eventually Kennedy. Pesci brings this extreme zealotry that he also plays with a certain intriguing duality. Pesci offers this clear conviction within his vicious words of anger and distress over being pulled from his anti-Castro efforts, but when it turns to Kennedy there is an even more obtuse quality Pesci infuses. It is this madness that Pesci finds of a man speaking words with a belief to be sure, but steeped in this insanity that suggests Ferrie doesn't even quite understand the full ramifications himself.

Those past scenes essentially are the seeds to the Ferrie we find in the present that Pesci gives us a proper paranoid mess when he contacts Garrison's men after their investigation, including his name, has leaked to the press. This leads to a stunning scene for Pesci's performance where he brings sort of that same visceral power to his work that was so remarkable in his Oscar winning performance, though translated here for a very different role and purpose. Pesci instead of using that for such an imposing figure, he instead brings that unpredictable violent energy in creating the extreme vulnerability of Ferrie in the moment. Everything about Pesci from his hastened tone of voice to his manic movements echo a man burdened by many things. We see the fear in his eyes in every reaction from every unknown that Pesci makes fitting to a man on the brink of some death, but within that we also have that burden of the past. Pesci creates this increased agitation within his physical portrayal of Ferrie as he begins seemingly to speak of his connection to the assassination. Pesci is astonishing in the way he captures this though as this stream of consciousness of a man neither healthy of body or mind. He constantly changes in these moments from second to second so naturally from moments seemingly of mania, to others of only of terror, and occasionally these wholly lucid moments that seem to reveal some of the secrets he holds. Pesci though always makes him the madness we saw before but amplified ten fold as he reveals the full weight of the assassination on Ferrie as he shows us a man struggling with both what he became a part of and his own actions. The most powerful moment of Pesci's incredible work though comes when Ferrie finally seems to come to calm with an instance of clarity. Pesci delivers this moment as Ferrie reflecting on his own guilt while seeming to look towards some other path he could have taken in his life. Pesci is downright heartbreaking in the moment by so quietly portraying this moment as this brief sobriety in an insane man, as he ponders on his desire to become a priest which never could have been. What makes the moment so poignant though is how naturally Pesci finds it through his vivid tragedy he creates of a man who essentially lost himself through the conspiracy.
Donald Sutherland did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying X in JFK.

Of all the figures in a film filled with mysterious figures the most elusive maybe Donald Sutherland's character who merely goes by the name of X. He differs though then the named of the mystery men as he is a deep state deep source ally to Garrison offering him his own insight on the assassination on one long walk around the grounds of Washington D.C. He is essentially the film's "Deep Throat" who is another real life figure unnamed in the film there to offer the most secret information however while refusing to offer himself as a witness for the investigation. The difference between Hal Holbrook's Deep Throat from All The President's Men and X, other than meeting in broad daylight, is that X delivers all of his information in a single scene. The scene one could argue and simplify as the biggest exposition dump of all time, however it never comes off as such due to the film's brilliant use of editing and Donald Sutherland's performance. Donald Sutherland's performance is explaining, a whole lot of explaining, but some of the most captivating talking one will witness in any film. X is essentially there to give a deeper insight into more a black ops perspective that Garrison is not privy to. This leads Sutherland to give a most fascinating performance on every front. First of all that great voice of his has never been better used as he rattles off detail after detail with such eloquent, and precise delivery.

I could frankly listen to Sutherland break down every single detail of the assassination by how well he phrases every single word. Sutherland brings more to the role than that, and I'm not just referring to his few flashback scenes where we get a more of the moment X as he reacts in confusion towards first being sent on a wild goose chase then later fear at discovering the assassination. Sutherland creates such varied demeanor that grants us a sense of X even as he never for a moment loses that dramatic thrust of his monologue that remain effortlessly compelling in his hands. There is a fascinating combination of tones that Sutherland realizes as this certain blithe quality within his work, suggesting properly a man long within the black ops, but somehow still the sense of severity of his words within this. Sutherland delivers this very controlled passion of a man adamant to let the right information out to Garrison while also still having just the right shred of indifference as though it is X's way of coping with the coup d'etat that he could do nothing to prevent. Sutherland brings this bluntness through this approach as both a man clearly concerned for what happened, but also with the sense to know there is very little he can do about what happened given the forces against him. Sutherland's work here is immaculate in not only just making every bit of exposition meaningful, but even still managing to make X more than a mere exposition machine. It is outstanding work from Sutherland as he leaves such an undeniable impression on the film in such short order. Sutherland again creates the sense of the greatness of this ensemble because he doesn't just serve his purpose within the film by making his scene fascinating, but also in turn makes X as fascinating as this mysterious presence within the film. His work creates a highlight within a film filled with highlights, and is one of Sutherland's best performances.






Joe Mantegna did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Bobby Gold in Homicide.

Homicide follows a Jewish detective while he tries to solve the murder of an elderly Jewish woman, and while he tracks down a brutal drug dealer.

Homicide, yeah homicide, that's the name of an act and film. It's two things, right, maybe a metaphor or two. What the hell do I know. It's like a movie where everybody talks. Talks with this way of speaking. You know what I'm saying? Well do you? There are spaces to make sure you hear what I'm saying though. Make sure you here it right clear like I'm talking to someone else, but instead I'm monologuing. Monologuing like I'm a stage actor, but hey I'm suppose to be here talkin up a film. A film performance that is. A film where everyone talks a little strange. The plot seems a little convoluted. You know the type of film? Ever see Redbelt? A bit like that, although at least here, in this film, you can see at least some connections to the complications. If you know what I'm saying. All the supporting characters though they still all seem strange in their weird way of speaking through monologue, that isn't at all cinematic. David Mamet. Ever hear of the guy? Well it seems he could use another set of eyes to adapt his words on film, even just to direct em if you know what I'm saying. You see his words. His words, yeah, they're just a too thick, too thick for their own cake, like bad bunt cake. Ever have a bad bunt cake? Hopefully not, I wouldn't inflict you with that disease of the guttural intestines. This film, even as is, isn't terrible, not great, potential there you know. Doesn't come together. Also how are you suppose to believe Ricky Jay could physically impose Joe Mantegna, not the easiest pill to swallow, maybe he was using some slight of fist.

Okay, I'll stop writing like that and focus on once again the element of Mamet's film that manages to overcome the burdens from his way of directing his own work. Once again it is in the lead character who is the only character who seems to come to life. This again comes partially from the storytelling which doesn't effectively intertwine its elements partially because it doesn't quite develop them enough. The one element it does develop though is the central character who is given life by Mamet's frequent collaborator Joe Mantegna. Mantegna does need to contest with bit of Mamet's stylized dialogue, often overly stylized, however Mantegna is able to ease this a bit. One he is one of the better actors in terms of delivery of it anyway that makes it at all sound natural. He is helped further though by thankfully the character of Bobby Gold only needing a bit of it. He thankfully gets to be a bit more grounded and frankly more cinematic. Mantegna in turn is able to give a far more cinematic turn here that is the center of the film even beyond the lead. In that he is the true cohesion of the film as Gold deals with the two wildly contrasting plots, and has to connect them essentially by creating the personal journey of Gold in how it connects with the mystery and the manhunt.

Mantegna from his first scene is effective in establishing really this duality of the character. In that on one end as he discusses police procedure, and his procedure as detective in a most personal way, as in just specifically speaking of his own methods Mantegna brings this confidence and control of a true professional. He has the right calm and intensity of his eyes of a man who is well reasoned and well seasoned in his position. This is against the moment where he loses this comfort from either a hostile colleague or even a captive prisoner physically attacking him in order to try to steal his gun. Mantegna reveals this considerable unease even beyond the attack itself. There is this discomfort that reveals a greater anxiety in his reactions. A palatable desperation of a man who is not just uncomfortable in the situation, but also in terms of his sense of place within his profession. Mantegna naturally affords the character this duality by creating this sense of calm when only there can be a detachment. Even when he fawned over by his hero-worshiping partner (William H. Macy) Mantegna shows an appreciation only through his delivery that emphasis a courtesy, while physically reflecting this unease even in processing this type of support. Mantegna reveals a detective who has fashioned his place through his work as a detective, but as a man still is lost.

Mantegna uses this setup well then to explore the two avenues that reveal themselves as he tries to track criminal as a typical detective, and tries to solve the murder of the Jewish woman that forces him to examine his own, lost, heritage. We initially see this as he succeeds in the interactions towards the tracking with that same detached confidence, but with the murder investigation Mantegna portrays so well this pained forced connection. A way as he reacts with such unease to any sight that forces him to think about his own place as a Jew and what it means to him. Mantegna is able to bring the appropriate humanity to this struggle, which is a bit too academically worded by the supporting characters within this plot line. Mantegna successfully captures far more nuance in his portrayal of how this investigation in a inflicts him with his true sense of a lost identity. This is something he finds so well early on in his reactions that Mantegna shows in his eyes clearly reach him on a deeper level as he sees Jewish custom around this murder. He initially seems to try to hide this, by the same way he himself is dismissed by others, by self-hating antisemitism which Mantegna delivers so well as this specific yet hollow outrage as though he is simply aping others that seems ill-fitting to Gold.

Mantegna develops gradually this loss of distance as the reactions begin to also bring a greater depth into his direct delivery in the moments of trying to uncover the truth. This leads him deeper into his own culture/religion and Mantegna delivers this emotional connection through showing almost a relief when he stumbles upon a Zionist organization in his city. Briefly Mantegna reveals still hesitation but finally some comfort as he speaks more openly with the group, and even aids them in the arson of an anti-Semitic group's headquarters. Homicide being a Mamet film though quickly reveals this to be ruse by the organization to try to use Gold's connections in the police force to their benefit. Although this rushed Mantegna manages to at least bring a genuine emotion to this in his realization of the heartbreak of the moment of again being lost in his own identity. This quickly rams Gold into his other plot line following the crook which is connected only through Mantegna's performance. Mantegna does deliver though in realizing the emotionally spent state of Gold in every harried moment and exasperated work spoken as a man who really is fed up with life. He only speaks dripping with a caustic hate and cynicism that he essentially tries to bring down the criminal (Ving Rhames) to his level of thought. This is more or less where the film leaves us, and the film itself doesn't quite come together towards something wholly remarkable. Mantegna though does overcome the material, and in some ways makes it digestible by giving a moving portrait of a detective trying to come terms with his own self through his investigations. It doesn't make the film itself wholly successful, however Mantegna at least offers a stable emotional center through his successful performance.






Gary Oldman did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead.

Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead actually works to a degree just due to the strength of the source material though it suffers by being too close to it for its own good, which isn't too surprising given it is directed by the original playwright. Although it is not a bad film, it is a little bit of a shame as the story could have lent itself to a more dynamic adaptation that played upon tropes of films, rather than of the theater.

A quick note on this review that will be in lieu of Wesley Snipes in New Jack City. A good performance mind you though frustrating stuck within a film that isn't sure whether it wants to be revenge thriller, Scarface, or Boyz N The Hood. Snipes is effective in his role however his charismatic, and surprisingly emotional at times, work is too often diluted by the film that consistently steers away from him to focus on the nearly one dimensional police chasing him. So instead decided to look at a rather different performance from the great Gary Oldman. Although Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as it stands as a slightly adapted film version it at least commands a notable cast, the most important members being the titular duo, of Hamlet fame despite not being the most important in that play either. They take center stage here though purposefully while still staying to the side of the central action of Hamlet. In these "leading" roles the film features two then up and comers of Tim Roth as Guildenstern and of course Oldman as Rosencrantz. I will also mention this is purposefully not a dual review for Roth as well who well isn't bad as the more analytical Guildenstern his performance is perhaps too serious for its own good, and perhaps needed a performer with a natural comedic energy, who would then tone that down.

Now I really mention that as we have Gary Oldman who is not thought of as a comic actor, though in a way some of his more overt performances can be comedic in some sense that is usually not their central purpose. Oldman here though gives a wholly comic approach to the role of Rosencrantz who is far more just in for the ride of the strange journey that the two semi-throwaway characters find themselves in. Oldman finds the right approach within that to essentially make the most out of this strange position that is also detached from the central plot, but rather than burdened by the need for understanding as Guildenstern is that he takes what comes. Oldman plays with this certain idea of the ignorance that is bliss for a rather interesting performance from his oeuvre to begin with. In that Oldman is far more the passive individual in a way, even though he steals the film in his own way, however this is through cleverly low key take that achieves a most successful duality within the character who doesn't stand out in the story yet Oldman makes him stand out within that idea. In Oldman plays Rosencrantz as the extra who essentially has just found out that he is an extra in an ongoing film, and is just trying to work with that.

Oldman is rather delightful in the role in his way of creating this man with this certain eagerness to please in a way that is rather endearing. Oldman defines his Rosencrantz with an earnestness, that will make sense even within the technically duplicitous character as he stands within Hamlet the play, as a fairly simple man trying to deal with a rather complex issue of one's metaphysical nature. Oldman makes that certain bafflement particularly entertaining though by presenting it with such an optimistic spirit within every moment of it. This comes right down to Oldman's frequent delivery of Rosencrantz introducing the pair, often wrongly introducing himself as Guildenstern before being corrected. Oldman delivers this so spiritedly of a man somewhat in the thrall of the idea that there is some bliss to be had of their peculiar state of mind. This attempt to find joy that Oldman brings in every moment is what makes this performance work particularly well, and greatly aids the film which could otherwise get lost in its own pondering, sometimes it does. Oldman brings this sense of always befuddled sense of discovery in the moment that is always rather humorous whether it is Rosencrantz discovering their new geographic location, or the way their coin consistently lands on heads as though they are stuck within time.

Oldman's performance though goes further in every scene in a way to provide very much a bit of a cinematic edge needed to his work which remains dynamic even when just reacting towards whatever it is Rosencrantz is seeing. Oldman never wastes such a moment either to create this sense of confusion over his place in the world, or just an often hilarious moment of Rosencrantz trying to make the most of his odd circumstances through Oldman always optimistic approach to the role. His timing is simply impeccable here to bring humor to every scene, even against Roth's often too dour of an approach. Oldman's physical performance even helps to accentuate the needed humor within it by presenting Rosencrantz physically as not quite right, honestly to be an extra. Oldman nicely plays within the lines, yet still doesn't quite fit in rather splendid way, particularly his almost Stan Laurelesque  way of going to sleep with a sleeping mask, well really a blindfold. This is even right down to when the two come to decide to go along with the plan to kill Hamlet, through a false letter, though for rather different reasons. Oldman presents this determination on Rosencrantz's part one built upon fear, not of any typical action, but rather of concern of the need to take action when the "world" requires them to take action. Oldman once again finds the right comical energy even within the strangeness of the thought by even bringing almost this sweet petulant sadness within his portrayal of concern over it all. Oldman manages to make even Rosencrantz's acceptance of Hamlet's demise okay within the character, by presenting it as just again his way of cheerfully accepting his very strange lot in "life". Oldman gives a terrific performance here as he not only brings to life the stage character, but he does manage to find the right tone within the adaptation as well. His performance bridges certain gaps in a way to give a rather enjoyable turn that finds the wit within the material, but also in a way that never feels burdened by it.






Alan Rickman did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite winning BAFTA, for portraying George aka the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

Robin Hood: Princes of Thieves struggles as it is far too timid in embracing a more flamboyant, if not even a bit more goofy, tone leaving a severe inconsistency between some extremely dark, and some extremely absurd moments.

One man who is not at all confused by what the tone of the film needs though is Alan Rickman who to quote his BAFTA winning speech gives "a healthy reminder to me that subtlety isn't everything". Alan Rickman's performance is his very own personal example of "watch me act" a potentially dangerous idea, however used in the right circumstance can be a true gem of the partially absurd. There needs to be a few ingredients for this recipe for it to come out just right, and not a pile of overcooked Terl shaped nonsense. One is a legitimate actor, which we have in Alan Rickman who proved himself quite capable of a more subtle turns from 1991 whether it be the romantic ghost, the manipulative interrogator, or a cuckolded husband. Rickman acquitted himself properly in each role despite their differences, though this is treated by many as his crown jewel from this year. Well that brings me the next ingredient to this difficult recipe. This is such a film that just won't accept itself as a fun adventure, despite so many silly elements, so Rickman chooses to provide the entertainment. This performance also needs the right character for this approach, which we have in this film's Sheriff of Nottingham. Of course all those element are for naught though if one is missing the final key element, which is the proper execution of a "watch me act" performance.

Well thankfully all those ingredients are all found in this honey glazed prime slice of ham that just tastes so very good. Rickman's performance has a keen awareness that the Sheriff of Nottingham isn't just a villain, but an absolute fiend without a hint of a redeeming element as written. He seems to take this as a cue then to make up for such potential simplicity in the character by absolutely owning every moment of the character's villainy. Take even his opening scene where he invites Robin Hood (Kevin Costner)'s father (Brian Blessed) to join his ranks. Despite the white robes Rickman in no way wishes to hide Nottingham's black heart as his eyes are overflowing with a maniacal intensity, and he bears a sneer that only a proper vicious psychopath could wear. This murder of Robin's father though is but a diabolical preview of the madness that is to come. A madness that is of a certain sort, that Rickman grants to we the audience, that we should be more than eager to accept with humble gratitude as Raul Julia would say as M. Bison, a spiritual brother of this performance in many ways.

There is the idea of the villain, the start of an idea and only that. What Rickman demands is that the audience get so much more than that. Rickman delivers the requisite villainy. He has the menace, he has that intensity, but really those are not the true focus of this performance. They are just an underlying aspect because Rickman knew that just being a good villain would not be good enough for this film. This film needed a bit more spice than that, it needed something a bit more "hamtastic" shall we say. Rickman delivers that with aplomb in his way of playing the Sheriff not only pure evil, but pure evil in a way that couldn't be more enjoyable. Everything about what Rickman does is an actor giving it his all, and is such a glorious fashion. Rickman even physically embodies this, as I love the way he rarely seems to sit still portraying it as though the Sheriff is just constantly annoyed by everything and everyone around him. Rickman delivers this great unpredictability through that physicality. He goes beyond any limits of any scene to properly chew, but in a way that is something so wonderful. The way he stomps and storms around is a marvelous display that one could argue grants the Sheriff a certain petulance that is rather enjoyable, also it just incredibly entertaining to watch Rickman do it even beyond that. 

Of course what is a performance like this without some delicious line readings, and these are some of the most delicious you'll see in a film. I mean you have Rickman's already magnificent voice then you have it pumped up to eleven to garnish every scene he is in with such beautiful gems, either ad-libbed by Rickman, lines he specially had friends write for him, or just made so by what he brings to them. Now I don't know if I should even begin to state the lines because there are just so many things made so very special by the sheer monstrous absurdity that Rickman grants them, well speaking them with such beautiful relish. Eh what the hey, there's the peculiar threat "Locksley. I'll cut your heart out with a spoon." gives such fierce insanity, his especially specific time orders for his wenches "You. My room. 10:30 tonight.You. 10:45... And bring a friend" with such smarmy disregard for all decency, his quieter yet as intense instructions to make his stitches small that Rickman grants with such excessive vanity, and of course let's never forget the holiday classic line of "call off Christmas" the oh so fret less and hilarious demand as improvised by Rickman. Evidently Rickman only took on the part after being given free reign with the role, apparently correctly believing the script to be terrible, and essentially sought out to ensure the audience is entertained by him at the very least though. Rickman in a way is kind of trolling a film he knows is bad, but he is doing it in a way to make sure everyone who watches it will get something to enjoy from it. A most notable effort that he does pull off, and I'll say it the right approach. I mean take the finale of the film where we have the Sheriff's attempted rape of Maid Marian a scene that frankly shouldn't be in any fun adventure film. Rickman takes the terrible idea and decides to make work. How, well by playing it as absurdly as possible with every digression, usually of the Sheriff being exasperated by yet another interruption as though he's guy way past his deadline on some important project. Rickman very oddly makes it work because he keeps the scene from at all embracing the very dark implications, and keeping every moment as ridiculous as it should be. I especially love the way in the end how Rickman sword fights Costner in sort of this free style way. It is emblematic of his whole performance where Rickman is performing some great jazz while nearly everyone else is playing rusted some poorly written orchestral piece with rusty instruments that are out of tune. Rickman may be on a different wavelength, but he knows what he's doing to the point he makes something wholly worthwhile in what otherwise would be a completely disposable series of pictures.






