Friday, September 2, 2011

The Great (film) Debates vol. 5

With this being a holiday weekend (and us taking the weekend off), let's continue our Great (Film) Debates series today:

Who is your favorite character actor?


Panelist: Tennessee Jed

Harvey Keitel is my favorite character actor. Have you ever seen him do anything badly? Has he ever not been convincing as the character he was portraying (besides Nixon)? His best role in my opinion was as "the wolf."

Panelist: ScottDS

Stephen Root. If the man had only done NewsRadio and Office Space, he'd be immortal. Just click here.

Panelist: T-Rav

Probably John Travolta. I say this because I was watching Swordfish the other day, and he reminded me how good he can be at playing bad guys or morally ambiguous guys (see also Pulp Fiction, FaceOff, etc.). He's not great in every role, but in those, he shines. One of his directors (I forget who) once said of him, "He's so charming, but when he looks at you just right you can see the eyes of Satan underneath." Very true.

Panelist: AndrewPrice

I was going to name Murray Hamilton, the mayor from Jaws (and much more), but then I remembered Hal Holbrook. What an awesome actor! I've loved everything he's done, from Dirty Harry's corrupt boss to Micheal Douglas' judge friend in Star Chamber to Fletch's rotten neighbor to NASA's director in Capricorn One to Lou Mannheim in Wall Street to Father Malone in The Fog and dozens more. He has never given a bad performance and he always makes films better.


Comments? Thoughts? Who would you choose and why?

86 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

Scott - Stephen Root is a fine choice who had done a lot of different things. However, I agree with you that his character in Office Space is the role by which I remember him.

T-Rav - I have a lot of respect for John Travolta, although I probably think of him more as a leading man actor than a character actor. When he first burst on the scene in Mr. Kotter, I would have assumed that doing a Brooklyn or South Philly Italian was all he could do and that Saturday Night Fever would be his zenith. Obviously, he became a hell of a lot more than that.

Andrew - Hal Holbrook is a terrific actor, although I probably associate him too closely with Mark Twain. I think he does vaguely menacing extremely well in addition to kindly grandpa. One of his most recent roles, overlooked by most, was shot here locally, and it titled "That Evening Sun." It is a story about aging, Alzheimer's, and relationships of off-spring to parents. There is no happy ending, but it is a good film nonetheless.

Tennessee Jed - amazing choice of Keitel. You are positively brilliant at this :-)

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I haven't seen Hal Holbrook in a lot of roles, but I have liked the ones I've seen very much.

Scott--ditto on Stephen Root.

Jed, oooh Harvey Keitel was a good choice. Winston Wolf might be his most memorable character; I also like him in "From Dusk Till Dawn" and "National Treasure."

Incidentally, another guy I could have gone with was William Fichtner. He's almost always in a supporting role, but he has played a lot of different characters.

Ponderosa said...

James Earl Jones - Adm. Greer, Terry Mann, Alex Haley, Mufasa, Darth Vader...I think his body of work speaks for itself.

Tennessee Jed said...

I should also point out I mistakenly credited Harvey as playing Nixon. It was late at night when I wrote down my answers and I was thinking of an old t.v. mini-series, but it actually was Rip Torn who was the actor in that role. A thousand pardons, Mr. Keitel.

I like Fichner as well, Andrew. James Earl Jones is great as well. Possibly one actor who is as well known for his voice as anything else.

Tennessee Jed said...

A close second to Keitel, for me, was John Malkovich. He can be effective in a number of widely divergent roles. Third was a tie between Chris Walken (love those Pulp Fiction guys) and Leo G. Carroll. Carroll played Cosmo Topper on television in the 50's, but was in a lot of supporting roles, particularly some with Hitchcock. Only Hawk is probably old enough to remember him. Some of you might remember his role in North by Northwest as the Government Agent who was the control for Eva Marie Saint and Carey Grant.

Tennessee Jed said...

T-Rav: mistakenly referred to you as Andrew vis-a-vis Fichner. See what you have to look forward to? I can't even remember who says what in the time it takes to scroll down to the comments box l.o.l.

thundercatkp said...

Stephen McHattie...I'm still hung up on Mazzy...hmmmm....and Christopher Walken.

