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Examples of tour-de-force performances

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  • MERYLMADNESS
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    #108905

    People here frequently use the term “tour-de-force” and while I know it means a truly brilliant, firing on all cylinders performance, I feel like it only applies to the top performances in film history. So lets really discuss it.

    What do you think are some tour-de-force performances? 

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    Scottferguson
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    #108907

    Divine in Pink Flamingoes.

    For me most tour-de-force performances are unbearable and the sign of a bad movie. 

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    Beau S.
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    #108908

    In no particular order

    Bette Davis, All About Eve
    Bette Davis, The Letter
    Bette Davis, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
    Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
    Donald O’Connor, Singin’ in the Rain
    Al Pacino, The Godfather Part II
    Al Pacino, Dog Day Afternoon
    Ellen Burstyn, Requiem for a Dream
    Charlize Theron, Monster
    Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
    Robert De Niro, Raging Bull
    Burt Lancaster, Atlantic City
    Susan Sarandon, Atlantic City
    Julianne Moore, Far from Heaven
    Meryl Streep, Sophie’s Choice
    Meryl Streep, A Cry in the Dark
    Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
    Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
    Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
    Vera Farmiga, Down to the Bone
    Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    Uma Thurman, the Kill Bill films

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    nkb325
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    #108909

    I kind of consider a tour-de-force performance the things you mentioned, but also when an actor just blazes through a film carrying the whole thing. The example I think of is Quvenzhane Wallis for BOTSW. From the moment she’s on screen it is her movie and she just carries that movie on her shoulders. She is in every scene and it woud have been a different movie without her. However I know there’s some debate on child actors so I guess another example might be something like Marion Cotillard in La Vie En Rose. She took kind of a bad movie and made it actually decent by pulling it up out of the rubble and owning the screen every second she was on it. However honestly these could just be good performances it’s kind of a subjective term haha

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    allabout oscars
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    #108910

    ACTRESSES

    ELIZABETH TAYLOR- VIRGINIA WOOLF?
    BETTE DAVIS- ALL ABOUT EVE
    BARBRA STREISAND- FUNNY GIRL
    MERYL STREEP- SOPHIE’S CHOICE
    ELLEN BURSTYN- REQUIEM FOR A DREAM

    ACTORS

    DANIEL DAY-LEWIS- THERE WILL BE BLOOD
    SEAN PENN- MILK
    DUSTIN HOFFMAN- MIDNIGHT COWBOY
    JAMES CAGNEY- YANKEE DOODLE DANDY
    PETER FINCH- NETWORK

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    Scottferguson
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    #108911

    Marion Cotillard, a talented actress, gave a tour de force performance in La Mome (La vie en rose) – which I consider to be a bad performance specifically because it has all the tour de force elements.

    Generally, t-d-f acting comes at the expense of the overall movie. Not sure I’d agree with some the examples cited. 

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    Bill Buchanan
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    #108912

    The moment I saw the title I thought of three performances (I don’t know why, it just happened):

    Peter O’Toole, Lawrence of Arabia
    Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
    Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

    When I hear the phrase “Tour-de-force” I think of a showy performance that owns a movie. Subtle performances, no matter how great they are, would probably never be called a tour-de-force because that term, at least in my mind, implies a more visceral reaction to what we’re being shown. For example, Brando and Pacino in The Godfather (1972) are very subdued, and I wouldn’t call either a tour de force performance, yet they’re among the best in cinema history.

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    babypook
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    #108913

    Well, since I’m not neurotic about these things, I have nothing against supremely skilled, masterwork and spectacular performances, so the examples I’d list would be very long indeed.
    I’ll mention two:

    Christopher Walken, The Deer Hunter
    Chris Cooper, Adaptation

    There are so many others, and I’m glad for them all. Afterall, I LOVE movies, and terrific perfs, are a huge part of why. Plus, the perfs dont have to come off as “embalmed” for me. Laugh, cry, scream. throw some dishes. As long as the reactions are human, and they move me, and, I think they’re terrific, I’m happy for them.       

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    Marcus Snowden (The Artist Formerly Known as msnowden1)
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    #108914

    The performance that immediately comes to mind is Robert De Niro’s performance in Raging Bull. 

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    Logan
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    #108915

    Portman in Black Swan is probably a fair recent example.

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    BrokenFan
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    #108916

    Would award sweeps be considered ‘tour-de-force’ performances? It seems supporting is a lot easier to sweep than lead.

    For example:

    Helen Mirren – The Queen
    DDL – There WIll Be Blood, Lincoln, Gangs of New York (to an extent)
    Chris Cooper – Adaptation
    Anne Hathaway – Les Miz
    Jennifer Hudson – Dreamgirls
    Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight (Prime example of a once- in a  generation, Tour De-may the force be with you performance)
    Monique – Precious
    Forest Whitaker – Last King of Scotland
    Phillip Seymour Hoffman – Capote
    Robert Deniro – Raging Bull
    Jack Nicholson – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

     
     

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    Logan
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    #108917

    Dominic Cooper in The Devil’s Double, too.

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    Halo_Insider
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    #108918

    I guess that I look at “tour-de-force” in the manners you guys have mentioned, but I also tend to look at it as signifying the creative high point of a respective actor’s career. So in a way, the term just about equates to “career-best” for me (though I grant that I don’t apply the term to all actors).

    Some include:

    Humphrey Bogart – Casablanca; The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
    Ellen Burstyn – Requiem for a Dream
    Lee J. Cobb – 12 Angry Men
    Robert De Niro – Raging Bull
    Anthony Hopkins – The Silence of the Lambs
    John Hurt – The Elephant Man
    Frances McDormand – Fargo
    Jack Nicholson – Chinatown; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    Gregory Peck – To Kill a Mockingbird
    Sam Rockwell, Moon
    George C. Scott – Patton
    James Stewart – It’s A Wonderful Life; Vertigo
    Charlize Theron – Monster
    Denzel Washington – Malcolm X
    Kate Winslet – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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    Renaton
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    #108919

    I don’t see how a tour de force is a bad thing, because they wouldn’t be such to begin with if they don’t fit the film and the film itself isn’t quality. 

    Anyways, for me musicals tended to have some excellent examples. Like Donald O’ Connor in Singin’ In The Rain for example.

    In drama, I think a good example of tour de force would be  Robert de Niro in Raging Bull. But I also feel tour de forces are not necessarily larger than life. Take something like Liv Ullman in Persona. It is absolutely phenomenal what she does there. 

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    Logan
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    #108920

    Bibi Andersson has much more to do in Persona (though Ullmann’s fine).

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