Lee Byung-hun did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Park Chang-yi aka The Bad in The Good The Bad The Weird.

Lee Byung-hun and director Kim Jee-woon is perhaps the unsung actor/director collaboration of modern cinema. I have never even heard it mentioned yet it is a notable one with both seeming to bring the best out of each other. In fact you can almost gauge the quality of a film by Kim by how much Lee Byung-hun is in the film. Kim's best two films, A Bittersweet Life, and I Saw the Devil both feature Lee as a lead where he delivers remarkable turns in each. Even in Kim's good, but not quite great, The Age of Shadows, seems to benefit from Lee's brief but important cameo. Now we have this film where Lee is a major supporting role and seemingly in turn this is one of Kim's better film. It should be noted though that any great actor/director collaboration there needs to be the quality in work from both parties, but there also should be some sense of variety. This film also finds that for their collaboration here with Lee no longer playing the anti-heroes of his leading turns, and now fully embracing the role of the villain. Not just any villain though but the sort of villain that wears his villainous qualities right on his sleeve, after all he is know as the bad for a reason. It goes beyond that just in the image alone evokes a proper classical black hat with Lee being adorned in rather glorious dark leather attire, only topped by his rather glorious haircut. Lee isn't an actor to rely on or to be overshadowed by his own appearance.

Lee rather embraces it then amplifies it all the more. This film is obviously heavily influenced by the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone which in turn were heavily influenced by Kurosawa's Yojimbo. Lee's own work seemed to have had this in mind as his villainous work is less akin to Gian Maria Volante or Lee Van Cleef's performances of Leone's films, and closer to the gun wielding samurai played by Tatsuya Nakadai in that progenitor film. That is not to say Lee simply rips off to what Nakadai did, but rather pays homage to it in the best of ways. The central idea he seems to have taken from that performance was Nakadai's snakelike demeanor. Lee fashions this himself through his own angular smile that just is so fiendish it would have to adorn a villain. The idea of such a smile though is reflected in the entirety of Lee's performance which is that the titular bad, Park Chang-yi, quite enjoys being as such. Lee's work though uses that as a starting point but not as a crutch, and does take the performance in his own direction in a way really in a way only Lee could. As with all of Lee's work his physicality is an essential element. Although he does far less martial arts here than in his leading turns, the way Lee moves is so important here in his character. Lee delivers such a brilliant grandiose swagger that just commands every frame he finds himself it. Lee captures this sense of a proper sort of villain, who knows he's a villain, and isn't just happy to show it off, it is almost as though needs to do so.

Lee's physical approach is an ever prescient element of the character that makes Chang-yi standout in every scene he is in. In that it isn't even just his walk, even the way he may be sitting in a chair has this certain brilliant style to it. In that Lee manages to find this intensity in the exact manner he projects this ease of menace. I love the instance of meeting his employer technically speaking if you were to describe the actions they would seem ridiculous, as Chang-yi is hunched over, with his hair covering one eye as he glances at the man. It could be absurd yet Lee finds just the precise manner to only find a real incisive yet casual quality in this manner, and even one would describe as a sense of cool with the character. I will say I have particularly great affection for what Lee can do with that single eye in that he delivers such a killer intensity within it. That intensity though also is credit to again the variety of Lee's work in his films with Kim. In that he gave intense performances in his two leading roles yet in generally are far more internalized fashion. Lee shows his comfort in completely turning that on its head to bring this intensity through this broad and very entertaining take on this arch villain type. Lee completely alters his style to match the very different style for Kim, and together they beautifully amplify the best qualities of this slightly absurdist western of the east.

Of course even as different as this performance is Lee once again employs sort of his time bomb of emotion though less restricted than in I Saw the Devil or A Bittersweet Life. Lee once again though is masterfully in crafting this core that defines the man that technically is always apparent in his performance yet it is not something he overtly emphasizes. In this film this quality relates to Chang-yi's path once he understands that fellow bandit Yoon Tae-goo (Song Kang-ho) aka the weird is in possession of the map he has been hired to find. Lee is incredible as per usual in delivering sort of the hidden intent within the character specifically in the moments whenever he sees Yoon. In these moments Lee instantly switches the style of intensity to be far more directed, and seemingly based in something almost more honest in terms of what motivates it. He eases off on the swagger instead reveals these conviction in his eyes, and a far palatable hatred when he tries to kill the man. This becomes one of the most interesting aspects of Lee's portrayal as he reveals within this hatred even a certain vulnerability. When others call Chang-yi it up Lee's reaction's so effectively once again alludes to a bit more  to what makes him tick. Lee's terrific here though in actually portraying these moments in a way as the assassin at his most dangerous. When he is questioned by one of his men, there is this glint of a certain type of insanity in his eyes that almost has a certain desperation in it, before quickly murdering the man. It is a fascinating obsession that Lee creates showing that Yoon has done something to him, something that pesters the man. This naturally comes to a head when the titular trio meet in an expected Mexican standoff where Chang-yi reveals his yearn for vengeance stemming from Yoon's old days as a more notorious bandit who specialized in cutting off finger. Chang-yi being one of his unfortunate victims. Lee is great in this final scene in creating this duality in his death stare towards Yoon which is a combination of this almost witless hatred, and a certain joy as it seems he is about to obtain his revenge. As to be expected with Lee working with Kim, this is a great performance though this time in a wholly different tone. Lee gets everything he can out of this grandiose villain being such an enjoyable fiend throughout, yet still while finding a bit needed nuance where appropriate. Now this review should be over, but I would be remiss if I did not mention the scene, which has no major barring on the rest of his performance, of Lee's portrayal of Chang-yi cracking up while watching a rom com. It's hilarious as Lee so earnestly depicts that moment showing that even a psychotic villain can just step back love a good film. That is all.






Mathieu Amalric did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Henri Vuillard in A Christmas Tale.

A Christmas Tale is an entry into the ennui-filled-reunion genre this time focusing on a family gathering for Christmas while their mother possibly faces death.

The use of many a foreign language actors in Hollywood films is a bit of a curiosity as they become generally known for work in their home country and then is typically cast as some creep in an English language film. That is a particularly strange thing as in most circumstances that is not the nature of their performances in their native tongue, and it often requires one seek out that work to properly see the range of their talent. Mathieu Amalric is one such actor that can even be seen in one of his other performances as such a creeper Dominic Greene in the bond film Quantum of Solace also from 08. A Christmas Tale offers thankfully sort of a different side to the performer here as the black sheep of the family the film focuses. The black sheep for reasons that are not made entirely clear throughout the film, however as the film opens Amalric's Henri is banished from the family by his sister Elizabeth (Anne Consigny) after she pays off the numerous debts he has accrued, however that does not seem to be the exact reason for banishment. Now I write "sort of" a different side to Almaric as it is easy to see why he could be pigeonholed in a certain type role in terms of un-creative casting in that Almaric certainly brings an impish quality here as well. A different type of impish quality though as he carries it in a far more jovial way as though his Henri is in some way embodied by the spirit of Bacchus or of some such sort of like spirit as we catch up with Henri a few years after his banishment.

One of the first acts of Henri's in the film is walking around drunk then face planting directly into a roadway. This would seem perhaps a cry for help for most characters however that is not the nature of Henri exactly, which is so well developed through Almaric's performance. Even in the moment of wandering around there is almost this dancing spirit to it. He doesn't do a dance mind you however Almaric brings a certain energy about his actions that very much embodies this sense of enjoyment within Henri even when suffering some quite extreme physical harm at times. Almaric very much defines around the pain this since of pleasure not of masochism but rather just as part of his overwhelming behavior being this search for such zest towards life. This obviously isn't the most sane of an idea and properly Amalric finds more than a hint of madness in his cheeky little grin even after crashing into the pavement. Amalric portrays it as this bit of insanity yet he manages to project it not so much as this problematic self-destruction but rather this particularly intense and idiosyncratic way of embracing what life has to offer him. The nature of Henri seems to become all the more abundant when he is allowed to return to the family because their mother Junon (Catherine Deneuve) has leukemia and is need of a bone marrow transplant with her same blood type.

Henri visits with his current girlfriend Faunia (Emmanuelle Devos), where he seems to prepare her for some horrible visit with his family. Of course how Amalric interacts with every member of the family helps to define not only his character, but also the family's dynamic and history as well. It is here that we begin to understand the man and Almaric's performance intentions become much more clear. We see perhaps Henri at his purest with his father where actually Almaric portrays the least joyful mania in work and speaks in their moments together with while not an earnestness in his words there is such an honest in his delivery of them and his eyes. This is contrast to the rest of the family where we get much more of the man seeming to live on this extreme edge at all times. A vicious joy of ways that Amalric expresses as Henri speaks to his siblings, particularly his sister. He makes this carefully troubling as this exuding of such joy even when delivering insulting or self-deprecating remarks to himself or even those around him. When his brother-in-law attacks him for one of these such insults, Amalric even laughs this off. There is the intensity of this that Amalric though that reveals this certain anxiety even as he presents such an overt joyousness in the act at all times. The strange juxtaposition of behavior though twists itself in the most fascinating ways between Henri and his nephew, suffering from mental problems, and his mother. In his scenes with his nephew Amalric plays them especially because he actually tones down Henri's typical manner a bit, and adjusts it in a way. He projects a certain more uncompromising warmth to the boy creating the sense of an Uncle trying to support the troubled boy in some way. In these moments Amalric creates the sense of how he would help the boy as Henri's always strangely positive attitude would help the boy as in his eyes as it seems to helps Henri through a rough life.

Of course with his mother it is where we see the painful existence that is Henri's life. Amalric is great in these moments with here as there is such rich, in many unpleasant history between the two felt in every interaction. Amalric presents on the surface the hints of just an old love, as any son should have with his mother, yet around every kindness there is such a palatable resentment in his eyes, and within his delivery. He never loses himself to obvious anger towards her, rather again reveals that joyful attitude that becomes to represent Henri's desperation. Amalric reveals that to essential be this defense mechanism for Henri to deal with both his own failures, but also the disregard so many of his family members have for him. He carefully portrays most strongly when really the feelings of sorrow or sadness should be most prevalent, leaving him in troubled yet functioning state of mind. Amalric realizes this state so well and shows how it brings both the best and the worst out of him. As that even when he does the right thing to save his mother by donating his marrow, Amalric portrays it it in front of her directly with almost a maniacal glee as though to diminish his positive act in order to in no way deliver his love, this is against when we see him with the doctors alone to which Amalric reveals a far more desperate concern allowed away from the limits of his family. Amalric naturally realizes this man who self-sabotages almost to fulfill the role that his family has set for him. He creates the sense that this has been earned in the past, but only exacerbated by his banishment. Although we never learn what caused his sister to banish him, Amalric's work gives understanding to it through this state he makes so vivid. He shows this through a man who has made so many mistakes to the point he never seems to apologize for them rather would remain in his state of "bliss", even if he can't quite succeed with that even. This is a terrific performance by Mathieu Amalric, and easily the most compelling aspect of this film, as he so well realizes the complexity of the man's relationship to his family which in turn creates such a complicated state of the mans so cheerful in his misery.






Robert Mitchum did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Corporal Allison in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison.

Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison is a rather enjoyable film about a marine and nun stuck on an island in the Pacific in enemy territory during World War II.

It must be said that Robert Mitchum was a great actor, with such an ease onscreen that is perhaps what lead to him being such an underrated commodity. I must say I take a certain joy in finding each and every one of Mitchum's notable turns as they reveal such a remarkable performer who had such a notable idiosyncratic personal style yet had a tremendous and somewhat under exploited range. Of course again even this in some circumstances was almost hard to notice just in terms of how easily Mitchum slipped in a different type of role. The role of Allison here, a marine who finds himself marooned on an island, Mitchum does not use as an excuse just to deliver a performance similair to say his hard boiled P.I. from Out of the Past. Of course that probably almost would have been fine, but Mitchum doesn't go for that approach which is rather impressive to begin with, but also leads to a very special turn from him. Now this isn't just in his New York accent he fashions for his character. That's just part of it, an easy part of it that Mitchum just makes it part of himself. Mitchum with accents is always rather fascinating since he's not an actor who'd strike you as using accents, but you barely notice them when he does use them since he does so in such an effective fashion.

That accent though is only a stepping stone in his portrayal of Allison which I might say is perhaps Mitchum at his most charming. A notable distinction needs to be made in this though in that Mitchum is always a charismatic performer, however this is a time where his considerable charm really comes to the forefront with his approach to Allison as a character. Allison is after all a marine who had a none too pleasant childhood before he reached this rough patch created by his time in the war. Mitchum however does not present this as some sort of horrendous wound by any means. This is not inconsistent though which is so interesting in his work. In that Mitchum delivers the lines on Allison's past rather bluntly with certainly the right hardened attitude in this explanation. There is no sense that these are good memories however they do not truly pain him in Mitchum's presentation. He does this though through a careful, and brilliant, workaround where he reveals this as basically assuaged through his time with the marines. When he speaks of the chapter, even when explaining a harsh drill sergeant, Mitchum infuses this considerable pride in every word. In his eyes he brings this sense of purpose within the marines creating this core within Allison, and this belief essentially towards his duty in the armed forces.

Now the reason Mitchum's choice there is particularly important is because there was a potential possibility for Allison to be this terrible brooder, however his approach to avoid that really opens up the film to frankly a more enjoyable experience in general. Mitchum uses this that allows him to be far more expressive in his charm, of course with such ease as always by portraying Allison very much as a man at ease with himself. Mitchum's approach and turn here actually reminded me a bit of Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. In that captures that sort of action hero you can approach. This is in part that charm to be sure that makes Allison just this very likable sort, but it goes further than that. In that Mitchum really allows you in on Allison's endeavors to subvert the Japanese efforts to find him, and his companion as well as to later sabotage their defenses against his fellow marines. Mitchum's so good in the action scenes not just by being charming, but also bringing this certain haplessness to moments. In that just his physicality in the moments and his reactions are not of this superman, but just a guy winging it at times. This in turn makes him so very easy to watch in every moment since he never seems too far gone, but is so very endearing in every moment by showing Allison essentially just doing his very best to survive, serve the marines, and help his nun companion.

Speaking of his nun companion who is an essential part of this performance. As in the story the marooned marine Allison comes across a nun who also happened to be marooned there, the nun Sister Angela played by Deborah Kerr. Now I already covered Kerr and Mitchum later showed their considerable chemistry in The Sundowners, but this was their first film together. The chemistry here also is a bit more complicated given the nature of the relationship whereas in that later film the two where they are already a married couple as the film opens. That is not quite the case obviously for Allison and Sister Angela. Kerr and Mitchum evidently developed a real life friendship through this film, and that sort of ease together is quite obvious through their work together here. What is so important about this though is this film is essentially a two person show between the two. What I love is how even though there is the nun/soldier juxtaposition from the start the sense of ease actually comes quite quickly. Now this is with each fulfilling their roles so well, Mitchum naturally being more expressive against Kerr who stays a bit demure. Their interactions from their opening scene though has just something so remarkable in how genuinely they speak with one another. There is just such earned sweetness and warmth in it that makes the two such entertaining duo from the outset.

The two use that as this basis for the two that certainly makes the film all the more compelling in itself. The two go much further than that though, and I love how both performers so eloquently realize their own arcs in tandem yet separately in approach. Kerr giving the more subtle and introverted portrayal, well Mitchum giving the more extroverted, although I wouldn't quite say broad. Mitchum does well though to convey really just the outgoing nature in every scene making some of Allison's blunt statements seem so honest to the character. When Allison just for example states being unaware of pretty nuns, clearly referring to Sister Angela, there is such a earnest sincerity in Mitchum's delivery that so effectively just reveals this as just the way Allison is. He uses this idea though particularly well in creating what Allison's story is within as the non-church going soldier, interacts with the devote nun. Mitchum does this carefully in presenting really an idea of kind of showing Allison's initial attraction essentially slowly falling into love with the Sister. Mitchum brings this purity through how he so well finds that directness of Allison. His rather uncompromising statements early on about her choice to be nun Mitchum refines always through such clear, and rather pure tenderness for her. What helps all the more though is just how good their chemistry is in every interaction, and to the point the two seem right together, even if this must be in a specific way.

Mitchum gradually delivers this to a tipping point which he importantly portrays not as a mental breaking point, but rather Allison's blunt attitude taking him too far, amplified due to drink. When he reveals his feelings for her I love the definite vulnerability in Mitchum's eyes that allude to really only a most sincere reasoning in the man's mind, even if it was perhaps not in the right circumstances or taken with the right considerations. When the Sister rejects this Mitchum doesn't show the love Allison has for her diminish instead he actually presents as growing after she becomes ill. When he treats her there is perhaps the most powerful affection in every moment as Mitchum brings such a striking compassion in every moment. As he treats her, and then later asks for her forgiveness for his previous statements, Mitchum though has one major difference though which is in his face he carries this considerable sense of empathy. When he asks for her forgiveness Mitchum makes Allison as straight forward as ever, but now with such solemness in his voice evoking such a convincing act of contrition and understanding towards her. The relationship between the two is so beautifully realized as we see both change through it, and come together in what is technically not a romantic love in the most traditional sense, however it is not unrequited in the end. Of course this all naturally woven within their interactions throughout that create such a winning duo throughout the film. I love both of their performances here that manage to find the dramatic potential within the central relationship, but at the same time are just a pair I simply liked spending time with.






And the Nominees Were Not:

Ben Gazzara in The Strange One

Rod Steiger in Across the Bridge

Victor Sjöström in Wild Strawberries

Robert Mitchum in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison 

James Cagney in Man of a Thousand Faces






5. Richard Jenkins in Step Brothers - Jenkins offers a great bit of catharsis and entertainment through his hilarious turn that embodies every bit of exasperation possible in his observations of the titular's pair's nonsense.

Best Scene: His dream.
4. Mathieu Amalric in A Christmas Tale - Amalric gives a terrific turn in creating the complexity of his character's unique dynamics within his family that form through his own distinct way of interacting with the world.

Best Scene: The one time he loved his mother. 
3. Tom Noonan in Synecdoche, New York - Noonan as per usual gives a fascinating idiosyncratic turn that both acts as a proper representation of emotion, but also the representation of the act of the observation of such emotions.

Best Scene: His own choice.
2. Jason Butler Harner in Changeling - Although he isn't given a great deal of screentime Harner leaves an undeniable impression through his both chilling and honestly heartbreaking portrayal of a stunted and bent serial killer.

Best Scene: The execution.
1. Lee Byung-hun in The Good the Bad The Weird - Good Predictions Bryan L., Calvin, and RatedRStar. Lee delivers a great villainous turn here that successfully matches and amplifies the film's heightened tone while also delivering a palatable menace, along with even some real nuance in his exploration of what really makes his villain tick.

Best Scene: The duel.


Next Year: 1957 Lead






Jason Butler Harner did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Gordon Stewart Northcott in Changeling.

Changeling has at its heart a particularly compelling true story of a mother, Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie), trying to find her lost son which unravels into two separate tragedies however it suffers from slow pacing and some underwhelming performances, especially the child performances, likely in part due to Clint Eastwood's method of doing very few takes.

One tragedy is of Christine Collins's son disappearing. Instead of finding help from law enforcement of the L.A. police department she is instead first ignored, then manipulated, then threatened and abused by them. That tragedy is in part a result of the sadly even darker tragedy underneath that one which brings us to Jason Butler Harner. Harner appears fairly late in the film as the film introduces that this is in part the story of a vicious serial killer who specializes in abducting then killing young boys, one of the abducted boys being Christine's son. We are only given a few glimpses of Harner before the end of the film. This leaves a certain challenge for him in part to make the needed impact given the character is purposefully left as a footnote to Christine's story, understandably so given how grim his story is. The strict perspective into the man is more than enough though given the impact of even only learning part of it as well as due to Harner's performance. Now we are given somewhat the expected from Harner, which is no way anything to sniff at, which is his portrayal of the absolutely horrifying intensity in the brief glimpses of the chicken coop murders. These only last a few seconds but Harner's portrayal of these moments of an atrocity are chilling. There is no respite for a moment just this direct uncompromising evil that Harner portrays as a man behaving on these extreme base instincts.

