Half Glass Beats Full

February 24, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Ulalume | 0 Comments |

The full glass (The Ritz Bros. photographed by William P. Gottlieb)

In the wake of the banal, humour-free and self-aggrandizing gang-bang that is the Academy Awards, we are reminded of a scene from Tropic Thunder in which Ben Stiller, conversing with Robert Downey Jnr., regrets the failure of his dramatic film, Simple Jack.  Stiller complained that  “I did the work.”  Downey points out the tactical error of going Full Glass instead of Half Glass, adding “Ask Sean Penn, 2001, I Am Sam.  Remember? … Went home empty-handed.”

Downey cited Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump and Peter Sellers in Being There as examples of acclaimed or Oscar-winning half glass performances.  Here are some others, in both Full and Half category (Oscar winners marked with *):


Leonardo DiCaprio (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?)

Robert DeNiro (Awakenings)

Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)

John Hurt (The Elephant Man)

Robin Williams (The Fisher King)

Nigel Hawthorne (The Madness of King George)

Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade)


Cliff Robertson (Charley)*

Jennifer Jones (The Song of Bernadette)*

Jane Wyman (Johnny Belinda)* 

Joanne Woodward (The Three Faces of Eve)* 

Patty Duke (The Miracle Worker)*

Jack Nicholson (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)* 

Jack Nicholson (As Good as it Gets)*

Nicole Kidman (The Hours)*

Julianne Moore (Still Alice)*

Fredric March (Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde)*

Daniel Day Lewis (My Left Foot)*

Geoffrey Rush (Shine)*

Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)*

[By the way, “glass” is a euphemism, as those who have seen Tropic Thunder will know.  TVC finds it isn’t quite as courageously un-PC as it hoped.]


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