Thursday, 18 January 2018

My Wins

1935:

Picture: 39 Steps
Director: John Ford - The Informer
Actor: Victor McLaglen - The Informer
Actress: Greta Garbo - Anna Karenina
Supporting Actor: James Cagney - A Midsummer's Night Dream
Supporting Actress: Elsa Lanchester - Bride of Frankenstein
Ensemble: The Informer
Production Design: Bride of Frankenstein
Sound Editing: Bride of Frankenstein
Sound Mixing: Mutiny on the Bounty
Score: The Informer
Editing: 39 Steps
Visual Effects: Bride of Frankenstein
Costume Design: The Black Room
Cinematography: Bride of Frankenstein
Makeup and Hairstyling: Bride of Frankenstein
Original Screenplay: The Ghost Goes West
Adapted Screenplay: Bride of Frankenstein
Song: "Cheek to Cheek" - Top Hat

1937:

Picture: Grand Illusion
Director: Jean Renoir - Grand Illusion
Actor: Robert Montgomery - Night Must Fall
Actress: Irene Dunne - The Awful Truth
Supporting Actor: Erich von Stroheim - Grand Illusion
Supporting Actress: May Whitty - Night Must Fall
Ensemble: Grand Illusion
Production Design: Lost Horizon
Sound Editing: The Hurricane
Sound Mixing: The Hurricane
Score: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Editing: Grand Illusion
Visual Effects: The Hurricane
Costume Design: The Prisoner of Zenda
Cinematography: Grand Illusion
Makeup and Hairstyling: Make Way For Tomorrow
Original Screenplay: Grand Illusion
Adapted Screenplay: Make Way For Tomorrow
Song: "Someday My Prince Will Come" - Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

1947:

Picture: Odd Man Out
Director: Carol Reed - Odd Man Out
Actor: Richard Attenborough - Brighton Rock
Actress: Claire Trevor - Born to Kill
Supporting Actor: Louis Jouvet - Quai des Orfevres
Supporting Actress: Kathleen Byron - Black Narcissus
Ensemble: Odd Man Out
Production Design: Black Narcissus
Sound Editing: Brute Force
Sound Mixing: Black Narcissus
Score: A Double Life
Editing: The Lady From Shanghai
Visual Effects: Black Narcissus
Costume Design: Black Narcissus
Cinematography: Black Narcissus
Makeup and Hairstyling: Black Narcissus
Original Screenplay: Miracle on 34th Street
Adapted Screenplay: Odd Man Out
Song: "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" - Song of the South

1949:

Picture: The Third Man
Director: Carol Reed - The Third Man
Actor: Toshiro Mifune - Stray Dog
Actress: Olivia de Havilland - The Heiress
Supporting Actor: Alec Guinness - Kind Hearts and Coronets
Supporting Actress: Mercedes McCambridge - All the King's Men
Ensemble: The Heiress
Production Design: Battleground
Sound Editing: Battleground
Sound Mixing: The Third Man
Score: The Third Man
Editing: The Third Man
Visual Effects: Battleground
Costume Design: The Heiress
Cinematography: The Third Man
Makeup and Hairstyling: Kind Hearts and Coronets
Original Screenplay: The Third Man
Adapted Screenplay: The Heiress
Song: "The Headless Horseman" - The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

1951:

Picture: Scrooge
Director: Alfred Hitchcock - Strangers on a Train
Actor: Michael Redgrave - The Browning Version
Actress: Vivien Leigh - A Streetcar Named Desire
Supporting Actor: Karl Malden - A Streetcar Named Desire
Supporting Actress: Kim Hunter - A Streetcar Named Desire
Ensemble: A Streetcar Named Desire
Production Design: The Tales of Hoffmann
Sound Editing: Ace in the Hole
Sound Mixing: Strangers on a Train
Score: Scrooge
Editing: Strangers on a Train
Visual Effects: Scrooge
Costume Design: The Tales of Hoffmann
Cinematography: Strangers on a Train
Makeup and Hairstyling: The Tales of Hoffmann
Original Screenplay: Ace in the Hole
Adapted Screenplay: Strangers on a Train
Song: "The Cool Cool of the Evening" - Here Comes the Groom

1954:

Picture: On The Waterfront
Director: Akira Kurosawa - Seven Samurai
Actor: Marlon Brando - On the Waterfront
Actress: Giulietta Masina - La Strada
Supporting Actor: Toshiro Mifune - Seven Samurai
Supporting Actress: Eva Marie Saint - On the Waterfront
Ensemble: On the Waterfront
Production Design: Rear Window
Sound Editing: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Sound Mixing: Seven Samurai
Score: On the Waterfront
Editing: Seven Samurai
Visual Effects: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Costume Design: Seven Samurai
Cinematography: Seven Samurai
Makeup and Hairstyling: Seven Samurai
Original Screenplay: Seven Samurai
Adapted Screenplay: On the Waterfront
Song: "Three Coins in a Fountain" - Three Coins in a Fountain

1960:

Picture: Psycho
Director: Alfred Hitchcock - Psycho
Actor: Laurence Olivier - The Entertainer
Actress: Jean Simmons - Elmer Gantry
Supporting Actor: Eli Wallach - The Magnificent Seven
Supporting Actress: Jean Simmons - Spartacus
Ensemble: Rocco and His Brothers
Production Design: Psycho
Sound Editing: The Time Machine
Sound Mixing: Psycho
Score: Psycho
Editing: Psycho
Visual Effects: The Time Machine
Costume Design: Spartacus
Cinematography: Peeping Tom
Makeup and Hairstyling: Eyes Without A Face
Original Screenplay: The Apartment
Adapted Screenplay: The Entertainer
Song: "The Green Leaves of Summer" - The Alamo

