James Earl Jones – Cry, The Beloved Country
My Overall Thoughts:
Going in, it was as clear as day that Cage (part of a Hollywood dynasty) would take home Gold despite this being no different than most of his other roles because he just isn’t among the best actors around. All 4 of his fellow nominees are much better actors and the fact that two already had Oscars and one would get two Best Actor Statues within the decade of the 00’s says so much for the quality of their acting. Troiso was amazing in his role here which ultimately cost him his life in order to make his film.
5. Sean Penn
4. Nicolas Cage
3. Anthony Hopkins
2. Massimo Troisi
1. Richard Dreyfuss
5. Leaving Las Vegas – Pointless story about two lost souls who don’t even try to help one another. Don’t know why Cage won an Oscar for playing this character. Even Shue, the best Babysitter any kid could want couldn’t help here.
4. Dead Man Walking – Sarandon is great as she tries to get into the mind of convicted killer Penn
3. Nixon – Amazing biopic of a very controversial president, Hopkins is superb as is the rest of the cast. Stone really knows how to make us really think about things that have happened in the past.
2. The Postman – Such a simple yet powerful movie because it tells such a beautiful story about innocent souls living in a complex world filled with religion, politics, poetry, love and friendship. The musical score is so catchy and gives the film a feeling of realism and simpleness. Troisi is superb in the role of a lifetime (literally) and helps us love his character and the story so much.
1. Mr. Holland’s Opus – Such an amazingly emotional film because it is so relateable to just about everyone. Dreyfuss is wonderful and is able to play the character perfectly during all the years depicted. Amazing soundtrack that is accentuated by the superb score by Kamen. Stands quite tall among the many fictional biographies ever filmed because it spends just enough time at each station to help us understand the character and more importantly his affect on those around him. Quite emotional end that always makes me cry tears of joy. Since we get to know the character so well over thirty years, each vignette doesn’t feel drawn out and in some instances, it might have helped if they had expanded some of them even more. The supporting cast is superb with Headly, Dukakis, Thomas, Macy, Witt, Howard, Kelly and Getty all giving us great performances without taking away any of the spotlight for the story itself.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Not at all! Cage in my opinion is usually a boring and terrible actor and this film is no exception to that. Any of the other nominees would have been a better choice besides Penn who was just bearable in DMW.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!