“Few are begrudging Kate Winslet‘s Oscar win,” writes Chicago Tribune columnist Mark Caro, “and yet few contend that her portrayal of former Nazi concentration camp guard Hanna Schmitz in The Reader is her strongest work ever.
Winslet’s performances in Revolutionary Road and Little Children, he argues, “were more complex and searing, and she transfixed even in Heavenly Creatures, her 1994 debut.” Caro uses this as a launch into a piece about 10 accomplished artists — Al Pacino, Martin Scorsese, Paul Newman, Sydney Pollack, etc. — who won Academy Awards for the “wrong” movie.
I could come up with a few myself, but it’s easier to let HE readers do this and then bounce off their calls in the comments section. Almost all acting Oscars are for a body of work, of course — the performance cited is always deemed worthy, of course, but an acting Oscar is basically a career-capper tribute.
John Wayne won his Best Actor Oscar for True Grit, but it might not have happened if he hadn’t given several verging-on-great performances in They Were Expendable, Red River, The Searchers, Rio Bravo, North to Alaska and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
Yes — North to Alaska. It’s perhaps Wayne’s only flat-out comedic performance but he’s just about perfect in every scene, goofing on his tough-cowboy machismo, confident, playing it relatively straight but also having fun at times, always in good spirits, etc.