Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Best Leading Actor 1994: Morgan Freeman - The Shawshank Redemption

Morgan Freeman received his third Oscar nomination for playing Red, the narrator of The Shawshank Redemption. The first thing I must mention is that I'm surprised he was placed into the leading category. Not because he isn't lead, he's a co-lead along with Tim Robbins. But today the studio would have probably put him in the supporting category, so that he would make room for Robbins to be nominated in the leading category.
Freeman really makes a great narrator. It's not only his deep iconic voice that fits the film. It's also the charm he gives into the narration. He always stays within the character, so he doesn't become a boring documentary-style narrator.
Red is a very respected man among the prisoners. He's known for being able to get you anything you need in prison and is some kind of a leader between some group of prisoners. To be honest, I had never thought of Freeman as a type for playing such leader-types. Can't really explain why, it's simply the way I view Freeman. Surprisingly, Freeman was very believable at this. Somehow he was able to endure respect, just through his screen presence. The way he walks and uses his voice, or mimicry made him a very natural leader.
The fact is, Freeman doesn't have many emotional moments to really shine. And yet he still manages to create a wonderful character. He brings so much charm into his role that there is no way you won't sympathize with him. Along Andy, he is probably the most likable character of the film. And that was not easy to achieve, according to the fact that he doesn't get many opportunities to do so.
Freeman also creates a fantastic screen chemistry with Tim Robbins. These two create true friends and they are the standouts of their films. I'd have a hard time deciding, which one do I prefer. A great example for this is a scene, in which Red reveals that he's already institutionalized by the prison. If I had to choose Freeman's Oscar clip, it would be from this scene.
The following section contains spoiler. So if you haven't seen the film (you must live on another planet), I recommend not to read it.
At the end of the film, when Red gets out of the prison, Freeman is particularly excellent in showing the frustrasion Red is going through. He'd spent the majority of his life in prison and now he can't figure out what to do with the freedom.
To sum it up, I must say that I watched The Shawshank Redemption for the third time to write this review. Every time I have watched the film, this performance has grown on me. After the first time, I found him just fine. The second some I called this performance great and this time I'd have a hard time not saying this performance is flawless. Wonderfully fitting to the character and the tone of the film.
The chances of winning an Oscar: I think he was the fourth, according to the fact that the film wasn't so huge among the Academy voters.

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