I'm not sure they are character actors. But I like them. Walken plays a good scary guy be it good angel gone bad or bad ass mobster.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I love your praise to Jed! :-)

I think you're right about Holbrook's "vague menacing." What I think is equally interesting is that every one of his characters thinks he's the good guy. I think that makes him a great villain because you can always sympathize with him to a degree, so it always gives the role depth.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I love Harvey Keitel, by the way. I think I first "recognized" him in Reservoir Dogs and since that time I've seen him everywhere -- and he is always brilliant. His name will actually draw me to a film.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, His whole catalog is worth checking out.

On Travolta, I actually see him as a lead actor -- believe it or not. That's probably because when I was growing up, he was HUGE -- Saturday Night Fever and Grease dominated the late 1970s. But you're right that he's not really a lead anymore. Nevertheless, I agree -- I really enjoy his work. He's got that spark that makes you like him even when you shouldn't and he's highly charismatic.

AndrewPrice said...

Ponderosa, Excellent choice. Earl is another guy that has never failed a role and always elevates films. I first saw him as Darth Vader's voice and that became iconic. And since then, I've enjoyed everything he's done. Even in Conan, where you would think he wouldn't fit the role, he does it perfectly to the point that you just can't think of a replacement.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Christopher Walken is kind of an odd case for me. I thought he was great in everything I've seen him in, and he's excellent at being a really menacing character.

But Saturday Night Live did a parody of him once where they switched his "menace" to retardation and it has stuck with me. So now when I see him, I always think back to the skit. It's unfair, but it's one of those things I can't shake.

AndrewPrice said...

thundercat, I actually had never thought about McHattie until Pontypool, but I have to agree -- he did a heck of a job! And now I'm looking for other films he's been in because I was so impressed.

AndrewPrice said...

To everyone, nice choices! I agree with them all -- though I think we moved a bit beyond character actors and into just supporting actors. But we can do that because... well, because we can.


Scott, I loved Root on News Radio and in Office Space.

rlaWTX said...

for me the problem w/ character actors is I can't usually remember their names -
But is Alan Rickman considered a character actor - Dogma, Robin Hood, HP, etc... "cut your heart out with a spoon..."
he's always interesting...

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, That's the thing about character actors -- people rarely know their names, but they know the faces as they see them over and over.

On Rickman, we've kind of pushed the bounds of what is a character actor, but I would say that Rickman qualifies as a character actor who did such a great job that he got widespread name recognition.

I think he's great as an actor and I have never been disappointed in his performance.

Tennessee Jed said...

saw an interesting post online about how to tell who is a character actor. "Where is their name on the movie poster?" The person lists their favorites and includes some who have turned into leads. Of course, Travolta and others have gone the other way which is probably common if you think about it.

T-Rav said...

For me, Christopher Walken is one of those people I enjoy watching but would never want to meet in real life. That's due to another SNL skit, "The Continental," where he played a faux-sophisticated sleazeball, and for some reason that's just how I picture him as a person. Oh well.

Tennessee Jed said...

T-Rav - maybe that is what makes him so special as an actor. Or maybe it was his talk to a young Butch about the history of the family watch in Pulp Fiction. ;D

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I think it's interesting that one moment can do so much hard to an actor's image. But I've seen it many times throughout my life where one bad photo or one bad quote was enough to completely change opinions about these people. I wonder if actors are more prone to this kind of damage because their image is what they sell?

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, In a general sense, I think "character actors" are people who tend to play minor roles in multiple films and you never really know who they are because the film lists them in the bulk credits at the end. Thus, someone like Murray Hamilton, who I mention, is someone you would know on sight, but would never know by name alone. He's been in many great movies, often in very important roles, but he's never been named as an important actor in any of those films, i.e. he's always in the small print.

But in this day and age, I think people are more conscious about who everyone is. Thus, someone like Stephen Root, who Scott mentions, would have remained in obscurity in the past because he never would have been interviewed by the MSM, these days, people know who he is because the internet lets people talk more about things that were ignored in the past when one small group of people controlled the conversation.

Tennessee Jed said...

Ponderosa - as I got thinking about James Earl Jones, I tried to think of another actor known primarily for their distinctive voice. The name which came to mind was Sam Elliott. I didn't go with him because he seems so closely aligned with westerns, BUT for me, he epitomized cool. His voice is almost as distinctive as Jones'. Afterall how many guys can do a voice over for Cheezit crackers ("get your own box,") where you instantly know who is talking?

Tennessee Jed said...

you mean younger guys like yourself and Scott will know them by name (l.o.l.) I'll cop to having to use Scott's link although when he mentioned Office Space, I HOPED I knew who he was talking about ;-)

Tennessee Jed said...