Outside of those moments though we have more of Harner which I think is what makes this a truly outstanding work from him as he finds a very distinct and particularly disturbing approach to the depiction of a serial killer. Harner is especially effective in these moments, of sort of a flamboyance within the character as written that I think a lesser performance might have used to turn him into a more sort of obvious villain. Harner's work instead uses these moments as terrifying insight into the diseased mind of the man. In that Harner portrays this certain stunted manner as though Northcott is sort of a child in mind himself. He doesn't over do it as to be some sterotypical creepy kid, he just slightly finds this particularly off-putting petulance that is grotesque yet feels very human in the way Harner portrays it. He manages to realize this in a honestly humanizing way as he successfully realizes this awful manner is fitting to this maniac. Harner's approach not only leaves a striking impression it also changes the context somewhat of his final scenes, which technically could have been the simple disposal of a monster. When Christine comes to see him to ask about her son, to whom Northcott refuses to admit killing based on his claim of finding religion therefore redemption. The way Harner delivers this is not as a gloating villain, it is of a messy insanity yet there is something very earnest as he states this horrible retraction. When Christine presses him Harner again is particularly unnerving by basing on this malformed child's responses, even in almost this pseudo attempt to scare Christine by trying to kiss her, it is this momentary juvenile act with the certain shyness Harner brings even within the derangement. When she states she hopes he goes to hell, again Harner by offering that genuine presentation of the character's state it is haunting as he shows in his reaction this real fear in even this terrible killer's eyes. This is expanded to even greater heights in Northcott's execution scene. Harner, despite the character's actions, makes the scene absolutely harrowing to witness. Harner depicts every moment with such vividness from the beginning where there is this pained attempt to find solace in the moment as he speaks his final words and looks to his priest for comfort. He is then is strangely heartbreaking as he moved towards the noose with his delivery of "please don't make me walk so fast". Harner again captures this broken mind and says this almost as a child not wanting to do something, though obviously with the severity of the given situation. Then when placed beneath the noose Harner unleashes just this mania of every kind as we see the killer, but also this man trying anything to get his mind away from his reality before he is killed. He is astonishing throughout the scene. This is a great performance that fully realizes the state of the man, even within the margins of the film, and is especially remarkable as he finds a very distinct, disturbing and powerful approach to a well worn type of role.






River Phoenix did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Eddie Birdlace in Dogfight.

Dogfight despite its cruel opening premise of a group of marines rounding up a group of women for a contest involving who can find the ugliest date becomes a rather sweet romance between one of the marines and his date.

River Phoenix's tragically brief career was rather different than say a James Dean who had three major films, iconic to their era, although also in roles who all begin their films as rebellious young men against whatever system they are within. Phoenix's career perhaps resulted in fewer classics, although that may differ based on one's specific definition of a classics, his output was fairly prolific even within its brevity. Phoenix in his eight year long career made 13 (and half to include Dark Blood) films within a variety of genres, and importantly a variety of roles for Phoenix. This included within 1991 itself where he played the physically troubled prostitute in My Own Private Idaho, and here as Eddie Birdlace a marine on leave just before he is set to go over sea to Vietnam. Phoenix as he was believable in realizing the meekness Mike in that film, Phoenix captures the problematic machismo of Eddie here. Phoenix offers that certain swagger of both his personality and physicality as Eddie and his fellow "B" men, based upon their names, come into town looking for women. Phoenix delivers the complimentary hollow intensity as he portrays this inherent tension with every delivery really every movement that works in tandem as the other men hard bent on convincing they are all really fighting men, even though none of them have yet to feel the sting of battle.

Phoenix's performance wisely though brings enough of subtle nuance even within these moments that are properly overt as intended showing perhaps there is maybe a bit more substance to Eddie than his cohorts even if it is rather hidden. Eddie nonetheless goes about his task to find a "dog" for the dogfight coming across a local music loving waitress Rose (Lili Taylor). Phoenix is great in the initial pick up scene which involves obviously showing more interest than is honest towards Rose by Eddie. Phoenix though actually though sets up the potential for more in their relationship even in the troublesome initial setup there. Phoenix is great in the way he delivers that certain leading man charisma he was capable, though sadly was not able to show off frequently enough, though he brings though in somewhat overly forceful way. He cools the intensity of before though to reveal that charisma within it but in his initial pursuit Phoenix rather is able to establish the act Eddie is performing, while being believable that he would indeed be charismatic in Rose's eyes. When he shows interest in Rose's music though Phoenix subtly delivers more a genuine charm in line with these moments, and quieter attitude that effectively alludes to something more even as Eddie is still just propositioning her for a humiliating situation. 

Phoenix finds the right approach within the dogfight sequence itself, which to the film's benefit is fairly early on in the story. In that again he creates the right sense of the circumstances that define Eddie's behavior against what is perhaps truer to Eddie's real nature. He still brings the moments directly with the other marines withe all the excessive bluster and absurd confidence needed. He subverts though in his moments with Taylor where he depicts a slowly growing unease as the two reach the titular event. Phoenix during the event itself shows Eddie only comfortable in the moments of complete blind support by his fellow marines within their deplorable behavior, and in turn Phoenix gradually in turn portrays this as a more difficult act to perpetuate. Phoenix naturally creates the complete loss of this attitude by in turn delivering such an earnest, if hesitant, warning towards Rose as she unknowing engages in parts of the "show". Phoenix properly shows not a hint of joy except in the most direct interactions with Rose, however even these Phoenix makes only the faintest fitting towards the compromise of the situation. When Rose discovers the truth and lashes out at Eddie, Phoenix powerfully delivers the vulnerability, not so much as classic Phoenix vulnerability, but more fitting to the character that Eddie is. He's moving though in so honestly creating this moment of full realization of actions through every word of Rose's. Phoenix says very little in the moment, but in his eyes conveys wholly Eddie's understanding of his wrongdoing.

The actual romance of the film begins when Eddie seeks to track down Rose to apologize for his actions while also taking her out on an actual date. Phoenix excels though as he shows still this struggle between his learnt expectation against his more genuine self. Eddie's initial apology is a beautifully realized moment by Phoenix by again so naturally purging the bluster, to show the more genuine individual in the moment. Eddie though once the new date starts puts it again as he shows her around town while trying to mock a maitre di. Phoenix once brings that same excessive unearned confidence in the moment throwing himself into every venom and profanity laced insult. What Phoenix does so well though is to portray this with such a extreme edge that is more fitting to it as almost an automatic reaction from his "education" in the marines. He pushes this as a blind rush into the type of man he's established himself with which Phoenix shows is still thin even when Eddie uses it for a less overtly problematic purpose. Rose calls him on this behavior again, though more gently than before, and Eddie finally lets it go. From there on Phoenix reveals really the real man that is beneath all that posturing and poignant portrays the far gentler soul within. From then on what we get instead is just this wonderfully realized romance between Eddie and Rose. Phoenix and Taylor have amazing chemistry with one another.

Their romance reminded a lot of the romance in Marty, which is always a good thing, in that while there is some underlying tension from the cause of their initial meeting, the two find such a beauty in their unassuming yet so very warm interactions with each other. The two just slowly build these ease from each subsequent scene, and the two are so genuine together that is so delightful just to watch the two interact with each other. What they even do for the most part isn't even that dramatic yet it doesn't matter because of how special yet still understated they make the relationship. Each step isn't this major act, but just this ingenious coming together two people. I love how simple yet special their final moments are that just seem right by how effectively Phoenix and Taylor realized the developing love between the two. That ends on a great note, but the film keeps going. The film then gets its second chance for a good ending where Eddie has a sobering talk with one of his fellow marines where he reveals his real self, as does his comrade. The film keeps going to cover the Kennedy assassination, Eddie's traumatic time in Vietnam then finally his return to Rose. Although I don't think these scenes are at needed to the overall story Phoenix's performance manages to give them at least some purpose by at least portraying Eddie's continuing down his path to becoming a more mature man even through his suffering. His final scenes back from the war Phoenix is moving in realizing the losses in his eyes, creating the right haunted quality within them, which in turn does make his return embrace with Rose rather moving even if paced strangely. Of course this is all just good film going on longer than it should, and at the very least we are granted more time with Phoenix's charismatic turn here. A performance that not only carries that extra time, it also just creates a fascinating and affecting portrait of a man finding himself while also finding love, and is a testament to the talent that was lost in River Phoenix. 






Alan Rickman did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite receiving a BAFTA nomination, for portraying Jamie in Truly, Madly, Deeply nor did he receive one for playing the interrogator in Closet Land.

Truly, Madly, Deeply is a rather delightful but also poignant film about a woman Nina (Juliet Stevenson) being visited by the ghost of her late musician boyfriend. Closet Land is a film that gets lost within its own pretensions about a children's author (Madeleine Stowe) being interrogated in some unknown country for an unknown reason. The promise of such a premise being far better realized by Martin McDonagh's play The Pillowman.

What these two otherwise disparate films do happen to have in common is in British thespian Alan Rickman and his one of a kind voice. Rickman's talents though went beyond his voice, though that was certainly one of his great assets, and these two films do grant insights into two vastly different sides to Rickman's talent as a performer. The roles couldn't be more different playing in Truly Madly Deeply a likable musician, who happens to be a ghost, and in Closet Land playing a vicious state interrogator. I suppose one clear comparison within the two is that we are granted some prime Rickman vocal work who thankfully in no way hides that drawling baritone of his. He in fact has a bit of fun with it in both films, which is quite an accomplishment in the serious minded to a fault Closet Land. Both performances though very much begin with the initial idea which seems rich enough in each. The dead lover returned in Jamie, and the interrogator with more than few tricks up his sleeve. The former allowing Rickman to play nicely against what became his "formal" type in mainstream cinema due to his career defining role as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, meanwhile the interrogator very much plays right into that type.

Might as well take the more expected then with the interrogator, who really you could not ask for a better performer to make the rather laborious material of the film work. In that so much of the film is long monologues or dialogues pieces, that sadly wears their thematic ideas a little obviously on their sleeves leaving little subtly or perhaps even reality within the text, leaving the actors to some how make them work. Although I can't say either Rickman, or Stowe make the film "work" they do make it far easier to watch than it otherwise would be, and do their best to attempt to illustrate what the film was going for even though the film itself fails in its attempt. Rickman's typical deadpan yet forceful delivery is really perfection for the interrogator as it not only invokes the sort of assumed menace needed for the part it also expertly emphasizes the minutia of the man's existence. In that Rickman carefully plays that as the interrogation opens this is hardly the first, nor would it intend to be the last person the interrogator intends to break to satisfy the state's demands. Rickman is appropriately chilling by playing it very much a matter of routine from the outset finding the certain bureaucracy in the process of the interrogator, despite his process involving trying to physically and mentally destroy an individual for an unnamed crime.

Now enough of that "high minded" nonsense though as we also have here a Rickman turn that shows he could be just as charming as he could be menacing if he so chose to be. Rickman takes a bit to appear, as we follow around Stevenson's Nina failing to get over the grief of his loss, and I would actually say Rickman is supporting despite the importance of his character. When Jamie does suddenly appear in their old home, despite being quite dead, this is not a haunting but rather a wondrous event it would seem. Rickman doesn't take long to show what Nina saw in old Jamie as there is such a considerable charisma in his work. He is just exuding this pure joy, and importantly he and Stevenson drum up an immediate chemistry. An important sort of chemistry though where the two barely even need to state their love for one another since one can just feel it through not only the jubilation the two actors express so well in their interactions, but just the warmth within their casual interactions. Despite the strange situation, there is no stiffness or formality between the two as Rickman and Stevenson deliver their lines and react to one another with this sense of comfort natural to their long standing great affection for one another.

Enough of that fun though lets get back to slow torture in a film that seems a touch too impressed with itself during every development in the interaction between the writer and the interrogator. Rickman though cannot be faulted for so well illustrating every moment of this horrible process. The way he plays it is as this true professional who in every moment is well aware of what step he is in terms of trying to break her. In that Rickman brings this slight air of irritability within a false civility. Rickman develops this false earnestness whenever the interrogator claims he's just going through the interrogation as a routine, though with always this momentary gaps realized in a hesitation in his delivery or a single turn of the eyes that Rickman brilliantly signals as the reality of the viciousness. Rickman creates so much of the uneasiness, and sense of threat within the film through his work. The actual moments where the interrogator uses violence in particular Rickman performs so well by drawing out in a way as he sort of overtly mannered each that effectively reveals the interrogator purposefully taking his time to show what is doing before he is doing it to create this dread even before the pain.

Of course enough of that, and let us looks back at Jamie where we get Rickman playing the part in a way that is a little atypical for a ghost. In that Rickman portrays Jamie as a ghost in no way troubled by his death, in fact has this rather distinct ease about the whole situation reflecting a man quite enjoying the freedom it grants him in a way. Rickman shares that enjoyment by being this great ball of energy really, which is notable for the often deadpan Rickman, as he has quite a bit of fun with his performance it would seem. The right kind though as he lets us right in on it, to the point that is quite infectious honestly in his early scenes. He and Stevenson together are simply wonderful though in the exuberance of it all as the two seem to live the reunion to the fullest. I especially adore the moment in which the two sing a duet of "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore". Neither actor is this great singer however it doesn't at all matter as that is hardly the point. The scene is a wonder because of that great happiness the two create through that is absolutely endearing for every second of it. Both bringing such a glow to it through their performance, with Rickman, so known for his icy characters, being rather splendid as this loving soul.

Well back to the hateful soul where Rickman is quite remarkable in realizing more within the character even in its limited presentation. This includes the interrogator putting on other parts, when the writer is blindfolded, that Rickman quite dynamically realizes as this guttural monster as the more brutal interrogator while also doing a high pitched pathetic wine to represent a fake witness being tortured to implicate the writer. Rickman is great there in creating yet another tool of the interrogator, however he goes a bit further when the interrogator is playing the witness when he claims to be left alone with the writer. Rickman uses this moment to its fullest as the witness describes the main interrogator, as a rich cultured man. Of course this is to create a false image for the writer to confess to, however given the writer is blindfolded Rickman subtly goes a bit further. When he delivers these words of propping up the interrogator as this good man Rickman silently portrays this honest sorrow in the man's eyes, showing the broken humanity of a man who once had morals, and is pained by the man he has becomes. This is a small moment, but honestly probably the best moment in the problematic film, because of how honest Rickman makes it through his performance. This plants the proper seed actual as the film goes on, and on, in the torture. Rickman though at least brings something out of this process by presenting the gradual wear in the interrogator own resolve revealing this desperation as he realizes his failures as the writer refuses to break.

Now his performance as Jamie also has more to it as well, as Nina continues to come home to him, while he introduces his fellow ghost friends who all just sort of hang about since they have nothing better to do. Rickman is rather hilarious in this, even as Jamie encroaches on Nina's patience, by showing this purity of the behavior. In that Rickman makes every, sometimes even inconsiderate moment technically speaking, genuinely goodhearted by playing it with the sense that Jamie truly has nothing more to do than hangout since he essentially an embodiment of living in the past. Rickman in turn doesn't hold back in terms of showing the joy that can come from such nostalgia, however also presents the limitations as Jamie has nowhere to go. Rickman doesn't at all present this as Jamie being truly troubled, even when he and Nina have a brief squabble, but rather direct as showing Jamie being all that Jamie can be. Eventually this, and the addition of a new boyfriend leads Nina to move on, leaving Jamie to be left in the past though not gone. The film ends with Jamie watching as she moves on, and Rickman is outstanding in the moment. His reaction is heartbreaking as he captures the sadness of losing her, but with a hint of joy reflective of Jamie's love for her that goes beyond even the point she has moved on from him. These two performances couldn't be more different in intent, and even within the contexts of the film since one amplifies a good film, and other makes a failure far more digestible. The two together though are representations of the talent of Alan Rickman who could be the most unpleasant of interrogators, or the most enchanting of ghosts.



