Somber news began gracing headlines yesterday as reports surfaced of the untimely passing of British actor Pete Postlethwaite. Postlethwaite succumbed to cancer after a long fight against the disease at the age of 64 on Jan. 2, 2011. Postlethwaite was best known for his Academy Award-nominated role in “In The Name of the Father.” He was also well known for his roles in “Inception,” “Romeo + Juliet” and “Amistad,” to name a few. In the wake of his passing, we remember him for the talented actor he was.
To truly understand the level of dedication and commitment Postlethwaite displayed, one doesn’t need to search very far. In the year 2010, in the midst of his long battle against testicular cancer, Postlethwaite continued to work in the film industry. In the year 2010 alone, Postlethwaite was in three major movies, including “Inception,” “The Town” and “Clash of the Titans.” His performances in each were applauded for good reason. Postlethwaite remains one of the United Kingdom’s most well-loved actors. The question many are now asking is did any of his performances in these three hit films warrant posthumous awards of recognition? In a word… Absolutely.
Postlethwaite’s performances in each of his 2010 movies were outstanding. The performance that moved me most was his portrayal of Maurice Fischer from “Inception.” Postlethwaite portrayed a dying business tycoon who is the father of a man being targeted by an espionage group led by the character Cobb, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. A realistic and moving show of his talent, I believe “Inception” was Postlethwaite’s greatest performance to date.
Interestingly, the director of “Inception,” Christopher Nolan, also directed 2008’s “Dark Knight,” which starred Christian Bale and Heath Ledger. Deceased actor Ledger was awarded a posthumous Academy Award for his brilliant performance in “Dark Knight.”
Although the nominees haven’t been announced yet, speculation is favoring Leonardo DiCaprio to win the nod for the Academy Award. Although DiCaprio was the star of the movie, Postlethwaite should not be ruled out. Although underestimated at times, Postlethwaite was highly regarded by producer Steven Spielberg. Spielberg once described Postlethwaite as “the best actor in the world.”
We will not know who the Academy selects for the nominees until later this month. The Academy is scheduled to announce the nominees on Jan. 25, 2011. The Academy Awards are scheduled for Feb. 27, 2011, at the Kodak Center.
Somber news indeed as we bid farewell to Pete Postlethwaite, an outstanding character actor and a true professional.