October 28, 2017

Humphrey Bogart • The African Queen

as Charlie Allnut
Won: Academy Award - Best Actor

Humphrey Bogart's victory for The African Queen checks off two common tenets that come with rewarding Academy Awards - the first being that Bogie defeated performances which've become much more iconic or revered in time, and the second being that Bogie won for a performance not widely perceived as being as "good" as other works in his filmography. Needless to say, I was not expecting to have much of a reaction to this particular performance, but was surprised to have liked it as much as I did.

October 7, 2017

Eleanor Parker • Detective Story

as Mary McLeod

Consecutive Oscar nominations are indicative that one is in the Academy's good graces at a specific moment in time. And at first blush, it makes sense why Eleanor Parker would receive a nomination for Detective Story - hot off the success and recognition of Caged, she play Oscar's favorite archetype (the supportive, sort-of long-suffering wife) in a prestige Warner Brothers drama that made a lot of money at the box office. While I don't mean to discredit Parker's work in the role - I do think that this is an afterglow nomination. Had she not been nominated the year prior, I imagine it'd have been tougher for her to snatch up a nomination based on the merit alone of this specific role.

October 4, 2017

Fredric March • Death of a Salesman

as Willy Loman
Won: Golden Globe (Drama) - Best Actor

20 years after receiving his first Academy Award-nominated performance in the film adaptation of The Royal Family, it is apt that Fredric March would receive his last under similar circumstances. This time, he closes out his Oscar run leading a stage-to-film adaptation of one of the greatest American plays, taking on a part that any consummate, veteran actor would desire. It is interesting then that both actor and film have been forgotten over time; one does not usually think of March when they harken back to this era of film history, and, Salesman, like The Glass Menagerie, is one of those quintessential plays that did not - and likely will not ever - result in a de-facto screen translation.

September 16, 2017

Arthur Kennedy • Bright Victory

as Sgt. Larry Nevins
Won: New York Film Critics Circle - Best Actor

Take a look at Arthur Kennedy's career from 1949 through the 1950s - a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actor, five(!!) Academy Award nominations, and inaugural stage performances in The Crucible and The Price, among other things - and you'd think he'd have been set to become a much more regarded actor in the collective memory than he is today. That said: in reviewing his sole Oscar nomination in the lead acting category (a performance which also won him the Best Actor prize via the New York Film Critics), I was expecting a sort of dynamism that might complement these impressive highlights in his resume. Alas...