Best Actor of 1966
The nominees for Best Actor of 1966 were…
Monday, September 07, 2009
Best Actor of 1966
Alan Arkin as Lieutenant Rozanov, a Russian submarine officer trying to get out of New England in “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming”.
Richard Burton as George, an associate professor of history at a small
New England college who is having marital difficulties in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”.
Michael Caine as Alfie Elkins, a misogynistic ladies man in
learning life lessons in “Alfie”. London
Steve McQueen as Jake Holman, a Machinist’s Mate 1st Class aboard the USS San Pablo in 1926
in “The Sand Pebbles”. China
The winner was Paul Scofield as Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England in “A Man for All Seasons”.
If I chose the Oscars, these would be the results…
The nominees are…
Alan Arkin as Lieutenant Rozanov in “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming”. This was a comedy and Arkin is quite funny when he gets exasperated by the absurd behavior of the people who are surrounding him, but it is a comedy dealing with a deadly serious situation. His achievement is in making us realize just how serious the situation really is despite the humor. The look of fear in his eyes speaks volumes as he attempts to get himself and his crew back to safety without sparking a major international incident. The Academy rarely recognizes great performances from comedy films. They were right to recognize Alan Arkin for this one. His nomination was very well-deserved.
Richard Burton as George in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”. Richard Burton was a great actor who never won an Oscar and it is a shame. However, despite his tremendous performance in this film, it still isn’t his year. He richly deserved this nomination, though.
and Burton attack each other and manipulate their house guests throughout this film. Watching two intelligent, erudite individuals verbally cut each other to shreds can be difficult at times, yet like a horrible accident you can’t look away. Just when you think they can go no further, the brinksmanship is escalated. Taylor ’s portrayal of George was an education for other actors in the skill of verbal warfare and I agree with the Academy’s nomination. Burton
Jack Lemmon as Harry Hinkle, a television cameraman injured while covering a football game in “The Fortune Cookie”. Lemmon was terrific as the unfortunate victim of a sideline tackle who was manipulated by his lawyer brother-in-law into embellishing the severity of his injury. As he is buffeted from all sides by his crooked brother-in-law, his greedy ex-wife, his inconsolable mother, the almost too nice football player wracked with guilt, and the highly suspicious insurance investigators, Lemmon has to handle the stress of successfully pulling off the ruse while dealing with his own guilty feelings. Jack Lemmon was an actor who could effortlessly channel the mythical American everyman. For this film, his everyman deserved a nomination.
Steve McQueen as Jake Holman in “The Sand Pebbles”. McQueen was amazing in this film. Of the nominated performances, his was easily the best and he should have walked away with the Oscar that went to Paul Scofield. Jake Holman was a Navy lifer who just wanted to work on engines. He didn’t know that
would bring him love and the chance to be a hero. This was exactly the type of character that McQueen was best at playing and this was arguably the finest acting he ever did. In one scene, as he watched the woman he loved sail away believing that he would never see her again, the look of loss on his face was heartbreaking. Here was a man who was losing the only thing in the world that meant anything to him and you completely feel his emotions. He would absolutely be my choice for best actor of the year, if it hadn’t been for one performance that went unnominated. China
And the Oscar goes to…
Eli Wallach as Tuco, an outlaw hunting for the buried gold of a dead soldier in “The Good, the Bad & the Ugly”. Eli Wallach infused the character of Tuco with more personality than most characters can hold. You find yourself rooting for him even when he’s double-crossing the hero of the film. Tuco represented the ugly of the title. While I don’t know if that is the right word, he is certainly light on ethics. He’ll steal, he’ll kill, he’ll walk you through the desert for revenge, yet you still hope things turn out well for him in the end. This was the most famous role of Wallach’s long career and it was sad that the Academy ignored him. The part has since become legendary and produced some of the most quotable lines in film history (If you’re gonna shoot, shoot! Don’t talk!). I happily give the Oscar for best actor of 1966 to Eli Wallach.