1965:

Picture: The Hill
Director: Orson Welles - Chimes at Midnight
Actor: Terence Stamp - The Collector
Actress: Elizabeth Hartman - A Patch of Blue
Supporting Actor: Tom Courtenay - Doctor Zhivago
Supporting Actress: Simone Signoret - Ship of Fools
Ensemble: The Hill
Production Design: Doctor Zhivago
Sound Editing: Thunderball
Sound Mixing: Doctor Zhivago
Score: For a Few Dollars More
Editing: The Hill
Visual Effects: Thunderball
Costume Design: Chimes at Midnight
Cinematography: Doctor Zhivago
Makeup and Hairstyling: Red Beard
Original Screenplay: Red Beard
Adapted Screenplay: The Hill
Song: "What's New Pussycat" - What's New Pussycat

1968:

Picture: Once Upon a Time in the West
Director: Sergio Leone - Once Upon a Time in the West
Actor: Burt Lancaster - The Swimmer
Actress: Katherine Hepburn - The Lion in Winter
Supporting Actor: Jason Robards - Once Upon a Time in the West
Supporting Actress: Shelley Winters - The Scalphunters
Ensemble: Once Upon a Time in the West
Production Design: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Sound Editing: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Sound Mixing: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Score: Once Upon a Time in the West
Editing: Once Upon a Time in the West
Visual Effects: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Costume Design: Romeo and Juliet
Cinematography: Once Upon a Time in the West
Makeup and Hairstyling: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Original Screenplay: Once Upon a Time in the West
Adapted Screenplay: Romeo and Juliet
Song: "What is A Youth" - Romeo and Juliet

1971:

Picture: 10 Rillington Place
Director: Richard Fleischer - 10 Rillington Place
Actor: Richard Attenborough - 10 Rillington Place
Actress: Liv Ullmann - The Emigrants
Supporting Actor: John Hurt - 10 Rilllington Place
Supporting Actress: Cloris Leachman - The Last Picture Show
Ensemble: The Emigrants
Cinematography: McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Score: Duck, You Sucker!
Sound Mixing: Fiddler on The Roof
Sound Editing: THX 1138
Makeup & Hairstyling: The Devils
Production Design: McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Costume Design: McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Editing: The French Connection
Visual Effects: THX 1138
Original Screenplay: Dirty Harry
Adapted Screenplay: A Clockwork Orange
Song: "Pure Imagination" - Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

1973:

Picture: Badlands
Director: Terrence Malick - Badlands
Actor: Jack Lemmon - Save the Tiger
Actress: Sissy Spacek - Badlands
Supporting Actor: Robert Shaw - The Sting
Supporting Actress: Sarah Miles - The Hireling
Ensemble: The Friends of Eddie Coyle
Production Design: The Holy Mountain
Sound Editing: The Exorcist
Sound Mixing: The Exorcist
Score: Papillon
Editing: The Exorcist
Visual Effects: The Exorcist
Costume Design: The Holy Mountain
Cinematography: Badlands
Makeup and Hairstyling: The Exorcist
Original Screenplay: Badlands
Adapted Screenplay: The Long Goodbye
Song: "Live and Let Die" - Live and Let Die

1974:

Picture: Chinatown
Director: Roman Polanski - Chinatown
Actor: Gene Hackman - The Conversation
Actress: Faye Dunaway - Chinatown
Supporting Actor: John Cazale - The Godfather Part II
Supporting Actress: Valerie Perrine - Lenny
Ensemble: The Godfather Part II
Production Design: The Godfather Part II
Sound Editing: The Conversation
Sound Mixing: The Conversation
Score: The Conversation
Editing: The Conversation
Visual Effects: Young Frankenstein
Costume Design: Chinatown
Cinematography: The Godfather Part II
Makeup and Hairstyling: Phantom of the Paradise
Original Screenplay: Chinatown
Adapted Screenplay: The Godfather Part II
Song: "The Hell of It" - Phantom of the Paradise

1984:

Picture: Amadeus
Director: Milos Foreman - Amadeus
Actor: F. Murray Abraham - Amadeus
Actress: Kathleen Turner - Crimes of Passion
Supporting Actor: James Woods - Once Upon a Time in America
Supporting Actress: Nastassja Kinski - Paris, Texas
Ensemble: Amadeus
Production Design: Amadeus
Sound Editing: The Terminator
Sound Mixing: Amadeus
Score: Once Upon a Time in America
Editing: Amadeus
Visual Effects: Dune
Costume Design: Amadeus
Cinematography: Paris, Texas
Makeup and Hairstyling: Amadeus
Original Screenplay: Paris, Texas
Adapted Screenplay: Amadeus
Song: "I Just Called To Say I Loved You" - The Woman in Red

1985:

Picture: Back To The Future
Director: Akira Kurosawa - Ran
Actor: William Hurt & Raul Julia - Kiss of the Spider Woman
Actress: Geraldine Page - The Trip to the Bountiful
Supporting Actor: Christopher Lloyd - Back to the Future
Supporting Actress: Madeline Kahn - Clue
Ensemble: Clue
Production Design: Brazil
Sound Editing: Back to the Future
Sound Mixing: Ran
Score: Back to the Future
Editing: Back to the Future
Visual Effects: Back to the Future
Costume Design: Ran
Cinematography: Ran
Makeup and Hairstyling: Legend
Original Screenplay: Back To The Future
Adapted Screenplay: Ran
Song: "The Power of Love" - Back to the Future

1988:

Picture: Grave Of The Fireflies
Director: Robert Zemeckis - Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Actor: Jeremy Irons - Dead Ringers
Actress: Sigourney Weaver - Gorillas in the Mist
Supporting Actor: Kevin Kline & Michael Palin - A Fish Called Wanda
Supporting Actress: Sarah Polley - The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Ensemble: A Fish Called Wanda
Production Design: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Sound Editing: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Sound Mixing: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Score: Cinema Paradiso
Editing: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Visual Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Costume Design: Dangerous Liaisons
Cinematography: The Last Temptation of Christ
Makeup and Hairstyling: Beetlejuice
Original Screenplay: A Fish Called Wanda
Adapted Screenplay: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Song: "Hairspray" - Hairspray

1992:

Picture: Unforgiven
Director: Clint Eastwood - Unforgiven
Actor: Clint Eastwood - Unforgiven
Actress: Sheryl Lee - Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
Supporting Actor: Gene Hackman - Unforgiven
Supporting Actress: Marisa Tomei - My Cousin Vinny
Ensemble: Glengarry Glen Ross
Production Design: Dracula
Sound Editing: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
Sound Mixing: The Last of the Mohicans
Score: 1492: Conquest Of Paradise
Editing: Unforgiven
Visual Effects: Dracula
Costume Design: Dracula
Cinematography: Unforgiven
Makeup and Hairstyling: Dracula
Original Screenplay: Unforgiven
Adapted Screenplay: The Player
Song: "Thankful Heart" - The Muppet's Christmas Carol

1993:

Picture: Schindler's List
Director: Steven Spielberg - Schindler's List
Actor: Jeff Daniels - Gettysburg
Actress: Holly Hunter - The Piano
Supporting Actor: Richard Jordan - Gettysburg
Supporting Actress: Christina Ricci - Addams Family Values
Ensemble: Schindler's List
Production Design: The Age of Innocence
Sound Editing: Jurassic Park
Sound Mixing: Jurassic Park
Score: Schindler's List
Editing: Schindler's List
Visual Effects: Jurassic Park
Costume Design: The Age of Innocence
Cinematography: Schindler's List
Makeup and Hairstyling: Mrs. Doubtfire
Original Screenplay: Groundhog Day
Adapted Screenplay: Schindler's List
Song: "Poor Jack" - The Nightmare Before Christmas

2003:

Picture: Return Of The King
Director: Peter Jackson - Return of the King
Actor: Russell Crowe - Master and Commander
Actress: Charlize Theron - Monster
Supporting Actor: Sean Astin - Return of the King
Supporting Actress: Yum Jung-ah - A Tale of Two Sisters
Ensemble: Master and Commander
Production Design: Return of the King
Sound Editing: Return of the King
Sound Mixing: Master and Commander
Score: Return of the King
Editing: Master and Commander
Visual Effects: Return of the King
Costume Design: Return of the King
Cinematography: Master and Commander
Makeup and Hairstyling: Return of the King
Original Screenplay: Dogville
Adapted Screenplay: Return of the King
Song: "Going Home" - Gods and Generals

2005:

Picture: The Proposition
Director: John Hillcoat - The Proposition
Actor: Ray Winstone - The Proposition
Actress: Lee Young-ae - Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
Supporting Actor: Ed Harris - A History of Violence
Supporting Actress: Emily Watson - The Proposition
Ensemble: The Proposition
Production Design: Kingdom of Heaven
Sound Editing: Kingdom of Heaven
Sound Mixing: Kingdom of Heaven
Score: The Proposition
Editing: Sin City
Visual Effects: King Kong
Costume Design: Kingdom of Heaven
Cinematography: The Proposition
Makeup and Hairstyling: Sin City
Original Screenplay: The Proposition
Adapted Screenplay: A History of Violence
Song: "The Rider Song" - The Proposition

2010:

Picture: I Saw The Devil
Director: David Fincher - The Social Network
Actor: Choi Min-sik - I Saw the Devil
Actress: Yoon Jeong-hee - Poetry
Supporting Actor: Taika Waititi - Boy
Supporting Actress: Jackie Weaver - Animal Kingdom
Ensemble: Of Gods and Men
Production Design: Shutter Island
Sound Editing: Inception
Sound Mixing: Scott Pilgrim vs The World
Score: The Social Network
Editing: The Social Network
Visual Effects: Inception
Costume Design: Let the Bullets Fly
Cinematography: Valhalla Rising
Makeup and Hairstyling: The Way Back
Original Screenplay: Animal Kingdom
Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network
Song: "Ramona" - Scott Pilgrim vs The World

2011:

Picture: Drive
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn - Drive
Actor: Gary Oldman - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Actress: Rooney Mara - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Supporting Actor: Mark Strong - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain - Take Shelter
Ensemble: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Production Design: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Sound Editing: Take Shelter
Sound Mixing: Drive
Score: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Editing: Drive
Visual Effects: Melancholia
Costume Design: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Cinematography: Drive
Makeup and Hairstyling: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2
Original Screenplay: A Separation
Adapted Screenplay: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Song: "Star Spangled Man" - Captain America: The First Avenger

