Official Nominations: Cliff Robertson. Alan Arkin. Alan Bates. Ron Moody. Peter O’Toole
Cliff Robertson picked up the official win this year for the title role in Charley, based off Flowers For Algernon. It’s a decent enough performance although contemporary audiences will likely feel uncomfortable watching the outdated but honest portrayal of a mentally handicapped person trying to ‘better himself’. The win was controversial as many outlets and detractors saw it as another example of the soliciting of votes rather than a deserving victory. Alan Arkin does well in an early role, ironically similar to that of Robertson but in an altogether darker movie while Alan Bates does his best Russian impression in The Fixer. Ron Moody stands out in posibly the most recognizable performance of Fagan while Peter O’Toole is rather plain in the rather plain Lion In Winter. All of the films nominated for Best Actor this year were based on a book or a play in another sign of Hollywood clinging to the old ways.
My Winner: Ron Moody
My Nominations: Steve McQueen. Christopher Lee. Lee Marvin. Toshiro Mifune. Duane Jones. Charles Bronson. Zero Mostel.
An entirely different line-up for me this year, with 7 nominees making up my list. Although McQueen also starred in The Thomas Crown Affair this year, it is his commanding and cool performance in Bullitt which garners his nod. McQueen did a lot of preparation for the role, rattles off the dialogue in a matter of fact, whip-smart way, and of course did many of the stunts himself. Christopher Lee takes on a rare good guy role in The Devil Rides Out, one of countless similar horror films he starred in, but one whose quality stands over most of the others. Lee commands as expected, and gives as regal and refined a performance in a horror movie as you’re ever likely to see. Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune both get nods for the same movie as they star as two shipwrecked soldiers on opposing sides in WWII who must work together to survive. Marvin gets more screen time as a lead than many other more well known performances, while Mifune gives probably his best performance outside of his Japanese movies. Duane Jones gives a timeless, earnest, and yes, regal performance in Night Of The Living Dead inadvertently becoming a counter culture and civil rights icon while Charles Bronson has possibly his best role in Once Upon A Time In The West. Finally, Zero Mostel is hilarious as the greedy, scheming Bialystock in The Producers. This is a tough choice for me as I feel all are worthy winners.
My Winner: Charles Bronson
Who is your pick for Best Actor of 1968? Let us know in the comments!