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Your Choice For 1964 Best Actor Oscar


Det Jim McLeod
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Choose who you would have voted for with your reason why.

THE NOMINEES

Richard Burton in Becket

Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady*

Peter O'Toole in Becket

Anthony Quinn in Zorba The Greek

Peter Sellers in Dr Stranglelove Or I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb

*=actual winner

 

Nearly all British this year and a great group. I would have voted for Burton, it was a very subtle and moving performance. He had to tone it down since he was opposite a ranting and swaggering O'Toole as the king. My favorite scene was the poignant one where he prays for guidance before becoming Archbishop on the orders of the power hungry King Henry II.

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Hope I don't immediately run your thread into a ditch by not voting for one of the nominees (if you insist on one, I'll go with Burton) but my vote for Best Actor of 1964 would have been for another actor from Dr. Strangelove entirely, George C. Scott! I read that Scott was unhappy with his performance. Stanley Kubrick was infamous for doing zillions of takes of the same scene, and he kept urging Scott to bigger, be broader, and then, Scott claimed, used all the biggest and broadest takes, making his performance appear on screen to be more one-dimensional than he would have liked.

However, when I watch Scott's performance, I still see a lot of intelligence and subtlety in it. At first, he's saddled with a lot of expository dialogue. He's the guy who has to carefully explain to the president why this situation is really dire and why every reason the president can think of to stop it probably isn't going to work. And somehow he makes all this exposition really interesting and engaging. Then, as the film progresses, he becomes the character who most zealously promotes the "well, let's make the best of a bad situation" point of view. Just every moment he's on screen, I find fascinating.

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1 hour ago, sewhite2000 said:

Hope I don't immediately run your thread into a ditch by not voting for one of the nominees (if you insist on one, I'll go with Burton) but my vote for Best Actor of 1964 would have been for another actor from Dr. Strangelove entirely, George C. Scott! I read that Scott was unhappy with his performance. Stanley Kubrick was infamous for doing zillions of takes of the same scene, and he kept urging Scott to bigger, be broader, and then, Scott claimed, used all the biggest and broadest takes, making his performance appear on screen to be more one-dimensional than he would have liked.

I agree with Scott on this one. I thought he overdid it, though I didn't know Kubrick encouraged that. I think "Dr Stranglove" is a pretty good film and I admire Seller's 3 performances in this one. Though I felt Sellers, Scott and Sterling Hayden all seemed to be acting in 3 different movies.

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4 minutes ago, RBG FAN said:

Does the * mean it is your vote?

Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady*

Safe to say I would often vote for a musical. My vote too.

The * is who won. He states in the paragraph below the list that he would have chosen Richard Burton in Becket.

My choice would be Sellers, by a wide margin.

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30 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

The * is who won. He states in the paragraph below the list that he would have chosen Richard Burton in Becket.

My choice would be Sellers, by a wide margin.

Ya have to wonder if Sellers hadn't sprained his ankle during production and thus had also played the Maj. Kong part as originally planned and instead of Pickens, if that might have put him over the top, vote-wise. Word was he had mastered the Texas accent quite well.

He did every other accent in it very well anyway, and especially the midwestern American one he did for President Merkin Muffley.

(...and which I noticed for many years many Brit actors had trouble doing without sounding more southern than midwestern)

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3 minutes ago, RBG FAN said:

I seem to recall L/A is not a musical fan. I am. They always get my vote.

You're right, but I actually don't mind My Fair Lady, which is probably why most other people around here seem to not like it. I seem to like those musicals that many musical fans don't like as much. 

I thought Harrison was very good in My Fair Lady, but Dr. Strangelove is one of my favorite films, and I thought Sellers was terrific in it. I'm also a fan of Becket, and both actors in it, and their performances. 

I never cared much for Zorba the Greek, though, and thought Quinn laid it on a little too thick.

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9 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

I thought Harrison was very good in My Fair Lady, but Dr. Strangelove is one of my favorite films, and I thought Sellers was terrific in it.

I thought the movie went downhill the minute Sellers started up with Strangelove's physical tics.  It's where he jumps the shark, and is a precursor to drek like The Party and Being There.

(Yes, I can't stand Being There.)

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Sellers is wonderful, of course, but I would have to still go with the Academy's choice for a once in a lifetime film performance, a perfect amalgamation of actor and role. We are fortunate that Harrison's classic stage performance (by all accounts) was immortalized on film.

harrison.jpg

Two other performances worthy of mention: Burt Lancaster and Fredric March in Seven Days in May.

 

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I think the 1964 Best Actor winner -- Rex Harrison -- was the worst choice in the history of the Oscars. Any of the other men would have been a better choice. I would probably go with Quinn. A somewhat OTT performance, but one that was keeping in the nature of the character.

 

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Rex Harrison was apparently a major a-hole. On Broadway Julie Andrews avoided him like the plague and was offended by his constant disparagement of Moss Hart (who directed the show) as that Jewish C***. I'm not sure he was any easier to work with in the film version.

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1 hour ago, NipkowDisc said:

BURT LANCASTER

Image result for burt lancaster seven days in may

SEVEN DAYS IN MAY

:)

 

Gotta say you've brought up a very good point here, Nip ol' boy.