2012:

Picture: The Hunt
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson - The Master
Actor: Joaquin Phoenix - The Master
Actress: Marion Cotillard - Rust and Bone
Supporting Actor: Christopher Walken - Seven Psychopaths
Supporting Actress: Bae Doona - Cloud Atlas
Ensemble: The Master
Production Design: Cloud Atlas
Sound Editing: Zero Dark Thirty
Sound Mixing: Berberian Sound Studio
Score: Cloud Atlas
Editing: Cloud Atlas
Visual Effects: Life of Pi
Costume Design: A Royal Affair
Cinematography: Skyfall
Makeup and Hairstyling: Cloud Atlas
Original Screenplay: The Master
Adapted Screenplay: Lincoln
Song: "Skyfall" - Skyfall

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1965: Results

5. Donald Pleasence in The Greatest Story Ever Told - Pleasence makes a large impact in a few brief moments by granting such an unnerving gentleness to his otherworldly evil.

Best Scene: In the cave.
4. Claude Rains in The Greatest Story Ever Told - Rains gives a worthy swansong for his career through one last go with a performance that realizes a properly entertaining and oh so devious villain.

Best Scene: Fear then a smile.
3. Charlton Heston in The Greatest Story Ever Told - Heston gives his best biblical epic turn in a supporting role, by so effectively depicting the overwhelming even if somewhat mad strength of his John the Baptist's conviction. 

Best Scene: Confrontation with Herod.
2. Richard Harris in Major Dundee - Harris gives a marvelous turn that while being actively entertaining also realizes the more complex themes of the film through his vivid portrayal that gives understanding to this gentlemanly yet violent soldier and his specific code of honor.

Best Scene: The deserter.
1. Robert Shaw in Battle of the Bulge - In a year of incredible supporting turns Shaw offers yet another one. Shaw once again creates a truly menacing villain yet he goes further in capturing the complexity of the role by giving understanding, though not sympathy, to his pragmatic Nazi.

Best Scene: The battlefield is home.
Updated Overall

Next: I think I'll take a break before the Official Oscar nominations. However if everyone would like to recommend one film for me to watch from 2017, or a year I've covered in the bonus rounds already, or an animated, documentary or television film from any year. I'll watch them during the interim.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1965: Robert Shaw in Battle of the Bulge

Robert Shaw did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Col. Martin Hessler in Battle of the Bulge.

Battle of the Bulge actually is rather entertaining and works quite well as a war film if one looks at it as more of a Where Eagles Dare, than a Battleground. 

The film despite wearing the name of the real battle is a heavily fictionalized version that follows a somewhat general sense of the real battle but that's about it. It crafts its narrative within original characters within this scheme of utilizing its large cast the most interesting of the characters being Robert Shaw's Martin Hessler. Hessler acts as the chief villain for the film leading the Nazis vanguard of tanks in an attempt to push the allied forces back. Now Shaw in even a basic villain roles is already something special, look no further than The Sting for proof of that, however this is not a basic role particularly as Nazis in war films are often depicted. Shaw makes the most of this as evidenced from his first scene where Hessler's chauffeur dodges an allied plane in order to run for cover while driving towards the German command. Hessler does not move from the car, in part that he knows it is only a reconnaissance plane, but the chauffeur states that wouldn't matter to Hessler if it was a fighter plane. Now Shaw in the moment is commanding, as usual, with his particularly refined voice all the more in his strict accent in the role. Shaw oozes menace as expected however that is not all there is. Hessler explains though he did not "lose a war" to die sitting in the car. Shaw in this suggests more to the colonel as he speaks with a certain underlying pathos in these words showing a soldier recognizing his soon defeat, though still with that confidence of a soldier prepared to do his duty.

The film follows Hessler as he reaches the German command in the area and Shaw carries this certain indifference as Hessler is shown around the compound. Shaw depiction of this though is not of a tired, or pathetic soldier, but rather that of a consternation of his position. Shaw's reaction to the other more ridiculous plans of the command, and more delusional statement effectively reveal Hessler as sensible in his awareness of his situation with such a subtle yet palatable disdain towards his comrades who suffer from this delusion. Shaw's terrific in his blunt delivery of explaining the situation to his commanding officer placing how the allies have them defeated. Shaw's terrific with every word so effectively portraying Hessler's clear view of the war. Shaw carefully shows that Hessler's tone does not change until he sees the sea of Tiger tanks at his disposal. Shaw is brilliant in this scene as his whole demeanor changes to perhaps the Hessler at the start of the war, as he walks now with a dominant passion, and his delivery of "it can be done" are the words of a man firmly in his convictions once more. Hessler is granted an explanation when his chauffeur questions his renewed belief, and Shaw is once again outstanding in reaffirming the man's belief not as false zealousness rather clear understanding of warfare. His monologue on "non-illusions" which include his past victories as well as his current resources, is classic Shaw as he so fiercely reaffirms Hessler's belief with that dynamic emphasis Shaw's a master of.

