Oscar Contenders

Who Gave the Best Performance in 'Django Unchained'? Foxx, Waltz, DiCaprio, Jackson...?

Let's take a look at the four main actors in this film

Who Gave the Best Performance in 'Django Unchained'?

Photo: The Weinstein Co.

Last night I got in a discussion concerning the Best Supporting Actor race at the Oscars and it was agreed that of the five nominees Alan Arkin (Argo) is the least likely to win. Then you have Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master), Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln) and finally Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained). I think, and those I was talking to agreed, a case could be made for all of the final four. However, when it came to making a case for Waltz I said, "Problem there is he doesn't even give the best performance in the movie." What I want to ask you, if you agree, is who does?

StephenIn my opinion the best performance comes from Samuel L. Jackson as Calvin Candie's house slave Stephen. That term "house slave" is part of the reason. Jackson creates a character that certainly doesn't seem to consider himself a slave and the thought he put into the performance shows on screen. Jackson's confidence as an actor exudes from a character that may cause the most conflicted feelings from an audience. From his denigration of Django upon his arrival to Candie's plantation to the wretched scream he gives out when he sees his master shot in the chest.

In an interview with Australia's The Chronicle Jackson says of Stephen, "Does he look like he thinks he's a slave? You can see him physically. Does he treat himself like a slave? Is he obsequious? OK, well there you have it. He's living a pretty good life. And, no, I don't think he's a bad guy."

Jackson continued, "[T]here are certain people who are comfortable in the institution of slavery and there are certain people who are not. Stephen is comfortable in it. He's a collaborator. If it's black against white, Stephen's a collaborator."

It's curious to see Jackson say "I don't think he's a bad guy" when in previous interviews he's referred to his reading of the script and his thoughts on the character as "the most hated negro in cinematic history". Therein lies what makes him so interesting, a man that can be looked at as the most hated black character in cinematic history and yet Jackson says he doesn't consider him a "bad guy".

Stephen is a character that speaks to many of the issues Django Unchained touches upon, but never fully delves into. After all, it's not a movie about slavery as Jackson told The Chronicle. "Slavery just happens to be a backdrop. Even Django is not trying to end slavery. He's just trying to get his girl back." I wonder, though, had Django been about slavery, would the Academy look at Jackson's character more seriously?

CalvinIf I were to rank them, I'd probably consider DiCaprio's performance as Calvin Candie the second best in the film, if only because I also consider it to be the least affected. Tarantino gives Calvin plenty to say, but it isn't the same kind of villain we typically get from Tarantino. So often Tarantino's villains are characters you love to hate, with this film he offers up villains you simply hate, Candie chief among them.

Candie doesn't get as many of the quick witted one-liners so many of Tarantino's villains in the past have received. Instead he offers up a lengthy, hate-filled soliloquy on the black man's skull and it doesn't end with "That's a bingo." Instead it ends with a hammer and a blood-smeared face. It's sickening and intentionally so.

Waltz's Dr. King Schultz is a close third, playing, more-or-less, a variant of his Hans Landa character from Inglourious Basterds only this time he's the hero. He's a likable guy and Tarantino clearly likes him as much as it's obvious Tarantino hates Candie, but Waltz's performance, while great, just didn't do as much for me as Jackson or DiCaprio.

As for Jamie Foxx as the titular Django, he is certainly not the most flamboyant character in the film as much as he's a heat-seeking missile on a mission to get his wife (Kerry Washington) back. Many dismiss this film as just another revenge film when in fact it's a straight-forward romance that only ends in a bloodbath as a result of cause and effect. Had it been a revenge film Django's path would have taken him to Old Man Carrucan (Bruce Dern) rather than looking for Broomhilda immediately. Instead of tagging along with Schultz through the winter he would have suggested side tracking to give Carrucan the payback he deserved.

There's a lot to dissect beneath the surface when it comes to Django, just as much for the decisions he made as for those he doesn't. To dismiss him as uninteresting is to say just because he took a right instead of a left he didn't consider the consequences of going the other direction. Perhaps if Foxx had given a better performance we would be discussing this more. Perhaps the character is lacking... I don't really know for sure.

I realize I walk a fine line between liking the character over the performance, but I'm of a mind that one leads to the other. Perhaps you agree, maybe you don't, but I did want to clarify.

Waltz is the only one with a chance at winning the Oscar and he just won the Golden Globe. None of the Django cast was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award, so come the 27th we won't be having this discussion again. But you tell me, of the four leading men in Django Unchained, which one do you believe gave the best performance and why?

Vote in the poll below and leave your thoughts in the comments.

Of the four main actors in Django Unchained, who gave the best performance?

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  • https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BxTWgAV7uRaSQTBocGQ4Qzgtdm8 RagingTaxiDriver

    This is certainly a very close race. I would have loved to see 3 get Supp. Acting noms if there was 10 slots (this was very good year for Supporting Actors). But I'll give the win to Waltz. I do find your reasons for your rankings very intriguing. Waltz's character may have lacked the depth of Jackson and DiCaprio's, but I think his was just a tad better.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      Yeah, the fine line comes when you're trying to dissect character from performance. After my first draft of this article I was reading it back and realized all I had done was make arguments for character and not performance.

    • http://www.criterion.com/my_criterion/27913-criterion10 Criterion10

      As much as I loved Waltz and was happy to see him nominated, he still is a lead in my opinion, and that comes into effect when I decide who I want to win. Thus, I personally would prefer to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman win.

      I completely disagree though that Waltz's character lacked the depth of Jackson and DiCaprio. As a matter of fact, I would say it is the exact opposite. DiCaprio to me was more like your standard villain, while Waltz was able to give a very realistic, human side to his character. This is part of the reason that his performance is my favorite in the film.

      • https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BxTWgAV7uRaSQTBocGQ4Qzgtdm8 RagingTaxiDriver

        I definitely respect that, and after I posted the comment, I did come to realize, that maybe there really is more to Shultz than Candie or his house slave. And I do agree that he is more of a lead, but he is being put in as a supporting character everywhere, so I'm going off of that. And I guess the reason why I considered Candie to be deeper was because of DiCaprio's over the top portrayal, making him seem to be a big character, and in which case you're right, he is your basic villain. But I totally agree with Brad about Jackson's depth of the character, but after your comment, I agree that Shultz had even more character depth.