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ul { list-style-type: none; margin: 0; padding: 0; overflow: hidden; background-color: #333; } li { float: left; } li a { display: block; color: white; text-align: center; padding: 14px 16px; text-decoration: none; } li a:hover:not(.active) { background-color: #111; } .active { background-color: #4CAF50; } DMCA report abuse Home Todas Pastas Auto Post sitemap Blog "Sem Imagens" oLink xxx Alternate Best Actor 1991: Results 5. Christopher Eccleston in Let Him Have It - Eccleston gives a good portrayal of his mentally stunted "criminal" however the film fails to utilize the potential of his performance due to the material given to him.Best Scene: Seeing his family the last time. 4. Wesley Snipes in New Jack City - Snipes gives a charismatic yet vicious portrayal of his drug dealer with even a touch of a pathos though his film fails to realize its value to the film.Best Scene: Killing his partner. 3. Joe Mantegna in Homicide - Mantegna manages to make his material work by giving a properly confident portrayal of a professional detective while also effectively undercutting it in his subtle realization of a man without roots. Best Scene: Confrontation. 2. Alan Rickman in Truly, Madly, Deeply - Rickman gives an absolutely charming yet also moving portrayal of a ghost who represents both the comfort of the past, but also what is lost in time.Best Scene: Witnessing her moving on. 1. River Phoenix in Dogfight - Good Prediction Emi Grant. Phoenix manages to make some rather tricky material work through his charismatic and complex portrayal of a marine torn between the expectations of his peers, and his more genuine good nature. Best Scene: Eddie's apology. Updated OverallNext Year: 1991 SupportingAlternate Best Actor 1991: Christopher Eccleston in Let Him Have It Christopher Eccleston did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Derek Bentley in Let Him Have It.Let Him Have It is a somewhat decent however overly basic depiction of the story of a mentally stunted man being accused of murder after falling in with a violent thug.Christopher Eccleston gives his debut feature film performance, although the film's aesthetic feels closer to a TV film but I digress. This performance though has the chance to depict rather tragic story of this central real life character as this young man struggling with his very existence. Eccleston is effective in the role in realizing Derek's state of being. He doesn't overplay this rather finding the stunted nature in this certain direct manner of speaking and reacting to people. Eccleston finds this narrow way of Derek of really in the way he even looks at people. There is this obvious focus that Eccleston depicts showing that Derek needs to put this certain extra energy into interacting just like a typical person. Eccleston finds this though not quite perfect and as this show that he feels almost average yet not quite. There is the right type of struggle in every moment of this showing Derek as having difficulty navigating just the normal day to day, and even then he realizes as a clear struggle. Eccleston's work is tasked even further though as Derek is not only troubled by his mental difficulties, but also physical ones as an epileptic. Eccleston to his credit is terrific in the moments of showing the fits, which could led to some wild overacting very easily. Eccleston though performs them believably while again realizing the precarious state that is Derek's life.Eccleston, despite these clear problems, nicely doesn't always overwhelm his performance with them. He shows these moments with his family as rather sweet by showing the simple humanity even within the struggle. He is never simply a series of tics, but realizes the man within it all. He creates the right pathos through those interactions with his father, mother and sister where we can see the potential for some growth or at least some comfort. Eccleston offers the right warmth in these interactions to provide the basis for some idea of a future that are rather moving through how genuine they feel. This is against his interactions with his "friends" who are petty criminals, who frequently abuse Derek's nature. Eccleston is very good in these interactions as well though by making the right yearning in the interactions as his delivery is that of a simple man aiming to please, and in turn receive some sort of acceptance from these people. This becomes problematic though when he is pulled into a criminal endeavor, which again Eccleston excels with by conveying Derek's attempt to comprehend what is going on throughout. Eccleston though offers an earnestness and a confusion. In that he shows the man trying to be part of it, but also not really wholly aware of what he is part. When the crime turns violent, Eccleston is rather moving in realizing just the mess of the man.Eccleston even captures the right ambiguity in the specific delivery of the titular line that could either mean for his friend to shoot the cop, or for his friend to drop the gun. Eccleston rightly balances the line by delivering it as this moment of sheer fear that could be either interpreted as plea, or the reaction of a muddled mind. Eventually the crime leaves a police officer dead with Derek and the actual murderer, a minor, facing punishment. The murderer though cannot be executed due to his age leaving Derek as receiving the full brunt of the wrath of the judicial system. The film rather rushes this period of the story however Eccleston manages to find some of the tragedy by portraying that even as he faces death Derek still is struggling to understand what exactly is going on. It is moving by reinforcing the man just trying very hard to figure what is happening right down to the execution itself where he has very little time even to breakdown because of that. This is a good performance by Christopher Eccleston however the film doesn't entirely allow Eccelston to fully sink his teeth into. The film never quite gives the time to Eccleston to truly make this a heartbreaking portrait of this man that seemed quite possible given the subject matter. Eccleston's performance is good, but the full potential of it seems somewhat unrealized by the film's underwhelming approach to the material. Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1991: William Sadler in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey William Sadler did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying death aka the grim reaper in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey.Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey though certainly isn't a great film is perhaps the somewhat underappreciated sequel to the original film about two dofus wannabe rockers as pivotal as John Conner to the future of mankind. Or to be more fitting to the movie it's a totally tubular romp back with the dudes, dude.Now a great deal of affection for the film comes with the creativity of the sequel which in no way rehashes the original, despite also being a designation of travel in the title. The very idea that they literally kill the protagonists in the first half hour alone is hardly the choice you'll find in the "two dumb guys" genre of films. Now another one of these choices is the inclusion of death in the film, specifically referencing the Bengt Ekerot's version of the character from Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal. The part here being played by William Sadler then probably best known for playing villain in Die Hard 2. Sadler first appears in the film after Bill and Ted (Alex Winter, Keanu Reeves) have been murdered by their evilrobotusis, a common ailment we all may face one day. Sadler initially actually appears as though he is replicating Ekerot's performance more or less with his dark and solemn stare, even some generalized Norwegian accent. A man of little to no emotion, but there is something ominous within the presence that he exudes. Of course this is quickly broken when the boys, to get away from death, give him a "Melvin", aka a forward aimed weaponized wedgie. Sadler's impeccably delivered comical cry of anguish at this assault though rather shatters such an image as he is briefly taken out of the picture.Death returns when Bill and Ted try to escape hell by challenging the Reaper to game. A game initially it seems may have just a bit of that slightly more intense style to it as Sadler initially reappears again with that same ominous style, though perhaps a bit less effective in this attempt now we've seen him melvined. Of course it isn't one game, but several children's board games they play to challenge death to which Sadler is hilarious in very trying to stay somewhat in the realm of Ekerot, while also playing battleship. Sadler's approach is especially entertaining because he brings so much conviction within death being completely within a wholly inappropriate situation, and speaking rather inappropriate phrases. One being after his loss at battleship demanding another game to which the boys say "No way", then Sadler is comedic gold by delivering with such intensity in his eyes and his voice as retorts "yes way". The game sequence is honestly probably my favorite in the film as it focuses so closely on Sadler. Whether it be his timing of "I said plumb" when claiming to have guessed the right answer to Clue, or his frustrations as he attempts to contort impossibly while playing twister. Sadler is an absolute delight in being completely silly, yet still with the sense of some rather deeply hidden gravitas at this point.Now again I must give credit to the film for its creativity, which doesn't only have death as a character, but then decides to keep him on as an ally of the boys after they best him just one too many times. This thankfully gives us more of Sadler as he goes along with the boys to support them in their quest to destroy their evilrobotusis, and of course make it to the battle of the bands. I will say on re-watch I don't think the film used that as much as it could have in terms of making death part of the action however Sadler's little moments throughout the last act of the film are typically the highlights of the scenes. I thoroughly enjoy the way he plays death begrudgingly losing his more stern manner both in these amusing moments of frustrations at the boys, but also eventually in getting enjoyment out of their adventure as well. Although nothing is really made of it within the story, other than death Melvining the main villain, Sadler actually does create an arc for death in that he naturally portrays death finding his smile, and enjoying himself along with the boys. Most importantly though his realization of this is actually just funny. I also would be remiss if I didn't mention though the little gems sprinkled of Sadler throughout that are just hilarious little bit so well delivered by Sadler. My favorites being his over eagerness when guessing "Butch and Sundance: The Early Year" before switching to shame for having mentioned that film, or his so perfectly blunt yet casual way of saying "see you really soon" to a smoker he passes by. This is just an altogether, for the lack of a better word, fun performance that adds a needed extra element to this bodacious sequel. Hopefully Sadler will also "face the music" along with the boys if that third film is actually getting made. Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2008: Tom Noonan in Synecdoche, New York Tom Noonan did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Sammy Barnathan in Synecdoche, New York.Tom Noonan is one of those indispensable character actors quite frankly as there is no one quite like him. The contrast between his impressive stature, and his impressively soft voice is particularly notable. It worked to quite chilling effect in Michael Mann's Manhunter, where he played a serial killer, however Noonan's idiosyncratic presence manages to always be something distinctive, however at the same time he always disappears into his roles despite not really changing himself. Screenwriter/director Charlie Kaufman seems keenly aware of this casting him as "everyone" else in his animated Anomalisa, and here in his directorial debut. Noonan has a quite a role really needed for someone whose going to need to make some impression rather quickly. Noonan's Sammy appears once Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman) begins his gargantuan theater project to represent his own life. Sammy auditions to play Caden's double with his only qualification being that he has stalked Caden for 20 years therefore knows everything about him. The way Noonan essentially confesses a rather creepy idea is fascinating. In that there is this conviction to this passion that Noonan infuses that is brilliantly specific. In that in this audition we are given is this controlled yet raw intensity he espouses, yet with such a pleasant manner while doing so. Noonan shows the act to be Caden, and all his emotion, yet still shows the act even while capturing what is needed from it. Noonan plays him as a man who can express exactly as he needs, yet it not imprisoned by it.Of course what Tom Noonan does here is very specific, and an essential facet of the film in that his Sammy is the double of Caden in more ways than he plays him. Obviously Noonan looks, really, nothing like Philip Seymour Hoffman. That is not the point and Noonan's performance hones in on this idea of a different kind of a representation of Caden. In that Caden is an observer rather than an actor in life, therefore it is a most curious thing for an actor to play this observer, while being an observer. That's is a strange idea to be sure, however it makes this a particularly fascinating performance to watch as Noonan realizes this act in his own way that is something rather clever. Caden is of course troubled by this state which Noonan contrasts so effectively by portraying a man in a state of calm in his own observation process. Noonan initially portrays that, despite this life, Sammy wants for nothing in his own existence of acting as the observer of the observer who is troubled by being the observer. Noonan exudes a calm in this place of strict connection, which he plays with in such an interesting way. In that he directly acts a certain moment will present the needed intensity of emotion to be Caden, yet can calmly be himself the next moment, such as so genuinely commenting on the talent of Caden's wife who is an actress.Noonan's work here is entertaining in itself, in that his exact state is humorous to be sure, but what is so special about it is how well he finds this strange state of the man who is almost a comforting factor in the film by showing a path of the observer initially. The idea though becomes that in a way Sammy is less an observer because he is at least acting out Caden's observations unlike Caden who is simply still watching them. This does not change until Sammy's action to take action where Caden did not which in turn finally leads Caden to take action, the action Sammy had taken, how that somehow adds up is why I love the film. Noonan's work ends up being quite something even more than this curious side show though in the end, as Sammy's observation of Caden's action leads to something more. Noonan is heartbreaking quite frankly in finally attaching the emotion of the performance to Sammy finally observing by removing that initial calm in this moment of observation. This leads to a performance of Sammy, a tragic performance, which is emotionally charged as it should be to represent Caden, yet with this calm as Sammy takes his own action in the performance. It is an utterly bizarre end to the character that Noonan delivers in such a powerful way by naturally reaching this breaking point as the observer becomes the true actor in the end. Alternate Best Actor 1957: Rod Steiger in Across the Bridge Rod Steiger did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Carl Schaffner in Across the Bridge.Across the Bridge is a decent thriller about a European embezzler trying to hide out near the Mexican/American border only by stealing the identity of a lookalike only to find that man is a wanted assassin, a problem I think most of us know all too well.Rod Steiger I will admit quite worried me as the film opened in a scene where his character is fielding pressing questions about his troubling business history as well as his wife's suicide. In that I've found more recently in my exploration of Rod Steiger's career that there are certain problematic tendencies that are common in his lesser performances. These Steigerisms are on display a bit here early most notably his way of doing this strange loud high pitched yell to signify anger. Thankfully though these are only very briefly used by Steiger, and in context of the entire performance it isn't too egregious as this representation of a man as a pressure cooker just on the edge of letting out his emotions given his situation. That is where his Carl Schaffner is just on the edge of being discovered and about to be liable for a prison sentence. I'll admit though I had a bit further worry, this one a bit more unfounded, in his portrayal of the German Schaffner given his future success in The Pawnbroker. Steiger uses a similair accent here, that actually just becomes a natural part of the character, and successfully further entrenches himself into the role through it.The strength of this performance quickly became more obvious to me as soon as the plot really kick starts as Schaffner finds himself on a train in his attempt to escape to Mexico in order to escape his prison sentence. Steiger does not portray this initially as a man on the run in a traditional sense. In that he does not portray an overt desperation within the character at first. He subtly exudes just a bit of it enough to be believable, however he introduces well the idea of the cutthroat businessman here on the run as well. This is seen through his portrayal of his initial actions which carry this definite calm in Steiger's performance, and successfully distinguishes the man from the pressure of facing actual consequences. We see the man distinctly running away from them, and the ease that Steiger depicts effectively reveals the man's amorality early on. This personal attitude continuing even as he steals the identity of a fellow passenger who closely resembles him. When Steiger first tricks the man directly, then later directly hectors him for his identity, Steiger carries this intensity with right assurance within this behavior. He delivers this cold efficiency to these two important scenes showing a man ready to avoid taking any responsibility for his actions, in fact rather determined to do so.Schaffner's choice in identity theft though quickly leads him into trouble as he is sent packing towards Mexico to take the fall as an assassin. Steiger keeps this calm in the moments of the wrongful identification though successfully reveals this certain glint in his eye, a sense of slyness as though this is initially just part of the plan for the man to easily cross over the border. This becomes slightly more complex when the process of correcting his identity takes longer than expected. Steiger still does not depict an obvious breakdown though just a minor frustration in every one of Schaffner's claims of wrongful identification.There is still that cold incisive stare though once the opportunity for bribery and avoiding of responsibility appears. Steiger delivers the needed incisiveness through this bit of smugness in every moment as Schaffner ease away his obstacles and seems to once again avoid his real mistakes. The arrival of Scotland Yard in addition to the local authorities growing exasperation with the man requires further maneuvering from Schaffner. Steiger is consistently compelling in that he captures again that manipulators charisma in that while he is not truly charming, how much command Steiger says with every word is with the authority of a brilliant criminal.The authorities do not stop trying to catch Schaffner though and Steiger is very good in portraying the growing exasperation in himself which he realizes well in a growing subtle desperation in his performance. This change in the man though goes further though as he sees the results of his actions where the local Mexican populace begin to openly reject any hospitality towards the man due to the fate of the man's identity he stole. The one source of consistent support comes from an unlikely place that being the dog of the same mann. Although Schaffner initially coldly shoos the dog away, which Steiger portrays with the same indifference the same way he treats any human with as well. The dog, being a dog, doesn't reject Schaffner though coming to support him even as all the humans around him having nothing but disdain for him. This relationship oddly enough is the heart of the film, and quite frankly the best part of the film. This is due to Steiger's portrayal of this relationship where he slowly depicts this quietly growing warmth in each subsequent interaction to the dog that insists on taking a liking to the man. This warmth becoming almost a direct need for any tenderness, once all other reject him for his amorality, portraying as this full attention towards the dog. Steiger's quite moving in giving it his all and finally revealing just a bit of a soul in the character. This is often just in his silent performance though in bringing such delicate and earnest physical interaction with the dog that only becomes all the more heartwarming, as the rest of Schaffner's existence becomes all the bleaker. Eventually the dog is used as a last resort by the authorities to catch Schaffner as they tie the dog just across the border where he can be arrested. This idea could have potentially been ridiculous however Steiger makes it honestly heartbreaking by having created such a convincing connection between man and dog. This culminates finally where the dog cries for the man's help, and we only see Steiger's silent reaction where he reveals such a genuine anguish that naturally finally reveals a better man than the one we saw that opened the film. In turn this leaves this performance by Steiger on quite the high note, despite my initial concerns. Alternate Best Actor 1957: Victor Sjöström in Wild Strawberries Victor Sjöström did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Professor Isak Borg in Wild Strawberries.Wild Strawberries is a beautifully told story of an aging professor reliving the memories of his life as it is nearing towards its end.Victor Sjöström, though had acted in his time, was better known as a director of the silent era before Ingmar Bergman cast him in this film. He was evidently Bergman's only choice for the role to the point he would have not done the film without him. Sjöström's work was an influence on Bergman as a director so he perhaps he was eager to work with one of his idols but perhaps the needing the eye of a director is what helped to encourage this casting as well. Wild Strawberries, to dust off a term, is very much "director's film" in that the overarching vision of the director is what you take most strongly from the film. The acting though is still an essential facet and Sjöström's work suggests a particular awareness in terms of his role within the film. In that this story of the professor Isak Borg is one often of the observer. The observer though need not be distant or unknown at any point. Sjöström's performance seems to understand this idea most keenly. Now there is a bit of more of direct character development, however that is on the lighter side in terms of the purpose of this portrayal. We do however have moments early on where we see the man before his journey both through land and through time. This is rather brief but Sjöström's certainly captures the proper irritability of a man within his ways as he complains to his housekeeper before he goes on his way. This is short yet important in that Sjöström grants us a view of the man Borg is known as to others, and helps to explain the memories others have of him.The dreams and memories though are pivotal in revealing a different man, a more introspective one. This is through a combination of a few facets though in that we both have the visual of Sjöström in these scenes, but these are also further underlined by his narration throughout the film. A narration that certainly has a touch of distance, as a man recounting a story rather than living it, however infused with the right touches of emotion within key moments that Sjöström still emphasizes even if they are part of a memory. There are the dreams and memories themselves that are quite different, particularly in the film's opening where the professor suffers a rather bleak nightmare where he witnesses an arm-less clock, as well as finds his own coffin which includes his own corpse. Although the images of this nightmare are particularly striking, one of the most pivotal images within this sequence is Sjöström's reaction. He captures not only the more direct fear that is to be expected, but also more important this unpleasant uncertainty from the nightmare. It is not of a man who understands wholly what he sees, but rather is perhaps most troubled by his lack of comprehension. This leaving a sense of this unknown that leaves Borg in this frame of mind that perhaps ensures a different man will begin the journey than the man who complained to his housekeeper.Sjöström naturally captures this state of an uncertainty, and even a confusion that creates the right understanding to the more pleasant man we see as he begins his road trip, to receive the degree of Doctor Jubilaris from his old university. A journey that he is joined first by his daughter-in-law Marianne (Ingrid Thulin). Their interactions is well realized by both actors in carrying this surface pleasantry yet underlined by a certain distance from Sjöström, but a touch of passive aggressiveness from Thulin. As she quietly airs her grievances towards him Sjöström passively, yet sympathetically listens to her. In this Sjöström effectively captures both the state of the past and the present in this single interaction. In one he is not taken aback by her unpleasant words, and is almost accepting of them. This might seem strange what Sjöström exudes is a man more of finally listening suggesting a man in the past too saturated by his own insecurities to really to listen to his own family's problems, or even their problems with him. The unpleasantness though is combated in a way though from other memories that appear when visiting his childhood home. It is here where Sjöström is a striking part of a sequence, certainly a facet of it only, but also an essential facet to be sure. Sjöström very seems realize this understanding, of the director's viewpoint, as he allows himself to be only part of the scene, yet makes the right impact in being only a part of it. There is nothing simple about the memory, and again Sjöström's performance is keenly aware of the importance of the complexity of the memory. In that as he watches his old days of his own past, his family, and his old sweetheart it is not a single emotion elicited when he watches. There is certainly a nostalgic joy at times, a certain joy from getting to relive the old times. There is though still an uncertainty as he watches the less perfect moments of the past. Sjöström is downright haunting in a moment portraying this moment of analyzing a solitary moment of insight into a part of the past he did not witness but is now living. A parallel observation appears in the present as they continue their journey picking up a group of youthful hitchhikers, and, briefly, a bickering middle aged married couple. Sjöström's work again is of reaction yet distinct, and frankly less dramatic to those of the memories. This is fitting towards the idea of social circumstances but also his own barrier from them. His reactions though and even interactions still reveal a man living within his own past in these interactions. In that he finds this playfulness with the young couple, again infusing a nostalgic bliss and appreciation towards youth. This is in contrast to the bickering couple where again we have that uncertainty, though less severe in this instance, as Sjöström shows the man's own marriage being represented with their horrid relationship.  