Oh, and btw Andrew, I don't disagree at all with your definition. I just thought the person who had put together their own article and list had a kind of interesting way of stating it.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Ok, yeah, us younger guys! LOL!

It is an interesting definition and it does get to the core of the issue.

On voices, I'll give you a name... Morgan Freeman. Yes, he has a lengthy film career as an actor, but he's become THE voice-over guy.

Tennessee Jed said...

If you want to see a seldom seen, but fun Alan Rickman movie, check out "Bottle Shock," an extremely loose adaption of "Judgement of Paris: the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting." This is the story about the wine competition that put Napa Valley on the map when Chateau Montalena and Stag's Leap beat the French in a blind taste test.

Rickman plays Steve Spurrier, the Brit living in Paris who put on the contest. As always, Rickman plays him with perfect wit and panache.

Tennessee Jed said...

great example with Morgan Freeman

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I've never heard of it. I'll have to look for that. I honestly can't think of anything Rickman has done that I haven't liked.

LawHawkRFD said...

Do old-timers count? The name that immediately came to my mind was Jack Elam. He did mostly westerns, but occasionally showed up in other genres. He could be absolutely hateful, and yet there was always an underlying bit of humor in his every performance. I think he also qualifies as the, shall we say, least pretty actor of all time.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I remember Elam from Westerns and as the crazy doctor in Cannonball Run.

Tennessee Jed said...

Elam will be featured in my future best western villains article for CF. I instantly considered him, but feared the kids would look at me with raised eyebrow until the inevitable "oh . . . HIMMMM, yeah sure, not a bad old fella, heh, heh."

Outlaw13 said...

The name Michael Ironside leaps to mind as a guy who always pops up, or did in the 80-90s...he was in Top Gun, Total Recall and a bunch of others.

Harry Carry (not the baseball announcer) could always be counted on in a John Ford movie.

Anytime you start thinking highly of John Travolta take another gander at Urban Cowboy, that should disabuse you of any ideas of his greatness. :)

Tennessee Jed said...

In addition to Rickman, Bottle Shock stars Chris Pine (Star Trek) as Bo Barrett current owner of Chateau Montalena, Rachel Taylor (new Charlie's Angels) Bill Pullman and Dennis Farina. Film score by Marc Adler is great. Cute film, not great, but fun.

Tennessee Jed said...

I remember Ironside. He was a good villain, but unfortunately, he probably wasn't acting. Didn't he become known for beating up women with whom he was in a relationship, or am I mixing him up with someone else?

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I've never heard that about Ironside and the wikipedia doesn't mention it -- they usually mention scandals. It does say that "he stays in character between takes." (wikiLINK)


Outlaw, Ironside has been like the go-to villain for decades now. I think I first recognized him in Scanners and he's been in EVERYTHING since then. In fact, I'm not sure you can legally make a movie without casting him, he's been in that much. But they cast him for a reason and that's because he always fits the part, that's for sure!

Tennessee Jed said...

Outlaw - it is true that Urban Cowboy sucked and Travolta was horrible mis-cast in that film. Still every actor deserves a real miss or two. With me, Travolta is intriguing because perhaps my expectation for him were SO low. Still, to have him do a credible job of playing none other than Bill "Bubba" Clinton tells me there was more talent than I'd given him credit for.

Ed said...

Great answers all, as always. Jed, I love Keitel! I have every movie he's made on DVD.

T-Rav, One of the reasons I credit "Pulp Fiction" so highly was that it made Travolta a star again and I've thoroughly enjoyed his films since.

Andrew, Holbrook is fantastsic!

Scott, Root is awesome. I love how he handles the stapler bit.

T-Rav said...

Wasn't Ironside the bad guy in "Total Recall"? I can't think of anything else I've seen him in except "Terminator Salvation" where he was mostly useless (like much else in that movie).

LawHawk, who's Jack Elam? :-) Okay, sorry! Sorry! I just had to do it!

BevfromNYC said...

If by "character actor" you mean just men - I love Slim Pickens, and Andy Devine. Morgan Freeman for a 21st Century character actor...

[FYI - my DSL and landline phone lines are intermittent, so I will be back when I can...don't have too much fun without me!]

