If you were studying Peter O’Toole just before Forest Whitaker was named the winner of the Best Actor Oscar, and then at the precise moment that it happens, it’s clear O’Toole wanted to hear his own name very badly (who wouldn’t?) and that he was pretty much primally shattered when he didn’t. It’s a look of “oh dear God, it’s happened again.”
O’Tooler recovers quickly and applauds Whitaker like a gentleman, but those facial spasms got to me. He wore that same haunted look in 1980 during the curtain call for a critically-despised Old Vic production of Macbeth that O’Toole was starring in. (Some in the audience were booing; others were half-clapping at best — the rudest crowd I’ve ever been a part of.)
The sly old goat should have won on Sunday night. The reason he did (apart from his enervated campaigning and the fact that he started too late) is that Venus didn’t deliver any lump-in-the-throat moments and wasn’t that widely liked.