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…)
(NOTE: The Full List is the only list being continually updated.)
Character actors, the final part:
Where you know him from:
The Shawshank Redemption, as Heywood
Die Hard 2, as Col. Stuart
The Green Mile, as Klaus Detterick
Also look for him in: Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, as Grim Reaper, RocketMan, as “Wild Bill” Overbeck, Kinsey, as Kenneth Braun, The Mist, as Jim, Eagle Eye, as Jerry’s Dad, The Pacific, as Lt. Col. Lewis “Chesty” Puller. (more…)
I am so disappointed in 1979. And a lot of it has to do with this category. Kramer vs. Kramer is a film I love dearly, but it should not have won Best Picture this year. Apocalypse Now and All That Jazz were far superior films. However, I could have lived with Kramer winning Best Picture had it not also won this category, which is the last Oscar it should have won. Just watching the films, you can see how far and away better Coppola’s and Fosse’s efforts were. Had the Academy recognized that, I could have lived with them thinking Kramer vs. Kramer was the better film. But they didn’t. Which is why 1979 will always be a sore spot for me. (Among another category…)
As for the rest of the year, Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep win Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively, for Kramer vs. Kramer, and Sally Field wins Best Actress for Norma Rae (which I talked about here). These decisions I agree with wholeheartedly. They were incredible, and the best decisions in their respective categories. Best Supporting Actor, however, is a decision I consider to be the worst of all time in its category, and possibly even the second worst single Oscar decision of all time. Melvyn Douglas wins for Being There, beating Robert Duvall, for Apocalypse Now. Which performance do you remember? I rest my case. That decision is really the nail in the coffin for me, and it’s why, no matter how hard I try, 1979 upsets me. Half the decisions are great, and the other half are bad beyond words (or questionable at best). It pains me.
BEST DIRECTOR – 1979
And the nominees were…
Robert Benton, Kramer vs. Kramer
Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now
Bob Fosse, All That Jazz
Edouard Molinaro, La Cage aux Folles
Peter Yates, Breaking Away (more…)