June 20, 2017

Best Actor 1950

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5. William Holden, Sunset Boulevard
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4. James Stewart, Harvey
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3. Louis Calhern, The Magnificent Yankee
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2. Spencer Tracy, Father of the Bride
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1. José Ferrer, Cyrano de Bergerac
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Overall, I'd say1950's slate of Best Actors was...per the usual breadth of quality consistent with the category. That is to say: some were good (and not necessarily great), but many lacked a "standout" factor that would be befitting for a yearend "best of" honor.

William Holden comes in last for being passably fine in a part that is fairly undemanding. James Stewart brings his pathos to Harvey, but what he does in the film has been done before...and better. Louis Calhern brings an affective, 1940s-tinged acting style to your standard aging-biopic-character, but I'd rank him ahead of Stewart and Holden if only because I felt as though there was real effort there (though note that I would not nominate either of the three). Spencer Tracy comes in a firm second for a part that, like Holden's, is not very demanding - but he's more loosened up than usual, and it's fun to watch. That leaves us with José Ferrer, who runs away with the victory for what is undoubtedly the juiciest part of the bunch - a role that's equal parts comedic, over the top, theatrical and poignant. Cyrano de Bergerac is a creaky and forgotten film - but its lead performance was justifiably rewarded.

In the undesirable sixth spot - I wonder if it'd have been Alec Guinness for his work in Kind Hearts and Coronets? He did win the National Board of Review and turned up as an also-ran at the New York Film Critics Circle after all. What an inspired nomination that would have been. 

If not Guinness, I might also consider Sterling Hayden for his severity in The Asphalt Jungle. 

Otherwise - perhaps Broderick Crawford would have been considered for Born Yesterday? James Stewart also had the Oscar friendly Broken Arrow and Winchester 73 in his favor had Harvey not worked out. Joseph Cotten in The Third Man would have been an interesting choice as well. Fred Astaire might have picked up a few votes for his Golden Globe winning work in Three Little Words. And while I admit that Humphrey Bogart in In a Lonely Place is nomination worthy, I've a soft spot for Marlon Brando in The Men - a lovely debut and a strong precursor for what's yet to come from him for the remainder of the decade. 


  1. I liked both Holden and Stewart more than you, but anyway great job as usual. My winner would be Toshiro Mifune in Rashomon.

    1. Thank you! And thanks for the reminder - I need to give Rashomon a watch.

  2. Frankly Allen, I don't know how much pushback you'd get in this category no matter who you chose. No way did this carry the competitive anticipation of Actress.

    1. Quite an uneven contrast indeed!

  3. 1950 was a sub-par year in this category. Ferrer's cold theatricality is off-putting to me and I really only cared for Tracy and Holden. Tracy's role is not a taxing one, but his reactions throughout FOTB are priceless and make the film. Still, he had better opportunities elsewhere. Holden is my favorite by default. His sardonic detachment is an effective antidote to the Desmond histrionics, but there's not much more to the role than that.

    Hardly a memorable year.

    1. Agreed to your point on Tracy, though I've never been able to "get" Holden's part, or parts similar to his. That said, Ferrer is certainly theatrical, though cold didn't register with me.

  4. I want to know the wh won the Best Actor IIFA award in the 18th IIFA Awards 2017.Can you please send me the link from where I can view all the actres and actress list who won the IIFA Awards in 2017.