Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera!
With those words, Yul Brynner seized film immortality for himself, playing the king of Siam in the film adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I. Every time I watch that movie, I have to fight the urge to stand, arms akimbo, and ask random strangers, “Shall we dance?”
Facing Brynner in the original competition were two actors from George Stevens’ Giant, James Dean and Rock Hudson:
Over in France, Kirk Douglas spoke French and got an earful of passionate painting with the story of Vincent van Gogh, Lust for Life:
Finally, Laurence Olivier humped about in great boyish, murderous glee searching for a horse in Richard III:
Despite the general quality of those performances, the Academy needed to widen its options and consider the following.
First, Kevin McCarthy’s fine, frenzied turn in the science fiction classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers:
And for those of you who think John Wayne can’t act — you’re wrong, by the way — the Academy was just as wrong when they ignored what may be the Duke’s finest performance as a murderous, vengeful bigot in The Searchers:
Finally, the Academy ignored what may be the finest male performance in the history of Japanese cinema, that of Takashi Shimura in Akira Kurosawa’s modern masterpiece, Ikiru (yes, this is the correct year of eligibility, as this is the year of American release):
Tough year, no?
If you would like to make other suggestions, please do so below in the comments!
As always, I have much more to say in my book: http://www.amazon.com/WHO-Irreverent-Look-Oscars-Volume/dp/069232318X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0
And now, please vote!