Best Actor 1973

1927/28 through 1997

Who was the Best Actor of 1973?

Marlon Brando - Last Tango in Paris
19
36%
Jack Lemmon - Save the Tiger
0
No votes
Jack Nicholson - The Last Detail
27
51%
Al Pacino - Serpico
7
13%
Robert Redford - The Sting
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 53

Kellens101
Temp
Posts: 329
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:47 am

Re: Best Actor 1973

Postby Kellens101 » Fri May 29, 2015 3:47 pm

BJ, do you have any alternates for Best Actor '73?

The Original BJ
Emeritus
Posts: 4015
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 8:49 pm

Re: Best Actor 1973

Postby The Original BJ » Fri May 29, 2015 3:34 pm

I guess the one benefit to enduring Save the Tiger is that now I can vote against Jack Lemmon here. One of the things that made him such a wonderful actor elsewhere is the way his charm felt so effortless -- he's just so appealingly funny in movies like The Apartment and Some Like It Hot, without seeming to even break a sweat. Here, though, he just feels desperate for audience sympathy, no more so than in that appalling speech in the dinner sequence, and the strain really shows throughout the entire film. It's a shame that an actor as often wonderful as Lemmon was enshrined for junk like this, and even more outrageous that he beat so many other fine actors at their peak.

The best I can say about Robert Redford in The Sting is that it's nice that a legendary screen star like him got at least one acting nomination to recognize his career. And he does play pretty nicely off of Paul Newman in a movie star kind of way. But, of course, deep acting this obviously wasn't, and he's another nominee I wouldn't consider.

The 70's were such a bountiful decade for great leading man performances, there are numerous years where any number of candidates could have easily been the Best Actor choice. 1973 was one of them. Jack Nicholson has had a long and pretty consistently impressive career, but this stretch in the early '70's was perhaps his professional zenith. And his energy in The Last Detail is completely infectious ("I am the motherfucking shore patrol, motherfucker!" ranks alongside the chicken sandwich scene in Five Easy Pieces in terms of the sheer jolt this guy could deliver onscreen.) And, as we said over in the screenplay thread, Nicholson also had a pretty clear-eyed approach to his character -- you can really feel his regret over his life even without the actor sad-sacking his way through the movie (as Lemmon does his). But, as with Meryl, there are so many wonderful opportunities to vote for Jack, it's easy to vote elsewhere even when the quality of the work is this high.

On the other hand, there actually aren't that many places I can find to vote for Pacino, at least relative to his strength as an actor -- much of his greatest work came along in years where I just preferred someone else. And, unfortunately, this is one of those cases. He's very strong in Serpico, carrying himself physically in a completely different way than he had with Michael Corleone a year prior, never portraying his character like a great man even though he's clearly trying to do heroic things. And, as in Dog Day Afternoon, he's a perfect fit for Lumet's universe, often strident and blunt in his performance style in a way that gives Frank Serpico a refreshing air of obnoxiousness. He, too, would have been a perfectly admirable choice.

But despite solid competition, I think this category is still basically a runaway for Marlon Brando, who turns in one of the greatest performances in the history of film in Last Tango in Paris. This was just the perfect role for him at this time -- he'd essentially conquered the acting world two decades prior, but his career had become aimless in the years just prior to this. So the part of an aging, lonely drifter trying to hold on to the glories of his youth gave the actor a chance to expose himself as a performer in a more personal manner than he ever had before. It's a tremendously brave performance, not simply because the film's content allowed him to explore the carnality of his character's sexuality in a way that few actors had on screen before, but also for the deep wells of pain he dips into over the course of the film. His performance reaches its most emotional peak in the justly famous conversation to his wife's body -- the combination of pain, resentment, guilt, and confusion he imbues in a line like "I may be able to comprehend the universe, but I'll never understand the truth about you" is the work of a great actor performing at his highest level of achievement. Brando for Best Actor for his last truly great acting triumph.

Reza
Tenured Laureate
Posts: 7589
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 11:14 am
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan

Re: Best Actor 1973

Postby Reza » Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:13 pm

Mister Tee wrote:
Damien wrote:
Sabin wrote:I am going through a minor Paul Mazursky retrospective currently and am planning on watching Blume in Love tonight. This post encourages me because I've always been hit or miss on George Segal.


He's as wonderful in Blume as he was awful in A Touch of Class.

I'd add that the movie also features Kris Kristoffersson's best screen performance.


.....and hey, everyone's punching bag - Marsha Mason - is also in the film.

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6193
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Best Actor 1973

Postby Mister Tee » Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:45 pm

Damien wrote:
Sabin wrote:I am going through a minor Paul Mazursky retrospective currently and am planning on watching Blume in Love tonight. This post encourages me because I've always been hit or miss on George Segal.


He's as wonderful in Blume as he was awful in A Touch of Class.

I'd add that the movie also features Kris Kristoffersson's best screen performance.

