Official Nominations: Melvyn Douglas. Hugh Griffith. John Huston. Bobby Darin. Nick Adams.
1963’s official nominations aren’t very exciting for me and I don’t feel that any of the choices really stand out as Oscar worthy. Eventual winner Melvyn Douglas gets my vote too, although I feel a bit dirty picking Hud‘s dad as a winner and not Hud himself. Hugh Griffith adequately plays a scheming squire, John Huston adequately plays a scheming Cardinal, Bobby Darin adequately plays a Corporal, while, surprise surprise, Nick Adams adequately plays a murder suspect. It’s not very exciting.
My Winner: Melvyn Douglas.
My Nominations: James Garner. Donald Pleasence. Robert Shaw. Gary Raymond. David McCallum. James Coburn. Hannes Messemer. Charles Bronson.
Again, none of my picks are part of the official list and most of mine come from The Great Escape. Robert Shaw goes down in history as one of the great Bond villians, not because he is an outlandish character or because of some cartoonish device, but because he is basically another version of Bond- charming, cold, calculating, and will stop at nothing to get the job done. Gary Raymond does a similar job in a very different film as Acastus in Jason And The Argonauts. He is the villianous counterpart to Jason but like Jason is toyed with and largely controlled by forces beyond his control. My remaining picks fill up The Great Escape cast. James Garner is the more productive American, although like Steve McQueen, it seems at first that everything he does is for himself. He is able to charm the enemy in the jaws of death and it is his own wit and ingenuity which saves many lives, including his own. Coburn and McCallum give memorable performances with both men again using their wiles to survive from day to day and help with the escape plans, Bronsan is the powerful but reluctant tunnel king. Not to leave the bad guys out, Messemer is both approachable and wicked, and although he is the figure of hate in the film we get the sense that he is following orders which he wishes he didn’t have to, not that that could ever absolve him of his guilt. My win though goes to Donald Pleasence who for much of the film doesn’t seem to give anything productive to the troops other than teaching them bird calls. It is his downtrodden nature and the sympathy he generates in us for him in his slight movements and old world naivety which gives him my vote.
My Winner: Donald Pleasence.