Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The Best Actor Nominees: Favourites

So seeing that the list of my Favourite Best Actress nods was somewhat well received I’m done a companion piece...for the Best Actor race. If you’re lucky, I’ll continue the trend for the supporting categories. So here’s the list of my  favourite Leading Nominees – Actors...beginning with the thirteen runners up. [Click on the films for more information]
28 – James Dean in Giant 
27 – Robert DeNiro in Taxi Driver
26 – Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon
25 – Robin Williams in The Fisher King
24 – Montgomery Clift in A Place in the Sun
23 – Tom Hulce in Amadeus
22 – Jack Lemmon in Days of Wine & Roses
21 – Paul Newman in The Hustler
20 – Javier Bardem in Before Night Falls
19 – Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia
18 – Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator
17 – Spencer Tracy in Judgement at Nuremberg
16 – Paul Newman in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
The Finalists

15 – Charles Boyer in Gaslight
Yeah, I spoke about his awesomeness in my review of the film and he cracks the top 15. I haven’t seen him in that much but what I’ve seen him in he’s good. And then there’s the fact that French people are just great. But yeah, his Gregory is a despicable man, but he’s still incredibly charming. He would be a good friend to have a sticky situation – unless he turns on you, of course. I haven’t seen Going My Way but I really don’t think that Bing Crosby could have topped this. It's not the stock villainous role, he really is good in this. And he thoroughly deserved his Oscar nomination.
14 – Richard Burton in The Robe
Along with The Ten Commandments they show this film every Easter here. This one is better, even though it’s a bit schmaltzy, it is a nice movie. And Burton is good [as usual]. I suppose he can be accused of being over the top. But Marcellus was going crazy, so it’s an occupational hazard. And this was the first Richard Burton performance that I saw, so it’s that much more special too. And Jean Simmons doesn’t hurt either. I'll admit it, those scenes when he goes crazy are my favourite. Yeah, they're total Oscar bait. But I can't help it. It's really good in a scary kind of way.
13 – Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking
And here we have it, the greatest thing that Sean Penn has ever done – and probably ever will do. And he did it under the hand of Tim Robbins. I still cringe when I think he lost to Cage, not because Leaving Las Vegas was unworthy but because Cage is just despicable; but I digress. Matthew Poncelet truly is one of those incredibly complex characters and your reaction to him is completely subjective. Sean's work here is incredibly layered and it was so early in his career too. It's a truly incredible performance...not to be ignored.

