First off, I've never seen When My Baby Smiles At Me. While every other Betty Grable picture gets shown to death on the Fox Movie Channel, this one never shows up anywhere. It's especially maddening because Dan Dailry's nomination may be the most perplexing Best Actor nod in Oscar history. When Mason and I researched Inside Oscar, we could find no reason for this. Dailey was not singled out in reviews and no one seemed to be talking about the performance (or the movie), but there he was on nominations day, present and accounted for. (It may be that his character has a drinking problem, but there were plenty of other screen alcoholics who weren't nominated.)
As for the others, Clifton Webb is droll and amusing in the role that turned him into the most unlikely of huge box-office atttractions. But Mr. Belvedere lacks the depth and quirks of Laura's Waldo Lydecker. A nomination, sure. A win, no.
Montgomery Clift was sensational in 1948, but in Red River, not The Search. Whereas in the Howard Hawks western he was fresh, enigmatic and sexy as hell, in The Search his charisma was muted so that he is, more than anything, sincere.
Laurence Olivier as Hamlet. Who can argue with that? His is a less cerebral interpretation of the role than is usual, but it is -- along with Rebecca -- his most compelling screen performance.
But I'm voting for Lew Ayres, To play a character of genuine goodness and decency without coming off as phony or smarmy is not easy, but Ayres brings it off. And he also conveys a low-keyed but definite steeliness to complement his character's sensitivity. A lovely performance and one I whole-heartedly and enthusiastically endorse.
My Own Top 5:
1. Joseph Cotten in Portrait Of Jennie
2. Lew Ayres in Johnny Belinda
3. Montgomery Clift in Red River
4. Robert Ryan in The Boy With Green Hair
5. Laurence Olivier in Hamlet
Edited By Damien on 1300169554
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell