Jun 7, 2016

Round-Up: Actor 1948

5. Lew Ayres, Johnny Belinda

4. Clifton Webb, Sitting Pretty

3. Dan Dailey, When My Baby Smiles At Me

2. Laurence Olivier, Hamlet


IN CONCLUSION: Well, here we are! A little bit of a lopsided batch of actors if you ask me, with me not nominating 60% of 1948's offerings. When it came down to Ayres, Dailey, and Webb, I was initially struggling with figuring out how to place them, and ultimately it came down with two separate factors: how challenging the role was and how enjoyable I thought them to be. Lew gets the last spot because of the simplicity (and dullness) of his character. I just so happened to have slightly preferred Webb to Ayres, so there's that. Dailey gets in above Webb because his character's performance ability and alcoholism certainly gives it the edge to the two other, less intriguing parts. And while Dailey does have one awfully acted scene, the ones following them I thought were more well acted than what Ayres and Webb are able to commit. But in any case, I don't care for any of the three.

Olivier and Clift was a much more interesting battle--they're two vastly different performances. I was so sure I'd give it to Olivier at first, thereby killing the myth that I'm not all that into him as an actor. But I found myself really responding to Clift, and my mind instantly goes towards the latter between the two. It's certainly not the more complicated one when compared to Hamlet, but in this case it's how Clift and Olivier made me feel. Hamlet, while the much more juicier role, is a great but safer performance. Clift's role is a little emptier, requiring him to do more exploration to make it interesting, and he is more than up for the challenge: he's a little wild and eccentric and the work itself comes off as so much more refreshing and risky. Perhaps blame it on my being fed up with old-style acting and overly excited about the Method acting Clift was introducing, but Clift was and is the one I think of profusely out of this bunch, and the one I'd happily rewatch. That excitement I think is worth something.

Sixth place: was mostly Humphrey Bogart in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, no? Much has been said about his snubbing this year...I still to make my way through that one.

Otherwise -- Humphrey Bogart in Key Largo? John Garfield in Force of Evil? John Wayne in Red RiverBing Crosby in The Emperor Waltz? Spencer Tracy in State of the Union? Rex Harrison in Unfaithfully Yours? Joseph Cotten won the Volpi Cup for Portrait of Jennie in 1949 but the film looked to have been in U.S. contention this year?

We're getting closer and closer to the end of the decade--get excited!!


  1. I haven't seen Clift yet but he's almost always good. I think you'll love him in A Place in the Sun and From Here to Eternity.

  2. Excellent choice. Clift is the one in this category that really surprised and moved me. As always, Olivier impressed me more than he moved me - 'wow, he really knows how to recite Shakespeare' isn't the most flattering critique. I still think the best actor of 1948 is Humphrey Bogart. "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" is not one of my favorite films, though I do like it. Still, Bogart played a loathsome character without pandering for audience sympathy. It's a risky, go-for-broke performance that deserved the award. How this performance was overlooked is inexplicable.