It has to be said that the character of Hessler is particularly well written within this film, and is actually notable precursor to other pragmatic villains, I can't help but feel he had some influence on A Song of Ice and Fire's Tywin Lannister. Robert Shaw though is essential to bringing out the strength of the writing. Shaw reinforces the idea of the character not as a Nazi who is evil for the sake of being evil, but rather a soldier who intends on doing his duty to the extent he beliefs he can, to the best of his abilities. I love the certain detachment Shaw brings in this that is quite fascinating. Shortly after being granted the Tigers, he is granted a unit of men who attempt to prove their loyalty and devotion to the cause through the singing of a German battle hymn. Shaw in this scene encourages the singing even demanding his chauffeur to do the same before joining in himself. Shaw does not depict this scene as simply as a commander being impressed by his men's devotion or being inspired by them. Shaw is exceptional in as he watches them his eyes reflect a greater intelligence of a man seeing an opportunity and chance in the song. The song less used for himself, but rather he handles the scene as though Hessler is using this very specifically as this tool to prepare his men for the battle ahead. Shaw, even as Hessler joins in, keeps his eyes seemingly fixed on the future objective and this bit of showmanship only is a means to that end.

Often times in these early war films, or later war films for that matter, scenes of the Nazis are little more than exposition scenes to proceed to the next point of the story. That is not the case here where the scenes from the enemy perspective are actually the most engaging in the film because of Shaw's portrayal of Hessler. In the battle scenes Shaw is a properly menacing villain as is to be expected to him, as he brings such a powerful sense of determination and cunning in every scene. Shaw's presence is remarkable as he personifies the strength of the enemy so well, and ensures the enemy attack is particularly intimidating through his portrayal of essentially the Nazi's best soldier. Once the battle begins though there are moments of pause in the advance where we are given the best scenes in the film as Shaw continues to depicts this complex figure Hessler. This is not to say at any point he becomes a truly sympathetic figure, though Shaw ensures you always do understand the man. One chilling scene comes as a French civilian, a teenager, takes a pot shot at Hessler, but the boy's father pleads for his son's life. Hessler spares the boy but orders the death of the father. Shaw is especially unnerving in this scene because he still shows the man working out the best, most pragmatic way to deal with the situation, which to him is to offer mercy though only through an alternative sacrifice. When he orders the death of the father it isn't without sadism, but rather Shaw grants it this professionalism of man doing what he believes he must do.

There are two scenes I absolutely love from Shaw as they directly challenge Hessler, and Shaw wholly illustrates the nature of the character in such a natural and compelling fashion. The first scene is one where an American G.I. confronts him over a massacre of American prisoners, which Hessler had nothing to do with. It is a fantastic scene, it helps that Charles Bronson plays the G.I., however Shaw is pitch perfect in the way he flows through the scene in playing in Hessler's mind while presenting Hessler's direct responses. Shaw expresses within his eyes genuine surprise at the news, while also providing a direct threat in his words as he responds in turn to the G.I.'s threat to start a riot if they are not protected. The two spar so well as Shaw and Bronson both present the direct passion of these men in the armies the represent however there is more within this. In the final agreement for no riot, but also no massacre, both keep an aggressive overt tone however with an underlying understanding. I especially love the little glint of joy Shaw brings to his face showing Hessler's appreciation for a mutually competent soldier. Shaw is terrific in taking that initial underlying surprise and bringing to an overt anger as Hessler calls into the central command to express his distaste for the massacre. Shaw again brings such a power in every word, though again precise in a way that shows his disgust is at his most severe as the massacre has ruined his battle plan which was to destroy the enemy's moral. Shaw is incredible here in that he makes you perhaps even like Hessler a bit due to the way he always portrays him as a sensible man even if he is on the wrong side, that is until he explains his long term plan to his chauffeur which is not win the war rather to extend it indefinitely. It is unsettling as it reveals where Hessler's pragmatism takes him, and Shaw emphasizes the blunt reality of this by speaking every word as simply what must be. Shaw again shows that Hessler still doesn't suffer from a single delusion, rather portrays the same clarity as the rest of his work as the man explains that he knows they've already lost the war, but as a soldier he can now postpone their defeat indefinitely. This is an outstanding performance as that moment, nor any moment, is not of a madman lost in delusion, but rather a true tactician carefully examining his only path as a loyal officer. This is yet another amazing performance by Robert Shaw as he amplifies every intriguing facet of the character making Hessler not only a marvelous villain, but great also simply great character.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1965: Claude Rains, Charlton Heston and Donald Pleasence in The Greatest Story Ever Told

Claude Rains did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Herod the Great in The Greatest Story Ever Told.

The Greatest Story Ever Told takes a grand scale approach to telling the life of Jesus although perhaps too grand as there is something lost in terms of finding the power directly within the personal story of Jesus.

