February 6, 2008

Who are the best actors to have won the best actor Oscar?

Answers here. And the worst to have won? Here. (Via Throwing Things.)

I agree that Al Pacino was a terrible ham in "Scent of a Woman." (And I love Al Pacino. "Dog Day Afternoon" Al Pacino.) Was Dustin Hoffman really terrible in "Rain Man"? He was certainly annoying, but wasn't that the point? You know who was even more annoying in "Rain Man" than Dustin Hoffman? (I ran across it on TV the other day, so this is fresh in my mind.) Valeria Golino. I was going to watch that movie again, but she drove me up the wall. Sorry, that's off the topic of actors, but I just wanted to nail down that one little point of personal opinion, and I get to do things like that because I'm blllllogggggggingggg.

30 comments:

BumperStickerist said...

Valeria was sparkly in 'Rainman' ... and her kisses were wet ... very wet, definitely sparkly and wet.

The problem with Valeria is that it's impossible to watch 'Rainman' without expecting her to call Tom Cruise "Topper Harley".

Looking back, I think Linda Fiorentino would have a been a better choice, but I like Valeria.

And not just because she's mistaken for Gabriella Sabatini.

Jeff said...

Dustin Hoffman was indeed terrible in "Rain Man" - the least convincing performance of a long, mostly great career. Every time I see a clip of it (there's no way I could ever watch the entire thing again), I keep expecting him to hear Jon Lovitz (as Master Thespian) in the background, clapping his hands and crying out, "Yes, you've got it! That's ACTING!"

ricpic said...

The great British actor, Edward Fox, precisely because he is a consummate professional who always disappears into whatever role he is playing, has never received an Oscar. Most famous for Day Of The Jackal, he is at his best in The Servant, screenplay by Harold Pinter, in which he portrays a doomed aristocrat unraveling. Nonpareil acting.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I agree that Al Pacino was a terrible ham in "Scent of a Woman."

Oh please. That was probably one of his best performances in my opinion. His dressing down of that insufferable prig of a headmaster was inspired.

Dustin Hoffman is annoying period.

Gavin said...

Sir Ben Kingsley in pretty much anything is Oscar worthy. Ghandi was a revelatory performance. And then he put in that unnerving performance in Sexy Beast that it was astonishing to think it was the same actor. And then he turns in an amazing performance in The House of Sand and Fog in which he evokes a whole host of emotions without having to spell it out as most actors do.

There are so many awful choices it would take too long. Jamie Foxx in Ray was appalling - an impersonation is not acting. Sean Penn cannot act - period. Acting involves subtlety (see Daniel day Lewis - now that is acting) and Penn batters every line with a hammer.

Too many jims said...

Sorry, that's off the topic of actors

Not off the topic at all. The topic is actors. She is not an actress, she is a female actor. Get with the program.

John Burgess said...

Hoffman lifted very little weight in his performance in 'Rainman'. Almost any actor could have done it.

I take some exception to the critique of biopics in the source, though. Hoffman's portrayal of Warhol was some of the finest acting I've ever seen. Not only did he 'do' Warhol, he brought the character to life in an incredibly painful way. That's more than just mimicking a character.

John Burgess said...

Hoffman lifted very little weight in his performance in 'Rainman'. Almost any actor could have done it.

I take some exception to the critique of biopics in the source, though. Hoffman's portrayal of Warhol was some of the finest acting I've ever seen. Not only did he 'do' Warhol, he brought the character to life in an incredibly painful way. That's more than just mimicking a character.

Roger said...

I thought Sean Penn was great in "I Am Sam."

paul a'barge said...

WTF?

You follow the second link (worst actors) and see a picture of ... Cary Grant?

Then you have to read the entire blog entry to realize that the blog entry is about how Cary should have won an Oscar and to find the actual link to the worst actors entry?

Just saying...

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

As someone who has spent some time acting and also works quite abit with his hands let me put this put there-

It is harder to replicate something than create something.

That includes a character in film, be it a remake or a biopic.

A biopic is like replicating a chest of drawers- I can use the same wood and the same paint, but if a dimension is off by a little, or the color doesn't match exactly we can see the difference. If I am creating from scratch it doesn't matter; there's no original to compare it to.

Smilin' Jack said...

Pacino's best performances were in Godfather I & II. He should have won Best Actor for at least one of them.

Tibore said...

"I agree that Al Pacino was a terrible ham in "Scent of a Woman." (And I love Al Pacino. "Dog Day Afternoon" Al Pacino.)"

AMEN! I find other roles - like Carlito Brigante - to be a much, much better performance. Ditto his role in Donnie Brasco.

"Was Dustin Hoffman really terrible in "Rain Man"? He was certainly annoying, but wasn't that the point?"

Yes. He was. And agreed, that was mostly the point of the character, but for some odd reason, back then I was able to sort of float above the annoyance and empathize with the character's attempts to deal with a bewildering world. That made Rain Man a more sympathetic character to me, and allowed me to tolerate the annoyance. But that was then. Nowadays, for some other odd reason, I just can't do that; I have a hard time watching that movie and not get annoyed. Can't explain why. Maybe I've gotten more intolerant as I've gotten older? (*shrugs*)

But Valeria Golino... I just have a hard time finding her annoying. Chalk it up to me being male. :)

Although her role in the Hot Shot series did make me come close. Blaaaaaah!!...

Trooper York said...

