Great Performances

GREAT PERFORMANCES: EDWARD NORTON IN AMERICAN HISTORY X (1998)

By John H. Foote Derek (Edward Norton) is an imposing figure as he stands in the middle of his street, wearing only boots and jockey shorts. Muscles ripple, a swastika covers his heart, various tattoos cover him, his head is shaved. He puts down his gun, gingerly as the police arrive, placing his arms above…

GREAT PERFORMANCES: SEAN PENN IN DEAD MAN WALKING (1995)

By John H. Foote When he comes into view there is unmistakable swagger in his walk, despite being in chains, an arrogance, a huge chip on his shoulder, hair perfectly teased into a pompadour, his eyes blaze with seething anger. It is as though he challenges anyone he encounters, as though he has something to…

GREAT PERFORMANCES: ANTHONY HOPKINS IN NIXON (1995)

By John H. Foote In portraying a real-life character, one very well known, for me it is never important that the actor/actress looks like the person. What they must do is find the soul of who they are portraying. Many actors attempt to capture the look, the sound, even the essence of the character but…

GREAT PERFORMANCES: DIANNE WIEST IN BULLETS OVER BROADWAY (1994)

By John H. Foote Long one of the most gifted actresses on film and stage, Wiest was already an Academy Award winner and nominee when she took the role of Helen Sinclair in Woody Allen’s farce Bullets Over Broadway. She had won her Oscar as Best Supporting Actress in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Allen’s…

GREAT PERFORMANCES:  JERRY LEWIS IN THE KING OF COMEDY (1983)

By John H. Foote For nearly all of his career, Jerry Lewis was seen as a buffoon, always portraying the monkey to his co-star’s organ grinder. When he was young it was refreshing to see such an energetic, dazzling talent who was fearless, willing to go as far as one can go. When he and…

GREAT PERFORMANCES: GLORIA SWANSON IN SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950)

By John H. Foote Gloria Swanson had been a silent screen legend and a respected businesswoman, producing many films for various companies including her own. But by 1926 she had just $65 in her bank account and serious debts to pay. She was no longer a box office titan, and was listening to the advice…

GREAT PERFORMANCES: JODIE FOSTER IN THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)

By John H. Foote For her superb performance as FBI trainee Clarice Starling, Jodie Foster won her second Academy Award for Best Actress, following her win for The Accused (1988) just three years before. It is rather rare for the Academy to honor an actor or actress so soon after they already have won once,…