Best Supporting Actor 1916

by popegrutch

Actors in supporting roles can get lost in the shuffle. As bartenders, passerby, butlers, drivers, or other background extras, we are likely to think of them as simply part of the scenery. Sometimes, however, a “character” actor brings something special to his part, something that makes him stand out as integral to the story, or as a high point of the movie itself. These are the actors considered in this category.

In 1916, I saw a mix of comedic parts and villains who seemed worthy of mention as supporting actors. Al St. John takes his energetic jealousy to the point of bizarre psychopathy as the foil of “Fatty and Mabel Adrift.” Eric Campbell is more of a straight-man or a victim opposite Charlie Chaplin in “The Count.” Marcel Levésque may seem like a sidekick, but his romantic comedy sub-plot is possibly the most interesting part of “The Bloody Wedding,” the final chapter in the serialLes Vampires.” On the more serious side, Robert McKim was a convincing Western bad guy in the sophisticated William S. Hart vehicle “Return of Draw Egan,” and Ernest Maupin was the first to bring Professor Moriarty to film audiences in “Sherlock Holmes.”

The nominees for best supporting actor for 1916 are:

  1. Al St. John, in “Fatty and Mabel Adrift”
  2. Robert McKim, in “Return of Draw Egan”
  3. Eric Campbell, in “The Count”
  4. Marcel Levésque, in “The Bloody Wedding”
  5. Ernest Maupain, in “Sherlock Holmes”

And the winner is…Marcel Levésque!

A jealous suitor.

A jealous suitor.

Levésque was up last year as well, but lost his award to Sessue Hayakawa. His entry this year was stronger, a case of the “supporting” character being more powerful and exciting than the ostensible lead. He practically saved “Les Vampires” for me, which never got to be as much fun as “Fantômas,” despite the presence of him and Musidora. I’m looking forward this year to seeing how he fairs in the remainder of “Judex!”

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