Best Actress - Janet Suzman
Best Cinematography - Freddie Young
Best Original Score - Richard Rodney Bennett
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration - John Box/Ernest Archer/Jack Maxsted/Gil Parrondo/Vernon Dixon (WON)
Best Costume Design - Yvonne Blake/Antonio Castillo (WON)
And so we come to this.
Nicholas and Alexandra is a handsomely-mounted, old-fashioned epic bio from the producer of Lawrence of Arabia. I admire much of it -- the production value, most of the performances, the way the screenplay tries to tell the full story of the Revolution. It's a movie I might like to revisit -- though I will say Janet Suzman is not the most exciting actress to watch, and the film tends to drag in its attempts to justify a three-hour-plus length.
You know what I love most, though? As always? The all-star cast! And here, I hoped to repeat that same magic for our final Casting Coup of 1971.
Some of the biographical elements of the real people may seem a bit muddled, as I wrote first my memory of their characters, then checked them out on Wikipedia -- and discovered that some of their roles in the film may have been a wee tweaked. So, scholars of Russian history, do not scoff too loudly. After all, this is about the cast.
Who you can see after the jump.
(film images from Movie-Dude)
INTERESTED PARTIESGrigori Rasputin
originated by Tom Baker
My Choice: Academy Award/BAFTA Award Nominee for Best Actor (Eastern Promises), Golden Globe Nominee for Best Actor (Eastern Promises) and Best Supporting Actor (A Dangerous Method), SAG Award Winner for Best Ensemble (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King)
Dr. Eugene Botkin
Court physician. Executed with the Romanovs at Ekaterinburg.
originated by Timothy West
Imperial Household Minister, close with the Romanovs -- he calls Nicholas and Alexandra "mes enfants" affectionately.
originated by Jack Hawkins
My Choice: Academy Award Nominee for Best Actor (Cyrano de Bergerac), BAFTA Award Nominee for Best Actor (Jean de Florette, Cyrano de Bergerac), Golden Globe Winner for Best Actor (Green Card)
The Foreign Minister. Has strenuous objections to Rasputin's presence -- and indeed, he is there when the man is assassinated. Many blame him for pushing to get Russia involved in World War I.
originated by Michael Redgrave
My Choice: SAG Award Winner for Best Ensemble (Gosford Park)
THE GOVERNMENTCount Sergei Witte
Frequently clashes with Tsar Nicholas, mostly in regards to reform. Has the greatest scene in the film: a monologue predicting disaster if Russia enters World War I.
originated by Sir Laurence Olivier
My Choice: Academy Award/Golden Globe Winner/BAFTA Award Nominee for Best Actor (Amadeus), SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
F. Murray Abraham
Prime Minister after Witte. Attempts to push the Duma into more monarch-friendly legislation; also successfully ousts Rasputin, for a time. Assassinated at the Kiev Opera House.
originated by Eric Porter
My Choice: Hollmann Award Nominee for Best Actor (The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Best Supporting Actor (The Duchess), Academy Award Nominee for Best Actor (The English Patient) and Best Supporting Actor (Schindler's List), BAFTA Award Winner for Best Supporting Actor (Schindler's List), Golden Globe Nominee for Best Actor (The English Patient, The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Best Supporting Actor (Schindler's List, The Duchess), SAG Award Nominee for Best Actor (The English Patient) and Best Ensemble (The English Patient, The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Prime Minister after Stolypin's assassination. Asks the Tsar to exile Rasputin.
originated by Maurice Denham
My Choice: Academy Award/BAFTA Award Winner for Best Actor (Kiss of the Spider Woman), Golden Globe Nominee for Best Actor (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Children of a Lesser God, Broadcast News), SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (Into the Wild)
Prime Minister Alexander Kerensky
A outspoken proponent of reform, one of the first to join the Duma, and Minister-Chairman of the Provisional Government established after the February Revolution of 1917. Speaks against the Empress's relationship with Rasputin.
originated by John McEnery
My Choice: Academy Award/BAFTA Award/Golden Globe/SAG Award Winner for Best Actor (The Theory of Everything)
THE BOLSHEVIKSVladimir Lenin
originated by Michael Bryant
My Choice: Hollmann Award/Golden Globe Nominee for Best Actor (Inside Llewyn Davis)
In charge of Ekaterinburg, where the Romanovs are taken in the aftermath of the Revolution. And it is he who serves as chief executioner of the Imperial Family.
originated by Alan Webb
Commissar Vasily Yakovlev
Bolshevik revolutionary who transfers the Imperial Family to Ekaterinburg.
originated by Ian Holm
THE ROYALSGrand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich, aka Nikolasha
First cousin, once removed, of Tsar Nicholas II. Commander in chief of the field army in World War I -- not successfully.
originated by Harry Andrews
My Choice: BAFTA Award Nominee for Best Actor (Carrington)
Mother of Nicholas II. Does not care for Alexandra -- indeed, does not care for any Germans.
originated by Irene Worth
My Choice: Academy Award/Golden Globe Winner for Best Actress (Norma Rae, Places in the Heart), BAFTA Award/SAG Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (Forrest Gump, Lincoln), SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (Lincoln)
NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA
originated by Michael Jaylston & Janet Suzman
My Choices: He's an Academy Award/BAFTA Award/Golden Globe/SAG Award Nominee for Best Actor (The Imitation Game), SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (12 Years a Slave, August: Osage County, The Imitation Game)
She's a Hollmann Award Winner for Best Actress (La Vie en Rose), Academy Award/BAFTA Award/Golden Globe Winner for Best Actress (La Vie en Rose), SAG Award Nominee for Best Actress (La Vie en Rose, Rust & Bone) and Best Ensemble (Nine, Midnight in Paris)
Benedict Cumberbatch & Marion Cotillard
Next: I am for sure ending my coverage of 1971 before the month is out -- with the nominees and winners of the 1971 Retro Hollmann Awards! Stay tuned...