Any list that compiles worst actors and doesn't include Robin Williams is just not valid. He is without guestion the worst actor to ever win an Oscar. He is just as bad if not worse than that little guinea.

Henry said...

The sad thing about these Best Actor Oscar lists is that they just remind you of the actors that are missing, because they never won one.

Especially Peter O'Toole (Lawrence of Arabia) and Peter Sellers (Dr. Strangelove).

Or you're reminded of the a winner's better performances. Russel Crowe wins for the execrable Gladiator, but not for The Insider.

Dustin Hoffman wins for his bag-of-ticks performance in Rain Man but not for his vastly superior bag-of-ticks performance in Midnight Cowboy.

This was Jon Voight's best role as well, and I would have given him the nod over Hoffman or 1970 Oscar Winner John Wayne(what the?).

The worst list has some great slams; here's one worth repeating:

12. RICHARD DREYFUSS (THE GOODBYE GIRL) (33 points) (tie): "The most grating and sexless romantic comedy hero in movie history."

George said...

Say what you will about John Wayne in "True Grit," the movie is based on a gem of a novel of the same name by the underappreciated Charles Portis. A real rollickin' hoot...

SGT Ted said...

They gave Oscars to Al Gore and Michael Moore. Nothing else needs to be said.

SGT Ted said...

John Wayne rocked in True Grit.

Glenn Kenny said...

I realize I shouldn't be hanging out here, lest I get taken down so many pegs that I'm left with none, but I just wanted to concur with ricpic's sentiments while pointing out that ricpic is conflating two different Foxes. Yes, that's Edward in "The Day of The Jackal" but the unravelling aristocrat of "The Servant" is Edward's younger (by two years) brother James. James went on to costar with Mick Jagger and Anita Pallenberg in the notorious "Performance," the making of which freaked him out to the extent that he became a born-again Christian for a time after that. Last year, Harmony Korine reunited Fox with Pallenberg in the film "Mister Lonely." Okay, I'm splitting now. Won't be back.

titusboho said...

You need to fix the link-all it is a picture of Carey Grant.

George said...

From True Grit...

Mattie Ross: Do you need a good lawyer?
Ned Pepper: I need a good judge!

Robert Duvall plays Pepper and Dennis Hopper is a turkey-stabbin' thief named Moon.

Those who like turkey-stabbin' in their movies appreciate a film like True Grit.

Joe said...

Putting Tom Hanks in there was odd and it seemed to be only because Morgan Freeman didn't win for playing Morgan Freeman yet again. (Look, I like Morgan Freeman, but I've never seen the man actually act.)

Incidentally, Shawshank Redemption is one of those weird movies that was very good the first time around, but I've never been able to sit through it a second time.

(Then there are those movies that I loved at one time and then one day hated. Citizen Kane being #1 on that list. I find it unbearable now.)

Ann Althouse said...

Glenn Kenney: "Okay, I'm splitting now. Won't be back."

The guy stops by my blog and only insults me (in the "Super Super Tuesday Tuesday" post), I strike back, and he's all wounded. Either behave like a decent commenter or don't. But if you don't, don't play the victim card.

Blake said...

Aw. Poor Roberto. I loved La Vita E Bella. Yeah, Sir Ian was better, but that's not Roberto's fault. And they couldn't give it to Hanks because he'd already won twice.

Gump was probably the beginning of my dislike for the Boomers.

As I was sayin' back at the time, Cruise gave a better performance than Hoffman.

Meh. There's no excuse for not giving Cary Grant an Oscar. He lost to Heston? His Roger Thornhill lost to Heston's Ben-Hur?

Cedarford said...

I excuse Best Actors that fill up a screen, carry the whole excellent final movie on their shoulders.

So I like when a Burt Lancaster wins for Elmer Gantry or James Cagney knocks crowds dead or the Duke brings in a billion dollars in revenue and expands Hollywood's jobs and nuanced elite critic's fare and finally gets Oscar recognition as Great Star. Better than some Acting Studio's idea of "great actor", if not Great Exquisite Actor, who in a series of movies that always lose money and audiences shun - but which gay cognoscenti twitter and cluck about the actor's masterful hand movements or how he affects a perfect Manhattan accent and insoucience.

Gradiator was a great movie and Crowe made it great. I don't care if he has acted "better" and more "sophisticated" or did the fake accent, sudden weight gain/loss, or fake crippled foot that "professional" critics fall for in other movies.

I hate Hoffman. I hate his "craft". I hated "Rainman".

I hate Pacino and De Niro in the last 25 years. Both living on what they did before 1990, mainly before 1980. One giving to hammy shouting, the other phoning in drunken goombah performances.

Christy said...

Is Raging Bull a guy thing? I love De Niro, but I just find that movie boring beyond belief.

Gahrie said...

I don't know about Best Actor, but the worst Oscar for Best Supporting actor was Tommy Lee Jones in 1993. The best supporting actor performance that year was Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday in Tombstone, and he wasn't even nominated.

Blake said...

I dunno if it's a "guy thing", Christy, but I also found it boring, and pointless.

Gahrie, I loved Jones in The Fugitive. I also loved Kilmer in Tombstone, though--probably the height of his acting abilities.

Lord, before you know it, someone's going to say it's, like, subjective or something.

Tibore said...

Well, you all know this is all like totally subjecti...

Wait, did someone call me out ahead of time?...

;)

Blake said...

Nah, you go right ahead, Tibore.