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Great Subtle Performances

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  • Mad Max Guitarist
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    #220174

    In the wake of Mark Rylance’s brilliant subtle acting win as Rudolf Abel in Bridge of Spies a week ago, let’s discuss about your recollection of great subtle performance.

    My favorite is Gene Hackman’s underrated turn in The Conversation. Quite strange he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar in that one because in my opinion it is his career best performance!

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    FilmGuy619
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    #220176

    Bill Murray in Lost in Translation. A shame that his layered, naturalistic turn lost out. Hey, Sean Penn, how did all that scenery taste? 

    Jeremy Renner in American Hustle. He was the unsung hero of the film. Probably because most of the focus was on the caricatural performances by his cast members. Amy Adams aside because she was the film’s co-MVP along with Renner.

    Also, Rachel McAdams in Spotlight. I don’t care what anyone says. I support her nomination.
    Yes, voters should’ve cited her for Mean Girls. But Spotlight is still a good performance from her. 

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    ENGLAND
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    #220177

    Sean Young in Blade Runner,
    Benecio Del Toro in Sicario,
    Casey Affleck in Gone Baby Gone, and
    Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men

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    Mad Max Guitarist
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    #220179

    I want to give a few names:

    – Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
    – Andy Garcia (The Godfather Part III)
    – Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain)
    – Rooney Mara (Carol)
    – Matt Damon (BOURNE 1-3!!!)
    – Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James)
    – Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)
    – Joan Fontaine (Rebecca)
    – Robert De Niro (Taxi Driver)
    – William Holden (Network)
    – Jim Carrey (Eternal Sunshine)
    – Tim Robbins (Mystic River)
    – Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men)
    – Ethan Hawke (Training Day)
    – Adrien Brody (The Pianist) 
    – Colin Firth (A Single Man) 

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    Anonymous
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    #220180

    Charlotte Rampling, Saoirse Ronan, Rooney Mara, Mark Rylance in 2015

    Tilda Swinton in most of her films.

    Julianne Moore in “The Hours”.

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    babypook
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    #220181

    I suppose ‘subtle’ means different things to us all…..

    Everyone in Ghost World, for starters.

    John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone

    Mads Mikkelsen and Matthias Schoenaerts in everything

    Ian McKellen, Gods and Monsters. Brendan Fraser is amazing as well.

    Carrie Snodgress, Diary of a Mad Housewife

    Everyone, including the often ott Jack Nicholson, in Reds

    Bill and Scarlett, Lost in Translation

    Everyone in The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

    Gary Cooper in everything

    Joan Fontaine and Teresa Wright, in everything

    Jennifer Jones, The Song of Bernadette

    Gregory Peck, in everything

    James Mason, in everything

    Betsy Blair, Marty

    Joanne Woodward, in everything

    Deborah Kerr, in all

    David Niven, Seperate Tables

    The entire cast from Judgement at Nuremberg

    Patricia Neal, Hud

    The entire cast from Dr Zhivago

    Paul Scofield,  A Man for All Seasons

    The great Spencer Tracy, in everything

    Alan Arkin, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

    The entire cast  in Reds

    Robert Duvall and Al Pacino, The Godfather

    Randy Quaid, The Last Detail

    Liv Ullmann, in everything

    Timothy Hutton, Ordinary People (and the rest of the cast, come to think of it)

    Burt Lancaster, Atlantic City

    Tom Conti, Reuben Reuben

    Judy Davis and Peggy Ashcroft, in everything

    River Phoenix, Running on Empty

    The cast from Do the Right Thing

    Jessica Tandy, Driving Miss Daisy

    Kathy Bates, Misery….kidding, kidding

    Jodie Foster, The Silence of The Lambs

    The cast from Howards End

    Ralph Fiennes, Schindler’s List…I’d call that one of the most chillingly subtle perfs ever

    Meryl Streep, The Bridges of Madison County

    Benicio Del Toro, Traffic

    Ken Watanabe, The Last Samurai

    Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener

    Adriana Barraza, Babel

    Richard Jenkins, The Visitor

    Melissa Leo, Frozen River

    The great Christopher Plummer, in everything

    Vera Farmiga, Up in The Air

    Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

    Demian Bichir, A Better Life

    Janet McTeer, in everything

    Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

    Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine….sublimely subtle imo

    The cast in Boyhood

    The cast in Spotlight, including Mark Ruffalo, who sinfully ‘raised his voice’

    The cast in Brooklyn

    Roony and Cate, Carol

     

    Phew! I guess I’ll stop here…lol!

