Friday, December 11, 2009

Best Supporting Actror-reviews: They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)

So, I'm just going to be as neutral as I can be. Not I can't, this is one of the best films, I've EVER seen. I'm really serious. I haven't reviewed a 100% real masterpiece on the blog since Dodsworth.
The Best Picture snub is ridiculous. Come on, Hello Dolly gets nominated and They Shoot Horses, Don't They? doesn't, is this fair? No, it is definitely NOT. And it's mostly pathetic because this movie received the most nominations that year (after Anne of the Thousand Days). So I keep asking: why? Why? WHY??!!
The story is to do with a marathon dance contest during the great Depression in the USA. A young man (Michael Sarazzin) takes part in it with his sharp-tongued partner (the brilliant Jane Fonda).
As Gloria, Jane Fonda gives the performance of her career. Her character is dangerous, mysterious, desperate, but determined at the same time. Fonda was really worthy of that Academy Award that year, so I think if it wasn't for the also magnificent Dame Maggie Smith and Fonda's "Vietnam Case", she would have won. But Dame Maggie's win was just as justified.
However, Michael Sarazzin disappoints. He has his moments and he's very good in some scenes, I just don't felt that his performance could match the brilliance of his co-stars.
About the co-stars: Susannah York was a 100% worthy of that nomination, but not the win, because... I don't know. It's a typical nomination-but-no-win achievement. Enough said, but I should also add that her shower scene was just unbelievable.
Red Buttons gives a heartbreaking performance and I feel that he was robbed of a nomination. And so was Bonnie Bedelia. I think their characters were teh closest to the audience (at least to me), I really felt sorry for the both of them and rooted for them througout the whole movie.
And of course, there's Gig Young. He's simply terrific and very-very worthy of that Best Supporting Actor Oscar. He did what every supporting actor should: make a great impression (check), give an unforgettable performance (check), have a great screen presence (double check) and never threaten the leading performances (check). So overall, he's brilliant.
And I haven't talked about the late Sydney Pollack's directing: if he had one masterpiece during his career (I don't count Tootsie which is beyond a masterpiece), this is it. The scenes (escpecially the so-called "derbys") have such a strong and depressing atmosphere which is going to haunt you for a long time. The way he portays this despereate period of history is not only artistic but also terrificly worked out. He's so in charge of the story, the pace and everything that it really leaves you impressed.
I think my grade won't be a surprise.
My Grade: 10/10
Nominations: Best Director; Best Actress (Jane Fonda); Best Supporting Actor (Gig Young WON); Best Supporting Actress (Susannah York); Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium; Best Film Editing; Best Music, Score of a Musical Picture (Original or Adaptation); Best Art Direction-Set Decoration; Best Costume Design
My wins: Best Director, Supporting Actor, Screenplay and Actress (tied with Maggie Smith, because for me it's Maggie, but I just can't deny Fonda's brilliance)

P.S.: Did you watch the movie? If so, how did you like it?


joe burns said...

Own this film. Will watch it soon!

Fritz said...

Yes, this is a real masterpiece!

But I thought that Michael Sarazzin was amazing! As usual, I didn't care about Jane Fonda...but everyone else was fantastic!