A day late to the party but here are my two pennies for the latest theme in Thursday Movie Picks, run by Wandering through the Shelves. This week we’ve been asked to list 3-5 Best Actor and Best Actress winners from the Academy Awards; I have based my selection on films that I have watched.
- Marlon Brando for his performance as Vito Corleone in The Godfather (1972)
Brando (who was nominated seven times for the Best Actor Oscar and who took it home twice) made an ever-lasting impression as the menacing but tender head of the Corleone family. However, he declined this Oscar and boycotted the ceremony. Instead, Apache actress Sacheen Littlefeather acted as his spokesperson and explained it was due to Brando protesting Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans.
- Dustin Hoffman for his performance as Raymond Babbitt in Rain Man (1988)
Starring opposite Tom Cruise as his on-screen brother, Hoffman’s Raymond Babbitt is autistic, has savant syndrome (he has an incredible memory), and lives in a mental institution. Rain Man follows the brothers as they learn of each others’ existence following the death of their father.
- Russell Crowe for his performance as Maximus Decimus Meridius in Gladiator (2000)
There aren’t enough superlatives in the dictionary that I could use to describe my enjoyment of Gladiator and the powerhouse performance that Crowe delivered. I have watched Gladiator countless times and it stands up on repeated viewings. Crowe plays the part exceedingly well; he lives the role and it feels very authentic.
- Julie Andrews for her performance as Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins (1964)
Andrews brought Mary Poppins to life so beautifully that it is hard to imagine anyone else in the role, although Emily Blunt did a sterling effort in Mary Poppins Returns (2018). In the original Andrews perfectly captures Mary’s quirks and foibles, presenting a wonderful, whimsical person that we would all love the chance to meet for ourselves.
- Julia Roberts for her performance as Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich (2000)
This biographical legal drama brought the story of a single mother who challenged a major corporation to accept responsibility for groundwater contamination to the big screen. It’s an inspiring story and one that Roberts expertly brings to life, showcasing her great dramatic range.
- Frances McDormand for her performance as Mildred Hayes in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
I watched Three Billboards… for the first time quite recently and was blown away by its premise and characters. McDormand’s Mildred fights for justice following the rape and murder of her daughter. She delivers a heart-breaking, powerful performance and bounces well against Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell, who also headline.