There is perhaps something gained though in the grand scale as it gives time to character who might not be granted as such with a more intimate portrait of Jesus. The film has an all-star cast that surrounds Max von Sydow, then unknown to American audiences, as Christ. This approach in the casting is actually largely effective in giving life to minor character except a few instances that a bit problematic, well mainly John Wayne as a Roman centurion is more than bit distracting. Thankfully though this also had the film include Claude Rains in his final cinematic turn. Rains in his final turn obviously never lost a step as previously shown in his shrewd work as the political operative in Lawrence of Arabia, this though hearkens back to Rains's earlier roles as a more maniacal character. Rains in his first, of only a few scenes, greets the three magi looking for Jesus at his birth. Rains is terrific in this scene in his eyes conveys such an inherent madness in the man though he does not allow this to overwhelm his portrayal. As Rains in his delivery effectively uses his refined manner to hide Herod's intentions quite artfully. Rains even this though suggests a certain ego even when speaking in a way to hid what  his real actions will be, as he states his own piousness as a rules. Rains brilliantly both reveals and attempts to hide the evil man in the same scene. Rains in his following scene though is incredibly entertaining though genuinely menacing as well as he shows Herod no longer hiding his intentions. Rains is a master of this combination of sort of being both overt and very subtle at the same time. There is grandness in his gestures, and again those fantastic mad eyes in the role, yet in his delivery brings such a cold incisiveness in every word. He's quite chilling in fact as he describes his order for the deaths of children with such certainty of man who believes he can avoid fate. Rains only has a brief final scene yet it is perfection as Herod is delivered news of the massacre. Rains bringing only a fear in his face before his soldier delivers his news to which Rains grants the most diabolical grin fitting to man of Herod's corruption. This is a brief performance to be sure yet makes such an impact in just his three scenes. It is one final reminder and a worth swansong by the great Claude Rains of his unique talent as the invisible man provides one final cinematic sinner.
Charlton Heston did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying John the Baptist in The Greatest Story Ever Told.

Charlton Heston obviously never the stranger to the biblical epic having played the lead as Moses in The Ten Commandments, and the titular character of Ben-Hur, who crossed paths with Christ on a few occasions. This is a change for Heston in biblical epics, but also in general as he gives supporting performance when usually playing the lead. Although it is true there are many cameos from other leading men from the period this is not a cameo by Heston. John the Baptist is a substantial role within the film, and Heston offers a particularly interesting contrast to von Sydow's portrayal of Jesus in the film. Where von Sydow is very quiet and subdued, Heston is the opposite though this is fitting to John the Baptist seen by as a crazy man in the desert. Heston as expected brings his everything to his delivery here though, and particularly powerfully here. As he would late show in Hamlet there can be something very special when Heston evokes a greater emotion in his so confident delivery. His often repeated words of "repent" is that of a truly zealous prophet who intends on others to know his truth through force rather than gentle encouragement. The only thing that silences him is the appearance of Christ which is fantastic moment for Heston. Heston quiets in this moment in his reaction that creates such a sense of this recognition of the one who would come to succeed him. Heston is wonderful in the moment as he embodies both a sense of familiarity of a cousin but also the awe of the devoted servant. After that initial sequence though Heston continues as this dramatic warrior almost of Christ's message putting every ounce of himself it seems into speaking it. John's story does not end there as he comes afoul with Herod's son Herod Antipas (Jose Ferrer), where it must be said Heston makes John sort of what is best described as the badass prophet. This entirely works though for the role as he so successfully shows a man absolutely aware of his personal beliefs. I especially love his two scenes of directly facing down Ferrer. Heston brings such a tremendous intensity in every line, and absolutely brings such a potency to every single one of his comebacks to Herod's various threats. Heston makes every word pierce as it should and this actually leads to these two scenes being among the best in the film. This is a very strong performance by Heston as it plays into his strengths as a performer, and suggests perhaps he should have taken on a few more supporting roles throughout this career as usually makes such an impact with them.
Donald Pleasence did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying the hermit in The Greatest Story Ever Told.

Pleasence first appears as Jesus fasts in the desert running into the hermit waiting in a cave, of course he is no ordinary hermit. It must be said Pleasence is one of the all time great cinematic creepers to begin with. He's particularly unnerving in his approach though in how quietly he approaches this initial scene. Pleasence utilizes his naturally off-putting physical manner so well engaging those haunting eyes of his and devious grin from the start to allude to an otherworldly demonic spirit. Pleasence though employs such a soft delivery though in the temptation, showing the allure of the temptation. When commenting that Jesus's climb was hard there is a genuine concern Pleasence brings to this even if his intentions are not noble. As he doesn't try to demand Christ takes from his food or drink, he rather so nicely suggests the act. When he prods him to behave contrary to his quest Pleasence brings such a sinister tenderness as he so earnestly encourages Jesus to fall to his wishes. As with Rains, Pleasence makes an impression in his first scene but he appears occasionally throughout the rest of the film. Every one of Pleasence's later appearances are particularly dynamic moments throughout the film particularly as the hermit watches over as Jesus is being marched towards his death. Pleasence stands out as this figure of darkness in these moments so well especially in his venomous delivery of the hermit's request for crucifixion that leads the crowd to wish the same. Pleasence brings such a certain joy in the call among the crowd. Pleasence embodies a certain kind of evil here as the hermit is never a despicable man but this unnatural shadow that chases Jesus wherever he goes either to tempt or to destroy him. Pleasence offers another terrific supporting turn within the film, though while I wouldn't say that this quite makes this film a true success it makes it whole lot more interesting than it otherwise would be.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1965: Richard Harris in Major Dundee

Richard Harris did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Captain Benjamin Tyreen in Major Dundee.

While discovering more of Richard Harris's work in general it has brought me to the conclusion that he is among a certain group of actors. Actors like Nicolas Cage and Jack Lemmon, who are this ball of raw talent who can certainly go off in the wrong direction, but when pointed in the right way with the right part they deliver something that only they could. This is certainly the case for Richard Harris here in Major Dundee. Major Dundee is already a slightly curious film as it is an example of Sam Peckinpah attempting to make his own film while still adhering to some older Hollywood standards, although thankfully we are granted a purer version of his vision through the film's extended altered cut. Richard Harris's performance, in any cut of the film, is primed to given Peckinpah exactly what he is looking for. His Benjamin Tyreen from the outset, even more so in that extended cut, is a figure draped in grey far beyond his confederate uniform. It is a fascinating little juxtaposition between the two leads though as though both seem to represent two paths for western, that of the old way. Dundee, a Union soldier, seems fitting enough for a classic John Ford western, while Tyreen's criminal rebel seems to be that of a revisionist approach to the genre.

Tyreen in his opening scene is leading an escape where he has killed one of Dundee's men in an attempt to escape from the Union army prison. In this first scene, and the followup after he and his men have been recaptured, Harris brings the real force of personality expected from a good Richard Harris turn I'll admit. Harris is particularly suited to this role from the outset though in his roguish charm is a natural fit for proper rebel commander. Harris in fact gets a mulligan for the initial murder committed by Tyreen essentially through that charm. Harris helps even more so though by so effectively establishing the will of the man in his first public then private showdown with Heston's Major Dundee. Where Heston is a wall of granite, Harris is the sharpened knife. Harris isn't all charm here bringing the right edge in his approach in these scenes by exuding such a palatable disdain for Dundee. Harris properly takes this a step further than just the hatred of an enemy there is a more severe venom in this hatred that Harris offers. That venom in his delivery alluding properly to their history that extends beyond enemy combatants as Dundee before the civil war even testified against Tyreen for participating in a personal duel that led him to be expelled by the army.

That old wound between Tyreen and Dundee is so effectively established within Harris work from the outset creating the underlying motivated hatred Tyreen has for Dundee. Although as much as Harris would be a proper scoundrel that is not all there is to his role as he effectively naturally changes his approach once the two men cut a deal. The deal being Tyreen and his men will help Dundee for better treatment for all the soldiers, in order to help Dundee avenge a massacre committed by renegade Apaches. Tyreen accepts the deal, and Dundee accepts Tyreen's help as since he gives him this word. Once Tyreen becomes the full commander against Harris is excellent in showing the minor transformation in Tyreen from hate filled prisoner to a proper commander. What I particularly love is how Harris differs from Heston in this regard realizing Tyreen as a very different kind of soldier. Where Heston emphasized strength, Harris emphasized essentially the class and mentality of being a soldier, which for Tyreen requires being a proper gentleman. This philosophy defines Harris's work in his whole physical manner he takes in the role which is always to grant a certain elegance to Tyreen even as he goes head first into violent battle. Harris never simplifies this or caricatures this, rather the history of this lifelong soldier is the foundation of this exemplified through the passionate way Harris plays every moment as the gentleman soldier. 

Now that is not to say Tyreen is this stiff soldier, far far from it, his gentlemanly qualities Harris performs in an exact way that feels natural to this man who both believes in a certain code even while breaking other laws. This never seems hypocritical by how effortlessly Harris applies this aspect as again a foundation of principles deep within the man. Harris properly electric in the role by while offering that stability, also challenges everything within Major Dundee and in a way Heston's performance. Throughout the film Harris is brilliant in the way he works with and in a way around Heston's more steadfast portrayal. Harris pressures and prods Heston's performance by the unpredictability within his work. Harris is very entertaining in offering these snide deliveries where Tyreen is attempting to have a little fun at Dundee expense however he also is very dynamic in the way he differs when one of Dundee's acts more closely contrasts with his own beliefs. This includes a scene where Dundee orders the death of one of Tyreen's men for desertion. Harris is outstanding in this scene by baring the complication of the moment in Tyreen mind. On the surface most directly revealing his still fervent hatred of Dundee as he stands against the command, however minding his distaste for his soldier's cowardice subtly within his eyes. When Tyreen disposes of the man himself it is a inevitable act and Harris is fantastic in revealing the pain in it as he shows a man doing what he knows is the right thing yet hating it since it appeases his sworn enemy.

Harris's work is the performance that remains truly captivating throughout the film as he embodies the more complex themes Peckinpah attempts to tackle in examining these two men. The one who fights for glory and the one who fights for honor. Although Harris is playing the rogue he's excellent in showing Tyreen as the man with a purer causes in terms of his personal beliefs in soldering. The film eventually briefly drifts from Tyreen, which on a side note cements Harris as a supporting player, in an extended sequence where Dundee recovers from his wounds in enemy territory and his own values are challenged. Tyreen though is the one who comes to rescue Dundee, and again I love Harris's portrayal of the Tyreen's methods in this. He's is indeed fun to simply watch perform here, but it also works within the character as Harris portrays even when directly saving Dundee there is this degree of spite in the moment. Not spite for rescuing him, but rather spite in the act of the rescue. Harris even in this brings this delicious bit of joy within Tyreen as he sees Dundee so low, and is the one who has to force the commander back to his proper place as a commander again. This never feels nonsensical to the character rather Harris's so precise portrayal of Tyreen's beliefs makes it a natural act as the honor bound man must help the man he's given his word to. Harris is outstanding as he embodies the Peckinpah hero fully here as a man you could almost is driven to an insane act in order to fulfill what he thinks is right in within his very specific beliefs. As with Pike in The Wild Bunch, or Bennie in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Harris fully embraces the idea of this man going head first into fight even if it means his death. I especially have affection for how Harris matches his character's intent by fully embracing this spirit throughout the film's final scenes, right down to basically wearing Peckinpah's trademark bandana in the last battle. Harris is a proper mad man in the best of ways in the final scene that matches Peckinpah's intensity in the direction of the battle. Although it would be perhaps a few more years before Peckinpah got to direct a film fully in his own vision, this film is not far from it particularly through Richard Harris's dynamite portrait of rebel in spirit and political values, but not within his moral code.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Another Year and Another Official Lineup

