Yay! I’ve finally reached the 20 years mark in this Academy Award watching adventure! It’s taken me a lot longer than I thought it would but I guess that means I’ve been busy…or lazy, take your pick. So to celebrate I decided to go through and pick my top 10 performances from the past 20 years. Granted I am missing a few because Netflix is not 100% pro classic movies but whatever. You can see which ones I’m missing at the bottom of the page.
10. VICTOR McLAGEN in “The Informer” (1935)
I cannot say enough good things about this best actor performance. It is really hard to find where McLagen ends and drunken gutter urchin Gypo begins. Under the brutal direction of John Ford, McLagen shines in the dim underbelly of 1920′s Ireland.
9. FREDERIC MARCH in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (1931)
There are so many versions of this classic written by Robert Louis Stevenson originally titled Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but this is the one to watch. March’s transition from the refined Dr. Jekyll to the ape-like Mr. Hyde is unnerving to say the least. At times March’s portrayal of Hyde is comical which only serves to intensify the true horror of Hyde’s later actions.
8. LIONEL BARRYMORE in “A Free Soul” (1931)
Lionel Barrymore won best actor for his portrayal as Stephen Ashe an alcoholic lawyer and father. His natural relationship with Norma Shearer’s character and his portrayal of a broken man are what solidify his spot in this list. What sends this performance over the top is the ending court room scene. It is what every court room drama, be it movie or tv show wants to be.
7. JAMES CAGNEY in “Yankee Doodle Dandy” (1942)
I’ll be honest, I’m an emotional marshmallow and the reason Cagney is on this list is the last scene of this movie. When he taps down those steps and joins the crowd singing his song I fucking cry every time.
6. JANET GAYNOR in “Seventh Heaven” (1927)
You wouldn’t think a silent performance could be so powerful. Until you watch Janet Gaynor in Seventh Heaven. She is just so beautiful and sweet and speaks so powerfully without saying anything–and that’s a true gift.
5. JOAN CRAWFORD in “Mildred Pierce” (1945)
You cannot take yours eyes off Crawford throughout the entire length of this movie. It’s beautiful to see such strength and vulnerabilty married so well in one character.
4. BETTE DAVIS in “Jezebel” (1938)
I grew up on Designing Women so I’m partial to strong Southern women and Bette Davis in Jezebel was right up my alley. She is so convincing in this role I have a hard time seeing her as anything else.
3. JAMES STEWART in “The Philadelphia Story” (1940)
If James Stewart had written a book it would be titled “How to be the Most Charming SOB in the Room” or something to that effect. The man is just so damn charming it’s almost disgusting.
2. SPENCER TRACY in “Captain Courageous” (1937)
I cried pretty much the entire length of this movie and loved it so much I watched it twice in a row the first time I saw it. Spencer Tracy just gets to me and he has my heart. I would have put him as number one but I do realize I’m probably pretty biased in matters regarding this wonderful man.
1. RAY MILLAND in “The Lost Weekend” (1945)
This performance just hurt to watch. It was painful the amount of honesty that seemed to be in Ray Milland’s performance and I don’t think many actor can match that.
The Lost Weekend
OKAY! Now that that’s done–shameless plug time!
The reason this project has been taking me so long is that I decided to devote my downtime to creating a webseries. So this blog has been put on the way way back burner, not that you were really reading it anyway (I know you’re just here for the pictures-it’s okay).
If you’d like to have a look at what I’ve been doing with my down time take a look at my youtube page THE THREE JAMIGOS.