User avatar
Damien
Laureate
Posts: 6331
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:43 pm
Location: New York, New York
Contact:

Re: Best Actor 1973

Postby Damien » Mon Sep 05, 2011 7:42 pm

Sabin wrote:I am going through a minor Paul Mazursky retrospective currently and am planning on watching Blume in Love tonight. This post encourages me because I've always been hit or miss on George Segal.


He's as wonderful in Blume as he was awful in A Touch of Class.
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7140
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: Best Actor 1973

Postby Sabin » Mon Sep 05, 2011 6:02 pm

I am going through a minor Paul Mazursky retrospective currently and am planning on watching Blume in Love tonight. This post encourages me because I've always been hit or miss on George Segal.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

User avatar
Damien
Laureate
Posts: 6331
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:43 pm
Location: New York, New York
Contact:

Re: Best Actor 1973

Postby Damien » Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:43 pm

As much as I love his work in Five Easy Pieces and Reds, The Last Detail remains my favorite Jack Nicholson performance. I don't think he ever seemed both as full of life and as natural as in the is film; it's joyful acting and a particularly memorable aspect of the performance is that as exuberant as he is, he never has his character lose sight of the fact that he's a Navy career man with a job to do, so a certain authoritarianism is always lurking quietly below the surface.

Having said that, I still can't vote for Nicholson, not in the year when he went up against Marlon Brando in Last Tango, who gave one of the most amazing and most naked performances on film. And while Brando seems to be exposing deep parts of himself, this is not self-indulgent loosey goosey cinema verite type acting, but is a genuinely well-calculated knowing performance.

As for the others, Pacino mopes, Redford preens and Lemmon indulges.

After losing the Oscar this year, Jack Nicholson told an interviewer, "I don't know what I can do to win an Oscar because I think my performance in The Last Detail is as good as I can be." I don't think he would have minded losing if Brando had been the victor.

My Own Top 5:
1. Marlon Brando in Last Tango In Paris
2. Jack Nicholson in The Last Detail
[3. Jason Miller in The Exorcist -- I consider Miller a lead, so in my mind he's in third place for Best Actor; but since we're going by the Academy's rules, I'll remove him from consieration here]
3. William Holden in Breezy
4. George Segal in Blume In Love
5. James Caan in Cinderella Liberty
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

Mike Kelly
Temp
Posts: 256
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 9:59 pm
Location: Melbourne, FL, USA

Re: Best Actor 1973

Postby Mike Kelly » Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:22 pm

Damien wrote: Arthur Knight of Saturday Review wasn't a voting member at that time? I'm pretty sure he was an original member.


Three members from the 72-3 year did not vote in 73-4. Whether or not they were still members, I do not know.
Arthur Knight: Saturday Review
Thomas Meehan: Saturday Review
William S. Pechter: Commentary

User avatar
Damien
Laureate
Posts: 6331
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:43 pm
Location: New York, New York
Contact:

Re: Best Actor 1973

Postby Damien » Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:12 am

Mister Tee wrote:I know Rex was a member not long after (and I know he LOVED Save the Tiger).

This must have been the interim period -- John Simon, a founding member, was gone from the rolls, angry at the inclusion of people like Charles Champlin. (When whoever proposed Champlin for membership said "Even though he lives in Hollywood, he hasn't been bought by the industry", Simon's rejoinder was "Well, they're not complete idiots -- why should they buy what they get for free?") But the group was still fairly small and NY-centric.


I remember that John Simon was asked why he resigned from the National Society of Film Critics while remaining a voting member of the New York Film Critics. His very reasonable response was that as a movie critic in New York you should de facto be a member of the NY Film Critics, and that group's vote simply showed the concensus of what reviewers in New York City were thinking. But the National Society was an originally self-declared elitist, by-invite only group that was intended to be an intellectual counter-balance to NY Film Critics middle browism. When the middle brows were allowed in, Simon skedaddled. Interesting that he happily accepted being in a group with Sarris and Kael, two people he was constantly feuding with.

Fun fact: One of the original members of the National Society of Film Critics was historian and Kennedy-fetishist Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. For some reason, he was reviewing films for Vogue at the time.
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6193
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Best Actor 1973

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:41 pm

Damien wrote:I can't believe Mlly Haskell of all people voted for Lemmon. But, then again, once he hit his late 40s, hubby Andrew Sarris was all over male menopause movies like a cheap suit. I know he complained that John Houseman had defeated Jack Gilford for the Supporting Actor Oscar, although that was crouched in terms of the wonderful veteran actor losing to a gimmick performance, just as he complained about Tatum O'Neal defeating Shrew Sylvia Sidney.


Now that you cite it, I recall that exact sentence -- I guess from Sarris' post-Oscar write-up that year. So I should have been better prepared for this show of bad taste. (I mean, I loved/admired Jack Gilford, but if he'd won for that it would have made me just as sick as the Lemmon win)

User avatar
Damien
Laureate
Posts: 6331
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:43 pm
Location: New York, New York
Contact:

Re: Best Actor 1973

Postby Damien » Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:13 pm

Mike Kelly wrote:Yeah Tee, Nicholson won the award in 74 for both The Last Detail and Chinatown. Fredric March finished third in their Supporting Actor vote and as far as Lemmon, he actually got two points from Judith Crist and one point from Molly Haskell.