As usual my annual predictions for the official Oscar lineup for Lead and Supporting Actor.
Well for lead actor this is an interesting case where I'd say only front runner Gary Oldman feels absolutely safe. Right now I'm going the SAG five sans Denzel Washington for Daniel Day-Lewis with late comer Phantom Thread, which may or may not have been seen by the SAG voters, however will likely receive a boost from BAFTA either way. It also helps that it is claimed to be his final performance though that should be taken with a grain of salt from the cobbler. Washington should never be discounted though as even though his film was not well received however Washington has never needed his film to do excessively well to get him in. He easily could still find a place only given the state of my other three predictions and even Day-Lewis to a certain extent. Previous nominee James Franco seems poised well enough at his age for a second nomination while also playing a real person, of course if he wasn't playing a real person, well as real as Tommy Wiseau is, it is unlikely this performance would be in the conversation due to its comedic strangeness. That leaves the two youngins, youngins by lead actor standards, Timothée Chalamet and Daniel Kaluuya, who have both gotten the needed recognition however are still somewhat atypical for lead actor Chalamet directly for his age, Kaluuya for working within the horror genre which is rarely recognized. Kaluuya's advantage is his film doing inordinately well for the genre riding on the same sort of wave that pushed Mad Max: Fury Road, that wave will need to ride high Oscar nomination morning though. Chalamet's film on the other hand did not over perform at SAG suggesting his film may not be as loved by the industry as it was by the critics. He still got in though so it shouldn't be anything too concerning. This is my predicted five, but there is always the "I can't believe ** did not get nominated" that could be anyone except Oldman out of this five. That could be in favor of the aforementioned Washington, Tom Hanks, though besides that surprise NBR win he's being uniformly ignored once again, or perhaps Jake Gyllenhaal pulling what Ruth Negga did last year who came in the last second for a film that seemingly had came and went. Or maybe just maybe Harry Dean Stanton? Probably not. He needed the critics' recognition to give him a boost given Magnolia's track record, but a man can still dream.
For supporting things are not any easier when the SAG five went against a specific trend for the past twenty five years that being no two actors from the same film in this category have been nominated since Bugsy back in 92. This could be the film that changes that as both Rockwell and Harrelson have substantial enough roles the film just needs to be adored on Oscar morning. Harrelson's appearance actually is what puts Rockwell's nomination most into question as he seems pretty safe however I could see Harrelson supersede him in a surprise snub. I'm predicting both though based on the film building up its momentum. Willem Dafoe seems the most safe despite his film under performing at both SAG and Globes. It is unlikely it will do well at BAFTA either which often ignores "fringe" America films, in fact I could even see Dafoe missing akin to when McCounaghey missed for Dallas Buyers Club or when Melissa Leo missed for The Fighter. If it wasn't for Martin McDonagh's West End playwright cred the same could be feared for Three Billboards, but the film has that on its side. Dafoe though is probably in whether or not he makes it to BAFTA. That leaves Richard Jenkins in The Shape of Water who has one major problem in Michael Shannon who just last year superseded his co-star in Nocturnal Animals against all odds. The Shannon Shuffle could easily happen again. My final prediction is for Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World. A late comer to both the race and even his own film however his individual praise and the bonus narrative of stepping in at the last minute to salvage his film seems too juicy for voters to pass up. If Plummer was not already an Oscar winner I could have even conceivably seen him win. Of course this still leaves many other contenders for potential upsets. Steve Carell for Battle of the Sexes stayed in the race even as the rest of his film has been forgotten, that is probably worth something, in fact if say Emma Stone surprised in Actress the narrative for Carell is all the better. Then there are co-stars Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg. Internal competition and problematic since neither showed up at SAG, not even Hammer who was nominated for J. Edgar, of all things. Either could show up still particularly Stuhlbarg who has a banner year where he likely will appear in three best picture nominees. Then there are the potential random nominees like Mark Rylance or Ben Mendelsohn who I still say has a chance to show support for Dunkirk or Darkest Hour, but I'd say their chances are gone if BAFTA doesn't support them. Maybe Jason Mitchell for Mudbound, however it seems like he should have gotten in at SAG if anywhere, and the anti-Netflix bias could easily sink that film as was the case for Beasts of No Nation despite its precursor love. Patrick Stewart got a bit of surprising critical support however that doesn't seem enough to overcome the anti-comic book bias. Then there is Will Poulter who is a very unfortunate case of just being in the wrong role, in the wrong film, at the wrong time, despite the praise he received.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1965

And the Nominees Were Not:

Robert Shaw in Battle of the Bulge

Richard Harris in Major Dundee

Claude Rains in The Greatest Story Ever Told

Charlton Heston in The Greatest Story Ever Told

Donald Pleasence in The Greatest Story Ever Told