Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Strathairn on My Mind

When I woke up this morning, David Strathairn popped into my brain. Totally unbidden. Before I'd even had coffee! Usually I can't master anything other than the basic motor skills required for that beeline to the coffee maker and the shower (uh...not in the same place).

First thing in the morning and I'm thinking about his crazy big hair in the 80s and that time in 2008 when I sat four seats away from him at the Walter Reade and was too scared to say anything. Then the mind drifted to his enviable pairings with far more famous actresses onscreen (Kathy Bates, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver and Debra Winger among them), to his supporting cast ubiquity for 30 years and finally to that welcome LEAD (gasp) Oscar nomination for Good Night, and Good Luck. Few Oscar nominations this decade have been as satisfying. It was clearly for that one role (biographical performance and film carrying gravitas) but I pretended it was a career thank you, too!

So enjoy these photos from his fansite*

When a song is stuck in your head it's sometimes a good idea to sing it to move passed it. I find that posting photos of things that are on my brain is a good way to purge them, too.

Not that Strathairn needs to be purged! I hope he keeps working till he dies. Can someone give him another lead role as good as Edward R Murrow?

*I find it oddly fascinating which actors and actresses have good fansites and which don't. If you're not a mega star, it requires a computer savvy obsessed fan (usually under a certain age). So many 70s and 80s A listers don't have good websites, while completely minor and forgettable C listers from the 00s have big ones.


amir_uk said...

You know what, I didn't really take to his Edward Murrow. I thought it was a perfectly serviceable performance, but the role didn't demand much. Hmm... Maybe I'm wrong. Why was this performance so special? (I also admired the film more than I liked it...)

2005 was a banner year for the lead actor Oscar - so good that I would've been happy with a Hoffman, Howard, Ledger or Phoenix victory, so deserving they all were. I would've had Ralph Fiennes in for The Constant Gardener over Strathairn.


for me the weak spot in that lineup was definitely Phoenix (though I liked his performance just fine) and I would've replaced him with Viggo Mortenson in "A History of Violence"

very sad to leave out Ralph Fiennes but he was in sixth place for me. But i love the performance.

UncleVanya said...

I agree with Nathaniel, especially about leaving Phoenix out and having Viggo in.

In regards to Stratharin, he was always on my radar since his nude and delectable cannon-ball in "The Return of the Secaucus Seven". That aside, his performance in GNAGL was incisive, revealing all the world-weariness and resignation of a man who is discovering that his skills as a journalist are irrelevant and shunned in a corporate-run media environment.

Robert said...

This is random, but I was an extra in a failed TV pilot that Strathairn did called "Paradise." I spent two nights standing ten feet away from him trying to pretend that he was a Christ-like preacher. It wasn't hard because he was dashing and completely professional. It was really fascintaing to watch him work. He made it look easy but I could tell he was really focused. I got to touch his hand! Swoon!

Before that, I only knew him from "The River Wild" and "Dolores Claiborne" but I've since become been a big fan. I remember his nomination for "Good Night and Good Luck" being a big deal, he was intense. Yay!

Tory said...

Not only do I think he's beautiful, but underrated, and god awfully talented.

Thank you Nate for having a days thought on this wonderful man :-)!

Tory said...

I first discovered David in Losing Isaiah. Kind of a cheesy movie, but what came out of that was the discovery of him. Him and Lange were fantastic. Berry was also not too shabby ;-)

Matt Sigl said...

What a wonderful actor. And if you have ever had the pleasure of seeing him onstage you know that he is a mighty fine theatre performer as well.

What I like most about him is his combination of reserve, gravity and quiet distress. I wonder how he would handle a comedic role? I fear not well but I'd love to give him the chance to prove me wrong.

Favorite role (other than Murrow): Holding his own opposite Streep as a beleagured husband and unlikely hero in "The River Wild."

Wayne B said...

I thought P.S. Hoffman did a great job in "Capote" but I never got the huge hoopla over it. I would put Fiennes and Mortensen in over him and Phoenix.

It would be awesome to see what kind of role the Coen brothers could write for Strathairn.

Jeb said...

I also love him in "Limbo" and "A Map of the World." I haven't seen either film since the late 90s, but my recollection is that they are both interesting, off-beat (if imperfect) movies, both featuring great Strathairn performances.

Anonymous said...

I think I discovered him in "Limbo". He's not "classic" handsome but I find him quite attractive.