Monday, 7 April 2014

Best Supporting Actor 1976: Ned Beatty - Network

Sidney Lumet was a strange director. He stands behind some really cult films that are going to be praised forever, but on the other hand there are some very inconsistent films among his filmography. Fortunately Network belongs to the first category. When I was watching it for the first time, I really loved it. Now, a few years later I found it a bit boring, but it still was quite effective.
1976 must have been a very weak year for supporting male performances. There is no other way I could explain performances such as Beatty's being nominated. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike his performance. But I found it just not enough for an Oscar nomination. Why?
Beatty has only got two scenes in the film. One being very brief with only one sentence from him and other one lasting about five minutes. I don't tend to underestimate performances by their screentime, but Beatty did not get very much to do in this time.
After I finished watching Network for the first time, I almost loved Beatty's work here. I liked his over the top performance so much, that I kept declaring that she should have won an Oscar, though I hadn't seen The Maranton Man (and still haven't). But times have changed and so has my opinion about him.
During his only important scene he basically has one long monologue. What is really unforgivable is not the 'overness' of it, but the fact that in spite of his overacting, my mind kept running away and I was thinking about different things. I had to rewatch it in order to be objective. And I must admit that his overacting was quite enjoyable and it was obvious that he was enjoying this part as well, but was it enough for an Oscar nomination? Not at all. He was very fine, I liked his presence, but there must have been better performances that year. One being Robert Duvall's in the same film.
The chances of winning an Oscar: I'd say they weren't very high, but his category was the only acting category, in which Network didn't win. But he was fourth, maybe fifth, anyway...

1 comment:

  1. He's fine but as one scene wonders go I've seen more impressive ones. I actually thought Finch was more interesting in that particular scene.