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Lead or Supporting Role?


kingrat
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I'll adjust so that my nominations match yours. Hiller and Leigh are difficult cases.

 

Two Women is a 1960 film, isn't it, which makes for a very tough best actress category. Sophia would have much less competition in 1961, her Oscar year.

 

And The Passionate Thief (Risate di gioia) is a 1960 film, too, which gives us two great performances by Italian actresses. Would Ben Gazzara be supporting, with Anna Magnani and Toto as the leads? Many thanks for recommending this film.

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In my 1959 list, I had Peter Sellers as supporting for I'm All Right Jack, though some would call him the lead. He received top billing, but I've always considered Ian Carmichael the lead in that film, with all the others supporting.

 

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In my 1959 list, I had Peter Sellers as supporting for I'm All Right Jack, though some would call him the lead. He received top billing, but I've always considered Ian Carmichael the lead in that film, with all the others supporting.

 

I had Sellers as lead, but Bogie had him as supporting, with Carmichael as lead, like you have. I haven't seen the movie in a long time, so I'd go with Bogie and your categorizations more than my own.

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I'll adjust so that my nominations match yours. Hiller and Leigh are difficult cases.

 

Two Women is a 1960 film, isn't it, which makes for a very tough best actress category. Sophia would have much less competition in 1961, her Oscar year.

 

And The Passionate Thief (Risate di gioia) is a 1960 film, too, which gives us two great performances by Italian actresses. Would Ben Gazzara be supporting, with Anna Magnani and Toto as the leads? Many thanks for recommending this film.

 

Yes, both of these are 1960 films.  I have Magnani, Toto AND Gazzara all as leads in The Passionate Thief.  Gazzara is not as flamboyant as the other two but he is with them throughout the entire movie.

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I'll adjust so that my nominations match yours. Hiller and Leigh are difficult cases.

 

Two Women is a 1960 film, isn't it, which makes for a very tough best actress category. Sophia would have much less competition in 1961, her Oscar year.

 

And The Passionate Thief (Risate di gioia) is a 1960 film, too, which gives us two great performances by Italian actresses. Would Ben Gazzara be supporting, with Anna Magnani and Toto as the leads? Many thanks for recommending this film.

 

Speaking of Italians, my inchoate 1960 list also includes Marcello.

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1961: Neither Charles Boyer (FANNY) nor Maximilian Schell (JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG) has enough proportionate screen time for the lead category, in my view. Piper Laurie’s role in THE HUSTLER seems comparable to the Eva Marie Saint and Betsy Blair roles mentioned above, but she competed as Best Actress, probably correctly.

 

 

I agree with you regarding Charles Boyer in Fanny (1961) that is a supporting performance even though Oscar had him in the lead category.

I disagree though with regards Maximilian Schell in Judgment at Nuremberg.  I'm invoking my 3 hour epic movie rule which allows for multiple story lines and shared lead performances.  Olivier and Simmons in Spartacus were leads using this rule of thumb.  These films are a different animal.  Take Schell's scenes in Nuremberg and place them against the other supporting actors and there is no contest.  He swamps them.  So, IMO his is clearly a lead performance.

I have Piper Laurie as a lead actress in The Hustler.

kingrat, you will have to change the thread title soon.  Where does time go?

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Bogie, how do I change the title? I'll make it generic so that it can continue.

 

Go back to your very first post in this thread.  Click on Edit.  Then click on Use Full Editor.  The thread title will pop up and you can then change it and save.

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Leading vs. Supporting Categories in 1962 …

 

I think there is no question that Terence Stamp rightfully belongs in the lead actor category for Billy Budd.  This is clearly a case of the Oscars putting a newcomer in the support category.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen Long Day’s Journey Into Night.  I have both Dean Stockwell and Jason Robards, Jr. in the supporting category though I know this is a very long movie.

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I saw Long Day's Journey Into Night again when it was recently shown on TCM. Dean Stockwell had a much larger role than I remembered, with more screen time than Ralph Richardson. Jason Robards is more clearly in a supporting role.

