Saturday, March 15, 2014

Performance Review: Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained

Christoph Waltz received his 2nd Oscar nomination and won his second Oscar for playing Dr.  King Shultz in  Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained.

Christoph Waltz's victory  last   year was slightly surprising, though  not a huge upset.  Best Supporting Actor was a wide-open category that year, but it narrowed  down to a three-way race between Waltz, Tommy Lee Jones, and Robert De-Niro.  Some cited Jones as the favorite given his long-term career  and SAG award, but I just didn't see him winning a second Oscar for such an un-showy performance.   Many pundits went with De-Niro and I did too at first, but what Waltz had over him was the fact that he was able to win two precursors, both the Globe and the BAFTA.  None of the other contenders took home a second major precursor, and it just seemed momentum was with him.   So, Waltz pulled off the win as I predicted (Don't mean to brag, but I'm still so proud of this prediction!).

Django Unchained is a fantastic film that I was really surprised at  how much I liked : It's brilliantly made, it's entertaining, and it has great  acting from all around.  Tarantino highly deserved his  2nd Original Screenplay Oscar and I would have loved to have seen DiCaprio and Samuel Jackson nominated.

From the moment Waltz comes on screen, he holds your attention: There's just a dynamic focused quality to this performance which I think comes from the fact that this roles fits him like a glove.  There's no one else who could have played this part like Waltz and it shows.  He makes the character fiendishly devil-like, but charming and even loveable.  Waltz nails his character's  fake persona and he is convincing all the way through. He and Fox both are outstanding together, making them such a natural pair of bounty hunters that you root for, despite their immoral acts.

It's a great performance from Waltz, but unfortunately, it loses some of its impact because of the shifted focus: I loved watching Waltz take the lead in the film, romping through it with such confidence and humor, but he takes a backseat to DiCaprio, Foxx, and the rest of the ensemble because of how the plot shifts. It's dissapointing, because we as an audience love Waltz and don't want him to be away from the spotlight, even though all the other actors are terrific.  It's a testament to how strong Waltz was in the  first half of the film, how strong he made us like his character.  But I just wish there was more.

But it's a still great and wonderful performance that I highly enjoyed, just like the film .  His win was very  deserving.

Congrats to Christoph Waltz for giving  the  first male performance to be reviewed on this blog!  Next Performance Review: Forest Whitaker in The Last King Of Scotland.


Louis Morgan said...

Great performance and a great win.

joe burns said...