Best actor/actress (lead or support) Oscar winning portrayals of real life characters

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Vash01, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. Simone411

    Simone411 Do it while you still can!

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    They talked about this on The View this morning and showed screenclips. They mentioned it was more like a comedy than anything else. :lol:
     
  2. screech

    screech Well-Known Member

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    Jennifer Connelly won for A Beautiful Mind in 2002.
    Ingrid Bergman as Anastasia (1956)
     
  3. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    Again, I see those as 2 separate categories. Leigh Anne Tuohy and Aileen Wuornos (and Sister Helen Prejean) were real people, but not in any way famous. Few people outside their own circle knew who they were or what they did. So there's far less pressure for the actor to play the character in a way that's recognizable and expected.

    To me the really impressive task is when the actor goes beyond mimickry. Take away the wow-she/he-really-looks/sounds-like-the-real-person aspect, and ask yourself if the acting performance stands on its own. Sadly, IMO a lot of best acting winners won only because they were playing a famous person. Marion Cotillard is a case in point: the mimickry of Piaf was superb ... but beyond that the performance was only pretty good. Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, and Helen Mirren, oth, gave performances that transcended their famous characters.

    And of course Meryl Streep had the added challenge of working with a medocre-at-best script :rolleyes: ... but that's a whole other thread. "Actors who've won best actor awards in bad movies." (Pretty short list mind you.)
     
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  4. screech

    screech Well-Known Member

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    Another winner is Dame Judi Dench for QEI in Shakespeare in Love. IIRC her win made news because she had such a small amount of screen time and so few lines. But she's just awesome.
     
  5. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    She was indeed awesome in that role (when is she not?). But folks also saw it as somewhat of a consolation prize, as she should have won best actress the previous year for her role as Queen Victoria in Mrs. Brown.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  6. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    it looked like an SNL skit. everyone aged decades and talked about how they were getting fat but they did not use aging makeup or padding so they looked exactly the same. at one pt they did put some grey in the wigs.
     
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  7. duane

    duane New Member

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    Who would have ever imagined that Caesonia, the "most promiscuous woman in Rome" who became Caesar's wife in 1979's controversial Caligula, would have such a successful and an honored career. The movie reportedly destroyed many careers (tho I must admit it's one of my guilty pleasures, and I love Mirren's performance!).
     
  8. falling_dance

    falling_dance Ignoring for Satan

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    Joseph Schildkraut as Capt. Alfred Dreyfus in The Life of Emile Zola
    Mary Steenburgen as Lynda Dummar in Melvin and Howard
     
  9. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Vera

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    I too think she should have won for Mrs. Brown, but I think she played QE I (not QE II).
     
  10. falling_dance

    falling_dance Ignoring for Satan

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    Dench portrayed Queen Victoria in Mrs. Brown.
     
  11. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    She played Queen Victoria.

    Ooops, I see someone beat me to it.
     
  12. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    Yes of course ... silly me I did know that.

    I'd watch Dench play any Queen though!
     
  13. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    nigel hawthorne was nominated for playing george III in the madness of king george
     
  14. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Vera

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    Thanks for the correction.
     
  15. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

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    If you go way back, there's Paul Muni, who portrayed several real people in films and won the Oscar for The Story of Louis Pasteur.
     
  16. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    I saw Sister Prejean interviewed several times, so I had a good idea of Susan Sarandon's performance, and thought quite a few reviewers were impressed with how she assumed the character, not created it.

    And if there were a poll, I'd vote for Marion Cotillard as the greatest performance of an actual person. The fact that I've seen that movie about 20 times might account for that. :)
     
  17. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    If you're going to break it down like that, I think you really need a third category: famous historical figure. Because everyone may know who they are and what they did, but no one knows firsthand, say, what Queen Elizabeth I's voice or mannerisms were like.
     
  18. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    I loved the film Reds and was thrilled when Maureen Stapleton won for her portrayal of Emma Goldman. Also do Bafta's count? I know Gary Oldman was nominated in Prick Up Your Ears as the playwright Joe Orton. And I don't know if he received any recognition as Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy though I would have nominated him in that performance. (I have a lot of love for Oldman.)
     
  19. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Oops - I was wrong. :duh:
     
  20. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    I loved Judi Dench in Mrs. Brown.

    Two other performances come to mind - Robert Downey Jr. as Chaplin and Geoffrey Rush in Shine. Both were fabulous.
     
  21. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    Ooh- that made me remember another memorable performance. Benedict Cumberbatch was wonderful as as Stephen Hawking in the BBC's Hawking. Probably not a lot of people from NA have seen that movie (made for TV) but it is worth looking up- both for the acting, and the story.
     
  22. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Going all the way back we have George Arliss winning for playing Disraeli in the 1929 movie of that name.
     
  23. AYS

    AYS Ruder than you thought

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    James Cagney won best actor as George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy.

    ETA: YDD was released in 1942. Interestingly (I discovered when I went to look up the year), it was released in June 1942 and George M. Cohan died in November 1942. He did see the movie and was quoted as saying "My God, what an act to follow". :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
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  24. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Another one - Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network; and although not nominated, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake and Armie Hammer were all critically acclaimed for their portrayals of other real life players in the movie. (In the case of Hammer, two of them :lol:)

    Eisenberg lost to Colin Firth playing a real-life person, and also in the category was James Franco playing another real-life person.
     
  25. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Well-Known Member

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    Meryl has been nominated for so many Oscars, that it's easy to forget even a recent (and memorable role) that didn't win: Julia Child in 2010's Julie and Julia which lost to Sandra Bullock's portrayal in The Blind Side.
     
  26. IoanaC

    IoanaC Active Member

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    I agree with this. Rarely have I seen an actor search as deep into the soul of the character she/he interprets. To describe Marion Cotillard's performance as "mimicry" is to miss the magic of the film entirely. And it's not just Edith Piaf, she develops an almost organic bond with each and every character she embodies, based on a complete understanding of who that person is, real or fictional. She's an extraordinary actress.
     
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  27. Orable

    Orable Well-Known Member

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    I saw Lincoln this Thanksgiving weekend and was blown away by DDL's performance. I know he always gives it his all and he's one of the greatest actors in our time (hyperbole, much ;)), but he took it to another level with Lincoln. Wow.
     
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  28. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    It's not hyperbole if it's true! I don't think many people would disagree with you that DDL is one of the greatest actors of our time, or even that he's one of the greatest actors of film in general. He's truly amazing.

    I think Marion Cotillard, besides being a phenomenal actress, is also just extraordinarily beautiful. Every time she's on screen, every single scene she's in, I'm just blown away by how utterly gorgeous she is. I get the same feeling when I see Elena Ilinykh ;)
     
  29. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    I didn't see The Blind Side, it appeared way to sugar-coated for my tastes. But while Streep's role in Julie and Julia was memorable, it wasn't one of her best rules. I found the character quite superficial - no offense to Streep, as thought was due to the script and direction. Plus, she was only in one-half of the movie.
     
  30. screech

    screech Well-Known Member

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    Another is Anne Bancroft as Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker. She also won a Tony Award for the same role.