Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)
Mickey Rooney (The Bold and the Brave)
Jeffrey Hunter – The Searchers
My Overall Thoughts:
This is quite a weak year for nominees but two of them do stand out a bit more than the others despite the fact that their performances aren’t poignant enough.
5. Mickey Rooney (Not Ye Seen)
4. Don Murray
3. Anthony Perkins
2. Anthony Quinn
1. Robert Stack
5. The Bold and the Brave (Not Yet Seen)
4. Lust for Life – Film that starts off well but as the plot moves along and the character gets crazier and crazier, it’s hard to find a reason to care about him. Douglas does a fine job in the lead and it’s understandable that he would get an Oscar nomination for this role, but something is sorely missing since they give us no reason to want to watch what will happen to to the character. Very tragic story that perhaps is better understood by those who understand impressionist painting, but overall, I found this story pretty boring.
3. Bus Stop – Very dated film that just doesn’t work as well today as it probably did 60 years ago. Monroe is fine in the lead but Murray is the standout as the very naive young cowboy who gets a quick lesson as to how the world truly is. They do a nice job showing the way that people perceive themselves and the world around them and how they react when they find out that things are slightly different than they expect. Murray was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars for this role even though he truly is the lead here.
2. Written on the Wind – Mediocre, 50’s soap opera film that plays everything directly by the book. Great cast does a nice job, but things feels a bit too overdramatic than they should be especially given the fact that not much really happens here that is surprising in any way. Malone won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for this role largely due to the way that her character evolves over the course of the story. This film tries to feel like an epic, yet falls flat because it doesn’t manage to hold on to the scope for too long.
1. Friendly Persuasion – Interesting film that questions war vs. peace and militarism vs pacifism in an interesting way. Enjoyed the way the family is structured that even though they live together each and every one of them has different views on how to deal with the fact that the war keeps getting closer and closer to home. Cooper is quite good here as the patriarch of the family and we slowly see how the ideas of the family members are probed by the differing opinions of those around them.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Sorta! This was a pretty lackluster group of nominees and none stand out as being superb. Both RS and AQ stand out in these roles and if I had to choose, I’d go with RS because of the issues his character must deal with. JH does a much better job than any of the nominees and they unfortunately missed an opportunity here.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!
John Ford’s films were Oscar magnets, but if Wayne couldn’t get nominated for The Searchers, Hunter didn’t have much of a chance. Quinn was excellent, as he always was in these kind of roles, and when he won in 1956 – it was the shortest performance ever to be Oscared up til that time. He won another Supporting Oscar and seemed to have been pigeonholed into that category by the voters (that year, Charlton Heston had admonished the Academy for placing stars in big roles into the supporting categories because he said “that isn’t what those categories are for”. it’sstill happening 62 years later…) which probably cost him a well-deserved Lead Oscar for his magnificent portrayal of Zorba the Greek.