You know when something happens to an actor you adore and respect and admire and just plain LOVE and you feel that empty feeling in the pit of your stomach? It doesn’t happen often to me, simply because they are actors and I try and separate myself from them personally, but some actors have a special place in your heart and so when something happens to them, it crushes you. When Elizabeth Taylor died, I cried. When Paul Newman died, I cried. When Heath Ledger died, I cried. When Russell Crowe threw a phone and screwed himself out of an Oscar nomination for ‘Cinderella Man’, I cried.
Today, I’m seriously shaking at the news I just heard.
Bob Hoskins, one of the GREATEST actors ever (seriously, so underappreciated) has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and is retiring from acting. Honestly, this news is devastating. The man is a genius and such a force in front of the camera. He will be sorely missed, and yet the truth of the matter is that I less upset about his departure from film (since he’s left such a legacy of greatness) and more saddened by the pain that this disease will leave for him and his family.
In honor of his greatness, I’m going to recommend my three favorite Hoskins performances and I encourage all reading this to comment on why you love him so much, and if you are unfamiliar with his work I encourage you to dig in immediately. What is your favorite Hoskins performance? What film do you want to see of his that you haven’t yet?
For me, Hoskins should have won the Oscar in 1980 for his tremendous work in ‘The Long Good Friday’. I know that this is the same year that brought us John Hurt’s and Robert De Niro’s tour de force performances, but honestly, it is the subtle intensity that Hoskins brings to gangster Harold that takes the cake for me as far as performances go that year. There is a slow burn that gradually escalates until Harold finally realizes what’s been going on, and his aggressive outburst towards the film’s end is flawlessly executed. He is terrifying! Of course, we all should know and love what he accomplished in 1986’s ‘Mona Lisa’, and honestly he should have won out of Oscar’s lineup that year (but you can’t fault the Academy for finally giving Newman an Oscar, no matter how undeserved the performance). Capturing the lovable schlep that he was portraying while still maintaining and air of callous was undeniable rich in character development. In more recent years, he was relegated to stock supporting roles, and then in 2005 he was handed a dynamite role in the little seen and little remembered Jet Li movie ‘Unleashed’. The film is dumb, but Hoskins ruthless gangster Bart is a revelation. He chews the scenery in a way that only a true legend could, and he devours every freaking scene. He is marvelous! In fact, it’s when he is absent from the screen that the film falls apart. I just wish he was in every scene.
I want to cry. This news is tragic, but I’m forcing myself to put on a smile and remember the brilliance that was this career. I wish the best for Hoskins and his family and I pray that they find peace and solace in the wake of this news.