kingrat

Lead or Supporting Role?

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Watch on the Rhine is an interesting case. On Broadway Lucile Watson was considered the star. Playing the same role in the movie, she seems to be in a supporting role. Bette Davis agreed to play what is really a supporting role because she believed strongly in the anti-Nazi message.

 

I'm willing to consider Paul Lukas a lead, though it isn't clear cut.

 

But what about Paulette Goddard in So Proudly We Hail? I think she and Claudette Colbert are both leads, whereas Veronica Lake and all the others are supporting. She got her only Oscar nom as supporting, presumably because the studio was pushing Claudette in the Best Actress category.

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Watch on the Rhine is an interesting case. On Broadway Lucile Watson was considered the star. Playing the same role in the movie, she seems to be in a supporting role. Bette Davis agreed to play what is really a supporting role because she believed strongly in the anti-Nazi message.

 

I'm willing to consider Paul Lukas a lead, though it isn't clear cut.

 

But what about Paulette Goddard in So Proudly We Hail? I think she and Claudette Colbert are both leads, whereas Veronica Lake and all the others are supporting. She got her only Oscar nom as supporting, presumably because the studio was pushing Claudette in the Best Actress category.

 

I worked out my 1943 list and typed it out tonight. I put Lukas in the Lead category, Davis in the Lead, Watson in supporting, Goddard in supporting. Should I change Davis and Goddard, then?

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1944: Barry Fitzgerald was nominated in both the starring and supporting categories for GOING MY WAY, and he won the New York Film Critics prize as Best Actor. They did not have a supporting actor award at that time. For me the question is purely academic, because I can’t stomach Fitzgerald. Ethel Barrymore won Best Supporting Actress for NONE BUT THE LONELY HEART, but she had second billing and is clearly the second most important character in the film. I would consider this a lead.

 

 

 

I am putting Barry Fitzgerald in the lead category as I feel he was basically the co-star in Going My Way.  As you said, Fitzgerald would win the Best Actor award from the NYC Film Critics but they did not have a category for supporting actors at this time.

 

I'm afraid I have Ethel Barrymore in the supporting category for None But the Lonely Heart.  My feeling is that there was no lead actress in that film.  Grant flies solo.

 

Oscar put Claude Rains in the supporting category for Mr. Skeffington.  Perhaps the studio now viewed Rains as a character actor.  IMO I think this was a lead performance.

 

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I am putting Barry Fitzgerald in the lead category as I feel he was basically the co-star in Going My Way.  As you said, Fitzgerald would win the Best Actor award from the NYC Film Critics but they did not have a category for supporting actors at this time.

 

I'm afraid I have Ethel Barrymore in the supporting category for None But the Lonely Heart.  My feeling is that there was no lead actress in that film.  Grant flies solo.

 

Oscar put Claude Rains in the supporting category for Mr. Skeffington.  Perhaps the studio now viewed Rains as a character actor.  IMO I think this was a lead performance.

 

 

Fitzgerald is a lead for Going My Way for me.

Claude Rains as the title character in Mr. Skeffington must be a leading actor for me.

I agree that everyone other than Cary Grant in None But the Lonely Heart plays a supporting role.

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Title characters are often supporting roles.  Just look at Louis Calhern in Julius Caesar.

That is quite true.

 

But with Mr. Skeffington, Rains appears throughout the film every now and then. The ending of the film makes it a lead role - for me.

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Will rearrange my ballots accordingly. Ethel's competition in the supporting category is just as tough as it would have been as a lead. Claude Rains would have made the top five as supporting, maybe not as a leading man.

 

It's just as easy not to vote for Barry Fitzgerald as a lead as it would have been not to vote for him in support.

 

 

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It's just as easy not to vote for Barry Fitzgerald as a lead as it would have been not to vote for him in support.

 

As stated by the President of the "Barry Fitzgerald Gives Me The Creeps" Fan Club.

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As stated by the President of the "Barry Fitzgerald Gives Me The Creeps" Fan Club.

Really?

Does kingrat really not like Barry?

 

Must have been watching And Then There Were None...

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Actually, Fitzgerald's performance in AND THEN THERE WERE NONE is one of the few I find semi-palatable. He's playing a judge who's unjustly sent a man to the gallows. Creepy actor cast as creepy character.

 

More on the upcoming year 1944: I consider both Beatrice Lillie and Googie Withers to have leading roles in ON APPROVAL.

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I have some questions about 1945, while we're still sorting out 1944.

 

1. OPEN CITY - Although Anna Magnani has tons of star presence, I think this is a supporting role. The actor who plays the priest has the only lead.