      • goodfella676

        I had predicted DiCaprio would blow this one out of the water, and he does, but I thought he was overshadowed by both Waltz and Jackson. Waltz was born to read Tarantino's lines, no doubt about it, it comes so naturally and with such grace. You want to watch this man at work, I think its the years best performance. Followed very closely by Jacksons turn as the Uncle Tom House Slave. I was loving Django Unchained and when Samuel L came into it I was completely sold, his performance was a perfect blend of sinister and humour. DiCaprio was sublime, especially in the scene were he cuts his hand on a champagne glass and bleeds out throughout the scene finally rubbing the blood on poor kerry's face. And of course there's the tremendously underrated Jamie Foxx, anyone else forget he did Ray?? Well I can't think of any other actor that could've captured that raw, intense emotion built within Django.

        To be fair I thought the entire ensemble was excellent. Best movie of 2012!

  • http://www.fullyoperational.tumblr.com dre

    First of all, I agree it's close. All three are great and Oscar-worthy. For me, Waltz was the best thing in the movie. Loved his performance. I loved his more charming, smartest-man-in-the-room moments early on, but I also fell in love with his character's more noble traits and how he portrayed that in the second half of the film. As great a character as Dr. King Shultz is, however, he isn't the most interesting to discuss. Stephen is by far the most interesting character in the movie. I wish there was even more of him. And I definitely wish the Academy had nominated Jackson over Arkin.

    1. Waltz
    2. Jackson
    3. Leo

  • C.J.

    I couldn't agree with you more. I don't believe the academy put much thought into the best supporting actor and just decided to give it to Waltz again in my opinion. I would probably say Jackson's character was the character that roused the most emotion from me.

    • http://www.fullyoperational.tumblr.com dre

      See I think if the voters hadn't put much thought into it they would have nominated Leo. He's got the biggest clout. Most people seemed to think he had the best chance of the three. Not saying Leo doesn't deserve it over Waltz in any definitive sense. But that would have been the easier move I'd think.

  • m1

    I haven't seen the movie but the poll results are interesting. Looks like the trend of supporting actors outshining the leads in Tarantino movies continues.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      It's even more interesting considering DiCaprio is leading the poll at the moment and not a single commenter has backed that up.

      • DavidG

        That's what I was just thinking. I wanted to know their reasoning for it, but was disappointed. Personally, I think Waltz gave the most layered performance, and so for me his was the best. Leo was great and sufficiently chilling, as Jackson was menacing and enraging, but I think that the subtle differences in Waltz's craft made his portrayal the most impactful for me. As I am writing this, I am understanding how hard it is to separate the character from the performance, but I think it is primarily his performance that so endears the character to me.

      • http://cinemmaconfessions.blogspot.com Gautam

        Leo was always going to win this poll, just based on his popularity. And yes, Smaeul Jackson has meatiest character to play and hence the best supporting performance. Sameul's acting talents are undoubtedly great but more credit should be given to Tarantino in the manner in which he wrote that part. Most of the times it's what on paper that matters, when you are comparing supreme acting talents. Leo did his best in whatever he was given, and so did Waltz but Jackson had a more author backed role to play where he could show off his range as an actor.

      • Wes Keener

        I voted DiCaprio as the best and I like Sam Jackson and Waltz more as actors (and characters in Django) Waltz in Bastards and Jackson as Ordell in Jackie Brown are my two favorite Taratino villains. I feel that Leo had a more difficult task of being a completely despised character who had to really leave his comfort zone in both actions and dialogue delivery. Hence performance wise DiCaprio did it for me. Jackson, Waltz, Foxx is my second, third fourth. Character wise for me would be Jackson, waltz, DiCaprio, Foxx.

  • Susan

    I voted for Jackson. I found him remarkable in the movie in a way that had more surprises than the other actors. While DiCaprio was a nice and over the top, with Waltz chewing the scenery well, Jackson's acting had a little more nuance. You could always sense his brain grinding away.

    Brad, as for your comment about making an argument for character over actor, honestly, I believe that's totally the point of the acting categories, it just doesn't mean to be. When looking to define why _______ is better than ________, the brunt of it comes down to who had a meatier part.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mikey/ Mikey

    1) Waltz
    2) Jackson
    3) DiCaprio
    4) Foxx

    I thought Waltz completely owned the character. In my opinion he creates one of the better mentor-characters in recent years. The scene where he's discussing the morals of bounty hunting with Django while overlooking the man on the farm is some of the best acting I've seen this year. Ditto for his final scene where he can't bear to listen to the music anymore, and then refuses to shake DiCaprio's hand. Also Waltz was born to read Tarantino's dialogue. A few choice quotes: (These were chosen not so much for the quality of dialogue but more for Waltz' delivery)

    "Make sure you get the sheriff, not the marshall"
    "Alexandre Dumas is black"
    "Sorry I couldn't resist"

    After that I'd say DiCaprio and Jackson are pretty much neck and neck. They both give awards quality performances, but I gave Jackson the edge simply because I felt his performance had a bit more range. Then Foxx in last. Not bad by any means, but nothing extraordinary.

    Final note, Brad, I read from a couple different places that Candie's blood in the scene you mentioned is in fact DiCaprio's. He cut his hand during one take when he slammed his hand on the table and it made the final cut. Makes the smearing blood in the face thing a little more disgusting, doesn't it?

  • Dale

    Christoph Waltz played (magnificently) one of the most interesting and best-written characters in recent movies - a true original whose history could easily be turned into another film. The DiCaprio and Jackson characters were also interesting and well-played, but the Fox character didn't have all that much to do and was pretty much buried by the other three.

  • Ooze33

    I voted for DiCpario. Maybe it's not the best reason, but I liked him the most because it was such a refreshing, different role to see him in. The novelty of it for me won me over instead of Waltz and Jackson.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/T-1000/ TJ

    If you go by the overall performance that's the most intriguing, I would vote Jackson. Although, Waltz is the one I voted for since he had this confident dimeanor that draws you in and I remember more of his key scenes. I feel the last 20 minutes of the film are less enjoyable without him in it.

    I do agree with Jackson when he says Stephen wasn't a bad guy. He was just trying to maintain power and be Candie's right hand man while denying the rights of his own race. That is truly fascinating for an actor to create that much of a dynamic character.

    As for Dicaprio, he plays a character that is completely different than anything he's ever done, but besides the scene with the slave skull, he didn't stand out as much as Tarantino's other bad guys. Maybe I just had really high expectations for his character going in.

    I do feel Foxx gave as good as a performance as he could with the whole getting back your wife aspect, but he just didn't portray the passion that the other 3 actors did.

    I do feel Jackson should have been nominated instead of Waltz this year, but at least Waltz is getting all the credit he deserves.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Kahn1/ Kahn1

    I picked Leo. I thought about it long and hard...I picked him because I was impressed with his character and I think it was a bit more tough to bring across on the screen. Allow me to explain, Candie to me, was a charming evil character. He was Yin and Yang. He was almost likable at times and then I hated him other times. In the movie, he seemed to go to both sides of the spectrum very well, where the other characters to me, seemed like they had their "one direction" to play the character. Django was hell bent on finding his wife and for lack of a better phrase, his character "had a chip on his shoulder" through the whole movie and rightfully so, but it didn't impress me as much. Dr. Schultz was outstanding, but I believe he was a western version of his character in Inglorious Basterds. I loved him as the polite, sarcastic, smartest man in the room, but I feel like I have seen it before. I loved Sam Jackson's character and portrayal, but I feel like I have seen him play the "angry man" character before. As a matter of fact, besides Mace Windu, I can't think of a character he has ever played that isn't a shade of the "angry man". Just my opinion though.

  • Matt

    It was very difficult for me to choose between Jackson and DiCaprio, but I decided to go with Leo simply because he surprised me the most. I loved the way DiCaprio portrayed Candie, as someone who was not aware of how evil or crazy they were, and tried to charm everybody around him as he did truly terrible things. Jackson was great too, and I really liked the moment between he and Kerry Washington during the dinner sequence, but DiCaprio, in my opinion, stole every scene he's in.

    I, personally, feel that DiCaprio was robbed of a nomination. Waltz was definitely great, but I feel like the way he played it was too similar to how he played Hans Landa in "Basterds." These characters are obviously very different but what I, personally, love how Tarantino can get actors to act differently then they have in most of their other films. DiCaprio and, to a lesser degree, Jackson, surprised me with how much they disappeared into these very different roles. While Waltz was always good, he never really "disappeared" into the part.

    As for Foxx, he's great, but just doesn't have as many "big" scenes as DiCaprio, Jackson and Waltz, so he's, naturally, going to come off as a bit bland. But he certainly did a great job in the part.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JimmyDiamies/ Jimmy Diamies

      I voted for Leo and agree with most of what Matt said above. I don't necessarily think DiCaprio stole every scene he was in because Jackson and Waltz were also very good but he certainly stole a few moments. I think Matt nailed it on the head "not aware of how evil or crazy he was while trying to charm everyone." That's what I loved about the performance. Waltz would have been my choice after first viewing and he didn't drop after subsequent viewings but I gained more appreciation for DiCaprio and Jackson's performances. Also found Waltz's character reminded me too much of Landa at times and that is why I don't have him number 1.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Will-E/ Will-E

    I was the second person to vote for Foxx. I give him the ever slightest edge over the others due to the fact that he changes the most over the course of the film. You get Jamie Foxx the slave, Jamie Foxx the bounty hunter, Jamie Foxx the driven husband, and Jamie Foxx the husband pretending to be a black slaver. 2 moments stick out. His preparation for being the black slaver and seeing the internal conflict. Waltz has this too of course. The second being his reunion with Broomhilda. It was beautiful and very emotional.

  • http://www.criterion.com/my_criterion/27913-criterion10 Criterion10

    I would say that Christoph Waltz gives what is by far the best performance in the film. I would also argue that he is a lead character as opposed to supporting, but that is another story. Part of the reason I appreciated him so much is that he was really able to embody King Shultz and bring life to that character. He didn't feel like a standard character out of Tarantino's films, but rather a real life person. This is made evident frequently in his reactions to the horrors of slavery.

    While I did really like DiCaprio in the film, he's simply more of your standard villain. He isn't as complex, original, or memorable as someone like Hans Landa. Now, that's by no means a complaint. Calvin Candie was a great character that was perfectly suited for Django Unchained, and Leo played him perfectly. It's just that to me, he was your pretty standard evil villain. Here's a good comparison: while Jack Nicholson is excellent in The Departed, he is by no means that stand out of the film. His character is your standard mob boss, and while Nicholson plays him perfectly, there isn't much more to the performance nor the role. Again, this isn't a complaint.

    I thought Samuel L. Jackson was a great surprise in the film, and I would probably rank him second after Waltz. Jaime Foxx was also very good in his role, though it's a quiet, subtle performance and character.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/T-1000/ TJ

      I completely agree with you on Waltz. He may talk in the same German accent as he did in Basterds, but his character is very different in the way he mentors Django and his utter hate for slavery. He reacts like a real human being would in a Tarantino world.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RandallPMcMurphy/ Randall P McMurphy

      I agree completely in regard to both Christoph Waltz and Leo DiCaprio's performances

    • C Dai

      Christoph Waltz is good in the movie but DiCaprio really blows him out of the water, especially in the confrontation scene.
      *Spoiler alert*
      When Waltz realizes he loses, he is supposed to show a refrained anger, but he cant quite deliver it. I personally did not feel his pain for losing. He should have been furious.

      In contrast, I felt DiCaprio was really convincing. When he felt betrayed, the refrained contempt he had for Waltz really came through in the skeleton speech and his request to hand shake Waltz.

      Both characters are complex. And you can argue that Waltz has the more complex character. But in the end DiCaprio was the one that really delivered his character.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Kessler/ Kessler

    I voted for Waltz. I thought he gave the best performance and I was really surprised by how much I loved his performance. Expectations definitely played a role for me because I expected DiCaprio to steal the show, but instead it was Waltz. That's not to say Leo was bad. In fact, I thought he was great as well. It's just that I was more impressed by Waltz than I was by DiCaprio or Jackson. And I thought Jackson was also pretty good. For me, the weakest performance is probably Jamie Foxx although he didn't have a lot to do in the beginning. However, I thought he brought it in the last half and that almost made up for it. Again, I thought Waltz gave the best performance, but in the end, they're all pretty good. You won't go wrong with any of them.

  • Ron Oneal Fresh

    Best performance. I'd think a tie between DiCaprio & Jackson for me. I think DiCaprio had the best monologue in the film, but Jackson was slightly more entertaining ... Candie character a naive very much spoiled brat — Stephen a crabby wolf in sheep's clothing. So In respects I think they work and are better together than their scenes without each other. I thought Foxx character had the most depth for he evolved the most and had to do or rather let despicable things happen to succeed in his mission.

    I liked Waltz but he reminded me very much of his Hans Landa character. Hyper articulate-Slick-Suave except in Django he's the good guy.

  • flerk

    I voted for DiCaprio because he took a character that could have been one-dimensionally evil and cartoonish and played Candie in a way that while evil, it was justified in his eyes. He believed in the science behind the skull and he believed it was his right to do what he does.

    Also his explosive volatile behavior was fantastic to see. From pleasureable and civil, to utter cold and dark to explosive rage to unsecure childish and maybe even a bit stupid (the library scene between him and Stephen, french and Dumas' are also examples) to utter arrogant asshole.

    This doesn't take away Waltz's and Jackson's fantastic performences and in a perfect world all three would be nominated.

    While Foxx was the least interesting he did what his character allowed him to do and while Foxx is a fine actor, he is no DiCaprio, Waltz and Jackson.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/DArtagnan/ DArtagnan

    I hesitated a lot between DiCaprio and Jackson. But Jackson started by playing a character unlike any I've seen him play before and then transformed him into almost someone else. I felt he completely stepped out of his comfort zone.

    DiCaprio played someone different from previous roles too, but I could still see some of his mannerisms. He played Caddie pretty much how I had imagined him do it, but Jackson was a big surprise.

  • Max

    I voted for Leo

    My reasons ?

    Already three posters have expressed the main reasons for my vote :

    Kahn said :

    "I picked Leo. I thought about it long and hard...I picked him because I was impressed with his character and I think it was a bit more tough to bring across on the screen. Allow me to explain, Candie to me, was a charming evil character. He was Yin and Yang. He was almost likable at times and then I hated him other times. In the movie, he seemed to go to both sides of the spectrum very well, where the other characters to me, seemed like they had their "one direction" to play the character. "

    Flerk said :

    "I voted for DiCaprio because he took a character that could have been one-dimensionally evil and cartoonish and played Candie in a way that while evil, it was justified in his eyes. He believed in the science behind the skull and he believed it was his right to do what he does.

    Also his explosive volatile behavior was fantastic to see. From pleasureable and civil, to utter cold and dark to explosive rage to unsecure childish and maybe even a bit stupid (the library scene between him and Stephen, french and Dumas' are also examples) to utter arrogant asshole."

    Matt said :

    "It was very difficult for me to choose between Jackson and DiCaprio, but I decided to go with Leo simply because he surprised me the most. I loved the way DiCaprio portrayed Candie, as someone who was not aware of how evil or crazy they were, and tried to charm everybody around him as he did truly terrible things.

    To Brad :

    The one statement you made above that I don't agree with is judging the quality of a performance based on how many quick one liners the screenwriter gives the actor to say as per your comment about Waltz's Basterd's "Bingo" comeback.

    If I used that for a basis for my vote than I would vote for Alan Arkin .As his character's Argo reply was the best quick one liner of the year

    I prefer to base my decision on how well an actor works with what he was given by screenwriter . What he brings to the performance that was not on the written page.

  • JN Films

    1. DiCaprio
    2. Waltz
    3. Jackson
    4. Foxx

  • Jack

    I think Waltz got the nod, because the Academy is racist, and he plays a good white man. I mean, Jackson didn't get in, Foxx or DiCaprio.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Fox/ Fox

    For me it was without a doubt DiCaprio.

    When you look at Waltz, I thought he definitely had the most interesting character. Unfortunately, for me his performance was too similar to what he brought to the table as Hans Landa. Only three years after Basterds came out, it doesn't seem right to go crazy about this performance as well. I do hope he switches things up a bit in his upcoming projects. I won't entirely blame Waltz though, I guess his characters dialogue kind of pushed him toward a Landa-like performance. All that being said I do think it was pretty good acting, just familiar.

    DiCaprio gets the nod for me because I never really saw him as a menacing villain type. He brought some force to that role, but also displayed the vain stupidity that Tarantino wrote for him. I just felt he really absorbed himself in the role. The dinner scene was fantastic, mostly thanks to him.

    I liked Jackson, but for me his character wasn't all that difficult. I personally liked the character a lot; its one I've never seen before. My inability to get on board with Jackson is that fact that his character isn't really examined in the movie. I understand that not everything can be explored in detail, and I'm not blaming QT for not fleshing out Jackson's character, but as acting goes I don't think it was too difficult. Mostly in there for a backward humour type deal.

    I think Foxx gave an underrated performance. I really didn't like the way that his character was written, but I thought he was able to salvage some likability from the audience just by giving Django some more human traits.
    The way Tarantino wrote him, I wasn't entirely sold on rooting for him. He seemed a rather self-absorbed and egocentric character. How many innocent men did he let die just so that he could free his wife? I thought back to the scene where he chose his 'flashy' outfit. At the time it seemed like a funny little scene, but now it seems like a fitting get-up for someone who isn't really concerned about anyone outside his own world. I thought Foxx did all he could to help the character.
    1. Leo
    2.Foxx
    3.Waltz
    4.Jackson

  • http://smartfilm.blogspot.com SmartFilm

    I gotta say Waltz, even though I was expecting it to be Leo. Waltz just has a way with words and his final "I just couldn't help myself" line is like the highlight of the entire movie.

  • Rani the Wise

    I voted for Jackson but I also ranked the performances.
    SLJ - By far the best performance. Normally Jackson plays the same character over and over again (which I love, btw) but this is a character completely different from anything Jackson has ever played. He's a character that you would normally hate and find annoying but Jackson has you laughing along the way. THIS is the Tarantino villain that you love to hate.

    Waltz - It's a shame that so many people write this performance off as a hero version of Hans Landa. While it's true that Landa and Schultz share a lot of the same mannerisms and characteristics, they're not identical. What I find interesting about Schultz is that he exudes more of the Landa traits when he's playing the role of the slave-owner but when he's alone and conversing with Django he shows more compassion and empathy. I see his Landa characteristics as more of a front.

    Foxx - Not getting nearly enough credit. Foxx had us rooting for him the whole time to win. And no, it's not just the writing, it's the acting. He makes his journey from lowly slave to straight-up badass a satisfying one to watch.

    Leo - I know a lot of people find his performance to be their favorite but of the four, I think he's the weakest. This isn't to imply that he didn't give a great performance, it's just the one that did the least for me. He was charming, slimy, and entertaining but at times he got a bit too corny and over-the-top. I've grown to appreciate DiCaprio as an actor over the years with The Departed, Shutter Island, and Inception but whenever I see him acting, I'm always aware that he's playing a part. I only see Leo acting, I don't see a character. I think the main reason people are praising him the highest is because he's, like Jackson, playing a completely different character than he's used to. However, Jackson has played a villain before and the big difference between him and Leo is that he completely slips into the role. Sure, there were plenty of Jacksonian traits in Stephens character but it felt natural for him.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mason%20Williamson/ Mason Williamson

    I'm going to go with Waltz, though differentiating between him and the the character he portrayed is difficult, primarily because I think that he and Leo stand out in my head as being the two characters who left the film at the time it should have ended. As such, maybe I have a bit of a bad taste in my mouth with regards to Foxx and Jackson as for me, they couldn't hold that last half hour together. Without the charisma of Waltz and without the nastiness of Leo, I felt the film lost all its momentum, even if Jackson and Foxx were perfectly serviceable.

    I don't think there's a lot to be said for Foxx - he really didn't have a lot to do. I don't mean that as criticism, though; I don't think him being the least interesting character necessarily detracts from the film considering he's more of a symbol than anything else and I was cheering for him simply because of what he symbolized. That's good enough for me.

    Jackson's character was fascinating in the same way Leo was - I loved the fact that Shultz, as a white man who abhorred slavery, was the one to kill Candie as he was HIS villain: the white man holding up this despicable institution that gave he and all other white people a bad name, whereas Foxx got to kill his own villain: a black man also holding up this institution, accepting it as the way of life and holding back (even detesting) any progress. As a result of this, I was more interested in what their characters represented than how the actors portrayed them. Still, I give it to Leo over Jackson simply because I think he had more to do. Jackson was menacing when he had to be, but I ultimately felt like he serviced Leo's sliminess more than he really brought his own to the film (which is part of the reason the last half hour fails so badly - he simply isn't as interesting of a villain). Plus, Leo commanded the dinner scene, which was, in my opinion, the film's greatest moment.

    The main reason that I preferred Waltz, however, was that I was always aware that it was Leonard DiCaprio playing Candie. As great as he was, he never necessarily transcended his known personality to inhabit that role. The same could be argued for Waltz, but I felt like it was more of an issue with Leo considering he's supposed to be so menacing but some of that noticeable DiCaprio charm took away from that, whereas Waltz's now signature likeability only solidified my love of that character.

  • Chris138

    All of them are tremendous, but if the Academy were to choose one performance (as they did) I'm glad they went with Waltz. Perhaps it was because he was ultimately the single sympathetic white character that Academy members voted for him, but I just thought he was terrifically entertaining and really knows how to deliver Tarantino's dialogue fluently. I suppose if I were to the rank the three supporting performances it would go something like this:

    1. Waltz
    2. Jackson
    3. DiCaprio

    It is kind of ironic, however, that in a movie about slavery it is only the white actors who get the awards recognition.

  • jay bob

    I pick Waltz. I didn't feel he was playing a similar character to Hans Landa. In fact, I must be the only person who wasn't that impressed by him in Basterds. But I liked him a lot in this. There was a warmth to his character.

    As far as Jackson, now he I thought was playing a similar character to his Jackie Brown character. In fact he acted a bit too modern at times.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

    1. Christoph Waltz - People have said that he's just doing the same thing in this as he did in Basterds. To those people I say: Go watch Basterds again. They are two entirely different performances. I feel Waltz's performance was the most nuanced, layered and interesting performance in the film. He also got the best dialogue (which doesn't hurt). And at the end of the day, of the 4 actors, he's probably the most talented.

    2. Samuel L. Jackson - He's just brilliant, there's no two ways about it. We've seen Jackson play Sam Jackson in so many movies that it was somewhat refreshing to see him really disappear into Stephen. Yes, you still know you're watching Jackson, but still, it's markedly different from other performances he's given. Only Jackson could've played this character. Everything about the performance is brilliant. The way he walks with the cane (which he tosses aside in an interesting twist at the end that probably says more about his character than anything else), the way he pronounces certain words and the way he carries himself. It's just a great performance.

    3. Leonardo DiCaprio - Make no mistake; I'm a fan of DiCaprio. But DiCaprio will never be a Robert De Niro or a Marlon Brando. No matter what character he's playing, you never forget that you're watching DiCaprio. And I disagree that his performance is the least affected. If anything, it's the most affected. He doesn't get the great dialogue that Waltz & Jackson get which does hurt it. But actually, I think the biggest problem with the character/performance is that despite what some have said, he never felt like an evil guy. From the time we meet him to the time he dies, he always seems like a likeable guy. I think this is mostly DiCaprio's fault. It almost feels like he's trying to cushion the racism by making him charismatic. Even in the most "brutal" scene (the dogs) he comes off as slightly sympathetic. He seems like he genuinely doesn't want to kill the slave. DiCaprio just can't allow himself to completely disappear into the character.

    4. Jamie Foxx - He's a very good actor but he's not great. And as I've said before: QT's lead characters are never very interesting.

    • Chris138

      I agree with your point about DiCaprio that, no matter how hard he tries (and boy, does he try), he'll never be the next De Niro or Brando. I also like him as an actor, but I feel he's been mostly on autopilot for the last ten years. Seeing him in Django Unchained was refreshing and he was at least doing something a little more different. But I agree that he's the lesser of the three main supporting characters.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RandallPMcMurphy/ Randall P McMurphy

      Samuel L Jackson played a similar role in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
      I didn't really get what him tossing the cane meant. Was he faking it to keep him from doing all the hard work? Or was it QT paying homage to Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove? What do you think?

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RandallPMcMurphy/ Randall P McMurphy

        Also, there are plenty reasons to hate Leo DiCaprio's character:
        He might not be as stupid as the guys from the KKK, and he might not even be racist at all, but he uses negros to his benefit, he cares more about money than those poor people's lives.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

          Objectively, Candie is evil. But as I say; it's hard for that to really come across when you're trying to be charismatic. Take De Niro in Raging Bull for instance. He's a total scumbag from beginning to end and you never really like him. That doesn't mean the performance is any less compelling or interesting, however. It felt like DiCaprio & QT wanted to have it both ways: have Candie be charismatic and likable while also being repulsive. It didn't really work.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

        It's open to interpretation. The way I see it; the whole "decrepit negro" thing was just an act he put on in front of the white people. Once it's just him and Django, he drops the act.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheDeadBurger/ The Dead Burger

    This is a really interesting conversation largely because it hinges on one's opinion on what, exactly, the movie is about. If you think it's just another shot of cinematic adrenaline from Tarantino film doesn't ultimately mean much, choosing DiCaprio is understandable - his is the most entertaining, showy performance, and his "dimples" soliloquy, along with the resultant (improvised) blood-smearing, is one of the most memorable moments of the film.

    If you view the movie as trying to say something about race or slavery, Jackson is the clear choice. Stephen is a challenging, provocative character, and one could debate at length about what Tarantino was trying to say, if anything, by including him. Does Tarantino see him as a villain? Is he meant to represent the ultimate "Uncle Tom," a race traitor of sorts? Or perhaps he's less a racial commentary and more a social one, broadly addressing a perceived human inclination to abandon heritage and family in the name of survival? Stephen is a bit of a puzzle box, an unusual, even abrasive character, and if you look at the film as being largely defined by its socioeconomic/racial undercurrents, Jackson's performance is the most complex and the most clearly tied to the film's elusive politics.

    I, however, am more on the archetypal/mythological side of criticism. Maybe that's an overstatement. I don't reallyyyy know what that means. But I do know that my interpretations of movies are usually simpler, more universal, and centered more around pathos than more intellectually inclined cinephiles. That is to say, I see Django Unchained as being chiefly about inaction ("Why don't they just rise up and kill the whites?") and the occasional need to throw compromise to the wind and just do the right thing, even if it is a tactless or perhaps unethical move (the film is a lot like Lincoln in this way - Lincoln subverts the democratic process, Django kills the fuck out of a bunch of dudes). This theme is illustrated most clearly through Schultz's character arc, culminating in his fairly thoughtless killing of Candie. Schultz is the heart of the movie and Waltz pulls it off with aplomb, imbuing the character with much more depth than the entertaining but ultimately two-dimensional Landa.

    Schultz is the most human character in the film, not a mildly uninteresting hero like Django nor a delightful-yet-flat villain like Candie nor a puzzling racial statement like Stephen. Not to insult any of the other characters or performances, but they're all clearly built for Django Unchained, serving thematic or narrative or cinematic purposes, while Schultz, due largely to Waltz's measured, likable performance, seems like he could hold his own as a character in a novel or miniseries or spinoff. I'm not suggesting those, of course, just saying that Schultz is the only character whose inner life comes across over the course of the film.

    But all of that analysis may just be a cover-up for my honest answer, which is that "Alexandre Dumas is black." is one of my favorite movie moments of 2012 and I will be forever indebted to Waltz for that.

    So yeah. I vote Waltz.

  • Ra

    I voted for Leo. DiCaprio provides one of the most unusual and show stopping performances in his career as a despicable and ugly villain who spends most of his time making people suffer, and delighting in making people suffer. He's a suppressed petulant man child whose intelligence is only measured by his wealth, and he often displays how exceptionally vicious he can be once we're introduced to his knack for mentally destroying an attempted runaway slave before they're torn apart by dogs, and enjoying a violent fist fight between two large slaves branded "mandingos". The scene when he broke the glass with blood in his hand alone should have been enough for the academy, for me at least, to give him the nomination.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/jinjuriki187/ jinjuriki187

    ok waltz was my favorite character in the film and was my favorite performance but leo gave the best performance in the movie, if that makes sense. he was amazing and it was something different from what he has done in the past. in order it would go leo, then waltz then sam jackson and then foxx. jackson gave his best performance since pulp fiction, foxx since ray and leo's best next to blood diamond i think. and this was waltz performace yet, i liked it even more than his in inglorious bastards, and he was the best part of that movie so that says alot to how good the performances were in this movie. foxx was great too, a lot better than i was expecting. i would say this is tarantino's best acted film yet, leo, jackson and waltz all deserved a nom over evryone else who was nominated besides hoffman. im very happy waltz got the nom but i would have liked leo more, the both should have been in and alan arkin should have been out in my opinion.

  • http://filmgeekcentral.com Rolocop

    I've seen the movie 3 times now. Jackson is still my favorite, but the more I watch the movie, the more I like Jamie Foxx. He has the disadvantage of being the low-key character of the movie, while everyone else gets to have more showy performances. But, on repeat viewings, I really saw what Foxx was doing. You can see the character transition slowly throughout, and that's credit to Foxx. Much of his performance is in his face, as he observes and figure things out. I honestly think it's Oscar worthy. Didn't think so the first time, but by the third time, I realized just how brilliant he is.

  • Someperson

    I voted for Christoph Waltz, but the whole ensemble is just amazing. Additional shout out to Kerry Washington and Walton Goggins. I also thought, though he doesn't give my favorite performance, that Jamie Foxx fits his character perfectly.

    Man, the SAG really messed up ignoring this one.

  • http://timeforafilm.com Alex Thomas

    I actually thought Leo wasn't that great, same with Jackson. Neither were bad, but Waltz clearly steals the show in my opinion, he was fantastic. I guess Foxx is about on par with Leo/SLJ.

    I wasn't a big fan of the film overall so I'm not really going to expand on why I thought who was better than who, except that Waltz was great and would be more than a deserving winner of Best Supporting Actor at the Oscar's.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/lawhs89/ lawhs89

    Weltz was the movie, the first two acts anyway. Of the three supporting actors, he was on screen the most, so the one nom had to go to him. Foxx got to shine the last act.

  • Amit

    I think you're exactly right about Sam Jackson, Brad. I wanted Di Caprio to be the best because I am a fan, but by the end of the movie, I realized Sam Jackson's performance was simply breathtaking (especially, the first scenes when Schultz and Django arrive). Di Caprio comes a close second, and the scene with the skull was gripping to say the least. And more than Foxx's performance, I felt perhaps that his character was lacking, which is maybe what Tarantino wanted....

  • http://hypethemovies.wordpress.com Jordan B.

    1. DiCaprio
    2. Jackson
    3. Waltz
    4. Foxx

  • clayj41

    Waltz > Jackson > Foxx > DiCaprio

  • Christopher Drivin

    Maybe the academy didn´t want to drag Leo to the show to let him walk home emptyhanded again. Maybe supporting guys,unlike the ladies in Gosford Park and The help can´t get two noms for whatever silly reason(Remember Nicholson and Wahlberg at the Globes,only to have Wahlberg be The departeds only Oscarnommed actor.)

    Maybe the decision is based on screentime,maybe when it comes to the Globe,they´re too nuts about Leo,10 of those noms against 3 oscarnoms. After all,he deserved praise for Revulotionary Road but besides a Globenom,all he got was a nom at Satellite awards where 10 actors are nommed.

    Walz got both SAG,BAFTA and Academy so wins 4 to 1. No broadcast critics so winning the oscar is unlikely...Schulz is a supporting character,supporting Django in his quest and is like his nemesis,killed like he was an extra(Do you even see the corpse?)with 35 minutes to go. When was the last time two actors from the same film was nommed? Leo was doomed from the word go.

    Having said that I feel his performance was the best,his role the trickiest and the one who after a 2nd viewing really stuck with me. Unlike Johnsons Big Daddy,he wasn´t a supremist who believed in the cause and asking to buy Hildie would probably have worked. Third generation plantationowner,his racism seemed more forced upon him. He cared about cash. I loved to hate him,evil doesn´t always have too look evil. He studied Django with the word he said,curiousity,not contempt or hatred. Fascinated by this exceptional n----,who he later calls unexceptional just cause someone has tried to cheat him and he reacts like a child who´s toy had been stolen. Not alotta memorable dialog but he delivered it brilliantly. Great work. As for dissappearing completely into a role,maybe someone hasn´t studied DeNiro really close AND REALIZED HE HAS 3 FACIALEXPRESSIONS but all of these 4 actors have problems erasing themselves completely,they´re no Benicios.

    Candie had educated himself where he saw it most needed,his profession,liked to act sophisticated when he was pretty ignorant was funny. The phrenology speech should have closed the deal,if that blloody hand was improv then hoora and brave and poor Kerry.
    "As talented as they are in the kitchen,as you can see,from time to time adult supervision is required."
    "Stephen,this is Django,another cheeky black bugger like yourself. You two oughta hate eachother."
    "Now bright boy,,I´ll admit you are pretty clever. But if I took this hammer here and bashed in your skull with it,you would have the same three dimples in the same place as old Ben here..."

    For once,Jackson didn´t just shout his dialog,very unusual. And he was very good,also unusual.....no Shaftvibes here,he dissapeared most. Being a survivor and having becomed a selfhating racebetrayer,Stephen felt he had worked to get to a pretty good place thus Djangos freedom outraged him,how he isn´t who he seems and neither is his relationship with Calvin...I think Jackson did a really fine job,albeit his evil felt a bit more onedimensional,though for far more complex reasons.

    No. I mean,Walz was good. He was mirroring Landa,the good white man is german,I get it,funny. Polite,manipulative,sophisticated,educated...have I ever seen Walz like this? Yes,now I remember. So I can´t stretch further then good and no way of being worthy of an Oscarnom.

    Why not cast Idris Elba? Cause it´s an american story,Quentin says. Great answer...no,it´s awful. I get that much of the dialog is the white man confronting himself and taking responsibility and paying the price,Schulz vs. Candie but Foxx had too few moments,too few great lines and he isn´t at his core a GREAT actor,I had some problems caring about Django at times. So last without any doubt.

  • Arjuna

    I'm surprised that no one has compared it to or used the departed as a prognosticator for this.
    In that movie there were undoubtably 4 great supporting roles in walhberg, Damon, Nicholson and Baldwin and in the end the academy didn't nominate the best performance but the most entertaining in my opinion, walhberg.

    Now because he wasn't even the best in his own movie that's one of many reasons I think Alan Arkin won that year.

    However because I think that waltz did give what many here have said, the most layered performance I think he has a better shot at the Oscar even though he may not have been the best in his own movie, if they had nominated the most entertaining performance in dicaprio or Jackson there would be no chance

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/navaneethks/ navaneethks

    For me Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio are tied for #1 spot. But I give Christoph Waltz a slight edge as I immediately loved his character from the very beginning.

    1. Christoph Waltz
    2. Leonardo DiCaprio (very close)
    3. Samuel Jackson
    4. Jamie Foxx

  • raul

    I voted for DiCaprio because he was the best villain i could ever imagine for the movie, I liked the other performances but for me DiCaprio was the best.

    1.DiCaprio
    2.Waltz
    3.Jackson
    4.foxx

  • Joshua

    Other people have pointed it out, and I never thought about it until now that Waltz really is a lead. Therefore, I would give best supporting actor to Leo just a tiny nod over Samuel L. Jackson. Waltz's performance there was so much to it, how he didn't see race, to him showing Django how to read, to being his mentor, treating him as an equal and to that point where he screamed out that epic one-liner "I'm SORRY DJANGO!!! I JUST COULDN'T HELP MYSELF!" He should be up for Best Actor and he was in the whole movie basically, so I don't see how he could be a supporting actor really.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

    For me, Waltz and DiCaprio stole the show every time they were on screen. I would give a slight edge to Waltz though and could care less if the character is similar to other characters he has played. To me, it's about who really mesmerizes me with their character / performance, which I'll admit to an extent is script based.

    Samuel L Jackson, while excellent, just didn't have the same lasting effect on me that Waltz and DiCaprio did and I wasn't necessarily looking forward to new scenes because he was in them.

    Fox was fine, but nothing to right home about or even consider for an award. Once again, a lot of this is script based and the fact that he never had much of a chance to have an impact on the movie except in a few places.

  • Newbourne

    I keep switching from Jackson and DiCaprio. I immediately loved DiCaprio's performance, but Jackson really rocked that last half-hour. Regardless, I would have nominated both of them over Waltz and Arkin, and that's saying something, because Waltz is one of my favorite actors ever.

    But Waltz won at Cannes and the Oscars in 2009. THAT was his year. This isn't his year. Leo and Sam should have been nominated instead.

  • Conrad

    Dicaprio 100 percent gave the best performance. All the performances were great but he easily stood out.the scene where he slams his hand on the table and he begins bleeding is improvised, as he actually cut his hand and just went with it.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RandallPMcMurphy/ Randall P McMurphy

      I know, there's an interview where he tells the whole story about it, its pretty funny how he describes the way QT reacted.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RandallPMcMurphy/ Randall P McMurphy

    Before reading other comments, I'll rank them my own way so reading them doesn't interfere with the way I would rank them:

    1. Christoph Waltz - His performance was amazing and my favorite of the year after Adrien Brody as Henry Barthes in Detachment. At first I didn't get why someone in that time would risk so much to help a person, maybe he was gay I thought at first and decided that was it for most of the movie until that twist before the shootout at Candieland which gives his character another layer and made me feel for him a lot more than I already did.
    His answer is that he is disgusted by slavery and cannot stand it at all, he decides to risk so much to help a person because he can't stand seeing another person being treated in such way and decides to help Django get his wife back, because he knows it is whats right.
    I wanted to see the movie again but I haven't had the chance, but when I went to see Les Mis, I got so bored that I went into Django for a little bit right during the Mandingo scene, now knowing Dr. Shultz motives I realized how hard he tries during that scene to keep a smile on his face and act as he is not disgusted by what is going on and it made me realize what a great character he is, one of the best Tarantino has ever written if not the best.

    2. Jamie Foxx - I think his performance is being very underrated, there was some great stuff he did, like in that scene where Kerry Washington (who didn't give a good performance in my opinion) is getting whipped and the camera focuses on Django, who begs on his knees that they stop and whip him instead, I almost cried during that scene (I didn't) and I thought it was great acting.

    3. Leonardo DiCaprio - He plays a real passive villain right and his acting is okay for most of it and it only really gets great once he gets all mad and starts screaming, I loved his speech he gives while Django and Dr. Shultz are held at gun-point it was awesome.

    4. Samuel L. Jackson - I really hated his character, I don't mean his acting (which was great and funny), I mean the guy he played, but still it was good for comic relief and I read that he was trying to make a guy people would really hate and he achieved it perfectly.

  • Jake

    I am a big Samuel L. Jackson fan and I have to admit I loved his performance in Django. In my forty- four plus years on the job, I have encountered so many Stephen's on my daily walk; I have to pray daily to get through the work day. I know Jackson was playing a role in the movie, but the Stephen's I encounter daily in the real world are scary people like Stephen in the movie.

  • JN Films

    by the way DiCaprio really did cut his hand for real towards the end of the movie when he sawed open the skull

  • Mike Tingen

    I feel that foxx really had to take one for the team here as the driver of the plot and, unfortunately, not too much more. I feel that his character development occurred a bit to rapidly and was arguable overshadowed by Waltz's role. However unfortunate that may be, it only speaks to the quality of Waltz's portrayal of his character. I found that he delivered the extravagantly verbose, custom tailored, script with witty and poignant mannerisms. Aside from this, his character also posits a very peculiar situation, which works to create a sense of mystery or intrigue around his character. The idea of a well educated, clean cut, gun slinging bounty hunter from Germany in 1850's America is so novel that you have no choice but to focus on him. Rightfully so, Waltz did a great job of upholding that mystery spliced with small nuanced bits of relate-ability.
    Although it can't go without saying that Leo and Sam were awesome, I just find that they were a bit overshadowed by the successful portrayal of Waltz's role, which actually says a lot about all three of them.

  • stefan

    For me it was Waltz who stand out. But it felt more like a leading role to me, only Foxx (official and only lead) had more screentime. Jackson and DiCaprio were very good, I liked Jackson performace a bit more. When we compare DiCaprio in Django with Walz in Inglorious Basterds it was a weak villan performance. But still, I liked every performance in this movie - great job!

  • http://www.rabidpictures.com Yaz

    waltz. hands down. the golden man is his.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Cordia/ Cordia

    I also went for DiCaprio, simply because he plays a villain that is so unlikable and something he has never done before and he really plays a great role. Waltz is great too but is just to much like his Inglorious Bastards character., the rest of the cast is also amazing but DiCaprio stands out for me.

  • reto

    Di Caprio and Jackson both merit the oscar for their work here !

  • Stewart Hammil

    I'm voting for Leonardo DiCaprio and my reasoning is such.
    (1) DiCaprio has the least interesting role in the movie as written down. it was Leo himself who introduced the phrenology aspect to the role to justifies his characters hatred. Leo plays the character as a sadist who justifies himself that the slaves he tortures aren't really human - to this end he uses the science of phrenology. (I hope I got that Right). and it was through this ideology that he deepens the character more than it was written on the script. That inspired Quintin to write the Skull scene. So Leo actually takes the character that was written and added layers to it. Unlike Christoph who just read the lines given to him.
    (2) Leo has less screen time than the others. We don't catch up with Leo or Samuel until well into the movie and Leo is killed off long before Jackson.
    (3) His performance is at turns frightening and comical. But is always believable.
    (4) Other characters may seem layered or subtle but only because the actors are given enough screen time. in addition, leo doesn't have many chances to show other sides to his character. for instance, Samuel shows another side in the kitchen with Kerry Fox. leo simply doesn't get such scenes.
    (5) Simply put. he owns the scenes hes in. And when he's gone you can feel the loss of energy on the screen. this is why the film seems overlong after his character is gone.