Friday, 6 November 2009

The Supporting Actor Nominees: Favourites

So I’m back to give you a list of some favourite nominees in the acting categories. Third on the list are The Supporting Men. Here are twenty five nominees that I think of when I think of good Supporting Performances…beginning with the ten runners up.
25 – Ed Harris in The Hours
24 – Tom Wilkinson in Michael Clayton
23 – Jeff Bridges in The Last Picture Show
22 – Denholm Elliot in A Room With A View
21 – Clive Owen in Closer
20 – Casey Afleck in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
19 – Omar Sharrif in Lawrence of Arabia
18 – Montgomery Clift in Judgement at Nuremberg
17 – Maximillain Schell in Julia
16 – Willem DaFoe in Shadow of a Vampire
15 – Rod Steiger in On the Waterfront
The ‘I coulda been a contender’ scene is always regarded as the Brando showpiece, but we forget to remember that Steiger holds his own in that taxicab. He doesn’t have as much lines but his physical reactions to his brother’s accusations are well done. And that pivotal moment where he lets him out the cab – it’s good stuff and well deserving of the nomination. Sure I wish that Hoffman won the 67 Oscar for The Graduate instead of him [In the Heat of the Night]; but he's a good actor nevertheless.
14 – Pete Postlewaite in In the Name of the Father
As I had already stated I am a fan of this film. Playing Daniel Day Lewis’ almost saintly father this role could have come off as a little one not, but Postlewaite is a better actor than that. He wasn’t old enough to be Lewis’ father, but he is able to convincingly portray a man who has had his back permanently bent. He comes out of the film as the most profound character and he’s missed after he leaves the screen but he doesn’t try to overshadow Day Lewis. The true mark of a good supporting player.
13 – Lee J. Cobb in On the Waterfront
What can I say about this? Every scene he has is juicy and showy and he handles it well. From the first time we meet him the charm with a hint of brutality is evident and with the dénouement of the film we realise that the brutality is more than just a hint. It's a startlingly good performance from him and that lost shot of him is  just pathetic. A true journey for his character.
12 – Al Pacino in Dick Tracy
Next to Pfeiffer’s Cat Woman, this is my favourite performance is a Superhero flick. Joe Pesci deserved his Oscar, but it would have been cool to see him win for this atypical role. The role was good on paper, but he just made turned it into something wonderful. The man has the talent, it’s undeniable.

11 – Russ Tamblyn in Peyton Place
Nepotism? Quite possibly. Peyton Place is not a perfect film, and yes it’s quite soap opera like, but it’s enjoyable. And I enjoyed the performance. It’s sad that this represents his only Oscar nomination and he had no chance of winning, but playing this somewhat introverted character Tamblyn does demand a large part of your attention. A great addition and a palpably good performance in a large cast.
10 – James Caan in The Godfather
I particularly enjoyed this performance. Caan really was on to something back then. Sure I always wish he’d have gotten a nod for Thief, and perhaps this was just one of those additional nods Oscar gives to a film that their enamoured with. But it always pleases me to think that he was nominated. Well deserved in my opinion.
9 – Jack Nicholson in Reds
I believe that this is the BEST Supporting Performance from Jack. Terms of Endearment didn’t call for that much from him, as enjoyable as it was. I believe he deserved this award. In such a large ensemble film he does leave an impression. It’s a perfect example of how talented this man really is. There is a reason that he is so revered in the business.
8 – Benicio Del Toro in 21 Grams
2003 had two smashing supporting turns – Robbins and his. Either would have been worthy. It’s better than his excellent work in Traffic. He comes out as the best of the cast.  This man needs to get more roles, he really is a talented actor.
7 – Ethan Hawke in Training Day
Yes Ethan is one of my favourite actors, and one of the more underrated ones in the business too. It’s category fraud at its worst [best?]. But there was no other way he was going to get nominated. He has that certain quality that you can’t help rooting for and he functions as the audience’s slate for judging Alonzo. He and Washington depend on each other and though it was co-lead it was supporting still.
6 – Ian McKellen in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings
How can anyone not love Gandalf? I like to pretend that he won though I have no problem with Broadbent in Iris. Actually I like him in Iris. But how is it that this man doesn’t have an Oscar? Everything the great wizard should be, he’s formidable in the big moments. But in the small parts, as when Frodo takes on the burden of the ring, the look on his face alone is able to tell us much. That’s good acting.
5 – Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List
He plays villainous as well as he plays heroic. It’s just a great performance, there’s no two ways about it. As good as Neeson was Fiennes gives the best performance in the film, and it's probably true that nothing he's done since has been able to be this good. It's a chilling performance and he makes it more than a caricature, which is what it could have been.
4 – Leonardo DiCaprio in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
Notice how this is the third nominee from 1993? And who did they give the Oscar to? Tommy Lee Jones! Ugh. Ridiculous. If hard-pressed I’d probably name this as the best thing that he’s done. Only in his teen years the realistic nature of the performance is startling. It doesn’t transcend into showboating or a pity nod. It’s a well deserved nomination, and all things considered I’m a bit surprised that he was even given the nomination.
3 – Al Pacino in The Godfather
What do we have here? Another example of category fraud? Just to clear up, I don’t think Pacino should have won – Joel Grey deserved it. But that goes to show you how good a line-up there was in 1972. It’s the quintessential Pacino performance; and it's only ehanced by the chemistry he shares with the cast - particularly Brando and Keaton.
2 – George Segal in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
He deserved such a better after career and he deserved that Oscar too. He’s assisted two Leading Actresses to Oscars [three in all], shouldn’t he more recognised? He has more to do than the typical supporting player. Nick’s transformation will not always elicit sympathy from us, and he’s not afraid to play the character as a real dick. It’s a good performance.

1 – Jude Law in The Talented Mr. Ripley
This was so simple. It’s the best thing that Jude has done – and from Anthony Minghella no less. In retrospect it’s strange when you realise that he really didn’t have that many lines or that much screen time. But it just goes to show how great he was. He made a huge impact on the film and in a way the film hinged on his performance and he completely pulls it off.

So there you have it? Who'd make your list? Any surprises on mine?


Twister said...

Reguarding Jeff Bridges in "The Last Picture Show" - I don't get this nomination at all. Bridges, in my mind, did nothing great enough to even warrant the nom.

If Oscar wanted another "Picture Show" member to nominate, Timothy Bottoms did a HELLUVA lot more than Bridges did. Although he might be edging into Best Actor.

Jude said...

Great list, and I completely agree with Jude in the top slot. Some omissions (in my opinion) are Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain, River Phoenix in Running on Empty, and maybe even Chris Sarandon in Dog Day Afternoon.

joe burns said...

A lot of these I haven't seen. And I think you meant 1972 instead of 1992 when you were talking about Al Pacino in The Godfather. Will we see your favorite Supporting Actress nominees?

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Twister: Well I just like Bridges, but yeah Bottoms was better but I wanted Bridges to win.

Jude: I toyed with the idea of Sarandon for a looong time.

Joe:The Supporting Women will be up soon...ish.

Alex in Movieland said...

Jude??? :) ok. let's say I don't really agree. But Pacino (godfather), Segal & especially Ralph Fiennes are definitely among the best!!!

ps: in Leo's presentation: they all came from 93, not 92 ;)