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    VenusInFurs
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    #220182

    Carey Mulligan – An Education

    Amy Morton – Bluebird
    Ian Holm – The Sweet Hereafter
    Donald Sutherland – Klute
    Nastassja Kinski – Paris, Texas
    the two leads of L’enfant
    Dakota Fanning – Night Moves
    Brit Marling – Another Earth
    Anne Dorval – I Killed My Mother
    Liv Ullmann – The Emigrants
    Katrin Cartlidge – Breaking the Waves
    Paprika Steen/Danica Curcic – Silent Heart
    Rooney Mara – Ain’t Them Bodies
    Saints

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    Eddy Q
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    #220183

    I’ll take ‘subtle’ to here mean ‘quiet, unassuming or generally unhistrionic’, although of course many showier performances have subtlies within them. With that said:

    Oscar winners
    Rylance’s win reminds me of two supporting actress champs: Judi Dench and Tilda Swinton. Despite very distinctive screen presences, neither of them had to depend on histrionics to win (although Swinton’s character is often very edgy). It’s interesting that Rylance, Dench and Swinton are all British and won only BAFTA out of the televised awards along with their Oscar. (Some people think Dench coasted to her win on the back of Shakespeare in Love’s Oscar sweep, but it’s worth remembering that she also won the National Society of Film Critics award, even with a runner-up for screenplay being the only other recognition for Shakespeare from that group.) 

    Oscar nominees
    Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years
    Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
    Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
    Amy Adams – The Master
    Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
    Jacki Weaver – Animal Kingdom (the serpentine equivalent to Melissa Leo’s rhinoceros)
    Virginia Madsen – Sideways
    Bill Murray – Lost in Translation
    Helen Mirren – Gosford Park 
    Marianne Jean-Baptiste – Secrets and Lies
    and many more…

    From those who weren’t nominated, I’ll give a shout-out to Jean-Louis Trintignant in Amour, Vanessa Redgrave in Wetherby and Lesley Sharp in Naked. But obviously there are literally thousands.

     

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    Eddy Q
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    #220185

    ^ Well she didn’t shout or scream or cry. She was regal and authoritative, as she should have been. Like I said I’m using a very broad definition of ‘subtle’, but I certainly wouldn’t describe Dench’s Elizabeth I as unsubtle in any case. 

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    OnTheAisle
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    #220187

    My choice would be Robert Duvall’s Oscar winning work in Tender Mercies. As recovering alcoholic county singer Mac Sledge, Duvall effortlessly  bottoms out in booze laden sloth, finds God, happily remarries, explores tragedy, and attempts to return to music stardom.

    None of this occurs with histrionics or overt line readings. Rather, Duvall is introverted. Duvall chooses to address each change with taciturn emotions. Despite the performance being limited in speeches and emotion, the viewer is always clear in how Mac feels in response to events. It is a masterful performance that ultimately shows that we can find the joy of life in the toss of a football.

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    Joe Burns
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    #220188

    Joanne Woodward in Rachel Rachel 

    Imelda Staunton in Vera Drake 

    Julianne Moore in  Far From Heaven 

    Kate Winslet in Little Children 

    Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years 

    Helena Bonham Carter in The Wings Of Dove 

    Sissy Spacek in In The Bedroom 

    Julie Christie in Away From Her  

     

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    nkb325
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    #220189

    Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
    Sylvester Stallone – Creed (i feel like people have like tricked themselves into thinking this was a showing performance, but Stallone never cries, never yells, never so much as raises his voice above slightly loud as far as I can remember)
    Jacob Tremblay – Room
    Elizabeth Hartman – A Patch of Blue (such an underrated and not talked about enough performance in an underrated and not talked about enough movie)

    That’s just off the top of my head, and I’m not sure exactly what my definition of subtle is, we probably all have different ones

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    Riley
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    #220190

    Kyle Chandler, The Wolf of Wall Street

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    Riley
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    #220192

    Like Mark Rylance!  Chandler in that movie did not have enough screen time to make my personal nominees that year, but I continually cite the performance as making the most out of very little material.

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    ENGLAND
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    #220194

    Viola Davis in Antoine Fisher. Casey Affleck is the king of subtle.

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