Archive for August 29, 2011

In Appreciation of Character Actors (A-F)

(NOTE: The Full List is the only list being continually updated.)

This is one of the most exciting parts of watching movies. You’re watching a film, and someone comes on screen, and makes you go, “I KNOW that guy!” Or gal. “I know them!” Then — “Wait, but from where?”

And then what happens (especially if you’re with people), someone says, “Oh, they’re from (this).” And everyone’s like, “Ohhh!”, and then everyone remembers, “And they were in (this) too! And (that)!” It’s a lot of fun.

What I’m getting at is — we love character actors. Their job is to be memorable in just about any role they take. They’re rarely the stars, but they accrue enough random roles that they build up in your mind and become the people who, while you don’t necessarily go to the movies for them, they’re the people who pop up in movies and make you go, “I didn’t know he/she was in this this! That’s awesome!”

Unfortunately, they’re also the people who most people can never remember. It’s the nature of the beast. You know them as the characters they’ve played rather than as who they are. (Most people.) Of course, you can look it up, but, even so, character actors are really the people who do some of the strongest and most diverse work, and get little to no credit for it.

So I decided to create this list. A giant list of all those actors we remember from all those minor and semi-major roles that we can just read be like, “Oh I love those people!” And maybe you’ll remember a bunch of films a certain actor was in that you never knew or hadn’t remembered, or discover someone you never knew you knew. But mostly, this is about being able to, in one place, have a certain group of people where it’s just one after another after another, of, “Oh, I love that person!” (See how many you recognize and/or love. And savor it. They deserve it.)

So let’s all just take a minute (or 60) appreciate the backbone of cinema — the character actors. (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1960

Love me some 1960. That’s been the gist of all the articles I’ve written about it so far. The Apartment is one of my five favorite films of all time. I think it was one of the best Best Picture choices of all time. And I love Billy Wilder winning Best Director for it, though, as I said here, Hitchcock really should have won this for Psycho. It’s just a fact of life.

Then, Best Actor (which I talked about here) was Burt Lancaster for Elmer Gantry, which is just a wonderful decision, Best Actress was Elizabeth Taylor for BUtterfield 8, which, as I said here,  was a tough situation, and has a reputation for being a terrible decision, and it is a terrible decision, but the Academy kind of had their hands tied here, so, I understand it. And Best Supporting Actor was Peter Ustinov for Spartacus, which is a great decision. Peter Ustinov is awesome.

The real reason I love this year though is the films. The Apartment, Psycho, The Sundowners, Elmer Gantry, Spartacus, Peeping Tom, The Magnificent Seven, Inherit the Wind, La Dolce Vita, Breathless — there are some great films that came out this year. That’s why I love me some 1960.


And the nominees were…

Glynis Johns, The Sundowners

Shirley Jones, Elmer Gantry

Shirley Knight, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs

Janet Leigh, Psycho

Mary Ure, Sons and Lovers (more…)

Pic of the Day: “I will not go down in history as the greatest mass-murderer since Adolf Hitler.” “Perhaps it might be better, Mr. President, if you were more concerned with the American People than with your image in the history books.”

Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb - 50