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Yes, that's him -- Total Recall. He was also in the new X-Men and Terminator Salvation and Perfect Storm, and Starship Troopers and a million other things. The IMDB lists 201 credits.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, It sounds like some sort of plot by the sharks? Lock your door!

It can be actresses or actors -- you know the Commentarama rules... there are none.

Slim Pickens! Good choice! Nobody would have been better in Dr. Strangelove.

Tennessee Jed said...

Bev - I think "actor" was meant to be the p.c. both men and women. Andy Devine was great as a comic actor, but myfavorites were actually 1950's t.v. shows. He played on Wildbill Hickock with Guy Madison (Hey Wild Bill, wait for me!) He had a show Andy's Gang with Froggy the Gremlin (pluck your magic twanger, Froggy!) which was sponsored by Buster Brown shoes.

BevfromNYC said...

Far be it for me to keep with the rules - then add Marjorie Main to the list of favorite character actors.

Andrew - I could be that the gub'ment just used the excuse of a "hurricane" to tap my phone and internet lines...but that would be paranoid.

The Government said...

Yes, Bev, it is just your paranoia...nothing to worry about. And pay no attention to those black helicopters outside the window.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I don't know any of that... it sounds like you're speaking in code!

Bev, Rules are meant to be broken. :-)

It could be a phone tap attempt. I'm pretty sure Hugo Bloomberg has you all bugged.

BevfromNYC said...

It could be His Royal Mayorness. He's probably tapping everyone's phone and internet lines to make sure we aren't eating transfats, sugar, and that demon salt or putting sugar and salt in our transfats and smokin' it. He's already requisitioning cameras on every corner to make sure we are "safe", but "safe" from what? Ice cream and french fries?

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, He wants to keep you safe from yourselves. He can't have his little tax factories dying before he can milk them for all for the value of their labor. Besides, who would the murderers kill if you all did yourselves in?

ScottDS said...

Great choices (both in the article and comments)! Though I regard Travolta as more of a leading man type. Then again, there are some actors that straddle that line. Samuel L. Jackson could be considered one or the other.

A few thoughts...

No love for Stephen Tobolowski? The man even starred in his own documentary titled Stephen Tobolowski's Birthday Party in which he simply tells stories as he cooks for some friends.

I remember when Michael Ironside replaced Roy Scheider on seaQuest (remember that show?). In its third season, it was retitled seaQuest 2032 but was cancelled shortly afterwards. And of course, we'll always have this little bon mot from Starship Troopers: "They sucked his brains out!"

I haven't seen much of Murray Hamilton's work, except for Jaws and 1941 in which he's stuck on a Ferris wheel with Eddie Deezen and a ventriloquist dummy.

Stephen McHattie guest starred on a great Deep Space Nine episode as a Romulan. He also played Elaine's "Svengali" boyfriend-slash-shrink on Seinfeld. He has one of my favorite lines when, during a session, he asks Elaine, "Elaine, do you remember your dream where you have a sexual encounter with a Chinese woman?"

I love Walken! He's so blatant with his cue card reading on SNL but no one seems to care. Who knew "More cowbell!" would turn into a pop culture meme?

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Hamilton was also in Jaws II ;-), and

In The Graduate as Robinson's husband;

He played death in a great Twilight Zone ("One for the Angels"), where the guy wants to make a salespitch to save a little girl's life;

He played the rich guy in The Hustler, and

He was great as bartender Alphonse in Anatomy of a Murder -- which I highly recommend.

Tennessee Jed said...

Anatomy of a Murder - one of my favorite all time courtroom dramas because it wasn't slick and clean (which made it realistic.) Also Lee Remick is an all time favorite, and this was a breakout role for her. But, that was not your point. The point is Murray Hamilton; and there is no question he is a great character actor in the truest sense of the word.

Tennessee Jed said...

Stephen McHattie is a wonderful character actor, about my age, and who really fits the definition. He used to work a lot on series television, on shows like L.A. Law, Hill Street Blues, and JAG. Definitely has played his dues.

Another contemporary of mine in the same vein as Ray Wise, an incredibly talented actor who has done a ton of work, but probably best known as Laura Palmer's father in Twin Peaks.

As for 50's code, Andrew, try googling Froggy the Gremlin" and see what you get. You may want to even use his likeness for a future post on Joe Biden.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I thought it was an all around excellent movie -- and it's not like anything else you find in that era.