12 – Daniel Day Lewis in In the Name of the Father
Are you fed up seeing him? Can't help it. I can't believe that he only has four nominations, he seems so ubiquitous. He has not starred in that many films either, but when he does he's outstanding. And Gerard is outstanding. I am a bit prejudiced against Scottish accents in film, they just make me want to implode. But Daniel made me make an exception. It's a sympathetic character, but he doesn't beat it over our head. He plays Gerard as just an ordinary guy - the good, the bad and the ugly. And that's what makes me like the performance. Gerard is not the stock hero. He is instead a real person.
11 – Spencer Tracy in Inherit the Wind
Tracy had all the charisma to play this role and he did it just right. Sure, I don’t know why Gene Kelly or Frederic March were not nominated too, but it’s all good. You can’t have everything, I suppose. Henry Drumond is a great character in print, and Spencer brings it effectively to life. Whatever your opinion on evolution [and if you’re smart you’ll realise the film is about more than that] it would do you good to at least experience this film and performance at least once. Stanley Kramer allowed Spencer to give three outstanding performances and this is probably the greatest of them all.
10 – Anthony Hopkins in The Remains of the Day
It’s my favourite performance from Sir Hopkins. The man is a legend and he’s done wonderful work for decades but I’ll always think of James Stevens when I hear his name. It’s a difficult character, we never see the man breakdown and he’s never spontaneous. That closing shot and the expression on his and Emma’s face is truly poignant. In a year of Liam Neeson and Daniel Day Lewis and Anthony I am slightly miffed that Hanks won, though his performance was fine but oh well. That's life. 
9 – Ralph Fiennes in The English Patient
This is another one of those introverted roles, though Almasy does have some showier moments. It’s a real pity that this guy doesn’t have an Oscar. Of course losing to Geoffrey Rush is much more noble than losing to Tommy Lee Jones, it still is losing whichever way you put it. There’s a scene at the beginning where denounces the use of adjectives. Fast car, slow car, chuaffer driver car.... Someone asks, Broken car? He winces almost imperceptibly, still a car. It’s mot a particular groundbreaking part of the film, but it’s in moments as small as this that we see some truly good acting from Fiennes. And yes when he gets drunk at the dance he's just as good playing loud and angry.
8 – Warren Beatty in Reds
Do people really hate this guy? And if yes, ummm why? This is another guy that needs to do more movies...he's not getting any younger. What's so good about him in this role is that there are scenes where he's not the centre but his facial reactions are thoroughly convincing. Warren is somewhat underrated as an actor but he's really good in this. And for that matter, so is the movie.
7 – Jude Law in Cold Mountain
Did you do a double take? Sorry, don’t rub your eyes. You’re seeing correct. I won’t go into people’s hatred of this film... I like it, and well yeah, that’s about it. W. P. Inman. Jude's accent is so freakish in this movie [in a good way] and yeah though I kind of watched hoping to see more of him and Nicole it was all good. His part of the film is less interesting, and it depends purely on his talent [and Philip Seymour Hoffman a little] to make it work. It could have gone horribly wrong, and I know for some they feel it did, but for me Jude made it work. Kudos to him.
6 – Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate
It’s the best thing that he’s done; that I’ve seen at least. Yeah, I would have given him the Oscar. I mean if they weren’t going to give it to the oldie, why not give the fresh young’un? Don’t ask me. Benjamin Braddock is just hilarious. He carries the entire film on his shoulders and all the other cast members are just supporting to him. His movement and antics alone are enough to convince you of his feelings in those montages. And the line readings aren't half bad either, Mrs. Robinson, are you trying to seduce me? You think?
5 – Jack Lemmon in The Apartment
There’s a moment in the movie where Bud is sifting the channels. He tries to watch Grand Hotel, but the ad breaks keep annoying him. It’s not a big acting moment, but Lemmon’s facial expressions always sell me. People always say Some Like It Hot or Missing was where he was best, but The Apartment has always been it for me. Bud is just a great character and all of that [well most if it] rests on Jack. Sure the screenplay is good, but this is one of those roles that would have been empty if done right. And luckily, Jack does it right.
4 – Montgomery Clift in From Here to Eternity
I sure wish that he would have won the Oscar, though I have nothing against William Hoden. Clift may not be the best actor in the world, but he doesn't deserve to be written off as only a looker. I thought he was really good in this and deserves praise. It's the tortured character that is his specialty, but he plays it just right. A heartbreaking performance that is even sadder when you think of how his life [and career] ended.
3 – Richard Burton in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
I am not drowning. Even though George won’t admit it, he is slowly, but surely a drowning man. The middle of the film where he rips into Nick during the macabre Get the Guests is one of the best parts of this already great film. He outdoes the entire cast [all of whom give career best performances] and he absolutely takes control of his role. Everyone marvels at Liz's age transformation, but Richard ages too. Just look at The Taming of the Shrew [shot after this to see how young he was]. It's a great performance from any angle.
2 – Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire
What the hell is about this guy? But yeah, here’s to Stanley Kowalski. Tennesse Williams is a genius for writing this, and Brando is a genius for interpreting as well as he did. It’s one of the greatest male performances, and yeah Stanley is despicable but [be honest] don’t you wish you were him? And you can’t not remember that famous calling of Stella. Lolita was right that perhaps people love him just a little too much. He doesn't always ace it, but boy-oh-boy. When he does, it's just marvellous and he deserves all the recognition here.
1 – Peter O’Toole in The Lion in Winter
I feel a bit generic to put this as the best, because so many people say that it’s the best...but maybe it really is the best. The fact that he’s about thirty years too young for the role always boggles my mind. What exactly prompted them to give him the role? And the fact that he’s just as good as Katharine Hepburn boggles my mind too. This is just an outstanding performance. I’ve never seen Charly and I never want to see it because I know that I will scream in anger when I see whatever crap it was ROBBED Peter O’Toole of his Oscar. Wrong, wrong, wrong!
And know that somewhere someone's going to be ticked off by at least one of these choices. So have it. I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready...


Univarn said...

GRRRRRRRR! HOW COULD YOU NOT HAVE PICKED *insert actor's name here(!!!!?

There, now you're all covered for any complaint you could garnish!

I love Jack Lemmon in everything he's in. I've been trying forever to see his best actor winning role in Save the Tiger, but for the life of me I can't figure out why.

As for Cliff winning for Charly, I kind of wish I could go back and see what the feel of the time was. I haven't seen the movie either, but Peter O'Toole is so talented, and to have never won is rather shocking. I wonder if he was always just in the wrong film at the wrong time against public favorites?

Rae Kasey said...

I definitely would have had Lemmon's turn in Some Like It Hot, as it's one of the best comedic performances ever in my mind.

Couldn't agree more with Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire. He really deserved it and it would have been the first and only sweep in the acting categories!

joe burns said...

Yes, Brando deserved it. Bogart was awful.

Jude said...

I completely agree with Montgomery Clift. From Here to Eternity is one of the best movies ever made, and a lot of that rests on the outstanding work Clift turns in. That's such a gem of a film and performance, both criminally underwritten about.
I think I have to write about From Here to Eternity and Katharine Hepburn on my blog before I explode hahahaha.

Tom said...

I would have picked Peter O'Toole for "Lawrence".

Danny King said...

Haha, you just convinced me to leave a comment with your "world ends" thing. That's great!

Alex in Movieland said...

from the hundreds of performances... :) jude law. I don't hate the movie. and he's gorgeous. but top 10 :D
However, killer Top 3! I think I'd pick Burton as number 1 :)

Congrats for the courage of making such a list!

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Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Ryan Strangely enough I too have not seen Save the Tiger.

Rae I think could be made that both Streetcar and Virginia Woolf should have won four for four.

Joe I don't think Bogart was awful but if I had to I'd switch give it to Brando over Bogart and Hepburn over Leigh...although either way they all have Oscars.

Jude don't explode. Please :D

Tom...I love The Lion in Winter so it's subjective

Danny...glad it spoke to someone :D

Alex I don't know I just like the movie/perf. And that top 3 is killer. Three great actors.