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Thoughts on Gene Hackman in ‘The Conversation’

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  • CoolHandLuke2012
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    #75608

    What are your thoughts on this performance? I think its absolutely astonishing, it looks like he’s not doing a lot but he’s so damn compelling to watch, its kind of similar to Oldman’s work in Tinker Tailor last year. This seems like the most difficult kind of acting to do, quite introspective work that is so difficult to make compelling and interesting.

    Its a suprise he wasnt nominated that year, he was in a best pic nominee, had rave reviews, won the National Board of Review, was runner up for NYFCC to Nicholson in Chinatown , got Globe and BAFTA noms, was a respected actor, and carries the entire film. By all accounts his reviews and acclaim was stronger than Hoffman in Lenny and Pacino in The Godfather Part 2. 

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    KT
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    #75610

    Great comments here on Gene Hackman. He certainly should have received a nomination–and I would have voted for him to win. I know that Best Actor 1974 is particularly controversial due to the winner, overlooking Nicholson and Pacino…but I would argue that Hackman surpasses both of them.

    The Conversation is a beautifully nuanced performance, the kind that is often overlooked by the Academy. In fact, I think Gene Hackman is criminally underrated by the public for his talents as an actor, and it comes as no surprise on his Inside the Actor’s Studio video that James Lipton said of all his interviewees most people said they wanted to work with him. He’d be on the top of my list to receive the AFI award and Kennedy Center Honors, which should have been awarded to him years ago. Sometimes people (even Academy members) view the best acting as the MOST acting, the performances where actors hide behind makeup and accents to get in character. Sean Connery (in Name of The Rose, The Hill, The Russia House, Man Who Would Be King) and Michael Caine (in Quiet American, Man Who Would Be King, Alfie, Sleuth) are two similar actors I can think of who have this ability, often overlooked because their speaking manner doesn’t change. I most respect what Hackman did in this film, fully creating a wonderfully complicated character through his brilliant work. 

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    babypook
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    #75611

    Wasnt that the year The Towering Inferno received a BP nomination? Lol.

    It’s unfortunate that Coppola had two films in the running that year, in that one was going to be overshadowed. I personally feel that The Conversation was one of the best films of the year. But  I dont think Hackman, who can play anyone and in any genre, was overlooked because he was “too subtle”. He likely would have lost to who he lost to regardless, even if he were in the mix.

    I’m a big fan of Hackman’s resume. He’s incredible. But I dont think he’s criminally overlooked. He has two Oscars and five overall nominations. I’d have given him one here and another there, but I’m confident almost everyone knows what an accomplished thespian he is. It’s up on the screen whenever he shows his face.

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    CoolHandLuke2012
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    #75612

    Well yea Hackman would have lost, if not to Carney then to Jack (who was predicted to win), but he still deserved a nomination for the performance even if he has won a bunch of Oscars

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    CoolHandLuke2012
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    #75613

    Great comments here on Gene Hackman. He certainly should have received a nomination–and I would have voted for him to win. I know that Best Actor 1974 is particularly controversial due to the winner, overlooking Nicholson and Pacino…but I would argue that Hackman surpasses both of them.

    The Conversation is a beautifully nuanced performance, the kind that is often overlooked by the Academy. In fact, I think Gene Hackman is criminally underrated by the public for his talents as an actor, and it comes as no surprise on his Inside the Actor’s Studio video that James Lipton said of all his interviewees most people said they wanted to work with him. He’d be on the top of my list to receive the AFI award and Kennedy Center Honors, which should have been awarded to him years ago. Sometimes people (even Academy members) view the best acting as the MOST acting, the performances where actors hide behind makeup and accents to get in character. Sean Connery (in Name of The Rose, The Hill, The Russia House, Man Who Would Be King) and Michael Caine (in Quiet American, Man Who Would Be King, Alfie, Sleuth) are two similar actors I can think of who have this ability, often overlooked because their speaking manner doesn’t change. I most respect what Hackman did in this film, fully creating a wonderfully complicated character through his brilliant work. 

    I think he’s underrated by film fans who are more into the De Niro, Hoffman, Pacino and Nicholson of that era when Hackman was doing work that was just as good, I think it was a case where he made a lot of bad choices in terms of films he selected, but his performance was always top notch. In Hollywood though and among actors he’s highly regarded and considered a genius. I mean these are actors I know for a fact have named him as one of their favorite actors: William H. Macy (who considers him the best actor of all time), Brad Pitt, Joel Edgerton, Gary Oldman, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy, Tom Hardy, Greta Gerwig, Charlize Theron, and much more. Among his generation actors like Hoffman, Duvall, Warren Beatty, Dennis Hopper, Faye Dunaway have all said how great he is.  

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    Anthony
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    #75614

    Honestly, I thought THE CONVERSATION was not only fantastic but that Gene Hackman was truly remarkable. It is also such a different peformance by him as opposed to his more bombastic work in Bonnie & Clyde or The French Connection or Unforgiven.

    His snub was definitely an undeserved oversight and had he been nominated, I would have been tempted to give him the win by a hair over Jack Nicholson (who I would have given my vote to over the nominees)….although my personal favorite (the “my heart wants to choose….” vote) would have been Gene Wilder in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. 

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    KT
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    #75615

    I think he’s underrated by film fans who are more into the De Niro, Hoffman, Pacino and Nicholson of that era when Hackman was doing work that was just as good, I think it was a case where he made a lot of bad choices in terms of films he selected, but his performance was always top notch. In Hollywood though and among actors he’s highly regarded and considered a genius. I mean these are actors I know for a fact have named him as one of their favorite actors: William H. Macy (who considers him the best actor of all time), Brad Pitt, Joel Edgerton, Gary Oldman, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy, Tom Hardy, Greta Gerwig, Charlize Theron, and much more. Among his generation actors like Hoffman, Duvall, Warren Beatty, Dennis Hopper, Faye Dunaway have all said how great he is.  

    This is exactly what I was speaking to…well said.  Re babypook: I never said he was criminally overlooked, but underrated as is elaborated on in the post above. 

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    babypook
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    #75616

    “criminally underrated by the public “

    Well sorry for causing such offense. His snub is one of a long long long freaking long list of performances overlooked by the Academy, who are apparently geniuses.

    How do you know that he’s criminally underrated by the public?

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    KT
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    #75617

    No worries–maybe public is a bit general, but I feel he isn’t the first name friends, cinephiles, bloggers, entertainment publications (whenever they make lists and rank people) point to as being among the greatest actors/performances. It does seem for me that it’s always De Niro and Pacino on top, then Nicholson and Hoffman…and Hackman is lost or his strongest performances, like The Conversation, not as well known. I really appreciate range when considering greatest actors, and I think many people don’t really look outside the consensus choices (and often cool choices) for greatest films and performances (Godfather, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, etc.). I could be wrong though.

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    babypook
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    #75618

    Hoffman? You mean Phillip Seymour of course?
    Are you saying that Hoffman makes bloggers’ lists as one of the greatest of all time?

    I dont think Hackman has made many poor film choices. I’m staying away from De Niro right now because, he’s showing signs of “rehab” with his craft.

    Let’s put it this way. Whomever these publishers, bloggers, and cinephils are, they’re idiots.

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    KT
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    #75619

    No, Dustin Hoffman!

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    babypook
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    #75620

    Lolol! O yes. Dustin. I forgot about him….wonder why.

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    Scottferguson
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    #75621

    Gene Hackman for me is far and away the best actor (including both genders) in American films in the past 50 years.

    And I totally agree with TK about how awards and attention go usually to showoffy actors (Daniel Day-Lewis, Meryl Streep – my designation, not TK’s)) whose directors don’t restrain them in order to maximize their talents.

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    Icky
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    #75622

    Hackman was excellent here and The Conversation is superior to The Godfather Part 2.

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    KT
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    #75623

    Gene Hackman for me is far and away the best actor (including both genders) in American films in the past 50 years.

    And I totally agree with TK about how awards and attention go usually to showoffy actors (Daniel Day-Lewis, Meryl Streep – my designation, not TK’s)) whose directors don’t restrain them in order to maximize their talents.

    Speaking of DDL….from what I’ve read, Spielberg spent just as much time pleasing him and playing his method game on set as he did directing the movie.

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