As a point of interest, the critics voting that year were:
Hollis Alpert - Saturday Review
Gary Arnold - The Washington Post
Vincent Canby - The New York Times
Charles Champlin - The Los Angeles Times
Jay Cocks - Time
Judith Crist - New York
David Denby - Harpers, Film Quarterly, Fun City Observer
Bernard Drew - Gannett News Service
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Joseph Gelmis - Newsday
Penelope Gillatt - The New Yorker
Roger Greenspun - Penthouse, Viva
Molly Haskell - The Village Voice
Pauline Kael - The New Yorker
Michael Korda - Glamour
Andrew Sarris - The Village Voice - NSFC Chairman
Richard Schickel - Time
Bruce Williamson - Playboy
Paul D. Zimmerman - Newsweek


Arthur Knight of Saturday Review wasn't a voting member at that time? I'm pretty sure he was an original member. I met him at a small barbecue dinner at Charles Champlin's house. (Mason and I had recently landed in LA to work on Inside Oscar, and he had a friend of a friend -- a very funny middle-aged lesbian -- who was friends with Champlin and his wife.) What I remember about Arthur Knight was that he wore brown shoes and green socks with his shorts. He also looked at Mason and me as if we were crazy when we posited that Auntie Mame should have won Best Picture in 1958. Open mouthed with shock, he said, "But The Defiant Ones broke the blacklist! We were all rooting for it to win Best Picture."

I can't believe Molly Haskell of all people voted for Lemmon. But, then again, once he hit his late 40s, hubby Andrew Sarris was all over male menopause movies like a cheap suit. I know he complained that John Houseman had defeated Jack Gilford for the Supporting Actor Oscar, although that was crouched in terms of the wonderful veteran actor losing to a gimmick performance, just as he complained about Tatum O'Neal defeating Shrew Sylvia Sidney.
Last edited by Damien on Sat Sep 03, 2011 2:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

Mike Kelly
Temp
Posts: 256
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 9:59 pm
Location: Melbourne, FL, USA

Re: Best Actor 1973

Postby Mike Kelly » Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:12 am

I don't think that the NSFC published their film books after the 73-4 edition, which is unfortunate. I only have two of the books and refer to them frequently. I found their six editions, 68 through 73 on line at Alibris Used Books.

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6193
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Best Actor 1973

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:14 pm

I know Rex was a member not long after (and I know he LOVED Save the Tiger).

This must have been the interim period -- John Simon, a founding member, was gone from the rolls, angry at the inclusion of people like Charles Champlin. (When whoever proposed Champlin for membership said "Even though he lives in Hollywood, he hasn't been bought by the industry", Simon's rejoinder was "Well, they're not complete idiots -- why should they buy what they get for free?") But the group was still fairly small and NY-centric.

Yeah, Haskell voting for Lemmon...it's always amazed me that Sarris and his wife, who advocated for so many interesting films that might have otherwise slipped through, could sometimes fall for total bilge like that.

Do you have the '74 numbers, Mike? I'm very curious how their best actor voting went.

Mike Kelly
Temp
Posts: 256
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 9:59 pm
Location: Melbourne, FL, USA

Re: Best Actor 1973

Postby Mike Kelly » Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:25 pm

Yeah Tee, Nicholson won the award in 74 for both The Last Detail and Chinatown. Fredric March finished third in their Supporting Actor vote and as far as Lemmon, he actually got two points from Judith Crist and one point from Molly Haskell.

As a point of interest, the critics voting that year were:
Hollis Alpert - Saturday Review
Gary Arnold - The Washington Post
Vincent Canby - The New York Times
Charles Champlin - The Los Angeles Times
Jay Cocks - Time
Judith Crist - New York
David Denby - Harpers, Film Quarterly, Fun City Observer
Bernard Drew - Gannett News Service
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Joseph Gelmis - Newsday
Penelope Gillatt - The New Yorker
Roger Greenspun - Penthouse, Viva
Molly Haskell - The Village Voice
Pauline Kael - The New Yorker
Michael Korda - Glamour
Andrew Sarris - The Village Voice - NSFC Chairman
Richard Schickel - Time
Bruce Williamson - Playboy
Paul D. Zimmerman - Newsweek

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6193
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Best Actor 1973

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Jul 07, 2011 4:09 pm

So, with Nicholson not eligible till the following year, pickings behind Brando/Pacino were relatively slim.

Much as I admire Ryan, I find his performance over-the-top declamatory; I prefer Fredric March's plaintive "What have you done to the booze, Hickey?". Ryan's death early in the year had, however, made him a sentimental favorite.

The three votes for Jack Lemmon probably mean one first place vote on the weighted ballot...and reminds one that, along with a bunch of hipper critics, the National Society did also employ Rex Reed.


Return to “The Damien Bona Memorial Oscar History Thread”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests