The Ottawa Journal from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on March 27, 1976 · Page 37
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The Ottawa Journal from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada · Page 37

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Issue Date:
Saturday, March 27, 1976
Page 37
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The Choices Saturday, March 27, 1976 The Ottawa Journal Section 3, Page 37 NC f . a TV- I - "11 " t '; H ' Ail WW . : j j - f t ii " ,Niw """ " " 5 The Oscars Nicholson, 'Cuckoo's Nest9 likely to take top awards g By FRANK DALEY Journal Film Critic M The 48th Academy Awards will be telecast on CBC Monday night and more than 150 million people will tune in to see a bosomy star fall out of her dress or to see if a movie they saw gets any glory. Guessing who will win and assessing things to see who you think should win are two different things of course made more difficult by the unpredictability of the Academy voters who are prodded by friendship, the financial success of a film (success equals jobs), old debts, sUhKo loyalty, antipathy and anything else you. can suggest. . - ' . Then there are the vagaries of the award" nominations themselves. Howls it possible for example for Federico Fellini's Amarcord to win the award for best foreign film last year as it did arid return this year to get nominated for best director and best original screen play? Is it simply because the film wasn't in general release last 'year? "And how can Walter Matthau be nominated for best actor while George Burns is nominated for best supporting actor when they share co-star billing (and co-star roles) in The Sunshine Boys? Doesn't that strike "yourasTrmove to try-finrtwo-awards instead ofsplitting-a vote? And doesn't it also eliminate another worthy supporting actor from consideration? Yes it does. Best-picture. jtheir respective films.-The betting is on Nicholson. Walter Matthau, Maximillian Schefi and James Whit-more are dark horses. , In the best actress category Louise Fletcher seems to have the inside track; certainly her performance was, powerful and persuasive. Her chief competition will be from Ann-Margaret (Tommy) and Glenda Jackson (Hedda Gabler) but Jackson has won twice before and her Hedda isn't turning people upside down. Carol Kane and Isabelle Adjam are not generally conceded much of a chance. ' ' The best supporting actor and actress categories -are completely open holding as they do such diverse and exceptional performances. Literally ndrie of the women or the men gave other than excellent performances with the possible exception of George Burns. For the men, Jack Warden in Shampoo or Chris Sarandon for Dog Day would be my selections., Burgess Mereaun was one oi.tne most memorable tnlngs about The Day of the Locust and Brad Dourif was fine as the sexually repressed stutterer in Cuckoo. All the women were good in the supporting roles. -Brenda Vaccarro proved that a good actor (actress) can give a good performance in a terrible film in Once Is Not Enough; Lee Grant was her usual perceptive self -in Shampoo: Lily Tomlm surprised many-people with her splendid work in Nashville and Ronee Blakley came out of nowhere to astonish in the same film; and Sylvia Miles made a touching figure in Farewell, My Lovely. You pick the winner; I'd pick them all. Best director I've long since stopped trying to figure the nqmina- tion system out. tierewnn men, me nominees oi mosi public interest; you can make your selections and see You'd think that the best picture would also be the how close you come. recipient of the best director award but it ain't neces- For best Dicture the odds are on One Flew Over the sarily so. Milos Forman could win for Cuckoo but so Cuckoo's Npst notwithstanding that Jaws made several could Lumetfor Dog Day. Robert Altman seems to enlarge the directing consciousness every second time out and he did it again in Nashville but it was not a - popular film and Stanley Kubrick and Federico Fellini would seem to be also rans this year although that in Itself seems strange doesnTitT ; ; - Shampoo and Dog Day have the lead as best original screenplays and Cuckoo or possibly the Man Who Would be King could win the award for best screenplay based on another medium. And its safe to say that no matter how bad the show is most of us will stay up to watch to the end. ISO million people can't be wrong, can they? fortunes. Barry Lyndon hasn't got a prayer -as best picture and Nashville, although excellent, probably -doesnither ThatJeaves Dog Day Afternoon to vie - with Cuckoo, - . ; In the best actor category everyone seems to think this is Jack Nicholson's year. He has won several other acting awards this year and he has been defeated three times before (Five Easy Pieces, in 1970, The Last Detail, in 1973 and Chinatown, in 1974). Ironically I think Al Pacino's work in Dog Day Afternoon was, on the whole, a more difficult assignment and he did it well. But both men are superb and did excellent work in m (. fite, mmmmmmtmmmmmHi iMI.ii i i mi i r - - mmmmammmmmmmmmmmm BEST PICTURE Barry Lyndon Dog Day Afternoon Jaws Nashville One Flew Over The Cuckoos' Nest BEST ACTOR Walter Matthau (The Sunshine Boys) Jack Nicholson (Cuckoo's Nest) Al Pacino (Dog Day Afternoon) ' Maximilliai Scbell (The Man in the Glass Booth) James Whitmore (Give 'Em Hell, Harry) BEST ACTRESS Isabelle Adjani (The Story of AdeleH.) Ann-Margaret (Tommy) Louise Fletcher (Cuckoo's Nest) Glenda Jackson (Hedda Gabler) Carol Kane (Hester Street) - BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR George Burns (Sunshine Boys)... - Brad iDourif (Cuckoo's Nest) Burgess . Meredith (The Day of the Locust) Chris Sarandon (Dog Day Afternoon) Jack Warden (Shampoo) BEST SUPPORTING AC- TRESS Ronee Blakley (Nashville) - Lee Grant (Shampoo) Silvia Miles (Farewell, My Lovely) Lily Tomlin (Nashville) -Brenda Vaccaro (Once is NotEnough) BEST DIRECTOR Federico Felllnl (Amar--cord) Stanley Kubrick (Barry Lyndon) Sdney Lumet (Dog Day Photo montage by DOW The Journal Crawley's Everest9 top contender Ottawa's Crawley Films is considered to have the best chance to win an award of the Canadian entries this year. It is nominated in the feature-documentary category for The Man Who Skied Down Everest and its chief competition will come from the National Geographic-Wolper pro duction of The Incredible - Machine and Shirley MacLaine's documentary, The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir. In the feature category, Lies My Father Told Me, while a completely Canadian production has been -nominated as an American production in the best original screenplay cate gory. It is impossible to disguise, however, that Canadian Ted Allen wrote the screenplay from his own story. It's chances are not good given the competition from Dog Day Afternoon and Shampoo not to mention Fellini for Amarcord and Claude Lelouche. The betting is on Shampoo or Dog Day. The National Film Board of Canada continues its world-wide reputation in the documentary field with two nominations this year to match last year's offerings. Whistling Smith has been nominated in the short documentary film category and Monsieur Pointu will compete for top animation short honors. Whistling Smith was a film in the Canada West series produced by the board and shown on CBC-TV last season. It is the story of a hard-nosed Van-, couver cop whose beat is lined with all the flop houses, strip joints and greasy spoons typical of a big city. When Smith is on the beat arrests go up and crime goes down. It is a fine and funny film for which producers Barrie Howells and Michael Scott deserve credit. Monsieur Pointu (pro-dypd by Rene Jodoin, Bernard Longpre and Andre Leduc of the Board) recently won awards in Geneva, Switzerland and Bilbao, Spain at festivals. The film features Paul Cormier a musician from Quebec who is famous in the Middle East, Africa and parts of Europe. Naturally outside of Quebec he is practically unknown in Canada. Afternoon)- "Robert Altman (Nashville) - Milos Forman (Cuckoo's nest) -': - BEST SCREENPLAY (original) - Amarcord Federico Fellini and Tonino Guer-ra ' Arid N6w My Love Claude Lelouche and Pierre Uytterhoeven Dog Day Afternoon Frank Pierson " Lies My Father Told Me Ted Allan Shampoo Robert Towne and Warren Beatty BEST SCREENPLAY (from another medium) Barry Lyndon Stanley Kubrick The Man Who Would Be King John Huston and Gladys Hill Scene of a Woman bino Risi and Ruggero Mac-cari The Sunshine Boys Neil . Simon One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman Yml lH Knocking down a myth To be or not to be Hamlet. Nicholas Pennell By MAUREEN PETERSON Music and Drama Critic So much has been written about Shakespeare's Hamlet, so many analyses of its meanings and moods, that the play has long been an international literary landmark-. There can be little dispute that this is all very justifiable. But there is also a myth that has developed along with the play's celebrity. That every male actor lives to incarnate the Danish prince. Hamlet is viewed as a sacred cow and the acting professionals as keepers of the temple. The myth betrays a common misconception about actors. When I met Nicholas Pennell, one of the two Stratford Hamlets that will be alternating in the role in the touring production which opens at the NAC March 29, I thought he corresponded physically with my own image of the Danish prince: Thick thatch of blondisn hair, deep, clear and penetrating eyes of chameleon blue-green dominating an architectural face, not overly thin but clearly built on a strong bone structure. He is tall, lean and poised and if you didn't know he was an actor you just might guess. An assumption But for all his aura of theatre, he put the myth to rest almost immediately: " "There is a kind of assumption that every actor wants to play Hamlet, that it is the be all and end all, bilt frankly I don't think I ever thought much about it," he says almost apologetically. "It is almost impossible for a competent actor to fail totally in the part, but I still think it would be dangerous to do with a director you don't know." - He quotes Richard Monette (Stratford's other Hamlet in this tour)' when asked what he thinks the play is all about: It's about the actor who's playing it. Good theatre is always a bit of a Rorschak test for an audience, but with Hamlet the probing for the actor who plays him resolves, it ' would seem, only in performance. As Paul Scofield once said "there is something inviolate in his character which is proof against analysis and labels." Pennell says, he had good intentions about reading what others had to say about Hamlet but finally read only one work dealing with Hamlet and Oedipus. "The danger for me," he says, "is that in reading things like that I either violently disagree or I fall for all of it" Incidentally, tne British-born actor laments that North Americans tend to do the same thing with critics: "It is sad that we buy criticism, positive or negative, wholeheartedly . . . especially when much of it is colorless," he says. Pennell came to Canada after eight years in British TV (one of his 200 roles: Michael Mont in The Forsyte Saga) to work on the stage. About the only thing he finds disappointing about being at Stratford is that when he is off stage, he doesn't get to the theatre much. "I think last season I saw two plays at Stratford and three in Toronto . . . what I miss most is seeing the new writers." Tried writing Pennell has tried his hand at writing for the stage too: A piece called The Game which he wrote with Patricia Wilkens which toured Britain and was "well received, well reviewed." He laughs about it, as if he found it comically old hat: "It's af 1 about a lady living in the past . . . and a big party she can't have ... It was supposed to be brought to London but it never was." "I think the direction the theatre will take in Canada will come from the new writers," he muses, again lamenting the power that audiences give to critics: "Once a writer has produced a good first play he tends to stay there . . . there seems to be little or nor growth in second or third. A learning period is essential but that doesn't seem to be understood." By 'contrast, one of the things he admires in Robin Phillips, artistic director of the Stratford Festival since 1973, is that he is most interested in expansion and development: A discovery "I respect him so much in terms of direction ... he doesn't impose an idea on you. He waits and watches until he sees something . . . sometimes he will wait weeks . . . it's maddening . . . than all of a sudden he will stop you when he has seen something (developing in a character and you may think he is 1n left field but it always proves interesting. It's a voyage of discovery." " Pennell says he was "dead against" watching the rehearsals of the other Hamlet, Richard Monette, although the two are really good friends. Phillips insisted and now he thinks it was a good idea. "With Robin," he says, "you find yourself being pushed out on the nearest branch and the next thing you know he's pushed you off and you both fall together: it's marvelous." "I can't say I find his (Monette's) Hamlet better or worse: it's just different. There are meeting points across tremendous divergence." In a career thus far littered with leading roles, what does Pennell think was his worst moment on stage? "I saw a man lose his nerve once, all his nerve, on stage, and it was horribly frightening. I watched it go. Within an hour they were having to hold up boards to give him his lines . . . and he couldn't read them. Eventually they had to write the character out (of the play) but it was tragic to see a man defeated in a world that was all he knew." . ...

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