Monday, April 1, 2019

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Day One: Best Supporting Actor, 1961

Why 1961? A few reasons: With all the talk of Steven Spielberg's West Side Story remake, I wanted to revisit the original. There were a number of classics I needed to catch up with, such as Judgment at Nuremberg and The Hustler. And it marked the release of Road to Eternity, the second chapter of Masaki Kobayashi's The Human Condition, so, you know, why not?

We start with the nominees for Best Supporting Actor, after the jump...
George Chakiris as Bernardo
West Side Story
first and only nomination; Golden Globe Winner for Best Supporting Actor

He gives you the leader, the lover, the brother, the fighter, raw masculinity through lithe choreography. The confusion on his face at the rumble, when their teen hoodlum antics draw real blood and consequences...oh, it's heartbreaking. Fresh no matter how many viewings.

Montgomery Clift as Rudolph Petersen
Judgment at Nuremberg
fourth and final nomination; BAFTA Award Nominee for Best Foreign Actor, Golden Globe Nominee for Best Supporting Actor

Clift's exhausting performance gets across the shame felt by this victim of sterilization, testifying in fits and starts - it's painful to watch, effective.

Peter Falk as Joy Boy
Pocketful of Miracles
second and final nomination

Walks off with the movie, a perfectly-calibrated comedic performance fitting perfectly into the sweet, screwball antics of the story without entirely sanding the gangster edges. We feel his absence whenever he's not on screen.

Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats
The Hustler
first and only nomination; Golden Globe Nominee for Best Supporting Actor; NBR Winner for Best Supporting Actor

Barely a word said - really, more a glorified cameo - but a presence. Light on his feet, elegant with a pool cue, and all the time with set, tired eyes, Gleason gives you the man's full resume just through his comportment.

George C. Scott as Bert Gordon
The Hustler
second of four nominations; Golden Globe Nominee for Best Supporting Actor

"You owe me MONEY!" His greatest accomplishment is capturing the clash between the practiced sophistication and the grasping desperation of the professional gambler - Gordon's a grubby little man who happens to wear a suit. Scott knows who the real loser is.

Also in the conversation:
  • Tony Randall, Lover Come Back (Golden Globe Nominee for Supporting Actor) - the best flavor in a shit sandwich. **

The Academy gave the award to George Chakiris - it was only the fourth award of the night, following the Documentary categories and Costume Design, but already West Side Story's second Oscar:

And you know what? I'm inclined to agree. My vote goes to:


Tomorrow, an international affair with the nominees for Best Original Screenplay: Russia's Ballad of a Soldier, Italy's La Dolce Vita and General della Rovere, and the USA's Lover Come Back and Splendor in the Grass.

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1 comment:

Fritz said...

Quite surprised. :) I love WSS to death but I always considered Chakiris's win a big WTF...glad to see someone who supports this win though.