The middle of his life is further explored through two pivotal scenes one of the present one of a manipulated past created through a nightmare. The nightmare is of seemingly his failure as a doctor, and witnessing a horrid time of his past. Again in this scene Sjöström is mainly just watching his past, but again there is such power in this. His eyes evoking not only an awareness of this past wound, but also the pain in processing this over again. Sjöström's work is quite of the moment, but rather finds such a power within the idea of this observation. His reaction seems bone deep as his whole body gripped state of being forced analyze his life and the pain that it entailed. This is against his interaction with a friendly gas station owner (Max von Sydow) who is more than happy to remind the professor of his deeds of the past, and his gratitude towards him. I love how Sjöström shows this almost moment of Borg being taken aback by this idea of his past having worth, leaving his reaction of this slightly pleasant bafflement that he portrays as almost unsure what to do with. The film doesn't end with a single memory or event that fixed everything for the professor by any measure. Sjöström captures instead this sense of man content with rather understanding of what has come, and what he can take with what is still there. We have a slightly reformation, not quite Scrooge level, as Borg is far pleasant towards his housekeeper, his son, and daughter-in-law than he was before. Sjöström finds the right naturalism within this change by just delivering these remarks now spoken as a man with a sense of joy in what was had, and a willingness to connect to those standing in front him. It isn't portrayed as a true revelation, but just this nuanced depiction of sense of appreciation of life in general. Sjöström doesn't leave a man lost in joy, but just able to have those moments as well as still live with his heartbreaks of old. Sjöström's work is not always the center of a scene, it is always the center of the true emotion in terms of the reflection of a scene, and what the scenes means in a greater context of the professor's life. Sjöström's subdued performance captures the emotion of this journey beautifully being an essential facet to every captivating image and sequence by properly establishing the meaning to each one. Alternate Best Actor 1957: James Cagney in Man of a Thousand Faces James Cagney did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Lon Chaney in Man of a Thousand Faces.Man of a Thousand Faces, I suppose rather fittingly, is rather like Richard Attenborough's Chaplin, except a bit more era appropriate in terms of delving into the "dirt" so to speak, following a famed silent actor/director through his success on stage/screen, and the struggles in his personal relationships.James Cagney was obviously no stranger to the biopic having most famously played George M. Cohan in his Oscar winning role in Yankee Doodle Dandy. Although this film is certainly still a biopic of its time, it does differ from that earlier film in delving into some darker material fitting to the famed horror actor. What may seem less fitting is perhaps the casting of Cagney who was about ten years older than when Chaney died when this film was made. Cagney overcomes any such second thoughts though just by being what he is, which is a great actor. Cagney though is particularly tailored made for the role as in some ways Cagney was a silent leading man, even in his great success in sound. Cagney though missed the silent era basically by just a year or so, however the sort of physicality needed for a silent actor was often one of his greatest assets as an actor. Cagney very much has what are the tools to play Chaney even if from the outset he doesn't seem like the first choice for the role, Cagney makes himself the first choice, just as quite honestly what he did with Cohan as a well. In that Cagney's way of specifically performing a "performance" is particularly important for this role as Chaney, as it was for Cohan.Now part of this performance is just fulfilling the elements of a more typical biopic, although with some unique elements at least for the time. This gives Cagney very much the chance simply to deliver an, as per usual, terrific charismatic leading turn. The personal side of the story mostly involves his relationships with his two wives which also extend towards the relationship with his parents and later his son. His first relationship being problematic with his shallow first wife Cleva (Dorothy Malone) who is troubled by Chaney's parents who are both deaf. Cagney is fantastic in these interactions in portraying effectively an understood infatuation with his wife in the early scenes though that quickly develops to this growing frustration. He properly makes this more overt in the moments where she directly questions his "biology" essentially due to his parents, which Cagney's reaction realizes the sense of harm this does to Chaney. This further realized through the moments between Chaney and his parents alone which are brilliantly played by Cagney. He brings such a direct and pure sense of love for both parents. Obviously these are purely silent moments of sign language, and in each instance Cagney conveys the earnest care Chaney has for both of his parents.That creates the problematic relationship with his wife, who can't get over Chaney's parents, which Cagney illustrates so well in each successive scene by slowly realizing this underlying distress towards her behavior. He creates the right inherent tension, and this sense of betrayal in every interaction to essentially realize the divorce in Chaney's mind even before it is realized. This is in stark contrast to the relationship between Chaney and his second wife Hazel (Judy Greer). In their scenes Cagney strikes up just a far unassuming yet much more genuine in a way sense of love between the two that both actors establish well as this simple given through their quiet yet potent interactions. This is similarly found in Chaney relationship to his son Creighton. Obviously there are many stages of this however Cagney is terrific in portraying actually more depth towards this than to even be expected from this type of biopic. In that in part he is very good in bringing such a sense of tenderness in the interactions with his son early on, bringing so much warmth in his eyes that he manages to make rather moving when Chaney briefly loses guardianship of him. That is not simplified though as Cagney later just as firmly portrays a real distaste, and anger, that he portrays as a reflection of his old frustrations when Creighton decides to see his biological mother against Chaney's wishes. Cagney doesn't hold back in these moments offering a proper intensity that is fitting towards the earlier troubled relationship, that in turn makes the later unconditional reconciliation with his son all the more moving.As good as Cagney is in the more traditional narrative elements of the film, what makes this performance standout though is his recreation of what made Lon Chaney the titular man. Obviously Cagney is aided by some proper recreations of Chaney's old makeup but this performance goes far beyond that. Cagney's immense physicality as an actor heavily plays into this as he has that certain energy of his very being that essential to bringing Chaney's creations to life. Although I think the film itself would have benefited with a deeper delving into Chaney's career, nonetheless Cagney is brilliant in recreating the every specific scene depicted within his career. Cagney's physical work is outstanding as he never simplifies any of the creations we see. This includes his moments as this vaudeville clown, which is not a simple thing, but a fully bodied performance. He is both entertaining as seen, but also so good in creating this distinct style of performance so naturally. The same becomes true for Cagney in creating some of Chaney's famous roles including the Phantom of the opera and the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Cagney brings to life, albeit briefly, these characters so effectively to the point one could have imagined Cagney perhaps should have done more of such overly mannered physical turns in his own career. In each he creates the "creature" as a character more than just an image. My favorite single moment of this is Cagney's depiction of Chaney's portrayal of a handicapped man walking again. It is just a brilliantly performed piece of physical acting by Cagney as he creates the whole scene just within his own work, and is compelling just to see him perform this act. Although I obviously would have loved to have seen the film delve deeper into the man's life and career than the film does, Cagney is more than up to the task of the man even in this somewhat limited perspective. He is gives a striking turn that not only is a moving portrayal of the man, but a convincing depiction of what made him famous. Alternate Best Actor 1957: Results 5. Ben Gazzara in The Strange One - I decided against granting this performance a full review as there is just not much to it. In one part it is a shaky film debut by Gazzara, something he thankfully shook off rather quickly in just a few years, that I would probably ascribe to weak direction. His performance though makes little use of really the cinematic perspective only garnering actions or reactions when absolutely needed for the character. His performance is oddly indifferent for what is as described to be by the other characters this near dictatorial character. There is no sense of charismatic persuasion, nor even a weasel trick in his work. He's mostly just there with the same dour expression until the very end where he gives a fairly standard melodramatic breakdown. This is part the fault of perhaps the adaptation which leaves too much merely stated about the character as the film fails to create a real sense of the cadet's toxic influence within the barracks. Gazzara though doesn't create this in the few instances he has a chance with either, and this is rather underwhelming work from an actor who thankfully quickly improved after this film. Best Scene: The opening....I guess. 4. Rod Steiger in Across the Bridge - Despite some initial concerns, Steiger gives a rather effective depiction of a cold amorality, that slowly segues to a pained desperation as he naturally discovers the character's morality. Best Scene: The dog across the bridge.3. James Cagney - Man of the Thousand Faces - Cagney proves himself once again to be one of the very best actors of his period giving a moving, and more emotionally complex than you might except given the period, portrayal of Lon Chaney's personal struggles, but also a rather remarkable recreations of the man's legendary work that made him an early screen legend. Best Scene: The handicapped man. 2. Victor Sjöström in Wild Strawberries - Sjöström's performance suggests an understanding of the film's nature giving a moving despite being a largely reactionary turn that grants an even greater power to the imagery and themes presented by the film's notable direction. Best Scene: The dream of failure.1. Robert Mitchum in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison - Good prediction John Smith. Robert Mitchum gives one of his most charming performances that makes for a truly endearing action hero of sorts, but he goes even further in his rather effective realization of the changes of his character through his particularly potent and complex chemistry with his co-star. Best Scene: Allison's apology. Updated OverallUpdated Supporting OverallNext Year: 1991 Lead Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2008: Richard Jenkins in Step Brothers Richard Jenkins did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Robert Doback in Step Brothers.A critic once believed that one could not examine a symbiotic relationship more eloquently or more intricately than Ingmar Bergman's Persona, that critic obviously never saw Step Brothers the worthy successor that defies all expectations in its penetrating exploration of the psyche of man.And by that I mean Step Brothers is about two idiot man children (Will Ferrell, and John C. Reilly) who come to live together as such a titular pair when their respective single parents are married while both still live at home with them. Reilly's father is Richard Jenkins's Robert Doback who often seemed to be my own personal representation during this film. The film itself following this pattern of being kind of funny then really annoying then kind of funny then really annoying and continuing in that savage circle throughout. One aspect that differs from that pattern is Richard Jenkins, who is continually on some sort of point throughout the film. Where his counterpart, Ferrell's mother in the film, played by Mary Steenburgen still mothers her overgrown son, there is less of a cordiality within the character of Robert which Jenkins beautifully realizes. His performance is essentially this slowly erupting nearly apocalyptic volcano of passive aggression that becomes just full grown aggression at his two "sons". Jenkins in a way becomes this trick artist always hitting his marks even when the scene does not. He is consistently hilarious in creating such a raw, and to the point exasperation in each and every one of his reactions. An exasperation that only grows in every moment and settles itself in this intensity of this certain loathing that is particularly great in their Christmas dinner where Jenkins reveals a man retching in the sheer degree of his intolerance. This almost an antidote at times because of Jenkins representing a proper reaction to when the antics are not working at any level, and brings some comic gold by how little "playing up" Jenkins does.The most consummate professional Jenkins's real intensity he brings is what makes it so funny, as he makes it seem as though Mr. Doback's spirit honestly is seeming to break to his very core. This naturally leads to events that leads the sons to be kicked out of the house, and finally fulfill their roles as adults. Of course that all gets twisted for the climax where at the Catalina wine mixer they must cover for a cover band, but not without a few words of wisdom from old Mr. Doback. This is where he has a change of heart to reveal his own juvenile dream to be a T-Rex. Honestly I can't praise Jenkins enough for the amount of conviction he brings in this most unorthodox speech. He even makes it work in context with the rest of the character, but showing it as almost this mad recall of a past lost dream. In turn it is hilarious as Jenkins acts out his dream a bit by again how seriously he plays it. Jenkins wants you to believe in Mr. Doback's dream, and you'll believe a man can't believe he could be a T-rex. Jenkins inflicts proper hilarity to that moment, and soon afterwards through the sheer eagerness of his delivery as he encourages his son to play his heart out with "Rock the fuck out of those drums Dale". Jenkins steals this film with ease, which some might balk at in terms of an accomplishment, but Jenkins doesn't only steal the film he just sprinkles a little something worthwhile into every one of his scenes. Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2008 And the Nominees Were Not:Jason Butler Harner in ChangelingMathieu Amalric in A Christmas TaleTom Noonan in Synecdoche, New YorkLee Byung-hun in  The Good The Bad The WeirdRichard Jenkins in Step Brothers Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1991: Robert Patrick in Terminator 2: Judgment Day Robert Patrick did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.Terminator 2 is the effective follow up, though I still don't view in quite as highly as most seem to, to the first film about a machine designed for death being sent back to kill the future leader of mankind.The difference this time around is the machine is this time sent to kill the boy John Connor (Edward Furlong) rather than his mother Sarah (Linda Hamilton), and that the original type of terminator the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has been sent back also to protect the boy. In this we have the advancement of the villain, but also the advance of the performance of the murderous android. An early instance of that being Yul Brynner in Westworld which was a heavy influence on Arnold Schwarzenegger's performance in the first film. In both of those instances they were playing personifications of bulky brute force who were more intended to intimidate rather than blend in. Notably the performances of both mostly stressed though the idea that these were machines acting the role of a human not a mix of the two, again other than a few minor hints to the contrary. Robert Patrick is allowed to continue this tradition, though in a very different way as the T-1000. What is continued in the tradition is that idea of the machine being the overarching characteristic, which Patrick also uses in his performance, but the thin Patrick, a far cry from the bulky Schwarzenegger, requires a rather different approach to create a menace within the machine.Now one form of this is the ability of the T-1000 blend in not only in terms of taking the form of some of his victims as a disguise but also to pretend to be a normal human being. This is shown initially within the film when we are first introduced to the character, which I believe was even an intended twist ruined by marketing, that there are no early indications that the T-1000 is a machine as we see him operate looking for John Connor as a police officer. Patrick is terrific in terms of realizing this sort off strange style of T-1000 as he assumes human interaction which portrays as good enough, but not quite. In that he shows that while you'd probably accept the T-1000 as human in a quick conversation things would seem a little off once you spend a bit more time with him. Patrick though does some careful here within his physical performance, which is a major facet of his work here, which a lack of aggression. He moves and speaks with almost too much ease and calm to the point it is unnerving knowing he is an evil machine, though it wouldn't immediately raise any flags for a normal human. Patrick efficiently creates a disturbing illusion as it isn't quite right, a machine assumption of what a human want to see rather than the genuine article. The highlight of this side being his horribly off-putting yet soft delivery of "Say, that's a nice Bike" to a police officer he's likely going to rob and murder.Nearly the rest of his performance though is defined even more fully about this machine with the one purpose to kill his target with no regard for anyone or anything in its way. Patrick's physical performance brilliantly embodies this idea in every aspect. He creates an artificiality, however notable as this unique artificiality against say the more bulky machine movement previously seen in Schwarzenegger, and Brynner's performances. Patrick develops this idiosyncratic style within the entirety of his physical work that rather fascinating. He moves not efficiently though as human would move, but in his own way. This right within his running in particular that Patrick makes it seem appropriately swift yet wholly unnatural within how precise his movements are, but also how they are not of a typical runner either. This of course amplified by his complete lack of fatigue, but the very motions help to create the menace of the run that is unnerving. My favorite aspect of this though is probably the consistent face that Patrick bears. Patrick fashion a terrifying grimace that feels that of a bird of prey, and again is perfectly inhumane. He makes it this horrible creation of a machine fashioning this expression to put terror in his targets, and how he keeps it with only this singular emotion of a distant hate makes both his work remarkable but also likely contributed towards the iconic nature of the character. Of course this is not a great deal of variation beyond that, but nor should there be as Patrick is playing a machine with a singular purpose.  There is perhaps one moment that suggests otherwise at the very end of his performance where has been repeatedly shot by Sarah Conner and nearly killed until she runs out of bullets. This leaves his one action one could argue has some sentience as he does not simply go to kill again but first wags his finger seemingly to indicate his dislike of what she did. An outlier, though perhaps Patrick's greatest moment. It not only is creepy as Patrick maintains his unique expression, but even the finger wag is actually a great bit of acting by him strangely enough. He doesn't wag it only using the finger as human would, but rather more machinesque using the entirety off his hand to give the menacing gesture. I'll admit that's a lot on a single moment but I adore that moment. This performance, despite being in a bit less of the film than I remembered, I find it more impressive the more I think about it. Patrick completely reinvents this type of villain into a brand new original form, that uses ideas of his predecessors however in a brand new and wholly distinct villain.Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1991 And the Nominees Were Not:Joe Pesci in JFKDonald Sutherland in JFKRobert Patrick in Terminator 2: Judgment DayAlan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince of ThievesPatrick Swayze in Point BreakWilliam Sadler in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey For Prediction Purposes: Pesci From JFKAlternate Best Actor 1991 And the Nominees Were Not:Alan Rickman in Truly Madly DeeplyRiver Phoenix in DogfightWesley Snipes in New Jack CityJoe Mantegna in HomicideChristopher Eccleston in Let Him Have It Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1991: Kevin Bacon, John Candy, Jack Lemmon, Joe Pesci, Michael Rooker and Donald Sutherland in JFK Kevin Bacon, John Candy and Jack Lemmon did not receive Oscar nomination for portraying Willie O'Keefe, Dean Andrews, and Jack Martin respectively in JFK.One of the great assets of JFK is its large ensemble. A technically star studded cast, however what is important here is this is less towards making cameos, and instead is about  granting importance to every individual within the film no matter how small the role. The performances back this up in terms of giving the film this certain vibrancy within the characters, even though the plot is the central thrust of the film. This is to every minor character, even the most brief of witness. Three notable witnesses within the film are of very different men that lead New Orleans DA Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) onto the trail of a mysterious man Clay Shaw (Tommy Lee Jones), who he eventually attempts to prosecute for the assassination of the president. All three are played by notable actors of the time, with two being potential distractions, but never as such due to the strengths of the work of the actors. The first being Jack Lemmon who appears as a low grade private eye Jack Martin who claims to have been pistol whipped by his partner, and former FBI man Guy Banister (Ed Asner) shortly after the JFK assassination. Lemmon's performance is a proper representation of the strength of the ensemble though through a specific type of approach. In one part Lemmon's natural presence offers a sense of who is Jack Martin is even beyond the small perspective we see him in. Lemmon brings the right bafflement and general awkward demeanor not only of perhaps a bit of sous, but even more so a man of no importance who is bearing witness to something very important. Lemmon's simple reaction in the flashback scenes are notable of a man completely out of his element if not a little scared. His essential scene though is his words to Garrison which Lemmon delivers so effectively in this paranoid, and hesitating delivery, not of an insane man, but rather coming to understand what he was indirectly part of. Lemmon's work vividly recalls these moments, but also importantly delivers this growing sense of dread through this witness. Now a rather different witness though comes into play with Kevin Bacon Willie O'Keefe a male prostitute who Garrison visits in prison, and who also claims to be able to connect various men within the conspiracy. Again what is remarkable here is that what is offered in the character, and Bacon's performance is not just this bland slate there to deliver some important information. There is so much more there even though most of what he says is important for the plot. Bacon though fashions his own personal style as Willie brandishing a certain level of flamboyance fitting for such a man who openly brags about his life choices. The swagger that Bacon brings though is only a facet that naturally realizes the man who ostensibly wants to show off a bit towards the government men who have come to visit him. This is a bit different from the Willie Bacon plays in the flashbacks where he is more or less a "boy toy" for Clay Shaw. Bacon actually creates this minor, very subtle, arc within these scenes as we see him very much put up this overt pleasantries and lustful attitude in these interactions. He plays the man trying obviously just to please his John in a way, but there is more when the conversations turn towards the assassination/philosophy. In these moments Bacon effectively breaks that showing this very naive curiosity in his reactions of someone who really doesn't fully understand what he is listening to, but wants to be part of it. This in turn gives a logic towards his explanation for his motivations for coming forward not to expose the truth for justice, but rather to allow the world to know why Kennedy was killed in his mind. Bacon recites this speech as a true fervent zealot, but that of the simple student who believes he's learned something from his master. Another performance in service of kicking off the case comes with John Candy as New Orleans lawyer Dean Andrews who claimed to have been hired by a man named Clay Bertrand to represent Lee Harvey Oswald. This casting is perfect actually in terms of Candy as Andrews, however it is very much out of the type of roles Candy typically played especially at that time in his career. It was a bit of a departure, but also a sad reminder of the under appreciation of the star's dramatic talents before his untimely death. This is a dramatic character role that Candy excels with in his two major scenes. The real Andrews had a style all his own, very much steeped in New Orleans, and Candy realizes this beautifully. He brings the right tempered style within his accent but his whole demeanor as sort of this southern dandy lawyer. Candy makes him properly a strange character though with a definite charisma who either might just be part of a vast conspiracy or just be willing to make up a phone call. Either way Candy is a proper "character" in the best sense of the word bringing to life such a strange sort of man, yet in a convincing fashion. Candy particularly excels with Andrews's somewhat more stylized dialogue. He does wonders with it first outlining it with this breeziness of a man just enjoying his own eccentricities until Garrison continues to pester him for more concrete information. There Candy brilliantly segues to bringing this serious emphasis by dropping just a bit of the more surface flamboyance. Candy conveys so effectively the severity of the real knowledge Andrews has in this shifting of tone, and reveals the man terrified for his own well being underneath all the false bravado. Candy proves his talent beyond what he knows for and this performance is another sad testament of the lack of appreciation for that talent while he was alive. Candy, Bacon and Lemmon, other than all being all named