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Your Choice For 1966 Best Actor Oscar


Det Jim McLeod
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Choose who you would have voted for from the actual nominees with your reason why.

THE NOMINEES

Alan Arkin in The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming

Richard Burton in Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf

Michael Caine in Alfie

Steve McQueen in The Sand Pebbles

Paul Scofield in A Man For All Seasons*

*+ actual winner

I would go with Burton. It was an unusual role for him and he excelled. He was great as the tortured professor who has to deal with his acid tongued wife (Elizabeth Taylor).  The character also likes to play strange mind games with his wife and guests.

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28 minutes ago, King Rat said:

This is a tough decision, because Scofield, Caine, and Burton are all Oscar-worthy, but I would also vote for Burton in one of his very best performances.

But Not ARKIN ?
I’ve never seen THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING…(in the present climate, wonder what I’d make of it. )

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5 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

But Not ARKIN ?
I’ve never seen THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING…(in the present climate, wonder what I’d make of it. )

Arkin is fine, IIRC, but the others are all really outstanding, and I'm giving Arkin an Oscar for The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.

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22 minutes ago, King Rat said:

Arkin is fine, IIRC, but the others are all really outstanding, and I'm giving Arkin an Oscar for The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.

I've only seen ONE SCENE from THE HEART OF THE LONELY HUNTER.

SONDRA LOCKE was in it and HOOBOY, [as I recall it, and it WAS a while back] SHE WAS BAD!

APologies to any SONDRA LOCKE fans. I didn't stick around for the rest of the movie, maybe she got better.

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Some terrific performances,  DET JIM MCLEOD,  but I'd have to go with Paul Scofield.    A calm, majestic performance as Sir Thomas More, but not 'one-note'--  it was infinitely interesting and revelatory of More's depth of character and thinking.   Just love the brilliant Scofield.

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I agree that Scofield was a brilliant and incisive actor, and wish he had had many more film roles than he did.  I do, however, have a personal issue with actors being allowed to win an Oscar when they have previously won a Tony Award for the very same role (e.g., Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady).  I feel it gives them an unfair advantage over their competitors , since they've already had extensive time to work out every subtext and nuance of their characters before a live audience. (I realize this is probably a minority viewpoint.)

For this reason alone, if forced to choose I would vote for Burton in this case.

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54 minutes ago, Fausterlitz said:

I agree that Scofield was a brilliant and incisive actor, and wish he had had many more film roles than he did.  I do, however, have a personal issue with actors being allowed to win an Oscar when they have previously won a Tony Award for the very same role (e.g., Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady).  I feel it gives them an unfair advantage over their competitors , since they've already had extensive time to work out every subtext and nuance of their characters before a live audience. (I realize this is probably a minority viewpoint.)

For this reason alone, if forced to choose I would vote for Burton in this case.

Scofield also played the role in London.  But still, it's for the best performance, and he was certainly a reasonable choice.

Regarding Harrison, I don't think his performance is in the same league, and the other four nominees in his year gave monumental performances.

 

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13 hours ago, Swithin said:

Regarding Harrison, I don't think his performance is in the same league, and the other four nominees in his year gave monumental performances.

 

Totally agree on that, here are the other nominees

Richard Burton in Becket

Peter O'Toole in Becket

Anthony Quinn in Zorba The Greek

Peter Sellers in Dr Strangelove

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My vote would go to Richard Burton as George.  For me, it was his career best performance.

As for 1964, even though he was nominated for Becket, I think he was equally as good in Night of the Iguana.  I watched it again recently and it gets better with every viewing.

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I loved Burton's performance in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe" and maybe his performance has been overshadowed by Taylor's performance but it really deserves recognition.  Burton's character isn't as loud as the boozy character played by Taylor but you felt carried a lot inside.  It's powerful when Burton's character explodes because Martha (Taylor) reveals their "secret" about their son.

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Scofield without a doubt.  I've never seen Arkin and Caine's performances, and the fact that neither movie shows up that much on TCM isn't a good sign.  And a look around at the internet suggests that Arkin's performance is neither that big or that impressive.  McQueen was the star from the new movie from the director the all time smash hit from the previous year, released just in time for Christmas.  It's clearly an example of successful hype triumphing over critical judgement.

Burton's performance is good.  It's his best performance, and it stands out larger for a number of reasons aside from its inherent quality.   First, the performance stands out even more because Burton's film career was often so disappointing.   Second, his own marriage with Taylor makes the performance stand out in retrospect.  One wonders that if Burton had decided that Cleopatra was too much of a mess to deal with, and so Mike Nichols thought a married couple would be perfect for his new film, and chose Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, would the performance still have the same effect as we watched decades of a reasonably happy marriage after that?  Third, the movie itself was a key turning point in Hollywood taking a more mature and adult tone, and Albee's play was able to cut through a lot of Hollywood euphemism on this score. 

Scofield's performance is special.  To quote one critic "Scofield delivers almost of his lines quietly with patience and restraint.  Yet his every word has both eloquence and force."  It's not easy to be virtuous in films.  It's also not easy when for much of the movie Scofield has to be quiet, and it's also not easy when his cause is not something many Americans at the time had a lot of sympathy for.  (That was part of Pauline Kael's objection to the film.)

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12 hours ago, skimpole said:

Scofield's performance is special.  To quote one critic "Scofield delivers almost of his lines quietly with patience and restraint.  Yet his every word has both eloquence and force." 

I've seen Scofield on stage a few times, and he was always amazing. In Volpone, John Gabriel Borkman, Heartbreak House, and, perhaps most incredibly, in I'm Not Rappaport.

Scan-189-1-e1525345358922.jpeg

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