Peter Ustinov (Quo Vadis)
William Bendix – Detective Story
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year with 5 solid nominees, but one of them gives such a powerful performance that there was really no way anyone could overtake him.
5. Kevin McCarthy
4. Leo Genn
3. Gig Young
2. Peter Ustinov
1. Karl Malden
4. Death of a Salesman – Not really among my favorite stories and this version is not as good as the ones featuring Dustin Hoffman or Brian Dennehy, but despite this, March does a very good job here. The story drags along in my opinion and despite it being hailed as one of the greatest plays ever written, I just couldn’t find a way to connect to it at all. The theme of trying to achieve the American Dream is still presented quite well. There is always a incorrect perception that money and fame will make someone happier and the debate will go on as to whether that statement is right or wrong.
3. Come Fill the Cup – Great look at what alcoholism can do to a man and how overcoming one’s own demons can lead to a way to help others in similar situations. Cagney is superb in the lead and he is helped so much by both Gleason and Young in supporting roles. Young was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance here. The story shows some great character arcs and that helps make this subject matter so interesting to watch especially knowing that this was an issue that wasn’t so openly discussed at the time this came out as it is today.
2. Quo Vadis – Great sword and sandal epic film that tells an interesting story which explains so much about how Christianity became a popular religion at the time. Cast is great and the amount of actors needed for some of these scenes are astounding. The story itself feels a bit preachy tho and later films of this genre were much better at keeping things more objective.
1. A Streetcar Named Desire – Great performances, excellent script by Tennessee Williams’ award winning play.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely! Malden was superb in Streetcar and shined much brighter in the role than any of the other nominees.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!