Even Jimmy Stewart plays an out-of-character character for once, as he's not really sure whether his client is guilty or not -- which is a very realistic thing which Hollywood seems to omit from legal stories. As a lawyer, you never really KNOW what is going on, you just get stories and hints and you have to put all of that together yourself because chances are everyone is lying. And Stewart plays that perfectly as he tries to get at the truth.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Interesting. If I'd just seen the photo, I would have thought it was Mr. Toad of Mr. Toad's wild ride fame in Disney.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed and everyone, I have long felt that character actors are what make a film/show work. The lead actors can ham it up or play it serious or do whatever they want, but if you don't believe the supporting cast then nothing they do matters.

That's why I pay so much attention to the non-lead actors. That's really where the talent lies in my opinion -- they need to sell you 100% on the characters they play, whereas the leads only need us to like them (or hate them) and don't need to fit the role all that well.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

WHo to leave out???

Classic: Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Ward Bond, Victor McLaglen

Lately (there are a TON of great character actors -- in this age of a dearth of leading men):
James Rebhorn (The Game, Meet the Parents)
Brian Cox (Bourne Movies, Manhunter, etc., etc. Super Troopers)
Daniel von Bargen (see im in Super Troopers for great character actor action with Brian Cox)
Donal Logue, Alan Tudyk, Alan Rickman, Brendan Gleeson,

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Jackie Earle Haley has been doing great work,
Ted Levine
Clancy Brown...

ScottDS said...

^Great call on Brian Cox and Daniel von Bargen (he played George's last boss on Seinfeld)!

Jed - I love Ray Wise. He played the Devil on a CW series titled Reaper which aired for a couple of years. And he also played a villain in RoboCop. Man, talk about a film with some great character actors in it! Ronnie Cox, Miguel Ferrer, and of course, Kurtwood Smith. "Bitches leave."

The 2007 DVD release rounded up all these guys for a retrospective featurette - pretty entertaining.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, All excellent actors! I'm particularly fond of Clancy Brown. He is fantastic! And I am amazed how often I've seen him without ever putting it together. The first "big" role he had, that I recall was the Kurgan in Highlander. And later I really noticed him in a Showtime series called Carnivale where he played an evil preacher -- just incredible work... possibly the most evil character I've ever seen on film.

He does great voice-over work too.

And you're right, with the derth of top notch leading men right now, it's pretty amazing how great the supporting talent has become.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Clancy Brown... his Dad was a long time Republican Congressman from Ohio.

Mr. Krabs to the kids of course... I have to catch Carnivale on Netflix or DVD. His role in Shawshank Redemption was great too.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I like Ronnie Cox a lot, though I think his range is a little limited, i.e. he is a classic "character actor." But I like the character he plays and he's had some fun in the roles he's played -- like the evil Senator Kinsey in Stargate SG-1.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, I saw that about his father -- we looked him up one day.

Carnivale is great. There are only two caveats I would put on it. First, it took a couple episodes before I got into it. But once I got into it, it was really amazing and addictive. The other problem, however, is that they canceled the series before it fully played out. It has an ending on it, but it's not THE ending. I've always wished they had gone back and done a movie or something to finish it.

Ironically, Showtime was ready to finish it, but the producer got greedy.

Ed said...

A guy I'm starting to like a lot is Tom Hardy. He was in "Star Trek The Romulan Thing" and "Inception." I don't know if he's a character actor, but I've liked what I've seen of him.

Ponderosa said...

Tennessee Jed - Sam Elliot is an excellent choice.

James Cromwell is another one I like. LA Confidential, Babe, The Green Mile, Star Trek.

Fun topic.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I liked Hardy in Inception. I'm not sure what else I've seen him in.

AndrewPrice said...

Ponderosa, I'm glad you're enjoying it! James Cromwell -- agreed! He was great in LA Confidential. I also liked him a lot in Murder By Death!

BevfromNYC said...

I find it interesting that I am the only one who mentioned a woman. You know, there are many, many wonderful character actresses too -

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, On the one hand, people probably didn't think of it because of the word "actor."

I know the questions the panel got were broken down into separate actor and actress categories, so the panel definitely figured the answers were supposed to be male.

But even after you mentioned it, I honestly can't think of many. I'm not sure why. In fact, I can't actually think of many roles for women that aren't either the female lead or just one step above an extra.

And I definitely can't think of a lot of female actress who keep appearing as supporting cast in multiple roles.