after delicious foods, show the strength of the ensemble. Not one of them has a lot of screentime yet in each they offer a distinct and memorable witness who live beyond the conspiracy, while also adding their own important contribution to the central thrust of that element of the film.Michael Rooker did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying New Orleans Assistant District Attorney Bill Broussard in JFK.Well changing gears a bit in terms of performances we have the very talented Michael Rooker who plays one of Garrison's team of investigators who are trying to make the case. The role of Bill is a composite character and is technically there to serve a purpose that actually feels expanded upon because of Rooker's performance. At first though Bill seems to be just one of the team working with the other members in an attempt to trying to unlock the secrets of the conspiracy. Rooker though is effective as such in essentially presenting a blunter aspect within these scenes who is not quite as squarely in line with Garrisons's thinking as the rest. Rooker's interactions and reactions say a lot more than just merely being part of the scenes. He firstly properly shows the genuine weight of certain moments to create the right sense of the investigators motivation from moment to moment as he tries to understand the plot himself. There is an overarching difference though where Bill is often a voice of dissent, and some would say reason, even in the early stages of the investigation such as even pointing out the lack of credibility of some of the witnesses he has found. Now this is key in Rooker's performance because there was a chance, particularly with Oliver Stone at the helm (though he's particularly on point as a director with this film), for a simplification of this character.What I mean by that is the specific delivery of the objections, and points of reality brought on by Bill as the "devil's advocate" for many of the early scenes, even as he is shown still to be pretty dogged investigator. Rooker does not for a moment allow Bill to be some simple straw man by providing such straight forward quality within his delivery of his objections and concerns. Rooker doesn't show them as this perpetually naysayer, but rather provides the right substance of consideration just for the facts when he does so. He creates that right basic ability for doubt, but Rooker wisely portrays this as Bill just being less fervent in his belief in the conspiracy rather than in support for Garrison. Rooker creates the right dynamic as this force of dissent in the scenes of Garrison's group discussions. He offers the alternate viewpoint as this convincing perspective by making every initial frustration and reaction of disbelief as something wholly genuine. Rooker by taking this approach makes the pivotal choice in terms of Bill's transition as he is approached to essentially spy on Garrison lest his own law career be sacrificed. Rooker is great in this offer scene as he does not present as this the easy choice of a weasel. Rooker instead finds in the emotional intensity of the moment the right conflict as he speaks. He delivers the sense of a real unease with considering the offer as it mean betraying his boss, but also a frustration knowing that he doesn't want to sacrifice his own career for an investigation he doesn't fully believe in. Although it is a somewhat brief moment Rooker captures so effectively the conflict in Bill in that moment, and again offers more substance within the role than there may have been otherwise.Bill stays on a spy however Rooker thankfully does not immediately become this villainous force. When espousing on his new discoveries though there is this slight half-hearted quality within Rooker's delivery that properly alludes to his state of mind. He also brings this when he is questioned about his devotion, where Rooker brings the right extreme snap back at any accusations that isn't over the top rather the expected reaction of a man with a guilty conscience. Rooker's best moment comes though as Bill launches into his own alternative theory that involves the mob rather than the entire U.S. government as Garrison proposes. Rooker is great in this scene though as he passionately advocates Bill's view in two frames of mind. One being a genuine passion towards the idea but also this unease towards accepting such a nihilistic view of the government. Rooker fashions another layer though even beyond that to show this certain desperation in his delivery not in terms of selling his idea, but rather towards Garrison's own safety. Rooker does not make it this selfish diversion, but rather shows some better side to Bill making the alternate conspiracy as much of a plea as anything else. Rooker in this way does not make Bill's turn this simple revelation of a bad guy in the wings. Rooker instead offers a real humanity in the changes by showing Bill painfully taking each step from the doubting Thomas before becoming the full blown Judas. It's a terrific performance as Rooker realizes this arc so well within essentially the margins of the film.Joe Pesci did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying David Ferrie in JFK.Joe Pesci plays one of the most pivotal roles in the film, technically as important as Jones's Clay Shaw, as one of the men alleged to be part of the cabal who helped to execute Kennedy's assassination. His first appearance though is when he is brought into Garrison's office, long before he begins his formal investigation, stemming from a vague clue about the man David Ferrie for having taken a trip to Dallas the day Kennedy was killed. Pesci in a way has a challenge from the outset with the rather, different, appearance of Dave Ferrie with eye brows of an odd sort, and his ill-fitting blonde wig. Pesci of course is more than up to the task being rather idiosyncratic himself. Pesci is a unique quantity as an actor, indispensable when it comes to comparison, as there is no one who can deliver what Pesci delivers quite like Pesci. This is essential for the role of Ferrie who is suppose to stick out like a sore thumb both in terms of appearance but also really everything about the man. Pesci doesn't just play into this but owns it with his New Orleans accent he uses to only amplify the jarring style of the man. Pesci makes Ferrie very much a man who not only might be part of an assassination plot, but also would probably be the easiest to identify due to his personal style which is anything other than subtle. This is clear from his first scene which Pesci is sheer perfection in every stumbled delivery, and nervous reaction, or false interaction, setting up as a man with clearly something to hide though just smart enough not to fully blurt it out.After that scene though we see Ferrie in two distinct lenses though those of the past from the recollections of Garrison's witnesses, and the present with Garrison's few interactions with the man. In the flashback scenes we get quite a lot of classic Pesci in his realization of Dave Ferrie as the homosexual "bon vivant" and a military conspirator. Pesci portrays this in an interesting way as this mess of a man though in his mind yet somehow comforted within his place in his world. As the "bon vivant" Pesci actually elicits this overt comfort in the life projecting as a peacock showing Ferrie essentially where he seems most at home wholly being himself in the homosexual underground of New Orleans, rather than the awkward man we meet in Garrison's office. As the military conspirator Pesci is fantastic in delivery that trademark intensity of his of course in the moments of Ferrie going on his long flights of mental fancy that both take him towards killing Castro and eventually Kennedy. Pesci brings this extreme zealotry that he also plays with a certain intriguing duality. Pesci offers this clear conviction within his vicious words of anger and distress over being pulled from his anti-Castro efforts, but when it turns to Kennedy there is an even more obtuse quality Pesci infuses. It is this madness that Pesci finds of a man speaking words with a belief to be sure, but steeped in this insanity that suggests Ferrie doesn't even quite understand the full ramifications himself.Those past scenes essentially are the seeds to the Ferrie we find in the present that Pesci gives us a proper paranoid mess when he contacts Garrison's men after their investigation, including his name, has leaked to the press. This leads to a stunning scene for Pesci's performance where he brings sort of that same visceral power to his work that was so remarkable in his Oscar winning performance, though translated here for a very different role and purpose. Pesci instead of using that for such an imposing figure, he instead brings that unpredictable violent energy in creating the extreme vulnerability of Ferrie in the moment. Everything about Pesci from his hastened tone of voice to his manic movements echo a man burdened by many things. We see the fear in his eyes in every reaction from every unknown that Pesci makes fitting to a man on the brink of some death, but within that we also have that burden of the past. Pesci creates this increased agitation within his physical portrayal of Ferrie as he begins seemingly to speak of his connection to the assassination. Pesci is astonishing in the way he captures this though as this stream of consciousness of a man neither healthy of body or mind. He constantly changes in these moments from second to second so naturally from moments seemingly of mania, to others of only of terror, and occasionally these wholly lucid moments that seem to reveal some of the secrets he holds. Pesci though always makes him the madness we saw before but amplified ten fold as he reveals the full weight of the assassination on Ferrie as he shows us a man struggling with both what he became a part of and his own actions. The most powerful moment of Pesci's incredible work though comes when Ferrie finally seems to come to calm with an instance of clarity. Pesci delivers this moment as Ferrie reflecting on his own guilt while seeming to look towards some other path he could have taken in his life. Pesci is downright heartbreaking in the moment by so quietly portraying this moment as this brief sobriety in an insane man, as he ponders on his desire to become a priest which never could have been. What makes the moment so poignant though is how naturally Pesci finds it through his vivid tragedy he creates of a man who essentially lost himself through the conspiracy.Donald Sutherland did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying X in JFK.Of all the figures in a film filled with mysterious figures the most elusive maybe Donald Sutherland's character who merely goes by the name of X. He differs though then the named of the mystery men as he is a deep state deep source ally to Garrison offering him his own insight on the assassination on one long walk around the grounds of Washington D.C. He is essentially the film's "Deep Throat" who is another real life figure unnamed in the film there to offer the most secret information however while refusing to offer himself as a witness for the investigation. The difference between Hal Holbrook's Deep Throat from All The President's Men and X, other than meeting in broad daylight, is that X delivers all of his information in a single scene. The scene one could argue and simplify as the biggest exposition dump of all time, however it never comes off as such due to the film's brilliant use of editing and Donald Sutherland's performance. Donald Sutherland's performance is explaining, a whole lot of explaining, but some of the most captivating talking one will witness in any film. X is essentially there to give a deeper insight into more a black ops perspective that Garrison is not privy to. This leads Sutherland to give a most fascinating performance on every front. First of all that great voice of his has never been better used as he rattles off detail after detail with such eloquent, and precise delivery.I could frankly listen to Sutherland break down every single detail of the assassination by how well he phrases every single word. Sutherland brings more to the role than that, and I'm not just referring to his few flashback scenes where we get a more of the moment X as he reacts in confusion towards first being sent on a wild goose chase then later fear at discovering the assassination. Sutherland creates such varied demeanor that grants us a sense of X even as he never for a moment loses that dramatic thrust of his monologue that remain effortlessly compelling in his hands. There is a fascinating combination of tones that Sutherland realizes as this certain blithe quality within his work, suggesting properly a man long within the black ops, but somehow still the sense of severity of his words within this. Sutherland delivers this very controlled passion of a man adamant to let the right information out to Garrison while also still having just the right shred of indifference as though it is X's way of coping with the coup d'etat that he could do nothing to prevent. Sutherland brings this bluntness through this approach as both a man clearly concerned for what happened, but also with the sense to know there is very little he can do about what happened given the forces against him. Sutherland's work here is immaculate in not only just making every bit of exposition meaningful, but even still managing to make X more than a mere exposition machine. It is outstanding work from Sutherland as he leaves such an undeniable impression on the film in such short order. Sutherland again creates the sense of the greatness of this ensemble because he doesn't just serve his purpose within the film by making his scene fascinating, but also in turn makes X as fascinating as this mysterious presence within the film. His work creates a highlight within a film filled with highlights, and is one of Sutherland's best performances. Alternate Best Actor 1991: Joe Mantegna in Homicide Joe Mantegna did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Bobby Gold in Homicide.Homicide follows a Jewish detective while he tries to solve the murder of an elderly Jewish woman, and while he tracks down a brutal drug dealer. Homicide, yeah homicide, that's the name of an act and film. It's two things, right, maybe a metaphor or two. What the hell do I know. It's like a movie where everybody talks. Talks with this way of speaking. You know what I'm saying? Well do you? There are spaces to make sure you hear what I'm saying though. Make sure you here it right clear like I'm talking to someone else, but instead I'm monologuing. Monologuing like I'm a stage actor, but hey I'm suppose to be here talkin up a film. A film performance that is. A film where everyone talks a little strange. The plot seems a little convoluted. You know the type of film? Ever see Redbelt? A bit like that, although at least here, in this film, you can see at least some connections to the complications. If you know what I'm saying. All the supporting characters though they still all seem strange in their weird way of speaking through monologue, that isn't at all cinematic. David Mamet. Ever hear of the guy? Well it seems he could use another set of eyes to adapt his words on film, even just to direct em if you know what I'm saying. You see his words. His words, yeah, they're just a too thick, too thick for their own cake, like bad bunt cake. Ever have a bad bunt cake? Hopefully not, I wouldn't inflict you with that disease of the guttural intestines. This film, even as is, isn't terrible, not great, potential there you know. Doesn't come together. Also how are you suppose to believe Ricky Jay could physically impose Joe Mantegna, not the easiest pill to swallow, maybe he was using some slight of fist.Okay, I'll stop writing like that and focus on once again the element of Mamet's film that manages to overcome the burdens from his way of directing his own work. Once again it is in the lead character who is the only character who seems to come to life. This again comes partially from the storytelling which doesn't effectively intertwine its elements partially because it doesn't quite develop them enough. The one element it does develop though is the central character who is given life by Mamet's frequent collaborator Joe Mantegna. Mantegna does need to contest with bit of Mamet's stylized dialogue, often overly stylized, however Mantegna is able to ease this a bit. One he is one of the better actors in terms of delivery of it anyway that makes it at all sound natural. He is helped further though by thankfully the character of Bobby Gold only needing a bit of it. He thankfully gets to be a bit more grounded and frankly more cinematic. Mantegna in turn is able to give a far more cinematic turn here that is the center of the film even beyond the lead. In that he is the true cohesion of the film as Gold deals with the two wildly contrasting plots, and has to connect them essentially by creating the personal journey of Gold in how it connects with the mystery and the manhunt.Mantegna from his first scene is effective in establishing really this duality of the character. In that on one end as he discusses police procedure, and his procedure as detective in a most personal way, as in just specifically speaking of his own methods Mantegna brings this confidence and control of a true professional. He has the right calm and intensity of his eyes of a man who is well reasoned and well seasoned in his position. This is against the moment where he loses this comfort from either a hostile colleague or even a captive prisoner physically attacking him in order to try to steal his gun. Mantegna reveals this considerable unease even beyond the attack itself. There is this discomfort that reveals a greater anxiety in his reactions. A palatable desperation of a man who is not just uncomfortable in the situation, but also in terms of his sense of place within his profession. Mantegna naturally affords the character this duality by creating this sense of calm when only there can be a detachment. Even when he fawned over by his hero-worshiping partner (William H. Macy) Mantegna shows an appreciation only through his delivery that emphasis a courtesy, while physically reflecting this unease even in processing this type of support. Mantegna reveals a detective who has fashioned his place through his work as a detective, but as a man still is lost.Mantegna uses this setup well then to explore the two avenues that reveal themselves as he tries to track criminal as a typical detective, and tries to solve the murder of the Jewish woman that forces him to examine his own, lost, heritage. We initially see this as he succeeds in the interactions towards the tracking with that same detached confidence, but with the murder investigation Mantegna portrays so well this pained forced connection. A way as he reacts with such unease to any sight that forces him to think about his own place as a Jew and what it means to him. Mantegna is able to bring the appropriate humanity to this struggle, which is a bit too academically worded by the supporting characters within this plot line. Mantegna successfully captures far more nuance in his portrayal of how this investigation in a inflicts him with his true sense of a lost identity. This is something he finds so well early on in his reactions that Mantegna shows in his eyes clearly reach him on a deeper level as he sees Jewish custom around this murder. He initially seems to try to hide this, by the same way he himself is dismissed by others, by self-hating antisemitism which Mantegna delivers so well as this specific yet hollow outrage as though he is simply aping others that seems ill-fitting to Gold.Mantegna develops gradually this loss of distance as the reactions begin to also bring a greater depth into his direct delivery in the moments of trying to uncover the truth. This leads him deeper into his own culture/religion and Mantegna delivers this emotional connection through showing almost a relief when he stumbles upon a Zionist organization in his city. Briefly Mantegna reveals still hesitation but finally some comfort as he speaks more openly with the group, and even aids them in the arson of an anti-Semitic group's headquarters. Homicide being a Mamet film though quickly reveals this to be ruse by the organization to try to use Gold's connections in the police force to their benefit. Although this rushed Mantegna manages to at least bring a genuine emotion to this in his realization of the heartbreak of the moment of again being lost in his own identity. This quickly rams Gold into his other plot line following the crook which is connected only through Mantegna's performance. Mantegna does deliver though in realizing the emotionally spent state of Gold in every harried moment and exasperated work spoken as a man who really is fed up with life. He only speaks dripping with a caustic hate and cynicism that he essentially tries to bring down the criminal (Ving Rhames) to his level of thought. This is more or less where the film leaves us, and the film itself doesn't quite come together towards something wholly remarkable. Mantegna though does overcome the material, and in some ways makes it digestible by giving a moving portrait of a detective trying to come terms with his own self through his investigations. It doesn't make the film itself wholly successful, however Mantegna at least offers a stable emotional center through his successful performance.Alternate Best Actor 1991: Gary Oldman in Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead Gary Oldman did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead.Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead actually works to a degree just due to the strength of the source material though it suffers by being too close to it for its own good, which isn't too surprising given it is directed by the original playwright. Although it is not a bad film, it is a little bit of a shame as the story could have lent itself to a more dynamic adaptation that played upon tropes of films, rather than of the theater.A quick note on this review that will be in lieu of Wesley Snipes in New Jack City. A good performance mind you though frustrating stuck within a film that isn't sure whether it wants to be revenge thriller, Scarface, or Boyz N The Hood. Snipes is effective in his role however his charismatic, and surprisingly emotional at times, work is too often diluted by the film that consistently steers away from him to focus on the nearly one dimensional police chasing him. So instead decided to look at a rather different performance from the great Gary Oldman. Although Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as it stands as a slightly adapted film version it at least commands a notable cast, the most important members being the titular duo, of Hamlet fame despite not being the most important in that play either. They take center stage here though purposefully while still staying to the side of the central action of Hamlet. In these "leading" roles the film features two then up and comers of Tim Roth as Guildenstern and of course Oldman as Rosencrantz. I will also mention this is purposefully not a dual review for Roth as well who well isn't bad as the more analytical Guildenstern his performance is perhaps too serious for its own good, and perhaps needed a performer with a natural comedic energy, who would then tone that down.Now I really mention that as we have Gary Oldman who is not thought of as a comic actor, though in a way some of his more overt performances can be comedic in some sense that is usually not their central purpose. Oldman here though gives a wholly comic approach to the role of Rosencrantz who is far more just in for the ride of the strange journey that the two semi-throwaway characters find themselves in. Oldman finds the right approach within that to essentially make the most out of this strange position that is also detached from the central plot, but rather than burdened by the need for understanding as Guildenstern is that he takes what comes. Oldman plays with this certain idea of the ignorance that is bliss for a rather interesting performance from his oeuvre to begin with. In that Oldman is far more the passive individual in a way, even though he steals the film in his own way, however this is through cleverly low key take that achieves a most successful duality within the character who doesn't stand out in the story yet Oldman makes him stand out within that idea. In Oldman plays Rosencrantz as the extra who essentially has just found out that he is an extra in an ongoing film, and is just trying to work with that.Oldman is rather delightful in the role in his way of creating this man with this certain eagerness to please in a way that is rather endearing. Oldman defines his Rosencrantz with an earnestness, that will make sense even within the technically duplicitous character as he stands within Hamlet the play, as a fairly simple man trying to deal with a rather complex issue of one's metaphysical nature. Oldman makes that certain bafflement particularly entertaining though by presenting it with such an optimistic spirit within every moment of it. This comes right down to Oldman's frequent delivery of Rosencrantz introducing the pair, often wrongly introducing himself as Guildenstern before being corrected. Oldman delivers this so spiritedly of a man somewhat in the thrall of the idea that there is some bliss to be had of their peculiar state of mind. This attempt to find joy that Oldman brings in every moment is what makes this performance work particularly well, and greatly aids the film which could otherwise get lost in its own pondering, sometimes it does. Oldman brings this sense of always befuddled sense of discovery in the moment that is always rather humorous whether it is Rosencrantz discovering their new geographic location, or the way their coin consistently lands on heads as though they are stuck within time.Oldman's performance though goes further in every scene in a way to provide very much a bit of a cinematic edge needed to his work which remains dynamic even when just reacting towards whatever it is Rosencrantz is seeing. Oldman never wastes such a moment either to create this sense of confusion over his place in the world, or just an often hilarious moment of Rosencrantz trying to make the most of his odd circumstances through Oldman always optimistic approach to the role. His timing is simply impeccable here to bring humor to every scene, even against Roth's often too dour of an approach. Oldman's physical performance even helps to accentuate the needed humor within it by presenting Rosencrantz physically as not quite right, honestly to be an extra. Oldman nicely plays within the lines, yet still doesn't quite fit in rather splendid way, particularly his almost Stan Laurelesque  way of going to sleep with a sleeping mask, well really a blindfold. This is even right down to when the two come to decide to go along with the plan to kill Hamlet, through a false letter, though for rather different reasons. Oldman presents this determination on Rosencrantz's part one built upon fear, not of any typical action, but rather of concern of the need to take action when the "world" requires them to take action. Oldman once again finds the right comical energy even within the strangeness of the thought by even bringing almost this sweet petulant sadness within his portrayal of concern over it all. Oldman manages to make even Rosencrantz's acceptance of Hamlet's demise okay within the character, by presenting it as just again his way of cheerfully accepting his very strange lot in "life". Oldman gives a terrific performance here as he not only brings to life the stage character, but he does manage to find the right tone within the adaptation as well. His performance bridges certain gaps in a way to give a rather enjoyable turn that finds the wit within the material, but also in a way that never feels burdened by it. Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1991: Alan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Alan Rickman did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite winning BAFTA, for portraying George aka the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.Robin Hood: Princes of Thieves struggles as it is far too timid in embracing a more flamboyant, if not even a bit more goofy, tone leaving a severe inconsistency between some extremely dark, and some extremely absurd moments.One man who is not at all confused by what the tone of the film needs though is Alan Rickman who to quote his BAFTA winning speech gives "a healthy reminder to me that subtlety isn't everything". Alan Rickman's performance is his very own personal example of "watch me act" a potentially dangerous idea, however used in the right circumstance can be a true gem of the partially absurd. There needs to be a few ingredients for this recipe for it to come out just right, and not a pile of overcooked Terl shaped nonsense. One is a legitimate actor, which we have in Alan Rickman who proved himself quite capable of a more subtle turns from 1991 whether it be the romantic ghost, the manipulative interrogator, or a cuckolded husband. Rickman acquitted himself properly in each role despite their differences, though this is treated by many as his crown jewel from this year. Well that brings me the next ingredient to this difficult recipe. This is such a film that just won't accept itself as a fun adventure, despite so many silly elements, so Rickman chooses to provide the entertainment. This performance also needs the right character for this approach, which we have in this film's Sheriff of Nottingham. Of course all those element are for naught though if one is missing the final key element, which is the proper execution of a "watch me act" performance. Well thankfully all those ingredients are all found in this honey glazed prime slice of ham that just tastes so very good. Rickman's performance has a keen awareness that the Sheriff of Nottingham isn't just a villain, but an absolute fiend without a hint of a redeeming element as written. He seems to take this as a cue then to make up for such potential simplicity in the character by absolutely owning every moment of the character's villainy. Take even his opening scene where he invites Robin Hood (Kevin Costner)'s father (Brian Blessed) to join his ranks. Despite the white robes Rickman in no way wishes to hide Nottingham's black heart as his eyes are overflowing with a maniacal intensity, and he bears a sneer that only a proper vicious psychopath could wear. This murder of Robin's father though is but a diabolical preview of the madness that is to come. A madness that is of a certain sort, that Rickman grants to we the audience, that we should be more than eager to accept with humble gratitude as Raul Julia would say as M. Bison, a spiritual brother of this performance in many ways. There is the idea of the villain, the start of an idea and only that. What Rickman demands is that the audience get so much more than that. Rickman delivers the requisite villainy. He has the menace, he has that intensity, but really those are not the true focus of this performance. They are just an underlying aspect because Rickman knew that just being a good villain would not be good enough for this film. This film needed a bit more spice than that, it needed something a bit more "hamtastic" shall we say. Rickman delivers that with aplomb in his way of playing the Sheriff not only pure evil, but pure evil in a way that couldn't be more enjoyable. Everything about what Rickman does is an actor giving it his all, and is such a glorious fashion. Rickman even physically embodies this, as I love the way he rarely seems to sit still portraying it as though the Sheriff is just constantly annoyed by everything and everyone around him. Rickman delivers this great unpredictability through that physicality. He goes beyond any limits of any scene to properly chew, but in a way that is something so wonderful. The way he stomps and storms around is a marvelous display that one could argue grants the Sheriff a certain petulance that is rather enjoyable, also it just incredibly entertaining to watch Rickman do it even beyond that.  Of course what is a performance like this without some delicious line readings, and these are some of the most delicious you'll see in a film. I mean you have Rickman's already magnificent voice then you have it pumped up to eleven to garnish every scene he is in with such beautiful gems, either ad-libbed by Rickman, lines he specially had friends write for him, or just made so by what he brings to them. Now I don't know if I should even begin to state the lines because there are just so many things made so very special by the sheer monstrous absurdity that Rickman grants them, well speaking them with such beautiful relish. Eh what the hey, there's the peculiar threat "Locksley. I'll cut your heart out with a spoon." gives such fierce insanity, his especially specific time orders for his wenches "You. My room. 10:30 tonight.You. 10:45... And bring a friend" with such smarmy disregard for all decency, his quieter yet as intense instructions to make his stitches small that Rickman grants with such excessive vanity, and of course let's never forget the holiday classic line of "call off Christmas" the oh so fret less and hilarious demand as improvised by Rickman. Evidently Rickman only took on the part after being given free reign with the role, apparently correctly believing the script to be terrible, and essentially sought out to ensure the audience is entertained by him at the very least though. Rickman in a way is kind of trolling a film he knows is bad, but he is doing it in a way to make sure everyone who watches it will get something to enjoy from it. A most notable effort that he does pull off, and I'll say it the right approach. I mean take the finale of the film where we have the Sheriff's attempted rape of Maid Marian a scene that frankly shouldn't be in any fun adventure film. Rickman takes the terrible idea and decides to make work. How, well by playing it as absurdly as possible with every digression, usually of the Sheriff being exasperated by yet another interruption as though he's guy way past his deadline on some important project. Rickman very oddly makes it work because he keeps the scene from at all embracing the very dark implications, and keeping every moment as ridiculous as it should be. I especially love the way in the end how Rickman sword fights Costner in sort of this free style way. It is emblematic of his whole performance where Rickman is performing some great jazz while nearly everyone else is playing rusted some poorly written orchestral piece with rusty instruments that are out of tune. Rickman may be on a different wavelength, but he knows what he's doing to the point he makes something wholly worthwhile in what otherwise would be a completely disposable series of pictures. Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2008: Lee Byung-hun in The Good The Bad The Weird Lee Byung-hun did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Park Chang-yi aka The Bad in The Good The Bad The Weird.Lee Byung-hun and director Kim Jee-woon is perhaps the unsung actor/director collaboration of modern cinema. I have never even heard it mentioned yet it is a notable one with both seeming to bring the best out of each other. In fact you can almost gauge the quality of a film by Kim by how much Lee Byung-hun is in the film. Kim's best two films, A Bittersweet Life, and I Saw the Devil both feature Lee as a lead where he delivers remarkable turns in each. Even in Kim's good, but not quite great, The Age of Shadows, seems to benefit from Lee's brief but important cameo. Now we have this film where Lee is a major supporting role and seemingly in turn this is one of Kim's better film. It should be noted though that any great actor/director collaboration there needs to be the quality in work from both parties, but there also should be some sense of variety. This film also finds that for their collaboration here with Lee no longer playing the anti-heroes of his leading turns, and now fully embracing the role of the villain. Not just any villain though but the sort of villain that wears his villainous qualities right on his sleeve, after all he is know as the bad for a reason. It goes beyond that just in the image alone evokes a proper classical black hat with Lee being adorned in rather glorious dark leather attire, only topped by his rather glorious haircut. Lee isn't an actor to rely on or to be overshadowed by his own appearance. Lee rather embraces it then amplifies it all the more. This film is obviously heavily influenced by the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone which in turn were heavily influenced by Kurosawa's Yojimbo. Lee's own work seemed to have had this in mind as his villainous work is less akin to Gian Maria Volante or Lee Van Cleef's performances of Leone's films, and closer to the gun wielding samurai played by Tatsuya Nakadai in that progenitor film. That is not to say Lee simply rips off to what Nakadai did, but rather pays homage to it in the best of ways. The central idea he seems to have taken from that performance was Nakadai's snakelike demeanor. Lee fashions this himself through his own angular smile that just is so fiendish it would have to adorn a villain. The idea of such a smile though is reflected in the entirety of Lee's performance which is that the titular bad, Park Chang-yi, quite enjoys being as such. Lee's work though uses that as a starting point but not as a crutch, and does take the performance in his own direction in a way really in a way only Lee could. As with all of Lee's work his physicality is an essential element. Although he does far less martial arts here than in his leading turns, the way Lee moves is so important here in his character. Lee delivers such a brilliant grandiose swagger that just commands every frame he finds himself it. Lee captures this sense of a proper sort of villain, who knows he's a villain, and isn't just happy to show it off, it is almost as though needs to do so. Lee's physical approach is an ever prescient element of the character that makes Chang-yi standout in every scene he is in. In that it isn't even just his walk, even the way he may be sitting in a chair has this certain brilliant style to it. In that Lee manages to find this intensity in the exact manner he projects this ease of menace. I love the instance of meeting his employer technically speaking if you were to describe the actions they would seem ridiculous, as Chang-yi is hunched over, with his hair covering one eye as he glances at the man. It could be absurd yet Lee finds just the precise manner to only find a real incisive yet casual quality in this manner, and even one would describe as a sense of cool with the character. I will say I have particularly great affection for what Lee can do with that single eye in that he delivers such a killer intensity within it. That intensity though also is credit to again the variety of Lee's work in his films with Kim. In that he gave intense performances in his two leading roles yet in generally are far more internalized fashion. Lee shows his comfort in completely turning that on its head to bring this intensity through this broad and very entertaining take on this arch villain type. Lee completely alters his style to match the very different style for Kim, and together they beautifully amplify the best qualities of this slightly absurdist western of the east.Of course even as different as this performance is Lee once again employs sort of his time bomb of emotion though less restricted than in I Saw the Devil or A Bittersweet Life. Lee once again though is masterfully in crafting this core that defines the man that technically is always apparent in his performance yet it is not something he overtly emphasizes. In this film this quality relates to Chang-yi's path once he understands that fellow bandit Yoon Tae-goo (Song Kang-ho) aka the weird is in possession of the map he has been hired to find. Lee is incredible as per usual in delivering sort of the hidden intent within the character specifically in the moments whenever he sees Yoon. In these moments Lee instantly switches the style of intensity to be far more directed, and seemingly based in something almost more honest in terms of what motivates it. He eases off on the swagger instead reveals these conviction in his eyes, and a far palatable hatred when he tries to kill the man. This becomes one of the most interesting aspects of Lee's portrayal as he reveals within this hatred even a certain vulnerability. When others call Chang-yi it up Lee's reaction's so effectively once again alludes to a bit more  to what makes him tick. Lee's terrific here though in actually portraying these moments in a way as the assassin at his most dangerous. When he is questioned by one of his men, there is this glint of a certain type of insanity in his eyes that almost has a certain desperation in it, before quickly murdering the man. It is a fascinating obsession that Lee creates showing that Yoon has done something to him, something that pesters the man. This naturally comes to a head when the titular trio meet in an expected Mexican standoff where Chang-yi reveals his yearn for vengeance stemming from Yoon's old days as a more notorious bandit who specialized in cutting off finger. Chang-yi being one of his unfortunate victims. Lee is great in this final scene in creating this duality in his death stare towards Yoon which is a combination of this almost witless hatred, and a certain joy as it seems he is about to obtain his revenge. As to be expected with Lee working with Kim, this is a great performance though this time in a wholly different tone. Lee gets everything he can out of this grandiose villain being such an enjoyable fiend throughout, yet still while finding a bit needed nuance where appropriate. Now this review should be over, but I would be remiss if I did not mention the scene, which has no major barring on the rest of his performance, of Lee's portrayal of Chang-yi cracking up while watching a rom com. It's hilarious as Lee so earnestly depicts that moment showing that even a psychotic villain can just step back love a good film. That is all. Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2008: Mathieu Amalric in A Christmas Tale Mathieu Amalric did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Henri Vuillard in A Christmas Tale.A Christmas Tale is an entry into the ennui-filled-reunion genre this time focusing on a family gathering for Christmas while their mother possibly faces death. The use of many a foreign language actors in Hollywood films is a bit of a curiosity as they become generally known for work in their home country and then is typically cast as some creep in an English language film. That is a particularly strange thing as in most circumstances that is not the nature of their performances in their native tongue, and it often requires one seek out that work to properly see the range of their talent. Mathieu Amalric is one such actor that can even be seen in one of his other performances as such a creeper Dominic Greene in the bond film Quantum of Solace also from 08. A Christmas Tale offers thankfully sort of a different side to the performer here as the black sheep of the family the film focuses. The black sheep for reasons that are not made entirely clear throughout the film, however as the film opens Amalric's Henri is banished from the family by his sister Elizabeth (Anne Consigny) after she pays off the numerous debts he has accrued, however that does not seem to be the exact reason for banishment. Now I write "sort of" a different side to Almaric as it is easy to see why he could be pigeonholed in a certain type role in terms of un-creative casting in that Almaric certainly brings an impish quality here as well. A different type of impish quality though as he carries it in a far more jovial way as though his Henri is in some way embodied by the spirit of Bacchus or of some such sort of like spirit as we catch up with Henri a few years after his banishment. One of the first acts of Henri's in the film is walking around drunk then face planting directly into a roadway. This would seem perhaps a cry for help for most characters however that is not the nature of Henri exactly, which is so well developed through Almaric's performance. Even in the moment of wandering around there is almost this dancing spirit to it. He doesn't do a dance mind you however Almaric brings a certain energy about his actions that very much embodies this sense of enjoyment within Henri even when suffering some quite extreme physical harm at times. Almaric very much defines around the pain this since of pleasure not of masochism but rather just as part of his overwhelming behavior being this search for such zest towards life. This obviously isn't the most sane of an idea and properly Amalric finds more than a hint of madness in his cheeky little grin even after crashing into the pavement. Amalric portrays it as this bit of insanity yet he manages to project it not so much as this problematic self-destruction but rather this particularly intense and idiosyncratic way of embracing what life has to offer him. The nature of Henri seems to become all the more abundant when he is allowed to return to the family because their mother Junon (Catherine Deneuve) has leukemia and is need of a bone marrow transplant with her same blood type. Henri visits with his current girlfriend Faunia (Emmanuelle Devos), where he seems to prepare her for some horrible visit with his family. Of course how Amalric interacts with every member of the family helps to define not only his character, but also the family's dynamic and history as well. It is here that we begin to understand the man and Almaric's performance intentions become much more clear. We see perhaps Henri at his purest with his father where actually Almaric portrays the least joyful mania in work and speaks in their moments together with while not an earnestness in his words there is such an honest in his delivery of them and his eyes. This is contrast to the rest of the family where we get much more of the man seeming to live on this extreme edge at all times. A vicious joy of ways that Amalric expresses as Henri speaks to his siblings, particularly his sister. He makes this carefully troubling as this exuding of such joy even when delivering insulting or self-deprecating remarks to himself or even those around him. When his brother-in-law attacks him for one of these such insults, Amalric even laughs this off. There is the intensity of this that Amalric though that reveals this certain anxiety even as he presents such an overt joyousness in the act at all times. The strange juxtaposition of behavior though twists itself in the most fascinating ways between Henri and his nephew, suffering from mental problems, and his mother. In his scenes with his nephew Amalric plays them especially because he actually tones down Henri's typical manner a bit, and adjusts it in a way. He projects a certain more uncompromising warmth to the boy creating the sense of an Uncle trying to support the troubled boy in some way. In these moments Amalric creates the sense of how he would help the boy as Henri's always strangely positive attitude would help the boy as in his eyes as it seems to helps Henri through a rough life.Of course with his mother it is where we see the painful existence that is Henri's life. Amalric is great in these moments with here as there is such rich, in many unpleasant history between the two felt in every interaction. Amalric presents on the surface the hints of just an old love, as any son should have with his mother, yet around every kindness there is such a palatable resentment in his eyes, and within his delivery. He never loses himself to obvious anger towards her, rather again reveals that joyful attitude that becomes to represent Henri's desperation. Amalric reveals that to essential be this defense mechanism for Henri to deal with both his own failures, but also the disregard so many of his family members have for him. He carefully portrays most strongly when really the feelings of sorrow or sadness should be most prevalent, leaving him in troubled yet functioning state of mind. Amalric realizes this state so well and shows how it brings both the best and the worst out of him. As that even when he does the right thing to save his mother by donating his marrow, Amalric portrays it it in front of her directly with almost a maniacal glee as though to diminish his positive act in order to in no way deliver his love, this is against when we see him with the doctors alone to which Amalric reveals a far more desperate concern allowed away from the limits of his family. Amalric naturally realizes this man who self-sabotages almost to fulfill the role that his family has set for him. He creates the sense that this has been earned in the past, but only exacerbated by his banishment. Although we never learn what caused his sister to banish him, Amalric's work gives understanding to it through this state he makes so vivid. He shows this through a man who has made so many mistakes to the point he never seems to apologize for them rather would remain in his state of "bliss", even if he can't quite succeed with that even. This is a terrific performance by Mathieu Amalric, and easily the most compelling aspect of this film, as he so well realizes the complexity of the man's relationship to his family which in turn creates such a complicated state of the mans so cheerful in his misery. Alternate Best Actor 1957: Robert Mitchum in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison Robert Mitchum did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Corporal Allison in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison.Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison is a rather enjoyable film about a marine and nun stuck on an island in the Pacific in enemy territory during World War II.It must be said that Robert Mitchum was a great actor, with such an ease onscreen that is perhaps what lead to him being such an underrated commodity. I must say I take a certain joy in finding each and every one of Mitchum's notable turns as they reveal such a remarkable performer who had such a notable idiosyncratic personal style yet had a tremendous and somewhat under exploited range. Of course again even this in some circumstances was almost hard to notice just in terms of how easily Mitchum slipped in a different type of role. The role of Allison here, a marine who finds himself marooned on an island, Mitchum does not use as an excuse just to deliver a performance similair to say his hard boiled P.I. from Out of the Past. Of course that probably almost would have been fine, but Mitchum doesn't go for that approach which is rather impressive to begin with, but also leads to a very special turn from him. Now this isn't just in his New York accent he fashions for his character. That's just part of it, an easy part of it that Mitchum just makes it part of himself. Mitchum with accents is always rather fascinating since he's not an actor who'd strike you as using accents, but you barely notice them when he does use them since he does so in such an effective fashion.That accent though is only a stepping stone in his portrayal of Allison which I might say is perhaps Mitchum at his most charming. A notable distinction needs to be made in this though in that Mitchum is always a charismatic performer, however this is a time where his considerable charm really comes to the forefront with his approach to Allison as a character. Allison is after all a marine who had a none too pleasant childhood before he reached this rough patch created by his time in the war. Mitchum however does not present this as some sort of horrendous wound by any means. This is not inconsistent though which is so interesting in his work. In that Mitchum delivers the lines on Allison's past rather bluntly with certainly the right hardened attitude in this explanation. There is no sense that these are good memories however they do not truly pain him in Mitchum's presentation. He does this though through a careful, and brilliant, workaround where he reveals this as basically assuaged through his time with the marines. When he speaks of the chapter, even when explaining a harsh drill sergeant, Mitchum infuses this considerable pride in every word. In his eyes he brings this sense of purpose within the marines creating this core within Allison, and this belief essentially towards his duty in the armed forces.Now the reason Mitchum's choice there is particularly important is because there was a potential possibility for Allison to be this terrible brooder, however his approach to avoid that really opens up the film to frankly a more enjoyable experience in general. Mitchum uses this that allows him to be far more expressive in his charm, of course with such ease as always by portraying Allison very much as a man at ease with himself. Mitchum's approach and turn here actually reminded me a bit of Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. In that captures that sort of action hero you can approach. This is in part that charm to be sure that makes Allison just this very likable sort, but it goes further than that. In that Mitchum really allows you in on Allison's endeavors to subvert the Japanese efforts to find him, and his companion as well as to later sabotage their defenses against his fellow marines. Mitchum's so good in the action scenes not just by being charming, but also bringing this certain haplessness to moments. In that just his physicality in the moments and his reactions are not of this superman, but just a guy winging it at times. This in turn makes him so very easy to watch in every moment since he never seems too far gone, but is so very endearing in every moment by showing Allison essentially just doing his very best to survive, serve the marines, and help his nun companion.Speaking of his nun companion who is an essential part of this performance. As in the story the marooned marine Allison comes across a nun who also happened to be marooned there, the nun Sister Angela played by Deborah Kerr. Now I already covered Kerr and Mitchum later showed their considerable chemistry in The Sundowners, but this was their first film together. The chemistry here also is a bit more complicated given the nature of the relationship whereas in that later film the two where they are already a married couple as the film opens. That is not quite the case obviously for Allison and Sister Angela. Kerr and Mitchum evidently developed a real life friendship through this film, and that sort of ease together is quite obvious through their work together here. What is so important about this though is this film is essentially a two person show between the two. What I love is how even though there is the nun/soldier juxtaposition from the start the sense of ease actually comes quite quickly. Now this is with each fulfilling their roles so well, Mitchum naturally being more expressive against Kerr who stays a bit demure. Their interactions from their opening scene though has just something so remarkable in how genuinely they speak with one another. There is just such earned sweetness and warmth in it that makes the two such entertaining duo from the outset.The two use that as this basis for the two that certainly makes the film all the more compelling in itself. The two go much further than that though, and I love how both performers so eloquently realize their own arcs in tandem yet separately in approach. Kerr giving the more subtle and introverted portrayal, well Mitchum giving the more extroverted, although I wouldn't quite say broad. Mitchum does well though to convey really just the outgoing nature in every scene making some of Allison's blunt statements seem so honest to the character. When Allison just for example states being unaware of pretty nuns, clearly referring to Sister Angela, there is such a earnest sincerity in Mitchum's delivery that so effectively just reveals this as just the way Allison is. He uses this idea though particularly well in creating what Allison's story is within as the non-church going soldier, interacts with the devote nun. Mitchum does this carefully in presenting really an idea of kind of showing Allison's initial attraction essentially slowly falling into love with the Sister. Mitchum brings this purity through how he so well finds that directness of Allison. His rather uncompromising statements early on about her choice to be nun Mitchum refines always through such clear, and rather pure tenderness for her. What helps all the more though is just how good their chemistry is in every interaction, and to the point the two seem right together, even if this must be in a specific way.Mitchum gradually delivers this to a tipping point which he importantly portrays not as a mental breaking point, but rather Allison's blunt attitude taking him too far, amplified due to drink. When he reveals his feelings for her I love the definite vulnerability in Mitchum's eyes that allude to really only a most sincere reasoning in the man's mind, even if it was perhaps not in the right circumstances or taken with the right considerations. When the Sister rejects this Mitchum doesn't show the love Allison has for her diminish instead he actually presents as growing after she becomes ill. When he treats her there is perhaps the most powerful affection in every moment as Mitchum brings such a striking compassion in every moment. As he treats her, and then later asks for her forgiveness for his previous statements, Mitchum though has one major difference though which is in his face he carries this considerable sense of empathy. When he asks for her forgiveness Mitchum makes Allison as straight forward as ever, but now with such solemness in his voice evoking such a convincing act of contrition and understanding towards her. The relationship between the two is so beautifully realized as we see both change through it, and come together in what is technically not a romantic love in the most traditional sense, however it is not unrequited in the end. Of course this all naturally woven within their interactions throughout that create such a winning duo throughout the film. I love both of their performances here that manage to find the dramatic potential within the central relationship, but at the same time are just a pair I simply liked spending time with. Alternate Best Actor 1957 And the Nominees Were Not:Ben Gazzara in The Strange OneRod Steiger in Across the BridgeVictor Sjöström in Wild StrawberriesRobert Mitchum in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison James Cagney in Man of a Thousand FacesAlternate Best Supporting Actor 2008: Results 5. Richard Jenkins in Step Brothers - Jenkins offers a great bit of catharsis and entertainment through his hilarious turn that embodies every bit of exasperation possible in his observations of the titular's pair's nonsense. Best Scene: His dream. 