June 26, 2013

Irene Dunne, Cimarron

as SABRA CRAVAT
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So here it is, my first solo Best Actress post on this blog! In retrospect after having watched Cimarron, I wonder what factors played into Dunne getting her first nomination. Was it because she played a devoted wife? (Academy's favorite...there've been quite a few thus far.) Did she get in because she got swept up in the Cimarron craze of that year? (it was the first film to get more than 6 nominations, and the first to get all of the major 5 nods.) Was it because people were impressed by the aging makeup for her character's older years? (i.e. Meryl Streep, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, etc.) It's not a shocking nomination by any means--there have been worse performances nominated--but it's certainly not an extraordinary one, and I'd even say it's not really a great one either.

Richard Dix, Cimarron

as YANCEY CRAVAT
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I have never read Cimarron, nor do I ever plan to. A lot of people think that Richard Dix's performance in the film is terrible and one of the worst to be nominated--but a few folks online have said that he plays the character of Yancey just the way it was written in the novel. I for one, am indifferent. This is very much your typical overacted, hammy performance that was very prevalent in films of the time. But on the other hand, I thought Dix captured the passion and the charm of the character quite well.

June 20, 2013

Warner Baxter, In Old Arizona

as THE CISCO KID
 photo ScreenShot2013-06-15at44128PM.jpg
Won: Academy Award - Best Actor
In Warner Baxter's opening scene, you see him taking a look at his own wanted sign and beginning a monologue about how great he is. And it wasn't until about halfway through this monologue that I realized he was talking to himself. Or his horse. And my feelings during that moment of realization is essentially how I feel about the entire performance; it's odd and it's uncomfortable.