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - that's probably because men don't think of women as "characters" But here are a few I consider great character actresses - Margaret Dumont, Dame Edith Evans, Rosalind Russell, Celeste Holmes, Linda Hunt, Eileen Brennan, Estelle Parsons, Edie McClurg, Margaret Hamilton, Anne Ramsey.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I think it's more that Hollywood hasn't (until recently) uses women very often for the kinds of roles where the character actors make their living -- things like mayors, business owners, police detectives or minor villains....

Hollywood tends to cast women as wives or girlfriends -- roles which are given to stars, or as barely speaking bit roles like nurses, secretaries or waitresses -- which are given to bit players. That middle ground seems to be largely missing except for maybe mothers.

That said, you've mentioned a couple good ones. I particularly think Dumont stands out because while she was never the focus of the Marx Brothers films, she was the key to making them work.

Rosalind Russell I see as a lead actress -- she was a big draw all on her own.

McClurg I know -- she was the standard "Midwestern woman" for a while and seemed to be a fixture in films at one point.

Hunt I liked a lot in Year of Living Dangerously.

Hamilton... excellent witch! And a very lengthy career.

Ramsey definitely perfected the "crazy mother."

The rest I don't really know.

AndrewPrice said...

Sorry, I do know Brennan. She was a go-to actress in comedy for many years and I thought she was great in Murder By Death and Private Benjamin.

ScottDS said...

A great modern character actress: Missi Pyle who manages to be hilarious in everything she's in, from Galaxy Quest to episodes of Boston Legal.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Good example. She does a great job of vanishing into roles too.

Another good recent example is Colleen Camp. She has been everything from a Playboy Bunny in Apocalypse Now to the maid in Clue to managing a busload of mental patients in Rat Race. She's got 111 credits at IMDB, and she's been in everything you've seen, but you never had any idea it was always her.

Tennessee Jed said...

Ed - thanks on keitel, he is awesome and more about him soon! Ponderosa - I do love Sam Elliott. When I go to Gettysburg, I stay at the Cashtown Inn which Sam used as his quarters during filming. Lots of good pictures of him on the wall :)

One of my favorite character actresses is Alfre Woodard, although she had done more television than film. She currently has a supporting gig as the boss on Memphis Beat. First saw her in one of the early L.A, Law episodes. Terrific actress.

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - if you squeeze Froggy the Gremlin, his tongue sticks out kind of like Jabba the Gore.

tryanmax said...

Philip Seymour Hoffman.

I offer no justification. He's just my favorite.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Actresses... I'm old school... actor means male... actress means female so this should be #6 But if it's not...

Marjorie Main
I fully second Celeste Holm
Cyd Charisse (they tried to make her a leading lady, but he's a wobbler in the lead/supporting line in my book.
Joan Cusack -- Arlington Road, School of Rock, etc., etc.
Kathy Bates
Carla Gugino... she's HAWT, but seems more a supporter than the lead usually.
Jean Hagen (Singin' in the Rain)
Hermione Gingold (Mrs. Shin from The Music Man)
Judi Dench of course

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Cloris Leachman -- especially in the Mel Brooks films.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, No need for justifications! :-)

I actually like him a lot as well. I think he's very versatile and always solid.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, Cloris Leachman! She did some great work in the Brooks films. She has excellent comic timing.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Just finished watching October Sky again... gotta add Chris Cooper to the list. Great actor... first Bourne film, Breach...

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, I liked him a lot in Breach.

tryanmax said...

I hope nobody minds me resurrecting this thread. I just watched Moneyball last night and was quite taken by Jonah Hill's performance. Looking back on his other work, I'd say he is shaping up to be a very versatile character actor. Much more so than some of the other young comic actors that he was introduced alongside.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, No problem with commenting in old threads. I've got the moderation on so I know when people are doing (plus that keeps spammers from filling old threads).

On Hill, I'll have to see Moneyball because I honestly don't recall much about his performances in other films.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Although a superb leading actor Edward G. Robinson was also an outstanding character actor.

I always like John Barrymore also.

Steve Buscemi is another present day character actor I like a lot.

And I must mention Adam Baldwin and Jon Voight because they rock!

Excellent list! There's many films I have watched simply due to the fact that some of my fave character actors are in it.

It is interesting that there are so many very good character actors today but not so many very good leading actors.
I wonder why that is?

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I forgot to mention Madeleine Kahn!
She gave life to some memorable characters! :^)

AndrewPrice said...

Like Lilly von Stupp!

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