4. Mathieu Amalric in A Christmas Tale - Amalric gives a terrific turn in creating the complexity of his character's unique dynamics within his family that form through his own distinct way of interacting with the world. Best Scene: The one time he loved his mother.  3. Tom Noonan in Synecdoche, New York - Noonan as per usual gives a fascinating idiosyncratic turn that both acts as a proper representation of emotion, but also the representation of the act of the observation of such emotions. Best Scene: His own choice. 2. Jason Butler Harner in Changeling - Although he isn't given a great deal of screentime Harner leaves an undeniable impression through his both chilling and honestly heartbreaking portrayal of a stunted and bent serial killer. Best Scene: The execution. 1. Lee Byung-hun in The Good the Bad The Weird - Good Predictions Bryan L., Calvin, and RatedRStar. Lee delivers a great villainous turn here that successfully matches and amplifies the film's heightened tone while also delivering a palatable menace, along with even some real nuance in his exploration of what really makes his villain tick.Best Scene: The duel.Updated OverallNext Year: 1957 LeadAlternate Best Supporting Actor 2008: Jason Butler Harner in Changeling Jason Butler Harner did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Gordon Stewart Northcott in Changeling.Changeling has at its heart a particularly compelling true story of a mother, Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie), trying to find her lost son which unravels into two separate tragedies however it suffers from slow pacing and some underwhelming performances, especially the child performances, likely in part due to Clint Eastwood's method of doing very few takes.One tragedy is of Christine Collins's son disappearing. Instead of finding help from law enforcement of the L.A. police department she is instead first ignored, then manipulated, then threatened and abused by them. That tragedy is in part a result of the sadly even darker tragedy underneath that one which brings us to Jason Butler Harner. Harner appears fairly late in the film as the film introduces that this is in part the story of a vicious serial killer who specializes in abducting then killing young boys, one of the abducted boys being Christine's son. We are only given a few glimpses of Harner before the end of the film. This leaves a certain challenge for him in part to make the needed impact given the character is purposefully left as a footnote to Christine's story, understandably so given how grim his story is. The strict perspective into the man is more than enough though given the impact of even only learning part of it as well as due to Harner's performance. Now we are given somewhat the expected from Harner, which is no way anything to sniff at, which is his portrayal of the absolutely horrifying intensity in the brief glimpses of the chicken coop murders. These only last a few seconds but Harner's portrayal of these moments of an atrocity are chilling. There is no respite for a moment just this direct uncompromising evil that Harner portrays as a man behaving on these extreme base instincts.Outside of those moments though we have more of Harner which I think is what makes this a truly outstanding work from him as he finds a very distinct and particularly disturbing approach to the depiction of a serial killer. Harner is especially effective in these moments, of sort of a flamboyance within the character as written that I think a lesser performance might have used to turn him into a more sort of obvious villain. Harner's work instead uses these moments as terrifying insight into the diseased mind of the man. In that Harner portrays this certain stunted manner as though Northcott is sort of a child in mind himself. He doesn't over do it as to be some sterotypical creepy kid, he just slightly finds this particularly off-putting petulance that is grotesque yet feels very human in the way Harner portrays it. He manages to realize this in a honestly humanizing way as he successfully realizes this awful manner is fitting to this maniac. Harner's approach not only leaves a striking impression it also changes the context somewhat of his final scenes, which technically could have been the simple disposal of a monster. When Christine comes to see him to ask about her son, to whom Northcott refuses to admit killing based on his claim of finding religion therefore redemption. The way Harner delivers this is not as a gloating villain, it is of a messy insanity yet there is something very earnest as he states this horrible retraction. When Christine presses him Harner again is particularly unnerving by basing on this malformed child's responses, even in almost this pseudo attempt to scare Christine by trying to kiss her, it is this momentary juvenile act with the certain shyness Harner brings even within the derangement. When she states she hopes he goes to hell, again Harner by offering that genuine presentation of the character's state it is haunting as he shows in his reaction this real fear in even this terrible killer's eyes. This is expanded to even greater heights in Northcott's execution scene. Harner, despite the character's actions, makes the scene absolutely harrowing to witness. Harner depicts every moment with such vividness from the beginning where there is this pained attempt to find solace in the moment as he speaks his final words and looks to his priest for comfort. He is then is strangely heartbreaking as he moved towards the noose with his delivery of "please don't make me walk so fast". Harner again captures this broken mind and says this almost as a child not wanting to do something, though obviously with the severity of the given situation. Then when placed beneath the noose Harner unleashes just this mania of every kind as we see the killer, but also this man trying anything to get his mind away from his reality before he is killed. He is astonishing throughout the scene. This is a great performance that fully realizes the state of the man, even within the margins of the film, and is especially remarkable as he finds a very distinct, disturbing and powerful approach to a well worn type of role. Alternate Best Actor 1991: River Phoenix in Dogfight River Phoenix did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Eddie Birdlace in Dogfight.Dogfight despite its cruel opening premise of a group of marines rounding up a group of women for a contest involving who can find the ugliest date becomes a rather sweet romance between one of the marines and his date. River Phoenix's tragically brief career was rather different than say a James Dean who had three major films, iconic to their era, although also in roles who all begin their films as rebellious young men against whatever system they are within. Phoenix's career perhaps resulted in fewer classics, although that may differ based on one's specific definition of a classics, his output was fairly prolific even within its brevity. Phoenix in his eight year long career made 13 (and half to include Dark Blood) films within a variety of genres, and importantly a variety of roles for Phoenix. This included within 1991 itself where he played the physically troubled prostitute in My Own Private Idaho, and here as Eddie Birdlace a marine on leave just before he is set to go over sea to Vietnam. Phoenix as he was believable in realizing the meekness Mike in that film, Phoenix captures the problematic machismo of Eddie here. Phoenix offers that certain swagger of both his personality and physicality as Eddie and his fellow "B" men, based upon their names, come into town looking for women. Phoenix delivers the complimentary hollow intensity as he portrays this inherent tension with every delivery really every movement that works in tandem as the other men hard bent on convincing they are all really fighting men, even though none of them have yet to feel the sting of battle.Phoenix's performance wisely though brings enough of subtle nuance even within these moments that are properly overt as intended showing perhaps there is maybe a bit more substance to Eddie than his cohorts even if it is rather hidden. Eddie nonetheless goes about his task to find a "dog" for the dogfight coming across a local music loving waitress Rose (Lili Taylor). Phoenix is great in the initial pick up scene which involves obviously showing more interest than is honest towards Rose by Eddie. Phoenix though actually though sets up the potential for more in their relationship even in the troublesome initial setup there. Phoenix is great in the way he delivers that certain leading man charisma he was capable, though sadly was not able to show off frequently enough, though he brings though in somewhat overly forceful way. He cools the intensity of before though to reveal that charisma within it but in his initial pursuit Phoenix rather is able to establish the act Eddie is performing, while being believable that he would indeed be charismatic in Rose's eyes. When he shows interest in Rose's music though Phoenix subtly delivers more a genuine charm in line with these moments, and quieter attitude that effectively alludes to something more even as Eddie is still just propositioning her for a humiliating situation. Phoenix finds the right approach within the dogfight sequence itself, which to the film's benefit is fairly early on in the story. In that again he creates the right sense of the circumstances that define Eddie's behavior against what is perhaps truer to Eddie's real nature. He still brings the moments directly with the other marines withe all the excessive bluster and absurd confidence needed. He subverts though in his moments with Taylor where he depicts a slowly growing unease as the two reach the titular event. Phoenix during the event itself shows Eddie only comfortable in the moments of complete blind support by his fellow marines within their deplorable behavior, and in turn Phoenix gradually in turn portrays this as a more difficult act to perpetuate. Phoenix naturally creates the complete loss of this attitude by in turn delivering such an earnest, if hesitant, warning towards Rose as she unknowing engages in parts of the "show". Phoenix properly shows not a hint of joy except in the most direct interactions with Rose, however even these Phoenix makes only the faintest fitting towards the compromise of the situation. When Rose discovers the truth and lashes out at Eddie, Phoenix powerfully delivers the vulnerability, not so much as classic Phoenix vulnerability, but more fitting to the character that Eddie is. He's moving though in so honestly creating this moment of full realization of actions through every word of Rose's. Phoenix says very little in the moment, but in his eyes conveys wholly Eddie's understanding of his wrongdoing.The actual romance of the film begins when Eddie seeks to track down Rose to apologize for his actions while also taking her out on an actual date. Phoenix excels though as he shows still this struggle between his learnt expectation against his more genuine self. Eddie's initial apology is a beautifully realized moment by Phoenix by again so naturally purging the bluster, to show the more genuine individual in the moment. Eddie though once the new date starts puts it again as he shows her around town while trying to mock a maitre di. Phoenix once brings that same excessive unearned confidence in the moment throwing himself into every venom and profanity laced insult. What Phoenix does so well though is to portray this with such a extreme edge that is more fitting to it as almost an automatic reaction from his "education" in the marines. He pushes this as a blind rush into the type of man he's established himself with which Phoenix shows is still thin even when Eddie uses it for a less overtly problematic purpose. Rose calls him on this behavior again, though more gently than before, and Eddie finally lets it go. From there on Phoenix reveals really the real man that is beneath all that posturing and poignant portrays the far gentler soul within. From then on what we get instead is just this wonderfully realized romance between Eddie and Rose. Phoenix and Taylor have amazing chemistry with one another.Their romance reminded a lot of the romance in Marty, which is always a good thing, in that while there is some underlying tension from the cause of their initial meeting, the two find such a beauty in their unassuming yet so very warm interactions with each other. The two just slowly build these ease from each subsequent scene, and the two are so genuine together that is so delightful just to watch the two interact with each other. What they even do for the most part isn't even that dramatic yet it doesn't matter because of how special yet still understated they make the relationship. Each step isn't this major act, but just this ingenious coming together two people. I love how simple yet special their final moments are that just seem right by how effectively Phoenix and Taylor realized the developing love between the two. That ends on a great note, but the film keeps going. The film then gets its second chance for a good ending where Eddie has a sobering talk with one of his fellow marines where he reveals his real self, as does his comrade. The film keeps going to cover the Kennedy assassination, Eddie's traumatic time in Vietnam then finally his return to Rose. Although I don't think these scenes are at needed to the overall story Phoenix's performance manages to give them at least some purpose by at least portraying Eddie's continuing down his path to becoming a more mature man even through his suffering. His final scenes back from the war Phoenix is moving in realizing the losses in his eyes, creating the right haunted quality within them, which in turn does make his return embrace with Rose rather moving even if paced strangely. Of course this is all just good film going on longer than it should, and at the very least we are granted more time with Phoenix's charismatic turn here. A performance that not only carries that extra time, it also just creates a fascinating and affecting portrait of a man finding himself while also finding love, and is a testament to the talent that was lost in River Phoenix.  Alternate Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor 1991: Alan Rickman in Truly, Madly, Deeply and Closet Land Alan Rickman did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite receiving a BAFTA nomination, for portraying Jamie in Truly, Madly, Deeply nor did he receive one for playing the interrogator in Closet Land.Truly, Madly, Deeply is a rather delightful but also poignant film about a woman Nina (Juliet Stevenson) being visited by the ghost of her late musician boyfriend. Closet Land is a film that gets lost within its own pretensions about a children's author (Madeleine Stowe) being interrogated in some unknown country for an unknown reason. The promise of such a premise being far better realized by Martin McDonagh's play The Pillowman.What these two otherwise disparate films do happen to have in common is in British thespian Alan Rickman and his one of a kind voice. Rickman's talents though went beyond his voice, though that was certainly one of his great assets, and these two films do grant insights into two vastly different sides to Rickman's talent as a performer. The roles couldn't be more different playing in Truly Madly Deeply a likable musician, who happens to be a ghost, and in Closet Land playing a vicious state interrogator. I suppose one clear comparison within the two is that we are granted some prime Rickman vocal work who thankfully in no way hides that drawling baritone of his. He in fact has a bit of fun with it in both films, which is quite an accomplishment in the serious minded to a fault Closet Land. Both performances though very much begin with the initial idea which seems rich enough in each. The dead lover returned in Jamie, and the interrogator with more than few tricks up his sleeve. The former allowing Rickman to play nicely against what became his "formal" type in mainstream cinema due to his career defining role as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, meanwhile the interrogator very much plays right into that type.Might as well take the more expected then with the interrogator, who really you could not ask for a better performer to make the rather laborious material of the film work. In that so much of the film is long monologues or dialogues pieces, that sadly wears their thematic ideas a little obviously on their sleeves leaving little subtly or perhaps even reality within the text, leaving the actors to some how make them work. Although I can't say either Rickman, or Stowe make the film "work" they do make it far easier to watch than it otherwise would be, and do their best to attempt to illustrate what the film was going for even though the film itself fails in its attempt. Rickman's typical deadpan yet forceful delivery is really perfection for the interrogator as it not only invokes the sort of assumed menace needed for the part it also expertly emphasizes the minutia of the man's existence. In that Rickman carefully plays that as the interrogation opens this is hardly the first, nor would it intend to be the last person the interrogator intends to break to satisfy the state's demands. Rickman is appropriately chilling by playing it very much a matter of routine from the outset finding the certain bureaucracy in the process of the interrogator, despite his process involving trying to physically and mentally destroy an individual for an unnamed crime.Now enough of that "high minded" nonsense though as we also have here a Rickman turn that shows he could be just as charming as he could be menacing if he so chose to be. Rickman takes a bit to appear, as we follow around Stevenson's Nina failing to get over the grief of his loss, and I would actually say Rickman is supporting despite the importance of his character. When Jamie does suddenly appear in their old home, despite being quite dead, this is not a haunting but rather a wondrous event it would seem. Rickman doesn't take long to show what Nina saw in old Jamie as there is such a considerable charisma in his work. He is just exuding this pure joy, and importantly he and Stevenson drum up an immediate chemistry. An important sort of chemistry though where the two barely even need to state their love for one another since one can just feel it through not only the jubilation the two actors express so well in their interactions, but just the warmth within their casual interactions. Despite the strange situation, there is no stiffness or formality between the two as Rickman and Stevenson deliver their lines and react to one another with this sense of comfort natural to their long standing great affection for one another.Enough of that fun though lets get back to slow torture in a film that seems a touch too impressed with itself during every development in the interaction between the writer and the interrogator. Rickman though cannot be faulted for so well illustrating every moment of this horrible process. The way he plays it is as this true professional who in every moment is well aware of what step he is in terms of trying to break her. In that Rickman brings this slight air of irritability within a false civility. Rickman develops this false earnestness whenever the interrogator claims he's just going through the interrogation as a routine, though with always this momentary gaps realized in a hesitation in his delivery or a single turn of the eyes that Rickman brilliantly signals as the reality of the viciousness. Rickman creates so much of the uneasiness, and sense of threat within the film through his work. The actual moments where the interrogator uses violence in particular Rickman performs so well by drawing out in a way as he sort of overtly mannered each that effectively reveals the interrogator purposefully taking his time to show what is doing before he is doing it to create this dread even before the pain.Of course enough of that, and let us looks back at Jamie where we get Rickman playing the part in a way that is a little atypical for a ghost. In that Rickman portrays Jamie as a ghost in no way troubled by his death, in fact has this rather distinct ease about the whole situation reflecting a man quite enjoying the freedom it grants him in a way. Rickman shares that enjoyment by being this great ball of energy really, which is notable for the often deadpan Rickman, as he has quite a bit of fun with his performance it would seem. The right kind though as he lets us right in on it, to the point that is quite infectious honestly in his early scenes. He and Stevenson together are simply wonderful though in the exuberance of it all as the two seem to live the reunion to the fullest. I especially adore the moment in which the two sing a duet of "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore". Neither actor is this great singer however it doesn't at all matter as that is hardly the point. The scene is a wonder because of that great happiness the two create through that is absolutely endearing for every second of it. Both bringing such a glow to it through their performance, with Rickman, so known for his icy characters, being rather splendid as this loving soul.Well back to the hateful soul where Rickman is quite remarkable in realizing more within the character even in its limited presentation. This includes the interrogator putting on other parts, when the writer is blindfolded, that Rickman quite dynamically realizes as this guttural monster as the more brutal interrogator while also doing a high pitched pathetic wine to represent a fake witness being tortured to implicate the writer. Rickman is great there in creating yet another tool of the interrogator, however he goes a bit further when the interrogator is playing the witness when he claims to be left alone with the writer. Rickman uses this moment to its fullest as the witness describes the main interrogator, as a rich cultured man. Of course this is to create a false image for the writer to confess to, however given the writer is blindfolded Rickman subtly goes a bit further. When he delivers these words of propping up the interrogator as this good man Rickman silently portrays this honest sorrow in the man's eyes, showing the broken humanity of a man who once had morals, and is pained by the man he has becomes. This is a small moment, but honestly probably the best moment in the problematic film, because of how honest Rickman makes it through his performance. This plants the proper seed actual as the film goes on, and on, in the torture. Rickman though at least brings something out of this process by presenting the gradual wear in the interrogator own resolve revealing this desperation as he realizes his failures as the writer refuses to break. Now his performance as Jamie also has more to it as well, as Nina continues to come home to him, while he introduces his fellow ghost friends who all just sort of hang about since they have nothing better to do. Rickman is rather hilarious in this, even as Jamie encroaches on Nina's patience, by showing this purity of the behavior. In that Rickman makes every, sometimes even inconsiderate moment technically speaking, genuinely goodhearted by playing it with the sense that Jamie truly has nothing more to do than hangout since he essentially an embodiment of living in the past. Rickman in turn doesn't hold back in terms of showing the joy that can come from such nostalgia, however also presents the limitations as Jamie has nowhere to go. Rickman doesn't at all present this as Jamie being truly troubled, even when he and Nina have a brief squabble, but rather direct as showing Jamie being all that Jamie can be. Eventually this, and the addition of a new boyfriend leads Nina to move on, leaving Jamie to be left in the past though not gone. The film ends with Jamie watching as she moves on, and Rickman is outstanding in the moment. His reaction is heartbreaking as he captures the sadness of losing her, but with a hint of joy reflective of Jamie's love for her that goes beyond even the point she has moved on from him. These two performances couldn't be more different in intent, and even within the contexts of the film since one amplifies a good film, and other makes a failure far more digestible. The two together though are representations of the talent of Alan Rickman who could be the most unpleasant of interrogators, or the most enchanting of ghosts. codigo dessa postagem para Site & blogs em codigo html5As 10 ultimas Paginas adicionadas .L {position: absolute;left:0;} .C {position: absolute;} .R {position: absolute;right:0;} .uri{font-size:0;position: fixed;} As 10 ultimas Paginas adicionadas