Monday, Feb. 16, 2009

Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon

Reprising his West End and Broadway role, Langella became the fifth man to earn a Best Actor nomination for playing a U.S. President (after Raymond Massey in Abe Lincoln in Illinois, Alexander Knox in Wilson, James Whitmore as Truman in Give 'em Hell, Harry! and Anthony Hopkins in Nixon). The intimacy of those big-screen closeups gave his defeated ex-Prez a certain forlorn grandeur not so detectable from the theater loge. You could call it a stunt, but it's a fully rounded one, and a sterling addition to the roster of Nixon impersonators: Hopkins, David Frye, Rich Little, Dan Aykroyd, Dan Hedaya, Philip Baker Hall, Lane Smith, Bob Gunton, Beau Bridges and Richard M. Dixon. Be honest, though: for a Tricky Dick of tragicomic proportions, none could match the real thing. Odds of winning: 25 to 1