 

Would we agree that Vera Miles has a supporting role in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence?

 

All Fall Down: Brandon de Wilde is definitely a lead, and with the amount of screen time she gets, Angela Lansbury is, too. Billing aside, Eva Marie Saint and Warren Beatty have supporting roles, along with Karl Malden.

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I saw Long Day's Journey Into Night again when it was recently shown on TCM. Dean Stockwell had a much larger role than I remembered, with more screen time than Ralph Richardson. Jason Robards is more clearly in a supporting role.

 

Would we agree that Vera Miles has a supporting role in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence?

 

All Fall Down: Brandon de Wilde is definitely a lead, and with the amount of screen time she gets, Angela Lansbury is, too. Billing aside, Eva Marie Saint and Warren Beatty have supporting roles, along with Karl Malden.

 

First let me say that I have read every post on this thread and this is one of the more interesting threads, but I didn't wish to comment until now.

 

It appears that one criteria,  especially when applied to an actress, is that they do NOT assume the leading role just because they are the leading women in a film.    I always viewed this the opposite way;   Miles is the leading female character in Valence therefore this is a leading role.     

 

Another criteria relates to the main characters of the story (i.e. the plot revolves around them)  verses screen time for all characters.   I tend to define a 'lead' as the plot revolving around them more so than screen time.      Of course in most cases a lead meets both criteria but All Falls Down is a good example where this isn't true.    I view Saint and Beatty as the leads, and the others as supporting  (but de Wilde as co-lead also works for me since like Hud the story is told through him).

 

Anyhow my two cents for the day!

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Would we agree that Vera Miles has a supporting role in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence?

 

 

I would probably have to see it again to determine how much she is in the film.  That said, she is in it throughout and is the focus of the two men's story.  I would be tempted to say she was the lead actress.

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First let me say that I have read every post on this thread and this is one of the more interesting threads, but I didn't wish to comment until now.

 

It appears that one criteria,  especially when applied to an actress, is that they do NOT assume the leading role just because they are the leading women in a film.    I always viewed this the opposite way;   Miles is the leading female character in Valence therefore this is a leading role.     

 

Another criteria relates to the main characters of the story (i.e. the plot revolves around them)  verses screen time for all characters.   I tend to define a 'lead' as the plot revolving around them more so than screen time.      Of course in most cases a lead meets both criteria but All Falls Down is a good example where this isn't true.    I view Saint and Beatty as the leads, and the others as supporting  (but de Wilde as co-lead also works for me since like Hud the story is told through him).

 

Anyhow my two cents for the day!

Thanks, James. I always enjoy your comments. All Fall Down is a particularly interesting example of the problem. The story is about Brandon de Wilde's growing up. The novel is first person from his point of view, if I recall. His mother and brother are the people most involved in his growing up. He has a schoolboy crush on the glamorous woman his older brother is involved with. John Frankenheimer was particularly taken with Angela Lansbury's performance, and for my taste we see a bit too much of her in the film and too little of Beatty and especially Saint; the story isn't balanced quite properly.

 

If there's one thing we've learned from going through this exercise, for the Oscars it's all about who is considered a star and who isn't, until the recent era when producers try to get supporting awards for their stars.  Juveniles are never put in the lead category. For me, screen time has a great deal to do about the proper category, and even then there are often arguments on each side. For 1963 we'll have the case of Hud, where Patricia Neal has the shortest performance of any Best Actress winner, and was nominated for Supporting Actress by the Golden Globes. Brandon de Wilde, nominated in support, clearly belongs in the lead category.

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Thanks, James. I always enjoy your comments. All Fall Down is a particularly interesting example of the problem. The story is about Brandon de Wilde's growing up. The novel is first person from his point of view, if I recall. His mother and brother are the people most involved in his growing up. He has a schoolboy crush on the glamorous woman his older brother is involved with. John Frankenheimer was particularly taken with Angela Lansbury's performance, and for my taste we see a bit too much of her in the film and too little of Beatty and especially Saint; the story isn't balanced quite properly.

