Sunday, 15 November 2015

Best Leading Actor 1994: Nigel Hawthorne - The Madness of King George

The first scenes of The Madness of King Geroge are giving a very good introduction to its leading character. It is going to be funny, comic creation of an actor (if he can handle it and use it well) and you realize that this biopic might not be taking his persona too seriously, which should be fine.
Nigel Hawthorne chose to play this character more like a funny old man, than a real human character. You could perhaps call it a caricature. You see, it's certainly not method acting, yet it wonderfully works for this role. The screenplay is not trying to make this a true biopic, at which you'd find out something important about a historical figure. This one includes scenes of the king trying to fart and the queen trying to help him to do so.
The first and most important thing about Hawthorne's performance is the main issue of the film: the actual madness. Hawthorne is great in showing this. We constantly guess if he really is mad, or is he just pretending it. But you definitely see, why everyone around him found his behaviour inconvinient.
You know, as Hawthorne is showing this, he was able to achieve something extraordinary. As he is acting out his madness, it is very funny and enjoyable sometimes, yet when needed to, it can be also heartbreaking. Hawthorne perfectly showed off his sense for comedy that he uses very well. On the other hand, he can pull off and emotional outbrust that is believable and is not disturbing us in the context of the performance. One such scene is the one on the roof, when he's talking to the queen. Both of the actors made this situation memorable, yet Hawthorne showed, how deep his portrayal is. He was able to express the fears and the inner feelings of his character very subtly, yet hilariously.
There is only one complaint I have towards this performance. As the king is getting better, Hawthorne's performance becomes a bit dull. I know that the film pushes him into the corner, but he lets the film do it. It's not any fatal mistake that would make this film worse. It is still a wonderful performance that was very refreshing to see in such genre.
The chances of winning an Oscar: Despite the support from Bafta and the british voters, Hawthorne was just happy to be nominated.