Andrew over at Encore's World of Film & TV is holding a wee blogathon that pits performances from the 90's against each other so that we can find out what the most essential performance was of that decade. He invited me to vouch for some people, so I (coincidentally) chose a couple of performances that happened to be released in 1993 - and both lost to Tommy Lee Jones' supporting performance in The Fugitive at the Oscars - Leonardo DiCaprio as Arnie Grape in What's Eating Gilbert Grape and Ralph Fiennes as Amon Göth in Schindler's List. They're both facing off with their opposition on different days, but when they pop up, be sure to vote for them, okay? Good. Here's a few of my defending words on the two:
Leonardo DiCaprio as Arnie Grape in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (up against Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction)
Forgive me, but it has been around three and a half years since I last saw What's Eating Gilbert Grape. Coincidentally, it also marks three and a half years since I have been in love with Leonardo DiCaprio, and vowed to see everything he's in. Most people say that about his role in Titanic, which sent the world into Leo-Mania when I was just a wee tyke. But no, it was the day that I saw What's Eating Gilbert Grape on a jaded video tape that I'd used to record it off the TV that I fell completely and utterly in love with Leonardo DiCaprio. Up until then, my idea of Leo was based on the final half an hour of Titanic. Yeah. To know that this guy started out playing the mentally retarded brother of Johnny Depp, and the fact that he did it so damn well, pretty much blew my mind to pieces. I'm not joking.
For one thing, Leo doesn't look 19 - he looks about 12. For another thing, you can tell he is having fun with his role, but at the same time, he plays the role with integrity, realism and heart. Unlike many of his Oscar-baiting roles, you can see Leo just relax into his role, which is incredible considering that any other actor could have taken it and blown it out of proportion. Mental disability roles are usually associated with that little golden statue, but not for one moment do you feel like Leo is constantly grabbing out for your applause. Instead, we're just overwhelmed by how sharp and intense his performance is, even though you feel as if it is just second nature to him. And that, my friends, is why I'll still watch movies like J. Edgar, because one day, I hope that Leo will ease into a role the way he did here. It might be too late, but I think we can all agree that Leo is a talented man, based on his performance in this film.
Ralph Fiennes as Amon Göth in Schindler's List (up against Juliette Binoche in Three Colours: Blue)
Every one knows that is my FAVOURITE. PERFORMANCE. EVER. So instead of writing something new, I'll just compile a whole lot of things I've already said about this performance on the blog:
"The best thing about his performance was the fact that when there was a close-up of him, you'd look into his eyes and it was like he was nothing. It was like he was empty, drained of life, drained of any humanism. He just kills because he feels he has to...It is hard to play someone so empty and power-hungry at the same time, which is why I loved Fiennes' performance so much.""I just can't stress enough how utterly perfect he is as ruthless Nazi Amon Göth. Reading about the actual person, I found it hard to believe that someone like him existed, but what I found even harder to believe is how anyone could throw themselves so completely into playing him. Ralph is utterly terrifying, even from just one look. Every single moment in his performance qualifies him for being the best performance of all-time - it is bloody ridiculous that he didn't get the Oscar. You look at him and you see death, right the way through him. Which, as an actor, is not a very easy thing to convey."
Look, this performance is just amazing, astounding, breathtaking, extraordinary, impressive, marvellous, miraculous, spectacular, staggering, striking, stunning, stupendous, wonderful thing ever created. Yes, I did just search up "amazing" in a thesaurus to get all of those words. Someone out to write a whole damn book filled with similar words to describe his performance.
So, what do you think of these performances? I hope to see you flicking a few votes there way when it comes time to stick up the polls!