Roy Scheider – Jaws
My Overall Thoughts:
This was a year where Nicholson showed everyone how great and actor he could be. None of the other performances are even close to being as powerful (besides Whitmore in his one man show he is superb despite it being such a different kind of performance.)
5. Maximilian Schell
4. Walter Matthau
3. Al Pacino
2. Jack Nicholson
1. James Whitmore
5. The Man in the Glass Booth – Interesting journey into the psyche of someone who went thru so much torture at the hands of an enemy. The dialogue is quite good and keeps things interesting most of the way thru even when the characters go off on diatribes . I loved how there were a few nice obscure clues left along the way, but you really have to pay attention to catch some of them. Schell is very good here, but his performance does border on madness (which is part of the purpose). The story isn’t as captivating as it could have been and in some instances lulls into boredom.
4. The Sunshine Boys – Some great Neil Simon dialogue doesn’t help a weak storyline. Matthau and Burns are both amazing here as grouchy former partners but something keeps missing the mark in the movie. Burns won a best supporting actor oscar for his role.
3. Dog Day Afternoon – Great story that works most of the time. Pacino, Cazale and Durning are all amazing here. Loved the way the story moves along at a great pace despite the fact that it all takes place in once location. Director Lumet does a wonderful job keeping things interesting and exciting the entire time. The issues brought up are still somewhat relevant and this is a great example of something that is done for the right reasons despite it being wrong no matter how you look at it. The fact that this is based on a true story makes it even more powerful.
2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Great movie about who is really considered crazy and how society needs to be flexible and not always just have everyone conform to the established rules. Excellent cast.
1. Give ’em Hell, Harry! – What a wondrous performance by Whitmore. Only movie to have its sole actor nominated for an Oscar. The thought of sitting down and listening to an actor talk for 90+ minutes non-stop was daunting, but ultimately, I was so enthralled and entertained that the time passed quite quickly and when it ended, I still wanted to hear more.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No! Whitmore does an amazing job in his one man show, but there was really no chance that he could have won for such a film. That being said, Nicholson is a great second choice who did deserve to win.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!