 

If there's one thing we've learned from going through this exercise, for the Oscars it's all about who is considered a star and who isn't, until the recent era when producers try to get supporting awards for their stars.  Juveniles are never put in the lead category. For me, screen time has a great deal to do about the proper category, and even then there are often arguments on each side. For 1963 we'll have the case of Hud, where Patricia Neal has the shortest performance of any Best Actress winner, and was nominated for Supporting Actress by the Golden Globes. Brandon de Wilde, nominated in support, clearly belongs in the lead category.

 

Thanks for your kind words.   Yea, I forgot about Neal in Hud.   That is a good example of where the largest female role in a film is considered to be a leading role by default,  regardless of screen time.    But I admit I'm conflicted;  If asked I believe I would have contradicted my own POV and said she was supporting.      As noted younger performers were often short-changed and since Newman was nominated as Best Actor I assume the studio didn't wish to have two actors competing against each other in the same category.   Interesting that Douglas won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor while de Wilde won the Golden Globe.    

 

PS:  Sorry for bringing up 1963 and Hud early.   I blame it all on Berry-Berry!   

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Are March and Lancaster the leads in Seven Days in May, or could Lancaster be supporting?  There isn't any reason to doubt that Douglas is supporting?

 

I've always felt Douglas was indeed the lead in this film, skimpole. I feel this way because it's through his character that we the audience not only discover the coup about to take place, but also it is his character which sets in motion the thwarting of it.

 

I would say March and Lancaster, although both playing "leaders" of their respective "camps", are still more in support of the story than they are anything else.

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Are March and Lancaster the leads in Seven Days in May, or could Lancaster be supporting?  There isn't any reason to doubt that Douglas is supporting?

 

I'm with Dargo.  This is Kirk Douglas' film.  We see it through his eyes and we follow the investigation through him.   He plays the quieter character but it is his film.  But this is one of those films that has co-leads.  Both March and Lancaster are co-leads.

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I'm with Dargo.  This is Kirk Douglas' film.  We see it through his eyes and we follow the investigation through him.   He plays the quieter character but it is his film.  But this is one of those films that has co-leads.  Both March and Lancaster are co-leads.

 

I wouldn't say that Seven Days is Douglas's film, if only because, as you say, his quieter role doesn't leave the same impression as that of his two male co-stars. His role is certainly crucial, though, for audience identification, as Dargo said.

 

The acting tour de force moment that stays with you is the confrontation between Lancaster and March. Having said that, Douglas is still excellent in his role. I agree this film has three co-leads.

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1963: CLEOPATRA is a long enough movie that Rex Harrison has plenty of screen time, but a less-known actor would probably have been placed in the supporting category. Rachel Roberts has much less screen time than Richard Harris in THIS SPORTING LIFE, so a GREAT ZIEGFELD argument could be made that she has a supporting role. (If Saint and Blair are supporting, so is she.) There’s an even stronger argument that Patricia Neal should have been in the supporting category for HUD, for two other actors (Paul Newman and Brandon de Wilde) have much larger roles than she, and the main story is built around them. The Golden Globes put Neal in the supporting category, where she lost to Margaret Rutherford, who also won the Oscar, so uplisting Neal to Best Actress probably put her in an easier contest.

 

 

Leading vs. Supporting Categories in 1963 …

 

And IMO Rex Harrison’s part in Cleopatra is that of a co-lead.  The film is an epic and has room for a few leading performances.

I have three leads for The Great Escape: James Garner, Steve McQueen and Richard Attenborough.

I have Susannah York as the leading actress in Tom Jones and Patricia Neal as the leading actress in Hud.  Brandon de Wilde is a co-lead with Paul Newman in Hud.  

I also have Rachel Roberts as the lead actress of This Sporting Life.

James Fox and Dirk Bogarde are co-leads in The Servant.

Julie Christie is a supporting actress in  Billy Liar.  She is barely in the film until the end.

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