Yep, Burt's performance here is certainly one of the best I've ever watched anybody playing an American traitor, and could have indeed been one of the best of 1964.

And of course, provided yet another cinematic opportunity for a military uniformed Kirk Douglas to ever so righteously tell off a superior officer in a film, and such as he did just seven years earlier to Adophe Menjou in Paths of Glory. Although of course in the later film, Kirk would do this in a little more, and uncharacteristically for him at least, subtle manner.

(...ah but then again, perhaps playing an American traitor who's full of himself wasn't all that hard to pull off back then like it seemingly is today, huh...cinematically or not)

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15 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

You're right, but I actually don't mind My Fair Lady, which is probably why most other people around here seem to not like it. I seem to like those musicals that many musical fans don't like as much. 

I thought Harrison was very good in My Fair Lady, but Dr. Strangelove is one of my favorite films, and I thought Sellers was terrific in it. I'm also a fan of Becket, and both actors in it, and their performances. 

I never cared much for Zorba the Greek, though, and thought Quinn laid it on a little too thick.

I like My Fair Lady, mostly for the songs, the costumes and Audrey Hepburn.  What I don't like about the film are Marni Nixon's vocals.  With all due respect to Nixon, she has a beautiful voice, but it never really seems to match the actress whose vocals she's providing.  It would have been interesting if the filmmakers had let Julie Andrews reprise her role from Broadway.  I understand them needing "a name" to sell tickets--especially if it's an expensive production, which My Fair Lady appears to have been. I think Andrews did alright though--she went on to win an Oscar for Mary Poppins the same year that My Fair Lady was in contention for the awards. 

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10 minutes ago, Fedya said:

Worse than anything related to Going My Way?

Speaking of which...

How was it that Barry Fitzgerald was nominated for both Best Actor AND Best Supporting Actor for the very same role in the very same movie, and then winning for the latter?

(...what, the catholic church had some special pull with the Academy membership or somethin'?!)

 

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12 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Speaking of which...

How was it that Barry Fitzgerald was nominated for both Best Actor AND Best Supporting Actor for the very same role in the very same movie, and then winning for the latter?

(...what, the catholic church had some special pull with the Academy membership or somethin'?!)

 

The rules of the day allowed for placement in either or both categories. They were changed soon thereafter.  Early in the Oscar days, actors could be nominated for multiple films. Janet Gaynor, Emil Jannings, Richard Barthelmess, Greta Garbo and probably some others got multiple nominations in the same category in the same year. The rules and categories are always evolving.

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11 minutes ago, drednm said:

The rules of the day allowed for placement in either or both categories. They were changed soon thereafter.  Early in the Oscar days, actors could be nominated for multiple films. Janet Gaynor, Emil Jannings, Richard Barthelmess, Greta Garbo and probably some others got multiple nominations in the same category in the same year. The rules and categories are always evolving.

AH! Ya see it's THIS very sort'a thing is why I'm not and have never been a "strict Constitutionalist"!!! ;)

(...thanks for the clarification here, drednm)

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5 hours ago, Swithin said:

I think the 1964 Best Actor winner -- Rex Harrison -- was the worst choice in the history of the Oscars. Any of the other men would have been a better choice. I would probably go with Quinn. A somewhat OTT performance, but one that was keeping in the nature of the character.

I like this comment Swithin. Yes, sometimes, the actor does have to lay it on thick if that's the kind of character he/she is playing. Plus I think there's an art to OTT performances...they require a specific set of skills.

Screen-Shot-2018-12-16-at-12.52.19-PM.jp

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My choice for best actor from 1964 is Rod Steiger. Though THE PAWNBROKER did not premiere in America until 1965, it had an advance screening in Germany in 1964. So the IMDb lists it as a '64 release. Steiger was nominated for the Oscar in '65 for his performance (but lost to Lee Marvin). However, he received the Best Actor award at the Berlin International Film Festival in the summer of '64. What ever year we classify it under, this was a masterful performance.

Screen-Shot-2018-12-16-at-12.52.46-PM.jp

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1 hour ago, Fedya said:

Worse than anything related to Going My Way?

You are quite right that the awards for Going My Way were absurd, but I could never sit through the whole film, so I'm not fully qualified to comment. However that year featured one of my favorite performances of all time: Alexander Knox in Wilson, who certainly should have won. And in the Best Picture categories, all the other films were more deserving: Gaslight, Wilson, Double Indemnity, and Since You Went Away. Though I of course would have gone with Wilson.

alexander-know-as-wilson-19441.jpg

 

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54 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

I like this comment Swithin. Yes, sometimes, the actor does have to lay it on thick if that's the kind of character he/she is playing. Plus I think there's an art to OTT performances...they require a specific set of skills.

Screen-Shot-2018-12-16-at-12.52.19-PM.jp

 

Zorba was over the top because Zorba was over the top! That's the point to the film and to the character. Mousy Alan Bates had to learn how to live from Zorba. Bates was the typical repressed Englishman who learns how to let go from Zorba. Anthony Quinn was absolutely perfect in this role. It's one of those instances where you cannot imagine another actor in the role. Harrison's Higgins could just as easily been played by Cary Grant or Alan Bates or John Inman!

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