 

2. HOTEL BERLIN - I think Helmut Dantine has the only leading role, with both Andrea King and Faye Emerson in the supporting category. Faye got bumped up to top billing when she married Elliott Roosevelt, but that doesn't make her part any bigger. If you haven't seen this film, it's worth seeking out. Imagine GRAND HOTEL set in the last few weeks of Nazi Germany. It's based on a novel by Vicki Baum, who also wrote GRAND HOTEL.

 

3. A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN - James Dunn won an Oscar for best supporting actor. Had the part been played by Fredric March or Spencer Tracy, it would have been perceived as a lead. Dunn has almost as much screen time as Dorothy McGuire, who, with Peggy Ann Garner, is obviously a lead. I'm content with leaving him in support, but it's a close call.

 

4. THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF UNCLE HARRY - Ella Raines as lead, Geraldine Fitzgerald as support?

 

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I have some questions about 1945, while we're still sorting out 1944.

 

1. OPEN CITY - Although Anna Magnani has tons of star presence, I think this is a supporting role. The actor who plays the priest has the only lead.

 

2. HOTEL BERLIN - I think Helmut Dantine has the only leading role, with both Andrea King and Faye Emerson in the supporting category. Faye got bumped up to top billing when she married Elliott Roosevelt, but that doesn't make her part any bigger. If you haven't seen this film, it's worth seeking out. Imagine GRAND HOTEL set in the last few weeks of Nazi Germany. It's based on a novel by Vicki Baum, who also wrote GRAND HOTEL.

 

3. A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN - James Dunn won an Oscar for best supporting actor. Had the part been played by Fredric March or Spencer Tracy, it would have been perceived as a lead. Dunn has almost as much screen time as Dorothy McGuire, who, with Peggy Ann Garner, is obviously a lead. I'm content with leaving him in support, but it's a close call.

 

4. THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF UNCLE HARRY - Ella Raines as lead, Geraldine Fitzgerald as support?

I have not seen the first two films you mention, so I cannot help you there.

 

I'm not sure what to do about Harry or Brooklyn myself.

 

Bogie?

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I am putting Barry Fitzgerald in the lead category as I feel he was basically the co-star in Going My Way.  As you said, Fitzgerald would win the Best Actor award from the NYC Film Critics but they did not have a category for supporting actors at this time.

 

I'm afraid I have Ethel Barrymore in the supporting category for None But the Lonely Heart.  My feeling is that there was no lead actress in that film.  Grant flies solo.

 

Oscar put Claude Rains in the supporting category for Mr. Skeffington.  Perhaps the studio now viewed Rains as a character actor.  IMO I think this was a lead performance.

 

I also agree that Rains is a lead.  His character is the name of the film.  I also agree that the ending of the film makes it a lead role.

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I have some questions about 1945, while we're still sorting out 1944.

 

1. OPEN CITY - Although Anna Magnani has tons of star presence, I think this is a supporting role. The actor who plays the priest has the only lead.

 

2. HOTEL BERLIN - I think Helmut Dantine has the only leading role, with both Andrea King and Faye Emerson in the supporting category. Faye got bumped up to top billing when she married Elliott Roosevelt, but that doesn't make her part any bigger. If you haven't seen this film, it's worth seeking out. Imagine GRAND HOTEL set in the last few weeks of Nazi Germany. It's based on a novel by Vicki Baum, who also wrote GRAND HOTEL.

 

3. A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN - James Dunn won an Oscar for best supporting actor. Had the part been played by Fredric March or Spencer Tracy, it would have been perceived as a lead. Dunn has almost as much screen time as Dorothy McGuire, who, with Peggy Ann Garner, is obviously a lead. I'm content with leaving him in support, but it's a close call.

 

4. THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF UNCLE HARRY - Ella Raines as lead, Geraldine Fitzgerald as support?

 

Open City - Anna Magnani, supporting.  Aldo Fabrizi lead actor.

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn - James Dunn and Ted Donaldson, supporting.  Peggy Ann Garner and Dorothy McGuire both lead actress.

The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry - i'd have to see this one again to have an opinion.

I haven't seen Hotel Berlin.

 

Here are some other 1945 lead/supporting questions...

 

Oscar put J. Carrol Naish in the supporting category for A Medal For Benny.  I think this is little doubt that this was the lead performance in this film.  Naish probably ended up in the supporting category as he was traditionally a character actor.

 

There is probably a case to be made that Robert Mitchum’s role in Story of G.I. Joe was a lead one.  Oscar had him in the supporting category and I am leaving him there until I have the chance to see the film again.

 

Cornel Wilde’s part in A Song to Remember is almost in support of Paul Muni with the exception of the last half hour.  I’m leaving him in the lead category until I see the film again.

