By John H. Foote
Though the field for Best Actor nominees was very sparse this year, those who found their way into the Oscar race were exceptional performances all. Right now it seems to be a three man race with Austin Butler in Elvis, Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin and Brendan Fraser in The Whale neck and neck for the golden man. Though the voting is never announced, it could come down to a single vote this year.
In 1974 we also had a three-man race with Al Pacino in The Godfather Part II, Jack Nicholson in Chinatown and Dustin Hoffman in Lenny. The front runner right up to Oscar night was Pacino, for his career best work in greatest sequel ever made. On Oscar night jaws dropped when TV legend Art Carney won the Oscar for Harry and Tonto (1974), stunning Hollywood. Carney was well known as the multiple Emmy winning sidekick on The Honeymooners, but did not have much of a film reputation. Suddenly, with the opening of an envelope, he was an Oscar winning actor. Both Nicholson and Pacino were back the following year, and had been there the previous year. In 1975 Nicholson won his first Oscar for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975). Pacino had to wait until 1992 to win his Oscar for Scent of a Woman and then we have the burning question did he deserve it?
I believe the year’s best performance by an actor was Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin and I think he will win. If not, look for Butler for his superb work as the King of Rock and Roll in Elvis, and maybe, a huge maybe to Fraser. The Academy does love a comeback.
One thing is assured: no one knows anything until the winner is read.
John H. Foote is a well-recognized Canadian film critic/historian who has been an active critic for 30 years. His deep love for the movies began at a very young age. He began his career as co-host of the popular TV show Reel to Real where he remained for nine years. While on TV he began dabbling in education, eventually ascending to Director of the Toronto Film School, where he also taught film history. After leaving the college to care for his wife, he returned to teaching at Humber College where he taught both Film History and Method Acting Theory. John has written two books: “Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker” and the upcoming “Spielberg – American Film Visionary”. He is currently working on two books, one about the films of the seventies and another on the films of Martin Scorsese. Through his career he has worked in TV, radio, print and the web. John has interviewed everyone in the industry (more than 300 interviews) except Jack Nicholson, he says sadly. Highlights include Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.