Friday, 24 August 2012

Essential Performances of the ‘90s Tournament: Round Two, Showdown 6

Thanks for all the votes you great folks. Keep them coming and spread the word so the right performers (whoever they are) advance. The full bracket is HERE and if you’re new to the showdown, background on its genesis is HERE. Vote in the ongoing polls HERE and if you’re interested enough and love any of the upcoming performances feel free to defend them on your own blogs and send me a link so (information HERE).

Now on with the next battle. This poll closes on Monday.

Edward Norton in American History X (1998) as Derek Vinyard
This sentiment can be said for a few of the performances still in the bracket, but I cannot overemphasise how much of a linchpin Norton is for the success of American History X. Without him ensuring that Eric is not only charming but beguilingly so, so much of the film would fail. There’s the perverse way that he disarms the audience into making us observe his cruelty and then offset it with a grace and openness which enthrals even as it repulses. Random: This is not as much about Norton’s performance specifically, but Paolo mentioned seeing them back to back and it makes me think how striking Fiennes in Schindler’s List and Norton’s performance in their similarity.

Paolo (Okinawa Assault Incident) vouches for Norton's performance.

Emma Thompson in Howards End (1992) as Margaret Schlegel

Howards End is just over two hours (although it really does fly) but even as all the characters are undergoing changes Margaret has so many planes to navigate through and Thompson makes it all look so easy, so real and so fluid. Howards End is sort of the bridge between the lighter Room with a View and the more sombre Remains of the Day and so Thompson must deliver in being winsomely comedic and then devastatingly dramatic and, she nails the bridging of the two planes: Random: Her reaction to the most awkward proposal in cinematic history always amuses.

Those familiar would know who I'm rooting for, but truthfully both performances are so good. Who wins for you?

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