Saturday, 12 April 2014

Best Supporting Actor 1976: Burgess Meredith - Rocky

I'm ashamed to admit it, but this is the first role I have seen Meredith in. I feel sorry for that, because it probably isn't the standout of his career. Or hopefully. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I didn't like Meredith's performance, I didn't like his character.
First we get to see the trainer Mickey, he's very mean to Rocky. It seems rather irrational at this point and we wonder why is that. Meredith is very overacting this scene. His anger and nuisance seems rather forced in this scene. This happens in more moments in the first half of the film. He's unkind and he's overacting the situation.
In one particular scene we find out what is the reason of Mickey's behaviour. (I don't consider it a spoiler, but if you do (and you haven't seen Rocky, which would be ridiculous), skip this clause.) He's bad to Rocky, because he wastes his talents. In this scene we should feel some kind of satisfaction from the fact we finally know something we haven't before. But we don't. I don't know if it's the screenwriter's fault, or Meredith's (I think it's the fault of both of them), but we only keep asking: what? I just never felt that he could be mean in this way for such an improbable reason. Any trainer would probably be angry about his apprentice, if he'd wasted his talents, but I doubt it would be this way. He wouldn't be irrationally angry, he would try to do something with that. Unless it would be a very dumb person. And since we can't cast out the fact that Mickey is dumb, we cannot blame Meredith for this irrationality. That's why I wrote that I can't say I dislike Meredith's performance. It's rather his character I don't understand.
Approximately at the half of the film, there is a scene, in which Mickey tries to persuade Rocky to become his trainer again (though he had refused it before). This particular scene is a standout of Meredith's performance. He portrays emotions, I mean real emotions in this scene so effectively that I simply can't have any complaint against it. He suddenly changes his attitude and is nice to Rocky. But it's all mercenary, because even Mickey would have profit from training Rocky.
From this moment his performance is much better than in the first half of Rocky. He drops off the overacting and leaves a very good impression on the audience...
The chances of winning an Oscar: I believe he was the third. Just before Beatty and Young...

1 comment:

  1. I like him in the other scenes as well but I completely agree that the scene where he pleads with Rocky is his best.