Albert Finney, Oscar Nominated Actor, Dies at 82
Legendary British actor Albert Finney has died. The Guardian reports he passed away after a “short illness.” He was 82 years old. More, from The Guardian:
In 2011, he disclosed he had been suffering from kidney cancer. Having shot to fame as the star of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Finney received five Oscar nominations, but never won, and refused a knighthood.
Finney’s five nominations came in Tom Jones, Murder on the Orient Express, The Dresser, Under the Volcano, and Erin Brockovich. All were Best Actor nominations, save for that last one, which was for Supporting Actor. Finney was so great in that film as the title character’s exasperated boss. The scene where Finney’s Ed Masry gives Brockovich a well-deserved raised and she reacts with scorn until she sees how big it is was the first moment from Finney’s career that came to mind when I heard the news. The twinkle in his eye as he exits the room is just incredible.
Finney had a career full of incredible moments. Like this all-time-great scene from the Coens’ gangster picture, Miller’s Crossing:
Finney’s performance as an alcoholic in Under the Volcano is also deservedly legendary:
Finney was born in 1936. After establishing himself in the theater, his screen breakthrough was 1960’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, followed quickly by the adaptation of Tom Jones that became that year’s winner of the Best Picture Oscar. A few years later, he starred opposite Audrey Hepburn in the underrated marital drama Two for the Road, which was famous for its unique, non-linear structure.
He played Hercule Poirot for Sidney Lumet in 1974’s Murder on the Orient Express, Daddy Warbucks in John Huston’s musical of Annie, and co-starred in Ridley Scott’s first film, The Duellists. Finney also played a supporting role in the off-beat film Breakfast of Champions staring Bruce Willis, which was filmed in and around Twin Falls, Idaho.
Younger film fans might know him from his appearances in the Jason Bourne series, as the psychologist responsible for the government brainwashing program that created the films’ amnesiac hero. His final role was a brief but key supporting character in the James Bond film Skyfall from 2012.
Finney leaves behind an incredible body of work, and some of the greatest performances in movie history. It’s kind of ludicrous he never won an Oscar. If Albert Finney can’t get an Academy Award, why even give them out?