Sunday, February 24, 2013

Don’t bet against Bob

I’m in Los Angeles this weekend, but like most everyone else I’ll be watching the Academy Awards on television, not in person.

Robert De Niro has been on the talk show circuit recently promoting the movie, Silver Linings Playbook. In one interview, when asked about his career as a movie star he said, “I’ve been lucky.” As if his prodigious talent, his ability to inhabit a character, to breathe life into his screen presentations, is because he avoids walking under ladders or having his path crossed by black cats. You're way too modest, Bob.

The first time I saw De Niro was in Bloody Mama, a low budget Roger Corman movie from 1970. The next time I remember seeing him was in 1973, in Bang the Drum Slowly. I was very impressed and over the years have remained impressed. Since then De Niro has made a few dozen movies, and for all of his critical acclaim hasn’t had an Academy Award nomination for quite a while, not since Goodfellas in 1991.

He won best actor for Raging Bull 33 years ago , and going further back, he won best supporting actor for The Godfather Part II in 1974. Despite his incredible work over the decades he’s had a long drought for awards. The Academy may think he’s owed one, so when it comes to laying down your bets as to who will walk away with an Oscar for best supporting actor, don’t bet against Bob.*

This article about De Niro is from New York magazine, May 16, 1977.

*On the morning after, looks like my powers of prediction have been dealt a blow. Christoph Waltz, whom I considered the long shot of the group, walked away with the Oscar. Better luck next time, Bob!

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