Thursday, May 13, 2010

Smackdown


The year is 1967 and the category is Best Actor. I haven't done Best Actor in a while, but I'd like to do it more often because IMO, it's just as great as Best Actress. Nevertheless, 1967 was a very great year for movies in general and so was for actors, who managed to give excellent performances in these movies. And I must also mention that tw of my favorite actors were among the nominees whom I ranked this way:

1. Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate: Growing up is not easy. Certainly not for Benjamin Braddock. Hoffman was around 30 when he played a 21-year-old. Mike Nichols told him not to play a role and this was certainly the best advice he could have given. This heartwrenching and funny simplicity that Benjamin has makes us understand him and find resemblances between the viewer and him. This was the breaktrough of a now legendary and brilliant actor. With his very first major role he showed his immense talent, dedication and power. In a career full of unforgettable movies, nothing else could have been a better first one of these.
Grade:*****(**)

2. Spencer Tracy in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner: This movie nowadays is considered to be dated, boring, dumb and everything else. Well, I enjoyed it very much and in my opinion Spencer Tracy gave one of his greatest performances in it. It's not very popular to say, but if it wasn't for Hoffman, Tracy would get my vote hands down. I simply loved the way he showed that he got old and the world has changed a lot (the scene where they're eating ice cream with Hepburn is brillian). And not to mention the bit cheesy last monologue of his, which he delivered brilliantly. Well done.
Grade:*****

3. Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke: Newman (like all the great actors) was able to deliver monologues simply with one look. His character is in many ways just like R. P. McMurphy from (the overrated sorry) One Flew Over the Cockoo's Nest: someone who shows freedom, a light in the night, a savior. The comparisions between this character and Jesus Christ are obvious in this movie and Newman was able to deliver a powerhouse, but still subtle performance. The only problem I have is that he's not very different from his other performances, but that's just me.
Grade:****&1/2*

4. Rod Steiger in In the Heat of the Night: Martin Luther King was assasinated before the Oscars, so it was no wonder that In the Heat of the Night, which is a very entertaining movie won 4 awards, which inculded Best Actor for Rod Steiger, who was overdue for some time. The main reason why I don't agree with this win is that the real lead is definitely Poitier and now matter how great Steiger is (which he is), I cannot ignore this fact. Nevertheless, I noticed Steiger's effort and even though I'm definitely not a fan of his, I think he deserved the Oscar for this... in the supporting category.
Grade: ****

5. Warren Beatty in Bonnie and Clyde: Bonnie and Clyde is brilliant, but the main problem is that Dunaway almost completely steals the movie from her co-stars. Yes, that woman can really act, but it would be unfair not to acknowledge the greatness of the others. Apart from the Oscar-worthy Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons, Beatty is able to give a fine performance as Clyde, who's quite far from being a big shot. However, she's able to get Bonnie and Beatty is quite good at showing Clyde's emotions (not so many). So good, but not great job.
Grade: ***

4 comments:

Fritz said...

Certainly a very strong year! You're right that Poitier feels like the real lead in ITHOTN and it would have been great to see him nominated. I don't mind Steiger's win since he was fantastic, too.

dinasztie said...

Well Poitier is one of my favorites, so I'm a bit bitter that he was not nominated.

Sage Slowdive said...

Dustin Hoffman is my pick too :) Pretty easily...

Paul Newman would be my second pick, and the rest was merely just okay to me.

dinasztie said...

Hoffman is certainly ahead of his cmopetition, but the others are great too IMO.