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Thanks, Bogey. I'll have to add A MEDAL FOR BENNY to the list of films to be seen.

 

HOTEL BERLIN would make a great double feature with Rene Clement's LES MAUDITS. In HOTEL BERLIN some of the Nazis plan to escape via submarine to South America, and LES MAUDITS is about a group of Nazis who do just that.

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1946: Myrna Loy wasn’t nominated for THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, but she should have been, and in the supporting category, despite her top billing. In my view, Fredric March, Dana Andrews, and Teresa Wright have the starring roles, and Harold Russell also has more screen time than Loy. In THE YEARLING Jane Wyman has much less screen time than Gregory Peck or Claude Jarman, and this could also be considered a supporting role. Wyman wanted to be seen as a star, of course.

 

 

 

You could be right about Myrna Loy's part in Best Years, kingrat.  I have Teresa Wright in support for Best Years.  I don't know if there is a female lead in that film.

But I do feel Jane Wyman is one of the leads in The Yearling even if she has less screen time than the two males as you say.

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Thanks for bumping this thread, Bogey, so we can get ready for 1946 come Sunday.

 

I would consider Teresa Wright a lead in BEST YEARS alongside Dana Andrews and Fredric March, with everyone else supporting, but it's not an easy call.

 

Don't know if anyone else will be nominating performances from THREE STRANGERS, but I would regard Geraldine Fitzgerald, Sydney Greenstreet, and Peter Lorre all as leads.

 

Joseph Cotten in DUEL IN THE SUN seems like a lead to me, along with Jennifer Jones and ColumboFan's darling Greg, rather than a supporting actor like Charles Bickford, Lionel Barrymore, Butterfly McQueen, etc.

 

Then there's Lizabeth Scott, who probably has more screen time in THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS than Barbara Stanwyck, which may suggest that she is a lead like Barbara and Van Heflin.

 

I'll put Jane Wyman in the lead category where Oscar placed her, although this takes away what would be an easy win for her in the supporting category.

 

Using the year of initial release completely changes my choices for 1946. If confined to the Oscar ballot, I'd easily pick Laurence Olivier for HENRY V and Celia Johnson for BRIEF ENCOUNTER. But now they've already competed in earlier years. I

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I wrote up my performance lists for the remainder of the 40's. I didn't find enough performances to fill out the categories. For '47, I only have 3 Best Actress choices, and less than five in the supporting categories in 48 and 49. I've seen a lot of films for those years, but not many of them stand out as something to be acknowledged as special. I could list more than five, but it would just to be listing them, and not something I felt was genuinely exceptional.

 

I sometimes regret that most of my choices are the proverbial "low-hanging fruit" from films most everyone is already familiar with, and therefore I'm not contributing anything beyond the obvious. 

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I'll post this question over here instead of in the performance thread so that one doesn't get bogged down. I was wondering, since Bogie is adding the winners from the various film festivals, what film festivals are "reputable" and which ones are generally disregarded or garner less respect, out of the larger film festivals? Which festival awards will you cover, and which will you most likely ignore? And are there other awards organizations that you will add that are not festival related?

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I'll post this question over here instead of in the performance thread so that one doesn't get bogged down. I was wondering, since Bogie is adding the winners from the various film festivals, what film festivals are "reputable" and which ones are generally disregarded or garner less respect, out of the larger film festivals? Which festival awards will you cover, and which will you most likely ignore? And are there other awards organizations that you will add that are not festival related?

 

As far as festivals go Venice is the oldest and it also gives acting awards.  Cannes is a close second.  Berlin, and much later, the Independent Spirit Awards often have quite interesting choices.  Sundance doesn't offer acting awards.  As national awards go there is of course the Oscars and I would say the British BAFTA, and French Cesar awards are also quite important.

The Golden Globes began in the 1940's and they too often have interesting choices.  It wasn't until the 60's that they became a bit bloated and you might say started to cater to the star factor.

The New York Film Critics are almost as old as the Oscars and often have great choices.  The National Board of Review and later the National Society of Film Critics often offer interesting choices as well.

The 1970's and 1980's saw an explosion of awards from newspaper film critics.

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Leading vs. Supporting Categories in 1947…

 

Oscar put Edmund Gwenn in the supporting category for Miracle on 34th Street and he subsequently won that award.  In my opinion this was the lead performance in this film.  Nevermind screen time, the film follows Kris Kringle’s story from his gaining employment at Macy’s right through to the finale.  He is always the central focus of the film.  Maureen O’Hara would be the co-lead with Natalie Wood and John Payne in support.

 

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